MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — At venture firm and startup accelerator program 500 Startups‘ latest Demo Day, 34 early-stage and 9 post-seed companies presented in front of investors for a chance to receive the funding to get them to their next milestone.
To start things off, self-described “Sith Lord” Dave McClure offered his usual greeting, touting the success of his firm and the merits of the assembled class. (Of note, 39 percent of the companies were from outside the U.S., a decrease from the previous batch.) McClure also hinted that two new microfunds would be launched later this year, following previous microfunds in Turkey and other parts of the world.
Out of the 34, these are our favorite companies from this batch:
- Lab Sensor Solutions
Now, without further ado, a breakdown of all the companies in Batch 14 (in order of appearance):
AutoLotto bills itself as an easy way to play the lottery. Using your mobile device, you can buy lottery tickets with just a tap, establish rules to autoplay when the jackpot is at a certain amount, play with friends or coworkers, and more. It’s free to use.
The company was founded in March 2015 and has raised $2 million from investors, including the founder of DraftKings and the San Francisco 49ers. AutoLotto, which provides a legal, safe, and secure marketplace for users, started in New Hampshire and is targeting a $485 billion annual global market. The company is looking to expand to 5 more cities by the end of the year. It has a waiting list of 100,000 people.
Aircall wants to offer businesses an easy way to create and manage phone support. The France-based company allows its customers to use the Aircall app to run a virtual customer support team. The app is used daily by 500 customers, generating monthly recurring revenue of $35,000. The company is growing by 35 percent monthly.
Built for teamwork, Aircall connects to Salesforce, HubSpot, Slack, Desk, Zendesk, and others while also letting workers communicate across any device. Aircall is targeting a $40 billion addressable market.
BetterView is using drones to scan roofs in the U.S. in order to uncover any potential problems. The data gathered is reviewed, and any issues can be addressed proactively, which the company says makes it better able to prevent major catastrophes. Putting someone on a roof to inspect it can be dangerous and expensive. Roofing service is a $38 billion annual market in the U.S.
The company said it’s been growing 40 percent monthly and has seen recurring revenue of $22,000 since October.
A business-to-business marketplace in India (think an online Home Depot), Urjakart.com helps its customers with home improvement projects. If you’re looking to make renovations, this service will convert a request for quotation into an invoice and help organize the supply chain. With 20 percent margins, it has annualized GMV of $1 million and is growing 32 percent month-over-month. In home improvement, the company said it’s targeting a $50 billion market.
Pacifica Labs is a mental health app provider for consumers. Its first self-titled app focuses on stress management and has over 375,000 registered users. It currently has $8,000 in monthly recurring revenue. The company is targeting the 40 million adults in the U.S. who have stress and anxiety disorders, as only 1 out of 3 actively seek help.
The company is pursuing clinical trials at the University of California, San Francisco and at another institution.
If you’re a developer who wants to build app backends using APIs as the building block, then Stamplay may be of interest. It calls itself the development platform for the API-economy era. Since opening up public beta, it has been growing 25 percent, with more than 6,000 developers signed up. It’s targeting a $30 billion market and has raised $450,000 in funds.
SweepSouth, which started in South Africa, lets you book and pay for home cleaning services within emerging markets. The service makes it easy to find competent cleaning professionals by using intelligent algorithms to help match you with cleaners in your area. It’s targeting an untapped market of 1.1 billion people and has a vast pool of experienced domestic cleaners.
So far, it has raised $450,000 in funds and said it has a monthly growth rate of 50 percent, generating $25,000 in revenue each month, thanks to a satisfaction rating of 80 percent.
MapJam provides a mapping platform that allows users to create more personalized and customizable online maps. It has raised close to $1 million in seed funding and has formed partnerships with The Huffington Post, Weebly, Eventbrite, and other businesses. It has grown 500 percent this month, catering to people who need to create custom maps but don’t want to deal with the attendant API and coding. MapJam relies on a drag-and-drop user interface that lets companies build maps quickly without needing much technical expertise.
Growbot is a bot within Slack that lets people collect real-time feedback while at work. It’s a performance-management platform that’s evolving the standard employee review for the next generation workforce. Growbot integrates into the messaging platforms that companies are already using to provide three forms of feedback: appreciation, coaching, and evaluation.
To date, companies like Adaptly and HBO that have signed up to use Growbot have seen monthly active usage of 55 percent, with new user growth increasing weekly at 7 percent.
If you’ve ever had trouble understanding your medical bill, Decisive Health said that it’ll provide clarity. The service combines your insurance benefits information with the doctor’s insurance-negotiated rates and provides comprehensible a medical bill, all while you’re still at the doctor’s office.
Decisive Health said that in the U.S., $44.6 billion in medical care bills are left unpaid, and part of this may stem from people not knowing what they’re going to be charged when they go in for an examination. Within two months of selling, the company said it has $45,000 booked in annual revenue and is seeing a 70 percent profit margin.
Kudobuzz is a “content marketing SaaS solution” that provides small and medium-size businesses with ways to optimize their website, promote it, and create tools to engage their customers through reviews, coupons, commenting, forums, and more. Its main tool helps businesses scrape reviews from their social media accounts and curate them onto their website.
To date, Kudobuzz has helped 6,000 companies worldwide aggregate 1 million verified reviews across Wix, Storeenvy, WordPress, Shopify, and other platforms. It said it has earned $15,000 in monthly recurring revenue, but it’s far from done: Kudobuzz is targeting 22 million more businesses in the U.S. across 20 “do-it-yourself” ecommerce platforms.
Matching shippers with logistics providers, EyesOnFreight plays the middleman by letting you submit requests for quotes to carriers, as well as keep track of where packages are. The global logistics market is worth about $4 trillion. Most people think about big players in the space, like FedEx and UPS, but there are around 400,000 companies that provide shipping. There’s little transparency in pricing or consistency in terms of service, however, and EyesOnFreight promises to match you with a reliable provider based on your need and preference.
The company said that in 2015, it’ll realize net revenue of $72,000 and estimated that it will reach $210,000 in 2016. It’s initially focusing on the oil and heavy machinery industry.
MonkeyLearn enables machines to better understand the human language. Through the use of machine learning, companies and developers will be able to discern more information from text-based content like tweets, reviews, chats, and emails. In short, the company wants to make it simpler for any software developer to build their own machine learning algorithm. The company has already signed up 7,000 users and is growing 10 percent month-over-month. It’s currently seeing $8,000 in monthly revenue.
Protect your neighborhood with VillageDefense, a system that residents can use to share information about crime in their area. To date, there are over 3,500 neighborhoods on the platform, with 30 new neighborhoods added every day.
Email, text, and other forms of communication don’t work well for real-time crime alerts. With VillageDefense, when a crime or suspicious event occurs, one push of a button on the app will notify all participating neighbors immediately. Users can then contribute follow-up information and photos.
Baker makes the cannabis-buying experience easier by letting dispensaries treat every one of their customers as a VIP. Currently, when you buy cannabis, you’re liable to encounter long lines and sometimes find, when you finally get to the counter, that the supply has run out. With Baker’s apps, users can browse for what they want and order ahead. Then when they get to the store, the product is ready for pickup. It’ll also allow merchants to provide discounts, free products, and more through the app.
To date, the company said that it’s seeing a monthly growth rate of 69 percent, with $31,147 in revenue in October alone. Baker touts itself as a software company and states that it won’t touch the actual product. It has a monthly licensing fee that ranges between $99 and $499.
YOU-app aims to help you live a healthier life by taking baby steps in the right direction. It relies on neuroscience and psychology to help you overcome behavioral barriers that may block you from achieving your goal. The company’s app has been downloaded over 200,000 times and is designed to help its 26,000 monthly users, mostly women, take actions around being mindful, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and finding love. So far, 95 percent of active users have reported positive behavioral change.
Lab Sensor Solutions is a provider of Internet of Things sensors for the health care market. The goal is to ensure quality control and accuracy for all smart health care-related devices, so as to better protect patients. In addition, while labs often spend billions on automation equipment, there can be a lack of care when it comes to samples — $1.6 billion is wasted due to spoiled samples. Lab Sensor Solutions uses its hardware plus SaaS platform to measure temperature in order to protect sample quality.
The company charges $25 per sensor per month and is seeing an 85 percent gross margin. So far it has partnered with three labs to deploy 125 sensors and is projecting it will have more than 2.5 million distributed by 2019.
Learn all about nature with Junior Explorers. Available in four countries, the company focuses on trying to “inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.” Junior Explorers returns a percentage of the profit to conservation efforts. Since joining 500 Startups, the company said that it has generated $325,000 in revenue, with margins of 65 percent.
Junior Explorers is targeting the education technology and gaming markets, which are worth $45 billion. It already has partnerships with institutions like the San Francisco Zoo, the Nature Conservancy, and the Aquarium by the Bay. The company has raised $740,000 in funding.
Calling itself the LinkedIn for the SaaS industry, StackShare is a community of developers and engineers whose aim is to help companies discover the latest software being used. More than 2,500 companies have signed up and are sharing the tools that they use. StackShare reported that since joining 500 Startups, its community has grown weekly at 7 percent, with more than 100,000 developers and engineers currently registered. It makes money by delivering traffic to the websites of software vendors.
ZendyHealth bills itself as the “Priceline for medical services” in that it’ll allow you to shop smarter for health, dental, and beauty supplies. Patients who are struggling to pay their medical bills often try to work with physicians to minimize costs but, often, there’s a lack of transparency. Providers are willing to accept bids from ZendyHealth because it’s much easier than dealing with insurance companies.
The company reported that it is growing 25 percent monthly and has a transactional volume of $250,000. It has saved patients $100,000 so far. Already it has partnered with two health saving accounts and expects to add 10 more in the future. ZendyHealth previously raised $280,000 from its founders and has raised $1 million in angel funding.
43Layers lets event planners create decorations and gifts for any occasion, without the need for design or manufacturing experience. It’s a little like bringing your Pinterest board to life, and the company is naturally targeting the $30 billion wedding industry first. Users can either submit their own design or use one provided by the company’s independent designers. All items are then produced using a 3D printer.
So far, the company is growing 290 percent monthly, with an average order value of $240. 43Layers takes 35 percent for its fees and has seen a repeat purchase rate of 29 percent.
Datasembly relies on big data to help companies better understand pricing around the world. Its service crawls the Web to find out the current cost of goods, starting with the grocery industry. The company said until now, it has been difficult to curate this pricing data due to technological challenges such as rate limiting, IP blocking, and more. However, Datasembly seems to have found a way through these hurdles because it has already generated $12,000 in recurring monthly revenue and is seeing a 30 percent month over month growth rate. What’s more, it boldly announced that it’ll be profitable by the end of the year.
Focused on education, Apptuto utilizes gamification and social learning to help students learn finance and accounting. The company said that many people fail current standardized tests not because they’re difficult, but because there’s so much information to consume and comprehend. Apptuto said that, with its service, 50 percent more students wind up passing their exams.
The company focuses on motivation and engagement using game mechanics. Since launching in March, 4,000 students have enrolled, and the company is growing 25 percent monthly. It has closed corporate sales with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in a $350,000 deal. Apptuto is also working on a near-term pipeline that’s worth $3 million. To date, it has raised $500,000 in funding.
Saint Harridan is a fashion company focused on the female and transgender community. In a Kickstarter campaign, it raised $137,000 from 1,100 to fund its journey across the U.S. where it opened 64 pop-up shops that generated $360,000 in retail sales with a 65 percent margin. It’s targeting an $8 billion market. and has worked with clothing retailer Brooks Brothers to create a men’s suit for women’s bodies.
What it wants to do is create a Betabrand-like model for women’s clothing. Its first product was a vest that generated $15,000 in sales in the first week. Next it produced a pair of shoes that quickly sold out in just 10 hours. Saint Harridan has 6 more products in its pipeline.
Fuzzy.io is an API provider that strives to provide developers with resources to build “decision-making artificial intelligence” without needing to hire a data scientist. The company said that by 2020, every software company will need to incorporate artificial intelligence into their business. This will be a huge hurdle for most teams due to the high expense of finding talent — most solutions require a Ph.D. data scientist, tons of data, and capital. Fuzzy.io claims to take a unique approach through its API that provides artificial intelligence for cheap. The company has signed 15 beta customers for its trial, including Intel Security, Breather, and UpCounsel.
TruckTrack is a SaaS-based company that lets trucking companies better monitor their drivers’ performance. It’s targeting an industry with 15 million trucks and $600 billion in annual revenue. The company wants to change the current way companies are managing their business — whether with pen and paper or through an Excel spreadsheet. TruckTrack has created a mobile app for drivers to track their progress and can even help them get paid 50 percent faster. The company said that 88 companies have signed up for its trial program and that it’s forming partnerships with trucking associations, driver schools, and freight brokers.
An online and mobile money transfer company, RemitBee lets people send money to their friends and loved ones in multiple countries. It turns out that while people send a lot of money overseas, only about 7 percent do so by mobile. RemitBee seeks to take on the market leaders by letting users send money using devices they’re already comfortable with. It’s now in seven countries and is looking to rapidly expand to 45 in the future. It’s growing 45 percent month-over-month with wallet-funded transfers.
Concert With Me is a platform to help artists market their events. Music is a $40 billion industry, but in order to engage fans, artists need to have a full-stack solution. This is where Concert With Me hopes to fit in. The company doesn’t take money from artists but from ticket sales — think Zenefits for concerts. About 180,000 music fans are using the service monthly and 17,000 buyers were sent to websites to purchase concert tickets in the past month. What’s more, $10,000 in direct ticket sales were generated in just the first two weeks.
StreetHawk helps you take advantage of marketing automation without sacrificing your existing analytics provider. No matter whether you’re using Mixpanel, Flurry, Segment.io, Snowplow, or another offering, it’s difficult to rebuild the data — and there’s incredible ramp-up time to get the necessary data to make effective decisions. StreetHawk requires no SDK, and apps that use it will receive quick insights without any delays. The company said that apps that used its service saw a 150 percent uplift after 3 days.
GiftStarter facilitates group gifting through the use of micropayments. First targeting the baby market, the idea is to let guests at a baby shower chip in on more expensive (and often important) larger ticket items. The company has raised $550,000 in funding and is seeing a monthly growth rate of 75 percent in the number of gifts being “started” on the site.
Pipefy enables easy creation of processes and workflows that’ll help employees of small and medium-size businesses better manage their daily lives. More than 12,000 companies have used the service since its launch six months ago. The goal is to reduce the pain, cost, and friction of setting up management software like CRMs, help desks, task management solutions, and more. Instead, Pipefy empowers managers to make decisions and establish workflows that work for them, with relatively little hassle. The service provides templates with pre-made processes that managers can find, import, and customize regardless of their level of technical experience.
Encore is a content curator that uses artificial intelligence to provide insights on marketing and public relations. While it’s practically impossible for a single person to keep up with all the chatter in the world of social media and elsewhere, Encore claimed its service will sift through the noise and alert you to possible opportunities and threats. We all know that positive news is all good, but one single negative note can have lasting effects on a business. The company has $21,000 in monthly recurring revenue with a pipeline growth of 4x.
TopHatch is the creator of an increasingly popular design app called Concepts. More than 55,000 designers use this tool, which is a combination of AutoCad and Photoshop. To date, its freemium app has captured $200,000 in sales and has a free-to-pay conversion rate of 12 percent. What makes this appealing is that designers are able to create works on tablets instead of relying on their desktop.
Havenly is bringing personalized ecommerce to the home. Targeted at those who wish to have an interior designer without paying the exorbitant price tag, Havenly lets users describe themselves and their home and then creates a design for their needs. If they like it, they can buy the furniture and items right on Havenly’s website at an affordable price. It has a $13 million annualized gross market value, with $5 million in revenue. The company believes it can appeal to young professionals, who have collectively purchased $30 billion in home goods, and also to interior designers.