Latest DealQuad News
Dec 1, 2020
We track early stage investments of 200+ funds at AAF as part of our offensive strategy to have our finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the overall startup ecosystem. This list is a handful of those seed investments that we like and that we’ve found through Crunchbase, Angelist, LinkedIn, and our own network. All information is publicly available and none of this is financial advice. :) Friday Summary: Friday is a remote work orchestration platform that frees you up to do your best work (from home). For users, know exactly what you need to accomplish everyday. Friday acts like a daily planner/journal for your work that connects directly to your meetings on Google Calendar and Outlook and your tasks on Asana, Trello, Todoist, etc. Friday then syncs with your team so you don’ need to spend time on update meetings. The ultimate aim of Friday is to help improve the communication habits for remote teams. Friday clients include “thousands of teams” at companies like Twitter, LinkedIn, Quizlet, Red Hat, EA, and 10up. Team: Founder Luke Thomas was previously Head of Growth at getAbstract, Head of Product at Crystal Knows, Growth Marketer at Safari Books Online, and Growth Engineer at YesGraph. Funding: Raised $2.1M Seed in November 2020 from Bessemer Venture Partners, Active Capital, Underscore VC, El Cap Holdings, TLC Collective, and New York Venture Partners. Bespoken Spirits Summary: Bespoken Spirits is a food and beverage company that has developed technology to precisely tailor spirits for aroma, color, and taste in just days. Its proprietary ACTivation technology makes it possible to extract the key elements of the barrel that enhance aroma, color, and taste (ACT) but with precision, control, and speed. The company says the technology also enables users to customize different flavor profiles for their whiskeys, and avoid a phenomenon called “angel’s share,” in which up to 10% of the spirit evaporates from the cask. Bespoken sells this technology, as well as a portfolio of custom spirits, to consumers. Bespoken won eight awards at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and 10 awards at the American Distillery Institute’s 2020 Judging of Craft Spirits. Team: Cofounder Martin Janousek is currently Founder of button (advisor/mentor to high tech startups including etagen, Ambri, Velo3d), Strategic Advisor to smashbuster, and Strategic Advisor to Live Penalty. He was previously VP Engineering & Cofounder of Arcanum Alloys (raised $32M from Khosla), CEO of Silicium Energy Corporation, Entrepreneur in Residence at Khosla, and VP Technology Development at Bloom Energy Corporation. Cofounder Stu Aaron was previously COO of PsiQuantum, Venture Partner at Khosla, President/COO of Mixpanel, Chief Commercial Officer/Chief Strategy Officer of Blue Jeans Network, and VP Marketing of Bloom Energy. Funding: Raised $2.6M Seed in October 2020 from TJ Rodgers (founder of Cypress Semiconductor, owner of Clos De La Tech wine) and Derek Jeter (baseball hall of famer, CEO of Miami Marlins). Caliber Summary: Caliber is a digital fitness coaching platform that combines a strength-based training methodology with expert human coaching to help members achieve their fitness goals regardless of age, experience level or access to equipment. By decoupling the training experience from the constraints of a physical gym, Caliber is providing access to personalized fitness coaching for millions of consumers worldwide. Team: Cofounder/CEO Jared Cluff was previously CMO at Blue Apron, SVP Marketing at Fab.com, SVP Marketing at Ask.com, Director — Online Marketing at Match.com, Senior Product Marketing Manager at E*Trade Financial, and Financial Analyst at Intel. Funding: Raised $2.2M Seed round in October 2020 from Trinity Ventures and Gaingels. Cure Hydration Summary: Cure Hydration offers all-natural, science-backed functional beverages. Cure’s first product is a hydration mix based on the gold standard of rehydration. Known as ORS, it’s a perfectly balanced formula developed by the World Health Organization that can hydrate as effectively as an IV drip. Unlike the sugary, fluorescent-blue sports drinks from your past, Cure was formulated for effective hydration without all the junk. Cure has 4x the electrolytes of leading sports drinks and is made with real ingredients like organic coconut water, pink Himalayan salt, and lemon juice. No added sugar or anything artificial — just the ingredients your body needs for optimal daily hydration. Team: Cofounder/CEO Lauren Picasso was previously Director of Marketing at Jet.com, Strategic Partnerships (MBA Intern) at Google, and Manager — Merchandising & Business Development at Rent the Runway. Cofounder/CMO Alex Sarkissian was previously Senior Manager — Growth Marketing in Fresh Grocery at Jet.com and Consultant at Monitor Deloitte. Funding: Raised $2.6M Seed round in August 2020 from Lerer Hippeau, Andy Roddick (Former №1Tennis Player), Peter Rahal (CEO @ RXBAR), Sam McBride (COO @ RXBAR), Nick Green (CEO @ Thrive Market Market), and Nas. Raycast Summary: Raycast is a developer of a command bar software intended to assist developers to control their tools. The company’s software offers a search bar to quickly search commands and the built-in store to discover and install extensions such as Jira or GitHub, enabling clients to make easy access to various applications. Essentially, Raycast lets you control your tools with a few keystrokes. Team: Cofounder/CEO Thomas Mann was previously Software Engineer at Facebook, Software Engineer at Audi AG, and Software Engineer at ProSiebenSat. Funding: Raised $2.7M Seed round in October 2020 from Accel (lead), Y Combinator, Chapter One Ventures, Manik Gupta (CPO @ Uber), Charlie Cheever (Cofounder @ Quora), and Calvin French-Owen (Cofounder @ Segment). Stairwell Summary: Stairwell is a cybersecurity company that believes in forging a future in which any security team, regardless of size, sophistication, or resources, can be empowered to defend against every attacker. The company is currently in stealth mode and don’t have too much public information available. Team: CEO/Founder Mike Wiacek was previously Cofounder/Chief Security Officer of Chronicle — an Alphabet company that focuses exclusively on enterprise cybersecurity challenges. He took the company from an initial idea to product acceptance by companies of all sizes, from SMBs to Fortune 10 enterprises. Prior to that he spent 9 years at Google as a part of their Threat Analysis Group and as an Information Security Engineer. Before Google, Mike spent 5 years as a Global Network Exploitation and Vulnerability Analyst at the Department of Defense. Funding: Raised $4.5M Seed Round in October 2020 from Accel (lead), Sequoia Capital, Gradient Ventures, and Allen & Co. Spora Health Summary: Spora Health aims to change the healthcare disparities for Black people in America by creating a primary healthcare platform for people of color. Spora Health patients get access to its care delivery platform and care team that consists of doctors, nurse practitioners, nutritionists and more. Its machine learning-driven technology also can predict risk profiles for patients and look for chronic conditions like pre-diabetes, hypertension, emphysema and more. They do this all through their app via subscription for $9.99/mo. Team: CEO/Cofounder Dan Miller was previously Entrepreneur in Residence at Human Ventures, Design Manager/Product Manager at Lambda School, Mentor at Backstage Capital, Cofounder/CEO of Level Therapy, Product and Operations Consultant at StyleSeat, Market Research Manager at Salesforce, and Project Manager at SurveyMonkey. Funding: Raised $1.1M Seed round in November 2020 from Human Ventures, Service Provider Capital, City Light Capital, Techstars, and UnitedHealthcare Accelerator Powered by Techstars. Index Summary: Index wants companies to use its no-code dashboard builder to help visualize their KPIs and track performance. The tool boasts integration with a variety of data providers so that users aren’t forced to manually enter data into another tool. The startup hopes that building embeddable dashboards will help their solution catch fire and that startups will turn to their tool when they want to track progress on goals. Team: Cofounder Xavier Pladevall was previously Product & Engineering at Facebook. Funding: Raised $2.6M Seed round in October 2020 from Abstract Ventures (lead), David Sacks (lead), Y Combinator, Gradient Ventures, and Slack Fund. Frost Giant Studios Summary: Frost Giant Studios , a new game studio formed by Blizzard Entertainment veterans, has raised $4.7 million to make its first real-time strategy game. Frost Giant Studios hasn’t released any details on the game yet. Team: CEO/Production Director Tim Morten was previously Former Production Director of StarCraft II and C&C: Generals 2. President/Game Director Tim Campbell was previously Game Director of Wasteland 3, Lead Campaign Designer of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. 7 others on their team come from Blizzard Entertainment and Team Liquid. Funding: Raised $4.7M Seed round in October 2020 from BITKRAFT Ventures, Riot Games, 1Up Ventures, GC Tracker, and Griffin Gaming Partners Polymarket Summary: Polymarket is a decentralized predictions platform that lets users place cryptocurrency bets on hotly debated topics, ranging from politics and health through to business and science. Around the U.S. election, Polymarket users have been taking punts on bets ranging from “Will Trump win the 2020 U.S. presidential election” through to “Which party will win the state of Georgia.” Just in this election cycle, Polymarket has seen their volume surpass $10M. Team: CEO/Cofounder Shayne Coplan was previously Intern at Chronicled and Intern at Genius. Funding: Raised $4M Seed round in October 2020 from Polychain (lead), 1confirmation, Parafi Capital, Robot Ventures, Naval Ravikant (founder of Angelist), Balaji Srinivasan (CTO of Coinbase), and other angels. Levels Summary: Levels develops a health and wellness platform designed to monitor metabolic fitness. The platform tracks blood glucose in real-time, enabling users to optimize their diet and exercise. Levels utilizes a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) that you stick on your arm like a sticker and an app to give you a structured real-time analysis that helps you better understand how you can optimize dietary habits, as well as a comprehensive report each month containing actionable steps for optimizing your health. Team: CEO/Cofounder Sam Corcos was previously Cofounder/CTO of CarDash (YC S17, automotive repair concierge, acquired by RepairSmith). Cofounder Josh Clemente was previously SpaceX Lead Life Support Systems Engineer, Cofounder David Flinner previously led product management at Google for consumer payment experiences, Cofounder Andrew Conner previously led engineering for Google Voice for G Suite and was VP Eng at Kifi (acquired by Google), and Chief Medical Officer Casey Means is a Stanford trained MD, biomedical researcher, and surgeon-turned-metabolic health evangelist. Funding: Raised $12M Seed round from Andreessen Horowitz, Dick Costolo (exCEO of Twitter), Michael Arrington (cofounder of CrunchFund), Matthew Dellavedova (exNBA), and Marc Randolph (founder of Looker). Memberstack Summary: Memberstack is a SaaS product that helps businesses quickly add user accounts and payments to any website with or without code. To date, over 15k web developers, designers, and marketers are using Memberstack. 1,100+ web apps and online businesses launched, $9M+ in revenue earned by Memberstack members, and over 700K+ members registered on websites using Memberstack. Team: Cofounder Duncan Hamra was previously Product Designer at Formatically and Freelance UI/UX Designer at Finsweet.com. Cofounder Tyler Bell was previously Cofounder of Formatically — a SaaS that helps students format their essays easily. Funding: Raised $2M Seed round in October 2020 from Gradient Ventures, Village Global, Y Combinator, Tiny Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures, 1517 Fund, Kevin Lin (Twitch), and Andrew Lee (Cofounder of Firebase). Salted Summary: Salted is building the restaurant group of the future. They believe the future of restaurants doesn’t look anything like what we see today. The most successful brands will exist outside four walls and will develop loyal customers through exceptional, multi-channel food experiences. At Salted, they create and operate “better-for-you” restaurant brands that are delivery first, in partnership with every major delivery platform on the market today. Their brands are focused on deep brand/customer relationships, healthy approaches to traditionally unhealthy cuisines, and creative digital marketing campaigns. Team: CEO/Cofounder Jeff Appelbaum was previously the VP of Growth and Innovation at BeachMint, a next generation e-commerce company based in Santa Monica. Before BeachMint, Jeff founded and served as the CEO of DealQuad, the leading group commerce site for college students, which was acquired by BeachMint in June 2011. DealQuad launched at Harvard University in November 2010 and rapidly spread to campuses across the country. Before starting DealQuad, Jeff was the co-founder and Managing Director at Buzzpoint, a social media and integrated marketing agency in Los Angeles, focused on implementing new media strategies for both Fortune 500 and start-up entertainment and technology clients. COO/Cofounder Jonathan Beckhardt was previously Sr. Director — M&A/Finance at Oracle, COO/Founder at DataScience.com (acquired by Oracle in June 2018), and Product Manager — Big Data at American Express. Funding: Raised $3.8M Seed round in October 2020 from Valor Equity, Vy Capital, Craft Ventures, Wonder Ventures, PLG Ventures, FactoryMade Ventures and Third Wave Digital. FingerprintJS Summary: FingerprintJS is a new kind of toolkit offering browser fingerprinting as a service for any application. FingerprintJS uses the same canvas fingerprinting, audio sampling, WebGL fingerprinting, font detection and browser plugin probing tech that’s available on the market, but de-identifies the fingerprint from a specific device by generating a unique identifier of a browser without using cookies. Companies can store the identifier in their database and then track its behavior, the company said on its website. The company, based on an open-source project that already has 5 million downloads and 8,000 websites using the service (and hundreds of paying customers, according to the company), is a variation on the browser fingerprinting technology that companies have been using for years. FingerprintJS is trusted and used by companies such as Ebay, Target, USBank, Booking.com, TD Ameritrade, and Dell. Team: CEO Dan Pinto was previously Cofounder/CTO Machinio.com (used machinery search engine, acquired by Liquidity Services), Founder of Lead Alpha (SEM consulting biz), Cofounder of NetbookBoards.com (one of the first Netbook blogs/forums), Cofounder of DDWatches.com (watch ecommerce store), and Cofounder of Tubyak.com (TV forum). Funding: Raised $4M Seed round in October 2020 from Nexus Venture Partners, Hack VC, Remarkable Ventures and Rony Kahan (Cofounder of Indeed). Clair Summary: Clair is a New York-based fintech startup that provides Instant Pay Access as a service for human capital management platforms and the gig economy. With Clair, employees and contractors get access to a digital bank account that allows them to get a portion of their earned wages as soon as they finish work. It aims to make every worker financially free. Banking services provided by Synapse’s partners, Member FDIC. Team: CEO/Cofounder Nico Simko was previously at J.P. Morgan, leading the M&A due diligence process on a broad range of payments companies for the firm’s WholesalePayments division. He managed M&A, investment and partnerships due diligence on 10+ payments FinTechs worth over $25 billion. Originally from Switzerland and Argentina, Nico holds a B.A in Economics from Harvard University. Funding: Raised $4.5M Seed round in October 2020 from Upfront Ventures, Walkabout Ventures and Founder Collective.