8% of global emissions arising from human activity comes from the cement industry. Cement along with sand and gravel are the primary components of concrete. Most concrete formulations have been overdesigned with excess cement for their intended applications. Concrete-AI uses data science machine learning to help cement and concrete manufacturers develop the ideal formulations, leading to cost efficiencies and improvement in carbon emissions. The company is already in pilot with some of the largest companies in the space and initial results have shown cost savings of up to 10% and carbon footprint reductions of up to 50%. Offered as a SaaS solution, Concrete-AI targets the $652B global cement and concrete market that’s expected to exceed $1T by 2030. LA TechWatch caught up with Concrete-AI CEO Alex Hall to learn more about the concrete and cement industry and its impact on the environment, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding, and much, much more…
Funded in LA
For years, the medical apparel market consisted of sterile, ill-fitting scrubs that lack any hint of style. Over the last ten years, a number of new entrants prioritized fashion, aesthetics, and form-fitting apparel for this market. Jaanuu is a direct-to-consumer and manufacturer of performance-oriented, premium scrubs. Founded by a brother and sister duo consisting of a former private equity investor and a physician, Jaanuu offers a line of functional, form-fitting, and comfortable medical apparel and accessories that healthcare professionals are raving about. They’re not the only ones; President Obama was photographed sporting a Jaanuu mask. LA TechWatch caught up with Jaanuu CEO and Cofounder Shaan Sethi to learn more about the company’s start, impressive growth, latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $97.6M, and much, much more.
Back in 2007, 50,000+ soccer enthusiasts, organized by the startup MyFootballClub, banded together to purchase an English football club, which ended up being Ebbsfleet United FC. The community was responsible for all decisions related to the club. Last fall, an internet collective come together to raise $40M to buy a copy of the US Constitution through a DAO. Advancements in decentralized and streaming technology are fostering a new wave of innovation and engagement based on collective control that was previously not possible. Fan Controlled Football is a professional football league that allows fans to be involved in the gameplay and management of their favorite teams. Fans have a say in branding, personnel decisions, and even play-calling in real-time as if they are playing a real-life video game. The league plays all its games in a state-of-the-art arena based in Atlanta using modified rules that drive interest, excitement, and action with games broadcasted live on Twitch. Fan Controlled Football quickly recognized the concept was ideal for Web3 and blockchain and is now making integrating 4 new NFT-powered teams into the league, doubling the number of teams to eight for the upcoming season (the league’s second) that will start in mid-April. LA TechWatch caught up with Fan Controlled Football Cofounder and Chief Growth Officer Grant Cohen to learn more about how FCF blends technology, sports, gaming, and decentralization into a professional sports league, the company’s strategic plans, upcoming season, latest round of funding from investors that include Animoca Brands and Delphi Digital, Gemini Frontier Fund, 6th Man Ventures, Jump Crypto, Red Beard Ventures, Spartan Capital, NGC Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Talis Capital, Verizon Ventures, Correlation Ventures, and Basecamp Fund.
Care coordination is one of the pillars of establishing a healthcare model that’s increasingly moving towards value-based care. The market is poised for digital adoption and large-scale innovation; the digital care coordination software market alone is expected to top $3.1B in 2022. Challenges remain in the market as there’s traditionally been a lack of interoperability between payers and providers as well as confusion when care transitions from team to team and across institutions. HeyRenee is a digital healthcare concierge platform that’s focused on centralizing all aspects of a patient’s care into a single platform that’s easy to use and navigate. There are 100M+ Americans that suffer from 2 or more chronic conditions and the startup plans to focus on this segment, allowing them to interact through voice, text, and touch. The platform focuses on all aspects of the healthcare journey from diagnosis to ongoing monitoring to post-care follow up aligning the interest of payers, providers, and patients to ensure better outcomes for patients. LA TechWatch caught up with Founder, serial entrepreneur, and CEO Nick Desai (cofounded Heal) to learn more about the care coordination market and the benefits it brings in an era of increasing costs, how the founding team’s experience dealing with a parent’s illness led to the inspiration for the business, the company’s future plans, recent round of funding from investors that include Quiet Capital, City Light Capital, Fika Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Mucker Capital, SaaS Ventures, and Tau Ventures.
Crop insurance has been available to farmers since the 1930s to protect the agriculture industry against the effects of adverse weather events. The impact of climate change has led to a rapid acceleration in the popularity of these products in recent years and the effects of climate change are beginning to be felt in other industries including travel. Sensible Weather is a climate data and risk analytics platform that seeks to understand and quantify how weather events can impact everyday life. The company’s first product is a “Weather Guarantee” product that protects travelers against adverse weather conditions whether for whole trips or specific parts of the vacation like excursions or events. Travelers are automatically reimbursed rapidly, without filing onerous claims, when weather impacts parts of their trip. The product is distributed through travel and related partners. Founded by a hedge fund quant, the Weather Guarantee relies on the company’s proprietary climate risk platform that offers dynamic pricing options in real-time to add incremental revenue to travel suppliers. LA TechWatch caught up with Sensible Weather Founder and CEO Nick Cavanaugh to learn more about quantifying the impacts of weather to improve consumer experiences, how his passion for skiing and background using climate data led to the genesis of this business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding led by Wonder Ventures and Walkabout Ventures, and much, much more…
With consumers becoming increasingly reliant on online channels to secure goods, they no longer have the ability to inspect items for defects at the time of purchase. This burden now falls onto the manufacturer and distributor, resulting in an increased focus on quality control. Advancements in AI and connectivity allow manufacturers to now implement solutions at the factory level to optimize manufacturing efficiency. Elementary is an automated quality assurance platform that leverages AI and cameras to provide visual inspections for manufacturers to detect defects early. The platform is adaptable and uses no-code AI so that inspections can be adaptable and customized to specific use cases; AI-based vision yields 90% more defect detections and can be deployed in less than 30 minutes. The implementation of a machine vision solution also allows manufacturers to drive quality, eliminate wastage, identify problem areas, and reduce the possibility of returns while optimizing operational processes. With supply chain constraints across the globe, Elementary also provides reassurance and peace of mind to importers and brands that are now waiting months for goods in transit that may not be able to be sold upon local inspection. LA TechWatch caught up with Elementary Founder and CEO Arye Barnehama to learn more about how Elementary’s technology is making the supply chain more resilient and efficient, the company’s strategic plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Tiger Global, Threshold Ventures, Fika Ventures, Fathom Capital, Riot VC, and Toyota Ventures.
The aerospace, defense, and automobile industries have long been reliant on obsolete processes for hardware design and manufacturing that do not fully encapsulate the potential of technology. First Resonance is the manufacturing intelligence platform that allows next-gen hardware companies to innovate, iterate, and get products to market faster with unprecedented real-time visibility into production status. Replacing spreadsheets, documents, and costly legacy manufacturing processes, First Resonance’s ion Factory Operating System leverages data science, API integration, and machine learning to provide flexibility and collaboration between knowledge teams in established manufacturing workflows. Founded by former SpaceX engineers, the company is presently a team of 20 with plans to expand to 65 to help advance the future of climate change, space travel, planetary exploration, and sustainable agriculture. LA TechWatch caught up with First Resonance CEO and Cofounder Karan Talati to learn more about how technology is modernizing manufacturing, the company’s strategic plans, latest funding from investors that include, Craft Ventures, Blue Bear Capital, Fika Ventures, Stage VP, and Wavemaker, and much, much more…
The pandemic forced restaurants to accelerate their digital adoption in order to be accessible to consumers during lockdowns. It was no longer enough to have a simple menu offering on a website along with a few photos; restaurants needed to develop e-commerce like options and quickly. As restaurants increased these platform-based capabilities, investment in the space flourished as did innovation for food discovery. Mustard, a new entrant, is a video-based food app that makes uploaded food videos instantly shoppable. With increasing attention paid to social when it comes to food, Mustard’s video network and social community of food enthusiasts has provided a much-needed platform that lets you visualize each individual dish to get a real sense of what you’ll be ordering. Integrations with the major food delivery services (Postmates, Uber Eats, Grubhub, et al) allow for seamless one-click ordering. The company partners with key food creators and allows them to syndicate their video content from TikTok and Instagram seamlessly to the Mustard app and collect affiliate fees. LA TechWatch caught up with Mustard Cofounder and CEO Diana Might to learn more about the inspiration for the company, strategic plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Operate Studio, Newfund, The Fund VC, and the Great North Ventures Capital.
The relative calmness of the pandemic gave an opportunity for many to reassess their personal development. For many, mindful practices helped combat the anxiety that emerged from the calamity and uncertainty of a locked-down world. Now as we put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror, many are looking to make these practices lasting, embedded in their new routines. Open is an operator of mindfulness studios and an online platform that offers a blend of breathwork, meditation, and pilates programming to help people be more present and improve their wellbeing. Open’s first studio is located in Venice with various daily programming that focuses on building an elevated and consistent wellness experience centered around community. Membership for the online platform is $20/mo with a $120M annual option available. In-person classes start at $20/session, making them more accessible than many of the alternatives. LA TechWatch caught up with Open Cofounder and CEO Raed Khawaja to learn more about the importance of mindfulness in relation to overall mental and physical health, the company’s future plans, recent round of funding from investors that include Founders Fund and A.Capital Ventures, Susa Ventures, Aglaé Ventures, Jack Dorsey, and Tony Xu.
The advent of mobile money services has led to 1.2B people across the globe opening accounts for the first time since 2010. Yet there are still 1.7B unbanked adults; 3.4B are underbanked. Technology will be the primary driver to ensure that financial inclusion will continue to rise globally. Tala is focused on providing financial and banking services to the underserved in emerging markets with its expanding suite of financial services. Since 2014, the company has provided instant microloans in Mexico, the Philippines, India, and East Africa without requiring any formal credit histories. By leveraging AI, the company has built a sophisticated underwriting system that doesn’t need the traditional loan assessment inputs found in places where lending is more formalized. Since its founding, Tala has served over 6M customers that have borrowed in excess of $2B. With foundational customer relationships already in place and with the trust of the communities served, the company is now expanding its offering to provide more services beyond loans to ensure that people are able to access the financial services including payments, savings, and enhanced credit facilities without having to work with analog and inaccessible banks or predatory providers. LA TechWatch caught up with Tala CEO and Founder Shivani Siroya to learn more about what led her to build tech-enabled solutions to address the massive market opportunity to serve the underbanked globally, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Upstart Stellar Development Foundation, Kindred Ventures, J. Safra Group, IVP, Revolution Growth, Lowercase Capital, and PayPal Ventures
The pandemic has brought flexibility to the forefront whether it be for work or living. This is no different for our dogs that have also had to adjust to our at-home and remote living lifestyles. Dogdrop is a flexible provider of dog care services that’s expanding nationwide to cater to the needs of dog owners. Rather than traditional dog daycare services, where you drop off Buster, for the traditional 9-5 workday, Dogdrop offers on-demand care with clients able to drop off without an appointment and for shorter periods, giving dog parents flexibility when juggling everything on their schedule and providing often much-needed socialization for the dogs. The company opened its first location in Downtown LA just before the pandemic hit our shores and is now poised to scale with a plan to franchise the model to new cities like Charlotte, Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake City as well as expand to new locations across LA. There is a range of pricing options spanning from pay-as-you-go ($10/hr,$40/day) to an unlimited option ($600); Dogdrop also monetizes with its own line of dog care products – wipes and poop bags. LA TechWatch caught up with Dogdrop CEO and Cofounder Shaina Denny to learn more about how her personal experience led to the company’s founding, strategic expansion plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Fuel Capital, Muse Capital, Animal Capital, Gaingels, The Helm, Mars PetCare and Garrett Smallwood.