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.
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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.
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…
For years, individuals, and sometimes corporate teams, have participated in charity runs and walks to raise funding and awareness for causes they believe in. In most cases, the organizers of these events (large and small) have taken on the administrative and infrastructural onus of setting up the philanthropic portions that allow individuals to set up their own fundraising initiatives. What if a SaaS platform could facilitate individuals to partake and structure charitable giving, without relying on other parties, at the employer/employee level? Enter Groundswell, a recently launched philanthropy-as-a-Service platform that provides charitable fundraising tools and administrative solutions as an employee benefit. Employees are able to create and contribute to the pool of their choice (donor-advised funds), for causes that resonate with them, with employers providing tax-advantaged matching/gifting funds. Traditionally, corporate social responsibility and charitable endeavors have been concentrated on a handful of opportunities that are selected at the highest levels within the company. Groundswell’s innovative approach decentralizes corporate giving, creating enhanced engagement among employees and stakeholders. LA TechWatch caught up with Groundswell Chief Product Officer Tammy Hahn to learn more about the company’s launch, strategic plans, latest funding round from investors that include GV, Human Ventures, Moonshots Capital, Felicis, and Core Innovation Capital, 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 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
While a site like Kayak can help you get a clear understanding of costs when it comes to travel, other sites offering recommendation options are typically a crapshoot, littered with fabricated reviews and manipulated results that do not take into account the traveler. With such a glut of information (some accurate, some not) available, one can easily get overwhelmed. Welcome is a newly-launched app, just out of beta, that serves as a curated city and travel guide that leverages AI coupled with vetted recommendations from experts and friends to give travelers personalized recommendations that take into account preferences, weather, time of day, and a host of other factors fueled by a robust data-driven and tech-enabled approach focused on contextual place discovery. The app elegantly delivers seamless recommendations that allow users to actually enjoy their travels instead of endlessly researching for it. The app comes out of beta with over 50,000 users in 350+ cities that have provided over 300K reviews. LA TechWatch caught up with Welcome Founder, serial entrepreneur, and CEO Matthew Rosenberg (founded and exited Cameo) to learn more about how his travels after his previous exit inspired the business, the challenges of raising funding for a travel-related business during a pandemic, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investor that include Accel and Lakestar Ventures.
8 out of 10 cups of coffee are consumed at home. 27% of American coffee drinkers have used a single-service coffee brewing machine in the past year. The diversity of choice and enhanced taste profiles coupled with the efficiency of these systems are responsible for the single pod coffee segment becoming the leading segment in terms of dollar amount spent annually as a part of the overall coffee market. Bruvi is a next-generation single-serve coffee system that offers tastier coffee along with environmentally friendly pods. The system can brew filter coffee, espressos, Americanos, ice coffees, infused coffee, and tea. For the pods, Bruvi offers sustainably sourced coffees as well as choices from Los Angeles’ most prominent roasters. LA TechWatch caught up with Bruvi Cofounder Mel Elias to learn more about the single-serve coffee market, the company’s strategic plans including national expansion, latest round of funding from investors that include The Merchant Club, Terpsi Capital, 9Yards Capital, Cambridge Companies SPG, Miroma Ventures, and M1.
A seamless user experience, regardless of channel or device, is one of the main pillars of a usable omnichannel experience. The same is true for gaming. Presently, incongruent and inconsistent experiences across devices often give some players advantages while creating differences in engagement rates among others. Elodie Games is a gaming studio that firmly believes that building truly synchronous experiences across any platform will lead to deeper social gaming experiences. The company, founded last year by two Riot Games executives that had worked on League of Legends, is in the process of developing its debut title, which is currently in pre-Alpha. The company has not disclosed more on the specifics but will use this latest funding to expand the team and complete the game. LA TechWatch caught up with Elodie Games CEO and Cofounder David Banks to learn more about the company’s mission, strategic plans, differentiators, latest round of funding from investors that include Galaxy Interactive, Andreessen Horowitz, Brian Cho, and Chris Ovitz.
In a crowded digital realm, e-commerce companies are constantly updating the customer experience to respond to emerging touchpoints and to engage consumers in novel ways. Headless commerce is gaining in popularity, designed with a flexible architecture that decouples the front end of a site from the back-end commerce functionality. By decoupling, companies can rapidly iterate and test without disrupting the core commerce functionality, resulting in reduced development time while enriching the customer experience Nacelle is an e-commerce infrastructure platform that allows merchants and brands to move to headless architectures in order to innovate and iterate quickly while reducing dependency on third-party solutions. The company’s core technology, the unified GraphQL API layer, integrates with various commerce platforms and content management systems including Shopify Plus with minimal effort. Merchants on the platform have the flexibility to build true headless solutions with benefits like reduced page speeds and increased conversions while maintaining a single codebase that’s optimized for all devices. The company, founded in 2019, powers the e-commerce presence of brands like LOLA, FTD, Flex, Boll & Branch, Thinx, and ILIA Beauty. LA TechWatch caught up with Nacelle CEO and Founder Brian Anderson to learn more about the state of headless commerce, the company’s strategic plans, and recent round of funding from Tiger Global Management.
Customer acquisition, lifetime value, and customer attrition (churn) are some of the main metrics that need to be managed closely for any growing business. Churn is one of the critical metrics that closely impacts the others from lifetime value, growth rate, virality, and CAC payback. In fact, 80% of a company’s revenue comes from existing customers. A small increase in retention can have an oversized impact on profitability. Involve.ai is a customer intelligence platform that leverages a company’s existing data points to build detailed profiles to determine which customers are most likely to churn, allowing teams to triage the relationship before it’s too late. Customer success teams are often manually going through disparate records across internal and external tools to do this work, neglecting revenue enhancement opportunities; Involve’s platform automates this laborious process with AI with a reported 94% accuracy in predicting churn. The business is born from an internal tool built at the founding team’s previous startup; the team recognized that this tool had widespread adaptability as a stand-alone product. LA TechWatch caught up with Involve.ai CEO Gaurav Bhattacharya to learn more about the Aha moment, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding from investors that include Sapphire Ventures, Bonfire Ventures, Greycroft, Launch Capital, BDMI, GTM Fund, Fenwick, Gokul Rajaram, Stanford University, and Michael Whitmire.