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.
Funded in LA
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.
Grubhub is piloting the use of delivery robots, manufactured by self-driving startup Yandex, at Ohio State University this academic year. The convergence of autonomous vehicle technology and robotics is bringing a future that we only saw in movies to us today, and rapidly. However, the accuracy of autonomous technology aspect has always been the stumbling block that has prevented widescale deployment in the case of delivery. This LA startup has found the answer. Coco is a last-mile delivery service that uses remote human-piloted robots to power deliveries. The technology is versatile enough to be used by restaurants, groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies; basically, all the essentials that you have become accustomed to ordering on-demand. These industries have been forced to adopt technology in a rapid fashion to address the pandemic and Coco makes local delivery faster, smarter, and more cost-efficient. In fact, Coco estimates that it is able to save up to 30% on delivery times while reducing the environmental footprint. The company, founded in 2019, already has 50+ customers using the technology and has scaled the team to 120. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Zach Rash to learn more about the state and future of the delivery market, the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Sam Altman, Silicon Valley Bank, and Founders Fund.
The virtual reality market is on pace to reach $160B/yr by 2023. VR sets like Oculus’s Quest 2 becoming more and more accessible to the masses contributes to this expected meteoric growth. ForeVR, launched by two early Zynga employees, is a VR-focused gaming studio looking to bring popular games to the virtual reality universe. The company’s first title, launched in the Spring, is a bowling game that combines real gameplay with stunning visuals and is designed for all ages. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO Marcus Segal to learn more about the company’s launch, strategic plans, hosting fundraising meetings within the Bowling game, latest round of funding from investors that include Bessemer Venture Partners, Galaxy Interactive, and All Star Capital.
COVID has generated a new need for collaboration tools as the world moved to remote work. With companies struggling to keep their workforce on the same page, communication and training platforms shifted from nice to have to necessities for the health of businesses. According to McKinsey, 97% of employees and executives believe a lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. Tango is a workflow documentation platform that simplifies capturing processes and providing step-by-step tutorials for virtually any process, ensuring that teams and employees are seamlessly on the same page. The platform offers a browser extension that captures workflows and allows employees to annotate and document on the go without friction. Tango, founded in 2020, focuses on the workplace learning market ($370B), allowing organizations to ensure that their employees are able to optimize productivity and scale up their skills while new hires are on-boarded quickly with an enduring repository of company best practices available. The platform is currently in private beta with public beta opening next month. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Ken Babcock to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding from investors that include Wing Venture Capital, General Catalyst, GSV Ventures, Outsiders Fund, Red Sea Ventures, Michael Stoppelman, Jai Ranganathan, Shoaib Makani, and Julia Lipton.
There are countless options for SaaS platforms to collect payments from their customers within their applications. But what if the application is designed to enable clients to accept payments from their customers. PayEngine is a payment platform that seamlessly integrates into SaaS applications to directly address this. SaaS businesses using PayEngine are able to set […]
The average company uses 137 unique SaaS applications on average. When adding in offline vendors, management of these vendor relationships can become a daunting task. Terzo is an enterprise vendor relationship management that enables organizations to take control of their vendor relationships and optimize them for the long and short term. By understanding spend and utilization data, users of the platform can drive cost-savings and enhanced performance by renegotiating contacts, changing plans, canceling unused services, removing excess licenses, and switching to different providers. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Brandon Card to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Great Oaks Venture Capital (Lead), NJF Capital Ventures, Innovation Global Capital, Abnormal Security Ventures
The digital ad spending market in the US is expected to exceed $190B in 2021. Businesses need to embrace the online ad revolution and be willing to adapt as the paid marketing environment is constantly evolving. The days of setting up a simple Facebook campaign and hoping for returns are no longer viable. Trust is a corporate card and community focused on optimizing advertising spend. The card, which has no annual fee, offers flexible payment terms and increased spending limits while the community puts data front and center, allowing businesses to really understand their marketing spend and the platforms that they are spending on through dedicated support and curated expert resources. With Trust, marketers are able to leverage scale to ensure that they are able to compete with larger advertisers from an informed standpoint to drive growth. Founded in 2019, the company recently launched with support for campaigns on Snap, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, Google, Apple, Amazon, Hulu, Instagram, Youtube, et al. LA TechWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO James Borow to learn more about how the founding team’s experience at Snap led to the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, and recent round of funding from Lerer Hippeau, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Upfront Ventures, and Upper90.