Digital has reshaped the commerce landscape and introduced a new set of KPIs and metrics to manage and monitor in order to scale effectively. The direct brand economy cultivates a relationship with consumers, driven primarily through digital footprints without any middlemen. Managing distribution, cash flow, and operations are critical for emerging brands to ensure positive customer experiences. Trust is a dedicated network and financing solution for digitally-native brands to access industry-specific analytics as well as extended payment terms. The embedded network provides a sounding board for emerging brands as well as curated resources that are highly relevant to a brand’s focus in addition to anonymized spend analytics derived from 650K+ transactions. Through the firm’s virtual card and spend solution, brands have flexible access to capital for ads, software, or inventory for 45 days. The entire platform is currently 100% free for businesses with Trust earning the interchange fee from spending on its virtual card. With large brands and platforms dominating the ad spend universe, Trust is leveling the playing field by providing access to real-world performance data at scale for digital brands that are navigating their growth journey.
Funded in the Alley
85% of all landlords have experienced rental application fraud in the last year; 1/8 of applicants submit rental applications with some fraudulent aspect. Detecting these instances can save landlords hundreds of millions of dollars before embarking on a long-term relationship with a less than credible tenant. Snappt is a fraud detection platform for property managers that screens financial documents submitted by potential tenants. Analyzing pay stubs and bank statements, the company’s proprietary technology automatically flags documents that appear to have been altered in order for tenants to qualify for apartments. As the pandemic has increased the time and therefore associated cost for evictions, Snappt is providing property managers with the confidence to originate leases quickly without sacrificing tenant quality. The company, founded in 2017 by two real estate veterans, has embedded its technology into the existing leasing workflows of 4 out of the 5 of the country’s largest property managers. LA TechWatch caught up with Snappt CEO and Cofounder Daniel Berlind to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, how he went through 200 VC rejections when first launching the business, and latest round of funding from investors that include Insight Partners, and Inertia Ventures.
The global clinical trial market is expected to grow to ~$70B by 2028 according to Grand View Research. This growth is fueled by the introduction of technologies to manage clinical trials at scale. While clinical trials can lead to groundbreaking healthcare discoveries that provide hope and treatment for many ailing patients, many physicians are reluctant or unable to participate due to a host of factors including logistical concerns, inadequate data management, barriers to recruitment, and more. Topography Health is a turn-key software-driven platform for clinical trials. Think of it as an operating system for clinical trials that allows physicians and organizations to efficiently recruit patients and manage all clinical data in a centralized platform. By breaking down barriers and administrative hurdles, Topography is able to empower community physicians to better serve historically underserved populations as well as increase the velocity at which pharmaceutical companies are able to bring therapeutics to market. LA TechWatch caught up with Topography Health Cofounder Andrew Kirchner to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, the state of the clinical trial market that’s poised for significant technology adoption, the company’s latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $27.5M, and much, much more..
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…
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 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 use of industrial robotics has been growing steadily since the 1960s when robotic-assisted automation was first introduced into manufacturing in the automotive industry. The advent of the internet and connected devices is now fueling a new uptick in robotic sales as applications are more sophisticated and specialized. Today’s environment with labor shortages, high labor costs, and decreasing hardware costs ensure that the future of manufacturing will be reliant on robotic automation. GrayMatter Robotics is a platform that powers smart robotic assistants that focus on specialized surface finishing tasks in manufacturing like sanding, polishing, and spraying. The platform serves as an operating system that seamlessly integrates with commercially available robots, sensors, and tools to give manufacturers the ability to introduce automation in a timely manner without friction, significant training, or excess cost. Founded in 2020, GrayMatter allows manufacturers to be flexible and more competitive at a time when manufacturing is slowly returning to the states. LA TechWatch caught up with GrayMatter Robotics Cofounder and CEO Ariyan Kabir to learn more about the use of industrial robotics in manufacturing, the company’s strategic plans, recent round of funding led by Stage Venture Partners and Calibrate Ventures.
Brands and marketers are always looking for new and innovative ways to reach target audiences. The convergence of technology and mobility solutions like rideshares has enabled a new wave of ad units. For example, taxis for several years have had ads in cars and on top of vehicles, which now have become digitized from analog. This LA startup takes it one step further. Adway is a digital advertising platform that uses proprietary projection technology to display ads on the side of any vehicle without any major modifications. The projectors are affixed to a vehicle’s mirrors and ad buyers can purchase slots based on geography in real-time, enabling sophisticated targeting. The platform also tracks the number of cellular devices in and around the vehicles through Bluetooth to provide measured reach metrics. Adway drivers are given a share of the advertising revenue based on the number of hours they drive. LA TechWatch caught up with CEO Sasha Krylov to learn more about how the idea for the business came to fruition, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Upfront Ventures, Revel Partners, Watertower Ventures, and Inflection Capital.
Platforms like Klarna and Affirm have popularized buy it now, pay later platforms to distribute payments over time for e-commerce purchases. Sunbit is the buy now, pay later platform that brings the flexibility and ease of these payments for everyday services like optical care, dental visits, automobile maintenance, and election healthcare. Transactions, for amounts as low as $60 to as high as $10K, can be approved for the flexible solution within 30-seconds in 7300+ locations. LA TechWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Arad Levertov to learn more about how Sunbit’s platform brings consumers peace of mind with the ability to pay over time, the company’s strategic plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Group 11, Zeev Ventures, Migdal Insurance, Harel Group, AltaIR Capital, and More Investment House.
According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $4M but only 29% of businesses have a cybersecurity expert on their IT team. As businesses use more and more data and as employees use more devices (the average employee now uses 2.3 devices), the potential liability increases each day. Axonius’ cybersecurity asset management platform gives enterprises a full inventory of their assets and ensures that these devices are properly being secured. The platform takes a holistic approach by integrating into existing cybersecurity tools and workflows and ensuring that all devices being used (whether physical or virtual) are compliant with the company’s security protocols. Founded by former intelligence officers from the Israeli Defense Force, the platform solves the fragmentation problem found in enterprises when it comes to security. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Dean Sysman to learn more about the complexities in managing sound cybersecurity policies throughout an enterprise, the company’s future plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Stripes, Bessemer Venture Partners, OpenView, Lightspeed, and Vertex.