Q4 2017 Investor Newsletter
Funding News About Our Portfolio Companies
News About Our Portfolio Companies’ Growth
Recent Writing By Us
Moment-of-Inception Investments Q3 2017
· Toonstar: Toonstar is a mobile application that allows consumers to create cartoon characters and then animate them using their own facial expressions. The concept expands what consumers can do to express themselves and has the potential to generate new content. CEO John Attanasio and his co-founder, Louisa, met at Dreamworks and both have strong backgrounds in animation; their CTO is from Warner Brothers. Their convertible note round was led by Science Inc.
· Classkick: Classkick kick starts student learning by giving quality real-time feedback to students when they need it most. Their application allows teachers to individualize lessons and feedback and provides a dashboard on student progress. CEO Andrew Rowland became passionate about education after working for Teach for America. He also worked as a project manager at Google on the YouTube team, bringing a great mix of technology and education experience to Classkick.
· Lambda: Lambda is at the crossroads of our Work Platforms and Education focus areas. The US Department of Labor estimates a shortage of 1 million software engineers by 2020, and we know from our own portfolio companies that recruiting is tougher than ever. Meanwhile, many talented people can’t afford the training to become a software developer. A 2017 Y-Combinator company, Lambda is aiming to fill that gap by offering a computer science education of the future with no upfront cost for students until they’re hired and begin to repay the education cost. Previously, CEO Austin Allred founded two companies, Stubtopia and Grasswire, and worked in growth at LendUp. He is also the co-author of Secret Sauce: The Ultimate Growth Hacking Guide.
· Vidrovr: Vidrovr automatically analyzes large video collections to make the content discoverable and searchable, a departure from the current tag-based world of video search. The product integrates with existing video players like YouTube and BrightCove, enabling easier searches for both editors and consumers. It can also help with creating short clips for social media discovery. Before founding Vidrovr, CEO Joe Ellis was a PhD. candidate at Columbia University working on video searching and indexing. A veteran of both Google and IBM, he has published research in the areas of multimodal information processing, computer vision, and machine learning. The company’s $1.1 million Series Seed round was led by Samsung.
· Gyant: Gyant is an AI bot that communicates with sick patients and creates recommendations to providers on symptoms, diseases, and likely diagnoses focusing on triage, chronic care management, and follow-up. Gyant improves telemedicine by creating the appropriate feedback loops and protocols, and helps manage in-person healthcare costs by triaging patients correctly to the right points of care. CEO Pascal Zuta, a user acquisition expert and PhD. in Media Sciences, previously built and sold a gaming company. Co-founder / COO Stefan Bermys has a PhD. in informatics. Their team is comprised of all PhDs and MDs that specialize in neuroscience and information systems.
Advanced Seed Rounds Q3 2017
· Stream.io: Stream is a SaaS platform that allows businesses to quickly and easily build, scale, and personalize feeds in their services or applications. Since the Partnership’s original investment, the company has added 90 customers and reached the $1 million annualized recurring revenue (ARR) run rate milestone. The company closed its Series Seed-1 round in July, raising $3 million led by Arthur Ventures.
· Dopamine Labs: The Partnership invested in Dopamine about a year ago, and, like Stream, it has made significant inroads with customers in a short time. They’ve built two tools to date which leverage AI to “hack” human behavior. The Dopamine API makes apps and products more addictive; Space helps consumers beat app addiction. The company’s products are serving over 6 million monthly active users and the near-term pipeline should help it pass 10 million, generating over $2 million in ARR. The Partnership co-led the $1 million round with NY Angels.
· Werk: Werk raised a $3 million Series Seed round led by Rethink Impact, a venture fund focused on female-led companies. Founded by Annie Dean and Anna Auerbach, who left legal and consulting practices behind in search of a more balanced life, Werk seeks to connect professional women with jobs that offer some flexibility, allowing companies to tap into an under-utilized talent pool.
Series A and Beyond Q3 2017
· Art19: Art19 completed a $7.5M Series A in September, led by DCM Ventures and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. Art19 is one of the fastest growing providers of podcast hosting, distribution and ad-serving technology. Podcasting is replacing traditional terrestrial radio and the ad dollars are following, with Art19 helping producers generate new revenue streams and metrics to justify them. VOX Media, iHeartMedia, and The New York Times are among the customers the company boasts.
· Zingbox: In July, Zingbox closed its $22 million Series B round led by Dell Technologies Capital and Triventures. Zingbox provides security solutions for IoT devices in healthcare, corporate, and manufacturing facilities.
· Affinio: Affinio, a marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumer, whether they are actively communicating or not, completed a $5 million Series B round led by Whitecap Venture Partners in August.
· Eden: In July, Eden closed its $10 million Series A round led by Spectrum 28, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners and Comcast Ventures. Originally a B2C platform, the company pivoted last year to a B2B platform and is focusing on building a network for third-party vendors (cleaning, handiwork, etc.) to connect with businesses seeking their services. The company has expanded from San Francisco to new markets in Los Angeles, New York and Austin.
· Receptiviti: Earlier this year, Receptiviti shifted its focus from an API strategy to build PeopleAnalytics, a product that enables large companies to identify stress, disgruntlement, disengagement, and even potential workplace harassment issues within their workforce. The company raised a $1 million Class C round in August from private investors in Canada.
· Hookit (Sponsorhouse): In August, Arrowroot led the $16 million Series C round for Hookit, a platform that helps brands quantify and track the value of sponsorships in social and digital media.