Ten NYC startups you need to know about…
As a mentor at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA), I always attend the hospitality events that are thrown to attract the next potential class. The question inevitably arises: “is joining an accelerator worth it, given the amount of equity one surrenders?”
Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator just graduated its fourth class of companies. Each class has had ten companies. Each spent a dozen weeks in the program, meeting with mentors and investors. All in, they have raised a total of $150+ million in funding, and ten of those companies just completed the program. You do the math.
Now, without further ado, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator’s latest class of 10 startups:
Suitey – Looking for an apartment is a special kind of torture, especially given all of the dishonest brokers out there. Suitey is a software-powered real estate brokerage that brings transparency to the process by combining map-based search and its own salaried agents. The platform allows brokers to close more deals and pass the cost savings (1/3 of the fees) on to clients, amounting to thousands of dollars, not to mention that you’re also looking at three times the efficiency of traditional broker-based apartment search. Suitey has raised $400,000 to date; has closed deals in every neighborhood in Manhattan and is doubling their user base every month. Founded by two national rowing champions (with backgrounds in real estate), here is a company that knows how to navigate the waters.
Monaeo – A location-based tax optimization SaaS platform for enterprises. In plain English: it allows businesses and high net-worth individuals to comply with tax laws globally, which can get complicated – and expensive. Monaeo solves this issue by tracking employee locations and classifying them under the appropriate tax compliance laws. The company already has 600 high net-worth users with $15B in combined wealth. The software is being used in 105 countries and all 50 states. Taxes aren’t sexy: saving money is, and because Monaeo solves two major tax headaches, they’ve already raised $500,000 in funding.
EasyPairings – A staffing marketplace for the food service industry, that’s changing the way the industry finds personnel. There are 13 million employees in the food services industry with a 50% annual turnover rate (and you wonder why your waiter takes so long to get your meal to you!). To make matters worse, it takes an average of 18 days for a position to be filled. Easy Pairings is changing that through its platform to find employees in the food service industry, where the current solution is primarily CraigsList. The company has 8,000 job seekers in the database, with 16 participating restaurants, including both Daniel Boulud’s and Mario Batali’s restaurant groups. Check, please! $190,000 in funding has already been committed.
Trendalytics – Decision support software that provides apparel brands and retailers merchandising trends to help them make better purchasing decisions. Trendalytics monitors over a billion social signals (search behavior, language, shared images) to identify patterns and help predict trends based on data rather than instinct. The apparel industry spends $17 billion on software and IT services each year. Yet, 50% of retail inventory ends up having to be sold at a discount. Trendalytics is addressing this disconnect. The service is subscription based and the company has already raised $320,000 to date.
VocalizeMobile – Marketing tools and services for local businesses to improve managing and generating customer reviews, as well as managing their local directories and mobile presences. SEM, SEO, CPM – WTF! It gets confusing for small businesses, yet online reputation is everything. VM simplifies the process via tools that are affordable and easy to use. 83% of online purchases are influenced by reviews. The company is already profitable and has raised $300,000 to date.
Consignd - Platform that is cutting the retailer out of ecommerce and replacing them with influencers. Consignd allows bloggers, pinners and influencers everywhere who have an audience to open an online consignd store, without ever having to source or ship inventory. By connecting these store owners directly with independent brands who can drop-ship, consigndees earn up to five times the average online affiliate fee. The company currently has fifty brands online, with another hundred waiting to get onto the platform. There are 500 stores from some of the top social influencers, currently reaching ten million people and the reach is growing at an impressive 30% each month. Considering that last year, 48% of goods purchased online were discovered socially, it’s obvious that social networks are driving commerce and Consignd offers a seamless platform to reward these influencers. The founders, who worked their way through college as jugglers, seemed to have figured out how to let all of the pieces fall into the right places.
Cognical – Customized decision engines for the financial services and lending industries. Many people default on their loans. Congnical helps lenders identify loan applicants that are likely to repay, which can increase profitability 25%-75% without requiring significant change to a lender’s business. The company is already earning revenue from its early customers (The service is priced at $20,000 a month) and has already raised $200,000 in seed funding. They also recently won $25,000 in the Cornell Venture Challenge.
Startist – No doubt it’s everyone’s nightmare that they’re going to get up onstage to present at Demo Day – and have a brain freeze. That’s precisely what happened to Startist co-founder Danny Oh, resulting in the comedic portion of the day. Startist is a better way for artists, musicians and creatives to connect, collaborate and create. Classified ads suck. Text ads lack personality. As Oh said, “Writing about what a good dancer you are is like dancing to prove you’re a good fucking accountant.” Startist allows artists to upload their portfolios, including videos and share them with potential collaborators by simply dragging and dropping files onto your page. Individual project details can also be shared, and the site’s searchable database also helps creatives find potential collaborators. Bottom line: Startist is a LinkedIn for artists and creative. The site emerged from beta on Demo Day.
Acquaintable - An online dating app where people can meet friends-of-friends, rather than strangers. While 70% of people meet their significant others through friends, major dating sites introduce strangers to strangers. Due to the viral nature of connecting friends-of-friends, Acquaintable has a lower user acquisition cost than its competitors and launched its alpha with thousands of users, 50 percent of whom return daily and 35 percent of whom invited an average of four friends. The beta launched as of Demo Day. The company has raised $200,000.
TheSquareFoot - An online platform that simplifies commercial real estate leasing by connecting prospective tenants with landlords, brokers, and other service and product providers. Tenants get an easy way to search listing and manage the process; landlords get a more efficient way to market properties. The founders, who hail from Texas, launched their company in September and can already boast that 75 percent of the available commercial real estate in Houston is now searchable on the site. If you’re looking for something closer to Houston Street, no worries: thesquarefoot is also live in New York, Dallas and Austin. And once you have signed your lease, TSF can also connect you with movers, furniture retailers and other services you might need for the new space. The company has raised $400,000 to date.