Income and employment are typically the two key factors when financial institutions underwrite credit and loans. While most receive paychecks every two weeks, financial decisions are made largely based on the previous year’s tax return. This paradigm results in a lack of flexibility that leads to many being unable to access financial solutions at the time they need them. Pinwheel is a payroll data intelligence platform that provides real-time data about a person’s income through API connectivity. Requestors of financial information are able to access payroll data, with the consumer’s permission, for 80% of people employed in the United States. As the United States moves towards more Open Banking and decentralization of individual financial data through portability, Pinwheel is on the way to becoming the leading infrastructure provider that powers the income layer and future innovators in fintech. AlleyWatch caught up with Pinwheel CEO and Cofounder Kurtis Lin to learn more about the evolution of the business from the health savings account space to payroll data, the company’s plans to scale from 60 employees to 180, other strategic plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include GGV Capital, Coatue, First Round Capital, TQ Ventures, and Upfront Ventures, AMEX Ventures, Indeed, Kraken Ventures, and Franklin Templeton.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) are public health centers that are focused on helping at-risk and underserved populations. These community health centers are governed by federal laws for Medicare and Medicaid and thus qualify for federal reimbursement and other benefits. There are over 1400 official FQHCs in the United States and another 14,000+ affiliated look-alikes that serve over 30M patients per annum. Yuvo Health brings technology to manage the administrative and managed care functions of these FQHCs. There’s been a growing trend towards value-based care and with the platform, community health centers are able to embrace this new model by handling contracting with payors to deliver preventative, rather than reactive care. This ultimately leads to better patient outcomes, increased quality in care, and optimized spending. AlleyWatch caught up with Yuvo Health CEO and Cofounder Cesar Herrera to learn more about how the founding team’s experience with the healthcare system led to the founding of the business, the importance of its value-based care solution for community health centers, the company’s strategic plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include AlleyCorp, AV8 Ventures, New York Ventures, Laconia Capital, and Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.
For tax year 2020, there were 167M+ tax returns filed; 151M were filed electronically. While technology has slowly made its way into tax preparation, it’s been done largely in closed ecosystems. Further challenges include major tax preparation software providers H&R Block and TurboTax opting to recently exit the IRS’ Free File Program. Looking to capture this lost opportunity is April, a tax preparation infrastructure solution that works with banks and fintech companies to provide them with the backbone to handle their users’ tax needs as well as directly with consumers via their existing financial relationships (banks, apps, etc). Leveraging machine learning, open banking, and APIs, April’s platform integrates with financial institutions to automate tax preparation – no more shuffling around for bank statements and other documents. The company has successfully translated the tax code into a digital format that offers APIs that will fuel a new wave of innovation for developers and financial service providers by making tax-as-a-service a new offering, which ultimately leads to a more curated, personalized efficient, and optimized experience for filers. AlleyWatch caught up with April Cofounder Ben Borodach to learn more about how April is intent on changing the tax solution paradigm, the company’s strategic plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Team8, NYCA Partners, Bolt by QED, Treasury, Euclidean Capital, iAngels and founders of several fintech unicorns.
The pandemic has exponentially increased the number of digital interactions. The unprecedented, rapid, and massive shift to remote work introduced new security vulnerabilities. Companies were forced to ensure that identity management and private data was protected just as it was in a traditional office setting, introducing new challenges to address the new reality. 55% of business leaders recently surveyed indicate that their companies made investments in new identity security capabilities since the start of the pandemic. Anonybit is a provider of biometrics infrastructure solutions that allow security and identity solutions providers and enterprises to decentralize biometric data into anonymized bits that reside in a peer-to-peer network. Available as an SDK, Anonybit is a lightweight, easily integratable solution that is versatile enough to serve the Identity and Access Management (IAM) market in the enterprise and also consumer-facing needs such as password/account management for user accounts. With sensitive data now spread across the network, companies become less prone to attacks from hackers and data becomes more secure as there isn’t a central database to serve as a target. AlleyWatch caught up with Anonybit Founder and CEO Frances Zelazny to learn more about the benefits of decentralization when it comes to personal data and identity solutions, the company’s total addressable market, future strategic plans, and recent round of funding from Switch Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners, Industry Ventures, Preceptor Capital, and several strategic angel investors.
One of the most critical factors for startups to grow, thrive, and scale is their ability to attract the right talent. The effects of the pandemic, the Great Resignation, and a host of other factors have made the competition for candidates more intense than ever before. Emerging companies are pitted against more established, larger companies that have greater resources and ability to compensate. Bolster is a talent marketplace for startups that matches them with executive talent for fractional, interim, advisory, board, and full-time roles. Unlike other recruitment platforms, Bolster works directly with a founder-centric framework that looks at recruiting as a part of leadership and company development versus merely hiring resources, offering software-driven mentorship modules. With the flexibility in the types of roles that it covers, the platform enables CEOs to quickly and cost-effectively implement the resources required to scale. The company offers a number of different options for companies looking for talent ranging from a free self-search to full-time sourcing that comes in at $20K per hire. Since its launch in the Fall of 2020, Bolster has worked with 1000+ leadership teams and boasts 7000+ registered senior executives looking for their next opportunity. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Matt Blumberg to learn more about how the founding team’s experience with Return Path laid the foundation for Bolster, the state of the startup recruitment market, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Foundry, High Alpha, Union Square Ventures, Costanoa Venture Capital, Capital Factory, and Alumni Ventures.
It’s estimated that Americans spent $110B in 2021 on their pets. Given this massive market, there has been very little in terms of innovation and design incorporated into pet products. Typical pet products tend to look sterile and more likely to be found in a hospital than in someone’s home. Fable is a direct-to-consumer pet product brand that prioritizes innovation and aesthetics that fit into the modern era. The company offers a line of versatile pet products including the company’s signature Crate ($395), a modern crate that pets will love that doubles as a side table to fit seamlessly into any decor. Founded by a brother and sister duo in 2018, Fable plans to expand into retail along with expanding its product line. AlleyWatch Fable Cofounder and CEO Jeremy Canade (ex-Jet) to learn more about the team’s vision for the business, the company’s strategic plans, and latest funding round from investors that include14W, Female Founders Fund and Slow Ventures.
For the 60M+ Americans that are eligible for Medicare, navigating the 24,000+ options available is a difficult and arduous process without help. The open enrollment period also places a time constraint for selecting a plan to meet an insured planned coverage needs. Chapter is a Medicare advisory platform that uses a blend of technology and a trained team of advisors to decipher all plans at a microscopic level, ensuring that members are able to enroll in the plans that are best suited for their needs based on cost and coverage. Typically, Medicare advisors are incentivized by insurance companies to enroll members and naturally, these advisors steer members towards plans that offer the best compensation; often creating a misalignment. Chapter’s advisors are all full-time employees that are not compensated directly based on commissions. Combining this dynamic with plan data that Chapter’s technology generates, members are confident that are receiving unbiased and impartial recommendations. AlleyWatch caught up with Chapter CEO and Cofounder Cobi Blumenfeld-Gantz to learn more about how Chapter eliminates confusion for the millions signing up for coverage through Medicare annually, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Addition, Lee Fixel, Narya Capital, Susa Ventures, Maverick Ventures, XYZ Venture Capital, Core Innovation Capital, and Health2047 Capital Partners.
It’s estimated that 40% of internet traffic is non-generated or bot traffic. While some of this non-human traffic is used to improve the internet experience (think TurboVax for finding vaccine availability or SEO indexing), a large portion is used for nefarious purposes. HUMAN is a cybersecurity solutions provider that focuses on protecting enterprises and users from bot-based automated attacks. The company, founded in 2012, offer three multilayered core detection products – BotGuard for Applications (focused on preventing user identity and data intrusions), BotGuard for Growth Marketing (preventing advertisers from purchasing bot-generated traffic), and MediaGuard (protects publishers from bot traffic). HUMAN’s observability technology, detection, intelligence, and takedown capabilities analyze 15 trillion interactions per week to flag potential vulnerabilities at the source. AlleyWatch caught up with HUMAN Tamer Hassan to learn more about the company’s humble beginning in a bookstore a decade ago, the threat that non-human bot traffic presents to the average consumer’s everyday interactions on the internet, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $142.1M, and much, much more.
Despite an increasing reliance on technology, the workforce has never been more human-centric than ever before. Organizations must nurture and maximize employee potential to put teams in a position to grow and for companies to succeed. Employee coaching has become a modern centerpiece of continuous performance management. Employees that go through training and coaching have shown an 88% increase in productivity when working with top coaches. But for far too long, coaching has been available only to senior-level personnel. GOCoach is B2B Saas platform that makes coaching and blended learning available to organizations with no minimum enrollment numbers. Employees, at all levels, are able to select their coaches through the platform’s marketplace while both managers and employees can track an individual’s progression to make data-driven decisions. With displacement as a result of the Great Resignation, GoCoach’s focus on upskilling ensures that companies are doing what they need to retain, attract, and build an engaged workforce in an era where competition for employees has intensified. AlleyWatch caught up with GoCoach CEO and Cofounder Kristy McCann Flynn to learn more about how her experience as an HR professionals led her to build an all-in-one solution for investment in a company’s most important resource – its people, strategic expansion and growth plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Panoramic, Early Light Ventures, Zane Capital, Gaingels, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, WGU Labs, Rev Up Capital, and Global Super Angels.
The next iteration of the internet is here. Web3 is a decentralized online ecosystem built on the blockchain that’s free of any corporate control. However, the transition to this new paradigm requires technical know-how and infrastructure. Thirdweb is a newly-launched infrastructure platform that seeks to build the future of the internet with its easy-to-build platform for NFTs and Web3 apps. Whether it’s DAOs, games, marketplaces, tokens & currencies, and drops, the platform is equipped to allow creators to seamlessly build robust products without knowledge of code and engineering degrees. All projects are deployed on-chain, providing ownership and control; the platform supports a number of blockchain protocols including Ethereum, Polygon, and Avalanche with plans to add Solana and Flow shortly. The platform is free to use and only earns revenue by taking a percentage of royalties for NFTs sold in marketplaces, aligning interests between thirdweb and its users. AlleyWatch caught up with thirdweb Cofounder Steven Bartlett to learn more about how thirdweb is poised to power the mass adoption of Web3, the company’s expansion plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Gary Vaynerchuk, Ryan Hoover, Shaan Puri, Imran Khan & Qiao Wang, Soona Amhaz, Greg Isenberg, Packy McCormick, and Christian Angermayer
The pandemic has brought on challenges for individuals with substance use disorders and those in recovery with in-person drug rehabilitation centers forced to scale back operations or temporarily close. Overdoses topped 100K in the first twelve months of the pandemic, up 29%. Only 4.2M of the 20M Americans with substance use disorder receive help each year. With such an acute and growing crisis coupled with political sentiment moving towards harm reduction, removing barriers to treatment has moved to the forefront of the discussion. Ophelia is a digital treatment platform that provides telehealth services to opioid users by connecting them to licensed Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinicians. For opioid users, rehab fails 90% of the time without access to medication. Ophelia’s platform virtually connects providers to patients, who are able to secure prescriptions on the same day of the visit, from the privacy of their homes. Follow-up visits are scheduled to track progress, outcomes, and to hold users accountable. The visits are covered by insurance and the company offers out-of-pocket plans for the uninsured. Ophelia currently is approved to operate in 27 states with plans to expand to more localities. AlleyWatch caught up with Ophelia CEO and Cofounder Zack Gray to learn more about how the accessibility the platform providers to users that are not currently engaged with the health care system, the company’s strategic expansion plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Tiger Global, Menlo Ventures, General Catalyst, and Refactor Capital.