Like the internet in the 1990s or social media in the early 2000s, NFTs will go down in history as one of the most significant things to happen in modern technology and culture at large. Big statement — I know — so let me tell you why I’m so excited.
The popularity of socially responsible investments continues to grow. Between 2018 and 2020, sustainably invested assets under management grew to $17.1T, up 42%. This accounts for nearly 1/3 of US assets under professional management. Ethic is an asset management platform that lets advisors build socially conscious investment portfolios. The platform lets these wealth advisors purchase indexes and efficiently tailor them by opting out of individual investments that may not be suited to the client’s preferences based on 19 societal issues. The number of assets on Ethic has grown 10x since 2019 and the company now is helping wealth managers manage $760M in assets. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Doug Scott to learn more about the red-hot environmental, social, and governance (ESG) market, the company’s future plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Oak HC/FT, Fidelity Investments, Nyca Partners, Sound Ventures, ThirdStream Partners, Urban Innovation Fund, and Kapor Capital.
The pandemic has unexpectedly led to an unprecedented boom for sports cards. Whether it’s the boredom of the pandemic or the speculative mentality that fueled the Gamestop run-up, sports cards have become a serious business, with a number of high-value cards trading at all-time highs in the multi-millions. StarStock is a centralized platform structured as a stock market that allows serious and casual collectors to easily purchase and sell their favorite sports cards. Users submit their cards to a repository with StarStock acting as a custodian. Trades of these cards occur on the platform and there is no need to ship the physical card as StarsStruck records the change the ownership similar to settlement for equities. The marketplace is dynamic with prices changing in response to events in the sports world, providing unparalleled liquidity to a previously sparsely-traded market. For this convenience, the company charges a 5% fee taken from the seller’s proceeds. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Scott Greenberg to learn more about the company’s mission to turn sports cards into an investment class, the company’s future plans, and latest round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from several angel investors including NBA all-star Trae Young, Twitch Cofounder Justin Kan, Chief Operating Officer of BetMGM, Ryan Spoon, and Ilkka Paananen, Cofounder of Supercell.
1/3 of Americans are now engaged in some sort of freelance or project-based work. The popularity of non-traditional employment and the freelance economy introduces flexibility for both employers and employees but also adds complexities from a compensation and HR administrative standpoint. Wrapbook is a payroll and benefits platform, starting with the entertainment industry, to pay, […]
Just as we needed the help of our parents when we were kids, aging parents sometimes need the help of their kids; completing the circle of life. Yet, there is a fine line between controlling and caring. An estimated 45M Americans are the financial caregivers for their elderly parents. Carefull is a financial services platform that enables financial caregivers to get a holistic picture of what’s happening with their parents’ finances, allowing the adult children to support, manage, and monitor while maintaining sensitivity to independence. Given that people 50 and older hold 83% of the wealth in America, elder fraud has been on the rise and many of these cases go unreported. By introducing transparency and collaboration, Carefull also prevents the elderly from falling victim to these types of scams. AlleyWatch caught up with cofounders Max Goldman and Todd Rovak to learn more about the platform, the company’s future plans, and recent round of fundingfrom investors that include Bessemer Venture Partners, NextView Ventures, Adam Nash, Rob Bernshteyn, Steve Schlafman, and K50 Ventures.
It’s estimated that physicians leave $125B on the table annually due to poor billing practices. These losses ultimately make healthcare more expensive for the entire industry and all its participants. A number of companies have emerged to focus on revenue cycle management to track the financial status of a patient visit. Cedar focuses on the patient experience with its patient engagement and financial technology platform that simplifies the entire patient financial journey associated with healthcare visits. Used by healthcare systems, hospitals, and practice groups, the company’s flagship product, Cedar Pay, brings a personalized experience that gives patients a transparent understanding of all the financial ramifications of each and every healthcare interaction and ultimately improves collections for the providers. With the pandemic accelerating adoption of digital health solutions, Cedar quadrupled the size of its business in 2020 alone. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Dr. Florian Otto to learn more about how Cedar facilitates the digital shift in healthcare for both patients and providers, the company’s impressive traction since raising its Series C in June, future strategic growth plans, and the latest funding round from investors that include Tiger Global Management, a16z, Thrive Capital, and Concor Health Partners. This funding comes at a $3.2B valuation (4x the valuation in June) and also makes Cedar NYC’s newest unicorn.
The overwhelming majority of finance teams manage planning with spreadsheets yet most of these teams understand that existing processes are time-consuming and highly manual. Cube is the Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) platform that combines the power of SaaS with the familiarity of spreadsheets to deliver real-time financial intelligence. Founded by a finance exec with 20 years of experience, Cube does not require companies and team members to change how they approach FP&A but rather augments their existing processes with automation, resulting in streamlined workflows and more accuracy. AlleyWatch caught up with Founder and CEO Christina Ross to learn more about how her previous experience in finance sparked the idea for Cube, how the platform bridges the gap between the pace of business today and previously manual processes for finance teams, the company’s expansion plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Mayfield, Bonfire Ventures, Operator Collective, and several tech executives.
Buildings generate 80% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Improving energy efficiency isn’t only important to the environment but it also reduces costs, making housing more affordable in the long run. BlocPower is an energy technology startup that combines technology with structured finance solutions to encourage business owners to abandon their existing, obsolete heating and cooling solutions and replace them with sustainable alternatives. The company leverages machine learning to identify the buildings that will benefit the most from energy savings. For building owners, there is no upfront cost and repayment comes directly from energy savings. The company has already retrofitted 1000+ buildings in NYC and is expanding its efforts nationwide with projects in progress in 24 cities.
AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and cofounder Donnel Baird to learn more about the company, how his work with the Obama administration sparked the idea for the business, the company’s future plans, recent round of funding from investors that include American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact (AmFam), AccelR8 and The Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, with participation from Kapor Capital, Elemental Excelerator, CityRock Venture Partners, The Schmidt Family Foundation and Salesforce Ventures.
As we spend more time at home, how we view our pets has changed and pet adoption and ownership have surged. However, 81% of pet owners would not be able to cover an unexpected $5,000 out-of-pocket expense for their furry loved one. The pet health insurance sector has emerged to address this risk and is currently valued at ~$2B per annum with approximately 2.8 million pets insured in North America. Pawlicy Advisor allows pet owners to rapidly make sense of the various pet insurance options available with its data-driven marketplace. Pet parents can compare and contrast their insurance options to makes sure they are selecting the best coverage with transparency and efficiency in less than 5 minutes. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Woody Mawhinney to learn about how his own experience with his Shar Pei, Wrigley, led him to found Pawlicy Advisors, the effect of the pandemic on the pet industry, and the company’s latest round of funding from investors that include Rho Capital Partners, Defy Partners, Slow Ventures, and Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator.
Digital wallets have decentralized transactions across a variety of use cases and resulted in simplicity for consumers, with a sole point to manage their finances. 92% of Americans have some form of personal insurance yet there has not been a digital wallet solution for the insurance industry. Marble is a free digital wallet for consumers to manage all their insurance policies in a single place. The startup also offers rewards (up to 5%) for premium payments, saving consumers money. The insurance industry has been extremely competitive with digital-savvy consumers armed with comparison tools to save money on their premiums that are willing to jump carriers more so than ever before. In 2019, 48% of auto insurance holders said they would “definitely renew” with their carrier. That’s down from 59% in 2004. With carriers facing these challenges in retention and looking to attract the next generation of insurance buyers, Marble’s rewards platform increases loyalty and overall customer satisfaction. The company is in beta and plans to accommodate insurance policies from any carrier next month. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Stuart Winchester to learn more about the company’s launch, the state of the insurance market, and the company’s seed funding round from investors that include IA Capital Group, MS&AD Ventures, Reciprocal Ventures, Fintech Ventures Fund, The Takoma Group, and HU Investments.
The uncertainty of the pandemic has introduced financial uncertainty to millions of Americans. During these difficult times, budgeting and prudent financial management can help Americans get through this struggle as we try to return to normalcy. Brigit is a personal finance app that takes a holistic approach to managing financial health, providing provides a complete set of tools to help users understand and improve their financial situations. The freemium app provides access to educational resources, cash advances, and credit monitoring solutions for an added flat fee, unlike other sources of capital that charge onerous fees and rates, which often put people into more financial despair. On average, the use of the app saves users $500 per annum.AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder & CEO Zuben Mathews to learn more about the importance of financial literacy, the company’s future expansion plans, and latest round of funding, which brings the total funding raised to $38M from investors that include Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from DCM, Nyca, Canaan, DN Capital, CRV, Cleo Capital, Core Innovation Capital, Shasta, Hummingbird, Abstract, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Secocha, Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, and Flourish Ventures.