More than 40% of homebuyers experience some form of remorse within two years of their purchase. The digital area has transformed the purchase experience with 9/10 house hunters relying on the internet as their primary research source. While there are a plethora of destinations where you can go to find the basics of a property (size, # of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.), Localize takes it one step further with a repository of unique data for each property to ensure that buyers are well informed about what will likely be the biggest investment of their lives – their homes. For buyers, the platform provides proprietary intelligence on factors that impact the homeownership experience but are not routinely disclosed in listings or easily apparent during a showing like architectural styles, amenities, building policies, light exposure, and crime, in addition to the property details you would expect to find. The startup also offers a lead generation platform for real estate agents so that they connect with interested buyers right at the moment they are ready to view their ideal properties. AlleyWatch caught up with President and COO Omer Granot to learn more about the inspiration for the business, how the platform leverages technology and data to simplify the home buying process for both agents and purchasers, the company’s expansion plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Pitango Growth Fund, Avigdor Willenz, Zvi Limon, Maor Investments, and Celesta Capital Fund.
The global baby stroller market is estimated to be $3B per year; the high chair market is estimated to be in the millions each year. Yet, when you think of these products, you don’t think about a particular brand. Lalo is a direct-to-consumer modern baby and toddler brand focused on offering design-oriented premium products. The company offers an innovative, versatile, and growing line of baby products that include strollers, high chairs, play tables, bibs, and tableware. Unlike others in the space, Lalo focuses on building direct relationships with customers, allowing them to use this data to serve the needs of parents as their families grow and evolve. Although the pandemic limited traveled and affected the demand for strollers, the startup, founded in 2019, was able to increase revenue by 320% in 2020. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Greg Davidson to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding frim investors that include Willow Growth Partners, Yael Cohen Braun, Dave Health, Super Angel Fund, and Michael Silverstein.
Homeownership and real estate are often cited as one of the primary drivers of creating intergenerational wealth in the United States. Amid the pandemic, Americans went on a homebuying spree as the line between work and home blurred. Owning a home can be extremely rewarding but it does come with significant responsibility. Realm is a centralized data hub for homeowners to access insights on every aspect of homeownership, based on their personalized circumstances, enabling them to make data-driven decisions for what will likely be the single largest investment of their lives. The platform, launched earlier this year, leverages proprietary and public data to assess value (both current and potential with renovations), estimate project costs, and learn more about financing options. In California, homeowners can work with Realm advisors to work on renovation projects from beginning to end. In the six months since launch, the Realm has been used by 20,000+ homeowners across the nation. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Liz Young to learn more about scaling consumer data applications in the real estate space, the company’s strategic plans, and the latest round of funding from investors that include GGV Capital, Primary Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau, and Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures.
Market research has been driving strategic decisions for companies for decades. However, the tools and models that have been predominantly used have not adjusted to reflect today’s digital age and today’s consumer environment. Suzy is a modern, digitally-native enterprise market research platform built for the sophisticated needs of today’s brands. Offering on-demand insights, the company has shifted the pricing paradigm away from cost per response to a SaaS offering with licenses to customers, providing more flexibility and predictability. By integrating technology onto the platform, Suzy is able to deliver actionable insights much faster in an easy-to-use end-to-end cost-effective solution. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO, serial entrepreneur, and Founder Matt Britton to learn more about the genesis of Suzy from his agency days, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include H.I.G. Capital, Foundry Group, Rho Ventures, BDMI, and Triangle Peak Partners.
When the live game-show HQ debuted in 2017 it was an instant hit with millions of users signing on concurrently to take a chance at winning in trivia. Although the company did not ultimately survive, the success of a new form of interactive entertainment did not go unnoticed. This NYC startup takes it a step further by focusing on the intersection of gaming, streaming, game shows, and broadcasting. Genvid is a technology infrastructure provider and now publisher focused on what the company calls massive interactive live events (MILEs). The company initially focused on building infrastructure tools for interactive streaming but saw there was a significant opportunity on the publishing side. For its first experience, it partnered up with Pipeworks Studios for Rival Peak, a 24/7 interactive reality show with AI characters participating in an elimination-style competition that was broadcasted on Facebook. Following the popularity of this new format, the company is now planning on building more MILEs both internally and with licensed IP owners as partners. Genvid will also continue to provide the infrastructure tools through its SDK for others to build their own MILEs.
AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Jacob Navok to learn more about the inspiration for the business, how the company has created a new category of entertainment, strategic plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Valor Equity Partners, Atreides Management, Galaxy Interactive, Horizons Ventures, OCA Ventures, and Makers Fund, Valor, Atreides, Third Point, Cobalt Capital, LightShed Ventures, XN, and Lux Capital.
With so many moving parts in the home improvement process, nothing ever goes as exactly planned. Many of the hurdles of the home renovation process like over-budget, delays, workmanship issues can be solved with better communication and properly managing expectations and timelines between homeowners and contractors. Block Renovation is a managed marketplace platform that leverages technology to guide homeowners and contractors through the renovation process to ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget. The company uses a proprietary design system and suite of homeowner tools to get projects rolling and connects the homeowner to a contractor from a pre-vetted network of construction specialists. Initially focused on bathroom renovations in the New York market, Block has expanded to cover kitchen renovations and also into the Los Angeles market. The pandemic created a renewed interest in home improvement as we spend more time at home and as a result, the startup, founded in 2017, has experienced triple-digit growth. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder Koda Wang to learn more about how the company is alleviating the stress commonly found with home improvement projects, the growing interest in home renovation during the pandemic, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include NEA, Giant Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Morningside, and Obvious Ventures, and much, much more.
When you think about investment management an image of a traditional, white-shoe firm with mahogany furniture may come to mind, rich with years of investing history. However, today’s consumers are a bit more discerning in their choices for investments and investment managers. Titan is the investment management platform catered towards the needs of these next-generation investors. Founded in 2018 by a number of finance executives, Titan leverages technology and innovation to democratize investment opportunities in a transparent manner; many of these opportunities previously were only reserved for those with private wealth managers. The firm has a growing number of open-access actively-managed investment strategies across different asset classes including crypto. As the pandemic fueled a surge in interest in active investing, Titan company was able to grow 500% in the last twelve months and expects to have $1B AUM by the end of 2021. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and Co-CEO Joe Percoco to learn more about the state of the investment management industry, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, BoxGroup, Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Odell Beckham Jr., Kevin Durant, Jared Leto, and Will Smith.
The US baby food market is expected to exceed $100B per annum by 2025. The importance of proper nutrition during early childhood cannot be understated. Yet, the incumbent baby food producers have a long history of using sugar, salt, and fat in their offerings. Little Spoon is a direct-to-consumer brand focused on providing high-quality, nutrient-rich organic food for babies and children, free of artificial sugars, preservatives, and, additives. The company ships nationwide with the baby offering (Babyblends) starting at less than $3/meal with the kid’s line (Plates) starting below $5/meal. The company recently launched its own online parenting community – Is This Normal, a resource-based destination for parents to converge around topics related to parenting. As the pandemic led the push towards unprecedented interest in digital and online solutions, Little Spoon recorded 300% growth year-over-year. AlleyWatch caught up with the Little Spoon founding team (Lisa Barnett, President and CMO; Ben Lewis, CEO Michelle Muller, Chief Experience Officer; and Angela Vranich) to learn more about the business, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from Valor Equity Partners and Kairos HQ.
The alternative investment market is estimated to be north of $13 trillion in assets. Despite COVID and economic uncertainty, the alternative investment industry has displayed significant signs of growth, becoming more mainstream as access to opportunities is becoming democratized and as investors seek higher returns in a low-interest-rate environment. One of the biggest challenges has been finding the right deals and opportunities efficiently. Vincent has built a comprehensive search engine for alternative asset investment opportunities, allowing investors to build tailored searches based on their preferences and portfolio requirements. Opportunities can be filtered by asset class, investment minimums, liquidity, and potential returns across real estate, private equity, art, collectibles, and venture. AlleyWatch caught up with the founding team at Vincent (Slava Rubin, Eric Cantor, Ross Cohen, Evan Cohen) to learn more about how Vincent plans to transform the discovery of alternative investments, the company’s origin, future plans, and latest round of funding.
Data and technology are bringing changes to commercial real estate financing, an industry that has traditionally been slow to adopt innovation. The availability of data from both lenders and borrowers has allowed real-time data to be a determinant of credit decisions. Tech-enabled platforms allow borrowers to seamlessly connect to non-bank lenders, marketplace lenders, and traditional lenders. Lev is a commercial real estate full-stack financing platform that digitizes all facets of the commercial real estate financing process that handles transactions from beginning to end – origination, diligence, and closing. The company leverages machine learning to optimize the workflow of a financing, resulting in fewer errors and faster turnaround times, giving more flexibility to borrowers and lenders. In 2020, Lev closed $100M worth of financing on its platform and this year is on pace to close $1B+. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Yaakov Zar to learn more about the commercial real estate market, the company’s strategic plans, and latest round of funding from investors that include Greenspring Associates, First American Title, NFX, JLL, Canaan Partners, ANIMO Ventures, and Ludlow Ventures.
Mortgage rates have hit historic lows with demand for housing surging as a result of the pandemic. Nonbank mortgage lenders issued 68.1% of all mortgages originated in 2020, up from 58% the year earlier. With so many options for consumers, navigating the process can be arduous. Morty is an online mortgage place that brings all mortgage options for borrowers into a centralized platform where they can manage all facets of the mortgage process from origination to closing. Purchasing a home is often the biggest financial decision for consumers and ensuring that you are getting a competitive rate has tremendous financial ramifications – a small difference in rate can translate to thousands of dollars in payments or savings. During the pandemic, revenue grew 800% year-over-year with the platform processing more than $500M in new loans. Morty is licensed to operate in 36 states and the District of Columbia. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Nora Apsel to learn more about the experience of building a digitally-native mortgage marketplace, the company’s strategic plans, latest round of funding from investors that include March Capital, Rethink Impact, Thrive Capital, Lerer Hippeau, Prudence Holdings, MetaProp, and FJ Labs.