Since launching in 2018, real-time market research platform Suzy has been making strides in introducing technology to a traditionally fragmented, slow, and expensive industry. Suzy’s advanced research tools enable brands to make data-driven decisions with quality consumer insight in an agile offering. Presently, over 200 brands including Johnson & Johnson, Chipotle, and Citibank partner with Suzy to capture their customer insights and 500M+ consumer research responses have been recorded on its platform. The company is on pace to do $20M in ARR this year. AlleyWatch caught up with President Avi Savar to learn more about the market research industry, Suzy’s growth plans, and recent round of funding from investors that include Rho Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Triangle Peak Partners, and Foundry Group.
Funded in the Alley
Gary Hoberman spent decades in the world’s largest and most sophisticated companies as a technology leader: CIO at MetLife, MD at Citi and years on Wall Street building technology solutions to business challenges. He kept running into the same barrier. Traditional software development methods – using custom code and accepting all the costs, complexities and delays that come with it – were stifling the business. This led him to found Unqork, the no-code application development platform for building enterprise solutions. Hoberman shares more about the impressive growth in the popularity of no-code platforms, expanding Unqork’s team by 150 in the midst of the pandemic, and the company’s recent $207M funding round from investors that include BlackRock, Eldridge, Fin Venture Capital, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, Sunley House Capital Management, CapitalG, Goldman Sachs, Broadridge Financial Solutions, and Aquiline Technology Growth.
Lunchbox, cofounded by Nabeel Alamgir, helps restaurants develop digital ordering experiences on their own websites and apps, reducing the reliance on third-party platforms that charge debilitating commissions at a time when restaurants are struggling for survival. Alamgir walks us through Lunchbox and how it plans to use this recent funding to scale its team, provide more products that will level the playing field for restaurants, and the company’s recent funding (at a reported $100M valuation) from investors that include Coatue, Tom Colicchio, Scott Belsky, Michael Vaughn, Robert Early, Bryan Ciambella, and Reshma Saujani.
There has been explosive growth in the number of freelancers as a result of the pandemic. Lili, is the all-in-one banking platform along with real-time expense tracking, tax tools, and financial insights that are tailored specifically for the needs of freelancers. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Lilac Bar David to learn more about the pain points of freelancing that Lili addresses, the company’s impressive growth during the pandemic, and recent funding round from investors that include Group 11, AltaIR Capital, Primary Venture Partners, Torch Capital, and Zeev Ventures. This is the company’s second funding this year as the company just raised its seed round in June!
Sports are meant to bring fans together but the pandemic has made our love of sports more isolating with fans now forced to turn to technology platforms to share their passion. Flick, founded by the founders of Fanduel, is the mobile chat and engagement platform built exclusively for sports fans. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder, CEO, and repeat entrepreneur Nigel Eccles to learn how his experience cofounding FanDuel inspired him to build Flick, the company’s experience raising virtually during the pandemic, and recent funding round from investors that include AlleyCorp, Bullpen Capital, Everblue Management, Amity Ventures, and Courtside Ventures
The pandemic has led to a profound increase in online consumer spending online with an increase of 52% or $466B between March-September. Yet for startup employees, the uncertainty of the economy can be worrisome. E-commerce transaction marketing platform firm Rokt raised an unexpected Series D round to provide some liquidity to its employees to serve as reassurance and support its growth. Rokt powers the “AHA-moment” of many large online merchants like Ticketmaster, Fanatics, GoDaddy, and Staples and offers seamless add-on purchases from both the merchant and its own marketplace. In less than a year, Rokt’s valuation has increased by 42% to $450M+, the company is on track to expand its headcount from 260 to 400 by the end of 2021, and the company’s weekly revenue averages $2-3M per week, back to pre-pandemic levels. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Bruce Buchanan to discuss learn more about the motivation for this funding round, Rokt’s plans to expand into new verticals and markets, and the company’s impressive traction. The company has now raised a total of $162M in funding from investors that include Square Peg Capital, Moelis Australia Asset Management, Time Inc., TDM Growth Partners, Lachlan Murdoch, Greg Roebuck, and John Ho.
SMBs have traditionally lacked the resources to build out robust benefits department forcing them to outsource benefit decisions to traditional brokers and bear an increasingly disproportionate burden in rising healthcare costs. Nava, an employee benefits brokerage founded by the founders of Hightower and Kareem Zaki of Thrive Capital, brings affordable healthcare to the 160M Americans who rely on employers for health insurance. With Nava, small-to-midsized businesses are equipped with the resources, tools, and expertise to deliver valuable yet accessible benefits to their employees, while driving down overall plan costs for the employer. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO, Cofounder, and repeat entrepreneur Brandon Weber to learn more about the genesis for Nava, the company’s mission to make healthcare more transparent, and the company’s recent funding round led by Thrive Capital.
For the 50M+ Americans who act as informal caregivers to an older loved one, the caregiver is often overwhelmed with keeping track of a loved one’s healthcare, finances, and more. Pillar is the digital platform that makes it easier for families to protect and care for their loved ones by organizing and store important information such as medical records, legal documents, and financial accounts – all online. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Michael Bloch to learn more about how COVID-19 forced a pivot, how his own personal experience caring for his mother served as the foundation for the idea, and the company’s recent funding round from investors that include Kleiner Perkins, Zach Weinberg, Nat Turner (cofounders of Flatiron Health), Adam Nash, Zach Perret, and Will Hockey.
Expectant mothers are so often presented with binary options for childbirth – a heavily medicalized approach in a hospital with an obstetrician or a “natural birth” at home with a midwife, neither of which provides the multidimensional and convenient care that women want. Oula, a modern maternity center, blends the best of both options so women don’t have to choose and weaves technology into the experience to provide safe, convenient, and personalized care. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounders Adrianne Nickerson and Elaine Purcell to learn more about the company’s experience of building a brick and mortar business in the middle of the pandemic and the company’s oversubscribed seed round from investors that include Collaborative Fund. Female Founders Fund, 8VC, and Rock Health.
Brendan Hannigan and Sandy Bird are repeat entrepreneurs. They founded Q1 Labs, a company they started, scaled, and sold to IBM for ~$600M. The duo is now building Sonrai Security, an enterprise identity and data governance platform for AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Kubernetes. Hannigan joined AlleyWatch to share more about the company, the process of fundraising, and the company’s recent funding round from investors that include Menlo Ventures, Polaris Partners, and Ten Eleven Ventures.