AlleyWatch sat down with Nisha Dua, Cofounder and Managing Partner at BBG Ventures, an early-stage venture firm investing in consumer tech startups with at least one female founder. BBG, spun out of AOL in 2014, is one of the earliest NYC firms to identify that gender-diverse teams provide outsized returns in venture. The firm is presently investing out of its recently-closed $50M third fund, its first institutional fund. BBG’s portfolio companies are led by founders that have a deep and unique understanding of their markets and include Spoon University, HopSkipDrive, Spring Health, Winky Lux, Zola, Shine, goTenna, LOLA, Goby, Mighty Networks, and GLAMSQUAD. Nisha was kind enough to provide some insight into her path to venture, the state of diversity in venture and entrepreneurship, how BBG’s first two funds and stellar track record have validated the investment thesis, actionable tips for founder pitches, the evolving state of the consumer market, and much, much more.
Techs and the City
20% of GenX required glasses during their childhood; today that is closer to 40% according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Find out how PAIR Eyewear is tackling this growing market.
The benefits of clean eating are plentiful and include improved heart and brain health, weight control, stronger immune system, and increased energy levels just to name a few. But with our busy schedules, it’s often difficult to actually eat clean. This NYC startup makes it easier. Sakara Life provides a plant-based, completely organic nutrition service that’s ready-to-eat. Rather than building a simple meal delivery service, the company takes a holistic approach to nutrition by integrating modern science, ancient healing practices, and natural remedies into its offering, viewing “food as medicine”. Sakara also provides a growing set of functional snacks, supplements, and educational content to support the end-to-end customer journey focused on achieving full nutritional wellness. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounders and Co-CEOs Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle to learn more about the inspiration for the business, the company’s expanding product offering, building a CPG brand beyond meal kits, the company’s latest funding from investors that include One Better Ventures, Silas Capital, and Annox Capital.
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.
The American Dream has traditionally been rooted in homeownership and for most, real estate represents the most highly-valued asset. Yet not much attention has been dedicated to helping homeowners maximize the value of these assets. Realm is a real estate startup that analyzes thousands of data points, many disparate and not readily accessible, to evaluate the potential value of a property through its centralized destination for data-driven homeownership insight. The platform is free to use and additional in-depth reports can be purchased for $99. Presently, Realm covers 63M single-family homes nationwide. The pandemic has reshaped how we view our homes and Realm makes sure that you are maximizing this investment today and for the future. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Founder Liz Young to learn more about the need for consumer data applications in the real estate space, building a data-intensive business without a tech cofounder, the company’s recent funding round from Primary Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau, and Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures.
Remee, cofounded by Michelle Lin and Rose Kuan, is an anonymous microblogging platform designed to foster meaningful interactions.
While the pandemic has halted all in-person events, we have flocked to virtual events to be connected and feel a sense of normalcy. With an endless sea of events to choose from, finding the right events to attend is still a problem just as it was in the Pre-COVID world. Playground is an AI-based platform with a slick interface that matches individuals with interesting events and individuals that are relevant to them. Billing itself as the “Spotify of events”, the company also focuses on supporting creators and hosts of these events to drive interest from the people who stand to benefit from being in these communities. The company pivoted from offline event discovery as a result of the pandemic and now has a broader potential user base that transcends globally. AlleyWatch caught up with Founder and CEO Jia Ling (Linda) Yang to learn more about the traction of the business, the company’s future plans, and experience pivoting.
Have we made progress? A quick review indicates that there has been marked and a definite improvement in the number of women-founded and mixed-gender teams that are raising funding in New York and an improvement in dollar amounts raised for these teams since our initial report in 2014 across all the funding classifications. However, there is a pronounced and widening difference between round sizes.
Swipe right is no longer reserved just for dating apps. Cobble, the decision-making app for couples, makes use of the simple and elegant swipe right UX feature to help couples discover and decide on what activities, events, shows, or movies to attend/watch. Cobble is a spin-off of the date night blog, idk tonight, and has already recorded +200K swipes on its platform since its launch earlier this year. The app is initially focused on those who are in committed relationships with plans to expand to the broader market of friends and groups. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Chief Editor Jordan Scott to learn more about the inspiration for spicing up date night, the company’s geographic expansion plans, and recent round of funding.
Executive assistants are the backbone of administrative operations, but there’s been a void in professional resources for the profession. Cabinet is the go-to destination for exclusively for executive assistants to share knowledge, ask questions, and build community. Cabinet’s forum allows assistants to connect with one another and source instant answers to questions that would’ve taken hours to manually research. Presently, there are over 3K EA’s on the platform ranging from personal assistants for HNWI to EAs at Fortune 500 companies like Google and Disney. The company offers a freemium model with its premium tier costing $20/Month. AlleyWatch caught up with CEO and Cofounder Julia Hawkins to learn more about how her experience as an EA inspired the need for Cabinet, the size of the market that Cabinet addresses, and the company’s future plans.
It’s estimated that there are at least 4,000 nail salons in the city but only one offers an unlimited membership model. Glosslab, founded by a former hedge fund executive, offers a modern, elevated manicure and pedicure experience at its two locations in the city – Flatiron and the West Village. Membership costs $125 per month for unlimited manicures and pedicures and in response to COVID, Glosslab began offering at-home kits that range from $25-$45.
AlleyWatch caught up with Founder Rachel Apfel Glass to learn more about her career transition from the hedge fund world to launching Glosslab in 2018, the impact of the pandemic on the studio business, and the company’s first round of funding, and much more…