Batch 2 (Where I Would Invest)

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SeamlessDocs works with businesses and governments to make them paperless and increase efficiency while allowing them to maintain their existing processes. It removes the need for data entry and repetitive admin tasks while increasing efficiency. SeamlessDocs has proprietary technology that allows them to convert any PDF into a fillable, mobile friendly cloud doc that can be completed from any device, eSigned if needed and then build a database of the information collected and sync back with any third-party system in real time. They make any static PDF into a smart, dynamic PDF. SeamlessDocs is a modern replacement to the PDF. The current PDF is a “dumb” document that needs to be downloaded, is not mobile friendly and has no validation or workflow built in.

 

Last Funds Raised: $7M Series B, May 2016

Headquarters: New York, New York

 

What I Like:

  • I really like the government technology space, but it’s been hard finding companies in the space who have real traction; Seamless docs looks like it has that traction.
  • The team looks strong, one of the founders has previously sold a company to a publicly traded company and has experience founding other companies. Other team members also include leaders in the public sector, so there is area expertise and connections.
  • The software and process is applicable to other industries, so if they are gaining traction with other types of business then their market opportunity would only grow.
  • The business is very sticky once it is in place at a company, but the difficulty would be getting people to switch over.

 

What I Don’t Like:

  • It is obviously extremely hard to break into government with technology because everything is so antiquated, so it seems like having connections would be the real key to success.
  • I have not used the technology myself, but from reading the description I know that Adobe does have an editable PDF product, so I would be curious to see how this product differentiates itself.
  • I would be curious what the additional money would be used for because it seems like the technology is available/ready to go and they just need to find more customers.

 

Conclusions:

  • The company seems to have strong partners including the City of Los Angeles, the State of New Jersey, City of New Jersey, the state of Nevada, and Carson City Nevada. If they are generating strong reoccurring revenue from these government bodies then I would be very optimistic for the company’s future because once you are in place with a government I believe it is unlikely they would switch again.
  • I am not sure what to make of the fact that the company has raised a relatively low amount of money at the Series B raising stage.

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Reply.ai is an enterprise level bot building and management platform that makes business to consumer communication suck less. We facilitative business to consumer communication at scale, allowing businesses to optimize and grow conversations with their customer’s cross channels, markets, and languages, all while maintaining the highest security standards. The team works with Nike, Starbucks, HP, Lifenet, KIA, Prudential, Ad Council, Hilton and others. We have partnerships with Transcosmos, R/GA, Bimyou, IPG Media Lab, and few other agencies and organizations. (Per an April 2017 update.)

 

Last Funds Raised: $200k Seed, December 2016

Headquarters: New York, New York

 

What I Like:

  • I think with companies adapting to their customers’ needs/expectations moving forward that this type of service/product will only grow over the next few years through platforms like Facebook’s Messenger and this company will be situated in a great place.
  • The founders have worked together on a previous company for 7 years and seem to have technical backgrounds with the strength to build this product.
  • The strategic partnership with R/GA Ventures will be very valuable for this company because of their relationships with so many different brands.
  • The strong existing partnerships with Nike, Starbucks, HP, Kia ect. make a good case that this company will likely continue to be successful and it also has the potential to expand on its relationship with existing companies.
  • The company is still very early in its fundraising and it could make an attractive opportunity to get into the space.

 

What I Don’t Like:

  • As the space continues to grow many more competitors will enter and Facebook will likely make a similar product for their own platform, but this company could still be an add-on for others.
  • The need for this product/service isn’t here right now, so this would be investing in the future and anticipating this would become a standard aspect of client interaction – meaning this company may be too early.
  • Gaining customers is always a challenge and although this company already has strong partnerships I would be curious how they will continue to differentiate themselves and grow.

 

Conclusions:

  • The company recently raised money, so it is unlikely that they will be looking for any more right now, but I still think it could be a good idea to start a dialogue and see if you would want to get in on the next round.
  • I think it would be good to have an investment in this space because it will be realized in the next couple of years and being an early leader in the space would definitely help!

 


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Axios is a new media company delivering vital, trustworthy news and analysis in the most efficient, illuminating and shareable ways possible. Axios offers a mix of original and smartly narrated coverage of media trends, tech, business, and politics with expertise, voice, and smart brevity on a new and innovative mobile platform. Axios, the Greek word for worthy, provides only content worthy of people’s time, attention, and trust.

 

Last Funds Raised: $10M Seed, September 2016

Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia

 

What I Like:

  • The team is full of pretty incredible talent from all types of media with different expertise. I personally, have followed Dan Primack’s Term Sheet newsletter for a several years and him joining this time is when I first heard about it.
  • As a result of the team’s depth they have broken a lot of stories and I believe it will grow to a strong player in the media space. I’ve also seen it referenced a bunch of times on CNBC.
  • The intangible benefit of positive publicity through being an investor in a media company would also be beneficial for a VC’s exposure.
  • The firm is still relatively young in terms of funding/size and I believe it has a long way to grow.

 

What I Don’t Like:

  • The success of the company is directly tied to the team’s ability to break stories and garner strong followings and although they have done it in the past; it doesn’t mean they will be able to do the same from scratch at a new company.
  • The company can likely be picky about who they take money from because they have such a well-known team with strong connections in the venture capital space.

 

Conclusions:

  • I think if Axios would accept money from you/your fund then it would be a great investment because of the team’s potential and proven track record.
  • In the current environment of changing media landscapes, I believe Axios is well positioned to emerge as a leader by taking advantage of their connections and flexibility as a startup.
  • Although the company is very different from Vice, I could see them growing to Vice’s size because of the style of their story-telling mixed with the pedigree of their team.

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KickUp partners with K-12 organizations to coordinate professional learning efforts, improve decision-making and ensure that great ideas translate into demonstrable outcomes in the classroom. “The great thing about KickUp is they brought credibility to the professional development work we are doing. It’s challenging to be a ‘prophet in our own land’, but having KickUp’s professional reports presented in clear and compelling ways instantly became a communication tool between our entire curriculum department, the district cabinet, and the school board. I was able to use the resources KickUp created for a board report and now the district is interested in seeing how all of the other departments can benefit from their services. We are in need of someone who can take that step back and see the big picture of what we are trying to accomplish with professional development, effective student learning, and assessment and tie it all together for us in ways that make sense. KickUp has become the connector between departments, helping to lead us all in our common goal, to improve learning for our students.”

 

Last Funds Raised: $1.5M Seed, May 2016

Headquarters: Washington, District of Colombia

 

What I Like:

  • One founder has a background in education, so he has firsthand experience at what he is trying to fix; however, he does not have any previous entrepreneurship experience.
  • The company has a clear mission of improving the experience for children in classrooms by coordinating teacher suggestions into actionable items.
  • Kickup is targeting school districts, so they can gain a significant number of clients at a time if they are able to get one account.
  • The education technology space has not had many technological improvements and this could become a strong player in the space, making it an attractive opportunity at an early stage.
  • Once Kickup is implemented in school districts I believe they will be able to add other ancillary services to schools and by broadening their product offering, they could generate more revenue.

 

What I Don’t Like:

  • One founder does not have any entrepreneurship or business experience, so he is coming from the perspective of an educator, which seems like half the answer to the equation of this problem. The other founder has the technical background, but I believe they might be missing a business leader.
  • It’s obviously very difficult to close a school district as a client, so the team would need connections in the space to achieve a strong market share.

 

Conclusions:

  • The company has a unique approach to the education technology space by trying to solve problems through better organization of information. It will be interesting overtime as this company collects quantitative data as children go through education with this system. After a couple years I believe the data will show if this approach is working and will be a big factor in the company’s success moving forward.

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