Startup Investment Portfolio Game


I read about technology news and startups fairly regularly and often find myself saying “man, I wish I could invest in them”. I thought it would be a fairly fun exercise to compile a list of companies I’m excited about now and look back on them in the future. For the past few months I’ve been maintaining a Google Spreadsheet of startups I would invest in if I could. If I had money to invest in private companies, these are the ones I would look to get involved with.
Last Company Added:

Update: Read Results Followup Post, published May 15, 2017

Company View Notes Date Picked Prior Raised
20n 2/26/2015 $100k (YC)
Synthetic Biology will revolutionize the nearly $1T specialty chemical market. This founding team has the right skills and background to lead the pack.
3D Robotics 2/10/2014 $35m
Leader in consumer oriented drone technology, which will be a huge market as drones become more pervasive.
Andromeda Surgical 8/7/2023 $500k (YC)
Building AI-enabled surgical robots. Very cool and impactful category, with tie-ins to well known systems like the “da Vinci surgical” robots.
Anyplace 4/26/2018 $2m
Inversing the AirBNB and Hotel model. Seems like an easy option for staying in a city for a few months where convenient hotel amenities are offered.
AnyVivo 5/8/2012 $20k
Tackling just about the only e-commerce vertical Amazon won’t touch – which also happens to be a $40b industry: pets. Plus, jellyfish (their first niche) are wicked cool.
Airware 3/26/2013 $100k
Marketplace and platform for unmanned arial vehicles, or “Drones”. Automated hardware, some of which will be mobile, will shape the future and create many billion dollar industries.
Airtable 1/27/2017 $11m
Very cool product that looks like a viable SaaS threat to Google Docs (Sheets) as well as Microsoft Office (Excel). Can see this exiting similarly to Quip, which was purchased for $750m by Salesforce.
Algolia 4/3/2017 $18.3m
Stripe is to payments as Algolia is to search. Very well built product that appears to be doing well financially. I’m paying for it for a number of projects.
Arcol 11/22/2021 $0
A Figma-like editor experience for architecture and other building-related documents and planning.
Ark 3/25/2012 $250k
Facebook and Google are inherently incentivized not to build this product themselves. A lot like Greplin in that it allows searching private “locked” data, but this is very well fine-tuned for people.
AuntFlow 6/8/2017 $0
DollarShaveClub-type opportunity for feminine products for businesses. Huge opportunity, great mission, and awesome founder.
Authy 11/28/2012 $170k
Twilio for 2-Factor Authentication. Team has lots of experience and knows how to scale this.
Automatic 3/12/2013 $100k
Vastly improves the most expensive computer you own: your car. Lots of lucrative plays for enterprise/fleet customers with many established potential exits.
BackType 4/10/2011 $1.32m
Incredible team of “Big Data” engineers. Solving interesting problem of optimizing marketing around social media data.
BankSimple 4/10/2011 $3.09m
Online banking is absolutely awful. Policies and answering basic financial questions are way too complicated for the average consumer. Industry is ripe for disruption.
BetterStack 4/15/2022 $0
Looks like a well-built platform for DevOps with integration into other leading platforms for logs/graphana and uptime measurement. It looks positioned as an ecosystem of tools, which becomes exciting from a SaaS opportunity perspective.
Bumble 7/31/2015 $0
Intriguing approach to mobile dating that appears very well executed technically. Product feels sticky, and addresses a lot of the stigma usually associated with online dating.
BitCasa 9/18/2011 $1.3m
Eventually local storage will be indistinguishable from data stored remotely (“in the cloud”). A solution like this will be how this is accomplished.
BitPay 1/13/2014 $2.55m
BitPay is well poised to be very large embedded players in the online BitCoin payments market, which doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Boundary Layer Technologies 3/17/2019 $120k (YC)
Higher speed ocean container shipping. Would invest at whatever their next round valuation is.
Breathable Foods (Aeroshot) 10/23/2011 unknown
Energy drinks are expected to be a $45b+ market in 2014. The Aeroshot is an innovative pure caffein inhaler. Coffee drinkers rejoice. 6/23/2011 $1m
“Square without the reader”.
CardSpring 4/17/2012 $10m
“Closing the redemption loop” is something a lot of companies with big pockets are trying to do. CardSpring has somehow figured out how to expose a developer friendly service that connects credit card numbers to actual purchase data.
Chartbeat 7/29/2011 $3m
Leading the space in real-time analytics. Newsbeat should be a huge hit with publishers.
Checkbook 3/01/2016 ~$2m
Paper checks are a pain in the ass. Businesses spend $25b per year on fees for sending/receiving checks alone.
Clara Labs 3/22/2017 $3m
Impressive AI-based email assistant that has an equally impressive list of customers with a high LTV. Could potentially branch out into other assistant verticals (meeting and call notes), but current product seems to be doing just fine.
CloudApp 5/9/2011 unknown
Love this product. Well built and designed. No clue if the business model works, but it’s almost identical to Dropbox.
Cloudera 4/10/2011 $36m
Forefront of “Big Data” trend and generally regarded as the leader in commercially available Apache Hadoop. Disclaimer: I was previously an intern and built their website.
CloudFlare 6/21/2011 $2.05m
Will eventually be the security and performance backbone of the internet. Already processing 15% of all internet traffic.
Coinbase 2/28/2014 $31.7m
Virtual Currency is here to stay, and Coinbase looks to be the trusted marketplace that will make this (trillion dollar[!!?]) industry happen for the masses.
Convoy 10/27/2015 $2.5m
Uber for the $600b freight industry.
CoTap 5/29/2013 $5m
“WhatsApp for Business.” Like Yammer, this will be a ~$1b exit.
Couchbase 4/10/2011 $10m
Innovative marriage of NoSQL and RDBMS database systems. Memcached is Everywhere.
Cover 3/24/2016 $120k (YC)
Lots of bloat in insurance with a huge opportunity to modernize to a mobile-first world.
Curebit 8/14/2011 $170k
Injecting themselves into the online commerce feedback loop and creating tools to increase virality sounds like a win to me. Team’s also demonstrated that they’ve done it before.
Diffbot 5/31/2012 $2m
Very versatile crawling/parsing api that, as a developer, i know is in high demand.
DITTO 2/11/2013 $3m
Incredible technology that remedies the number one problem with buying clothes online: will it fit?
Doctours 7/09/2019 $0
Marketplace for medical treatment. It’s hard to find a more frustrating problem than insurance vs hospitals and healthcare costs. Starting with medical tourism seems like a good place to start if you wanted to eventually break into more traditional procedures and treatments. Lots of upside.
DoorDash 2/02/2016 $55m
On-Demand deliveries for local businesses of all types. The initial approach will be food, but expanding to all forms of commerce once their fleet is at scale will have incredible upside.
Dr. Chrono 5/4/2011 $20k (YC)
One of many potential home-runs in healthcare. Lots of money at stake with digitizing medical records. (Ionic) 8/12/2015 $3.7m
Leading the way in HTML5 cross-native apps. Potentially huge acquisition target for Microsoft, Adobe, Yahoo, or Facebook who want to improve their mobile footprint.
DropBox 4/10/2011 $7.2m
Love this product and so do the majority of its 25m users.
Dropoff 11/12/2014 $1.85m
The “last mile problem” is the biggest issue for delivering goods and services. It’s undoubtedly daunting, but the upside is tremendous with the right focus (enterprise, not consumer) and team.
DuckDuckGo 4/18/2011 $0
Creating a search engine is probably the hardest thing to do successfully, but DDG could have a prayer with its privacy-conscious approach.
Dwolla 11/15/2011 $1.31m
Online equivalent to cash that maximizes network effects and doesn’t have interchange fees. $$$$$$
EarthSense 4/18/2018 $0
It’s a Roomba for farms! (Crop yield & soil sensors, etc). Haven’t raised any money yet, how do I be the first to give them money?
Elroy Air 12/22/2017 $4.31m
Long transmission drone delivery (150lbs to 300 miles), feasible for remote locations and heavier cargo.
Entocycle 2/19/2018 $120k (YC)
Pretty wild vision for the future of protein-based food. Could be absolutely huge.
EmbedFi 1/29/2021 $0
It is painfully obvious that the DTCC is a critical piece of modern equities trading that hasn’t been updated in decades. Nothing about this Embedded company has been announced, nor is anything known (to my knowledge) about who’s involved, but this a problem space worth exploring given the upside. 6/02/2022 $0
Really cool tool for data analysts that adds data import sources (Postgres+etc) and Figma-style multiplayer editing to Excel.
Carta (eShares) 1/28/2014 $1.8m
Stock Option granting is stuck in the paper world. There is a lot of value in a simple management platform that digitizes private company stock options.
Estimote 8/22/2013 ~$1m (YC)
The vision for “An OS for the Physical World” is so ambitious it’s scary. As data collection grows exponentially, Estimote-like sensors will increasingly provide more data to shape retail and consumer experiences.
Expect Labs (MindMeld) 9/11/2012 $0
This could change the way people have conversations digitally. Impressive technology of predictive named entity recognition that could be applied to a variety of other platforms. 2/1/2011 $625k
Incredibly brandable domain name. Love the concept and execution so far. 7/22/2011 $0
World-class design. People are addicted to tv.
FGSpire (Vetspire) 9/4/2017 $0
First product is an AI-based medical record tool for veterinarians, which seems fairly narrow, but could be huge if they applied that platform to other medical fields. Seem to be thinking about it correctly though since vets/animals don’t have the same regulations as doctors/people.
Findery (formerly PinWheel) 2/16/2012 $2m
Annotate the world. A service like this couldn’t have existed before smartphone proliferation, and it seems to be the perfect mix between FourSquare and Pinterest.
FieldWire 10/27/2015 $7.7m
Digitizing the $7 Trillion global construction industry. Lots of inefficiencies to cut down during the whole process. (See also: PlanGrid).
FlexPort 11/02/2015 $26.6m
A marketplace for on-demand international shipping could massively impact global trade. Product is well-positioned to win the space where network effects will be hard to overturn. 7/10/2018 $0
Smart blend between Cloudflare and AWS Lambda in a way that allows you to develop semi-serverless applications that run “at the edge.” Could be a paradigm-shifting way of building apps and services.
Fraight.AI 1/11/2018 $850k
Freight brokerage generates ~$60B in commissions per year but is massively inefficient with people conducting most business over the phone or via email. AI bots have been overhyped to date, but this is the perfect application for them in a huge industry.
Frank 11/21/2019 $0
Building tools to help employees more effectively unionize, which could be incredibly powerful if it starts getting adoption. Tons of upside, and fantastic initial team.
Friendly Robots 9/21/2019 $75k
Roomba but for industrial sized areas. Clear market opportunity and potential to move into adjacent industries.
Foursquare 6/21/2011 $21m
Could be the company that fully unlocks the power of mobile + local offline commerce.
Fundable 7/31/2012 ~$500k
A local Columbus company that could make waves in how technology companies get financed via equity – well timed current legislation being passed. Team is extremely talented.
GenomeCompiler 8/7/2012 ~$1m
A compiler for creating living things. We have programming languages to abstract computer language, this is a compiler for the language of living organisms, the genome. Video.
GitHub 4/10/2011 $0
Database of the worlds most prominent open-source programmers and the projects they’re creating. “Engineering talent crunch”
Greplin 4/10/2011 $4.72m
Solving the “Other half of search”. Don’t know if people have the problem of knowing where some piece of information is in their private web frequently enough for Greplin to matter, but the product/team are ripe for acq-hire.
Grouper 9/20/2012 $170k
Super unique approach to group dating that takes the hush-hush stigma out of finding someone online. Growing nationally quickly.
GraphCDN 6/17/2021 $0
Interesting platform that handles the trickier scaling issues of GraphQL around edge caching and invalidation. Could see the expanding into full DB hosting eventually as well.
Gumroad 9/5/2012 $8.1m
A bit late on this given it’s likely previous investment valuation, but I still think there’s enough upside for this, and traffic is really starting to take off.
GeckoRobotics 3/24/2016 $120k
Initial market of robotics inspection is huge with a lot of potential cost savings and tangential markets to attack.
Hall 2/7/2013 $570k
Extremely well built Enterprise productivity suite. The main advantage is the desktop/mobile apps which appear to be built to remain lean and fast. This will be a very large Yammer-esque exit.
Heal 8/18/2015 $5m
Uber for on-demand doctors. Could be massive, or crash and burn.
Hinge 2/28/2014 $5.25m
I think this app finally nailed the mobile app dating equation. I expect this to explode in popularity once they fix the messaging kinks and are available everywhere.
HiOperator 8/23/2016 $120k (YC)
Customer Service is critical for companies of all sizes, and is rarely done well. This company could have massive margins by reducing the inefficiencies of multiple companies into one. Love the potential of this at scale.
Hipmunk 4/10/2011 $5.22m
They started with flight search, which is pretty well done and has fans, but if they can solve the awful experience of finding a hotel they will print money.
Humanoid 11/02/2011 $600k
Bringing an API to outsourced brainpower.
IFTTT 8/09/2011 $0
Super impressive backend, can tell the product will get easier to use (maybe featured tasks in a gallery?) over time. Lots of creative and helpful uses.
Impossible Metals 9/24/2023 $500k (YC)
Creating undersea robots to mine rare metals for battery technology, among other potential uses. Combines a few things I love: the ocean & robotics, capitalistic approaches to solving climate changes, and ambitious projects that can have an outsized impact.
InDinero 4/10/2011 $1.22m
“ for small business”. Collecting an incredibly valuable dataset and will be able to do for businesses what Mint did for consumers. Also, Jessica Mah rocks.
JustKitchen 1/21/2021 $0
Ghost kitchens focused on bringing name brands international. Extremely smart approach that might not ever need to expand beyond its initial set of countries to be huge. 4/10/2011 $4.3m
Banner ads in games suck. The concept of turning achievements into rewards is really compelling, and their team is stacked to do it.
Kontagent 4/10/2011 $5.5m
From what I’ve seen, the leading analytics provider on the Facebook platform. Huge acquisition play.
Landing.AI 12/14/2017 $0
Applying AI to manufacturing and warehousing is going to be absolutely massive. Don’t see an industrial application this couldn’t impact.
Lawdingo 3/26/2013 $100k
Marketplace bringing efficiency to finding qualified legal services
Leap Motion 7/11/2012 $14.1m
This is an incredibly transformative improvement to human-computer interaction with insane opportunity to revolutionize gaming and healthcare (among other industries). Can’t believe the $70 price-point as well.
LifeSupport 12/13/2012 ~$200k
Impressive team of networkers, designers, and hustlers. Currently focused on Columbus, but poised for national growth. Everyone hates hangovers.
Liftopia 10/19/2011 $3m
Huge market. I love skiing. Win for resorts: reduces risk of volatile weather conditions. Win for users: cheaper lift tickets.
Lilium 4/28/2017 $11.4m
I mean, this is just sick. Don’t really see a way this doesn’t get bought for a bunch or become huge on its own if they fulfill their mission.
Linear 7/14/2019 $0
This is what you’d get if you combined the UX and growth concepts of Slack and Superhuman and applied it to tasks and teams. Going to be a massive company.
Living Carbon 1/21/2021 $0
Attempting to genetically engineer trees to capture and store more carbon. Could have a massive impact on the climate if it works. 5/3/2018 $0
Insanely impressive demos, and first company I’ve seen to productize the complexities of Tensorflow (and related libraries). Huge potential to create the next wave of AI-backed products in a way that chatbot/text-only systems never could.
Locker Room 2/16/2021 $9.3m
Audio conversations in a similar format to Clubhouse, but centered around live sports. Tons of opportunity in this vertical with live scores, play-by-play, and potentially betting.
LogicGate 10/05/2016 $0
Enterprises will increasingly rely on technology to organize their internal compliance and security processes. This company (TechStars Chicago) looks like they have the right team background to tackle these long but lucrative sales cycles.
MakerBot 1/13/2012 $10m
My singularity dreading inner luddite loves to fear a company like this. (Read the Wikipedia article on Grey goo).
Mammoth Biosciences 4/29/2018 $0
CRISPR will change many aspects of society over the next few decades, and there will likely be several billion dollar companies formed to help get us there.
MapWize 2/6/2019 $1.36m
Indoor mapping will continue to grow in importance as more facilities and areas need mapping for connected and autonomous devices and services.
Mattermark 7/26/2013 $1.5m
No brainer buy for every VC out there who, by nature, are very accessible. Can eventually scale to Angels with more geographic focus/restriction to truly become an operating system for private investors.
Matternet 3/22/2013 $2m
Delivery will be the “sexiest” application for drones, but their impacts will be far more pronounced in other industries, like agriculture and aid second/third world countries.
MediaLets 4/10/2011 $10m
I hate advertising, but MediaLets’ approach with rich-media advertising is the lesser of many evils. Team knows what they’re doing.
Medium 8/10/2015 $25m
Extremely high growth with Twitter-like scale. Ease of discovering high quality content is remarkable, and the effects of the content virality compounds with increased network size.
Meldium 2/25/2013 $100k
Solving a real problem of Enterprise password management that companies will pay for to simplify. Solid technical team from Amazon and Microsoft.
MemCachier 9/5/2012 $0
Technically sound pre-funding team. Huge space to disrupt, and open-source memcached is the gorilla in the room.
Milk 10/19/2011 $1.5m
Kevin Rose has seen the whole spectrum of the dos and don’ts with running a startup between Digg and companies he’s angel invested in. I expect him to take this corpus of experience and build something meaningful; Oink looks like a great start.
Mighty 1/12/2021 $150k (YC)
Interesting approach to creating a more performant web browser with rendering happening on the server, instead of shipping down MBs of assets for local browsers to render themselves.
MindMesh 4/19/2022 $150k (YC)
There have been a lot of buzzy task and note management, calendar plugins, web snippet reminders, and mind/knowledge mappers pop up over the last few years, but this feels like the right balance of helpful and simple. I love how the early product has progressed and could imagine it being a strong SaaS play down the road for teams or freemium consumer.
MinoMonsters 12/04/2011 $1.17m
This game isn’t out yet, but I’ve used a beta version from their iOS developer and it’s like crack. The game mechanics used here are insane. This could be on the same level of Angry Birds in terms of popularity.
MicroBlink 10/22/2014 $0
Computer Vision technologies are hard to develop (valuable IP) and will open up a floodgate of potential new mobile, financial, surveillance, security, and logistics applications.
MixMax 3/17/2017 $1.5m
Amazing email productivity app that I use almost daily. Seems like a potentially huge Google acquisition to further separate them from other email providers.
MixRank 8/23/2011 $170k
Optimized PPC campaigns on Adsense. No brainer team/product acquisition for Google.
MobileWorks 8/13/2011 $170k
Mechanical Turk is great, but result quality is questionably reliable. This approach is extremely well thought out and solves a very interesting and potentially lucrative problem.
ModernFertility 8/11/2017 $1m
Lots of parallels to 23andMe for an inexpensive, at-home fertility test that’s 10% of the cost of the clinical alternative.
MongoHQ 8/23/2011 $417k
MongoDB is one of the leaders in the NoSQL space and MongoHQ has built a platform growing very rapidly in revenue and distribution.
MonkeyLearn 5/30/2018 $1.2m
Creating a friendly UI for building NLP analysis and text extraction. Can see this being part of something much larger, or bridging the gap between the myriad of systems with unstructured data.
MooCall 3/17/2017 $1.31m
Tracking cows with an IoT wearable sensor. Can see the early approach with cows being successful, but broadening to any farm animal (or endangered wildlife animals) could be massive.
Moov 2/28/2014 $0
Ex-Apple employees have figured out how to intelligently expose accelerometer data into a Siri-like personal assistant. A lot more powerful than existing products.
Muzy 11/04/2012 $0
Haven’t seen anything reported of funding, but this app has nailed the Open Graph and is exploding. Another different-kind-of-sharing pinterest-like app, but can’t argue with growth.
Nest Labs 10/25/2011 unknown
Home automation will play a significant part in energy use reduction and economic efficiency. Nest, tackling the often-looked-over thermostat, is in a great position to do well.
North (formerly Thalmic Labs) 2/25/2013 $1.1m
Impressive gesture control for the wearable computing devices that are about to explode in popularity. Very cool use cases with gaming and sports – definitely getting acquired.
Ocho Wealth 2/21/2023 $2.5m
Personal 401Ks are fraught with unnecessary (and predatory) fees, when Vanguard/VOO ETFs would be better for 95%+ of consumers. Lots of adjacent financial products they can offer down the road as well.
Offermatic 9/29/2011 $4.5m
Closing the redemption loop in offline (in addition to online) commerce. Yodlee is destroying their margins, but this is a huge opportunity.
OneSignal 4/19/2017 $2.47m
Getting a ton of usage with their push notification backend which is generating a massive amount of data.
Ohlala 8/10/2015 ~$100k
Morality aside, this is a goldmine. Not much else here to say.
One 8/03/2011 $1m
Solving a super fascinating problem of location-relevant interest matching. Could be transformative.
Optimizely 4/10/2011 $1.2m
A/B testing might be a buzzword, but it’s still incredibly powerful. From using their product, they make running campaigns dead simple. Acquisition target. 5/17/2016 $0
Long-haul Trucking will be radically transformed over the next decade and automation will play a huge role in this. Killer founding team attacking a monstrous market. Could easily be a $10B+ company.
Outbox 2/26/2013 $2.2m
Bringing change to a bloated $900b industry (postal mail) – sounds like a huge win. 8/13/2019 $0
Rethinking the way college education works, where costs aren’t centered around campuses and the baggage of funding or public/private interest groups. Likely one of the biggest problems and opportunities in the country right now.
PageLever 8/03/2011 $20k
Significantly improves upon a very minimal Facebook Page Insights product. Well built with and has a clear business model where customers have deep pockets.
Paladin 10/13/2017 $100k
Streamlines the connection of pro-bono legal work. Good traction so far, and doesn’t appear to be any credible competition. 8/8/2018 $0
Applying machine learning to transportation opperations. 3PLs are throwing cash at these problems to combat digital freight marketplaces and stay ahead, and simple tech solutions that actually work could be a game changer. 1/6/2020 $2.2m
The rebirth of Yahoo Pipes, with more applications to be integrated into Robotic Process Automation (RPA) enterprise flows. High growth market and opportunity with lots of upside.
Path 11/30/2011 $11.2m
Version 2 of Path makes Google’s previous $100m+ acquisition offer denial look prescient. This is where mobile social networks are headed.
PearPop 03/02/2021 $0
Interesting crossover of a Cameo-like platform for paid influencer promotion. Could easily see brands also using this for more native advertising on social platforms like TikTok.
Piada 11/19/2011 unknown
Irrespective of the fact that this is a restaurant that’s only current located in Columbus, Ohio, this is destined to be the next Chipotle.
PillPack 4/12/2015 $12.8m
Simplifying drug delivery prescriptions for potentially tens of millions of customers (in the United States alone) is a huge opportunity. Quite a Zenefits-type model, which is also disrupting a Goliath industry with a nascent tech approach.
PlanGrid 10/27/2015 $19.1m
Digitizing the $7 Trillion global construction industry. Immense upside, and a well built product with talented team.
Pocket Gems 6/28/2011 $5m
Extremely successful independent mobile social gaming company. Backed by Sequoia. No-brainer acquisition for EA or Zynga.
Pinterest 7/01/2011 $700k
Traffic has exploded in 2011. Growing a huge community of people and a database of things they think are cool. Feels like early days of Tumblr. 3/1/2024 $500k (YC)
Building a foundational LLM model to diagnose neurological conditions. Think this could unlock significant advancements in our minimal understanding of how human brain and neurons actually work.
Prometheus Fuels 10/7/2020 $150k (YC)
One of the most ambitious startups I can think of – attempting to turn Co2 into fossil fuels to go fully carbon neutral. This is a $10B+ company if it works and they stay private.
PullRequest 8/9/2017 $120k (YC)
Pull Request as a service. This should be built into GitHub.
Pusher 6/9/2011 $1m
“Realtime application as a service”. Love the concept, execution is solid, and the team is riding the giant transition to a more interactive and immediate web experience.
Quantiacs 3/15/2016 $1m
Creating a marketplace for financial trade algorithms. Seems the possibilities for “Big Data” to affect the financial markets are endless – everything can be modeled.
Quora 5/17/2011 $11m
Definitely a bit too much buzz given their founding team, but if they can effectively get away from the current tech/startup focus into more “normal” topics, they’ll have a goldmine of data/users.
Rainmaker Technologies 3/14/2024 $1m (est)
Controlling precipitation intentionally by deploying a mineral in clouds with drones. Could have a massive impact on domestic farming/agriculture output, ski resort season lengths, and avoiding catastrophic damage to cities.
Rarible 3/11/2021 $1.8m
Interesting trend with NFTs happening right now, though I’m definitely not the only person who thinks that with crypto and all of the recent success of Coinbase (wouldn’t be surprised to see a huge next round for them). Unsure how the market will evolve, but it’s a good one to have a horse in the race.
Recurly 4/10/2011 $1.6m
Implementing payment solutions sucks. Recurly makes subscription billing simple and beautiful. 5/23/2022 $0
Very similar to Next.JS/Vercel in terms of a forward-thinking web app framework, but both seem poised to be the predominant way(s) of building products. Interesting business model with COSS (commercial open-source software), with an obvious Cloud model available at some point in the future.
Remora Carbon 3/05/2021 $150k (YC)
Semis are 5% of all vehicles on roads but currently account for roughly 50% of all transportation emissions. Could see federal regulation here similar to the ELD Mandate around reducing emissions. The ELD Mandate exploded KeepTruckin’s carrier adoption and value. 6/15/2021 $0
Very intriguing SaaS that enables realtime collaboration, but solves the tricky offline + race conditions + conflict resolution problems (popularized by platforms like Figma).
RethinkDB 4/10/2011 $1.22m
Eventually hard-drives will be solid state, and RethinkDB is poised to lead the field. Until that happens, they’re refocusing on optimizing existing HD solutions.
Retool 1/8/2019 $3m
Easily build internal tools and reporting software without paying consulting firms 6-figures (or more). Seems like AirTable on steroids.
RightScale 5/4/2011 $42.5m
I have no idea why this isn’t built right into Amazon’s Cloud services because managing EC2 clusters manually is awful.
RobinPowered 7/21/2016 $8m
Office inefficiencies are stuck in the 20th Century, and there’s a big opportunity to develop an enterprise-first product that uses technology to solve common problems. Feature set is outstanding for only having raised a Series A.
Root Insurance 5/11/2017 $7m
It’s completely insane that insurance (not just for cars) is for the most part determined by demographic data only today. This uses a smartphone app to actually quantify how good of a driver you are before providing you a rate.
Safe 12/22/2017 $1.2m
App for sexual welness and more transparency in STD testing. Can eventually be used as a wedge into other aspects of Healthcare 2.0 to a highly tech/conscious userbase. 1/19/2021 $150k (YC)
Generalizing Serverless deployments for full system architectures (instead of just web apps). Will be huge.
Scaled Robotics 8/2/2019 $0
Autonomous robots for inspecting construction sites. I love everything about this, and would strongly want to invest.
Sea Machines 7/25/2017 $1.5m
Autonomous Boats for.. (?)
SecondMeasure 8/18/2015 $120k (YC)
The power of being able to trade on information as it happens is wildly powerful.
SnapGuide 3/29/2012 $2m
Mobile how-to guides wherever you need them. Extremely well thought out product and will be a mainstay on a lot of users’ phones.
Shiru 8/16/2019 $120k (YC)
Big believer in the long-term trend of alternatives to protein, and this looks like an interesting way to programmatically generate them.
Shone 6/26/2018 $4m
Retrofitting container ships with autonomous controls. Similar approach to Embark with Semi Trucks. Global supply chain will be radically upended on several dimensions over the next decade(s), and this type of approach could be a huge part of that.
Shopify 4/18/2011 $7m
Growing like a weed. No-brainer acquisition by eBay or Amazon.
Shopkick 6/22/2011 $20m
Incredible early adoption from merchants like Best Buy. Love the product and approach.
ShopWith 8/22/2018 $120k (YC)
Has elements of live video that are sticky like HQ Trivia, and captures all of the brand/promotional behavior that happens on Instagram but isn’t native to the platform yet. Seems like it could be huge since purchasing is built right in.
Shortmail (410 Labs) 7/02/2011 $0
Everyone uses email, but a few rotten users ruin the experience for everyone. Tying accounts to a social authentication system and placing Twitter-like length restrictions may be the cure.
SigFig 7/2/2012 $2m for Investments. Clear acquisition for Intuit or wealth management companies which literally and figuratively print money.
SimpleGEO 4/10/2011 $9.81m
Being the location backbone of the web has a lot of potential. Killer team.
SimpleLegal 8/6/2013 $170k (YC)
Big Data meets convoluted legal fees.
SnipSnap 5/29/2012 $555k
Paper Coupons will get replaced by *something* in the digital era. This looks like an interesting proprietary technology that will work with existing coupons on a phone.
Solve Media 4/29/2011 $4m
Captchas are annoying and command our scarce attention for an otherwise valuable period of time. This approach is equally annoying for consumers, but at least it makes publishers and advertisers money.
Sonuum 7/31/2020 $0
Multi-player audio editing, looks incredibly well designed and built. 12/7/2021 $0
Has the potential to be an NFT/blockchain based Spotify, which I definitely see happening with a huge upside.
Sourcetable 10/13/2020 $0
Very cool concept of providing spreadsheet-like access and functionality to different datasources. Looks potentially like it could be a lot more powerful than Airtable or Retool.
Spline 11/26/2020 $0
Figma is to Photoshop as this is to After Effects. I don’t care where they’re located (Chile) or what their team is so far. They’ve clearly been able to build great software.
Square 4/10/2011 $37.5m
Couldn’t be a more lucrative market to disrupt, and Square has all the right pieces in place.
Starship Technologies 7/6/2016 $2m
Unsure where the line will be drawn for postmates/bike courier vs. autonomous robots (or what the actual cost breakdown will be), but this seems like the best approach for the later. If it works, potentially a huge number of applications to local/last-mile delivery.
Starsky Robotics 5/8/2017 $3.75m
Self-driving truck technology. Pretty clear opportunity here.
StatMuse 2/2/2015 $0
AI for Stats and Analytics. Incredible tech chops.
Stitch 3/24/2016 $120k
Could potentially be the OS/platform for modern healthcare treatment facilities.
Supabase 8/6/2020 $120k (YC)
Very interesting database technology that looks to take a lot of the best aspects of GraphQL and Firebase.
Storenvy 6/21/2011 $1.53m
Similar approach to Payvment, but a more Amazon-like approach with a central website (which is more in tune with how consumers currently shop).
Stripe 4/10/2011 $2m
I don’t think any merchants or developers wake up saying “man, I can’t wait to use work with Paypal today”. Stripe has a solid team and solid mission of remedying an otherwise excruciating experience. 5/23/2011 $0
Software eats architecture.
Svbtle 7/24/2012 $0
This might appear to be just another blogging service, but something tells me Dustin Curtis has his finger right on the head of the future of quality news production and consumption, albeit it’s limited to technology-oriented writers now.
Swiftype 5/8/2012 $170k
Site search is something that is an absolute pain to implement and is something almost every company wants to outsource. Google site search is a very mediocre solution and leaves most developers wanting more – this just may be it.
Tagstand 8/19/2011 $170k
NFC will change the way technology interacts the real world. It’s a far ways out, but the companies who will be relevant tomorrow will have started today.
TemplarBit 8/23/2017 $120k (YC)
Smart way to avoid XSS vulnerabilities. Unsure if this could be huge, but seems to solve a big problem for larger enterprise customers. 1/29/2021 $0
Big fan of the idea around “the unbundling of Reddit”, which for r/wallstreetbets has a huge opportunity around building a vertical and specialized community of obsessed investors (via memes, shitposting, etc) who view gains and losses as entertainment.
Tinder 1/24/2013 $0
This is gaining huge traction on campuses and will definitely get more public attention later this year.
TradeSchool 1/15/2020 $0
Re-imagining what education looks like for the working class. Tons of early sharp insights around initial customer acquisition and how the opportunity with employer/training/student matching for trade jobs changes at scale.
Transcriptic 12/8/2014 $4.075m
AWS-like platform for Life Science bio experimentation.
Traverse Technologies
2/26/2019 $120k (YC)
Simulation software that has the ability to reinvent how alternative energy sites are planed and deployed. Hard to think of a more impactful company to be involved with.
TruckerPath 3/07/2016 $23m
Addressing a massively underserved trucker market, which is the most popular profession in ~30 U.S. States. Huge opportunity here with rise in online shopping/”on-demand economy”, the value of goods being transported around the country, the inefficiencies in the current worldwide logistics market, and the impending introduction of self-driving trucks.
TwoTap 3/26/2014 $90k (YC)
Bringing a full commerce checkout ad experience into native applications as a platform. Seems smart and like a solid acquisition play for dozens of companies/platforms/brands. (Stickybits) 6/21/2011 $1.9m
I don’t know if the transition from Stickybits to Turntable could be classified as a pivot.. more like a complete redux. Regardless, I’m addicted to Turntable. That being said, online music startups are notoriously hard to succeed with. I just want a custom avatar.
Twilio 4/10/2011 $16m
Have seen their traffic skyrocket after reducing SMS costs. They simplify an extremely painful process of manually building out an SMS solution as all previous ways require convoluted APIs or custom software.
URX 10/8/2013 ~$2m
Smart product that natively deep links high-value product purchases in the right place. It’s a new category of mobile ad, but if it works it could be hugely valuable.
Vercel (formerly Zeit) 2/11/2019 $0
Building an incredible ecosystem around React and Serverless tools with Now, Next.JS, etc. They seem to be ahead of a few transformative trends.
Vetcove 9/21/2020 $3m
Aggregating pricing of vet pharmaceuticals. Huge opportunity to dominate that category and augment (or get rid of) pharma sales folks with automated and instant price comparison.
Vimcal 7/7/2021 $150k (YC)
Pre-seed stage “Superhuman for calendars”.. close your eyes and write the check.
Vollebak 11/23/2021 $0
Extremely interesting clothing company using technology like Graphene and fibers like Dyneema in high performance outerwear and apparel – the former is extremely interesting as it’s never been applied to clothing before (most commonly batteries and silicon chips), and it’s the most conductive material known to man. Could see this becoming an AllBirds or Away-like DTC success.
Walker & Co 12/18/2013 $2.4m
Addresses a quickly growing segment in one of the largest markets on earth, Health and Beauty. Traditional CPG companies are behind the eight ball on this one, and a strong branding play will make all the difference in an upstart taking mass market share.
Warby Parker 12/19/2011 $13.5m
“Zappos for prescription eyewear”. No reason to go into LensCrafters if you can try it on and return for free. 7/14/2021 $0
The terminal hasn’t really changed in a few decades, but re-imagining how it would work with more features like autocomplete, shortcut snippets, and a shared environment for engineering teams could be extremely powerful.
Withings 9/17/2011 $4.13m
Huge opportunity to capitalize augmenting smartphones with peripheral devices. Their approach with virality around health products (auto-tweeting) is sick.
YAC.Chat 11/25/2019 $275k
Intersection of two interesting trends: increasingly distributed/remote teams in tech-centric companies, and audio being the next mobile/wearable frontier. Also powering a number other voice apps with its tech, which is an interesting distribution angle.
Zaarly 5/15/2011 $1m
If this reaches critical mass, it will change the world. Incredibly designed and fascinating story behind its launch.
Zapier 6/20/2012 $170k
This ties into many more business oriented services that IFTTT doesn’t and will undoubtedly get a lot of people/businesses paying for their (albeit expensive) premium plans
# Companies Last Updated:

Companies with a star next to them are once I’m exceptionally bullish on given their current capital intake, likely valuation, and liquidation opportunity. All fundraising numbers (listed under pre-investments column) were obtained via Crunchbase and are meant to indicate the amount of outside capital put into the companies before the date listed. To simulate a real-world investing scenario, I will be adding (and not removing) companies on an ongoing basis. Feel free to correct any mistakes, point out companies you think are exciting, or provide any feedback.

Update: Read Results Followup Post, published May 15, 2017

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