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Invite-only accelerator NFX takes the wraps off 21 new startups; here they are

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Last week, two-year-old, NFX Guild, a Silicon Valley-based, invite-only accelerator program, hosted its newest demo day before 200 venture investors from Sand Hill Road and San Francisco.

The outfit — which is backed financially by the venture firms CRV, Shasta Ventures, Greylock Partners, and Mayfield and works only with startups that have been referred to it through a network of scouts — might have surprised attendees. NFX’s last two batches have featured 16 and 13 companies, respectively. Its newest class wound up featuring 21 companies — a meaningful jump in size. The good news: with startups focused on health care, augmented reality, shopping and more, there was seemingly something for everyone.

For those of you who didn’t make it to NFX’s demo day, here are those companies it introduced (and that we assume are actively fundraising as we type).

 

Alto

Tagline: Your advantage for life.

Description: Alto is an advantage club for people with disabilities and their families.

Location: Palo Alto and Tel Aviv

Competitors: The three-month-old company insists there is no advantage club today like it in the U.S. (It says to think of it like the financial services company USAA, except that rather than catering to military families, it caters to people with disabilities and their families.)

Employees: 7

Capital raised: $1 million in pre-seed funding to date.

Metrics: The company says it has developed the most comprehensive database to date for paralysis products, and that it has compiled more sources for disability advantages than anyone has bothered to in the past, with thousands of discounts and benefits. Partners include the Christopher Reeve foundation and Variety The Children’s Charity, along with other organizations that collectively represent more than one million users.

Team: Deep roots in the disability ecosystem. Cofounder and CEO Moshe Gaon previously co-founded a now two-year-old company focused on this same market, called YooCan, with Alto cofounders Dror Kalisky and Yoav Gaon.

 

AROS

Tagline: Augmented Reality operating system for outdoors.

Description: AROS overlays an augmented layer onto the real world, enhancing users experiences through a variety of different activities. The company currently focuses on the industrial market; it says it will take on the consumer market afterward.

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: None, it says, claiming it has a “secret sauce” that’s protected by patents.

Employees: 9

Capital raised: The company says it has raised $1.4 million, including from iAngels.

Metrics: None yet

Team: CEO Alon Getz is a former Israeli Air Force pilot; he says he and his cofounders have been developing augmented reality since the ’90s.

 

FairFly

Tagline: Actionable big data for corporate travel.

Description: FairFly is a four-year-old, real-time travel data platform that’s aiming to bring a new level of efficiency to the $1.2 trillion corporate travel market.

Location: Palo Alto and Tel Aviv

Competitors: Other fare-tracking technologies and startups.

Employees: 18

Capital raised: Before joining NFX Guild’s newest batch, FairFly had raised a total of $4.7 million from investors.

Metrics: FairFly says it’s been finding potential saving opportunities on up to 26 percent of tracked flights, with an average potential savings of $254 per opportunity.

Team: FairFly has four founders, including CEO, Aviel Siman-Tov, who worked previously in the office of the prime minister of Israel. The company’s chairman is Waze cofounder Uri Levine.

 

Fleximatter

Tagline: A 3D printing network that produces usable products at scale.

Description: Fleximatter is a 2.5-year-old, B2B marketplace for designed products that aims to allow everybody to design and sell large scale products that people actually use. The company says its machines can print 20 times faster and 20 times cheaper than competitors’ products.

Location: San Francisco and Tel Aviv

Competitors:  Voodoo, Shapeways, or 3DHubs, but it says it we can manufacture at scale and sell products through a marketplace, unlike these companies.

Employees: 3

Capital raised: Fleximatter has raised $700,000 from investors, including iAngels.

Metrics: It says it has more than 20 designers working on its platform, and that more than 250 designers are using its marketplace to produce their goods.

Team: Cofounder and CEO Rami Chanan was previously a longtime VP at the industrial automation company Elmo Motion Control. He has two cofounders: Yshai Meshorer and Alex Vasilevski.

 

Frisbee

Tagline: Instant video messaging.

Description: Frisbee is a group video messaging app being built by a team that includes the Facebook employees involved in the conception and development of Facebook Live. Currently in private beta, the app enables people to organize squads that act as threads for sending video messages instantly with a group of friends.

Location: San Mateo, CA

Competitors: Marco Polo, Tribe, Glide

Employees: 4

Capital raised: The team has so far raised $1.2 million from Greylock, SV Angel, Draper and NFX Guild.

Metrics: It says the average user is looking at 12 videos per day and spending 9 minutes per day in the app.

Team: CEO Vadim Lavrusik is a former Facebook product manager who led the team that developed Facebook Live and was involved in Facebook Mentions, a standalone app for public figures.

 

HEAT

Tagline: Intelligence on demand.

Description: Heat provides cognitive services in real time by a hybrid cloud of humans and AI. Use cases range from data gathering, to text classification, to image editing and more. Heat says it makes AI accessible and usable by any business in the world.

Location: San Francisco and Tel Aviv

Competitors: CrowdFlower, IBM Watson, Microsoft Cognitive Services

Employees: Unknown

Capital raised: $220,000 from NFX Guild and iAngels

Metrics: The company says that 90 percent of tasks are picked up and handled in under 15 seconds.

Team: CEO Yigael Berger is a serial entrepreneur whose last company, Appixia, was acquired by Wix in 2014. His cofounder and CTO, Sagiv Malihi, was previously an infrastructure team lead at Cisco.

 

HipDot

Tagline: Entertaining shopping on FB Live.

Description: HipDot is a next-generation QVC on Facebook Live. It uses a distributed network of influencers and HipDot hosts. It doesn’t carry inventory or handle fulfillment.

Location: Los Angeles, SF Bay Area

Competitors: QVC, HSN

Employees: 4

Capital raised: $220,000 from NFX Guild

Metrics: The startup says that video engagement and store traffic is growing at over 2x every two weeks. It also say that more than 4 percent of views lead directly to store traffic and that the average basket totals more than $38.

Team: Founders Jeff Sellinger and Mo Winter have worked together for 10 years, including ar Shopkick, which Sellinger cofounded and that was acquired in 2014 for $200 million by SK Planet. (Winter was Shopkick’s creative director.)

 

Incredible Health

Tagline:  Hired.com for healthcare. (Hired is a jobs placement marketplace where applicants vie for tech jobs.)

Description: Incredible Health says it’s setting out to address what it characterizes as the largest labor shortage in the country: nurses. How: its web application and automated processes aim to speed up hiring, efficiency, and quality for both job candidates and hospital employers.

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: Job boards like LinkedIn, Monster and Indeed, as well as traditional recruiting agencies

Employees: 2, including founders

Capital raised: $340,000, including NFX Guild and iAngels

Metrics: This company launched just three weeks ago as part of the NFX program and says 28 hospitals have already signed up and posted openings for 2000 nursing jobs.

Team: Iman Abuzeid, the CEO and cofounder, is a medical doctor, as well as an alum of McKinsey & Co. Rome Portlock, CTO and cofounder, is a software engineer with 15 years of experience at Amazon, Eventbrite and other startups.

 

Materialist

Tagline: Buy the building materials you see online.

Description: Materialist wants to be the central hub for manufacturers to sell interior design and construction products online. Toward that end, it provides an access point for designers and contractors to purchase via exclusive trade pricing in one location.

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: BuildDirect, Architizer

Employees: 4

Capital raised: $750,000, including from iAngels

Metrics: The year-old company already features more than 6,000 products from more than 50 suppliers.

Team: Matt Grigsby (CEO), George Sibble (CTO), Grant Szempruch (COO)

 

MindBlower

Tagline: Crowdfunding done right.

Description: MindBlower wants to gives inventors and designers a chance to turn their ideas into reality by conducting viability research, choosing the ideas that are most likely to succeed, and providing support along the way to help ensure the ideas are developed into marketable products.

Location: London

Competitors: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Telebrands

Employees: 10

Capital raised: Undisclosed amount of pre-seed funding from NFX Guild, iAngels and others

Metrics: None disclosed.

Team: CEO Carmit Turgeman is an industrial engineer and the entrepreneur behind the Travalo perfume atomizer, which she says has sold $350 million of product.

 

Mudflap

Tagline: Hauling together.

Description: Mudflap aims to build the largest virtual fleet in the U.S.

Location: Palo Alto

Competitors: Landstar, Truckstop.com, DAT

Employees: 5

Capital raised: $220,000 from NFX Guild and iAngels

Metrics: The company says it has already identified more than 405,000 truck-friendly parking spots and restaurants.

Team: The team claims deep expertise in trucking/transportation (Trucker Path, Waze, Metromile) and marketplaces (Klout and Care.com).

 

Nobex Technologies

Tagline: A global network of local radio stations.

Description: Nine-year-old Nobex Technologies provides a hosted platform for more than 4,000 radio stations. This platform includes white-label mobile applications, a back-end portal for business intelligence and playlist insights, and multiple listener engagement tools.

Location: Tel Aviv

Competitors: Jelli, WideOrbit

Employees: Undisclosed

Capital raised: Undisclosed

Metrics: 4,300 stations are on the platform and it claims more than 25 million users globally.

Team: CEO Gadi Mazor has founded three companies previously and was until recently a general partner with OurCrowd, the crowdfunding platform.

 

Octopus

Tagline: Automating visual content creation at scale

Description: Octopus enables companies to order and manage the creation of proprietary, high-quality visual content, including photography, videography, 360-degree and aerial imagery. With the Octopus API and software embedding in their business workflows, businesses are capable of creating on-demand, professional visual content quickly and cost efficiently at any scale, says the company.

Location: San Francisco and Berlin

Competitors: Smartshoot, 500px

Employees: 21

Capital raised: $1 million prior to NFX Guild

Metrics: In 2016, 500,000 unique images were taken in 21 countries for clients that include OpenTable, Priceline and Delivery Hero.

Team: Founded by serial entrepreneur Andre Lutter and imagery expert Mo Hamid, the Octopus team consists of 21 international members who combine visual content, product, and engineering experience from companies like Airbnb, Wix.com, and Microsoft.

 

Parting

Tagline: 1-800-FUNERAL

Description: Parting’s software aims to transform the highly fragmented, $20 billion funeral industry by empowering funeral homes with the ability to digitize their workflow and provide better consumer experiences.

Location: San Francisco, CA

Competitors: Passare, Willing, MeetGrace

Employees: 4

Capital raised: $470,000, including from NFX Guild and iAngels

Metrics: It says it has 150 paying funeral homes and is seeing $50,000 in monthly gross merchandise value.

Team: Co-founder and CEO Tyler Yamasaki has built and sold multiple affiliate marketing companies. Co-founder Will Chang ran product for a venture-backed company that was acquired by Teespring. Co-founder Stephen Chen was a lead software engineer at Teespring. Co-founder Albert Chang ran his own vertical at QuinStreet.

 

Riptide

Tagline: Business messaging for customers and suppliers.

Description: Riptide lets businesses open up SMS and Messenger for all employees to communicate with customers. This means sending invoices, processing payments, and working with suppliers.

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: HeyWire (Salesforce), SideLine

Employees: 6

Capital raised: $300,000 in pre-seed funding, including from NFX Guild and iAngels

Metrics: In verticals like auto repair, appliances, real estate, and fitness, businesses adopting Riptide have improved their turnover as much as 30 percent, says the company.

Team: Riptide is led by CEO Doug Marinaro, who previously cofounded the real estate marketplace LiquidSpace.

 

Sounds

Tagline: Music with friends.

Description: Sounds is an app to discover and share music with friends. The company wants to match users with their “musical soulmates” to build their “musical graph,” (a term it has apparently trademarked).

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: Spotify, Snapchat

Employees: 10

Capital raised: $1.7 million in pre-seed funding prior to joining NFX Guild’s new batch of companies

Metrics: The five-year-old company says it already has 1 million monthly active users — a number that’s organically growing 25 percent, month over month.

Team: Founder and CEO Rhai Goburdhun previously founded a digital marketing agency.

 

Summer

Tagline: Building resilience in the workplace.

Description: Summer helps employers prevent and manage stress and anxiety in their workplaces by offering them self-guided and coach-assisted programs.

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: MyEquilibrium, MyBrainSolutions.com, Whil.com, Lantern

Employees: 3

Capital raised: $600,000 from NFX Guild, iAngels and angels

Metrics: The company says it has letters of intent with health platforms that reach one million employees through their clients.

Team: CEO Dhaval Chadha has previously cofounded two companies and was a venture partner at Vox Capital.

 

Unlimited Reality

Tagline: Augmented Reality entertainment

Description: Unlimited Reality creates AR entertainment. Its first product, KAZOOLOO, is a game board that connects to a mobile app and has generated more than $5.4 million to date. Its latest venture, RealityRoom, is an augmented reality entertainment network that gives users access to an array of AR entertainment, like popular games and live streaming.

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: Everyone else doing AR entertainment

Employees: 12

Capital raised: $2 million prior to the company’s involvement in NFX Guild. Investors include iAngels.

Metrics: The company says it has sold more than 250,000 units and that it has seen $5.4 million in gross merchandise value.

Team: Cofounder and CEO Andy Schwartz graduated from Tel Aviv University in 2012 before creating KAZOOLOO.

 

Utopia

Tagline: E-commerce for the rest of the world.

Description: Utopia helps consumers in emerging markets discover and buy products from the U.S. and China, powered by a network of “social seller influencers.”

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: Wish, Little Red Book, AliExpress

Employees: 30

Capital raised: $500,000, including from iAngels

Metrics: The company says it has shipped 150,000  so far and that it saw $6 million in gross merchandise revenue last year.

Team: Both cofounders both worked at Facebook, and CEO Mostafa ElBatsh worked at Google in its emerging markets team.

 

Villa

Tagline: Communications and payments for home builders and their teams.

Description: Villa is a market network for home builders and remodelers. Villa’s project feed streamlines payments and messaging between general contractors, owners, subcontractors and architects, and its software replaces the paper forms, text messages and multiple email threads currently used in new construction and remodeling projects.

Location: Berkeley, CA

Competitors: Buildertrend, Co-construct, Procore

Employees: 5

Capital raised: $300,000 from NFX Guild, iAngels and other investors.

Metrics: Villa launched this month in limited beta and already, it says, more than 100 contractors are on its waitlist. It also claims its beta users report saving 8 percent to 10 percent of the time they typically spend on projects by using Villa.

Team: CEO Jonathan Heyne recently nabbed his MBA from UC Berkeley. As a student at Tel Aviv University, he cofounded a  company called Student that aimed to disrupt the Israeli SAT preparation market. It was acquired for undisclosed terms by an Israeli education group.

 

Volley

Tagline: Conversational games.

Description: Volley builds casual games that are optimized for messaging apps and voice interfaces.

Location: San Francisco

Competitors: Zynga, Supercell, Machine Zone

Employees: 2

Capital raised: $400,000 from NFX , iAngels, and undisclosed angel investors.

Metrics: The company claims it has 25,000 users

Team: CEO Max Child was previously an associate at Boston Consulting Group; he and fellow Harvard classmate (and Volley CTO) James Wilsterman say they’ve been building games for Facebook Messenger since the launch of the platform.

Featured Image: AROS