10 favorite startups from Techstars’ October 2020 class

A few weeks back, The Exchange dug through a number of Techstars demo days and parsed a few dozen startups to find a few favorites. Today, we’re back for more of the same, albeit with a different set of accelerators’ results to examine.

As a reminder, the last time we dug through the various cohorts, we liked YearOne, MyFavorito, Livelii, Albo, Space Products and Innovation GmbH and SATIM.

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This morning let’s take a look at the startups from Techstars’ Atlanta (full class here), Los Angeles (full class here), and New York City cohorts (full class here), with a final peek at what the so-called “Techstars & Western Union Accelerator” managed (full class here).

TechCrunch has also taken looks at startups from the latest Y Combinator batch (part one, part two), Acceleprise, Envision and others. It’s a time-honored tradition around here — we think startups are inherently interesting. With that, let’s begin.

Favorites and standouts

I wanted to kick off with Atlanta this morning, and not merely because the Falcons are somehow worse than my Eagles. A startup accelerator in Atlanta feels exciting because, while we know that there is lots of startup activity coming out of the city, it’s still not a place I know well.

Unluckily for our goal of picking favorites, I liked nearly every startups’ demo. Meal Me is cool, and as a former San Francisco resident who didn’t cook, where was this when I lived there. Swivl is also worth checking out, because we should be able to expand who can really work with data. And Please Assist Me is pretty spot-on for my generation’s yuppies.

But the startup that warmed my heart the most was Treasure, a neobank aimed at helping kids learn about money. As the Boy Scouts and other extracurricular activities disintegrate around us, exercises like the Personal Finance merit badge are losing their small imprint on American youth. And, if you know more than a few people, you are aware that financial literacy is suffering drought conditions in many households.

So, Treasure. It wants to teach kids about savings “payday” and more. I dig it. And it has a free tier for those who need it. Nice.

Turning to Los Angeles, I found another strong batch of startups; even picking highlights was a small struggle, frankly. But, from the group, I liked Ayana Therapy, which focuses on mental healthcare for what it describes as “marginalized and intersectional communities.” Therapy and mental healthcare are good. Everyone should have access to them. And Pod People seemed like a smart play during this, the second or third or fourth podcast boom.

However, as an esports dork, StatsHelix was my favorite. StatsHelix makes software that helps create in-game data graphics (stats and other real-time data that makes watching a game even more exciting), as well as post-game analysis. You know the neat stats they have during football and basketball games about yards-per-run and most assists in the last quarter? This is the esports version of that, for both during and after a game.

Provided that esports keeps being a thing, and I suspect it will as I stayed up too late last night watching the latest League of Legends matches from its Worlds tournament, StatsHelix will be playing in an huge market.

Now let’s jet to New York City, to see what’s happening in the city of much stress. Out the gate, I have no idea if 1SM will work. But it said a bunch of words that seemed really smart. Auto-generated buyer personas and recommended channels for targeting them? Cool! Sounds a bit like magic? Anyway.

Coverr is potentially great. It helps gig-economy workers borrow money, as their income and work status might not make a traditional bank leap at the chance to offer them capital. A bit like a SaaS revenue-based financing, funds are repaid out of earnings. I like the model as it could keep some of society’s less-supported workers out of the reach of predatory lenders.

But my favorite from the whole group was OnePipe. It’s the Meal Me of fintech APIs. More precisely, it aggregates APIs on the banking and fintech side of the equation, so that developers can more easily plug into the financial world. Fintech is big. API-focused startups are hot. So why not a meta fintech API startup? I love it.

And, finally, let’s snag something neat from what Techstars got up to with Western Union. Two related things, actually, namely Rise and Vested. Rise helps the 180 million people in Nigeria invest in dollar-based assets that feature better returns than local savings options. It has $4 million in AUM, with user growth 35% monthly. Vested is global investing for Indian consumers. Vested wants to get rid of the old-fashioned paperwork, fees and currency issues that Indian citizens face to open a brokerage account and invest in global assets.

See the connection? Both startups want to extend local consumer reach, giving regular folks access to the global financial system. Generally speaking fintech solutions that help regular people do more, more cheaply, are my jam. These two startups fit the bill.

Hit up the demo pages if you are in the mood to get a bit excited about the future. Else, just head back to Twitter and resume whacking your head against your desk.