A look at the nine teams that just presented at Pear’s latest demo day

TechCrunch has been covering the demo days of the seed-stage venture firm Pear VC since 2015. (There we are in the front row in 2016, surrounded by investors, typing away.)

A few things have remained true since that time. There are typically 10 or so companies that present and not many more. A lot of top firms show up, including from NEA, Lux Capital and Sequoia Capital. And the energy in the room reflects that of Pear’s founders, Pejman Nozad and Mar Hershenson, who year after year project the cheery demeanor of people eager to win you over. (They’re winning over investors, certainly; as we reported last Friday, Pear appears close to raising its biggest fund ever.)

Notably, the terms that Pear offers startups haven’t changed much over the years, either. In exchange for 14 weeks of help with everything from product-market fit to the go-to-market strategy a team should employ, the startups in Pear’s accelerator program give Pear the right to invest from $500,000 to $750,000 in each team at a valuation that it caps at $10 million. Pear lets the founders choose the check size. Founders who take $500,000 are selling 5% of their company, essentially; while those taking a bigger check are selling more.

Unlike the far bigger and more renowned accelerator Y Combinator, whose startup participants begin talks with investors nearly the moment they’re accepted into the program, Pear further tries to shield its startups from conversations with other investors until after its demo day, says Nozad. “We want to focus on building products and finding customers” while the startups are participating in its accelerator program, he insists.

Of course, some VCs still get an early look, in part by mentoring the startups. For example, Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures and Kirsten Green of Forerunner Ventures helped advise Pear’s newest batch of companies.

For the rest of you who missed Pear’s demo day this year, which took place last week in person at the outfit’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, California (Pear has taken over a former beer garden), herewith are the nine teams that presented.

What it does: A marketplace to book short-term space rentals for corporate events, meetings and productions
Founders: Pol Hevia (CEO), Joaquim Tresserra (CTO)
Founded in: 2020
HQ: Barcelona, Spain
The pitch: Spathios says it’s a marketplace to book short-term venues and spaces. Its platform aims to enable businesses to host meetings and events in some of the world’s most unique venues. It also says it allows multiple stakeholders to manage bookings, collaborate across teams and simplify their accounting. The market for corporate events is an estimated $600 billion, but most of the spend is currently through hotels and conference centers; Spathios thinks it can bring the untapped supply of unique venues like museums, historic locations and even palaces online for the first time. Already, it says, it has worked with large customers like Conde Nast, Sony Music and Google.

What it does: Software platform powering independent Medicare agents
Founders: Sarah Jacobson (CEO), Tori Seidenstein (CTO)
Founded in: 2021
HQ: San Francisco
The pitch: FairStreet aims to help seniors enroll in the right health insurance by providing the software platform that independent Medicare agents can use to run and scale their businesses. Apparently, independent agents enroll 60% of all seniors into Medicare and are the fastest growing segment, and FairStreet is building what it describes as a full-stack software platform to cut their work in half and enable them to scale. As for traction, FairStreet says that in two months’ time, it has acquired 12 experienced Medicare agents, and that it has 90 more on its waitlist. FairStreet earns a recurring commission paid by the insurance company whenever one of their agents enrolls a senior into a Medicare plan.

What it does: Embedded payments and financial infrastructure for B2B companies in LatAm
Founders: Virigina Folgueiro (CEO), Alejandro Quirno Lavalle (CMO), Santiago Lorenzo (CTO)
Founded in: late 2021
HQ: Argentina
The pitch: Menta says its tech infrastructure enables B2B companies to offer their own payment and financial services to retail merchants in their ecosystems. It says its network offers network effects, too — customers have access to all of the retailers on the platform. The service just launched, but its founders say it’s already live with three customers in Argentina and Mexico and that it has 10 other agreements signed.

What it does: Fintech and supply chain software for micro-enterprises in commodity supply chains
Founders: Joann de Zegher (CEO), JK Metwalli (CTO)
Founded in: late 2021
HQ: Montreal, Quebec
The pitch: PemPem is building mobile supply chain management software for micro-enterprises in commodity supply chains. They’ve built a mobile platform that provides full-stack financial and commercial solutions for the 500 million micro-enterprises that produce and trade the world’s commodities at an annual value of $2.7 trillion. With PemPem, micro-enterprises can discover prices, access supply chain financing for inputs, and soon, it says, be able to trade their commodities through PemPem’s marketplace. Already, it says, 5,000 monthly active enterprises have been using PemPem’s price discovery product. Its marketplace is launching this summer.

What it does: Membership-based healthcare plans for pets
Founder: Emily Dong (CEO)
Founded in: 2020
HQ: San Francisco
The pitch: Snout is building a full coverage health plan for pets to address what it says is a big need in the market for it. According to Snout, there are 200 million pets in the U.S. and 47% of pet owners report having pet-related debt. Only 2% of these pets are insured because pet insurance doesn’t cover routine expenses — only paying out when catastrophic events occur — and while veterinary practices want to help pets and ease the financial burden on pet parents, as relatively small, cash-based businesses, they struggle to defer revenue. Snout’s solution is to provide both capital and software to veterinary practices to make healthcare plans financially feasible for both vets and pets. It’s launching this month and says it already has a waitlist of customers representing $1 million in annual recurring revenue.

What it does: Helping software teams build products faster by automating design code
Founders: Robert Nowell (CEO), Caleb Ouellette (CTO)
Founded in: 2020
HQ: San Francisco
The pitch: Rendition is an AI assistant for building user interfaces from designs. Why does that matter? The team says its product is five times faster than writing code by hand. Since launching last month, Rendition has onboarded five customers and is doing $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue; the plan (naturally) is to capture much more of the $100 billion annual front-end development market by automating the more than 1 billion hours of developer work that goes into UI development every year.

What it does: Stablecoin payments infrastructure for web3
Founders: Ben Gusberg (CEO), Jim Zheng (CTO)
Founded in: late 2021
HQ: Stanford, California
The pitch: Supercharge builds stablecoin payments infrastructure for web3, allowing developers and merchants to access the $5 trillion stablecoin transaction market. In fact, it gives developers simple APIs to accept stablecoins in minutes, it says. Supercharge is launching next month in the Binance, Polkadot and Polygon ecosystems; the (immodest? laudable?) goal is to be the base layer that seamlessly brings all of web3 to the mainstream.

What it does: A vertical SaaS platform powering SMB trucking companies with workflow automation, smart data and embedded financial solutions
Founders: Hans Galland (CEO), Paul Xie (COO)
Founded in: 2019
HQ: San Mateo, California
The pitch: BeyondTrucks is building a vertical SaaS platform for SMB trucking companies to make growing their businesses easier. They’re focused on powering trucking companies with workflow automation, smart data and embedded financial services, helping them build their businesses in a more data-centric way. The company is chasing after what it says is a $1.7 trillion fleet-payments market, and it says it’s seeing traction. Launched in January, the outfit claims to be already serving 45 fleets with 280 trucks.

Neura Health
What it does: Virtual neurology clinic for patients suffering from neurologic conditions
Founder: Elizabeth Burstein (CEO), Sameer Madan (CTO)
Founded in: 2020
HQ: New York
The pitch: Neura Health is a virtual neurology clinic with a mission to improve the access and quality of neurological care: increase convenience, improve outcomes and lower costs. There is a severe lack of neurologists in the U.S., resulting in wait times of up to six months, says the outfit. Meanwhile, Neura Health’s platform connects patients to neurologists with built-in neurology-specific symptom monitoring and condition-specific diagnostic tests. Patients also receive a mobile app with a dedicated concierge to ensure that all their care needs are met, creating (hopefully) a highly effective patient-provider relationship. The company’s longer-term vision, notably, is to find cures by learning from the experience of every neurology patient.

Pictured, top of page: Pejman Nozad and Mar Hershenson talking with guests at Pear’s demo day, last week in Menlo Park, Calif.