Startup

This Week’s Top Seed Companies to Watch — Anvil, Benepass, Pillar, Lili, GoodMonday

We see about 5,000 startups each week, and I want to give you a glimpse into how we at e.ventures think about trending tech companies and tracking new investment opportunities. In this post, I’m highlighting top tech companies that have announced or raised a seed round within the past week.

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Happy Monday!

Some notable industry news from last week:

VMWare to acquire e.ventures portfolio company LastLine. The malware security software raised $52.2M in capital, with e.ventures co-leading its Series B in June 2013.

Softbank and Andreessen Horowitz announced funds to invest in underrepresented founders. Softbank has put $100M aside for “founders of color”, while Andreessen announced its “Talent x Opportunity Fund” of which all returns will go back to the fund for future investments.

Here are my top seed investments from the last week:

Anvil

EVA Growth Index:

Product:
Low-code paperwork automation platform which helps businesses build simple online experiences for paperwork processes

Investors:
Gradient Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Citi Ventures, Financial Venture Studio, 122 West Ventures

Total Raised:
$5M

Business Model:
SaaS subscription

Comparables:
N/A

X-Factors:
1. Enables large businesses to start taking in data in a digital form while not having to change non-digital processes

2. Massive market for PDF based processes, which need help being brought into the digital age

Thoughts:
Anvil specializes in creating PDFs based on data that is collected via digital forms. Given how many businesses rely on PDF documents, there is no concern around market size here. Anvil reduces the need for complete process change management.

Benepass

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources showing growth

Product:
A single card that manages all the pre-tax benefits of an employee to optimize for tax-savings

Investors:
Gradient, Y-Combinator

Total Raised:
$2.3M

Business Model:
SaaS fees + margin from interchange

Comparables:
Existing FSA card vendors, WageWorks

X-Factors:
1. FSA and HSA accounts have notoriously poor user interfaces, thus making them challenging to use (and ultimately used less frequently)

2. WageWorks, which provides commuter benefits, has an antiquated product

Thoughts:
This is a business that can potentially take market share from existing vendors extremely fast. I’d imagine that the business will have high customer retention, given how painful it is without this solution currently.

Pillar

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources showing growth

Product:
IOS/Android app to manage an individual’s student debt and ultimately reduce the total interest paid

Investors:
Kleiner Perkins, Nat Turner, Zachary WeinbergGreat Oaks VenturesAdam Nash, Rainfall Ventures

Total Raised:
$6M

Business Model:
Unclear as of right now. Will likely earn margin on loan refinancings.

Comparables:
N/A

X-Factors:
1. There is $1.6T of student debt in the US — massive market/pain-point

2. The product takes a more holistic view — by taking into account income — on how and when to pay down student debt

Thoughts:
Big opportunity to build a brand that is synonymous with financial wellness. Incredible list of angel investors.

Lili

EVA Growth Index:

Product:
Digital bank account for freelancers

Investors:
Foundation Capital, Group 11, Primary Venture Partners, Torch Capital, AltaIR Capital

Total Raised:
$10M

Business Model:
SaaS subscription of $60/year or $7/month

Comparables:
Oxygen

X-Factors:
1. Large growing community of freelance

2. No major bank caters well to freelancers

Thoughts:
Freelancers have very specific product needs that existing banks do not resolve. For example: tax and expense management

GoodMonday

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources showing growth

Product:
Central software platform to manage office manager tasks like snacks, events, handyman, interior or catering

Investors:
Firstminute CapitalCreandumPreSeed Ventures

Total Raised:
$6M

Business Model:
SaaS subscription

Comparables:
Eden, Managed by Q

X-Factors:
1. Managing an office has a lot of moving items, GoodMonday brings them all into one place

Just My Two Cents:
The rumors of the office’s demise are greatly exaggerated

>> See last week’s Seed Companies to Track >>

https://medium.com/eventuresvc-news/this-weeks-top-seed-companies-to-watch-mati-warehouse-exchange-belvo-poplar-aa900bf6287a

Brendan Wales is a Partner at e.ventures, a global venture capital firm investing in consumer and software companies from early to growth. Since joining e.ventures in 2012, he has been a Seed or Series A investor in Segment, Shipt, HousecallPro, Fetch Rewards, Test.ai, and Shopmonkey.

You can connect with Brendan on LinkedInTwitter, or by following him on Medium.

What is the EVA Growth Index?
The EVA Growth index is a composite of third-party data sources around a company’s website traffic. The vertical green lines in the charts represent a point in time where the company raised outside capital.