Startup

This Week’s Top Seed Companies to Watch — Hugo, QuillBot, Remote, Hone, Lizee

A weekly newsletter highlighting the top seed companies that have announced or raised a seed round within the past week.

There are over 1,000 companies that raise seed or angel financing each quarter in the United States. This weekly post provides a glimpse into how we think about tracking new investment opportunities.

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Happy Monday!

Accounts payable and on-demand invoice management solution AvidXchange raises an additional $128M to close off its $388M Series F led by sixth Street Partners. The company has now raised over $933M in funding, with its first public venture round being announced back in August 2002 led by Charlotte Angel Partners.

Noah raises a $150M Series B to enable consumers to tap into the value of their homes without incurring new monthly payments or interest. The company has now taken on over $156M in funding, with its Seed round being closed in June 2016 which was led by Kima Ventures.

Data streaming platform Confluent raises a $250M Series E at a $4.5B valuation led by Coatue Management. The company has taken on $455M in venture funding to date from Sequoia, Benchmark, and Index.

Here are my top seed investments from the last week:

Hugo

EVA Growth Index:

Product:
Centralized meeting note sharing and collaboration software to better drive actions out of meetings

Investors:
Gradient Ventures, Entrée Capital, Slack Fund, Founder Collective

Total Raised:
$6.1M

Business Model:
Freemium SaaS subscription starting $399 for the first 100 users. Free for the first 40 users.

Comparables:
Evernote, Notion, Roam Research

X-Factors:
1. Love that they use the calendar as a way to onboard meeting participants into a note

2. Deep integrations into over 20 other project management and communication product, thus making it easier to move action items into where work is ultimately done

Thoughts:
Google docs is subpar as it relates to meeting note taking. Information gets siloed and meeting participants forget to-dos. Owning meeting note taking is a big opportunity, but there is no shortage of competition. Excited to see how this evolves.

QuillBot

EVA Growth Index:

Product:
In browser advanced spelling, grammar and style software

Investors:
Sierra Ventures, GSV Ventures, Service Provider Capital

Total Raised:
$4M

Business Model:
Freemium SaaS subscription starting at $3.33 per month

Comparables:
Grammarly, ProWritingAid

X-Factors:
1. Insane exponential traffic growth

2. We have already seen the success of Grammarly. It always nice for there to be incumbent that has proven a market to an extent

Thoughts:
Love the freemium business model for a product like this. The paid wall comes in when folks want to use their creative and concision editors.

Remote

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources indicating growth

Product:
Remote employee HR, benefits, and payroll management software

Investors:
Two Sigma VenturesGeneral CatalystIndex Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, Remote First Capital, INKEF Capital

Total Raised:
$11M

Business Model:
10% take on the payroll run through the software

Comparables:
Deel, Gusto

X-Factors:
1. The CEO Job van der Voort led product at Gitlab, one of the largest distributed companies in the world

2. Enables business to hire employees internationally in a compliant way

3. Best in class Seed syndicate

Thoughts:
Most distributed businesses are paying their employees with Paypal and are doing a poor job complying with local payroll and tax needs. Remote solves these issues and couples them with a full benefits solution.

Hone

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources indicating growth

Product:
Remote leadership, management, and people skills training platform

Investors:
Firework Ventures, NextGen Venture PartnersCowboy Ventures

Total Raised:
$6.35M

Business Model:
Charge on a per course basis

Comparables:
Arlo.co

X-Factors:
1. Currently a highly fragmented market with local management coaches. Hone centralizes the supply and makes it more accessible in a remote fashion. A great one-to-many training approach.

Thoughts:
Co-founded by one of the founders of FanDual, Tom Griffiths. I get excited when a B2B application is being run by someone with consumer DNA. Can Hone get teams addicted to this type of training?

Lizee

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources indicating growth

Product:
Software-driven 4-step solution to enable any business to rent their products instead of just selling them

Investors:
Speedinvest

Total Raised:
$1.1M

Business Model:
Have a take-rate on payments processed through the platform

Comparables:
No one significant

X-Factors:
1. Growing macro trend around the circular economy

2. Millennials have a lower affinity to own assets

3. Existing retail management software is not setup for a rental offering

Thoughts:
I typically like to see vertical software solutions for retail, but for this specific problem-set, I do do like the idea of a third-party software solution. The founding team has both online rental and retail software experience.

Have you recently raised a Seed round? Do you think your start-up could be of interest to e.ventures? Provide us your information here to be potentially included next week.

See last weeks Seeds to Track >> here

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
.