Startup

This Week’s Top Seed Companies to Watch — Mati, Warehouse Exchange, Belvo, Poplar, Datch

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:

Chinese autonomous driving platform Didi raises $500M from Softbank’s Vision Fund II. The company has raised over $20B to date with their Series A being led by GSR Ventures back in September 2012.

Estonian Uber competitor Bolt raises $100M to become a dominant player in the European market. The ride-hailing service has raised over $400M to date with its first round being led by TMT Ventures in December 2014.

IBM is looking to acquire the customer UX optimization software ThousandEye in a billion-dollar deal. ThousandEye has raised $110M in outside capital with its Seed round being led by Sequoia Capital in January 2011.

Marqeta, the payment infrastructure platform, takes on $150M and boosts its valuation to $4.3B. The company has raised $528M to date and raised its Series A in June 2014 led by 83North and Granite Ventures.

Here are my top seed investments from the last week:

Mati

EVA Growth Index:

Product:
Identity verification that can be integrated into any product within 5 minutes

Investors:
Spero VenturesKima Ventures, Blackhorn Ventures, Dorm Room Fund

Total Raised:
Undisclosed

Business Model:
SaaS subscription

Comparables:
ComplyAdvantage

X-Factors:
1. Quick integration process

2. Enables users to verify themselves in under 15 seconds

Thoughts:
With the number of fintech companies exploding, the market opportunity for user verification continues to rise in tandem. Just as Stripe has done for payments, Mati has the potential for fraud and compliance.

Warehouse Exchange

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources showing growth

Product:
Online discovery solution and marketplace for warehouse storage space

Investors:
Xebec

Total Raised:
$2.2M

Business Model:
Take-rate on GMV

Comparables:
Stord, FlowSpace

X-Factors:
1. Centralizing a huge and fragmented market

2. The CEO and Co-Founder was formerly the CEO of eHarmony

Thoughts:
We have spent a fair amount of time in this category and believe that there will be a few large players built within it. Supply is the name of the game in this business.

Belvo

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources showing growth

Product:
Open Banking API platform in Latin America to connect consumer’s bank-accounts to apps

Investors:
Kaszek Ventures, Founders FundVentureFriends, MAYA Capital, Kalonia Venture Partners

Total Raised:
$13M

Business Model:
Most likely will charge businesses for each end-user connected through Belvo

Comparables:
Plaid

X-Factors:
1. The founders both come from Verse, a European payments business that had to overcome some of these specific banking connectivity challenges

2. Raised plenty of capital to execute, latest round is $10M

Thoughts:
Solving the banking connection problem in Latin America is not only a large business opportunity, but is also likely incredibly challenging, given the number of countries. Highly defensible business once they reach a certain scale.

Poplar

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources showing growth

Product:
3D and AR ad-campaign builder for brands to easily create immersive experiences that consumers interact with on their smartphones — you might have come across these on your Snapchat and Instagram stories

Investors:
Fuel Ventures, Ascension VenturesSuper Ventures, Haatch, Founders Factory, L’Oreal

Total Raised:
$3M

Business Model:
Likely campaign based

Comparables:
N/A

X-Factors:
1. The CEO and Co-Founder has been in the content business for a long time, having been at Netflix in the mid-2000s followed by time at YouTube

2. Incredible customer list of top global brands including RedBull, L’Oreal, Universal, and Nestle

Thoughts:
AR appears to be here, and here to stay. Face filters have been a huge hit on Instagram. I’d imagine that Poplar has built some sort of proprietary AR engine that is enabling them to replicate these experiences in an affordable manner across their customers.

Datch

EVA Growth Index:
No external sources showing growth

Product:
AI-enabled voice assistant that lets production floor workers interact with their machinery through speech

Investors:
Blue Bear Capital, Predictive Venture Partners, Lorimer Ventures, Plug and Play, Stage Venture Partners, Tuhua Fund

Total Raised:
$3.7M

Business Model:
SaaS subscription

Comparables:
N/A

X-Factors:
1. Bringing the conversational interface to production machinery

2. The entire management team has deep engineering experience at a massive scale

Thoughts:
This is one of those products, wherein you cannot imagine a future where this is not in place.

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

https://medium.com/@brendanwales/this-weeks-top-seed-companies-to-watch-c4aa42f8c5ed

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.