#3/2019

“Seed is really hard. You lose way more than you win. You wait the longest for liquidity. You lose influence as larger investors come into the cap table and start throwing their weight around. It is where most people start out. Making angel investments, raising small seed funds. They learn the business and many see better economics higher up in the food chain and head there as soon as they can. If you hit one or two right, you can make a fortune in seed. But those bets take a long time to get liquid. And if you don’t hit one or two right, you end up with a mediocre portfolio."
- Fred Wilson

Deals 

Zenoti raises $20 million to manage salon and spa bookings (venturebeat.com)
  • Startup developing booking software for the spa and salon industry. Enables customers to pay directly from a mobile app after their appointments and automatically check in when they walk into a store
  • Appointment scheduling software market anticipated to be worth $360 million by the end of 2024
  • Cloudtalk customer with 80% employees in India. Total raised $91 million

Modular smart-home startup Blokable raises $23M, plans new California manufacturing facility (geekwire.com)
  • Manufactures modular smart home units in a warehouse in Vancouver, Wash. that can be stacked into multi-story projects once they are trucked to a project site
  • For market-rate housing, Blokable owns the units and makes money off the equity they gain. For affordable housing, Blokable develops units for nonprofit partners for a fee in addition to the cost of the project.

UK e-sports start-up Faceit raises $12m from Hong Kong's Makers Fund (telegraph.co.uk)
  • UK start-up that makes software for game developers to run their own online tournaments and hosts its own competitive video game events
  • Previously raised $15M in 2016

Channel 4 invests airtime in a Bristol-based holiday marketplace TravelLocal (tech.eu)
  • Bristol-based B2C online marketplace for tailor-made holidays has announced that Channel 4, the British TV broadcaster, has just invested in the company, via its Commercial Growth Fund. Total funding to date of $9.9 million (£8 million)
  • Platform predominantly operates within the mid to long-haul holiday market, focusing on private itineraries for mid to high-end clients. The potential UK market is expected to hit £3.9 billion this year, with the US market is over £6 billion
  • TravelLocal is connecting clients directly with hand-picked travel experts based in each of its almost 50 destinations worldwide. This bypasses the traditional UK-based middleman, delivering better expertise and fairer value, while at the same time contributing more to the local economy
  • Competition to our startup GoRealTravel

Y-Combinator demoday startups (day 1 + day 2) - relevant or interesting startups
  • Metacode: “Better code search,” currently for Swift, TypeScript and Javascript. Whereas many code environments only do plaintext search, Metacode sorts results by relevance, displays code in the context of code around it and allows you to filter results by keyword
  • Short Story: You could think of Short Story as a Stitch Fix for petite women. Petite women can have a hard time finding clothes that fit them. First, petite women complete a style quiz to notify the company of their preferences. Then, Short Story sends them their first monthly box of clothes. Short Story says the petite women’s clothing market is worth $35 billion
  • PredictLeads: PredictLeads is aiming to help data-driven investors identify companies that are picking up traction. The startup says its data can tell you when the startups that you passed on are starting to gain traction, informing you when they’ve launched new products or are starting to advertise new partnerships
  • Trella: Trella connects shippers to truck drivers in the Middle East to improve efficiency and increase transparency. The company says that shipping costs 3x as much in the Middle East as it does in the U.S
  • Beacons AI: Beacons AI is letting users further monetize their fandom. It’s a payments platform for influencers that allows users to pay to ask these influencers questions and receive short video responses. Beacons takes 25% of every transaction
  • Waves: Waves is creating a dating app with a focus on matching users with specific sexual fetishes. The company launched a few days ago and already has signed up 750 users

Reading

The business of sleep (gq.co.uk)
  • For now, the solutions were more prosaic. Caffeine (none after midday), alcohol (not too much) and any form of screen (the blue light makes our brains think it’s daytime; try to have at least a half-hour break before bed) were bad. A regular sleep routine: good
  • Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours so demolishes your immune system that it doubles your risk of cancer; or that regular short sleeping also increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming brittle and blocked
  • Sleep is an industry now estimated to be worth more than £100 billion, around the same value as the entire creative industry to the UK

The WeWork IPO (stratechery.com)
  • Bull case for WeWork with comparison to AWS from Amazon
  • WeWork is claiming nearly every desk job around the globe as its market, a move that by definition means moving beyond being a real estate company
  • No big competition except IWG that has over 5x more locations but valued 13x lower


In case you are interested in helping us with evaluating some companies and industries or you just want to discus any of these articles, feel free to reach out to Roman from Presto Ventures at roman@prestoventures.com or Linkedin.

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