ERA Demo Day Winter 2016: 11 Startups Aiming to Simplify How We Live and Work
In April, eleven start-up companies traveled a combined 11,000 miles to participate in the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA) Winter Demo Day 2016. Based in New York City, ERA is an early-stage seed fund and technology accelerator. With over two hundred expert mentors, ERA coaches high-growth companies to succeed in their marketplace.
Twice a year, ERA gives select startups four months of intensive coaching, $40,000, free office space, and countless other services. ERA’s alumni are now valued at over $1.1 billion combined. Meet the latest ERA graduate companies and find out what they’re aiming to disrupt:
Frank is a platform for lending and borrowing money from friends and family. Using behavioral psychology, Frank reduces the emotional and logistical elements involved in mixing friends and money. “The key to unlocking [the peer lending market] is making it social but safe,”explains co-founder D’Arcy Coolican. Frank allows borrowers to decide their own terms and implements an automated payment schedule connected right to their bank account, serving as an “intelligent intermediary”. Since joining ERA, Frank has experienced 100% month-over-month growth in users, with 200% projected so far for the end of the month.
Scouted is aiming to disrupt the $8 billion recruiting industry by changing the way people find work and hire talent. Instead of hiring based on education and GPA alone, Scouted uses algorithms to evaluate a candidate on the metrics that they believe truly matter like grit, EQ, problem solving and communication skills. Focused on campus recruiting since its launch, Scouted replaces the traditional process with technology that “transforms an instinctive decision into a data-driven process.” The platform searches its database of over 6,000 candidates from 500 schools and delivers a curated list with the top 15 applicants for the role. The SaaS platform says it has closed deals with 70% of the companies it has pitched, 80% of which have posted multiple positions. It has helped 60 candidates find jobs, 100% of whom have been successful hires at the crucial three-month mark. With ERA coaching, the platform has expanded to 55 corporate customers, generated $100,000 in revenue and is on track to earn $300,000 by the end of the second quarter.
iSharing provides real-time location for your friends and family around the globe with an accuracy of 10 meters. The app notifies a user know when someone in their network is nearby and offers walkie-talkie functionality. In the case of an emergency, a user can shake the phone three times to share his or her location. Determined to become the leading family safety app in the world, iSharing features a patent-pending heuristic battery-saving technology that only uses 1% of a phone’s battery life over 24 hours. iSharing is already the number one location services app in South Korea. Since working with ERA, iSharing has generated over 1.5 million downloads with zero marketing expense. It has been growing at a clip of 80% month-over-month, with 10,000 users in the U.S. and 100,000 users globally. Now ranked in the top five for location-related apps in the iTunes App Store, this is the “location platform for peace of mind”, according to CEO and co-founder, Reese Cho.
Negotiatus is a B2B e-commerce platform that saves businesses an average of 20% on their most common purchases. Aiming to be the single destination source for businesses, its proprietary technology searches thousand of products in real time for better prices while taking into account each customer’s unique purchasing preferences, from generic to name brand to green products. Negotiatus boasts 85 clients, a 92% retention rate, and a gross volume of $275,000. It also recently partnered with VeteransList.us, a collection of over 130,000 veteran owned and operated businesses, and Green Schools Alliance, a coalition of over 7,800 schools representing $56 billion in purchasing power.
Please and Carrots
Please and Carrots is a female-founded subscription service that elevates child development by curating the best learning resources and delivering them directly to families. The most important time for brain development is between birth and 5 years old, when early experiences can impact future success and even IQ. And yet, with no formal education until preschool, parents are left to navigate this critical time in their child’s development alone; as co-founder Stephanie Chan joked, “DIY your child’s future.” Please and Carrots helps parents discover digital and physical resources that optimally support their child’s learning and development through every pivotal developmental stage. ERA has helped Please and Carrots ship over 100 boxes, generate over $100,000 in sales and partner with the largest gifting company in the world, 1–800-Baskets. (Please and Carrots is offering Microsoft readers a special discount of 20% using the code MS20, valid until July 30th, 2016.)
Bookbuses modernizes booking charter buses, letting you focus less on the booking process and more on enjoying the ride. Americans travel 600 million miles on charter buses, or “from earth to Jupiter” according to co-founder Oscar Aabech Jung, making it a $14 billion industry. Yet, booking a charter bus remains an archaic process. Bookbuses radically shortens booking times from one week to one minute by disrupting a highly fragmented and hyper-local market. “We are the first to offer nationwide booking and an app to track your bus.” Bookbuses’ predictive pricing algorithm replaces tedious forms and allows for rapid scale. Through ERA, Bookbuses has grown 130% month-over-month and now boasts major corporate clients, like Kayak.com.
LearnLux is an online platform that educates millennials about personal finances by guiding them through financial decisions using interactive tools. There’s both a monetary and educational reward to becoming a user: every time users complete a lesson, they earn a credit toward a new account accessible through one of LearnLux’s financial partners, like So-Fi or First Republic Bank. Big banks have already spent $7 billion trying to reach the millennial market. LearnLux aims to help financial services companies access these 80 million consumers at zero cost to users. While at ERA, LearnLux co-founder Rebecca Liebman was featured in Forbes’ “30 Under 30”, and LearnLux is now a marketing partner of the U.S. Treasury.
Smart Screen makes background checks faster, smarter, cheaper and more personalized. According to co-founder Subrat Nayek, the average business loses $150,000 a year due to screening inefficiencies. Smart Screen is an automated, low-cost screening solution that seamlessly integrates with a client’s HR department. Since joining ERA, Smart Screen has transformed its MVP into a paid product, grown its team by almost 200% and increased paying customers by over 150%. Smart Screen has 315 enterprise clients — including Apple — and has screened 2.2 million contractors. Traffic to the site has increased by 500% and their sales pipeline has grown by over 200%. Nayek states Smart Screen is now “in growth hacking mode,” focused on growing its platform and support staff to handle a “tsunami of new customers” over next few months.
Seashells is a first of its kind dual savings and rewards program. Say a user makes a credit card purchase in the amount of $7.15; Seashells rounds-up the purchase to an even eight dollars and sets aside the spare change of eighty-five cents in an account, which earns an additional 15% bonus. Seashells lets users earn rewards on every purchase with redeemable rewards for vacations, gift cards, restaurants and more at 180+ retail and brand partners. A big market differentiator is that Seashells is purely mobile. With ERA’s help, co-founder Harris Hines stated, “in just three months, we’ve had 10,000 downloads, already rounded up over $125,000 in transactions and are on track to collect $5 million in roundups this year.” Seashells capitalizes on millennial spending habits, with over 100 million millennials projected in the U.S. by 2020 and more than $100 million in estimated retailer revenue potential.
DocFlight is the first and only international tele-medicine company connecting Chinese patients to leading U.S. doctors. Chinese patients can book virtual consultations, assisted by translators, and receive medical recommendations all in one place. Co-founder Sally Wong says there is a big demand for top foreign healthcare and that 65% of Chinese patients prefer U.S. doctors. For patients that can be treated locally after their virtual consultation, DocFlight keeps care local, and for those who need to travel abroad, DocFlight will help connect patients to U.S. healthcare providers. DocFlight has seven existing healthcare partners and is looking to expand through partnerships with some of the biggest names in Chinese healthcare. Wong told Demo Day attendees that DocFlight is aiming to “take U.S. medicine global, with China first. It is what we perceive the single largest opportunity with a huge unmet need”.
Cartified is an online used car marketplace that seeks to make car buying easier and faster. The used car industry is highly fragmented and most Americans dislike the dealership experience. This platform locates and aggregates cars, from private sellers to wholesale markets, with its proprietary “car bot” technology. Now, users can find a specific vehicle, request inspection and schedule a local test drive all without stepping into a dealership. In its first six months of launching with ERA, Cartified has generated $500,000 in sales and averages $1,600 in gross commissions per transaction. Most importantly, this platform saves the average user $2,500 per purchase. Currently available on the East Coast, Cartified is set to go nationwide in 2017.