Requests for Startups: Jonathan Struhl (Indicator Ventures)
Jonathan is Co-Founder and General Partner at Indicator Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund that backs founders leveraging digital to drive efficiencies for businesses and consumers. Indicator’s investments include Lob, Circa, Nimble, Edyn, Bond, and Unikrn, among others. Prior to Indicator Ventures, Jonathan was an active investor, mentor and advisor to a number of different early-stage companies. Jon’s experience is deeply rooted in digital marketing having founded a Digital Marketing Agency that worked with complex global brands, athletes and celebrities to help connect them with startups. Jonathan is a graduate of Yeshiva University, Sy Syms Business School.
What startup verticals interest you most right now?
The “Internet of Things” space is very exciting, and that should come as no surprise. It plays perfectly into Indicator Ventures’ core focus: digital efficiencies. We have a great example in our current portfolio: Edyn — think Nest for your home garden. The IoT will bring many conveniences and comforts to both consumers and businesses alike. But with it will also come security concerns, infrastructure challenges and likely implications we haven’t yet considered. However, we see this transformation as a massive opportunity.
I also love anything that facilitates curation. I call it “CoE”, the Curation of Everything. There is so much bullsh*t out there — everything from content to data to apps — that it’s impossible to sort through all the clutter. That’s why I love companies like Product Hunt that are building specific and lightweight curation solutions.
What are your biggest predictions for the year ahead?
Now that crowdfunding has started to reach the masses and has become socially acceptable, there is a huge opportunity to apply the model to different industries. One of our portfolio companies, Inkshares, did just that, and is shaking up the antiquated and volatile book publishing industry. Think about all of the archaic industries that can greatly benefit from crowdfunding. I like to think of crowdfunding as the new age survival of the fittest.
Are there any specific company ideas that you really want someone to build and would potentially fund?
Over the past few years, I’ve been obsessed with creating a platform where people can donate unwanted items with ease and efficiency. In our busy and cluttered lives, we find ourselves accumulating more and more things. Right now, the Salvation Army or a dropbox on the side of the road are your best options to give these things away, but you have no clue where those items are going. I want to see Seamless Web for donating. It matches a charity with specific items they need. I’ve got a business plan and own a great domain name (DontWasteDonate.com), but would love for someone roll with it!
If you could wave a magic wand and instantly have any imaginable solution to a problem you’re facing (personally or at work), what problem would you solve?
No one has addressed sleep. About 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems, but most of the innovation today is meant for when we are awake, (meanwhile we spend half our lives asleep). Products available today (pills, a sleep app or a comfortable mattress, for instance) do not address the root of the problem. I’m talking about a game-changing innovation that can help millions of people.
If you have a startup or you’re interested in any of Indicator’s portfolio companies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jonathan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.