STARTUP ROUNDUP: SEPT. 24, 2020
4 Consumer Products Make A Big Impact
New-to-market innovations intrigue investors as they ramp-up sales
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It takes a lot of work to bring a product from idea to market. From prototyping and materials to production and packaging, most products take years to actually begin making revenue. Today, we congratulate four companies that recently launched new products and take a look at what may have made their business plans intriguing to investors.
Despite being very different, these products share some notable commonalities. First, three of the four items embrace a subscription revenue model. Subscriptions, once the purview of print media, are more popular than ever. From Netflix, to Amazon Prime, to meal kits, it seems like just about everything is available via subscription these days. This article from Forbes talks about what led to the recent rise of the subscription model (#spoiler: it was Costco), and we can surmise its popularity comes from two main factors: Convenience for the consumer and recurring revenue. While no doubt most of us enjoy convenience, you can bet it’s the latter rather than the former that an investor finds compelling.
The second common thread you’ll find in these four businesses is that three of them are “smart” products. In reality, each offers varying degrees of “smart”; for one its function is moot without it, while for another it’s more about ease-of-use but its app is not critical for operation. But either way, more and more products will feature some kind of app and/or device tie-in.
Startup Funding Roundup:
Likely bolstered by so many of us being homebound these days, smart indoor gardens are extremely popular. Edn recently announced a round of funding for its “SmallGarden” indoor garden. Using hydroponics, the soil-less system features time-released plant food and optimal lighting schedules to grow anything from basil to marigolds to cherry tomatoes, all monitored from its app and WiFi equipment. And of course with walnut and aluminum finishes, it’s stylish, too. The entire system (planter tray, sensor system, LED lights, and intro seed pods) retails for $199. Using a proprietary “SeedPod” system, the business offers a subscription for new plant types. Their recently completed funding round was led by Right Side Capital with participation from Techstars.
Speaking of plants, Cloud Paper recently announced funding for its tree-less toilet paper product. Made with rapidly renewable bamboo fiber, it is certainly not the first bamboo paper product to come to market. What is different about Cloud Paper is that its product is available by subscription only. Their seed round of $3 million was led by Greycroft and backed my numerous private investors such as Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Violux recently introduced “Luma,” an Ultraviolet-C light cleaning box that disinfects 99.9% of germs, including coronavirus. The countertop-sized box is designed to disinfect the small items you handle most: cell phones, keys, cash, etc. The company is currently running an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign with an early-bird price of $249, which is half the projected retail price. This week, the company announced seed funding of $1.2 million led by Okapi Venture Partners and Unlock Ventures.
Pom Partners has brought a new personal safety device to market. The POM is a keychain-sized smart button making help just a finger press away. The POM has Bluetooth connectivity to your phone, and can be used both for emergency alerts, via a triple tap, and to contact a friend or family member with an auto-call/auto-text function (via single tap). The POM Personal sells for $59.99 with a $9.99 subscription service, and the company offers an enterprise level targeted at universities. Pom Partners completed Series A funding led by Cayuga Venture Fund.
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