New York City Startups Get Roaring Start in 2021

Our quarterly seed fundraising report finds the signal is strong in healthcare, fintech, media, and more.

There were plenty of reasons to feel optimistic this past quarter: a new president, mass vaccinations, and lots of liquidity. Here’s what that meant for the New York City seed ecosystem.

The biggest raise on our radar — $6 million for Lex Markets’ “commercial real estate investing for all” platform — sits between two big trends: New York real estate is coming back to life, and fresh new investors are eager to get a piece of previously inaccessible assets, whether those are NFT artworks, fractions of sports collectibles, or a GameStop short.

New York Magazine’s Reeves Wiedeman hypothesized that these types of trends buoyed Compass’s recent IPO, adding, “Stocks at the nexus of real estate and tech (Redfin, Zillow, and Opendoor) have had a good pandemic.” (Our own Jason Shuman certainly felt that way about Flock, the single-family-rental property management platform that recently came out of stealth.)

Another big deal in our Crunchbase and PitchBook data reflects a more aspirational mood. We’re all ready to get off the couch and out into the world. Backpack manufacturer Baboon to the Moon grabbed a big bag — $5.77 million.

Smaller—though still sizable!—deals touched on everything from a fertility marketplace (GoStork) to a podcast platform for independent creators (Sounder) to a smarter, more sustainable solution for reconfiguring office spaces (Canoa). New York startups are tackling just about every industry.

We didn’t register any seed records shattered in Q1, but are seeing healthy signs of recovery since this time last year: Deal volume is up by more than 18 percent, total funding is up by over 16 percent, and more companies are pulling in checks between $2.5 and $6 million.

A few more qualitative trends from our team

Plus companies that exemplify the ideas. Did we miss any? Are you building a business that touches on these trends? Our DMs are open.

“Trading volumes are at record highs to start the year, which means education and security are more important than ever for investors. Koyfin raised $3 million to create a robust platform to help anyone better analyze stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and more. Families are also joining in on the action with Goalsetter raising a $3.9 million round to create a new financial app for families and Carefull raising a $3.2 million round to prevent fraud and financial mistakes for families.”

— @Liaazhang

“Democratizing access is the name of the game in consumer land these days and the real estate tech market is getting its fair share of it. Realm, a Primary portfolio company, recently came out of stealth mode with $3 million in backing to provide consumers with access to data identifying how much potential value could be unlocked in a single family home — information historically only available to professional investors. Meanwhile, Lex Markets’ $6 million round is going toe to toe with prolific NYC based angel investor David Rose’s new company USREM; both are trying to democratize access to fractional ownership for American investors in real estate.”

— @JasonRShuman

“Companies that focus on mental health continue to proliferate across all categories from telehealth across different verticals to community apps to help alleviate and support patients. Alula raised a $2.2 million round to help support patients, families, and friends through the entire lifecycle of cancer. Minded raised $2.2 million round to help provide more access to mental health medication and Mantra Health raised an additional $2 million to reimagine how mental-health programs are adopted in universities.”

— @Liaazhang

“Headlines about retail investors have masked an increasingly interconnected and analytics-driven financial world. For capital inflows, Yuansfer has raised $3 million to enable businesses to accept all wallet payments in one integration. For capital management, InterPrice Technologies raised $2.5 million to develop a financial technology platform enabling corporations to have direct, always-on access to their cost of capital and streamlining their communication with financing partners, while Predictive Trading Systems raised $330,000 to create an AI-powered, data-driven, cloud-based decision making platform for investment management.”

— @Kuaicash

“Creators have never had so many tools to manage, grow, and engage their communities. They can now use platforms like Circle, which raised a $4 million round, or Subkit, which raised a $4.5 million round to help bring together their content and membership into the platform. On the pure creation and discovery front, Capsule raised a $2 million round to create high quality short-form content and for podcasters, and Sounder.fm raised $4 million to help manage your content and grow your audience from a discovery suite.”

— @Liaazhang

“COVID19 has put most of the world on pause while rapidly accelerating health and medical development. In medical R&D, Nemedio has raised $2.5 million to de-risk and facilitate the development process for medical devices and Allelica raised $1.75 million to create a secure and trusted platform for Polygenic Risk Score analysis and reporting. Finally, we are starting to see an increased interest in preventative medicine and addressing chronic ailments, with companies like Aeye Health raising $1 million to provide AI-based diagnostic screening solutions for retinal imaging.”

— @Samdtoole

“The transition to an economy free of carbon emissions is well underway. Andrew Beebe says, “the decarbonization of the global economy is a transformation on par with the digitization of the economy before it.” Canoa raised $1.5 million to enable brands, operators, and occupiers to quickly expand or shrink their real estate footprint by retrofitting and reusing existing commercial properties. Additionally, as more and more people shift to urban centers energy demands continue to rise. Digital Power Optimization (DPO) raised $440,000 to help power plant and grid operators create profitability out of waste and downtime via cutting-edge digital applications.

Scanifly raised $2.3 million to take solar professionals to new heights. They are creating a drone-based platform to help the solar industry work more efficiently, avoid mistakes, and exceed customer expectations.

Finally, AlgiKnit raised $2.4 million to embody this transformation. They are developing biomaterials from the most renewable organisms on earth to change the face of fashion. All of these companies are early signals for companies tackling this critical challenge in our climate through technology.”

— @Kuaicash

The Primary NYC Seed Deal Report covers all NYC pre-seed and seed deals — defined as $250,000 — $6 million — that have been publicly announced in each quarter. Data is sourced from Crunchbase, PitchBook, and Primary Venture Partners research. If you know of any deals that we’ve missed in this report, please contact us at info@primary.vc!

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Primary Venture Partners

Primary Venture Partners

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A seed-stage venture capital firm responsible for backing NYC’s most promising founders. www.primary.vc.