June 2021 Underrepresented Founders - KingsCrowd

July 6, 2021

June 2021 Underrepresented Founders

At KingsCrowd, we want to be part of the democratization of startup investing. We also want to do what we can to uplift underrepresented founders. To those goals, we have put together all the KingsCrowd deals and founder profiles from June 2021 that feature traditionally underrepresented founders. 


Deals to Watch

Blendid

Blendid makes robotic food automation solutions powered by artificial intelligence. The first product is a robotic kiosk that makes healthy smoothies on demand based on the taste preferences of customers. Vipin Jain, Venki Ayalur, and Vijay Dodd founded Blendid in 2015 and have raised over $13 million in previous rounds of financing. Blendid already has kiosks deployed at select Walmart locations and plans to expand. The company is raising funds on StartEngine.

Pakt

Pakt creates sleek, refined travel gear for modern travelers. Pakt products are environmentally-friendly and meant to last. Malcolm Fontier founded Pakt in December 2012. Pakt has generated $4.6 million in lifetime revenue and has sold over 24,000 units to date. Revenue grew by 32% year-over-year even throughout the COVID pandemic. The company is raising funds on Republic with a $9 million valuation cap.


Neutral Deals

HAPPYBOND

HAPPYBOND makes science-based nutritional products for pets. The products include HappyAgain Collagen+ for hip and joint wellness for senior dogs, HappyDays for adult dogs, and HappyStart for pups. Anja Skodda founded the company in 2017. HAPPYBOND reported tripled growth from the first quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2020. The company is raising funds on Wefunder with a $5 million valuation cap.

Spinster Sisters

Spinster Sisters makes clean skincare products using high-quality and sustainable ingredients. The products, including soaps, lotions, aromatherapy, and personal care products, are cruelty-free, toxin-free, and organic. Kelly Perkins founded Spinster Sisters in July 2012. Spinster Sisters is distributed across 2,000 stores nationally and online and generated revenue of $1.4 million in 2020. The company is raising funds on Republic with a $5.5 million valuation cap.

Morningside PlayCare

Morningside PlayCare is a learning center that immerses children in Mandarin and Spanish languages through play, creative activities, Yoga, and exploration of nature. The curriculum is inspired by the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School and Flying Deer Nature Centre. Dr. Gail Foster founded Morningside PlayCare in 2015. Morningside PlayCare graduates have been accepted at the top Mandarin and Spanish immersion independent day schools in New York City.

GroGuru

GroGuru is helping farmers to increase crop yield and reduce the consumption of water and other resources. GroGuru implements strategic irrigation management and uses soil sensors to measure soil salinity, temperature, and moisture. Patrick Henry, Farooq Anjum, and Jeff Campbell founded GroGuru in June 2014. GroGuru has patented technology and has deployed over 2,000 sensors across more than 80 customers in the US. The company is raising funds on StartEngine.

TracFlo

TracFlo has developed a financial management app to empower contractors. The platform connects the field to an office and supports real-time documentation, including photos and videos. Khalid David and Jake Snyder founded TracFlo in February 2019. TracFlo has several notable customers, including Turner Construction Company, and is currently being used on the third-largest construction project in New York City. The company is raising funds on Republic with a $6.5 million valuation cap.

Hylio

Hylio makes innovative drone systems to automate agricultural processes. The drones can be used to apply crop treatments directly to affected areas and increase yields. Arthur Erickson, Nikhil Dixit, Mike Oda, and Nicholas Nawratil founded Hylio in 2015. Hylio has grown at a rate of 347% in year-over-year sales since 2019 and has customers across six countries. The company is raising Series A funds on StartEngine.

Tanoshi

Tanoshi has a mission of making digital learning accessible to all students despite socioeconomic barriers. Tanoshi Computers are designed to be the right size for kids with enough parental controls and educational content. Brad Johnston, Lisa Love, Josh Traub, and Greg Smith founded Tanoshi in 2016. Tanoshi has generated more than $2.5 million in lifetime revenues and has sold over 10,000 computers. The company is raising funds on StartEngine with a $30 million pre-money valuation.

Eventcombo

Eventcombo is an all-in-one event management tool meant to improve the event experience for both organizers and attendees. Organizers use Eventcombo to create event landing pages, publicize events, gather RSVPs, and even host virtual talks and breakout rooms. Attendees use Eventcombo to RSVP and coordinate additional logistics, like booking parking or accommodations near a conference. The company is raising funds on StartEngine.

Saya Life

SAYA Life is employing modern technology to monitor water usage for multi-tenant properties. SAYA Life’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) platform provides detailed monitoring and control of essential water services. The platform, accessible to tenants, businesses, and utilities alike, automatically detects and manages problems before they result in damages and health hazards. Sanjay Poojary founded Saya Life in 2019. The company is raising funds on Republic with an $8 million valuation.

modgarden

modgarden is creating stackable garden modules — called “tinyFarms” — that employ proprietary soil cartridges and artificial intelligence-powered personalization to enable consumers to grow greens for their own consumption. These systems enable roots to absorb more moisture and completely omit the toxic pesticides that are so anathema to green-oriented consumers. The tinyFarm concept was the winner of Milan Design Week and the Innovation Pick of 2021. modgarden is raising funds via Title3Funds.


Founder Profiles

Blendid

Blendid sits at the intersection of food robotics and growing demand for healthier food and drinks. The company has created a fully autonomous robotic kiosk that can make healthy, personalized smoothies on demand. We reached out to co-founder Vipin Jain to learn more about this intriguing concept. He told us how Star Trek inspired the creation of a robot that can create flawless food every time.

Kyndoo

The explosion of social media has given rise to a new brand of celebrity known as “influencers.” However, the recent risks of fake influencers have given businesses cause to be wary. Kyndoo has come up with a solution to help both influencers and companies considering influencer marketing. The company has developed a platform that helps real influencers leverage social media’s unstructured data to create effective marketing campaigns. The platform, the Kyndex, works like a credit score for influencers and measures the authenticity of the influencers’ audience. We reached out to co-founder Kelly McDonald to learn about the impact Kyndoo can have in the future and hear her thoughts on the significance of recent crowdfunding legislation as a whole.

Ayoba

Beef jerky is a classic snack for many meat lovers. But it often comes with an unhealthy amount of  sodium, sugar, and nitrates. Ayoba is looking to reinvent beef jerky’s reputation by serving natural South African beef jerky lookalikes called biltong and droëwors, which are air-dried to eliminate added sugar and nitrates. Ayoba is primarily a direct-to-consumer business with positive reviews on Amazon and solid gross margins from online sales. Now the company is expanding its distribution footprint and plans to hit 4,000 stores by 2023. We reached out to co-founder Wian van Blommestein to learn the origins of the company and the inspiration behind its name. 


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About: Olivia Strobl

Olivia comes to KingsCrowd with a background in venture capital and technology. She spent time at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund in Boston, before joining the KingsCrowd team. There she helped develop machine learning algorithms for the opportunity qualification of preseed and seed-stage startup companies. Prior to her time at Glasswing, Olivia worked in a lab studying the neural correlates of attention. She holds a degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College.

View Olivia Strobl's articles

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