Startups Venture

Startups to Watch: Finch, Grin, Zuper, ShoppingGives

Crunchbase News typically covers larger funding rounds, however we think these startups are worth highlighting for their interesting approaches despite their smaller raises.

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Finch

Finch’s investor app and card

Investing in the stock market or in mutual funds can be difficult for someone who has never invested before.

This week, Finch, a New York-based fintech startup that integrates the benefits of investing and the flexibility of checking into an all-in-one account, announced a $1.8 million seed round to launch its platform. The round was led by Mendoza Ventures with participation from Barclays, Techstars Investors and Draper Frontier.

Finch is targeting millennials, of whom not even 1 out of 5 have an investment account. As a result, they are losing out, founder Neel Ganu told Crunchbase News. Finch is helping users earn returns by automatically investing their checking balance into a portfolio designed to match their unique risk profile.

“Putting money to work is hard,” he said. “We want to make this simpler, keep people’s money within reach and flip the way it works today by empowering people to invest.”

There is no minimum amount for the account and no hidden fees. Once the investment account makes returns, those can be used to pay for items, Ganu added.

The new funding will go toward getting the product ready for launch in October. Finch is live in beta with 200 people using it so far, but there are more than 4,500 people on the waitlist, Ganu said.

Grin

Grin Scope scan

You might recall my story from last week about LightForce Orthodontics, which secured a $14 million Series B round of funding for its 3D-printed braces system.

This week, Grin announced a $4.3 million seed round to launch its digital orthodontic platform. It includes an app and an FDA-approved Grin Scope medical device that is designed to retract the cheeks in order to allow a full view of a patient’s mouth. The platform provides remote monitoring tools in partnership with local doctors.

The launch coincides with a strategic distribution deal with the 3M Oral Care Solutions Division (NYSE: MMM), which will be the first nationwide distributor of Grin Scopes.

The seed funding will be invested in developing disruptive technology that would allow for real telehealth in the dental-orthodontics space, CEO Adam Schulhof, D.M.D, said via email. Grin’s team doubled in the last year, and its plan is to invest in engineering resources to add functionality and tools for its doctor network and to bring new orthodontists onboard.

“Grin is investing to allow orthodontists to serve even more patients per practice to expand the offering to more people around the country,” he said “This means going beyond regular video chats and the EMR systems that we’ve grown accustomed to and leveraging bleeding-edge advances including incorporating the latest in image processing techniques.”

Here’s what else is on my radar

Zuper

Zuper, a Seattle-based intelligent workforce and customer management platform, said it raised $1.1 million in seed funding and appointed former Microsoft product leader Anand Subbaraj as CEO. Prime Venture Partners led the round with participation from Gunderson Dettemer and Gemba Capital.

With the new capital, Zuper will continue to invest in platform innovations, as well as sales and marketing to fuel aggressive growth and expansion in North America and other regions. It will also invest in talent and is hiring across all functions in the U.S. and India.

ShoppingGives

If you are making returns from your investments in Finch, you might consider using them over on ShoppingGives, a social impact commerce platform. The Chicago-based startup raised $5.5 million in seed funding led by Caffeinated Capital and a group of investors that includes Tuesday Capital, SciFi VC, Background Capital, Red Dog Capital and 20VC.

ShoppingGives enables customers to support their favorite causes by creating a donation funded by the retailer with each purchase. On the retailer side, ShoppingGives helps them integrate cause-related campaigns across marketing channels while managing regulations, reporting and donations.

Product photos courtesy of Finch and Grin.
Illustration: Dom Guzman

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