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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Since school is starting at my house on Monday, I thought we should start with an education-related startup. This is a good one for parents who are navigating school-from-home for the first time, or if your child has a subject you haven’t thought of in decades.
Meet GoPeer, a Boston-based platform that connects K-12 students with vetted college undergraduates for in-person and online tutoring lessons. The company closed a $2 million seed round led by Ed Baker.
“The new financing will power GoPeer’s product-driven growth and fuel its innovative platform, prioritizing teaching, accessibility and analytics,” said Ethan Binder, founder and CEO of GoPeer via email.
The best part? Families get unlimited tutoring at $20 per hour and tutors keep 100 percent of their earnings.
Last week, I wrote about a venture capital panel on decentralized financing from the Global DeFi Summit. This week, I learned about Prague-based Kira Core, a decentralized finance technology company focused on blockchain and cryptocurrency, raising $2.5 million in total funding in both seed and private funding.
The company said the funding will be used for development of a multi-bonded proof of stake consensus that enables investors to stake their assets (a way of being rewarded for participating, kind of like earning interest on a bank account), rather than sell them, to support new projects. This allows investors to maintain ownership of their assets and mitigate risks.
I live in a household of musicians—two French horns, one oboe and one flute—and overall we are strong supporters of children learning to play an instrument. Naturally, Chicago-based Trala caught my eye.
Trala’s music education software teaches how to play violin through video tutorials led by notable violinists. Signal processing technology gives students instant feedback on pitch and rhythm as they practice. Depending on the kind of violin, users can get started with a one-year subscription and instrument for $215.
The startup raised $3.5 million in seed funding led by Next Play Ventures with participation from Lachy Groom, Techstars Ventures, Blue Titan Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, Webb Investment Network, Phoenix Rising, Concrete Rose Capital, and a group of 13 angel investors.
“Because one in two people pick up an instrument at some point in their lives, we see tremendous opportunity in this market,” said Sam Walder, Trala’s co-founder and CEO, via email. “We’ve had success with the violin and want to create music education that’s accessible to all ages and abilities, affordable and actively breaks down barriers to entry. We have plans to roll out new instruments, launch in new languages, create an educational curriculum that gets better with every student and build community.”
Workplace productivity, especially while at home, continues to be a hot topic. Getting a piece of the pie this week is Mighty, a work technology platform built to lead remote and cross-functional teams. Based in Salt Lake City, the company closed $4.3 million in seed venture funding from Slack Fund, GSV Ventures, Origin Ventures, Album VC, Acadian Ventures and Village Global.
Developed around today’s definition of a “modern team,” Mighty takes individual workflows and puts them together into a focused timeline that everyone can follow and managers can use to maintain alignment, keep leadership informed and spot opportunities for recognition and coaching.
“Mighty will utilize the funding to continue building out its solution with even more firepower in the form of features and integrations, as well as toward its go-to-market efforts focused on professional services and technology customers,” said Brent Alvord, co-founder and CEO, via email.
Log My Care
Across the pond, Log My Care, a U.K.-based startup providing app-based software for managing social care delivery, added to its seed round to bring its total raise to $1.1 million, led by RYSE Asset Management.
Log my Care’s cloud-based care planning software enables care homes to take all of their administration functions and planning online. The funding will be used to build more tools and expand its user base to reach thousands of care services.
“Our core focus has always been on providing social care with better quality data and insight, that is easily accessible and completely trackable,” Sam Hussain, founder of Log my Care, said in a written statement. “This intelligence about health care information has the potential to have a significant impact on standards and quality, as well as finances. That way, it frees up the carers’ time to do more of what computers will never be able to do.”
Homeowners use apps like Nextdoor to learn about what is going on in their area, and Clowder is creating that type of mobile, private social network, but for membership groups such as associations and nonprofit organizations.
The Alexandria, Virginia-based company raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by Active Capital. It helps members retain engagement through alerts and forums, especially now that many events are canceled due to the global pandemic.
“The funds will be used to expand our client success team and the client-exclusive resources offered,” Sergei Dubograev, Clowder’s founder and CEO, said in a written statement. “We will be increasing our sales team along with our marketing initiatives as well. Funds will also be allocated toward new feature development and our overall mission to help educate the market on the importance of mobile within modern communication.”
Cyber attacks have been in the news lately, and Israeli startup Adaptive Shield emerged from stealth with $4 million in seed funding from Vertex Ventures Israel to automate SaaS application security so customers can prevent cyberattacks, data exfiltration and other risks.
Maor Bin, co-founder and CEO of Adaptive Shield, said via email that it will invest the new fundings into building out more integrations for customers.
“Adaptive Shield immediately started hiring once the round closed and is now also in the process of hiring its first employee in the US to help with sales,” he added. “We will continue using the funds for sales development and marketing, as well as to keep growing our product and R&D teams.”
SMBX, which connects small businesses to investors through its marketplace, raised $2.5 million in seed funding.
“Our ultimate goal here is to build the world’s first small business capital marketplace, and that’s no small task,” said co-founder and CEO Benjamin Lozano via email. “This funding allows us to continue to connect more small businesses with people who want to invest in them, while also working with regulators to open up our secondary market in the coming year.”
Speaking of investor marketplaces…
One last note: while putting this article together, I learned about another marketplace, New York-based Conduit, which matches qualified entrepreneurs with strategic financing from experienced operator investors and select VC funds. It was founded by Edward Lando and Sree Kolli. The appeal for this one is that VCs can connect with quality, curated deal flow that they wouldn’t have been otherwise exposed to, especially in geographic areas outside of Silicon Valley or New York.
We will be interested to learn what money-making matches result. Stay tuned.
Illustration: Dom Guzman
Product photos courtesy of GoPeer, Trala, Mighty, Log My Care, Clowder and Adaptive Shield.