Business Startups Venture

A Little Funding Goes A Long Way, A Look At Three Startups To Watch

We typically cover larger rounds of funding, but I came across three recently launched companies that despite their small raises were worth noting for their interesting approaches.

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First is San Francisco-based Scope, an Implementation-as-a-Service platform that raised a $1 million seed round led by Craft Ventures. Plaid co-founder William Hockey also participated, investing in the company after using the platform, said Xander Oltmann, Scope’s co-founder and CEO.

“I’ve always been in the business-to-business software space, and we ran into the same problem, which was trying to implement software at scale,” he said. “It was really difficult and could take a downstream turn if the product was not set up correctly.”

Scope solves the problem of slow and costly software implementation, connecting SaaS providers to their customers through its network of expert engineers and service providers. Now, software vendors can quickly and cost-effectively scale, serving a much larger slice of their potential market without constraining internal resources or those of their customers.

Lowell Putnam, Plaid’s head of partnerships, told me via email that implementing any new technology can be challenging, so the company works with third-party developers, like Scope, to help lower the barrier to entry for customers so they can integrate with Plaid quickly.

“We view partners like Scope as enablers and accelerants for our customers who already have packed roadmaps and overburdened tech teams—more or less every tech company I’ve ever seen—so they can quickly get into production with Plaid,” he said.


On the East Coast, Pulsify launched its free tool to support managers in developing engaged, high-performing teams with a $1.1 million funding round that included investment by Okta’s co-founder and COO Frederic Kerrest, and Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO of HubSpot.

Bennett Fisher, co-founder and CEO of Boston-based Pulsify, told me that the company’s origins stemmed from his own experience, or rather inexperience, in managing employees. He hired a CEO coach to help him learn how to communicate the company’s mission, vision and values, as well as set goals and perform weekly one-on-ones with employees. Afterward, he helped grow his former company, which was eventually acquired.

“It was the ‘aha’ moment for Pulsify,” Fisher said. “I was struggling to manage other people, not because I didn’t want to be successful, but because I had not learned there was a cadence to doing this effectively.”

While similar programs are built for human resources, he didn’t see anything comparable for managers. Pulsify takes the concepts of management and scales them down to real-time feedback that is simple, actionable and intelligent, Fisher said.

The platform is free for teams numbering under 25, while larger teams or organizations can subscribe for $3 to $6 per employee, per month.

Hipla Technologies

In India, Hipla Technologies Pte Ltd. raised SGD 500,000, or $360,000, in funding to further grow its contact tracking and social distancing product, The platform focuses on helping offices, manufacturing, retail and health care employees return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The platform automates contract tracing and delivers information via the organization’s surveillance footage. It also uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to notify individuals when they are about to commit a safe-distancing breach so they can take steps to avoid contamination and infection risks in large work environments.

“Working on a product that addresses a definitive gap in the industry with a strong and driven team has been super exciting for us,” Sandeep Kaul, CEO of Hipla Technologies, said in a written statement. “This capital injection will give us additional momentum to take to a global platform and enable us to expand our talent pool.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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