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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Fintech for kids, for fun
There were some cool startups in the fintech space that I want to highlight from Y Combinator’s Demo Day, which took place earlier this week. I was also pitched several funding rounds from potential competitors of the Demo Day standouts so thought it would be helpful to include those, as well.
The first grouping I noticed was fintech aimed at younger folks. From YC was CapWay, founded by Sheena Allen. The startup is developing a mobile bank for the financially underserved, particularly the 52 million millennials, Allen said. Another was Mozper, a debit card and app designed for kids and parents in Latin America.
Meanwhile, this week, Copper Banking, a digital bank for teens that helps them build financial literacy, announced a $4.3 million seed round led by PSL Ventures, with participation from Jack Brody, Mana Ventures and Western Technology Investment. Copper includes a mobile app and debit card that connects parents and kids to teach teens how to make smart financial decisions.
Back to YC. We also heard from New York-based Yotta Savings, a startup that is helping people save money and win prizes up to $10 million through weekly number draws. This concept is already big in the U.K., with 33 percent having prize-linked accounts, and Yotta expects this type of popularity coming to America.
Similarly, this week PrizePool announced a $4.25 million seed round to reimagine savings and create a new way to incentivize Americans to build a better financial foundation. The investment was led by Accomplice, Bling Capital, Coatue, SciFi VC and World Innovation Lab. Instead of low-growth savings accounts, PrizePool provides customers with a chance to win a grand prize of $25,000 each month, along with thousands of smaller prizes.
Health care for data, COVID-19
Alright, back to our regular feature. Health care data is valuable and also something that needs to be protected. I spoke with Michael Lesh, MD, founder and CEO of Syntegra, a health tech company applying machine learning models to create synthetic health care datasets. It makes traditionally siloed data easily shareable to biopharma, researchers and academics in a way that protects the identity of the patient.
“We provide for the sharing of health care data in a way that retains statistical properties with guaranteed privacy,” Lesh said. “That data is tremendously useful for scientists to develop new treatments, but all of that data can’t be shared because it is private. We create synthetic data that matches the properties of the original patient, but there is no way to go back and identify the person.”
On the COVID-19 front, I was introduced this week to Avalon.Ai.
New York-based Avalon, which used to go by COVEX 2020, raised a $1.5 million seed round led by Pacira BioSciences. It is developing metrics that generate an accurate, by-the-minute heat map analysis of the areas most affected by COVID-19.
The data analytics company will use the new funding to expand in both the U.S. and Europe.
“Initially developed with the CDC, Avalon.AI’s predictive analytics helps universities, hospital systems and general businesses to provide a safe environment in bringing students, employees and more back to campus and work,” the company said via email. “Our technology can identify a spike in COVID-19 cases in under 24 hours.”
What Syntegra is doing with health care data, London-based PitchMe is doing with your resume.
It has raised a $1.2 million seed round led by Starta Ventures that also includes investments from a UK-based family office and angel investors. The funding will be used to grow the team and advance product development.
Founder and CEO Dina Bayasanova told me the startup is a skills-based talent marketplace that uses big data algorithms to match candidates’ soft and professional skills with the right jobs and upskilling opportunities. The method eliminates bias, thus improving diversity and inclusion, she added.
“We are rethinking the curriculum vitae and how to replace it with built-in sources related to identity,” she said.
“The candidates provide whatever they have and then we extract big data using our proprietary Skillsourcing process to create a SmartMe Profile,” she added. “People from diverse backgrounds can bring a variety of expertise and interesting blend of culture, which is important right now. Our approach is improving diversity and inclusion as well.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman
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