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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Testimonials are good for business, and VideoPeel, a Lehi, Utah-based startup, is helping companies remotely capture and publish them. The company raised a $1.5 million seed round to advance its automated video testimonial platform.
The startup will use the new funding to advance its technology and expand its sales team to help meet demand, co-founder and CEO Patrick Tedjamulia told me. He wants to double the size of his four-person staff by the end of the year.
“There is so much around video that people want to do, but can’t do today,” he said. “We are innovating around new ways to publish authentic video testimonials to websites, but do it in a way that enables businesses to see conversion growth through the videos. Beyond that, every e-commerce company is trying to get that content in more places. We already publish to Amazon, Facebook, YouTube and Shopify, but we will also be working on other channels that matter.”
Seeing a spike in Medicaid customers, Minneapolis-based technology company Joshin got busy creating a mobile app designed for special needs and disability care. It connects families with experienced and screened “Joymaker” caregivers who are paid via private pay or now Self-Directed Medicaid funding.
The company raised a $1.6 million round of funding led by Anthemis, with additional participation by M25 and Sure Ventures. In addition, disability care activist Michael Kutcher, a.k.a. Ashton’s brother, joined the company as an adviser.
“We’re really focused on expanding the experience of our platform, ensuring we continue to empower both families and caregivers,” Joshin CEO Melissa Danielsen said via email. “Now more than ever, it’s critical that people have direct access to qualified, trusted caregivers while also benefiting from easily managed connections.”
Ramping up new hires is challenging–enter Opus, formerly ESL Works. CEO Rachael Nemeth, told me via email that her startup built a chat-based training technology for companies to rapidly upskill their frontline workforces. And here’s the best part: It can be done on a smartphone without emails or downloading anything, and in the workers’ preferred language.
ESL Works originally started out as a platform to teach work-specific English in New York kitchens, Nemeth said. Then in March 2019, the company launched its technology. It now plans to expand beyond the food industry.
“This fresh round of funding will be used to broaden our product offering in order to further serve our customers in a time when accessible training for the frontline workforce is more critical than ever,” Nemeth wrote in a blog post about the investment.
PocketList came out of stealth this week with its new renter-powered housing app that enables renters to find homes before they are publicly available. It also announced a $2.8 million round of seed funding led by Craft Ventures, with participation from Abstract VC and Wonder Ventures, as well as an angel investment from Spencer Rascoff.
Nick Dazé, co-founder and CEO of PocketList, told me via email that two main uses of the new investment will be “building out our core tech platform, which is more deep tech than you might imagine given our matching and content verification technology, and the growth and expansion of our service to new rental markets, starting with San Francisco and San Diego this fall.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman
Company images courtesy of VideoPeel, Joshin, Opus and PocketList.
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