Here are the 33 YC-Backed Startups Raising on Wefunder Now (Part 1 of 3)
Y-Combinator and WeFunder teamed up to offer retail investors a fascinating list of startup deals to invest in. We looked at all of them.
The Wefunder-YC news is about a month old, but it took us a while to look through each company and put this together. If you click through to some of the campaigns, they may be sold out or closed. If that’s the case, oops! But, keep an eye out as sometimes campaigns open back up or the issuer creates a new crowdfunding campaign to maintain the momentum. Anyway, we hope you enjoy this and please let us know if you have any questions or comments.
What is it? Unfurl is basically a curated ghost kitchen. The company owns kitchens that host foodie-friendly chefs and develops in-house brands, and then delivers the food via the standard food delivery apps.
What's the opportunity? Ghost kitchens are the hot trend right now as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the COVID-induced food delivery boom. Even Uber founder Travis Kalinick thinks this concept is going big time. There are lots of ghost kitchen players out there, but Unfurl differentiates itself by curating the chefs, offering eaters a diverse array of high quality eats.
How's it going so far? Unfurl says it has a $625k run rate and 58% gross margins. The company plans to expand from its current 3 kitchens to 13 over the next year.
Terms: SAFE with a $25m cap.
What is it? Demonpore makes demonpore 64, a molecular gaming console. You know what we’re talking about, right? No? Weird. Anyway, the company started as a typical biotech, looking to solve big public health problems with new tools. Founder Kent Kemmish didn’t want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars and decades trying to build his vision, so he created a work around. The result is pretty darn creative. The console allows players to physically input their cells through nanopores. The players can use the gathered data in web-based social games and the company gathers molecular data on a worldwide scale. Think of it like a giant distributed experiment that is (supposedly) fun. If you don’t understand it, join the club.
What’s the opportunity? The company says the objective is to gather massive amounts of molecular data from people all over the world (presumably to identify and cure diseases). That sounds great, but we just don’t understand it well enough to comment further.
How’s it going so far? Just because we don’t get it doesn’t mean some other really smart people don’t either. Demonpore has enough credibility to attract famed geneticist George Church as Chairman of its scientific advisory board. Church is the co-founder of the Human Genome Project among many other projects, none of which we could intelligently explain. The company has received $1.2 million in funding so far and plans to launch its console at the end of 2022. It hopes to launch an alpha version this summer.
Terms: SAFE with a $16 million cap.
What is it? Agora is a search engine for local products. While it’s easy to find and buy national and virtual retailers’ goods, local retailers don’t have an easy way to share their inventory online. Agora wants to fix that. Shoppers can find and buy online, and then go pick up their goods at the store.
What’s the opportunity? We often hear about Amazon or Wal-Mart’s massive sales and market share, but local retail generates more than a trillion dollars per year and accounts for 1 in 4 jobs in the United States. Local businesses have some presence on the internet - maybe a Facebook or Google page, but nothing like what Agora proposes to do. The company can monetize its software via subscriptions for retailers and a percentage of online transactions. The addressable market here is enormous.
How’s it going so far? The company is very early in its development. Agora plans to launch with 25 partner stores in Boston. So far, they’ve raised $150k from YC and are now raising $1 million on WeFunder to speed things along. Founder Allison Walsh is a Harvard-grad who articulates the vision well and seems to have chops to bring Agora to life.
Terms: SAFE with an $8 million cap.
What is it? wOS is a “social fitness” app for the LatAm market. The company, launched in February, provides personalized fitness instruction using real trainers and computer vision to correct form.
What’s the opportunity? At-home fitness grew massively during the pandemic and it looks like the trend is here to stay (What’s up Peloton?). While there are plenty of fitness apps and hardware companies competing for the burgeoning market, wOS differentiates itself with its LatAm focus (a $20 billion market, according to management) and its machine learning coaching ability. Private fitness coaching is prohibitively expensive for most, so there is lots of potential here if the technology pans out as planned.
How’s it going so far? wOS launched in February and cites 400 paying users taking an average 4 classes per week, each. The company has a $4,000 monthly revenue rate today. The experienced management team, made up of repeat entrepreneurs and fitness experts, appear poised to deliver on their vision.
Terms: SAFE with a $12 million cap.
What is it? Leap Club is a web and WhatsApp-based organic grocery delivery service in India. Customers use their phone to order fresh organic food, which the company promises to deliver within 12 hours after harvesting. The company partners with local farms to source produce and Delhi’s largest last-mile delivery operator to get it to people fast.
What’s the opportunity? India has millions of people with growing, disposable income and they want access to quality, fresh food. The company is targeting 5 million families, worth an estimated $3,000 each in annual grocery spend. That’s a $15 billion TAM. Delivery grocery is growing all over the world, but Leap Club is also tapping into surging demand for fresh food that is ethically and transparently sourced.
How’s it going so far? Leap Club cites 15% week-over-week growth since graduating from its Winter 2021 YC class. In dollar terms, they are doing nearly $5,000 per week from a base of more than 550 users.
Terms: SAFE with a $10 million cap.
What is it? This is a feel-good business. Coco Mercado allows Latin American expats to send food and other essential items directly to their senior citizen relatives in their home country. The concept isn’t as common in the United States, but in these countries there are remittance programs whereby migrant family members send money back to their relatives, which are picked up at local outposts, and then the relative goes about their shopping for goods around town. Coco Mercado makes it so that the migrants can buy goods directly via an app, and those goods are delivered right to their older relatives.
What’s the opportunity? The LatAm remittance industry is about $48 billion, according to management. 80% of that is spent on essential goods like food, clothing, and medicine. Coco Mercado charges a 15% markup on goods sold by participating merchants.
How’s it going so far? Coco Mercado currently operates in Venezuela and cites net revenue at $115,000 per month on $1.2 million per month in gross merchandise value (GMV). 50,000 Venezuelans receive the remittances from more than 30,000 migrant relatives spread around the world. The company has raised $600,000 thus far and is now raising $4 million to expand into other countries.
Terms: SAFE with a $20 million cap.
What is it? Gerostate Alpha is a biotech startup developing anti-aging drugs. The company has several candidates in its pipeline addressing a variety of aging-related diseases, from kidney function to muscle atrophy.
What’s the opportunity? Like most biotechs, the outcomes here range from failure (none of the IP proves viable) to massive success via licensing, manufacturing, and acquisition. Age-related diseases are increasingly a target of large pharmaceutical companies, and Gerostate Alpha has a multi-pronged approach to the problems with novel compounds, off patent drugs, and natural products. It’s a very early stage business, and life sciences is a really hard space to invest in, but when it hits, it hits big.
How’s it going so far? The founding team, three PhDs with impressive backgrounds, have shown promise in several candidates. After screening thousands of compounds, the group found 30 compelling candidates, of which they trialed 5 in aging mice and found that a 20% success rate in slowing down tissue aging. The company is chaired by the founder of Sangamo Therapeutics, a NASDAQ-traded biotech with a $1.7 billion market cap.
Terms: SAFE with a $15 million cap.
What is it? Miso is a home services booking platform serving the Korean market. Think of HomeAdvisor, but in Korea. Users can book cleaning, moving, handyman services, and dozens more right from the app and at a pre-negotiated price. Miso also provides a marketplace for more custom and complex service providers to connect with customers.
What’s the opportunity? The core services booking model has already proven itself in the U.S. and in other markets. People enjoy the convenience of finding and booking services from an app. Miso has proven itself in the Korean market already. Now, management plans to turn to direct-to-consumer product offerings, grocery replenishment services, and international expansion. Given the current booking volume, it looks to us like there is plenty of room to grow the core service in its home country, too.
How’s it going so far? In its first five years, Miso has hosted more than $150 million in gross transaction volume with more than 3 million services completed. Miso’s management team is top notch. CEO Victor Ching was formerly Chief Product Officer at Delivery Hero - the DoorDash of Korea. This company is at a later stage than many others on equity crowdfunding platforms. It shows in the fundraising history - the company has raised $11.5 million thus far and is raising an additional $250,000+ on WeFunder. We would guess this raise is more about building a relationship with customers (social investing) than a need for additional capital.
Terms: SAFE with $150 million cap.
What is it? Fangame is a real-money-gaming (RMG) app that allows influencers to host trivia with their followers for cash prizes.
What’s the opportunity? RMG is an increasingly popular space within gaming, growing 55% year-over-year in India. Fangame wants to leverage that growth with the nation’s estimated 3 million-strong influencer community. The company claims to avoid the typical high customer acquisition cost by putting the onus on influencers to recruit and engage players (awesome, right?). Fanbase makes money by taking a cut of the winnings from each game. Influencers are motivated because the game engages their followers but, more importantly, it allows influencers to make real money, which most still don’t do. The company puts the market opportunity at $12 billion.
How’s it going so far? Only a couple of months old, Fanbase seems to be finding some early signs of traction. The company processed $10,000 in total prize money in February and cleared the $30,000 mark in March. 22% of paying users in week 1 are still playing in week 6, which is encouraging. We think this is a cool idea and love the operating model. It’ll be interesting to see how loyal influencers are to the platform as competition inevitably emerges.
Terms: SAFE with a $10 million cap
What is it? Airthium seeks to address one of the big challenges in the shift to renewable energy - how to store it. Lithium-ion batteries are not efficient enough. Airthium is developing a battery that supposedly can hold 100 times the energy at the same cost as a lithium ion battery.
What’s the opportunity? Slowly but surely, the world is shifting to renewable energy sources. Airthium estimates that solar and wind energy will account for half of all energy production by 2030. The problem is we haven’t yet figured out the infrastructure for storing and tapping the energy as needed. Airthium believes global energy grid infrastructure spend will be roughly $50 billion annually.
How’s it going so far? This is one of those big risk, big payoff opportunities. There are many, many companies working on the problem and the new technologies are all early stage. They’re also highly capital intensive businesses, so only the well-funded will survive. That said, Airthium has a talented team of PhDs and claims its prototype, due this year, is years ahead of the competition. Renewable energy storage is a problem that has to be fixed. The groups that are successful in doing that will be massively rewarded.
Terms: SAFE with a $17 million cap.
What is it? Entelexo is developing drugs targeting incurable immune diseases. The company focuses on the use of exosomes as therapeutics. If you are like us and have no idea what exosomes are, read about them here.
What’s the opportunity? Exosome-based therapies aren’t entirely new and none have made it to market yet, but the promise is still there and continues to capture interest. We don’t pretend to understand the intricacies of the technology, but the drugs in the pipeline have a wide array of applications among autoimmune diseases and, according to the company, could greatly impact the $150 billion autoimmune disease space.
How’s it going so far? As with any biotech, it’s hard to tell. The company has two pending patent applications. Entelexo is in R&D mode and is planning on Phase 1 FDA trials towards the end of 2022.
Terms: SAFE with a $15 million cap.
That’s it for today. Stay tuned for PART DEUX!
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Disclosure: The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.
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