10 startups thriving in tough times.
Times are tough. Venture capital is slow, layoffs are rife, runways are fast approaching, demand has rock-bottomed for many and startups are having to realign themselves to what comes next, even though that in itself remains uncertain. Yet for all turmoil, there is reason to be hopeful. Global venture funding in the first half of this year wasn’t as catastrophic as many thought it would be, raising an admirable $129 billion. Whilst the figure is down from the same period in 2019, it demonstrates that confidence in startups is holding and that startups are thriving. It also reflects, perhaps, the belief that startups will be the connective tissue allowing us to rise and meet the next normal – people are genuinely optimistic. So, despite all that is going on in the world, here are ten startups thriving in tough times.
Meditation is for everyone and anyone, but the apps that have traditionally dominated the industry (such as Headspace), haven’t always reflected this, and most have been built with Western, English-speaking users in mind. Berlin-based Meditopia, however, is approaching things differently.
Now the most-downloaded meditation app in non-English markets, Meditopia sees meditation as a practice that should be available to all, regardless of country, language, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity or gender. Meditopia employs meditation specialists, writers, therapists and others from around the world to localise their content so that they can connect with regional populations in seventy-five global markets through ten languages. And to spur on their ever-growing userbase (sixteen million and counting), they recently raised $15 million in a Series A funding round.
As remote working becomes part of the new normal, tech companies are realizing that the talented developers they need may not be able to, or want to, relocate to their location. But if coronavirus has underlined anything for teams, it’s that they don’t have to be restricted to geography.
Turing, who just secured $14 million in seed funding, was started to connect the best remote developers with ambitious companies, putting applicants through a strenuous vetting process in which only 1% are accepted. Companies can request developers based on specific needs and in turn, they can be matched with candidates within days. Turing is the epitome of a startup who is meeting the new conditions of the next normal, connecting talent with opportunities in a world where distance is standard.
Here at B. Amsterdam, we’re devoted to building bridges between ambitious minds. For us, connection is everything. But we know that simply having those minds in one place isn’t enough to create fruitful relationships. Connecting people is an active process. And as the number of people grow in an ecosystem, the harder it is for like-minded people to find and connect.
BeaTrust, a Japanese collaboration startup founded just five months ago, share our mission to connect people. They’re focusing on changing corporate culture so companies can reach beyond traditional top-down, siloed structures and instill the culture of continuous collaboration often found in startups, regardless of how large the company is. BeaTrust’s platform allows for employees to find other employees across any department, connecting them based on interests and skills and then facilitating collaborative projects between them. In doing so, BeaTrust is tackling the lack of visibility that comes with large numbers of people, instead revealing the potential for people to find each other and thrive. They also just closed a $2.8 million seed round.
4. Omnipresent Group
Coronavirus has propelled the world into the era of remote work. But this shift comes with challenges. With talent and teams potentially spread across multiple countries, finding and hiring employees becomes more complex, cross-border payments to remote team members have to be figured out, local taxes have to be taken into account and benefit packages have to be tailored to employees wherever they are in the world.
London-based Omnipresent Group, who just raised €1.6 million in a seed round, are facilitators of the global employment movement. They’re aiming to make it “fast and easy to employ remote talent anywhere in the world”, enabling companies to achieve a global reach whilst also reducing the time and money spent on employee management tasks such as holidays, payslips, onboarding and expenses. Omnipresent Group are amongst the startups acting as the helping hands for companies adjusting to what’s next.
Digital healthcare has boomed amid the pandemic, allowing millions to access necessary care when restrictions, closures and anxieties have prevented them from doing so through normal means. And as consumers embrace technology as a familiar part of healthcare, the digital healthcare surge is likely to persist.
Joining the other startups riding this wave is Nurx, a digital healthcare provider focusing on women’s health. From birth control to emergency contraception and migraine treatment, Nurx have homed in on the needs of a specific demographic, building on the fact that ‘sensitive health services’ can benefit from a personalized, affordable, discreet and rapid process, made possible by the digital revolution. Read more about their $22.5 million in new financing here.
Partnerships are essential for expanding robust knowledge bases, improving access to expertize, building resilience, identifying opportunities and raising capital. Yet most of the processes that manage and combine the data that partners use are done manually, which is both time-consuming and often ineffective.
Crossbeam, a Philadelphia-based startup, has created a way for companies to both find potential partners through their data-driven ecosystem and automate data integration when those connections have been made. Only necessary and approved data is shared between partners, and from there they can use Crossbeam to collaborate, identify overlapping prospects, co-market and generate leads. And after a $12.5 million Series A round, they’ve just secured a $25 million Series B round.
According to a United Nations report, the “pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries”. It’s also worsened existing disparities in education, disproportionately impacting those living in poorer areas, girls, refugees and disabled persons.
Toppr, an online learning startup based in Mumbai focusing on K-12 students, recently raised $46 million in a Series D funding round as demand for EdTech amid the pandemic has jumped. Toppr offers a lot; free and paid-for content, live classes, recorded classes, exam preparation, a problem-solving app, tutors and live coding programs. They’ve also just released a new product, School OS, that enables schools to digitize their teaching, a timely addition to their product range that recognizes the need for schools to adapt to the new realities of online learning.
One hurdle for companies building global, remote teams is accommodating different languages. And in the context of the growing reliance on video conferencing as remote teams become standard and travel remains stunted, achieving multilingual success is only more important.
Kudo, a SaaS startup who raised $6 million in a Seed round, streams real-time interpretation to web conferences, allowing everyone involved to listen and speak in their native tongue. They also have professional interpreters on demand and allow companies to bring their own translators into meetings. Whilst Kudo was founded in 2016, new behaviors stemming from the pandemic have reinforced the startup’s purpose, showing what’s possible in the near future.
Mexico City-based Yalochat have been “helping companies build strong customer relationships through the world's most popular messaging apps” since 2016. Focusing primarily on emerging markets where “mobile consumers spend 85% of their time on messaging apps”, they’re determined to connect brands with customers in more efficient and functional ways.
Whether it’s automating ordering and delivery processes, setting up an e-commerce store through a messaging service or using AI to automate customer questions, Yalochat is capitalizing on the ubiquity of messaging services and the increasing use of AI software to satisfy e-commerce demands. Read about their 650% increase in message volume during the pandemic and their $15 million Series B funding round here.
Today, people view their careers as a source of purpose, motivation, community, friendship, enjoyment and more. It’s not just about money. Teal – founded in 2019 and kicking off with a $5 million Seed round – view finding the right job in this way, as something that affects a person in many ways. And in light of the millions of layoffs due to coronavirus, people are fervently searching to regain these things.
So, Teal has made it their mission to find people jobs that they’re passionate about. Through a selection of four-week programs led by career guides, Teal trains job seekers how to search for jobs more effectively, succeed in interviews, write resumes and maximize their chances of hearing back from a company. Enrolling also connects you to the Teal member portal, where tools, resources, events and a member-only Slack group promotes a sense of community whilst searching for the perfect job.