10 Recently Funded Start-Ups to Watch
It’s harder than ever to stand out from the crowd these days. There are around 137,000 new businesses launched a day, but not all of them catch our attention. They have to have an excellent message, unbeatable methodology, incredible marketing, a one-of-a-kind platform, or a tinge of controversy. We’ve taken a look at recently funded start-ups that are making waves in their space, whether they’ve pioneered a revolutionary AI system or sparking interesting debates. Here are ten recently funded start-ups to watch.
Founder: Luke Iseman
Funding raised: $750,000+
Global warming tells us the world is on fire, and Luke Iseman of Make Sunsets is trying to control the climate. This geoengineering start-up is making waves in the climate tech space – Iseman is former director for start-up Y Combinator but developed an interest in the subject after reading Termination Shock by Neil Stephenson. The novel features a Texan billionaire using a huge gun to fire sulfur into the air to reflect the sunlight and counteract the overheating planet. Iseman is taking inspiration from that rogue Texan billionaire and running with it – he recently released a six-foot helium balloon filled with a few grams of sulfur into the sky, with the hopes of reflecting the sun’s rays and cooling down the planet. These kinds of experiments have been researched for years – the White House and Harvard University have been working on projects of their own. However, Iseman went ahead and tried it out on his own – without consulting the local authorities, a scientific team, or anyone, really. The controversial stunt is the first of its kind, and it marks the beginning of geoengineering experiments.
Founders: Weili Dai, James Kaplan
Funding raised: $20 million+
Unsurprisingly, AI start-ups are leading the way in securing funding. MeetKai is the brainchild of Weili Dai – the co-founder of multibillion-dollar business, Marvell Technology. She’s teamed up with James Kaplan to build “advanced products that empower people in every field” by making the “metaverse more attainable”. The idea of the metaverse has sparked controversy since it was first introduced, but Dai plans to enhance real-life experiences with her cutting-edge, yet accessible, AI solutions. MeetKai Reality is one of the most interesting features – users can take a video of the space they’re in and MeetKai Reality will draw up a 3D replica of it in seconds. It’s also introduced a conversational AI tool, which allows forms of media to have real-life conversations with users. It’s all shiny, new, and futuristic, but the controversy does lie in how many more pieces of humanity can be formed into an AI tool before it becomes a problem – or should we embrace this new AI-led world?
Founders: Bulent Tekmen, Mihriban Ersin
Funding raised: $40 million
Colendi is an interesting new start-up – it’s a fintech company aiming to make lending more accessible than traditional banks and lending institutions. They work with all kinds of clients – consumers, financial entities, merchants, and more. Their USP lies within their breakthrough risk-assessment methodology, which uses AI algorithms and (sneakily) data mined from mobile phones. Personal data mining is not popular with everyone, but they are emerging as a key player in the finance space.
Founders: Sercan Esen, Serhat Cillidag
Funding raised: $29 million
Workplace AI companies have a hard time bypassing controversy – data protection is paramount when it comes to employee safety. But Intenseye actually do not violate employee’s safety, in fact they take it one step further. Their method is to connect existing CCTV networks with their AI system that processes over 22 million images daily to spot possible injuries and violations of employee health and safety rules (EHS) before they happen. But they do not use facial recognition software or any other biometric applications. Intenseye is popping up in industries with high risk of injury, including warehouses, mining, electricity, chemicals, retail, and more.
Founders: Amitay Kalmar, Dan Raviv
Funding raised: Unknown
Lendbuzz are creating a ‘buzz’ in the financial space for finding new ways to assess consumer credit risk. The fintech company uses alternative data and ML algorithms to go beyond traditional credit scores to open up auto loans to those who would’ve ordinarily been rejected. Lendbuzz takes an applicant’s financial profile, education background, employment history, and other data into account to assess risk for car dealerships. These decisions are made in real time, so both the car dealership and the customer don’t have to waste their time.
Founders: Jason Citron, Stanislav Vishnevskiy
Funding raised: $1.1 billion
Once a social media platform dominated by gamers, Discord has become a major platform for worldwide communication. With 150 million actively monthly users and 4 billion conversation minutes occurring daily, it’s developed from its small start-up status to a serious contender in the tech space. Users can communicate by text, voice, and video, and the paid subscription service comes with special features, such as customisation and high-quality streams. But is it the right time for a new social media platform to enter the space? Social media overall is facing widespread criticism and controversy, and Discord itself has seen a huge problem with harassment – particularly among the younger demographic. Discord have introduced AutoMod to help combat the problem – a safety tool designed to protect users. The platform has also recently acquired Gas, a Gen-Z-popular app that delivers positive affirmations.
Founders: April Koh, Adam Chekroud
Funding raised: $300 million
How do you feel about taking health online? Medtech has been developing new, interactive ways to tackle long waiting times, expensive medication and appointments, misdiagnoses, and other issues with healthcare, for a long time. Spring Health particularly focusses on employee mental health and wellness – a topic that’s been in the spotlight since the pandemic brought on a new wave of burnout, work-related stress, depression, and anxiety. It works to pinpoint exactly what each person needs, from medication to therapy by using a data-driven approach. This start-up is one to watch over the next couple of years on the forefront of radically changing the trial-and-error approach to mental healthcare.
The Modern Milkman
Founder: Simon Mellin
Funding raised: £68 million
The Modern Milkman defines what it means to be a start-up with its finger on the pulse. It pulls on old-school nostalgia heart strings, cuts down on waste, and saves consumers’ time. At a time when people are pining for ‘the old days’, a traditional act like delivering fresh milk in a glass bottle straight to your doorstep (and pick it up again) is as wholesome as it is convenient. Long before the days of UberEats and Deliveroo, even. It wasn’t all borne out of consumer convenience, though – Mellin realised how much single-use plastic was affecting the environment, and plastic milk bottles are an everyday problem. With a focus on making sustainability accessible, they’ve gone beyond plastic milk bottles and their business has developed in a waste-reducing organisation.
Founder: James Dean
Funding raised: $35 million
Sensat is big in the construction world right now. The so-called visualisation platform takes digital mapping to a new level, transforming it something that can actually be used by project managers, engineers, and other infrastructure employees. The technology system allows users to stream huge amounts of data, counting how many cars or trees are on the site within a second. This super-fast, revolutionary technology means that infrastructure designers and engineers can work on measurements and flaws without being on site, and project managers can organise timelines, workflows, and tasks.
Founder: Alex Stephany
Funding raised: Unknown
While the exact funding raised for Beam is unknown, we do know that it’s received funding from the Mayor of London, as well as UK’s leading tech entrepreneurs. The idea for Beam began when Stephany became friends with a homeless man that used to sit outside his tube station. The man hadn’t managed to find work for as long as he could remember, and Stephany began to think about how homeless people are supported in the long term into finding work, a stable home, and ongoing support. While are there tonnes of charities supporting homelessness out there, Beam is an online crowdfunding platform that allows users to directly donate to a person sleeping rough or in need. The platform has developed into helping refugees and prison leavers, too. And it’s working – 82% of Beam’s recipients have gone into paid work. The future’s bright for Beam, and they’re one of our favourite start-ups to watch.