Over 300 attendees packed the floor at The Museum of Flying in Santa Monica to watch MuckerLab's third class pitch their new ventures. Altogether, the accelerator's eight graduating startups hit the right notes, with noticeable category dominance in fintech, enterprise SaaS, sales/service CRMs, risk management and e-commerce -- reinforcing the fact that Los Angeles can be a hotbed for so much beyond fashion and media tech innovation.
The majority of this year’s startups seemed to have a similar theme: facilitate exposure to new exchanges and revenue opportunities in otherwise traditional marketplaces.
Despite the enduring prevalence of big box online flower retailers like Teleflora and 1-800-Flowers, arrangements purchased from these order gatherers lack the artistry you'd find at a high-quality neighborhood florist. BloomNation's flower delivery service connects consumers with local artisan florists in nearly 3,000 cities, sending each shopper an actual photo of each arrangement before it ships to prove that "what you see is what you get." BloomNation also outfits florists with integrated enterprise tools (including a website CMS, point-of-sale and marketing tools and CRM services) and lets them set their own prices. By empowering both the consumer and the vendor, and cutting out the giant middlemen entirely, the startup has been seeing a consistent 20 percent MoM growth since its beta launch.
Commercial guarantor LeaseLock gives renters access to leasing units that are otherwise difficult to obtain without a co-signer or individual guarantor, and safely exposes landlords to a larger pool of prospective tenants. To be underwritten, qualified renters pay 10 percent of the 12-month lease value up front. LeaseLock is testing its model with a group of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and tenant screening services and anticipates up to $2.8 million in annual revenue generated from the REITs alone (assuming a 5 percent application rate). Backed by a solid partnership with leading insurance broker, Aon, LeaseLock faces a vast addressable market. For the time being, the startup will focus on piloting with major housing management and screening companies, with plans to expand its efforts downmarket thereafter.
Citing the boundless, global nature of e-commerce, online banking and payment processing, Emailage's founders realized that email addresses could serve as a highly effective global identification tool. Using patent-pending email verification technology, Emailage helps companies detect and mitigate online financial fraud by assigning risk scores to email addresses that weed out fake or suspicious credentials. Whether Emailage will seek further opportunities to integrate with other security or fraud prevention providers, only time will tell. But for now, Emailage touts a 25 percent successful fraud detection rate (nearly 5 times better than the industry standard), providing an additional layer of security against financial losses for its 40 distinguished customers across numerous verticals (which include heavy hitters like Google, FedEx, eBay and American Express).
Dubbing itself "the SalesForce of the home service industry," ServiceTitan modernizes the standard for the industry’s SaaS solutions by adding a service management component that provides intelligent tracking, automation and marketing analytics throughout the entire sales CRM cycle. Using ServiceTitan's desktop and mobile platform, businesses are able to gain a better handle on customer relationships and can grow their revenue by 70 percent (on average) within their first year. ServiceTitan has been fueled by an impressive roster of initial reference customers by way of personal referrals, and asserts that it has secured roughly $1 million in recurring revenue within eight months of beta launch. If you're interested in legacy service automation, be sure to keep an eye on how this startup generates demand to sustain its promising growth.
Spout began as a consumer bill payment app, but the founders discovered early on that there were no developer-friendly API libraries for people who wanted to pluck data from financial institutions, and the barriers for accessing existing tools were too high for the average developer. With Spout, however, developers can access over 700 financial institution integrations. Spout's API adds additional value by providing deeper, more granular data and a scalable, cost-effective pricing model. The startup's next phase after releasing the API is to develop a "Sign up with Spout" feature that acts like a Facebook Connect (OAuth) service for financial apps. If executed well, Spout could provide the mechanism that spawns a whole host of other exciting innovations in the realm of fintech.
Verifico is essentially a vetting and matchmaking service for consumers and independent financial services providers (such as loan brokers, tax professionals, credit repair experts, and business brokers) while minimizing the risk of the fraud that typically runs rampant when using online avenues to conduct these transactions. Verifico's BackOffice platform helps providers manage client relationships, streamline its services and exchange payments in one place. Verifico's secure marketplace has achieved over $100,000 in monthly transactions so far, with the average price of a transaction being roughly $1,400.
Set out to solve poor clickthrough rates on direct marketing efforts, ShopParity detects a user’s “transactional intent” in his or her e-commerce search queries before serving up values or offers that are individually tailored to that user’s behavior. ShopParity’s user tracking process and marketing automation process is novel in that it does not rely on cookies to deliver 33 times more efficient clickthrough rates on search, display and email marketing campaigns. The platform is in private beta at the moment, but will soon be a channel for big budget retailers to boost customer acquisition and retention by catching shoppers right as they are about to make a purchase. The startup, which began as a fashion exchange that quickly decided to seize a different market opportunity, is on a mission to restore faith in the ROI of every dollar invested in online marketing.
Tapatalk, the sole mobile-only app in this year’s class, is a mobile social app that connect people who share the same passions. The startup calls its creation the “world’s largest interest graph,” as it tracks how people share and discuss their interests online. It aggregates and enables participation in all major online forums and communities in one place using one unified account. The startup has forged content partnerships with various networks and communities to keep traffic fresh and engaging, but has yet to spend any money on marketing. Despite this, Tapatalk has managed to score 5 million organic installs per date, and almost 1 million downloads per month. Tapatalks users reportedly tend to spend more time on the app in a month period than users typically do on Twitter or Pinterest,.