Carabiner and hook clip together. 2019 revenue was more than $2 million with unit sales growing by 18% from 2018 – aggregating over 440,000 units sold since 2018 (unaudited.) Wants to build a lifestyle company on top of the platform of the initial product.
Scientific innovation that claims to save fuel by up to 8%, increases lubrication, decreases dangerous emissions up to 50%. Technology claims to be 800x more effective than competing fuel additives and is priced up to 20x lower. Pre-revenue potential vitamin-not-painkiller that is mainly a team of academics, with no one experienced in B2B sales for energy companies or commercializing scientific innovations.
Marketplace for sellers and buyers of real estate financial instruments. Has nearly $1 million in revenue as of 2019 and in a good position to grow. Valuation at $40mm means I’m auto-out of the deal, but not a bad growth investment for those who like real estate.
Robinhood for options trading. Has lots of brand name investors, but raising on a $25MM valuation with no revenue. Uncertain what the defensible secret is.
Managed marketplace for advertisers to find influencers who will repost their content. Generated $125k in revenue in Q4, tripling revenue in a quarter. Has some tricky issues to resolve whether serving the most inexpensive market is a sustainable business, and whether the value hypothesis of streamlining content doesn’t eviscerate influencer value add.
Managed marketplace for pet grooming. Generated $600k in revenue in 2018, bootstrapped all the way to current valuation of $6 million. Needs to scale up rapidly, but could become a platform for pet-care and expand in a low-regulation market to dozens of cities in the next few years.
Pre-revenue fintech company for emerging companies wants to be the PayPal/Square/Venmo/Braintree. Burned $1.1MM in 2018 and 2019, each, raising money at a $30MM valuation. Will only raise ~7 months of runway at present fundraising terms.
Robot company that wants to deploy thousands of tiny delivery robots. Currently has 50 robots in production with the city of San Jose, generating ~$280k in revenue last year. Raises questions about whether the future of delivery is Kiwibots, Amazon drones, Uber’s network of drivers or autonomous vehicles.
Reflections from 50+ deal memos and the launch of a premium newsletter for startup investors. Three personal takeaways, one for investing, one for writing, and one for entrepreneurship.
Online retail platform connecting private investors to real estate debt for single family home real estate entrepreneurs. The platform has provided annual returns of 10.6% to its investors over the last 7 years. Seems like a solid business but uncertain if venture backable.