January 6, 2015
2015 WATCH LIST: HQ Raleigh’s Top Fundraisers
Tracking young venture-backed startups and funds in the Triangle
Following up on our morning piece about American Underground’s top fundraisers, here’s the HQ Raleigh version. The startup workspace is nearly a year in its new headquarters in downtown Raleigh’s warehouse district and counts about 70 startups as members.
In 2014, a dozen or so of those companies raised money from venture capital investors, angels, grant programs and accelerators. And one venture firm set up shop and raised a fund. Check out this list for more Triangle companies to watch in 2015:
WedPics drew a national crowd into its series B round last year, with Silicon Valley lead investor Bullpen Capital, Chicago’s OCA Ventures, some high profile angels and equity crowdfunding through AngelList. The crowdsourced wedding photography app expects to close the round at $5 million this year. It also plans to grow to serve a million weddings in 2015 and to especially expand its presence around the world. Revenue should continue too as the startup grows its offering of printed photos and photo products.
Experiential education is BetaVersity’s sweet spot, and grant funds from a high-profile St. Louis nonprofit helped the startup expand its platform and offerings in 2014. The startup with offices in both cities got its shipping container-turned-makerspace BetaBox on several university and high school campuses last year, with plans for more deployments and training programs in 2015.
The need for home healthcare is growing as the population ages and yet there’s still not a platform that makes scheduling and managing care easy and seamless for care organizations and caregivers. The Citrix-Red Hat Innovators Program gave founder Michelle Harper time to talk to customers and develop a platform to fill the need. In 2015, she plans to complete a beta test with several home healthcare companies, raise additional funds and launch the platform widely.
Three months in the Citrix-Red Hat Innovators Program was enough for the Userlite founders and serial entrepreneurs to pivot from their original software and develop a working prototype for a dashboard of the many websites and applications any technology user visits on a given day. Its mission is to aggregate a day’s tasks and notifications all in one place to save a user time and stress. Beta tests with individuals and corporations will be underway early this year as the startup prepares a public launch.
A huge cash infusion from Al Gore’s venture fund, Generation Investment Management, is helping the eco-friendly products marketer acquire and invest in strategic young companies out of a new office in Raleigh (relocated from New York City). The company selected HQ Raleigh as its new headquarters as a way to for Seventh Generation CEO is John Repogle, former CEO of Durham-based Burt’s Bees, to remain involved in the Triangle startup community.
One of the company’s first acquisitions was Raleigh-based Gamila Products, designer of the Impress single-serving coffee maker. Gamila founders Aly and Beth Khalifa have committed to help Seventh Generation dream up new products through their downtown Raleigh design lab, Designbox, so we might see even more local activity from the new fund.