Two thousand and fourteen was an active year for exits and raises but we think 2015 could shape up to be an even more action-packed year with Cardlytics having declared their intentions to file an S1 sometime this year. Cardlytics not withstanding, it’s that time of the year once again to unveil our picks for the five startups to watch in 2015.
Predikto is a predictive analytics startup that helps operations teams in the oil and gas, metals and mining, paper and transportation industries predict equipment failures before they happen. The company operates in the red-hot Internet of Thing sector. Before founder and CEO Mario Montag’s well-received presentation at Venture Atlanta last October, the company had already turned down an acquisition offer and was well on their way to raising a round of funding.
In an industry that is projected to grow from $2.3 billion in 2013 to $3.8 billion by 2018, Predikto is well-positioned for success given its leadership team: Montag and Chief Data Scientist Robert Morris have nearly 25 years of experience between them in information technology, data science and statistical analysis.
With a successful 2014 behind them, the company’s single-minded focus on perfecting the practices espoused in the book Predictable Revenue by early Salesforce employee Aaron Ross will most certainly bring SalesLoft continued success. The Atlanta Tech Village startup added 40 new employees to its core staff last year, closed an $800,000 Series A round with participation from serial entrepreneur Tom Noonan in August, and in September launched a second product: Cadence. With momentum on their side, we expect to see even more good news from them this year.
SafelyStay, which provides guest and host verification services in the vacation rental sector, has been around for a few years, but in 2014 hit an important milestone. The company signed a deal with a major insurance underwriter, which has afforded them a higher level of sophistication and standing with potential customers and the travel industry at large.
“Risk creates much of the friction in the sharing economy, and our insurance underwriter is the innovation leader in risk mitigation instruments,” said Andrew Bate, SafelyStay co-founder and CEO. “We needed a partner that was dedicated to agile innovation with a deep understanding of our industry’s and customers’ needs.”
Groundfloor is notable not just for relocating to Atlanta from the Raleigh-Durham area, but also for being the region’s busiest equity-based real estate crowdfunding platform. Since launching earlier this year, Groundfloor has completed 15 loans, several of which have already yielded a return on investment for funders.
Founder Brian Dally says that since launching “Version 2.0” of the Groundfloor platform in November, business has doubled. Moving to Georgia has undoubtedly had an impact on that growth as well.
“We came to Georgia because of the Invest Georgia Exemption,” he said. “We knew that 2014 would be a year of building the product, getting feedback and scaling up. On every metric, this year has been a huge success.”
Dally says he hopes to expand beyond Georgia this year, build his staff and fund even more loans. “As we expand, we know that Georgia will continue to be a big piece of that growth,” he said. “2015 is going to be an even bigger year.”
Pointivo has the benefit of a strong management team and a laser-like focus on their initial market: the construction industry. Pointivo’s technology comes from Georgia Tech and is in the process of being commercialized.
Their first and, so far only, pilot program is being run through a Peachtree City, Ga.-based roofing software company that is in the process of building a roofing measurement solution.
“The industry is always looking for ways to keep feet off the roof, and this solution directly addresses that need,” explained Pointivo CEO and co-founder Dan Ciprari. “Our partner is rolling out the platform at the International Roofing Expo (IRE) in late February. Given that our technology is core to their offering, we are aggressively developing to that schedule.”
In addition to gaining customers in the construction, insurance, home improvement, and specialty installation industries, Ciprari adds that Pointivo is hoping to close a Series A round this year as well.
Photo Credit: Leslie Kalohi via Flickr
JANUARY 2015 NEWSLETTER