Best In The West: The 20 West Coast Startups You Needed To Know About Yesterday16 min read
We’re part of a fast-paced, future-focused industry. We’d be willing to bet that this is one of the reasons that so many of us love the world of SaaS, but it can also be a challenge to keep track of the sheer number of startups making waves. From investment opportunities and useful services that could assist your own business growth, through to hypothetical rivals and disruptors within your own niche, it’s vital to keep your finger firmly on the pulse.
A well-established cradle of innovation and ambition, the West Coast naturally holds a high concentration of these “ones to watch.” Today, we take a quick run through of some of the key players within the local startup scene. You’ll notice a few common themes emerging. There’s a strong focus on easing communication, the smart deployment of AI and machine learning, and plenty of attention paid to lead optimization and nurturing.
Ultimately, the majority of these startups pivot around our eternal desire for better connection; with our own teams, our customers and those who may use our products or services in the future. With many still at seed stage, or even awaiting public launch, now is the time to dig a little deeper into their set ups, evaluate the problems they might be able to ease with regard to your own situation, and connect with them yourself.
One place you will be able to do so is at the SaaStock West Coast Startup Program. If you are a Startup based in the West Coast wanting to change the SaaS world as we know it, our Startup Program is for you. Don’t miss out – applications close next Friday, August 23rd.
Problem Solved: A common team tool, for a common team goal.
Team work makes the dream work, but all too often internal collaboration can be something of a nightmare. The culprit: multiple systems, products and workflows competing for our time and failing to fully integrate. The result is a disconnected team, overwhelmed by software creep, as new tools are added in a ‘whack a mole’ style attempt to fix issues (which only ends up adding to the problem!) Swit swoops to the rescue; based out of San Francisco and offering a collaboration suite that combines a cutting-edge team communication with a high-performance task management. At the heart of their solution: the concept that although our disciplines may be different, we’re all pulling towards the common goal of solving our customers’ problems.
Problem Solved: Master software documentation for good, with a dynamic, seamless solution.
Build the best product in the world; it will still require through documentation and up to date user guides. Editing, upkeep, localisation and deployment of these docs can be a real headache and it’s all too easy to lose track or fall behind, especially in the fast-paced world of SaaS. Failure isn’t an option when it comes to documentation however – let things slide and you’ll soon know about it, as support tickets skyrocket and churn edges up. Docsie are here to help, offering a technical authoring tool that enables you to write, edit and store your documentation in one place; deploying it with a single line of code and providing the option to serve in multiple languages.
Problem Solved: Be certain that your business spend is working as hard as it should be.
Procurement can be a messy, drawn out process. Between identifying the need for a service, sourcing and evaluating your options, negotiating a price and then seeing the whole affair through to accounts payable, there are multiple potential pain points that have the capacity to throw your spend off. By bringing everything neatly within one well designed platform, Yaydoo aims to remove these barriers to budget optimization. By automating procurement, they help companies to streamline their purchasing process from start to finish, negotiating with multiple vendors with one click, saving in recurring purchases and cutting their team’s effort by half. At seed funding stage, Yaydoo’s appeal – streamlining repetitive tasks like updating vendor catalogs, comparing proposals, approving purchase requests, forecasting demand, tracking deliveries, managing budgets and more – is clear.
Problem Solved: Hassle free event planning & management.
Since we were cavemen dancing round the flames of a communal fire, humankind has always loved a gathering. The background planning and legwork that it takes to get an event off the ground however can feel like anything but a cause for celebration. Sourcing vendors, managing quotes, keeping on top of invitations and RSVPs; the list of demands on your time is endless and it’s all too easy to let the ball drop. Based out of Sunnydale, California, Arevea offer a full spectrum planning platform that combines a vendor marketplace with a host of other collaborative planning and tracking tools that promises to make event management a breeze. A large part of their offering’s appeal is the broad spectrum of user it takes into consideration, from the corporate planner, through to non-professional individuals, nonprofits and vendors themselves – a consideration often missing from event industry products.
Problem Solved: Enhanced customer loyalty through collaborative on-boarding experience.
In the fickle world of SaaS, a killer product or service is nothing without a sticky customer base. Today, we’ve become accustomed to expect real time updates on almost all of the professional services we interact with, and Beynd are here to ensure those expectations are met, bringing logistics tracking to your implementation experience. Clients and third parties can be invited to join a white labeled project experience (or kept in the loop via smart email templates should they decline.) From that point on, dependency logic and automation kicks in, keeping external stakeholders fully up to date, and internal parties accountable to project delivery timelines. An informed client is a happy client, and a happy client is a loyal one. Beynd claim that this loyalty is won or lost in the first 30 crucial days, so if churn is an area in which you currently struggle, this seed stage start up are well worth investigating.
Problem Solved: Automatic improvement of your spoken English.
We may not quite be at the level of Douglas Adams’ infamous babel fish, but with Claraphone’s brand new offering, we’re surely edging ever closer. Making incredibly smart use of machine learning, their service gets to work learning to recognize your voice and distinguish your accent. Having done so, overtime it works to recognize any errors made in pronunciation, and automatically corrects them in real time. The result is a natural-sounding reduction in accent and overall errors of speech, leading to much more fluent-sounding spoken English language. This of course, leads to increased confidence during phone conversations or teleconferencing. The company and technology are still in their relative infancy, but now is the time to get involved and informed by signing up to their newsletter for updates.
Problem Solved: Simplified communication and collaboration for increased customer success.
SaaS companies are all chasing customers, and these typically higher numbers of smaller deals mean a lot of conversations for hard-working account executives to keep track of. The key to success when it comes to effectively maintaining communication on this level; instantly accessible context. OnePgr aims to bring the speed and effectiveness of short “hallway-type conversations” to the online realm. They provide functionality that brings together modern communication and collaboration technology such as SMS, voice, online meetings, and document collaboration under one roof, to create the kind of compelling and seamless experiences that customers used to today’s world of frictionless one-click ordering have come to expect.
Problem Solved: Conversational AI comes to the rescue of lead capture.
Bay area based Smartloop offer an end-to-end business growth solution, blending chatbot building tools, message broadcasting, omni channel deployment, analytics and cloud infrastructure into one attractive package. One of the really appealing elements to this startup is their appreciation for the point at which conversational AI fails to cut it, and handover to a human is required to maximise conversion. Beyond that; everything that can be automated, is! A simple point-and-click conversation builder means engaging conversations can be quickly created. Additionally conversation flows take minutes to update without any coding required. Freed from a lot of the top of funnel grunt work, time can be better spent analyzing user conversation, improving automated flows and using automated messages to target and re-engage cold leads, or upsell existing customers.
Problem Solved: Slick podcasting for remote teams
There’s something about the world of podcasting that gels incredibly well with SaaS and startup culture. Responsive, reflective, collaborative – as a method of communication, it ticks all the boxes. However, producing a podcast as a distributed team (and let’s face it, a growing number of us find ourselves in this position nowadays) can be a headache. A classic example of a product designed to solve a problem the founders themselves were experiencing, Squadcast offers the chance to simplify remote conversations, producing high quality audio that’s ideal for long distance interviewing and much more. Breaking down barriers to collaboration, think of this as “Zoom for Podcasters.” It’s what we use at SaaStock to record SaaS Revolution Show.
Problem Solved: Capture lost revenue with supercharged lead scoring
Predictive Lead Scoring solution built exclusively for high-volume B2B SaaS companies, Madkudu exists to help accelerate growth using customer data. With the average SaaS marketing ops team sitting on $10M of annual shadow revenue, their solution promises the ability to unlock this untapped resource at every stage of the funnel. Ensuring your ad spend is utilized to maximum effect on only the highest value prospects, Madkudu also promises to increase your qualified pipeline by 60% by predicting the suitability of your web visitors in real-time, and then allowing them to book a meeting directly with your Sales team. Already trusted by an impressive who’s who of SaaS (Shopify, Freshworks, Udemy, InVision and many more,) we recently featured their co-founder Francis Brero in our “West Coast SaaS Names To Know” round up.
Problem solved: New-age speech analytics for call centers
Started in May 2017 and backed by Nexus Venture Partner, Y Combinator and Emergent Ventures, Observe.AI is bringing a new level of visibility to the call centre industry. No longer restricted to transcripts, which traditional speech analytics software is typically built around, Observe.ai relies on a combination of text and audio, meaning that as well as the language used, patterns of tonality and intonation can also be factored into the analysis of a call’s anatomy. Positioning itself as an “agent first” solution, the system allows real-time analysis to be pushed via a live feed, meaning that coaching and guidance is instant and fully contextualised within the moment.
Problem Solved: Boost visitor-to-customer conversions
Promising to deliver “Digital Alchemy,” Popmetrics leverages AI to provide full stack marketing services to SMBs. Having scoped each client’s unique online footprint, they deploy a smart combo of software integrations and automation to deliver the best marketing actions that adjust and scale automatically as the business itself grows. To help build credibility, Popmetrics pushes a “Social Proof” feature, which automatically displays the best reviews and key statistics on your site, a tactic which boasts an impressive 68% conversion increase. Capture tech detects fresh leads navigating away from your site and fires a tempting offer after them, enticing saved sales. All the while the Smart Metrics feature is whirring away in the background, continually monitoring audience interaction, and suggesting improvements based upon proven behaviors.
Problem Solved: A modern approach to customer experience
Shiny, happy customers. It’s what we’re all chasing. Batting out of San Francisco, Wootric are here to make the quest that little bit more streamlined and modern, with a powerful AI-powered platform proven to measure and boost customer satisfaction. Dragging surveying techniques into the 21st century, Wootric utilizes single question micro-surveys that quantify your CX with established metrics like Net Promoter Score, CSAT and Customer Effort Score. Additionally, Wootric not only acts as a conduit for the all important Voice of Customer, it receives and analyzes all of this valuable data in one place, regardless of data source, making it easy for meaningful action to be taken. Millions of Wootric survey responses train proprietary algorithms, which enable incredible insights to be drawn from data via Natural language processing (NLP.) Being customer-centric in today’s market is no longer a differentiating factor, it’s a necessity, and it looks like Wootric is ready to help lead the charge for the next generation.
Problem Solved: Full stack project management for product development teams
Ah, developer collaboration. Did you wince a little bit? Agile project management tool Zube boasts a powerful integration with GitHub Issues, and promises to simplify this issue, helping the entire team stay informed and on target. Using a combination of kanban boards, epics, and sprints, the platform gives a sleek ‘single source of truth’ right out of the box. Customer support tickets are also incorporated, helping to ensure issues are resolved efficiently. Powerful analytics can also be applied to help give a clearer idea of when your project will ship, with Burndown, Burnup and Velocity charts in place to show progress.
Problem Solved: Business communication under one roof.
Funded in 2017 and is based out of San Francisco, Openland is backed by 30 prominent venture investors (including Y Combinator, Gagarin Capital and Sinai Ventures) and promises to cater for the many and varied business communication needs within one slick product. From advice to fundraising, recruiting to sales, they have the full spectrum covered. Designed for a seamless experience, with one account everywhere ensuring professional identity, chatroom capacity and keyboard shortcuts enabled for speedy, expressive writing, a series of smart tools equip the user for a more productive approach to business comms. Still in limited preview release, if you’d like to get in on the act, free early access is currently available.
Problem Solved: Shield your personal phone number from the impact of doing business.
We use our cell phones for everything in this day and age, but increasingly people report regretting using a personal number within a business context. Beyond the worries around privacy and the bombardment of spam calls you can expect, it can be hard to know when an incoming call is personal or business-related, making it hard to maintain a consistent level of professionalism (or keep from the over-formal greeting of your mother whenever she phones to check in on you!) Openphone enables you to call and text from your business phone number, from the convenience and familiarity of your own cell. Additionally, you’re able to set a dedicated business voicemail and clear business hours, managing the expectations of a response. Up to five separate numbers can be added per app, and voicemail is transcribed and texted – saving heaps of time and inconvenience.
Problem Solved: Quickly launch enterprise-class web and mobile apps.
8base operates a cloud-based platform that enables front-end developers to build and run enterprise-class web and mobile apps. Additionally, their “Bolt” product offers the ability for companies to consolidate their Salesforce / enterprise data and use it for custom app development via their secure GraphQL API. What does that mean if you’re not a developer? The ability to accelerate digital transformation; enhancing your customer experience, streamlining and automating internal business processes, and creating powerful online products that have enough clout to stand up against some of the big SaaS players. Funded by Firebrand Ventures, 8base certainly seem to pack quite the punch when it comes to modern, highly functional solutions to internal app and software development.
Problem Solved: Keep your team informed and up to date through onboarding and beyond.
In a fast-paced startup or SaaS environment, we all know that it can be a struggle to keep your team up to date with every new feature and change to business process. When you consider the fact that the average employee has nine customized applications that they’re required to use every day (while companies have over 150 to manage) it’s easy to see how problems can arise. It can be a real challenge to keep everyone up to date and adopting new workflows, which is why it’s great to see a startup like Spekit stepping up to provide a smart, well engineered solution. Their product automatically tracks process changes with regards to new technologies in a centralized location and then pushes training to your team, when and where they needed it. In addition to speeding up the ramp-time of new hires, this brings everyone onto the same page across your entire organisation.
Problem solved: Efficient management of all your business “things!”
Oomnitza believes that the future of asset management extends far beyond the traditional realms of IT assets, and will take into consideration every “thing” that helps your business to run – from laptops to virtual servers and software subscriptions. In order to ensure that all of your assets are working as hard as they could be for you, their product tracks performance from procurement to receiving, right through to deployment to maintenance to end-of-life. Automated forecasting helps you keep ahead of the curve in terms of inventory, and software and machine maintenance can also be automated, with links to leading service desks saving more time for your business.
Problem solved: Effortless financial modelling.
Whether putting it to work for for financial planning, analysis, forecasting, or measuring key performance metrics, financial modelling is all important within the world of SaaS, and Seqnc helps to simplify and automate the process for your business. No scripts or coding is required, and you have the option of either building your own model or using one of their flexible templates. What’s really smart about Seqnc is its broad ranging use case. Their product has been designed to factor in the demanding requirements of a SaaS based business, but is applicable for any business. Hailing from Pleasant Hill in California, Seqnc are well worth checking out if your business could do with a sleeker solution to your own forecasting and analysis.
We hope this quick run through has given you a taste of just some of the exciting West Coast talent rising up and starting to make waves. Many of the startups above will be joining us at SaaStock West Coast as part of our Startup Program, which offers the opportunity for SaaS startups to partner with our events at an accessible price and get an uncanny level of support. The partnerships are supplemented by a specially curated day of hands on workshops, introductions to investors, and further support from partners. Interested in getting involved too? Applications are open but you have to be quick – you have until next Friday, August 23rd.
How To Grow A Prize Kabbage: Culture, Change and Capital with Kathryn Petralia
Although impeccably polite, you get the impression that Kathryn Petralia might be a little tired of the focus placed on her unconventional path to success at the helm of FinTech giant, Kabbage. The company, which provides AI-powered access to capital, directly to SMBs, has ranked on the Inc. 5000 list as one of America’s fasting-growing…
Break all the rulebooks: How ActiveCampaign reached $70M in ARR
On this week’s episode of the SaaS Revolution Show, we speak with Jason VandeBoom, Founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign about all the unusual things he has done to reach $70M in ARR and counting. A builder and maker of things from an early age, young Jason thought that the best way to cater for that…
Ones To Watch: 20 of the finest SaaS startups born in the past year
As we cross into the last quarter of 2019, it’s a great time to take stock of the startups looking set to make waves throughout the end of this year and well into the next. We’ve pulled together a rundown of twenty exciting and ambitious young ones, all of whom are bringing fresh and exceptionally…