Top Early-Stage Teams To Look Out for in 2022
January 27th, 2022
New York VC Network has compiled a list of the most exciting early-stage teams that we'll be following closely this year. Typically, these teams have recently founded companies that are now raising their Seed or Series A and have applied to our VC matching program in the past six months. Based on the space the teams are working in, we divided their companies into 5 categories: HealthTech, Fintech, B2B Solutions, Consumer Tech, and Top Scorers in ESG.
Our Rating Committee consists of current and former VCs, angel investors, exited entrepreneurs, and Fortune 500 employees in M&A roles. We've rated the companies primarily based on the team's past track record (50%) and the company's current traction/scalability (50%). The former of the two criteria focuses mostly on founder profiles, past achievements, and their ability to gather a talented team around them, whereas the latter criterion focuses on the chosen market, current traction, and ability to scale.
We didn't focus on raised capital but to give you an idea of these highlighted companies, they had already raised $3.4M on average (the median being $1.4M) and a lot more after applying. More companies, full company profiles, and contact information are available only for professional investors on this Q4/2021 deals list and currently active deals (both tabs reside on the same Google Sheet). Please note that we do this just for good startup karma: The selection process, the teams' positions on the lists, as well as all our matching services are free of charge and solicitation.
Top 20 Teams in B2B Solutions (in alphabetical order)
Adventr (B2B SaaS) is a cloud-based platform for the easy creation, distribution & analysis of interactive video which can be controlled by touch or voice with engagement 13X vs. basic video. The founder earned his BS at Wharton and MBA at Columbia and is a Grammy-winning record producer who signed EGOT winner John Legend.
BuyerSight (B2B SaaS) provides AI-driven sales recommendations to help managers improve team performance and increase sales. The founders are Harvard classmates with 30 years of combined B2B startup experience and been early in over $1.6 billion in previous exits.
changeforce.ai (Enterprise SaaS) is aware that organizational change initiatives take long, have few employees participate, and are expensive. Their technology helps to align the organization and these Columbia and Carnegie Mellon founders have the industry background, previous exits, professorships, and impressive early traction to back it up.
CognaLearn (B2B EdTech) helps professors and trainers deliver data-driven online team-based learning. The founders' past experience includes co-founding Duke’s Computer Science Department, Dean of two medical schools, a trainer of 1,000+ professors, and being an Airline CFO that doubled in size in <1.5 years and sold for $100M.
Genus Artificial Intelligence Inc (Enterprise AdTech) helps D2C companies to optimize their social ads for video generation and audience modeling with our end-to-end growth platform. One of the founders was born on a small farm in Soviet Lithuania before getting their PhD in Computational Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.
Indicio (Enterprise SaaS) provides a comprehensive ecosystem of decentralized identity software and uses its network to issue, verify, and exchange privacy-preserving digital credentials. This team coming out of Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and University of Washington brings together more than 65 years of experience in decentralized identity.
inSearchX (AdTech Platform) is a perpetual search platform utilized by media companies to create new revenue and data resources. The team has multiple startup exits including an IPO and one was selected Innovator of the Year in Nashville, TN.
Jottful (B2B SaaS) helps small businesses better market themselves online. The 2-time founder was previously COO at Nutshell CRM, has been VP in marketing at 4 VC-backed SaaS startups (Seed, A, B & C), and has been BBA faculty at Parsons/New School for 7 years.
NavTrac (Enterprise SaaS) is a YC-backed company solving a visibility problem for the multi-trillion dollar container logistics industry with their AI-powered Yard Management System (YMS). One founder wrote software for the Mars Rover at JPL and his PhD (Carnegie Mellon) has been cited over 1.7k+ times by top AI researchers.
Neutronian (B2B AdTech) is a SaaS platform that delivers a data quality "credit rating" for data/audience segments used by global marketers. This is the 4th startup for both founders, with each having already led from seed to exit. Both founders have public company experience, including roles at Amazon AWS representing $1B+ in revenue.
newtrul (B2B Marketplace) is a shipment aggregation platform with impressive traction and investors that provide carriers an easier way to search for their next job. Previously the founders have led a sales team from $300k/mo to $12M+/mo in less than 24 months and been responsible for a multi-billion dollar banking app.
Nomitri (B2B SaaS) enables stationary grocers to cut 30% of operational costs and get real-time data on shoppers. The founders include a deep learning AI researcher from TUM & Cambridge, a Harvard lawyer & Fulbright scholar, and an engineer with 8+ years of experience in software development for autonomous cars.
NLX (B2C SaaS) transforms customer contact into personalized customer self-service. The founding team has known each other for a long time and includes an Adjunct Professor at Columbia who Built AmEx's conversational AI platform and who is an Olympic Gold Medalist in Physics.
Paladin AI (B2B EdTech) builds artificial intelligence solutions for adaptive learning in immersive environments such as aviation training. The founders are a Columbia Grad with PhD in astrophysics and a former CTO of the market-leading civil aviation simulation & training company.
Peek (Enterprise PropTech) leverages rapid virtualization technology & consumer engagement data to help property managers/owners lease 3x more efficiently. The resilient and savvy founding team includes a Columbia-graduated hedge fund portfolio manager and the 300th employee at Uber who also played poker semi-professionally.
Sook (B2B PropTech) is an agile asset management solution that helps landlords transform vacant retail units into customizable physical spaces that are rentable from anywhere in the world for an hourly rental fee. Founder with a military background has been able to generate great traction and rally impressive partnerships in a short time.
Struct Club (B2B SaaS) is the default experience design platform for millions of classes run by fitness instructors and studios across 50+ countries worldwide, with world-class partners such as Stages Cycling, the bike behind SoulCycle, Equinox, Barry's, LA Fitness, etc. Prior to Harvard, Princeton & her startup career, the founder has been a symphonic youth musician at Walt Disney Concert Hall. She's also been featured on Forbes' "Self Made Women" List.
Supersourcing (Future of Work Marketplace) is a new generation platform for hiring remote engineers or agencies; 99% success, 10X faster, trusted by 32 YC companies and 250+ funded startups. Founded by a Top 10 women entrepreneur by Yourstory and an Ex- Brand Ambassador of Lenovo.
Tangle (Enterprise Future of Work) has developed a more human way for teams to communicate, remotely. The two founders met at Cornell Tech. One of the founders has reorganized multi-$B acquisitions for chairman of the previous org for 6 years and the otherone has Masters in Telecom Eng. & CS and worked on Teams & Skype at Microsoft for 8 years.
Villyge (B2B SaaS) is a B2B digital platform that supports working parents holistically by delivering micro-trainings in “real time” to managers and providing personalized care to employees. The founder got to Columbia and GW law while working full-time, but left Big Law to build a business that Forbes called an industry disruptor while raising five kids.
XL8 Inc (B2B SaaS) is the only machine translation company that's focused on the media & entertainment area with the unrivaled quality in the colloquial contents. The founders first met at Columbia in 2011 while doing their CS degrees. The CEO is a CS PhD, MBA, and ex-Googler and the other founder is an experienced CS formerly at Apple.
Top 10 Teams in Consumer Tech (in alphabetical order)
Aether Diamonds (B2C E-Commerce) transforms harmful atmospheric CO2 into raw materials and products such as gem-grade diamonds made entirely from the air and renewable energy. The founders have previously founded and exited ventures as well as shipped hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of fine jewelry for major global brands.
Bitewell (Food Marketplace) is closing the gap of restaurant ingredient and diet transparency with a shoppable meal-planner. One of the founders launched drinkkoia.com (now in 15,000 stores) and drinklimitless.com (sold to Keurig Dr Pepper 2020) before he was 29 and the other went from Bridgewater to Estée Lauder as a brand director before turning 28.
Camect, Inc (B2B2C Security Tech) uses extremely accurate, practical, and affordable AI to bring security camera owners the ability to be informed of what's going on as well as to protect what's valuable to them. One of the founders owned Google's main web crawl for over a decade rebuilding it from scratch and revamping it several times.
Filter Off (Consumer Tech) is a video speed dating app that runs virtual speed dating events and a digital matchmaking service. The founders are pioneers and influencers in the space and have previously ran a Venture-backed Series C company. They also have considerable software development and product design experience.
Jumpspeak (B2C EdTech) teaches you a new language by speaking it. Their approach is to help you learn a language the way you would use it by speaking in immersive conversations with a chatbot. One of the experienced founders is a recognized Canadian entrepreneur and the other previously co-founded a company that raised with a $100M valuation.
Liv Labs Inc. (B2C Wellness) is a YC- and NSF-backed women's continence company developing a simple medical device and adaptive exercise software. The founders from Yale and Wharton have previously been the global head of customer experience design at McDonald's and built the first product pipeline for Casper.
NIPYATA! INC. (B2B2C Marketplace) has built a $2M+ revenue-creating online personalized gifting marketplace in just 12 months. The marketplace integrates designers, large consumer brands, and fulfillment partners to deliver unique personalized gifts. The team from Harvard, NYU, and Babson have known each other for over 20 years.
Sool (B2C CPG/Beverage Platform) is a brand-building and distribution platform for Korean-inspired alcoholic beverages. The Team from the University of Michigan (BA) and Columbia Business School (MBA) have been able to create a $1M+ revenue company in just two years.
SYDNEY (B2C E-Commerce) is an e-commerce fashion retailer for plus-size lingerie. The founder previously sold one of the first plus-size e-comm companies and was a founding member of Bindle, backed by Snapchat and Instagram investors. She has a degree from Oxford and JD/MBA from Harvard/Columbia.
Trebel Music (Music Platform) wants to make the most essential paid features of a music subscription service available to billions of users, for free. The founders from Stanford, Columbia, and Duke have started and built 5 companies, with exits to Oracle and two IPOs.
Top 20 Teams in HealthTech (in alphabetical order)
3DNanoRx (B2B HealthTech) and their precision drug delivery via 3D nanoprinting creates tiny microcarriers of personalized doses with unprecedented release control. The founder is a serial entrepreneur with 10 issued patents including AI, sensors, 3D printing, and drug security. She has previously sold spinouts to AOL, Kodak, Getty, CA.
Anchor Health (Healthtech Marketplace) is an AI-first health and financial navigation platform. The founder is a former Vice President and General Manager of Digital Health at Stanford Health Care and has also previously held senior leadership roles at HP, McKinsey, Booz, and Sun. He also has an MBA from Columbia Business School.
American Gene Technologies (B2B HealthTech) is a gene and cell therapy company designed to unlock the iterative power of genetic tools to change medicine forever. The Harvard founder used to teach weekend computer classes at MIT already at age 14 and was an early employee at Apple.
avoMD (B2B HealthTech) has a universal clinical content management system that transforms dense clinical information into actionable decision support at the point-of-care. The founders come from Columbia University Medical Center, Columbia Business School, University of Pennsylvania, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Altopa, Inc. (B2B2C HealthTech) is a CBD and medical cannabis company that sells personalized formulations to care providers' patients and has partnered with 30+ health systems and health plans across the USA with 1M+ patients. The founder once led NC's fastest-growing company to a $45M Series C.
Collaborative Drug Discovery spinout (HealthTech SaaS) has a founding team with degrees from UC Berkeley and Columbia and one founder is on a patent for $B drug Kyprolis. They're a leader in web-based drug discovery informatics with a patent for superior web-based semantic scientific drug data streams.
HealthKick, Inc. (Employee Wellness) is a digital wellness SaaS platform that provides employees with access to a curated ecosystem of consumer health and wellness brands personalized to their individual interests and goals as an employer-subsidized benefit. The founder is a first-generation American who graduated from Princeton and CBS.
Kleiner Device Labs (Medical Devices) has developed unique spinal implants and instruments that will improve outcomes while lowering costs in spinal surgery. The founder has graduated with honors from Stanford University and received his MD from the University of Colorado and has conducted over 6,000 spinal surgeries.
Lime Therapeutics (HealthTech SaaS) has developed the world's first platform for lipid-targeting drug discovery to help cancer and Alzheimer's patients. The founders have Master's degrees from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania as well as PhDs from Emory University and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Lucia (HealthTech SaaS) allows non-cardiology clinicians to detect and treat AFib according to guidelines when specialists aren’t available. One of the founders became a cardiac electrophysiologist after his father suffered a stroke and co-founded Geneva Health Solutions, a cardiac remote monitoring company sold for $65M.
MedTrans Go (B2B HealthTech) is a healthcare appointment optimization portal that provides healthcare facilities access to a customizable suite of services to address the root causes of their appointment cancellations. The team has degrees from Columbia University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and Yale University.
MemoryWell Inc. (B2B HealthTech) creates real patient stories to foster trust, drive engagement, and identify patient needs. This VC-backed founder was an award-winning TIME Magazine correspondent covering everything from the White House to the Arab Spring and the author of the best-selling 2016 book, “Broad Influence.”
Mundaii.com (HealthTech Marketplace) provides comprehensive technology tools to the physician-patient ecosystem. The founder is a seasoned physician and Columbia MBA who has worked on strategic market initiatives in healthcare for decades.
Navimize (B2B HealthTech) has a superstar female founding team with a Columbia/Cornell affiliated MD and software talent with a Wharton MBA who've built a virtual waiting room and end-to-end patient communication platform that helps health systems maximize efficiencies, improve access to virtual care, increase volumes and revenues.
Orange Grove Bio (B2B Tech-Enabled Biotech) is a tech-enabled drug development platform focused on driving down the cost of drug discovery and advancing therapies across inflammatory, oncology, and autoimmune diseases. These experienced industry experts come from Harvard, Yale, and University of Heidelberg, Germany.
Phinomics (B2B HealthTech) uses circular DNA, an early marker of genetic and cellular change, to radically improve human health. The team from Yale, Columbia, and UC Berkeley include a Noble laureate as a co-inventor who has been the driving force behind the renaissance of circular DNA in health and disease at Stanford and beyond.
QLIBRIUM (B2B HealthTech) is revolutionizing wearable systems for delivering injectable drugs into subcutaneous tissue. These Harvard, MIT, and Wharton grads include a founding Chairman of Save the Children Hong Kong, a MedTech Boston 40 under 40 & MDDI Rising Star, and an inventor of a technology tested in space.
Stratio, Inc. (Industrial Automation) offers AI-assisted visible and infrared imaging solutions for quality inspection. The co-founders are MBA and PhD graduates from Stanford who have been working together for >8 years in the company building a novel infrared image sensor/camera.
Vasocure (Pharma/Biotech) is a clinical-stage vascular therapeutics company with the world’s first peptide to directly treat neointimal disease and atherosclerosis. All founders in the team are doctors and three of them have brought two blockbuster drugs to market: Mircera and Sensipar.
VOTIS Subdermal Imaging Technologies, Ltd. (B2B HealthTech) is developing AI-based devices to screen for, diagnose, and monitor peripheral artery disease (PAD) non-invasively. Founders include a professor emeritus who founded the department of bioengineering at NYU; primary care physician of 30 years' experience; and a serial entrepreneur graduate of Columbia College, journalism, and law.
Vynca (B2B HealthTech) is a serious illness management platform that enables healthcare organizations to manage their most complex and vulnerable populations at the end of life. The Stanford and UC Berkeley founders are serial entrepreneurs in med tech with successful licenses and prior acquisitions. They are also in executive positions at large medtech firms.
Within Health (B2B Healthtech) provides care navigation powered to identify and close care gaps with a SaaS model selling to radiology practices and hospital systems. Founders coming from UPenn, Villanova, and Lehigh Universities have launched, scaled, and exited previous ventures.
Top 10 Teams in Fintech (in alphabetical order)
AIM (B2C Fintech) makes premier wealth management accessible to everyday investors via mobile app and is the #1 investment platform in South Korea. The founders coming out of Columbia and Harvard have known each other from 5th grade and have a combined experience of 15 years at leading investment firms in the U.S. and Asia.
Pallo (B2C Fintech) has developed the first all-in-one tax and accounting app that seamlessly curates an end-to-end financial journey from spending to taxes. The three co-founders have built and scaled businesses from $0 to 9-figure valuations before, with exits.
Broker Buddha (Fintech SaaS) is a technology platform that simplifies the outdated insurance application and renewal process for insurance agents. One of the founders is a Computer Science graduate from Harvard who ran Business Development at Shazam, helping them become one of the largest digital media companies of the past decade.
Good Crypto (B2C Fintech) is a mobile-first multi-exchange crypto trading terminal and portfolio manager. One of the founders built a successful HFT business that survived 10+ years of cut-throat technological competition while the other became the CEO of the largest Ukrainian real estate development company at the age of 29.
MRGN (B2B Fintech) is an intelligent budgeting platform for SMBs that guides founders through the decision-making process and improves KPIs without the need for a CFO. Previously these international founders with a diverse skillset have raised over $250M, have one IPO, and one uplist.
Perl Street (B2B Fintech) enables borrowers that are creating the next generation of distributed physical assets to bundle, finance, and manage them at scale. The team has founded previous companies, operated $1B+ infrastructure and cleantech projects, and have extensive engineering, financing, and data science experience.
Reinvest (Fintech Marketplace) provides investment products allowing everyone to invest in venture capital ("index funds for venture capital"). This Harvard/Wharton Team has previously raised over $4B in capital, COO was the head of proprietary trading business at Credit Suisse, CCO was COO of wealth management Americas for Deutsche Bank.
Solipay (B2C Fintech) is pioneering the next generation of consumer cashback rewards for data. The founders have software engineering experience from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, IBM Research, Columbia University Computer Science & Data Science Institute, and Qu Capital (acquired by Digital Currency Group in 2019).
Uplinq Financial Technologies (B2B Fintech) is a purpose-led company, with a mission of helping lenders achieve financial inclusion for all of their small business customers. One of the founders is now working on his 5th startup and 4th as a tech founder with 2 exits.
Virtual i Technologies (B2B InsurTech) enables the insurance industry to shift from good faith-based underwriting to dynamic and data-based decision making. Its patented AI-driven platform [VRS]™ Virtual Risk Space provides intelligent solutions for underwriters to assess risks before insuring them. The CBS/LBS founder has 15+ years of experience in the insurance industry.
Top 10 Scorers in ESG (in alphabetical order)
Brava (B2B SaaS) is tackling the cash flow crisis facing Black-owned businesses by tapping into the $200 billion corporate gifting/rewards space. This business-savvy team coming out of Columbia and Northwestern sells digital gift cards to be used for services from Black-owned businesses. They sell the gift cards to corporations to help them achieve vendor diversity.
Carbon Lighthouse (B2B SaaS) has an AI platform that makes it easy and profitable for commercial real estate landlords to reach net zero. These cleantech experts from Harvard, Cambridge, and Stanford have been recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30, Fast Company Most Innovative Companies, Global Cleantech Top 100, Bloomberg top 25 Social Entrepreneurs, etc.
Civic Champs (Engagement Platform) delivers volunteer management and engagement systems to nonprofits shortening the time for administrative tasks by up to 85% and opening up a new revenue stream. The two founders have led two successful startups to exit, have a Harvard MBA, and have 10+ years of experience in software development.
Folia Materials (Advanced Materials) has a team of Columbia, Cornell, and McGill PhD scientists who have worked together for 10 years and developed a patented coating process that creates new markets for specialty paper: consumer goods water filters, antiviral PPE, and food packaging, each a multi-billion-dollar market, with more in the future.
GEMMAQ (B2B SaaS) provides the opportunity to invest directly in women empowerment, with quality real-time diversity data and a unique gender-lens platform. The exclusive factual data platform that visualizes the real impact women have on global markets. The Columbia founder is a winner of the Nordic Women in Tech Awards 2021 - Rising star of the Year.
Mooditude, Inc. (B2B2C HealthTech) is a data-driven mental health platform that improves the quality of care with personalized interventions. One of the founders has previously exited from three companies and recently sold a game studio. The other founder has been a radio host and has built the largest women shelter program in LA.
Pawame (Renewable Energy) offers a solar energy platform that dramatically improves the lives of millions of unelectrified African communities. These Harvard and Stanford MBAs are serial entrepreneurs, experts in Solar Energy & Middle east, and have extensive process & industrial engineering experience.
PocketPatientMD (B2B2C HealthTech) has had a role in helping people reach healthcare services in several African countries during the pandemic and has been used for COVID19 by a major global health organization. They provide an electronic medical record platform that streamlines the access to care for patients and providers.
Pressto (B2B EdTech) has a founding team with previous exits and 15+ years of full-stack developer experience with a relentless passion for their mission. Pressto is a better way to write. Kids are struggling to write, and this impacts their achievement across all subject areas. Pressto gets kids excited about writing.
Re-Nuble (B2B Sustainability) is helping indoor farms enable closed-loop production, deliver a carbon-negative product, a full micronutrient profile, and enable farms to generate 20–60% more profitable produce. The Columbia founder has been involved in sustainability for ten years and in finance for seven years.
SOLshare (Energy Marketplace) provides a marketplace for future-proof energy infrastructures, which helps remote communities trade solar power. Founded by three Germans who ventured out to Bangladesh 7 years ago and wanted to solve energy poverty, but stumbled over something even larger.
A more detailed list with the contact information is available only for accredited investors in this Google Sheet on the new active deals tab and the Q4 deals tab. If you're a founder and wish to be considered for the next list, please apply via our VC matching form.
For feedback, corrections, and media inquiries, please contact Roope Marttila at roope.marttila (at) columbia.edu