10 Pre-Series A Companies to Watch in New York

This post is an excerpt from last weekend’s Mattermark Weekly newsletter. We send it out each weekend featuring startups on the rise. Subscribe here.

I was happily surprised to see New York companies dominating the top of the startup charts on Mattermark throughout the week, inspiring me to compile the up-and-comers from their thriving community. Check out ten startups who have yet to raise a round Series A funding, who are showing healthy growth signals.

1. DigitalOcean – The simple cloud hosting company went through TechStars and received seed funding in May of 2012. The company boasts on their website they have launched 230,000+ cloud servers. CEO Ben Uretsky is also the CEO of ServerStack, another New York company providing managed hosting services for enterprise clients. Digital Ocean is popular with developers and is big enough to receive DDoS attacks, often an unfortunate rite of passage for popular cloud software development tools.

2. Moveline – Provides decision-making tools for people about to embark on a long-distance move. The company has raised $1.75M in seed funding to date, most recently taking $1.5M in October 2012 from several angel investors including Lowercase Capital, 500 Startups and David Cohen. They are a graduate of TechStars.

3. Poptip – Poptip provides a realtime social feedback channel for brands, celebrities and other “cool people” to ask questions of their followers and crowdsource answers. I signed up and connected my Twitter account so I could ask the web about the perfect ratio for a mimosa (come on, it’s Sunday) and although you can’t tell from the tweet, Poptip is monitoring for answers and you can see the public results page here. The company is a graduate of Techstars (I’m starting to notice a pattern here) and raised just over $1M in seed funding in June 2012.

4. Custora – Custora provides predictive analytics to help e-commerce marketing people find and retain their ideal customers. They are used by well-known online shopping companies like Fab.com, Threadless and Etsy. The company was part of the Y Combinator Winter 2011 batch and raised a $850K seed round in January 2012.

5. Bespoke Post – The subscription box service for men sells its “Box of Awesome” to upgrade the lifestyles of guys everywhere. Check out this kit of gear for the avid cyclist for an example. Subscription commerce seems to have fallen out of favor in the media lately, notably with the shutdown of Wittlebee last month, but Bespoke Post is gaining mindshare with an unlikely market – dudes. The company raised $850K in seed funding from Great Oaks, 500 Startups, and BHV in March 2013.

6. Pickie – Pickie is creating a catalogue shopping experience designed for mobile and tablet users, personalized daily to each users tastes and preferences. They’ve been partnering with influential fashion bloggers / stylists / buyers like Cara McLeay to create unique “spreads” reminiscient of a woman’s fashion magazine. See an example here. The company graduated from TechStars in March 2012, and raised $1M in seed funding in October 2012 from a slew of angels including Betaworks, DFJ Gotham, MESA+ and others.

7. Grouper – Our co-founder Andy has used the service 6 times so far ($20 each time) and he says, “It’s an awesome low pressure way to meet people in a big city when you’re single, it’s great to just have drinks and not know what’s expected to happen… you could go home with any of these 3 girls, or none of them. It’s also a great way to discover cool new bars, and worst case scenario is you’re drinking with the guys you came with.” In fact, he loves it so much he’s going on one on his birthday! They raised seed funding from SV Angel in May 2012.

8. BitInstant – A payment processor for Bitcoin exchanges and other merchants, they raised $1.5M in seed funding from the Winklevoss brothers in May of this year and have been taking advantage of BTC prominence in the media lately by launching a new beta website last week, thought there have definitely been some performance hiccups along the way. The fact that they have so many customers publicly complaining is typical of a successful early stage company (ahem, anyone remember Twitter outages?).

9. Klooff – Every editorial bone in my body is telling me not to put this in the list, because the site is so bare bones and the idea seems silly… it’s basically Hot or Not for animal pictures, but after using it and giggling for a few minutes my personal happiness is definitely increased. I figure you could use a little joy in your Series A company search, too. These guys are legitimately growing too,gaining more than 400,000 new Facebook likes just in the past week, which is pretty damn hard to do. They were in the most recent TechStars NYC batch.

10. ImageBrief – Odds are you’ve searched for stock photos before, and ImageBrief is a marketplace where photographers sell their images directly to people looking to use them on websites, in blog posts, news stories and other digital media. It’s an alternative to Getty / iStockphoto. The company took $700K from angel investors in March 2013.

© Mattermark 2017. Sources: Mattermark Research, Crunchbase, AngelList.
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