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Hey Everyone, welcome back to another edition of The Buzz. We hope 2020 is off to a fast start in terms of investments. If not, we've got some great companies this week in growth mode. Before we dive into the startups, be sure to check out the Forbes article written about one of our previously profiled companies, Bloom Automation! Bloom is onto some amazing things in the cannabis space so keep them on your radar. If you missed it, you can read the original Buzz profile here.

Now, back to business. Live Undistracted, a company with technology that prevents drivers from getting distracted by their phone, is looking for introductions to angel and individual investors. SammyOps, who is helping customers save time and money by giving them insights to optimize their equipment operations, is looking for intros to potential customers. And Upright Oats, a brand of sustainable oat milk that offers similar nutritional value as traditional dairy products, is looking for connections to help take their brand to the next level. That's all for this week. Tell your friends to subscribe, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Medium, and drop us a line anytime at bb@ourbuzzmedia.com. See you next week!
Technology that prevents drivers from getting distracted by their phone without hardware or phone sensors.

The Problem

While delivery, construction, trucking, food and beverage and other fleet-based companies have phone policies, they are impossible to enforce, leading to costly repairs, injuries and deaths. Fleets have a 20 percent annual accident rate at an average cost of $20,000 each, and some accidents result in multi-million dollar negligent entrustment lawsuits. It’s a $2 billion industry problem. To date, there hasn’t been a reliable, cost-effective and driver-friendly solution to warrant a command in the market. Others have tried to solve the problem using hardware or phone sensors, but have failed due to battery-drain, false triggers and high costs that range from $5 to $13 per driver per month.

What The Company Does

Live Undistracted’s patent-pending PhoneSafe blanks the phone screen when the truck is taken out of park, using a combination of software, in-truck telematics and read-only iBeacon technology. The costs is $0.50 per driver per month.

The Market

With a global commercial vehicles market of 157 million, and charging $0.50 per driver per month, there is a $940 million market opportunity. Similar solutions such LiveSafer, Truce Software and SafeRide have issues such as draining battery, reliability and costs. In-cab camera solutions and monitors are potential competitors as well, but are expensive and don’t prevent distracted driving. The top five telematics providers have over 5 million users.

Business Model

Live Undistracted plans to partner with telematics providers; sell directly to telematics VAR’s for $0.50 per driver per month and support VAR’s in promoting to fleet companies.

Traction

The company successfully piloted its MVP in March, resulting in a purchase order for over 200 vehicles and investments from both the president and COO of that company. The largest telematics provider, Geotab, which has 1.6 million users, is committed to supporting Live Undistracted’s solution in Q1 of 2020. Multiple VAR’s and fleet companies are waiting to pilot the solution, and the company has a partnership with OEM DD, an electronics components manufacturer, to sell to the off-road market at places like construction sites.

Founding Team Background

Founder and CEO Damien Moroney has 20 years of executive experience with technology startups and enterprises. Co-Founder and CTO Steve Owens has more than 20 years of experience as a technology executive with four exits. Co-Founder Mike Maguire is a fleet industry executive.

What They Need Help With

The company is in growth mode and is looking for introductions to angel and individual investors. It is also looking for introductions to companies with commercial vehicles.

Connect With The Live Undistracted Team
A platform helping customers save time and money by giving them insights to optimize their equipment operations.

The Problem

Businesses that have vehicle fleets struggle with managing maintenance and repair. Broken trucks sitting on the lot don’t make revenue.

What The Company Does

Boston-based SammyOps offers a SaaS-based fleet management solution with an easy to use mobile app that simplifies fleet management and maintenance through workflow automation and data driven optimization. Their cloud-based platform makes tracking, managing, and automating fleet maintenance simple and avoids hardware installation, complex IT projects or operations changes. The data captured via the mobile app, including operator input, enables automation of routine tasks and provides contextually rich actionable insights for optimization for both equipment and drivers/operators. Thus, their customers have visibility into their fleets’ use and maintenance needs and can hold their teams accountable to doing what is needed.

The Market

SammyOps is targeting the commercial fleet management software space. According to the team, the US market is only 25% penetrated and estimated at about $5B, while growing at 15% CAGR. Their addressable market presently is mid-sized enterprises comprising approx. $1.5B in market size. Competition is mainly from two sources: 1) Original Equipment Manufacturers such as Ford, Caterpillar, Volvo, etc. that offer Telematics as a service but is expensive and limited to their new equipment only, and 2) GPS hardware manufacturers such as Geotab, AZUGA, Telogis, AT&T, etc. that offer after market trackers but only work on equipment under a certain age. SammyOps is differentiating by working across mixed fleets while delivering business outcomes as opposed to just data.

Business Model

The business model is a subscription fee per vehicle with a multi-year contract. The contracted revenue is sticky and makes for attractive unit economics.

Traction

The team has recently acquired two enterprise customers after successfully completing a beta pilot. Additionally, they have formed a sales partnership with Mobile Mini (Nasdaq: MINI), a leading equipment rental company with a high degree of customer overlap. SammyOps also participated in the EforAll accelerator out of Roxbury, MA, placing 2nd in the pitch competition.

Founding Team Background

Founder and CEO, Asit Goel, brings nearly a decade of domain expertise and industry experience. He has held leadership roles in sales and marketing with companies such as United Rentals and United Site Services leading customer acquisition, monetization, and engagement. He has pulled together a team of domain experts with Sanyam Singhal heading up product delivery, Scott McKay consulting as CTO, and Matt McClure for sales.


What They Need Help With

The team is seeking introductions to potential customers, companies in regional distribution and deliveries such as trucking companies, produce & material suppliers, beverage distribution, etc., companies in construction such as general contractors, electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc., and to advisers in the transportation/ mobility/ logistics space.

Connect With The SammyOps Team
The Buzz is powered by FastCTO, a network of real CTOs that consult startups that neither need nor can afford full time CTOs. Startups get access to experienced, high valued CTOs for a few hours a week from formation through Series A and beyond.
A brand of oat milk that delivers similar nutritional value to traditional dairy products.

The Problem

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, millions of farmers worldwide tend approximately 270 million dairy cows to produce milk. Milk production impacts the environment in various ways, and the scale of these impacts depends on the practices of the dairy farmers and feed growers. Despite the nutritional benefits dairy products offer, they are still among the top sources of artery-clogging saturated fat in the American diet. Adding to the problem, 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. By creating alternatives to traditional dairy products, companies can address pressing health and environmental issues that the world currently faces. The trick is finding an alternative that offers the same nutritional value that traditional dairy products offer.

What the Company Does

Upright Oats offers oat milk as nutritious as traditional dairy. Unlike existing brands, every glass of the company’s oat milk offers eight grams of protein as well as key vitamins and minerals. Available in four flavors — original, vanilla, chocolate, and barista — in shelf-stable family-size and lunchbox-friendly single-serving portions, their delicious and affordable organic oat milk is fortified with oat protein and key vitamins and minerals to match dairy’s nutrients. The company enables access to health and sustainability by offering a direct replacement for existing dairy and alternatives that tastes great, avoids common allergens, satisfies nutritional needs, and encourages regenerative agriculture.

The Market

Although current U.S. demand for oat milk is small, estimated at $75 million, the team believes this market has the potential to grow to $1 billion in the next decade alongside the fast-growing U.S. plant-based alternative dairy market, which is currently valued at $2.5B and growing at a 9.5 percent CAGR. Oat milk demand grew 5x in the past year as consumer preferences shift toward plant-based diets and sustainable practices. The almond milk market is a close comparable, which grew from a similarly small size in 2000 to $1B by 2016 and is currently growing at 11 percent and at 23 percent for organic varieties. The U.S. oat milk market is fragmented with low barriers to entry. Existing brands are all recent entrants, which include Oatly, Quaker Oats, Planet Oat, Pacific, Silk, Elmhurst, Califia Farms, Rise, Happy Planet, Minor Figures, and Thrive Market. However, none of these companies offer an oat milk that has 8 grams of protein per serving and is both organic and gluten-free. Only Rise is both organic and gluten-free, but is $6.99/L and contains less than 1 gram of protein per serving. Oatly is the market leader with the widest distribution and brand recognition, but is not organic and only 3 grams of protein per serving. Given the lack of an affordable organic, gluten-free, high-protein oat milk, the team believes there is tremendous opportunity to simultaneously grow the market while capturing share.

Business Model

Upright Oats plans to make money by selling their products through conventional and specialty food retailers for sale to consumers.

Traction

Upright Oats is currently early-stage and pre-launch but has built momentum with plans to launch in early 2020 in New Haven. Within a week of forming the company, they pitched at and won the Inaugural Yale Entrepreneurial Society and Yale’s Science and Engineering Alumni Association’s Idea Pitch Night. They also have been accepted to and participated offerings across Yale including the Tsai CITY’s Food Intensive, School of Management Startup Founder’s Practicum, and the Center for Business and the Environment’s Greenlight ideation workshop. Other awards they have won or placed at include Yale’s Yadav Entrepreneurial Award and Climate Change Innovation Grant, Connecticut Entrepreneurship Foundation’s Business Plan Competition, Next Gen Summit’s PITCH! Competition, and CTNext’s Entrepreneur Innovation Awards.

Founding Team Background

Upright Oats was founded by Betty Tang and Tu Rha during their time as MBA students at Yale. Betty holds a BComm degree in Accounting and Sustainability from the University of British Columbia and holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University’s Center for Nutrition Studies. Her work experience spans four years in management consulting at A.T. Kearney and McKinsey & Company, where she served large multinationals across continents in a range of industries including manufacturing, consumer goods, packaging, and agriculture. Thu Ra holds a BA in Business & Economics and Psychology from Cornell as well as a Masters in Operations Research and Supply Chain from Case Western Reserve University. He has four years of work experience in supply chain and logistics at major consumer goods organizations including PepsiCo and Quaker Oats, and was formerly the Director of Supply Chain and Logistics for Pubco.

What They Need Help With

Upright Oats is currently in growth mode and needs help getting their business to the next level.

 

Connect With The Upright Oats Team
     

ABOUT THE BUZZ

The Buzz covers pre-funded early-stage ventures in New England and profiles the organizations that support them. The Buzz is powered by FastCTO, a network of real CTOs that consult startups that neither need nor can afford full-time CTOs. Startups get access to experienced, high valued CTOs for a few hours a week from information to Series A and beyond. FastCTO is not a dev shop, an agency, or a staffing company. 

OUR MISSION

All of the startups we profile are up and coming innovative companies, many of which require or will require capital to grow.  Our mission is to connect them with mentors, potential investors and others that can help get them to the next level.  The Buzz does not and will not receive any form of compensation as a result of startups receiving funding.

     

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