A maker of smart shopping carts, which use image recognition and artificial intelligence technologies.
Time is money and Caper aims to save you both. The company's smart shopping carts employ cameras and sensors to transform a regular shopping cart into a checkout-free retail experience. The smart cart scans, logs, and bags items as they’re added to the cart. Then it automatically tallies the bill and charges the customer upon leaving the store. Further, an interactive screen on the Caper cart pushes alerts regarding potential deals and coupons. Caper, a Y-Combinator alumnus, has raised $3.5 million in funding from angel investors including Max Mullen, co-founder of Instacart, and Jenny Fleiss, co-founder of Rent the Runway. Helmed by four founders under 30, the company is projected to generate $11 million in 2019 revenue, thanks to pending deals which are expected put the technology in more than 100 New York-based grocery stores by the end of the year. It further expects another 100 stores to adopt the product by the end of 2020. Customers who want to try the service now can check out Caper's test store, Foodcellar Market, in Queens, New York. --Tim Crino
Provider of financial services for underbanked customers.
Where Sheena Allen grew up, in tiny Terry, Mississippi, there was but one small bank. "People cashed their checks at the grocery store" and used payday lenders and other often-predatory providers, she recalls. "We've lived the problem." She decided to solve it. She spent 2016 researching the financial industry, and then launched CapWay, which created a "social fintech" app to show your balance and transaction information, as well as to warn you if a Netflix fee will drain your account. Up next: a debit card and smartphone-enabled microloans. The revenue model--still a work in progress--involves payments from colleges using CapWay materials, and customer fees. Providing these services to the underbanked is complex, but Allen is undaunted. "We can be profitable, have a social impact—and have a great company," she says. --Maria Aspan
Enables consumers to book personalized video messages, live video calls, and direct messages from athletes, entertainers, influencers, and other celebrities.
In 2020, Cameo launched a philanthropic program called Cameo Cares, which partners with charity initiatives in creating exclusive events that donate the company’s celebrity shoutout fees to worthy causes. The platform’s star power raised more than $1 million for multiple charities in its first six months, while advancing Cameo’s mission of creating unforgettable one-on-one interactions between talent and fans. The first Cameo Cares event was a three-day live-streamed festival in April that raised $725,000 for charities working to address problems caused by Covid-19. A second two-day affair raised $225,000 for organizations involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.
A private in-home chef service for meal-prep and special occasions.
Tiana Tenent, 29, had spent five years as a financial advisor and consultant for J.P. Morgan when she realized she wanted to reconnect with her one true love: food. She was considering opening a restaurant when she met Jill Donenfeld, a now 34-year-old private chef, caterer, and cookbook author who was running a private chef placement agency. Together, they launched The Culinistas, an in-home chef service for meal-prep and private event meal production. With a focus on easing the burden of busy parents, the service--which starts at $250 plus the cost of groceries--brings a private chef into users' homes to prepare a week's worth of meals selected from a rotating menu. The service is also available for dinner parties and special occasions. The Culinistas' stable of 80 chefs work out of people's homes in New York City, Palm Beach, Aspen, and the Hamptons. The service is launching in Los Angeles in fall 2019. "There's such a personal component to it," says Tiana. "These chefs are coming into your home and changing your lives, your schedules, the way you move throughout the day." The company hit $920,000 in revenue in 2018 and expects to book $2.4 million this year. -- Brit Morse
A supplier of fast-shipping services to e-commerce businesses selling on eBay, Shopify, and Walmart.
Deliverr's model mimics Fulfillment by Amazon, with the company taking care of the shipping and logistics arrangements on behalf of third-party sellers. Clients using Deliverr's services are automatically approved and granted fast-shipping tags on eBay and Walmart, a badge similar to Amazon's Prime blue checkmark. Unlike the Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth, however, Deliverr does not own its warehouses; it leases them, which co-founder Michael Krakaris, 24, says has helped the company scale faster. At the end of 2018, Deliverr had access to 13 warehouses scattered throughout the U.S., though Krakaris says the number is changing every day. Deliverr has raised about $7.1 million from investors including 8VC, the San Francisco-based venture fund started by Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale. In February, Walmart chose Deliverr to be its exclusive delivery provider for its two-day shipping program. --Guadalupe Gonzalez