The macroeconomic environment in 2023 portends to be one of recession, inflation and higher interest rates, which will affect the world of startups and VC investment—along with all other sectors. Venture capitalist Bill Gurley spoke in 2022 about the need for startups to be realistic about the current economic environment.
“While many venture firms have a lot of money to invest, deal-making has slowed considerably this year ,” Gurley told McKinsey. “Average valuations of some fundraising rounds have dropped as investors adjust to an economic slowdown and look warily ahead.”
That doesn’t mean, however, that the most innovative new businesses won’t have great success if they’re offering products and services for which there’s growing demand, despite the looming economic challenges.
“This may be a great time to launch a startup,” noted Gurley, adding that “being realistic doesn’t necessarily mean being pessimistic.”
Internet platforms that completely or partially disintermediate brokers or agencies in various industries are a promising trend. By putting more control of transactions or operations into the hands of individuals and small businesses, some notably vibrant startups are successfully disrupting marketing, real estate and other verticals.
A main theme among some of the most promising recent startups is “democratizing” access to powerful data analytics tools for retail investors — tools that were previously the preserve of elite hedge funds and other big Wall Street firms. The so-called “alternative data” market is beginning to level the broader playing field in this domain, as well as enable new sources of credit for unbanked or underbanked people around the world.
The fintech world continues to deliver disruptive new business models that are innovating in the capital markets and making some asset classes available to a wider range of investors. This is particularly the case with the insurance and reinsurance markets, once solely the realm of major firms like Lloyds, Swiss Re and Berkshire Hathaway.
Data management continues to be a dominant factor in market growth. The demand for greater capacities of data storage and retrieval, fueled by the increasingly massive amounts of data required to feed new machine learning (ML) and other AI tech, underlies many of the most disruptive new services coming online. Some of the fastest-growing startups are delivering breakthrough technologies, notably in the field of all-flash drive data storage systems.
Finally, the emerging metaverse is gaining traction as the next leap forward for the internet. Virtual reality and augmented reality environments populated by avatars or tour guides powered by AI are increasingly capable of enabling more natural human-AI conversations than their chatbot predecessors. The mission to create an intuitive metaverse drives some of today’s hottest startups to track now.
Looking ahead at the coming 12 months, the list below highlights startups positioned for exciting growth based on their traction so far, their funding from a year ago, and the soundness of their business models going forward. Some are already profitable, while others are shaping up to make major inroads with innovative offerings, ample venture funding and excellent management teams.
While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it offers a glimpse of the promising potential of the startup ecosystem in 2023, regardless of the current economic downturn. Here are 10 recently funded companies to watch this year.
Founder(s): Rajat Mishra
Headquarters: Los Altos, California, USA
Total funding to date: $20 million
Prezent.ai offers a “one-stop shop” solution for business communications, using data-based intelligence to mold hyper-personalized templates, storylines and branded presentations. The company says that its solution, currently in use by over 25 Fortune 2000 businesses, cuts down on presentation creation time by up to 70% on average.
Prezent.ai was founded in 2021 by Rajat Mishra, a senior tech executive turned entrepreneur “on a mission to automate presentations and democratize great business communication.”
The company’s AI-powered presentation productivity platform is designed to “supercharge” business communication. Its solution helps users master structured storytelling and build strategic presentations that make their messages stand out. It also enables the creation of presentations tailored to specific audience preferences, as well as supporting brainstorming and collaboration among colleagues.
According to the company, its ML algorithms analyze the preferences of individuals and agencies, enabling its customers to use the software platform rather than reaching out to boutique design agencies. Additionally, Prezent.ai says it works with Fortune 1000 companies to ensure that all presentations are 100% brand compliant. Users can standardize content and distribute presentations instantly.
Prezent.ai reported raising $20 million in April 2022 in its first round of venture capital, which was led by Greycroft. Other investors in the deal included WestWave Capital and Emergent Ventures, both of which invested in the company’s previous $4.3 million seed funding round in June 2021.
Read the entire list originally published on VentureBeat here.