The monumental achievements of our founders and the Forum Ventures team this year are beyond exciting. Last Thursday, our General Partner and Managing Director, Mike Cardamone, reminded a packed crowd that in the last 6 months, Nina Stepanov (that’s me) joined our East Coast team, Matt Straz became an advisor, Forum Ventures expanded to the East Coast by way of New York City, and leaped overseas to Melbourne, Australia (launching Summer 2018).
Mike teased at what’s to come for our growing organization and handed over the mic to our newest Partner, Whitney Sales who announced the opening of applications for our 9th cohort in SF, 2nd in NYC, and our 1st in Melbourne. What followed was a unique, personal, even comical afternoon of pitches led by our newest team member and emcee Nina, DJ’d by Alec, and endlessly applauded by the Forum Ventures alumni founders in attendance.
Now that I’ve set the scene for you, let’s get into the pitches. There were a handful of companies that asked to be kept confidential; those companies have been omitted from this post for now.
Bid Ops – Optimized e-procurement for enterprise
CloudAdmin – The cloud cost savings automation platform
Talage – Small business insurance marketplace
RefineRE – Portfolio management and optimization for real estate professionals
Sayge – Enables access to professional development coaching at scale
Lumni – Equity investing into students’ future income (ISAs)
Adistry –Reshaping and automating how media is bought and sold
Hopthru – Mobile ticketing for transit agencies
Agora – Automatically extract actionable insights from customer support conversations
Mergeable – Automate and deliver successful customer outcomes. No code required.
Groundwork – Automate one-on-one customer interviews for brands
ZenSports – Local sports as a service
The rest of the presenting companies asked to be kept confidential.
Want even more? Reach out to us to ask for more intros firstname.lastname@example.org
Bid Ops automates negotiations for enterprise procurement. Used by Fortune 100 strategic sourcing teams to drive an average 23% savings on $4M+ contract negotiations. Bid Ops enables contract teams to source, request, compare and negotiate with 10x the vendors 100x faster than legacy workflows. Trusted today by companies and public agencies that spend $54.5B on procurement of goods & services. Watch their pitch!
CloudAdmin is the automatic cloud spend automation platform. CloudAdmin helps CXOs reduce their cloud infrastructure bill by 30-50% in an average of nine minutes. Customers like Price.com and Safegraph use CloudAdmin to automatically optimize pricing, and mitigate waste. Watch their pitch!
About the team: Having run some of the largest cloud infrastructure projects in the world at Zynga, CloudAdmin is relentlessly passionate about providing engineering organizations the tools to decrease the complexity of cloud services while reducing cost by up to 70%.
Talage is the digital insurance marketplace for small businesses allowing them to save time and money. By working with 8 A-Rated insurance carriers Talage enables businesses to save money by instantly comparing and purchasing coverage. Our focus on the user experience has cut the buying process from days to less than 10 minutes. Watch their pitch!
About the team: Approaching InsurTech with both the tech and the insurance, the Talage founding team brings foundations in technology, go-to-market strategy, business development, and insurance to attack the space like nobody else can. Experience and deep relationships in the insurance industry have been critical to Talage’s success in its infancy and will continue to be an unfair advantage during rapid growth.
Refine(RE) is a cloud-based platform for corporate real estate occupiers. They empower large enterprises to make smarter, better faster real estate decisions by delivering actionable analytics, real-time market intelligence, and a holistic portfolio view that incorporates traditionally siloed data. Watch their pitch!
Sayge’s platform enables companies to attract, grow and retain more of the best employees by democratizing access to premium professional development coaching. Sayge has already worked with hundreds of employees at more than a dozen companies, inspiring them to maximize their potential. 93% of employees say that they’re better able to tackle their professional goals after just three months of working with Sayge. Watch their pitch!
Lumni is the world’s largest financial technology company focused on income share agreements, with nearly 10,000 students funded throughout Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and the U.S. Lumni has been recognized for its excellence in social impact by the World Economic Forum, Bloomberg, Ashoka, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Clinton Global Initiative. Watch their pitch!
About the team: Brendan, Zach, Connor, and Evan combined have seen 5 exits and have all graduated from top universities including Wharton, and Princeton. Combined they have deep industry expertise in student debt, alternative lending, legal structuring, and fund deployment.
Adistry is the platform for media organizations and events to directly sell sponsorships and advertising. We help internal sales teams automate time consuming tasks and focus on expanding their advertiser base. Our new subscription planning tool allows publishers to convert one-time customers to more lucrative ongoing relationships. Watch their pitch!
About the team: Co-founders, Daniel Cox and Meghan Larson have worked with each other for over 8 years. Meghan has 10 years of experience marketing SMB’s and monetizing media organizations. She is a startup veteran who has helped scale the marketing divisions for seven startups and has managed teams of 30+. Daniel is a full-stack developer with ten years of experience. He has been a senior software engineer for Fortune 500’s and marketing agencies. He specializes in marketing automation tech and machine learning.
Hopthru is a mobile application that allows transit providers to easily sell and validate tickets at scale without developing an app of their own. Hopthru also provides ridership data to its clients to enable them to make better decisions. Watch their pitch!
About the team: The Hopthru team combines engineering and product design backgrounds from Salesforce and Google. Collectively, they bring extensive experience shipping world class mobile first products at scale.
About the team: With experiences solving intractable business problems at McKinsey, Harvard Business School, Goldman Sachs, as well as pushing the boundaries of applied artificial intelligence at UC Berkeley, the Agora team is relentlessly passionate about their mission to reimagine human conversations in the age of AI.
Mergeable‘s Customer Evolution Platform accelerates the sales process and reduces churn for companies by enabling non-technical teams with API-level tracking to better manage and analyze their customer’s journey. Easily automate, measure, and deliver successful customer outcomes.
About the team: CTO and founder, Sean Walter has helped grow eight technology startups from inception and very early stage through multiple rounds of venture funding and multiple successful exits over past 20 years. CEO and founder, Edward Czech spent the last decade at the forefront of business development, sales, product management, and customer success for leading enterprise startups.
Groundwork automates one-on-one customer interviews for brands. Companies can use Groundwork to deploy chatbots to collect customer insights faster than traditional research agencies.
About the team: Ethan Head and Julian De Ocampo met in middle school and stayed friends because of their shared passion for technology. Julian studied Computer Science and worked at Amazon as a software engineer, and Ethan studied Electrical Engineering and worked in robotics research labs before starting Groundwork.
ZenSports is a mobile app for recreational sports. With ZenSports, you can find others nearby you to meet up with and play sports, live stream yourself playing, register and pay for leagues/tournaments, and even book membership passes and reservations at local sports facilities. Over 10,000 people use ZenSports to stay active and meet new people that are into the same sports/activities that they are.
Forum Ventures is a SaaS focused accelerator based in San Francisco. We work with passionate founders solving real problems and have been lucky to work with 60+ companies to date that have gone on to raise from funds like NEA, 8VC, Salesforce Ventures, Susa Ventures and many more.
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