Posts in Portfolio
Better Ventures Invests in Agathos to Improve Patient Outcomes

We’re thrilled to announce our investment in Agathos, a San Francisco, CA-based company improving outcomes by empowering doctors with customized clinical insights. We invested in the company’s $XM seed round, which was led by  . Agathos is reducing variation in treatment and reducing costs for patients by building a powerful dataset for physicians, transforming actions into outcomes. Agathos associates outcomes to the care of individual providers, incentivizing doctors to improve their performance while being appropriately risk-adjusted on the back-end so that comparisons can be made across clinical contexts. Within six months of using Agathos, hospitals are seeing a 7% decrease in length of stay, and are queued up to stay ahead of reimbursement trends, reduce costs, and improve outcomes.

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Better Ventures Backs TheTownKitchen to Support Urban Youth Employment

We are thrilled to announce the newest member of the Better Ventures family, TheTownKitchen, an Oakland-based startup delivering healthy lunches for businesses and upward social mobility for at-risk youth. We participated in TheTownKitchen's $1M seed round, which was led by Urban Innovation Fund, giving a boost to TheTownKitchen's meal service capacity and local impact.
 

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Better Ventures Invests in Apostrophe to Scale Healthcare Access and Savings

The Apostrophe founding team brings a powerful combination of passion for changing healthcare and functional expertise – CEO Cheryl Kellond specializes in product management and launching new products, COO Julia Hutchins is an experienced healthcare executive who scaled a health plan in her prior role, and Kathy Keating is a seasoned technology executive and software engineer specializing in data and payment centric businesses. They are the epitome of what we look for in a mature, complete, mission-driven team. Together, this founding team has curated innovative best practices into a plug-n-play health plan that any self-insured employer can adopt, building healthier businesses, communities, and of course, people.

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Better Ventures Invests in BookNook to Personalize Literacy Education

We’d like to officially welcome the newest addition to the Better Ventures family: BookNook, an Oakland, CA-based edtech startup that provides tablet-based in-person and virtual literacy instruction for K-12 students. We invested $275k in the company’s $1M seed round, alongside Reach Capital, Urban Innovation Fund, and Impact Engine. BookNook is addressing the educational divide in our country by building a robust solution to improve literacy skills, a fundamental building block upon which all other learning is dependent. BookNook is being used by all types of schools around the country (40 schools already signed up, and counting), but is particularly focused on students who are struggling with reading at underperforming Title 1 schools. And it just works: as the chart below demonstrates, 100% of students in a recent pilot demonstrated growth, while 86% of students advanced more than five months in reading after just two months of using BookNook.

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Better Ventures Backs Fluid Financial to Enable the Freelancer Economy

We are thrilled to announce our $400,000 seed investment in Fluid Financial, an Oakland, CA-based fintech startup that helps small businesses and freelancers get paid on time. Our investment was part of Fluid's $1M seed round, which closed late last summer and was led by Santa Monica-based Mucker Capital. Fluid fits nicely within our "future of work" investment theme and solves a big pain point for the freelancer economy, which is getting paid promptly and reliably.
 

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Better Ventures Closes $21M for Fund II and Backs Werk

We are thrilled to announce our pre-seed investment in Werk, a New York-based startup that is building a marketplace of flexible work opportunities for women. The company raised $1M in the round with participation from seed-stage venture firms Precursor Ventures, Montage Ventures, Halogen Ventures, and Social Starts. Werk will use the capital to build out the product offering and grow their pool of job seekers within their membership-based model. The company fits nicely within our Opportunity investment theme (sub-theme: Future of Work), and we are bullish on their ability to unlock the immense latent potential of retaining more women in the workforce.

In other news, we are excited to report that we held a final close on Better Ventures Fund II just before the holidays! We finished up the raise with total commitments of $21M and brought on Prudential as a new institutional investor. TechCrunch covered the closing today. We've been busy putting that capital to work, as Werk represents our 11th investment in the fund, with two more deals on the docket we'll be announcing soon. As we look to augment our capacity to sustain the growth of our portfolio, we're hiring an Operations and Community Manager, and we'd love your help in identifying candidates. You can view the posting here, and please note that we're asking applicants to apply via a referral to one of us.

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Better Ventures Leads $850k Seed Round in Iris Plans

We are excited to announce our $250,000 seed investment in Iris Plans, an Austin, TX-based digital health startup that provides Advance Care Planning (ACP) solutions for patients facing serious chronic illness. Iris Plans uses a telehealth platform with secure video conferencing and decision support tools to enable patients and their families to better plan for and navigate their critical treatment decisions in a complex healthcare system. The company is building a B2B model through which it works with health insurers and healthcare providers to reduce unnecessary utilization by 25%, employing proprietary algorithms that identify patients who will most benefit from ACP. Iris Plans is finalizing partnership agreements with a variety of partners and will use the proceeds from the round to build out the platform and launch with new customers this fall. More on the announcement here.

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Better Ventures Backs NextRequest to Improve Access to Government Records

We are pleased to announce our seed investment in NextRequest, a San Francisco-based "govtech" startup that provides modern, robust, and user-friendly Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and public records processing software to local government agencies around the US. NextRequest is bringing government into the 21st century by streamlining the process of requesting information - saving time and money - and dramatically improving public access to government records. Govtech has been described as a "$400B market hiding in plain sight" and the industry is poised for breakout growth due in part to increased adoption of cloud computing by government agencies and an influx of younger tech-savvy workers into the sector.
 

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Better Ventures Leads Seed Round in Localwise

We are pleased to announce our seed investment in Localwise, a Berkeley-based startup that connects local businesses with local workers. The company is building a technology-driven employment marketplace that is based on trust, which is a missing component in many of the leading jobs platforms including Craiglist. Localwise's DNA is local, and they are combining their local focus with social features such as employee references to build a better jobs platform that is a delight to use and results in better hiring outcomes. The company offers tiered pricing models for employers depending on size and hiring needs. Better Ventures led Localwise's seed round, with participation from Bee Partners and a number of angel investors. 
 

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Better Ventures Backs K4Connect to Improve the Lives of Seniors

We are delighted to announce our seed investment in K4Connect, a technology integration company that makes life simpler and healthier for seniors. K4's software platform seamlessly integrates disparate smart devices into a single responsive system, which transforms senior living facilities into smart homes. This automation technology not only makes life better for seniors but also provides valuable and actionable data to caregivers to improve the quality of care. Better Ventures Fund II participated in K4's $1.9 million Series Seed round, which included Sierra Ventures, Lowe's Companies, and Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners. We are excited to be working with Sierra Ventures again, which led LeadGenius' Series A round last year. 

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Announcing Our Seed Investment in BrightCurrent


We are pleased to announce our seed investment in BrightCurrent, a leading customer acquisition platform for residential solar and other clean energy solutions. The Oakland, CA-based company combines proprietary technology with a scalable fulfillment service to acquire residential customers below market rates at major retailers including Costco, Sears, Orchard Supply & Hardware, Ace and others. They originate solar sales, which are then sold to their customer base of top solar installation and finance partners such as SunRun, SunPower, and OneRoof Energy. 

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Announcing Our Seed Investment in UtilityAPI

We are thrilled to announce our seed investment in UtilityAPI, an enterprise software company that is accelerating the worldwide shift to renewable energy by making it easier and more cost effective to switch to solar. The company's API portal service enables solar companies to seamlessly connect to prospective customers' utility accounts and instantly download structured data that is used to better qualify leads and improve the likelihood of a sale. Accessing historic usage and billing data from utilities is a major customer acquisition pain point for solar companies, resulting in as much as a 30% loss in lead conversion.

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Spring 13, Week 12: Eko Devices

Hear from Connor Landgraf, founder of Eko Devices about the final weeks of the program.

Eko Devices believes in one thing: we believe in harnessing the power of computer assisted diagnosis for healthcare. We believe that smartphones that can utilize the enormous potential of big data and cloud technologies can reduce the costs of healthcare and improve the outcomes of patients. We have developed a smartphone app and hardware component that help doctors diagnose hard-to-hear heart conditions using a standard stethoscope. Our technology can allow doctors around the world from the outback in Australia to the jungles in Indonesia the ability to better diagnose these conditions.

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Spring 13, Week 4: SunFunder

It’s week 4! Hear from Cindy Nawilis of SunFunder about the company, and what they’ve been up to these past few weeks.

We at SunFunder are a small team fueled by a big mission: to catalyze $1.2 billion into 1500 off-grid solar projects and empower more than 160 million lives. Why? Because 1.3 billion people in the world still live without access to electricity, and 600 million of them have no convenient way to charge their cell phones. And though there are plenty of honorable businesses working in developing countries to deploy affordable, high-quality solar products to off-grid communities, they lack the access to critical financing to reach scale.

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