The Future 5 of San Francisco Tech, Q4 2022
Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across eight major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. You can check out last quarter’s San Francisco round-up here.
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Silicon Valley has long been home to one of the most active technology sectors in the country, and the market is still growing. Learn more about the burgeoning companies that characterize the Bay Area startup scene with the Built In Future 5 series. This quarter, Built In featured innovators in sectors like agriculture, social media and sustainability. Read on to learn more about the Future 5 of San Francisco tech.
Built In’s Future 5 Up-and-Coming San Francisco Startups, Q4 2022
- Agtonomy (Agtech)
- ShopLook (Social Media)
- TeamOhana (HR Tech)
- Tumble (Laundry)
- Zevvy (Sustainability)
Humanity’s population is quickly and consistently growing. To ensure farmers will be capable of feeding the world, Tim Bucher created Agtonomy. The startup’s hybrid autonomy platform for field equipment aims to make farming more sustainable.
Agtonomy combines Bucher’s passions for technology and agriculture. The idea for the startup sprang from the need for a modern solution that could benefit Bucher’s own farm in the face of growing operation costs and an absence of skilled labor.
The result was a software and service solution that can integrate with tractors and other equipment to automate farming operations, lending farmers a helping hand.
“When you think of autonomous equipment of any type, people tend to think about navigational autonomy. We did start there but rather quickly realized autonomy in [agriculture] means way more than just traversing from point A to point B,” Bucher, Agtonomy’s CEO, told Built In via email. “After all, farmers don’t care if you successfully navigated from point A to point B and didn’t do the ‘workload’ of spraying that crop the right way. It’s the task done right they care about the most.”
Agtonomy is currently moving its platform into customer trials as it works toward commercializing its solution.
Self-expression is a key part of our individuality, especially in our adolescent years. ShopLook aims to give users a place to show off who they are and what they like, and then connect with others who share their sentiments.
CEO and founder Laya Adib likens ShopLook’s solution to graphic design platform Canva. ShopLook includes tools like image background removal, item layering and a library of stickers to help users customize their creations. They can also add links to images on their boards to make those particular items shoppable.
Once a user finishes their creation, the piece is saved to their profile and shared on ShopLook’s social feed. From here, others can exchange messages, leave comments and react to their content.
“[Through] that expression of your aesthetic in these visual mood boards, you actually build authentic connections with those that you may never have met if you were limited to the current social media that you have access to,” Adib said. “Real friendships and real communities form and the reason people come back is not just to create, but to create and view others [work]. ... It becomes more of a community rather than just a creator tool.”
Down the line, ShopLook plans to incorporate features like artificial intelligence-powered text-to-image functionality, video-based collaging and video time-lapses of collage creation.
Rather than companies resorting to mass layoffs, TeamOhana wants to help them better prepare for worst-case scenarios, like economic downturns, with its headcount management software.
“Strategic people planning is all about aligning the company’s goals to the company’s finances and the people you need for that,” Tushar Makhija, TeamOhana’s co-founder and CEO, told Built In. “And it is hard to do that just because all this data is siloed and sits in different systems. So what TeamOhana is trying to do is help you make good people decisions based on the real needs of the company.”
The platform integrates with companies’ existing tools for HR information and applicant tracking, like BambooHR and Workday. It also incorporates information from finance departments to reflect how the company’s budget influences its hiring plan.
TeamOhana, which launched its solution in February, has already gained steady traction from a growing customer base. Over the next 18 to 24 months, the company will track how customers are using its tool and what decisions its information empowers.
Walking up and down several flights of stairs with a hamper full of clothes is hassle enough. On top of this, guessing whether laundry machines will be operational or available can sap people of more energy than the chore is worth.
Scott Patterson created a tool that aims to simplify doing laundry in a shared space. Tumble is a device that can integrate with commercial washers and dryers and communicate with the company’s corresponding mobile app to fill users in on the machines’ status.
The devices allow users to check machine availability, track their wash or dry cycles in real-time, remotely lock or unlock washers and dryers and predict machine maintenance. Tumble also provides push notifications to let users know when their load is done and allows cashless payments directly from users’ smartphones.
“[People] didn’t want to pay with quarters. They wanted to see what machines are available before they went to the laundry room [and] get notified when it’s done. And they wanted to be able to keep their clothes secure,” Patterson told Built In.
Tumble operates in properties across California and within Texas and Illinois. The company is actively exploring how partnering with logistics companies and gig workers can increase its product’s usage.
EVs are healthier environmental alternatives to gas-powered cars, however, they’re typically much less financially accessible. Zevvy was created to help expose more drivers to the benefits of EVs without having to pay exorbitant prices to drive them.
“I noticed all the other traffic coming in day in and day out, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and there were very few EVs in that lineup, very few hybrids, even,” Andrew Krulewitz, Zevvy’s founder and CEO told Built In. “I started to do the math myself — where are these folks coming from [and] how much could they be saving on gas and maintenance.”
This led to Zevvy, an online marketplace where users can lease EVs at more affordable price points than typical lease deals or loan contracts.
On the platform, consumers can find EVs that suit their needs and lifestyles. Users can select a monthly mileage package, set up billing and payments and pick up their car. At the end of a lease term, drivers get the option to renew their lease or purchase the car.
Zevvy currently has a fleet of about 100 EVs with services in the Bay Area. Over the next 12 months, the startup plans to expand its fleet to 1,000 and establish new partnerships with GM and Ford dealerships.