SF Tech Companies Making Waves in 2021

Written by Colin Hanner
Published on Mar. 25, 2021
SF Tech Companies Making Waves in 2021
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After a year bookended by the start of a pandemic and the hope that it may soon be over, there’s a renewed sense of optimism for San Francisco companies in 2021. 

In conversations Built In SF had with leaders from eight local companies about the year ahead, they overwhelmingly agreed that the next 12 months will bring about new growth for their companies. For most, especially Butterfly Network, growth means adding more team members. For others, like Human API and Veeva, their continued response to the effects of COVID-19 will steer their companies’ growth for the foreseeable future. 

Read on to find out which companies you should keep tabs on in 2021. 

 

Sofya Pogreb
Chief Operating Officer • NEXT Insurance

What they do: Next Insurance provides affordable and customizable policies to small business owners.

 

One of the most important focuses for Next Insurance in the coming months: “We are scaling the business to meet increased small business owners’ demands for online insurance products in 2021,” Pogreb said. “To do so, our focus is to continue the hypergrowth of the company, leverage technology to ensure a phenomenal customer experience, bring on talent that will help our business scale across all teams, and continue to deliver on our ultimate end goal: helping entrepreneurs thrive.”
 

Together we will streamline how small businesses shop, purchase and pay for products that help support their livelihoods, their employees and their assets.”

 

The impact will this have on Next Insurance and/or its industry: “We plan to double our revenue and continue to pave the way for affordable, tailored insurance products,” Pogreb said. “Our recent acquisition of AP Intego will help us provide more small businesses with greater access to our suite of products in an effort to help them prosper. Together we will streamline how small businesses shop, purchase and pay for products that help support their livelihoods, their employees and their assets.”

 

Subbu Gooty
VP Engineering • Veeva

What they do: Veeva’s cloud software enables the life sciences industry to bring new therapies to market faster.

 

One of the most important focuses for Veeva in the coming months: “2021 will be another year of innovation,” Gooty said. “My team is focused on Veeva’s cloud-based Vault platform, which serves as the foundation for more than 20 Veeva life sciences applications. Vault is an end-to-end content management solution that allows pharma, biotech, and other regulated industries to manage content and data all in one place. All of Vault’s applications play a critical part in accelerating how life-saving drugs get into the marketplace.

“My team will be focused on two main areas this year: Providing a highly available and scalable cloud platform, and further simplifying application development on the Vault platform to enable new applications that support important initiatives (e.g. paperless clinical trials).”
 

What we are building has a tremendous impact in helping everyone in the world live a healthier life.”


The impact this will have on Veeva and/or its industry: “2020 highlighted the critical work of the pharmaceutical industry,” Gooty said. “There are many more life-saving drugs that pharma companies need to research, develop and bring to the market, such as cures for cancer. The Vault platform is an essential service for pharmaceutical companies and will dramatically change how fast life-altering drugs can be placed in the hands of patients who need them. What we are building has a tremendous impact in helping everyone in the world live a healthier life.”

 

Matthew Werner
Director of Product, Wallet • Gemini

What they do: Gemini is a licensed digital asset exchange and custodian (that is, customers can buy, sell and store their digital assets on its Gemini platform). 

 

One of the most important focuses for Gemini in the coming months: “The most important focus for my business in the coming months is the introduction of our tokenization platform,” Werner said. “This system will allow Gemini to offer access to a wider array of assets in the burgeoning decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem.

“Gemini is focused on making sure our customers can take advantage of these developments to save on transaction fees and capitalize on their Ethereum balances by staking those funds in the recently launched Eth 2.0 beacon chain. We are also looking at supporting other base chains that provide alternative DeFi ecosystems where some of the same utility can be gained on chains that are not experiencing the same scaling issues.”
 

We’re excited to work through these challenges to get cryptocurrencies, as a whole, to provide more value to a broader audience.”


The impact this will have on Gemini and/or its industry: “We see DeFi as a critical development in the utility use cases provided by cryptocurrencies,” Werner said. “Gemini can contribute to this movement by developing a secure approach to provide exposure to more assets than Ethereum-native tokens. From a business standpoint, our assets under custody grow as the tokens we support gain adoption.

“As the networks that support the DeFi use case continue to mature, we expect to see the liquidity required to support DeFi move to the networks and systems that have the best capital efficiency. The industry depends on applications being developed in an environment that fosters the efficient exchange of value, while removing from the equation the centralized organizations facilitating such exchange.

“Exchanges, developers, and crypto holders will need to align on a path forward to figure out what the best solution is to continue to grow the industry to support more use cases, provide more utility, and process a broader set of assets in larger quantities. This is critical to expanding the utility provided by decentralized systems, and we’re excited to work through these challenges to get cryptocurrencies, as a whole, to provide more value to a broader audience.”

 

Gioel Molinari
Executive Vice President & Chief Product Officer • Butterfly Network, Inc.

What they do: Butterfly Network is the creator of the handheld ultrasound monitoring device Butterfly IQ. They also provide point-of-care ultrasound operating software for use by medical professionals.

 

One of the most important focuses for Butterfly Network in the coming months: “At Butterfly, we continue to push our mission to democratize healthcare for all,” Molinari said. “We recently went public and are continuing to drive our growth. Our most critical focus in the coming months is the expansion of our software engineering and technical staff at all levels, with a particular focus on cloud, mobile engineering, AI and enterprise architecture. This will allow us to further develop our technology. We’re also very focused on growing our sales team to make sure our product is accessible to the world.

“We’ve set the foundation to really change how healthcare is delivered, now we need to augment our team with additional great people.”
 

What we are working on will literally change how medical care is delivered throughout the world. This promise is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”


What impact this will have on Butterfly Network and/or its industry: “Butterfly is revolutionizing healthcare,” Molinari said. “That sounds very lofty but what we are working on will literally change how medical care is delivered throughout the world. This promise is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“By growing both the teams who develop our technology and teams who sell our technology, we allow Butterfly Network to seize this opportunity to impact healthcare. We will fulfill our mission and our promise to the world to innovate for the democratization of healthcare for all.”

 

Adam Regelmann
Co-Founder/CPO • Quartzy

What they do: Quartzy’s lab management platform is used by scientists for companies as diverse as winemakers to cancer researchers to help them be more efficient. 

 

One of the most important focuses for Quartzy in the coming months: “We are hyper-focused on delivering value to life science R&D organizations,” Regelmann said. “We have organized our product development across three key themes:

  1. Building out integrations to adjacent software in our ecosystem.
  2. Improving the functionality of our core application to accommodate more complex customer workflows.
  3. Delivering an amazing shopping experience.”
     

We firmly believe that the 21st century will herald an explosion in biologically engineered solutions to some of the most fundamental challenges humanity faces.”


The impact this will have on Quartzy and/or its industry: “Our customers are some of the most amazing companies in the world,” Regelmann said. “They apply life science technologies to create new ways to diagnose and treat disease, rethink the food we eat, and even change the way we produce plastics by using air and sunlight instead of petroleum. We firmly believe that the 21st century will herald an explosion in biologically engineered solutions to some of the most fundamental challenges humanity faces. Quartzy will be front and center in this biological revolution — helping these companies create their solutions faster!  

“The product improvements we launch over the next one to two years are aimed at further streamlining our customers’ lab supply life cycle. Delivering that value will result in incredible customer and company growth.”

 

Christian Wieland
SVP, Growth • Human API

What they do: Human API enables people to access and share their health data to power meaningful transactions (like being able to access public settings during the COVID-19 era). 

 

One of the most important focuses for Human API in the coming months: We are seeing an incredible market moment happening before our eyes,” Wieland said. “For the first time in history, humans are being asked for confirmation of their health data to gain access to social services, like public transportation, via a series of COVID-19 screening applications.

“Human API is very well positioned to meet these needs; we already offer an elegant solution to allow consumers to securely share their COVID-19 testing and vaccine results with companies that they trust. Having said that, a big focus for our business in the coming months is to elevate our COVID-19 solutions offerings to rise to the new challenges of this fast-growing market.”
 

A big focus for our business in the coming months is to elevate our COVID-19 solutions offerings to rise to the new challenges of this fast-growing market.”

 

The impact this will have on Human API and/or its industry: “It’s not overstating it to say the stakes of this focus are very high,” Wieland said. “If Human API can deliver on this burgeoning market it will create significant benefits in the following areas:

  1. Our business: We’ll not only attract a new set of enterprise customers but also shine a light on our consumer-driven mission to millions of consumers.
  2. Various industries: We’ll allow companies to open their doors back up to consumers, thereby driving volume back into their business.
  3. Humans: We’ll empower us all to leverage our own digital health data to re-enter public settings, like going back to work in an office building, eating at a local restaurant, taking a flight to a vacation destination or rooting for a home team at a sporting event.”

 

Mitch Spierer
VP of Product • Ontra

What they do: Ontra is a scalable, end-to-end tech solution that automates routine and high-volume legal processes, eliminating inefficiencies found when working with traditional law firms and saving significant time and money.

 

One of the most important focuses for Ontra in the coming months: “We’re scaling to change the practice of law by making data and analytics foundational,” Spierer said. “Ontra processes high volume, routine legal contracts that are rich with information. Our engineering and machine learning teams are growing to understand that data better and extract actionable, valuable insights for our customers. Our vision is freedom.

“We want customers to focus on what’s important to them and employees to dive into what excites them with operational support rather than burdensome structure. What are market positions for contract terms? How do opening positions affect turnaround time and final terms? We know.

“Machine learning is a critical part of our evolution. Our platform and our attorney network create a virtuous cycle that will give us a new understanding of the contracts underlying almost every industry.”
 

We are only at the beginning of the data-driven revolution that will change the way law is practiced.”


The impact this will have on Ontra and/or its industry: “Over the past decade, machine learning has been applied to unstructured content like news by companies like Google and Facebook,” Spierer said. “At Ontra, we apply it to the structured data found in routine legal contracts that power the legal industry and global commerce.

“Early on, Google applied a human-in-the-loop system to search that incorporated each of our clicks into their algorithm. Google knows and uses our behavior to optimize in a way that Bing, without us, cannot. We built a similar system in which we use our large and growing data set to offer our attorneys predictive summaries of terms. Their feedback creates a human-in-the-loop system similar to Google’s.

“We are only at the beginning of the data-driven revolution that will change the way law is practiced. We’re excited to see what emerges from our ecosystem as we become a top 100 legal services provider helping the world’s most sophisticated companies improve how they do business.”

 

Noel Goggin
CEO • Conga

What they do: Conga offers revenue operation solutions that enable commercial businesses to scale their organization and optimize for the right outcomes.

 

One of the most important focuses for Conga in the coming months: “Transparency is key,” Goggin said. “Customers want to work with people who are genuinely concerned for their well-being. This could come in the form of ensuring you can solve their business needs and not overcommitting. This could also be involved during times of having direct and difficult conversations with customers so that they don’t make bad decisions. Doing this with the right bedside manner is always valued over time. For me, transparency is a critical measure in aligning our interests with those of our customers.”
 

For me, transparency is a critical measure in aligning our interests with those of our customers.”


The impact will this have on Conga and/or its industry: “Focusing on the customer is one of the best strategies to increase conversion rates,” Goggin said. “By showing genuine curiosity and concern about your customers’ businesses, listening and learning versus telling and selling, helps identify clear pain points and creates a two-way dialogue. Talking in their terms allows you to focus on business processes and problems versus features and functions.”

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photography provided by respective companies.

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