Data Collection Takes Center Stage at Techstars LA Demo Day


Techstars Los Angeles hosted its annual Demo Day on Thursday, featuring a cohort of 12 startups from around the world working in healthcare, space, e-commerce and more. The event capped a three-month acceleration program attended by all companies in person in Los Angeles, allowing a virtual audience to learn about start-up and pre-startup companies seeking funding and potential partners. .

As startups ranged from commerce to quantum computing, many of them had one thing in common: data collection. We all know what data collection means to consumers: spending a few days with my new cat owner roommate, for example, once turned into a deluge of cat litter ads every time I scrolled my phone. For startups, collecting data means opportunities to create solutions that can save companies money and help reduce bottlenecks.

Showcases like Demo Day typically feature the types of technology that investors believe will resonate in the market. The cohort’s health tech companies, for example, have been largely driven by the health system issues that have been exposed by the pandemic.

Matt Kozlov, managing director of Techstars LA and a longtime investor in these industries, told dot.LA that he’s specifically looking for companies that don’t need to raise as much money, either by seeding, becoming profitable right from the start or by combining the two. Startups leave the program with a $20,000 investment from Techstars; in return, Techstars gets a 6% stake in each company.

Rwazi, a Mauritius-based startup and Techstars LA’s first investment in Africa, was one of the showcasing companies to tap into the consumer habits of the developing world, which contributes $5 trillion to the economy every year. global, but lacks comprehensive data as many digital transactions are not traceable.

The seed-stage company aims to collect and share consumer data from regions that conduct a large portion of cash transactions. Using Rwazi, businesses can analyze customer data, such as the demographics who buy their products, and the company’s “mappers” collect this information from small and large businesses and share it through the platform. Rwazi, which currently operates in Africa, plans to expand into South, Southeast Asia and South America. Joseph Rutakangwa, CEO of Rwazi, called this region alone a “40 billion dollar opportunity”.

Then there’s Pear Suite, a Seattle healthcare startup serving seniors. Healthcare organizations lack data on patient behaviors that could allow them to provide preventative care before a grandparent gets sick or ends up in the ER, adding money to the economy already expensive health care. Pear Suite collects and leverages patient data that healthcare organizations can use to predict and prevent potential issues down the road.

Finally, San Francisco-based Squid iQ came on the scene after the pandemic upended the antiquated hospital system, where ventilators and beds couldn’t keep up with the demand for care, and doctors had to make tough decisions about who to treat. Poor medical equipment inventory has long plagued hospitals that deal with an array of emergencies and sometimes cannot locate a lifesaving device. Squid collects data on the type of technology, its duration of use as well as its location when not in use. The process can allow healthcare staff to spend more time caring for patients and help hospitals save money.

Overall, healthcare has lagged in optimizing data collection to improve care, reduce costs and save lives. Collecting data, in some cases, is a game-changer – and it will be interesting to see whether industries operating with archaic technology will adopt these startups, or whether these new companies will encounter the same bottlenecks as those that came before them.

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