“Intellectual capacity is evenly spread throughout the world, but opportunity is not.”
This is the thesis statement that inspired the vision Gary Fowler and Derek Distenfield had when they first started GSD Venture Studios. They travel the four corners of the world looking for bold, resilient entrepreneurs that don’t look like people from Silicon Valley or have the resources and connections to expand globally.
GSD Labs was launched as a 10-week virtual accelerator leading up to a demo-day with US investors. They brought in industry experts with global reputations to help these companies navigate the minefield that includes US sales, marketing, and traction. Additional resources for Demo day included invite-only investors, advisor matching with pre-screened experts, accelerator application help, sales hacks for the US market, press coverage, digital marketing, strategic partnerships, and expert storytelling to help navigate cultural and political dynamics.
“It takes a village of mentors, teachers, cheerleaders, and investors to execute a successful accelerator. There were no doubt plenty of obstacles and challenges to overcome on this journey as well as connections, sales, and excitement.” – Derek Distenfield
7 Unicorns Take the Stage
Demo Day was kicked off with start-up Text Penguin. They use a unique method that is GDPR compliant to recover abandoned shopping carts for online stores. Using two-way text communication by real humans, Text Penguin has a 40% recovery rate as compared to 5% with traditional email. Their win-win business model creates success on both sides.
Zemplee took the stage presenting as the fastest-growing aging in place healthcare AI solution in the market. Aparna Pujar, Founder of Zemplee shared that since the inception of COVID-19, they’ve experienced a huge surge in demand with 29,000 sign-ups. Zemplee allows the elderly to spend their twilight years in the comfort of their own homes while safely being monitored with real-time alert, giving family and caregivers peace of mind. They are seeking immediate funding of $2 million to address this demand.
Did you know in 2020, there has been more than 15 billion dollars in advertising wasted on Facebook alone? Alex Farseev, CEO of Somin.AI explains that Somin is the AI cloud platform that makes your ads 30% more efficient. Somin allows anyone to run an optimized ad campaign on Facebook and Google in four simple steps, lowering cost and improving ad performance by up to 400%. Somin is trusted by brands like McDonald’s, Audi, Nestle, and more. For marketers and marketing agencies who struggle to run efficient ads on Facebook and Google, Somin doesn’t just save time but saves significant media budgets by 30% or more. Somin is in 16 markets with 42 clients.
Another powerhouse contender is Anisoprint, which enables 3D printing for complex industries such as automotive and aerospace. Fedor Antenov, founder of Anisoprint explains that we are living in a different era. He encourages these industries to stop ‘metal thinking’ and start 3D printing with Anisoprint’s carbon fibers, which are stronger, lighter, flexible, and cheaper than anything available on the market. Anisoprint speeds up the process, lowers cost, and grows potential reach exponentially. They have 3 offices, 25 distributors, and $1.5M sold, with 250% ARR growth achieved in just one year.
Next in the spotlight is Skill Cup. Skill Cup is a SaaS application that allows companies to organize virtual training for remote employees in 15 minutes on their smartphone app. They bring learning to where the employees are in between meetings, on their commute, or while having their morning coffee. Skill Cup saves hundreds of man-hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars on ineffective training sessions. With 446% growth and 56 clients, they have sold 500K licenses to companies such as Avon, Dannon, and Estee Lauder. The Skill Cup application has not only saved time and money for these companies but has also allowed their representatives to learn about new products and deeply understand trends so that they can sell more products. With 45 years of combined experience, they have a strong team of three seeking $1.5M in funding.
German start-up Real Rate is a rating agency using explainable AI which provides fair, unbiased, and ethical company ratings. Removing the need for complex annual business reports, Real Rate delivers easy to understand data that can be grasped in minutes. They are revolutionizing the rating market with the Real Rate Seal of Approval. This drives customer trust up in the marketplace. Real Rate is asking for 100K for US market entry.
Happ Core is a social mode graph where users can collectively reflect on the information placing it on the mood curve of the society, which is essential for building the data models that make consumers happy. Happ states that a bad problem is getting worse. With the onset of COVID-19, 1 in 4 people report suicidal thoughts. Suicide rates have increased by 50% in the last ten years. The graph is contained on an AI-driven mobile app that builds a community for digital empathy and emotional connection. Happ is gaining traction with 3000+ downloads per month with a vision to measure emotions across all of society during world events such as political turbulence and pandemics.
“With countries spanning the globe from Singapore, Germany, Luxembourg, and Eastern Europe, we are thrilled that our 10 weeks of hard work resulted in our Demo Day being a resounding success.” – Gary Fowler
With the 2020 cohort coming to a close, GSD is proud to represent these seven unicorns as they make strides to drive their visions forward and expand into the US market. They are keeping the momentum going with the next cohort starting on February 1st. If you are an investor, they welcome you to get involved and you just might be the next one to educate, equip, and connect with the next unicorn.
Originally published in US Reporter