Duetto is a SaaS startup focused on providing cloud based software tools for the hospitality industry (including hotels and casinos).  Their two main product lines are a cloud pricing engine to optimize the price of a hotel room on a real time basis, and a revenue forecasting and data visualization tool.

Duetto currently has more than 2,000 locations using their software on 6 continents.  They have over 100 employees across 7 offices with their headquarters in San Francisco.

Why I like Them

They are attacking an underserved market with a huge TAM, an unconsolidated customer base, and minimal competition. Even large hotel chains are several decades behind on automation as the industry is extremely slow in understanding and adopting new technologies.  A shocking number of hotel operators still use Excel spreadsheets for pricing, meaning the bar is extremely low to prove the worth of Duetto's products.

I am continuously fascinated by pricing optimization software, especially as companies like Duetto use more powerful AI for their predictive models.  It is an amazing value for any business to be able to increase their revenue and margins while offering the exact same product, whether it be airline seats or hotel rooms.  Once a hotel or casino starts using the product it is extremely sticky and something they quickly come to rely upon.  Duetto confirmed this stating they have "ridiculously low" churn.

Adding to this advantage is a unique moat in terms of the software interfaces Duetto has to build out for installations.  Many hotel and casino operators rely on legacy software with no open APIs.  Duetto spends a large amount of resources building proprietary interfaces with these on premise systems.  This forms a strong moat for Duetto as competitors have a hard time plugging into the customers other software systems. 

Duetto has an extremely bright future ahead and I look forward to watching them accelerate into hyper growth mode.

Disclosure:  I have spoken to members of the executive team.



Samsara is an Internet of Things startup that offers a cloud platform solution for industrial sensor data.  Their focus is on providing real time analytics and ease of analysis  for industrial sensor system across a number of industries.  Their product team is focused on a complete solution for their customers so they design the software, hardware, and necessary network infrastructure all in house.

Their in house designed sensor systems (no OEMs) focus on ease of deployment and provide the cloud backend so that their sensors drive meaningful improvements once installed.  Sensors to date include cameras, GPS systems, temperature gauges, environmental sensors, electrical power monitors, etc.

The firm was founded in San Franciso in early 2015 and is currently around 100 employees.  It's cofounders, Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket, are successful serial entrepreneurs who previously sold cloud networking company Meraki to Cisco Systems for $1.2B.

Why I like Them

I 100% agree with Marc Andreessen's belief that within 20 years every physical item will have a chip in it and a wireless antenna. Samsara is at the forefront of this wave with their focus on ease of deployment and making the data these items provide digestable and usable by the end customer.  The team is extremely focused on a plug and play model that offers a complete solution to industrial sensor users, many of which are industries that have not seen as much software automation as you'd expect.

Most of Samsara's business currently comes from logistic and transportation fleet tracking.  An example use case in this market is that the company immediately knows if one of their trucks has had an accident as well as track in real time the position, fuel efficiency, etc of a fleet of thousands of vehicles.  Reports from the team are that their product is a relatively easy sell to dispatch services and fleets.

Beyond the above I am also very excited about the potential applications of Samsara's cloud platform across many other industrial sectors.  It is easy to see how this product could be used across the food industry's cold chain to monitor produce conditions from the farm all the way to the checkout line in the grocery store.  Also, traditional manufacturers of physical goods can easily use this type of technology to monitor products during a manufacturing process, warehouse storage, and transportation.

By all reports their latest $40M in venture funding in June 2017 was driven by investor demand, not by a strong need by the company.

Fleet Tracking Overview Page of Samsara's cloud platform

Fleet Tracking Overview Page of Samsara's cloud platform

Disclosure:  I have spoken briefly with members of the company's product team.

Amber Agriculture

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Amber Agriculture is an agriculture technology startup focused on optimizing and managing crops in storage.  Post harvest grains are stored in giant silos until ready for transit.  Amber has developed pellet sized wireless sensors connected to the cloud that are distributed with the crops through storage all the way to ending up on grocery store shelves.  These sensors monitor moisture levels, carbon dioxide, temperature and chemical compounds in the air of the silos or shipping containers.  Their first application with this data is to automatically turn on and control fans to prevent crop spoilage and alert farmers of any issues with the crop.

The company is still early stage having recently launched several pilots for their product.  The team is based in Champaign, Illinois.

Why I like Them

Amber is part of the digitization wave sweeping the agriculture industry in the last five years that will allow humanity to feed itself with a rapidly growing global population.  As I have written several times on this blog I am a huge fan of using IoT for old world industrial type of processes to give real time data and allow optimization.  Even small amounts of moisture damage to a crop can lower the price dramatically and when scaled up to massive grain silos the potential savings of this product add up to the tens of thousands. 

This type of cheap, easy to distribute technology will be especially useful to farmers in emerging market countries with tougher climates where crop spoilage is a very severe issue and can financially ruin farmers.  India is a prime example where crop spoilage and rot is a severe threat to the food supply with an average harvest losing 30% of the crop.

Disclosure:  All information is from publicly available sources, I have not had any contact with a member of the company or its investors.



Konux is an industrial Internet of Things startup based in Munich, Germany.  Their focus in the emerging industrial IoT space is on infrastructure with their first offerings for  rail and subway system monitoring.  They offer a complete solution including cloud analytics, sensors, custom hardware, and AI based predictive forecasting.     

Systems like these give a real time and 'god' like view of public infrastructure that has been unavailable prior to today.  This allows preventive maintenance (i.e. lowering an operator's cost), reduces train delays, and rapid identification of any critical issues for increased safety.

They are a young company started in mid 2014.

Why I like Them

I like industrial IoT startups that seek to take a legacy industry (in Konux's case, rail operators) and seek to digitize it.  There are easily quantifiable cost reductions from this type of product that makes it an easy and sticky sell to industrial customers once they see the value.

In initially focusing on railway operators Konux has chosen a great customer base to focus on since it is large but for many parts of their network still operate using analog technology and manual inspections.  Konux has shown great early success due to their killer feature being the ability to monitor in real time rail switch monitoring, an area legacy technologies had difficulty with.

I also like that they withstood the siren call of Silicon Valley and have kept their company in the center of Europe to be based near their customers.  Europe is light years ahead of the US in terms of rail and public transit and growth will be swifter for Konux staying where they were founded.

Disclosure:  All information is from publicly available sources, I have not had any contact with a member of the company or its investors.


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Granular does cloud software and analytics to help manage farms.  It focuses on farm operational and financial management.  On the operational side Granular offers crop planning, inventories, farm equipment data collection, and worker schedules.  Customers have access to a mobile app that workers in the field access to get schedules and task lists.  It also tracks and calculates farm land values in real time based on market changes.  Granular integrates with farm's existing digital hardware and machines.  On the financial side Granular does profit analysis and forecasting based on the farm's contracts and crop yields.

Granular has an interesting history starting off as a tiny spinoff from a soil testing company called Solum.  The company makes revenue via a SaaS subscription model priced per acre managed.  The team is based in San Francisoco, California.

Why I like Them

Granular is tackling a large, deeply underserved market ($3T globally) that still uses paper and excel spreadsheets to manage its business.  In the US alone there are an estimated 40,000 farms.  The world's population is expected to grow by 1 billion in the next 9 years according to the United Nations - there will have to be leaps in agriculture efficiency to meet this demand and feed all these people.  As a SaaS business with a huge market, Granular has many years of growth ahead of it with few competitors.

Disclosure:  All information is from publicly available sources, I have not had any contact with a member of the company or its investors.

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