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Looker is a data analytics and business intelligence startup.  Their software is used for exploring data and making decisions for everything from marketing, sales, operations, logistics, web, etc.  It is able to pull and digest data in real time from numerous sources including Salesforce, Slack, SQL, Hadoop, web APIs and produce a number of dashboard visualizations and analytics. 

Looker's business model is a standard SaaS subscription model.

The team is based in the San Francisco bay area.

Why I like Them

Companies currently are flooded with data in the "Big Data Age" but understanding that data and being able to use it to make better decisions is something many firm's struggle with.  Today, to make any sort of headway with their data, specialist data scientists with years of advanced education and expertise in tools like SQL, R, etc. are needed.  However, every job function in a company needs to be able to quickly analyze and make decisions off this data without going through the bottleneck of a limited number of data scientists.  Looker provides this ability to every person in the company without the bottleneck and without needing advanced training to use and analyze this data.  In our data driven age this is a critical ability and it's easy to see Looker becoming a standard tool utilized across every levels of a company just like Microsoft Office Suite.

Despite how crowded the Business Intelligence space is, Looker has a lot of tractionI at over 1,000 paying customers and more than 50,000 users.  These include some large names such as Square, IBM, WeWork, Nordstrom, and Amazon. 


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


6 River Systems

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6 River Systems is a robotics startup that creates warehouse fulfillment robots and AI systems.  The team builds both the AI software that manages the robots as well as the physical robots themselves.  In most fulfillment warehouses today workers pick items for shipping off the shelves by following a piece of paper and manually picking their route.  In contrast, 6 River systems has the worker or "picker" as they are called in the industry follow the robot as it optimizes for the route while picking items off the shelf and giving them to the robot to carry.  The system dramatically increases the key metric in fulfillment centers of items picked/ hour.  Their system is quick to deploy, easy to use, and generates value from the first day of deployment.  Customers include 3rd party logistics companies, industrial suppliers, traditional retailers, and young eCommerce companies.

6 River Systems differs from Amazon's famous Kiva robots by having the pickers go to the item whereas in Amazon's fulfillment centers the robots actually bring the shelves to the picker.  6 River Systems will never have the throughput of Amazon style systems, as they don’t eliminate walking, but they are able to sell their product with much less equipment and for far less than an Amazon style system.  The company likes to describe this as having 80%  of the benefit of warehouse robotics at 20% of the cost.  

In terms of business model the company sells the systems and software as well as offers a Robotics as a Service option where they lease the robots out.  The Robotics as a Service offering is popular as many companies in this space have thin operating margins and don't like to make expensive capital expenditures.  6 River Systems robots will be used at 30 sites by the end of this year.

The company is based in Boston and has 60 people.

Why I like Them

eCommerce continues to boom and will grow over the coming years globally as physical retail continues to shrink.  Automating fulfillment centers will only become more important as companies try to stay competitive.  6 River Systems has the perfect product offering to replace what today is mostly a manual process.  Collaboration robotics, where both a human and robot work together simultaneously, is the big trend to watch over the next decade in the field.

Like a number of people who follow the technology industry I am very excited for the future of robotics and automation.  The team was kind enough to explain their view that the reasons robotics is starting to see widespread adoption today include the intersection of: 

  • The miniaturaization and drop in costs of hardware including sensors, mainly due to the growth of the smartphone industry
  • The rise of Open Source software allowing for accelerated software development especially by small startups
  • Cloud based computing allowing infinite computing capacity for a low cost 

Disclosure:  I have spoken to members of the team.




Edgybees is an augmented reality startup focused on enterprise augmented reality for fast moving camera systems.  This include cameras on drones, cars, military vehicles, and body cameras.  They've found great initial traction among public safety organizations including fire,  search and rescue, disaster response, police departments, etc. with their product showing great value during the California fires and the Hurricane Irma floods.  Other customers they are engaging with are in media, defense, gaming, and other fields where situational awareness is critical. 

Edgybees software platform is flexible, able to work with any full motion camera hardware with the ability for other developers to build upon it.  Features include mapping, markers, and other data layer overlays with new features being continously added.  The team monetizes by selling software licenses per vehicle pilot, people on the ground, and people in the command center. 

The team is based in Palo Alto, California and Israel and currently has around 20 employees.  

Why I like Them

I like them because to date I believe augmented reality has been overhyped without any real application that solve an actual problem.  Edgybees solves the real world problem of situational awareness for when speed and accuracy are critical and thus has a real business built on solving actual customer pain points.  

This is also an area where there is a ton of demand for a solution like this and few competitors.  With more and more cameras everywhere generating a torrent of data, technology like Edgybees is vital in bringing context and identifying what is critical in real time so decision makers can quickly make the correct decisions.  

I agree with the team that drone technology and augmented reality are still in very early days and I can easily see Edgybees becoming a very large enterprise augmented reality and sensor company.

Disclosure:  I have spoken to members of the team.






NPM is a startup that does package management and acts as a registry for JavaScript.  Basically it allows software engineers to share code they've developed to solve particular problems in what are called packages.  Any website or software application today uses dozens to hundreds of packages.  NPM has a good explanation here.  

The company offers a paid SaaS version and an on premise versions of its software with the revenue split being roughly equal between the two.  NPM started as an open source effort by its founder and CEO, Isaac Schlueter, but due to strong customer demand for features, took venture backing to more quickly develop the product for the community.

NPM is not profitable yet but sees a very clear path to getting there with its paid product offerings seeing exponential growth. The team is based in Oakland, California and is currently 25 employees.

Why I like Them

The importance of JavaScript to the modern day web is undeniable and you can't use JavaScript today without running into NPM. Every company writing software is likely utilizing NPM to some degree.  With its centrality to package management and private libraries it is easy to see how network effects are kicking in, expanding NPM's moat and making their product even more attractive to users.

Further getting me excited about their prospects is that Facebook built upon NPM to release React and Yarn which works with the NPM registry, thus cementing NPM at the heart of JavaScript.  One other potential avenue for growth the team pointed out to me when I spoke with them is the wealth of data they've collected. The team believes with the application of some artificial intelligence they will be able to produce meaningful analytics from their data.

It is not a far leap to see NPM becoming the next GitHub.

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



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.