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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.





NoiseAware is an Internet of Things (IoT) startup that sells a device and associated monitoring service to automatically detect noise pollution at any location.  Noise pollution can include anything from loud traffic locations to parties, or just unacceptable levels of noise after a certain time period.  When such an event occurs the property manager is alerted and can take appropriate action.  Their technology is smart enough that one off background noises (such as sirens) will not activate an alert.  

NoiseAware is currently focused on selling to landlords, especially for short-term rentals such as people listing on AirBnb, HomeAway, etc.  Their next area of expansion is the outdoor monitoring for pools, hot tubs, and patios where noise disturbances travel much further. The team has excellent traction with customers in 14 countries and most of the 50 states. 

They are based in Dallas, Texas and have 10 employees.


Why I like Them

As is often mentioned, "hardware companies are hard".  That being said I like that NoiseAware uses their hardware as a lead into their subscription service and have a very distinct (yet broad) niche with little competition.  They have a distinct advantage over general purpose at home IoT devices, such as Amazon's Echo, in that they only listen for noise pollution, so privacy is not violated.  Any landlord will know noise complaints can easily cost a lot of money and signal damage being done to the property.  The company has grown extremely fast with the popularity of AirBnb and the industry of multi-AirBnb property managers that have sprung up in the last few years.

I also really like that this technology has surprisingly widespread applications.  The obvious use case is for rentals (a large market as it is) but the team has received a ton of interest from hotel chains, city officials, school dormitories, senior living communities - basically anywhere people sleep has shown an interest in this type of monitoring system.

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.


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Slantrange is a big data and analytics company focused on the agriculture sector that describes itself as an agricultural intelligence company.  They offer a SaaS analytical product for agriculture and advanced multi-spectral sensor systems meant to be mounted on drones.  Applications of their systems include detecting crop infections, vegetation stress, automatic crop counts, etc. 

Slantrange products are mostly sold to drone services companies who are then contracted by farmers for data analysis of their fields.  They make revenue through their SaaS software subscriptions and through selling the hardware sensors.

The team is based in San Diego, California and currently has approximately a dozen employees.

Why I like Them

There is a large opportunity ahead in digitizing agriculture and Slantrange is the premium provider of data analytics for the industry with best in class sensors.  Satellite systems cannot provide the resolution or yield of information on crop fields that drone based sensors systems do.  Slantrange takes advantage of this much richer data set using advanced data mining and analytics to offer detailed, actionable insights to farmers.  I like that the team's focus is on continuously extracting higher value data from sensor systems that no other offering can match.

Even with such a small team they already have a huge amount of traction selling in 20+ countries via 15+ distributors.  They also have a large amount of intellectual property around technology.

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.