The Future 5 of Seattle Tech, Q3 2022
Sure, the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the big guns aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In is launching The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. Read our round-up of rising startups from last quarter here.
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Seattle is home to some of the largest tech companies, not only in the country but in the world. Amazon, Microsoft and T-Mobile are just a few of the giants that call the Emerald City and its surrounding area home. However, among the giants are also smaller, unique startups creating software, hardware or digital solutions to several issues consumers and businesses face.
Over the last two months, Built In sat down with five local startups that are in preseed and seed stages to learn about their companies and talk tech.
Built In’s Future 5 up-and-Coming Seattle Startups, Q3 2022
- Gamesight (Adtech and Analytics)
- Included (HR Tech)
- Littlebird (Wearable Tech)
- OwnTrail (Social Media)
- Rollzi (Logistics)
Seattle is home to many large game developers, however, the city is also home to a flurry of other companies that aid the gaming industry in releasing top-notch games. Gamesight is one of those companies that helps developers create marketing campaigns for their games by connecting them with influencers. The company’s platform pulls data from sites like TikTok, YouTube and Twitch, and helps developers find influencers to partner with. After finding the right person to promote their game, developers are able to contact and negotiate with influencers using Gamesight’s built-in CRM capabilities.
“If you’re getting ready to launch a new game, one of the best ways to get it in front of gamers [is] on platforms like Twitch or YouTube or TikTok,” said Adam Lieb, founder and CEO of Gamesight. “You want other people to watch it; it’s one of the best ways to learn about new games.”
According to Lieb, Gamesight has helped triple-A developers with their influencer marketing initiatives and has even worked with gaming companies overseas. According to Lieb, Gamesight is not as reliant on venture funding as other startups due to the number of high-caliber clients the company works with. As a result, Gamesight has not raised capital since 2017.
Historically, tech companies have not had diverse workforces. This has resulted in high turnover rates among women, Black and Latino talent. Redmond-based Included wants to help companies diversify their workforce and keep talent by using software to set and achieve DEI goals. Included’s software integrates and gathers data from other HR software already used by its clients to analyze the number of diverse hires a company has made and track at what stage diverse hires leave the company. With the data, Included is then able to provide the company with actionable steps.
“I was shocked that no big data solutions supported the full spectrum of needs for DEI initiatives. No other parts of a business, like finance, sales, etc., can function without the needed data and platforms,” Included CEO and co-founder Raghu Gollamudi told Built In over email. “Included automates and monitors your progress with real-time reporting ... by delivering data-driven action steps to your team that increases the likelihood of success in diversity sourcing and hiring.”
According to the company, its software not only works post-hire but can also be used to find diverse candidates. With DEI being a big talking point in the tech industry, many companies have sought out Included’s products and investors have also flocked to the company. Since launching, Included has raised $5.4 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, and has also witnessed a 400 percent increase in annual revenue.
For working parents, it can be stressful leaving their own children in the care of others. With Littlebird, those stresses can be relieved. The startup manufactures a wearable device for children that tracks their location and health vitals and connects with a mobile app. The company was founded by Monica Plath after she had an unnerving experience with a babysitter and realized there were no child-specific products that could update her on her child’s whereabouts and health.
“Everything in my life is connected. I know where my dog went on a walk with Wag or Rover, but I didn’t have any of that with my own child when I was going away to work and I wanted to feel present while apart,” Plath told Built In.
To make the device, Littlebird worked with the same consulting firm that designed Fitbit. Currently, the company only sells its wearables on its website but has agreements in place to begin selling through other channels next year. Since launching, the company has raised $2.2 million in funding.
Rebekah Bastian co-founded OwnTrial as a way for people to share their life milestones. On the OwnTrail platform, people can document their life journey along with twists and turns in a fun and interactive manner called trails. Users on the platform can view others’ trails and help each other reach their goals or find solutions to challenges they might be stumped on. According to Bastian, her platform has fostered a dedicated community of users.
“OwnTrail started as a way to share and see the real journeys that people take through life, in a way that is much more authentic and holistic than what a resume would show,” Bastian told Built In. “We’ve grown it into a vibrant tech platform and community where people help each other achieve their next milestones in life and work.”
OwnTrail recently launched a paid membership model and is still developing new tools and features. The company, which launched in 2020 and was co-founded by a woman and a non-binary entrepreneur, has raised $1.2 million in funding.
Rollzi was founded in 2020 by freight expert Damien Hutchins and has since been helping companies deliver freight in a more efficient and timely manner. The company developed a singly-lane relay delivery approach in which it moves cargo along only one route and transfers loads between drivers. The process requires dedicated software and has helped cut down on fuel usage while also providing truck drivers with a better work-life balance since they drive fewer miles using the single-lane relay strategy.
“Shippers are always looking for more efficient and effective ways to transport their goods, while potential drivers are looking to have meaningful career paths,” Hutchins told Built In over email. “We built our single-lane relay strategy to address these challenges and so far, the feedback from both shippers and drivers has been great.”
Since launching, Rollzi has raised $8 million in funding. The company is looking to make future tech hires in order to automate more of its freight process. Rollzi will also expand its network of company drivers and trucks, according to Hutchins.