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March 4th, 2021 - 3 minutes reading time.
Good morning!Since some of you have asked: “shoto” is japanese and means “sword” (sword with a mid-sized blade to be exact). Why did we pick this name? Because we believe news needs to be bite-sized for our ever-shrinking attention spans. 🔪Or something like that… (we mainly liked the sound of it tbh 🤷🏻).
Markets at close
European markets are slightly up with the German Index DAX reaching a new all-time-high. Cryptos experienced a very good day following discussions of officials to launch a Cryptocurrency ETFs. US stocks slided after private sector job growth in February turned out to be way smaller than expected.
Startups of the day
Today, we will feature two interesting startups that got funded recently.
🏎 OthersideAI, Boston
Imagine you had someone writing emails for you based on a few text snippets. Wouldn't that be great? The Boston based startup OthersideAI raised $2.6 Million seed funding to do exactly that.
Type in a few words and the machine generates a complete email, supposedly in your unique style. For example, "Simon, late, don’t wait" might translate into "Hi Simon, hope you're well. Sorry, I'm running a little late. Please, go ahead and start the meeting. Don’t wait for me. Cheers, Babak”.
Why it matters: Everybody knows how time-consuming writing emails is. According to a McKinsey analysis, the average professional spends about 28% or about 2½ hours per day reading and answering email. Reducing this amount will definitely help clear some time for more value-adding work.
But, it’s yet unclear how the OthersideAI’s system really works and how well it performs. And, hey, who knows. Maybe people will not use their newly gained time for doing more value-adding work, but play internet games instead.
Our Take: It’s definitely a hot space and an interesting value proposition. Other competitors offer similar features, though. Gmail users can use the “Smart Compose” feature to auto-complete emails through machine learning. You'd definitely need some patience if you want to sign-up for OthersideAI and test their system: Currently there are 14.622 waitlisted ahead of you.
👷🏼 Home Repair Services turned Digital
Oh god, the amount of lifetime I have spent when it came to organizing technicians… Don’t get me started.
Now, Oakland based startup Nana grabbed $6 Million funding to change that. Nana offers a free academy on how to fix home appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and ovens. Once the student has acquired a certain repairment skill, they can offer their services to others to make some money at the side. The inspection is only chargeable if there is no repair. All steps are transparent and digitally traceable at any time.
Why it matters: Overall, the trades sector is relatively under-digitized. Platforms that allow for an experience familiar from other walks of life are riding high. NanaHome combines partly educational training and partly a marketplace for people to take on a gig and help out their fellows.
This is also great from an environmental standpoint as only 50% of home appliances can be recycled and there is now an easy solution for people to fix them rather than producing more waste.
Our Take: In the US only, Nana estimates there are more than 80 million appliances in need to be fixed annually. This equals a $4b market in the US. On the other side, the supply of technicians (and especially getting an appointment with one) is decreasing since years. Nana offers an opportunity to bring supply and demand together in a very smart way!
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