StartUp and Innovation Digest #13July2016

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#AgroTech Trace Genomics launches a 23andMe for farms, raises $4 million to improve the world’s food supply

Trace Genomics wants to help farmers diagnose and improve the health of the soil where they want to raise crops before it’s harvest time and too late to change course.

So the startup has developed a soil testing kit and “pathogen panel,” that tells the growers of high-value crops, like berries or lettuce, whether or not their soil has harmful bacteria or fungi in it. The company will charge $199 per test.”

#MarketStrategy 4 Groundbreaking Market Strategies to Skyrocket Your Startup

“Many entrepreneurs share a common misunderstanding: They believe innovative products are enough to capture the market. Unfortunately, innovation alone cannot guarantee your startup’s success. Other, unpredictable factors influence your growth rate. ”

Read about four steps in order to conduct the type of market research that will help you to make informed decisions and grow your startup faster:

1. Collect firsthand data from users.
2. Monitor your competitors’ strategic moves.
3. Discover different customer personas.
4. Execute and monitor progress.

For more details read the article.

#Acquisition Google buys a startup to improve Spaces

“It just bought Kifi, a startup that focuses on internet-based collaboration and sharing. The Kifi team isn’t shy about what it’ll be doing — it’s joining the Spaces team (“Google has a service Spaces“)to improve its underlying features. While you’ll probably have to wait some time to see what that entails, it’s clear that Spaces isn’t going to wither from neglect.”

#PokemonGo Pokemon Go’s mental health benefits are real

All this buzz about ‪#‎PokemonGo‬ and there is an article which shows it how it could be good for the health. On my opinion, it is just the first big steps for Augmented reality (AR) field, other we will see soon.

The company who released this game is Niantic, a Google spin out which developed Pokémon Go with the Pokémon Company and Nintendo and the first AR game was created 5 years ago, but only now it has a big success.

“Roughly 43.8 million adults in the United States experience mental illness every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. That’s one in five adults. The video game community is a magnet for people living with untreated anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses, says suicide prevention organization Take This. The industry itself is volatile, and it attracts particularly creative and highly educated people — factors that can contribute to a perfect storm of untreated mental illnesses.

Russ Pitts, the co-founder of Take This, says that hundreds of clinicians and advisers have told him the same thing over the years: Generally, the more educated or technically sophisticated a person is, the less likely he or she is to seek help for mental issues.

Pokemon Go can be an introduction to self-care, but it’s not a cure.”

#WinTicket Google for Entrepreneurs is sponsoring 20 tickets to our Tech Venture Summit this September!

Read more on a Facebook page of Manos Accelerator – link.
“To enter for a chance to win please post a short description of what your startup is about, and why you feel you deserve to go to the Summit! Please tag us and use the hashtag#ManosTechVentureSummit2016 and#GoogleForEntrepreneurs to be entered.

Winners will be chosen by the Manos team and will be contacted at a later date. Good luck everyone!”


I thought it would be interesting to choose one interesting startup and speak a little bit about it.


This startup is not about #Travel, neither #BioTech, even not about #FinTech and it already received valuation circa $370 mln, it is all about mattress…

“Ever try to buy a mattress? There seems to be an overwhelming lack of transparency in the process with confusing and constantly changing pricing based on sales quotas, the weather, the salesperson, day of the week, and any other imaginable factor that should have nothing to do with your purchase.”

Casper ( is an award-winning sleep startup that launched with an outrageously comfortable mattress sold directly to consumers — eliminating commission ­driven, inflated prices. The critically­ acclaimed sleep surface was developed in-house by a team of product engineers with experience from IDEO, has a sleek design, and is delivered right to your door in a small, “how did they do that?” sized box.

Casper is one of the fastest growing consumer brands of all time, launching in April 2014 and earning $1M in revenue in its first 28 days. The company quickly struck a chord with consumers in a category that has stagnated for decades. In February 2015, it announced sales exceeding $20M in its first ten months. The company raised a $55M Series B investment led by IVP, bringing its total funding to $69.95M.

Among investors, there is Adam Levine (Maroon 5).

Startup gives the ability to give consumers a more convenient and cost-effective way to shop for mattresses compared with trying out mattresses in a store and having them delivered via a private delivery service.


“Casper aims to combat the need to physically try a mattress before buying through its 100-night guarantee. If consumers aren’t happy with their order within 100 days, Casper promises a full refund.”

Business model – removing retail costs and re-engineering the supply chain in order to create a better mattress at a fraction of the traditional cost. By maintaining control over the entire production process and selling direct to consumer, they sell Casper for three times less than what it would cost in a store.

An interesting story about the name – Casper turned to branding company Red Antler during its pre-launch phase in 2013 to help with branding and strategy. One of the first major challenges came when the two companies discovered that using the original name for the startup, “Duke,” would get the company in legal trouble with Duke University over trademark issues.

“So how did Red Antler help turn the nameless company formerly known as Duke into a $20 million business in less than two years? Here are three keys to the branding agency’s plan.

1. Create name recognition. From a list of hundreds of potential new names that Casper’s founders compiled, Red Antler’s Heyward pushed for the name most people would associate with the “friendly ghost” cartoon character.

“It’s a positive association, it’s nostalgic, and it’s soft and white,” Heyward says.

The curious-looking curl on the letter “C” is an intentionally ambiguous design element meant to attract consumers’ eyes. “I see the mattress unfurling from the box, but other people say they see the neck and head of someone sleeping on a pillow,” she says.” more read in an article.

Estimated sources of website visits

Just to finish the presentation of this startup I include the answer to the question “What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?”

Philip KrimCasper Cofounder, and CEO answered: “Your customers are your best resources. We attribute a large part of our initial success and growth to the testimonials, word-of-mouth reviews, and social media posts from our sleepers. We communicate with our customers every step of the way. The relationship we have them only starts when they purchase. We make sure to consistently follow up to ask how they’re sleeping, help entertain them through social media when they’re falling asleep at work, and engage them in our growth and development through their participation in Casper Labs.”

Your customers are your best resources.