Varkain entrepreneurs are original, exceptional, and bold. They embrace the grind needed to bring extraordinary products and companies to life.
People are creating personalized content at an alarming rate, but the way it is organized, captured, cataloged, archived and shared is disjointed. A journal writing solution at launch, JRNL is building a platform to expand into verticles that will change how people view personal publishing and merge the technology shift in on-demand publishing.
JRNL was barely more than an idea in Founder Nick Jones’ head before Varkain led the Seed Round. We were active in early business development, team building, and follow-on funding. Nick is a gifted presenter and has been tremendous in business development, landing major partnerships in the company’s infancy.
On-demand mobile power for portable devices is in greater demand today than ever before. Particularly for smartphone users, power consumption is ever increasing and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. With an estimated 6.15 billion smartphones users worldwide by 2020 (Source: Tech Crunch), the market is immense and the need pronounced. Current solutions simply do not meet current user needs.
Powerit enters this global market with a disruptive battery technology that provides always-ready, on-demand portable power. The Company has developed a low cost one-time use battery card in a thin, light, portable card. Powerit cards never need to be charged before use; they are always ready to provide a charge. Complete consumer product solutions are delivered through world-class industrial design and engineering worthy of the well-designed portable devices they support.
“Varkain has participated in Powerit Seed and Series A Rounds. They bring vision and strategic thinking to their early stage investments. As a partner, they are bold in their approach to growing a business. Varkain delivers on the promise of providing extended benefits to the business in addition to capital. Every update call with Varkain ends with one of the partners stating, “let us know what we can do to help”. And when asked, they deliver… which essentially sums up what it’s like to work with Varkain. It’s very much a collaborative partnership.” – David Clark
TriFold was founded in February 2013 by Leonid Khodor and Michael Reznik. TriFold is a manufacturer of folding mobility products for everyday use. TriFold’s vision is to revolutionize mobility. The team at TriFold strongly believes that producing products that improve mobility affords people freedom to do more and be more productive. TriFold LLC has been producing UpCart® products since 2015 when it launched the UpCart® Original at the 2015 National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.
The design and functionality of the folding six-wheeled cart caught much attention at the show and they were awarded “Most Innovative Concept.” In 2016, TriFold was awarded the “Retailers Choice Award” when it was selected by a panel of independent home improvement retailers from thousands of products on display at the show. TriFold has since released four new products along with several accessories. UpCart® products are now available in over 15 countries and through major retailers such as Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, QVC and many others.
As CEO Mike Reznik tells it, “None of this would have been possible without Varkain.” After a failed Kickstarter campaign in late 2014, TriFold received an angel investment from Varkain in early 2015. This investment could not have come at a more critical time.
The initial $30,000 investment from Varkain provided the funds TriFold needed to present at the National Hardware Show in 2015, where CEO Michael Reznik won a pitch contest and secured their first (and largest) customer, QVC. Moreover, after their initial investment, Varkain recognized that TriFold would need to purchase inventory and require operating capital. They offered TriFold a $100,000 loan to ensure the company would continue to grow. (That loan was later converted to equity). Varkain has provided subsequent loans at critical times to ensure TriFold had the capital needed to fill orders. Varkain has been there to support TriFold at every stage of their growth with much more than just financing.
“Varkain has been there for us from the very beginning. They believed in us and supported us at every critical stage of our growth. They are more than just trusted advisors, they are part of our family”, said Co-Founder and CEO Michael Reznik. He added, “I can honestly say TriFold would not have had the rapid growth and success without the entire team at Varkain”.
Databuoy has developed a proprietary gunfire localization system called ShotPoint. The ShotPoint’s unique platform senses gunfire, isolates the source and transmits shooter location alerts to systems that can cue cameras, inform responders and warn the public. ShotPoint saves lives and reduces damage by providing responders with the critical information required to accelerate tactical response, neutralize threats and deploy emergency medical services.
“Our relationship with Varkain can be described as supportive. Varkain goes beyond financial support. They have contributed design and materials to enhance marketing and sales presence, provided strategic mentoring and advice that is so important for a startup, and even stepping into leadership roles when needed for event presentations and introductions. Aside from the formalities, Varkain puts their heart into the companies they support, and are extremely patient and positive. They are a pleasure to work with all the time.” – K. Griggs, CEO
The Dyrt: Yelp for camping. Solving search for campers and solving connection for outdoor brands. The Dyrt solves the pain of finding campgrounds online for 45 million+ Americans who camp yearly. The Dyrt also solves the pain of authentic consumer connection for 100s of outdoor brands. Using our nationwide community of campers, The Dyrt Rangers (200 of our top users across the country), and our proprietary User Generated Content, The Dyrt provides the perfect platform for campers to find their next favorite campsite and for brands to engage with their target audience.
Varkain has consistently made time for The Dyrt when asked to help with our strategic planning. We have also been given access to key people within Varkain and have benefited tremendously from their support and collaborative way of doing business.
When co-founders Doug Messer and Brendan Weinstein tried to recruit and manage student ambassadors for his own company, DBFLY watches, they failed. University Beyond solves this problem of recruiting and managing ambassadors. They hand selects the top startups and Fortune 500 brands to provide their students with the best job opportunities nationwide and allows companies to extend reach, build brand awareness and loyalty, earn more and worry less.
University Beyond is a perfect example of Varkain’s investment philosophy. We look for smart, dynamic founders with disruptive technology or business models that are complementary to our core network of companies. Not only is University Beyond a great company and a leader in their industry, they prove to be a strategic partner in more ways than one. We feel their company is perfectly positioned to take off in 2018 and we look forward to supporting their team as they grow.
Blucadia is the first and only online marketplace for hiring off-duty, commissioned law officers. Blucadia provides a complete and fully automated off-duty management solution for Department and Cops, and gives Customers access to the best trained and qualified security professionals available!
Formerly Cops for Hire, Blucadia is a company we ultimately could not pass up. Blucadia has proven leadership, traction, and barriers to entry that are bigger than they look on paper. More importantly, we saw a company that would disrupt the market in a big way and become the model of how security via authorized law enforcement should be managed.
Smart Screen was founded by industry veterans and technologists passionate about automating the background screening process. After working with top background check companies and speaking with hundreds of clients, the team at Smart Screen came to the conclusion that the logistics of the industry can cause confusion among customers and employees. Smart Screen decided that the process of screening needed to be modernized, simplified, and more affordable.
Smart Screen has identified the weak points in an industry that is only becoming increasingly more important as a global workforce becomes the norm across all industries. The Smart Screen team has identified methodologies and practices to improve accuracy, relevance, and speed. They’ve built and continue to refine their proprietary technologies to support industry leaders and will soon become the standard in the background screening process.
Poly6 is catalyzing a global materials revolution in which energy intensive, toxic and waste producing material chemistries are replaced with new, simple, bio-based, high performing chemistries.
Poly6 is a market innovator in aerospace and medical devices in its current form. The founders have a much larger vision, which is inspiring. After visiting with COO Matthew Stellmaker and follow-on due diligence with Quake Capital, we felt compelled to participate in Poly6’s Seed Round and provide follow-on capital and marketing/branding expertise as the company continues to grow.
Strayos is a computer vision 3D aerial intelligence platform for Mining and Quarry blasting operations to reduce cost, improve productivity and safety by providing highly accurate survey data analytics. Strayos’ proprietary software increases mining company ROIs, by automating tasks, directly reducing overhead and enabling enterprises to make actionable decisions from drone data.
“Strayos sees Varkain as a true partner in helping us build the solid foundation of our company by offering guidance and mentorship in all facets. Nick Jones has been an awesome champion of Strayos and has introduced to potential partners and customers where Strayos could be a value. More importantly, he has helped many times in our branding, storytelling and positioning message of Strayos.” R. Sahu, CEO
Top Recruit™ is focused on continuing to positively enhance the market of competitive fastpitch softball by using technology, analytics and all-inclusive events to increase exposure of student-athletes and provide the best opportunities for self-promotion in front of collegiate coaches both on and off the field. Top Recruit seeks to empower parents, coaches and student athletes by providing a platform where athletes can maximize exposure and capitalize on opportunities to continue their education.
We loved this company from the start and we rolled up our sleeves and got involved, literally. Top Recruit represented a number of unique opportunities that are still to be pursued as the company grows. We love the focus on technology in a market that is relatively still newly adopting and implementing tech into events and student athletes lives. Top Recruit not only owns the Trademark to their name for merchandise, which continues to grow, they own TopRecurit.com which has served them well in their early existence.
myTOURNEY™ is going to revolutionize youth sports tournaments. Traditionally, youth sports are organized and managed by small- to medium-sized groups that have zero-to-limited access to technology but must manage data that is always changing and being delivered at the last minute. As Club Teams travel across the country in all sports across all age groups, Tournament Directors are increasingly at risk of rising costs for print material, inaccurate information for recruiters and antiquated means of communicating with participants and their families. myTOURNEY seeks to solve those problems and many more.
Varkain saw a perfect complement between myTOURNEY and Top Recruit and we drove the discussion between the companies. Varkain provided initial seed funding for MVP, design resources, and development resources through our network.
Vutiliti is a SaaS based company with a hardware component that is patent-pending and sure to disrupt the energy and utility industries. Real-time analysis and reporting of residential, commercial and even grid technologies makes Vutiliti one of the more intriguing opportunities in Varkain’s portfolio.
Varkain was introduced to Vutiliti by Nick Jones of JRNL during his time at BoomStartup’s Spring 2016 Cohort. Nick’s time with Founder/CEO Steve Ellis was critical to our initial investment in the business. We have since followed multiple times as Vutiliti continues to bring new, innovative products to market and gain marketshare.
RoviTracker is a data collection platform focused in the industrial space connecting to industrial equipment and assets. RoviTracker pulls data such as engine run time, fuel level, temp, voltage, solar charge, etc, all of which helps clients automate maintenance scheduling, trouble shoot and know what is going on with their high capital investments in remote locations. RoviTracker now has more than 1000 devices activated and continues to grow rapidly.
Varkain was introduced to RoviTracker during BoomStartup’s Spring 2016 Demo Day and we loved the company immediately. Varkain invested initially and has subsequently followed on as RoviTracker has grown. According to CEO Alain Eav, “It’s been a great opportunity to work with Varkain, they have been genuine and sincere. I always get the sense that they really want to see us succeed, always asking how they can help and make new connections… I view Varkain as the ideal partner.”
Yobs is an end-to-end hiring solution powered by AI and designed for employers.
We build technology to take the pain out of hiring high-fit employees who will be happier, more productive and stay longer at the company.
Our team of ex-retailers and data scientists has built the most advanced AI to predict the job performance of applicants. Our web platform is a user-friendly tool for store managers and HRs to be more productive in their hiring process of new staff. The system makes candidate recommendations based on the job, automatically reviews candidate profile and videos and, over time, the system learns from the unique fingerprint of the company to optimize the top of the funnel.
Yobs Technologies is a California Corporation based out of Los Angeles, CA.
“Varkain was the first institutional investor we let in our cap table and invested $25K in March 2017. Nick Jones has been a fantastic advisor to my co-founder and me on the company’s strategic direction, product, and market. He is also someone who will connect the dots if he sees the potential for synergies, which is rare for someone who’s busy balancing founder/investor hats simultaneously.” R. Danilo, CEO
EIFLE, Inc. is a marketing-tech company with an interconnected-hardware to automate the social media marketing process. Together, the software and hardware make up the EIFLE S Social-Mirror, a technology providing a novel marketing solution to millions of small businesses.
Varkain was introduced to Eifle, Inc. through Quake Capital in New York City. When we heard of the service, we immediately knew of a handful of experiential event companies that would like this service and saw an immediate way that we could positively impact the business. We also were able to leverage our relationships in overseas manufacturing to lengthen their runway in their initial seed round. Like any technology company in the startup stage, early alignment can impact efficiency and the speed of reaching key milestones. It was important to Eifle that they align with a capital group who will be available for guidance, committed to their mission, and most notably invested in their success. To quote CEO, Leonard Adams, “In reflection, we are thankful for Varkain’s approach, and their continued commitment to exceeding expectations.
Sales Bridge is solving one of the biggest problems in sales: identifying what specific activities lead to more sales. People use data to make better decisions and Sales Bridge’s goal is to make the sales process more transparent by showing sales leadership and sales people the most actionable sales data and insights available, data that informs strategy and empowers sales teams to close more business.
Varkain was introduced to Sales Bridge during BoomStartup’s Spring 2016 Cohort. Joe Lowry and Trevor Paskett are a dynamic team and their vision of improving the sales process and minimizing the sales cycle is compelling. Varkain worked to introduce Sales Bridge to other investors and funds across outside of Salt Lake City. We also worked to introduce enterprise-level businesses to the Sales Bridge team.
DIALS has rethought the mobile calendar and transformed the old, hard-to-read, tiny text “list view” of your day’s schedule into an elegantly designed new clock-based view of your day. With its at-a-glance visualization of your upcoming events, and its simplified entry and edit process for all your important meetings, calls and tasks, DIALS® is the easiest and best on-the-go way to manage your time.
DIALS was introduced to Varkain in late 2014 and we were impressed with their quality of design and patent-pending design IP. Varkain to made an initial investment in 2015 and as their company evolved we followed on in subsequent rounds to assist in app development. We also used our expanding network to create business development and partnership opportunities.
Varkain entrepreneurs are original, exceptional, and bold. They embrace the grind needed to bring extraordinary products and companies to life.