The TechCrunch Disrupt startup megaconference is back in person at Moscone Center after a pandemic hiatus, and this year there are 200 startups competing in the startup battlefield.
These startups run the gamut, from healthcare devices to a transportation system modeled after the Jetsons. Here are some of our favorites from the 12th year of the conference.
Airbnb for bakers
Serial entrepreneur Stijn Vanorbeek got into bread baking during the pandemic and quickly realized that baking bread could be a legitimate side hustle. But he realized that the ideal method of baking thick-crust artisan bread, in a Dutch oven, would limit him to baking two loaves at the same time.
So Vanorbeek founded Simply Bread, which sells an $8,490 oven that can bake up to 15 loaves of bread at the same time. In addition to selling the ovens, he is also creating an online marketplace for bakers to turn their passion into a business.
The Irvine-based company has been around for 18 months and is now raising a $2.5 million seed round. They’ve already sold 70 of the ovens, Vanorbeek said, and some of their customers sell hundreds of loaves of bread a week.
It’s a big market: Americans buy 15 billion loaves of bread a year, and demand for artisan bread, which sells for up to $15 a loaf, keeps growing, Vanorbeek said.
A smart Pilates machine that creates personalized classes
San Francisco-based Somato builds a “smart” reformer, otherwise known as those Pilates machines that look like medieval torture devices. Founder Hannah Fink, who started the company from her parents’ San Francisco garage, is an industrial designer who did her master’s thesis on designing exercise equipment for the home.
His version of the Reformer is a neutral-toned, lightweight, rounded device that can be folded up and stored under a bed. Fink says what sets Somato apart from Peloton and other connected fitness devices is its ability to generate personalized classes.
Somato does this by combining data from pressure sensors and using that information to generate custom classes from its database of class clips. Somato will raise a seed round later this year and is now taking pre-orders for $2,500 plus a $39 per month subscription fee.
A wearable headset that treats ADHD
Nearly 10% of American children have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. The majority of them receive drug treatment, but this comes with a host of side effects and does not work for everyone.
Australian company Neurode has created a headset and partner mobile app it claims can treat ADHD; it is currently seeking FDA approval to do just that. Customers wear the headset for 20 minutes a day while playing a game on their phone. Neurode says the headset stimulates the brain via small electric shocks, while monitoring the brain to see if the treatment is working.
Dolls that can teach coding
One of the first things to appear in the TechCrunch Disrupt showroom were the hot pink blazers worn by Eliza Kosoy and her team.
The Berkeley-based founder and CEO of Eliza Dolls hopes to spark interest and coding expertise in girls aged 5 to 12 via her programmable doll that can change color, make sounds and even detect the your parent’s pulse using an attached sensor.
Kosoy, who is a doctoral student at UC Berkeley and focuses on AI and child development, said her experience in research labs has shown a clear gender divide that begins in the childhood and ends with the obvious inequality seen at events like startup conferences.
The current prototype is just an early version – don’t look at the toes – and the company hopes to launch a Kickstarter for the toy next year that features the doll in a variety of skin tones so everyone can get involved. see as a coder.
A fresh peel for fruit
Various jars of decaying fruit featured in the exhibit by pre-seed startup Nat4Bio.
The Argentinian company uses a microbial fermentation process to create an organic liquid coating that can protect fruits from browning and troublesome fungal infections, thereby extending their shelf life.
CEO Joaquín Fisch said the product itself is aimed at fruit packers and offers two layers of protection: a glucose-based polymer coating and added natural antimicrobials that can prevent browning and mold.
Initial results show a 92% reduction in fungal infections in citrus fruits and 75% in strawberries. And yes, the product itself is vegan, celiac, kosher and halal.
Save the bikers butt
Dallas-based startup Radian and its flagship product BiKube have their roots in a tragic event. Founder and CEO Kevin McMahon said that during the pandemic, his good friend and classmate in high school was hit by a car and killed, leaving behind a wife and three children.
Using expertise gained from a career in the automotive safety industry, McMahon has developed a device that can be attached under a bicycle seat or on the handlebars, which activates the vehicle’s collision avoidance system. a vehicle by amplifying the signal that the car’s sensor receives.
The company is raising $500,000 in a convertible pre-seed note to finalize testing, IP filings, and product launch.
Radian’s goal is to roll out a consumer device starting in 2023 that costs around $80 and can trigger a vehicle’s auto-brake protocol, saving bikers.
Spirited Away with Swyft
Imagine a world where, instead of walking from the station to your office, you’re whisked away in self-driving gondola-like contraptions hooked up to the Jetsons.
It might not be that far off the mark if Mountain View startup Swyft Cities gets its way. Unlike a typical ski lift, the cables themselves do not move; rather, the vehicles are autonomous and self-powered. According to CEO Jeral Poskey, this means they can navigate more complex networks and get to more places.
Sure, he acknowledges that it might not be the best solution in a super-dense (and hilly) city like San Francisco, but the technology is already being considered by major real estate developments, ski resorts and universities.
Poskey comes from Google, where he helped lead transportation planning and real estate development projects and developed the seed of what would become Swyft. In the coming months, the startup plans to launch a pilot program in New Zealand, which Poskey described as being at the forefront of micromobility.