Weekly Roundup: 3 Austin Startups to Watch
Want to stay up to date on the latest startup fundings, launches, and expansions in Austin? Startup Over Coffee’s weekly roundup of startups to watch in Austin will keep you in...
Want to stay up to date on the latest startup fundings, launches, and expansions in Austin? Startup Over Coffee’s weekly roundup of startups to watch in Austin will keep you in the loop on the latest Austin tech news.
New Austin startup, Check, is on a mission to change the way traffic stops are handled. The app is designed to facilitate safer interactions between police officers and drivers by providing the option to video chat during a traffic stop rather than get out of the car. Not only will Check eliminate unnecessary contact, but the process will help to de-escalate potentially aggressive situations based on discriminatory factors. When you combine Covid-19 with racial discriminancy, the need for an app like Check is more relevant than ever.
The way Check works is users will upload their driver license, license plate, insurance information, and phone number to the app. Once a police officer pulls someone over, Check will send them a text invite to video chat. The process can ultimately make a driving incident more safe for both the officer and the driver. While the Check app is still being developed, the company has already captured interest from investors such as Sputnik ATX, according to Austonia.
Bestow, a digital life insurance startup based out of Austin, is making big moves ahead of the new year. According to Built In Austin, Bestow announced it is acquiring Centurion Life Insurance Company from Wells Fargo which will help Bestow become a national insurance carrier. Currently, Centurion Life Insurance Company is based out of Iowa and provides their insurance plans in 47 states. Though details of the deal have not been disclosed, the acquisition will be final in 2021 and Centurion Life Insurance Company will operate under the Bestow name.
Bestow’s platform stands out from the competition with its ease of purchase. Bestow’s AI technology asks applicants a series of questions about their age, driving record and more to assess the level of risk. The whole process takes just five minutes, with users receiving plan options at the end. Other life insurance policies can take months to secure. Besides the Centurion acquisition, Bestow plans to add new life insurance products to their agenda and refine the product flow experience on their homegrown platform in 2021.
At the onset of the pandemic, many companies, including VC firm Active Capital, were having difficulty finding funding and opportunities. The stock market crash early in the pandemic didn’t help either. But because Active Capital’s focus is on B2B software startups, they began to see an uptick in opportunities a few months into the pandemic once companies began to adjust. Today, the venture capital firm has raised $25 million in funds to back early-stage startups, according to Austin Inno.
Active Capital typically leads or co-leads seed funding rounds and invests $250,000 in pre-seed deals or $750,000 in seed deals. Though Active Capital is a San Antonio based VC firm, about a quarter of the companies on their portfolio are Austin based.
About Savannah Burns: Savannah is a Business Development Associate for Swyft, which is a tech PR agency in Austin and Houston and a top digital marketing and PR agency in Denver since its founding in 2011. Swyft recently opened a satellite office where it offers tech PR in San Francisco. Swyft was also listed as one of the top tech PR agencies in Texas by the B2B services review site, Clutch.co.