Weekly Roundup: 4 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 the loop on the latest Austin tech news.
Featured image by OJO.
It seems like everywhere we turn, there is new technology. So we weren’t surprised to see DISCO rising up in the legal tech scene. DISCO, a legal tech startup based out of Austin raised $60 million in a recent funding round, bringing the total amount raised to $785 million. What is the startup planning to do with the new funds? Go international, of course! DISCO plans to take their technology to the European, Middle Eastern, African and Asia Pacific regions, according to Built In Austin.
DISCO’s AI software platform scans documents and identifies if they are relevant to a specific case. A human lawyer then reviews the system’s request. However, DISCO’s software aims to maintain and learn from each human recommendation and use that knowledge for future suggestions. Furthermore, DISCO offers accessible UX and is cloud-native. Aside from taking DISCO global, the startup’s new funds will be used toward refining their technology and using the system to scan contracts in the field of corporate law.
Water is one of the most essential resources for survival. But where does your water come from? And how clean is it really? Varuna, an Austin startup that was recently awarded $100,000 from Google, focuses on testing and monitoring water for cities and municipalities so they have the insights needed to provide clean water. In addition to testing the quality of the water, Varuna is able to share a digital representation of the water system so every citizen, not just utilities, can know where their water comes from.
According to Austin Inno, Varuna uses a network of sensors and cloud-based software for real time monitoring. Along a water system there are areas called ‘critical points’ where traditionally someone would go to get a sample of water and bring it back to the lab for testing. Varuna drops sensors in those locations which samples and tests the water, then sends data on the water quality back to Varuna, who then shares the data in real time.
OJO Acquires Digs
Digs, a Chicago-based startup, has now been acquired by OJO, an Austin company that focuses on using AI to help empower home buyers and sellers make decisions with confidence. Digs operates an app that helps consumers manage their finances before and after purchasing a property. With the Digs app, OJO is now able to serve buyers traditionally left out of the mortgage loan process.
OJO collects users’ home preferences and budget, then uses AI software to talk users through the process of finding and buying a home. When questions come up that the AI system cannot answer, an OJO technician steps in. The AI system then learns from the real person’s interaction and is able to expand its knowledge and capabilities in the future. According to Built In Austin, OJO CEO John Berkowitz hopes the now combined company will level the playing field around homeownership.
Nothing says party like a Jell-O shot. Dee Dee Bryant, founder of Austin-based Boozy Bites, saw an opportunity to take the popular party shot and make it better so the former PepsiCo. Frito Lay senior marketing manager launched the alcohol startup in 2018, according to Austin Inno.
The jello shots most are probably familiar with are made with gelatin. Boozy Bites, however are vegan and use seaweed to give the party treat it’s Jello-O consistency. The Jello-O product also comes in a little push-up champagne glass, so no one’s fingers have to touch the shot before swallowing. Flavors include rose, mojito, Moscow Mule and citrus punch. Each Jello-O shot contains 15% percent alcohol and the shots do not melt below 130 degrees.
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.