Beyond the Hype: 12 Companies Making Waves in Core Industries



AI, blockchain, and other emerging technologies have been getting a lot of hype lately, but there are still many startups that are transforming more traditional, core industries across the world. Here's a look at 12 businesses that are impacting their markets through innovation and creative problem-solving.

1. HT Materials Science

When you think of exciting startups, HVAC (the acronym for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) might not be the first thing that springs to mind. But Dublin-based HT Materials Science (HTMS) is proving that even in "boring" industries, there's room for big innovation.

HTMS was founded in 2018 with a clear goal: to create a better heat transfer fluid for commercial and industrial HVAC systems. The team isn't new to the game. With backgrounds in engineering, science, and finance, they've spent years developing products using nanoparticles.

In 2019, they launched Maxwell™, their first heat transfer fluid. It's named after James Clerk Maxwell, a scientist from the 19th century who first toyed with the idea of nanofluids. By 2020, they had the official stamp of approval, securing a patent for Maxwell™ from the USPTO.

And the market noticed. Between 2020 and 2021, Maxwell™ was implemented in commercial and industrial sites across Asia, Europe, and North America. Their reach has grown so much that, apart from their Dublin HQ, they've set up shop in Italy and London, and even opened a sales office in New York City due to the increasing demand.

As for the business side of things, 2021 was a banner year for HTMS. They wrapped up a successful Series A financing round, led by Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures. With this funding to boot, they're pushing forward. Last year, they opened their first large-scale production plant in Lecce, Italy with plans for more to come.

2. Monta

The growth of electric vehicles (EVs) is excellent for the environment, but it has presented a few new challenges, especially when it comes to charging. Monta, a Europe-based software company, is diving into this space with the goal of making EV charging easier and more accessible for everyone.

Monta is an all-in-one platform that addresses a variety of EV charging challenges from the needs of individual homeowners and larger infrastructural issues. Monta aims to simplify the often fragmented and confusing charging process for all involved.

After making waves in Europe, Monta recently raised $30 million from Energize Ventures, valuing the company at a solid $155 million. With this new funding, they're eyeing the U.S. market, hoping to tackle one of the main barriers to mass EV adoption: infrastructure.

Monta began from a personal pain point. After buying a Tesla, Monta's CEO, Casper Rasmussen, quickly noticed the fragmented charging infrastructure. Drawing from his tech background, he envisioned Monta as a platform that could connect all the dots in the EV charging world.

In the future, the team behind Monta plans to explore vehicle-to-grid solutions, which might allow EV owners to sell excess power back to the grid. With their continued innovation and expansion, the road ahead for EV charging looks a lot smoother.

3. RootWave

The UK-based agricultural tech firm, RootWave, is tackling the age-old agricultural problem of weed control with a groundbreaking new technology. Their eWeeding device uses electricity to tackle weeds from the surface to the root, offering a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional herbicides.

Even more impressively, recent trials conducted by RootWave showed that their eWeeding solution was not only more effective than herbicides but also consumed less energy. The company has set ambitious environmental targets, aiming to reduce herbicide use by a staggering 30 trillion liters by 2035. Additionally, their method could potentially save 1.5 million tonnes of plastic, conserve 22 million GJ of energy, and aid farmers in sequestering 20 million tonnes of carbon.

Having already introduced the handheld eWeeder, RootWave Pro, to the market, the company has reported impressive sales figures exceeding £2 million. With the upcoming second quarter of 2023 projected to be their most profitable yet, RootWave is expanding its product line. Following the success of its orchard and vineyard-focused eWeeder, the company has identified the arable row-crops sector – a market valued at $68 billion in Europe and North America – as its next venture.

In a move to accelerate growth, RootWave has announced its crowdfunding initiative. This venture offers individuals an opportunity to invest in the company's future, and by extension, in a more sustainable approach to agriculture. RootWave's innovative approach and commitment to sustainability positions it as a company to watch in the agricultural tech sector.

4. Tomorrow Health

Tomorrow Health is a U.S. startup bringing a tech-forward approach to the home-based care sector. Founded by Vijay Kedar, Tomorrow Health began with a personal journey. After navigating his mother's challenging home care experience during her battle with cancer, Kedar, with his background in care management strategy, saw the need for a more streamlined way of accessing home-based care. This led him to found Tomorrow Health, headquartered in NYC, with a dedicated team of healthcare innovators and tech leaders from organizations like Amazon, Flatiron Health, and Stripe.

Tomorrow Health aims to help Americans access home-based care with a technology solution that optimally matches patients with care providers. Their platform considers essential factors like quality, specialization, insurance coverage, and geography to ensure patients receive appropriate care.

Tomorrow Health recently closed a $60 million Series B funding round, with contributions from industry leaders like BOND, Andreessen Horowitz, and Obvious Ventures. This takes their total funding to an impressive $92.5 million. The capital injection will likely supercharge their national and regional health plan partnerships and allow them to further polish their platform. Their growth numbers are just as impressive. They’ve seen a staggering 317% ARR growth YoY from 2021 to 2022. Though still relatively new, Tomorrow Health is emerging as an industry leader and innovator in the home-based care space.

5. Einride

With its roots in Sweden, electric and autonomous trucking company Einride is making significant strides in the global freight landscape, and it has now set its sights on the UK.

Founded in 2016, the Swedish company captured the European mobility industry's attention with its revolutionary "pods" – cabless self-driving cargo trucks. Operable remotely by human drivers when required, these pods were revolutionary for the freight industry.

Nonetheless, while they've been commercially piloted in places like Sweden and the U.S., regulatory challenges in certain regions have led Einride to diversify its business model. Now, they provide human-driven electric trucks, supported by their Saga platform. This platform assists logistics and freight customers in managing and enhancing their fleet operations.

The company's inaugural UK deployment is in partnership with Walkers – a subsidiary of snack-food giant PepsiCo. This partnership aims to facilitate goods transport between Leicester and Coventry, which according to projections, will help reduce fossil fuel-driven transportation by an impressive 250,000 miles annually.

One of Einride's ambitious visions is the establishment of a “freight mobility grid” across some of the UK's major freight routes. Initiating in the Midlands, they aim to expand this grid, incorporating major hubs like Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and London.

Einride's expansion vision has been empowered by a robust $500 million fundraising, which includes $300 million in debt financing from Barclays Europe. This funding will support its vehicle fleet, enabling Einride to widen its influence across Europe and North America.

6. Red Sea Farms

In the heart of Saudi Arabia, Red Sea Farms is rewriting agriculture. Despite the challenges posed by extreme temperatures and arid landscapes, this AgTech giant is trying to make the desert bloom. In just three years, Red Sea Farms has deployed its technology across an impressive 58 hectares of the desert landscape.

With its core Research and Development hub nestled in the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) campus, Red Sea Farms has already made significant inroads near Riyadh, Egypt, Spain, and the U.S.

One example of their tech is their Iyris heat-blocking roof. This transparent heat shield permits sunlight while deflecting the intense heat. This results in significant savings in energy and freshwater needed for cooling, making it an eco-friendly marvel.

Red Sea Farms wants to cater to both smallholder and large-scale farmers, focusing especially on those who traditionally operate in low-to-mid-tech facilities. By offering solutions that increase output with the same or even fewer resources, they're giving farmers tools to tackle challenges such as high energy costs, climate change, and geopolitical tensions that often result in food scarcity and escalating prices.

On the financial front, Red Sea Farms has raised over $37 million from a global cohort of investors, and they're currently on a fast track towards profitability. As sales soar across continents, this AgTech trailblazer shows no signs of slowing down.

7. MedEasy

In a world that's rapidly embracing telehealth and digital medicine, many developing nations are still struggling to establish robust healthcare infrastructure. This is especially true in Bangladesh, where a vast majority of healthcare costs are directly borne by patients, making quality healthcare inaccessible for many, especially those with chronic conditions. However, healthcare startup MedEasy hopes to change things for the better.

Launched in 2020, the platform boasts an impressive user base of over 150,000 within just three years of its inception. The startup simplifies the healthcare process by offering video consultations with doctors and ensuring medicines are delivered right to patients' doorsteps. It’s a lifeline for many in Bangladesh who struggle to get consistent and timely medical assistance.

While other platforms like Arogga and Banglameds provide similar services, MedEasy has carved a niche for itself by concentrating its efforts on assisting patients with chronic diseases. 

The company also differentiates itself in the health tech market with its impressive efficiency. Thanks to its state-of-the-art inventory management system combined with a decentralized distribution network, the startup has managed to slash medication delivery times by a whopping 4x.

The recent seed funding of $750,000, backed by notable investors like Seedstars International Ventures and Startup Bangladesh Limited, shows that many in the market have faith in MedEasy's vision and capabilities. The company plans to channel a significant portion of this investment into bolstering its supply chain, enhancing its tech infrastructure, and ramping up its data capabilities.

8. Complete Farmer

Historically, the agricultural sector in Africa has struggled to connect smallholder farmers with global markets. One Ghana-based agritech startup, Complete Farmer, is solving this problem. Founded in 2017, their mission is simple: connect African producers with global markets using technology. With its recent $10.4 million pre-Series A funding, Compete Farmer is well-positioned to bridge the existing gaps.

Their platform offers two main solutions to address the challenges in the agricultural sector. One is a data-driven tool tailored for African farmers, equipping them with precision farming instruments and specialized cultivation protocols. On the other side, they cater to the needs of global buyers, simplifying their procurement process. So far, their platform has successfully united over 12,000 farmers across five significant regions in Ghana. Notably, it has overseen the cultivation of over 30,000 acres of land, delivering commodities globally.

As Complete Farmer marches ahead, plans are afoot to expand its product lines. Embedded finance products are on the horizon to facilitate direct remittances from buyers to farmers. There's also a vendor platform in the works, allowing farmers to purchase fertilizers and other commodities.

A significant part of the investment will be channeled towards scaling these products, strengthening the team, forging strategic partnerships, and expanding both domestically and to markets like Togo. By strategically using technology to bridge the gap between African farmers and the global marketplace, this Ghanaian startup is not only boosting the African agricultural sector but also placing it on the global map.

9. Glife Technologies

Founded in 2018, Glife Technologies, a digital B2B food and agritech enterprise, is transforming the Southeast Asian food ecosystem. With its headquarters in Singapore, Glife serves as a nexus between the food industry and technology, bridging the gap between restaurants and suppliers. Their aim is to allow restaurants access to more product choices and better pricing options.

Over a short span of four years, Glife's rise has been meteoric. Initially starting with a 20-member team in 2018, the company has now blossomed to employ more than 250 staff members as of September 2022. This expansion is mirrored in its financial growth, with its revenue soaring over 30 times since its founding. The company now boasts over 2,500 customers and has strong partnerships with over 1,000 farmers across the region.

Glife recently announced their closing on $3 million Series A follow-on funding, led by the investor Tin Men Capital, a B2B tech venture capital firm based in Singapore. This funding round comes on the heels of Glife's previous successful raises, amounting to $13 million in total. Other prominent investors include Heliconia Capital, Hibiscus Fund, and others associated with the Dana Penjana Nasional Programme by the Malaysian Government.

These funds are earmarked for a series of ambitious projects. One of the primary ventures is the imminent launch of Glife's digital marketplace, targeting F&B suppliers and merchants, with a keen focus on enhancing its presence in the Indonesian market. Beyond that, investments will flow into fortifying its tech framework, bringing the firm closer to its vision of an all-encompassing digital supply chain – one that is equitable, safe, efficient, and sustainable.

10. VFlowTech

The global push towards renewable energy demands robust storage solutions. Singaporean startup VFlowTech, wants to fill this gap. In their mission to revolutionize energy storage, the team at VFlowTech has focused their efforts on the development of powerful vanadium-based redox flow batteries.

Their modular PowerCubes boast a lifespan of 25 years, a 100% discharge capability, and an impressive round-trip efficiency of over 80%. They also operate well in diverse temperature conditions and are recyclable – addressing environmental concerns head-on.

Born in the CleanTech lab of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, VFlowTech has caught the attention of investors worldwide, culminating in a whopping US$10 million Series A funding. With a vision to expand its footprint globally, namely in Turkey, the U.S., Japan, and India, VFlowTech is geared up to lead the energy storage transformation.

Its co-founder and CEO, Dr. Avishek Kumar, stresses the important role of renewable energy storage solutions in progressing the cleantech movement. The company’s products already find applications in EV charging infrastructure, telecom towers, gated communities, and more. With commercial deployments in Africa and Southeast Asia and ambitious plans for the future, VFlowTech is setting the gold standard in energy storage.

11. Shuttlers

The bustling streets of Lagos and Abuja, two major cities in Nigeria, are familiar with the chaos of traffic congestion and the challenges of daily commutes. For many professionals navigating these streets, the journey to work can be a major hurdle.

Enter Shuttlers, a shared mobility company founded in 2016 by CEO Damilola Olokesusi. Using their app, employees in partner companies can book bus seats on predetermined routes, offering features like live bus tracking, optimized routing, digital payments, and set ride schedules.

With daily ticket sales surpassing 9,000, business is going well. They have facilitated over 3 million completed trips to date, and their client base now includes corporate partners such as Interswitch and MainOne. From operating 100 buses across 30 routes in Lagos, they've expanded to nearly 260 buses covering 300 routes in both Lagos and Abuja.

While ride-hailing platforms have seen mass popularity, Shuttlers stands out with its focus on reducing congestion and pollution. In fact, they proudly claim to have reduced their commuters' carbon footprint by a whopping 85%, which translates to about 4 million pounds less carbon dioxide.

Their latest backing by Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV) is worth $4 million, with other notable investors like VestedWorld and ShEquity joining the round. With this fresh investment, the 55-strong Shuttlers team is poised to expand its infrastructure, onboard more corporate clients, and establish dominance in the Nigerian bus-hailing market.

12. Biddano

Created in 2016 by business partners Talha Shaikh and Ashok Yadav, India-based Biddano is a full-stack tech platform on a mission to streamline the healthcare supply chain. They want to make sure that pharmacies get what they need when they need it. A pharmacy can order through Biddano and have the products at their doorstep in under three hours. Currently serving over 20,000 pharmacies, the platform has ambitious plans to increase that number fivefold.

A significant milestone in their journey was marked when Biddano secured $2 million in a pre-Series A1 funding round. This investment was backed by both new and existing supporters, including Venture Catalysts UK and AngelList.

Looking ahead, Biddano isn't just resting on its laurels. The freshly acquired funds are earmarked for product development, market expansion, and fortifying its product, engineering, and go-to-market teams. With a current team of 30, they plan a significant hiring spree, intending to triple that number. They have their eyes set on an ambitious long-term goal: to cater to over 10% of India's pharmacies.

The Future is Startup-Driven

With innovative solutions for long-standing problems in core industries being created by startups every day, it's clear that the entrepreneurs of today will be the movers and shakers of tomorrow. Agile, nimble, and responsive to change, start-ups are positioned to overcome traditional hurdles with creative solutions.

Not only do they disrupt established playing fields by introducing novel ideas, but they also provide much-needed employment opportunities for a hungry talent pool. With the right mix of grit and creativity, startups can become a driving force in the world economy.


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