SaaS Founders Are Becoming Superheroes

Plus: Why proprietary data is the new gold rush in AI

Hello MRR lovers,

The next time a VC rejects you, forward them this newsletter to remind them that SaaS founders can be superheroes too.

Enjoy this one!

🍔 The Full Meal

SaaS Wonder Woman Helps Parents Get Money For Their Kids

Having kids in the United States is not easy.

40% of parents are in debt due to childcare.

Funding for child care is also fragmented and unpredictable. For example, a family of 4 in New York making $65K a year would have access to government subsidies, while that same family in Pennsylvania would not.

Siran Cao is here to change that.

In 2015, while working at Uber in NYC, Siran’s mandate involved onboarding thousands of drivers daily. To achieve this, she depended on a 200+ people team, partly comprised of hourly workers. But there were a few challenges:

  • For one, some of these employees often needed to cancel a shift or couldn’t take additional ones because they did not have proper childcare.

  • Many women in her team would also refrain from taking promotions, fearing losing benefits they depended on, such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

  • Others would drop out of the workforce because they could not make ends meet.

As an employer, she saw a clear incentive to help her employees resolve challenges posed by childcare. Without them, Uber could not grow.

Fast forward to 2020, she founded Mirza, an end-to-end childcare solution that supports parents by helping them access government funds they are eligible for.

Who is this platform for?

  • Mirza is ideal for companies that employ hourly workers.

  • The platform is geared toward helping frontline workers and anyone for whom remote work is not an option.

How does it work?

  • Mirza calculates personalized childcare subsidies based on employee income, location, and specific financial needs for the employer.

  • Once employees set up their financial plan through Mirza, the company’s algorithm optimizes contributions towards these accounts and maximizes employer benefits.

  • The platform encompasses a range of financial solutions such as Health Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Accounts, insurance, and Mirza’s products: securitized childcare, “care now, pay later” financing ISAs, and pension gap-free 401Ks.

  • One of the main benefits is that Mirza’s platform is built to grow with its users. Once a child is born, parents become eligible for financial products, such as 529s or ESAs. Then, as childcare costs evolve into things like education costs, Mirza provides ongoing options.

Reddit Signs AI Content Licensing Deal Ahead of IPO

Reddit has signed a contract worth $60m/year allowing an unnamed AI company to train its artificial intelligence models on its platform’s content.

AI companies, hungry for data to train their programs on, have been striking data licensing deals with content providers eager for new sources of revenue.

According to research, by 2026, we are expected to exhaust all high-quality text data for training LLMs.

CB Insights also predicts that companies with proprietary content could become hot licensing or acquisition targets for AI companies.

Reddit is one of many targets. In December 2023, OpenAI partnered with German media giant Axel Springer to allow its users to access quality, real-time news content via its tools like ChatGPT.

Open AI is also in talks with publishers (CNN, Fox Corp, Time) to license their work and feed its AI products data to make their results more accurate, relevant, and up-to-date.

🍟 Extra Fries

  • How to Find Startup Ideas (Read More)

  • Apple plans to launch AI tool to rival Microsoft’s GitHub Copilot (Read More)

  • OpenAI Deal Lets Employees Sell Shares at $86 Billion Valuation (Read More)

  • AI will transform companies’ understanding of themselves (Read More)

  • Can OpenAI create superintelligence before it runs out of cash? (Read More)

  • 6 AI startups marketing themselves differently to stand out (Read More)

  • The ultimate guide to willingness-to-pay (Read More)

  • Life as a founder after YCombinator (Read More)

  • Lessons from a bootstrapped founder’s first fundraise (Read More)

🖤 M&A Transactions

Salesloft acquires Drift. Both companies are category leaders in buyer and seller engagement, and they are joining forces to tailor personalized experiences across the entire customer lifecycle, leveraging Dift’s reputation as one of the top Conversational AI companies. (Read More)

💸 Funding Rounds

  • SocialCrowd | $1.6m: employee performance management platform (link). Lead Investors: Bread & Butter Ventures

  • Scrut Automation | $9m: compliance automation platform (link)

  • dataroomHQ | $3.5m: reporting platform for SaaS companies (link). Lead Investors: Bling Capital, Oceans

  • Ciloo | undisclosed amount: internal eCommerce platform (link). Lead Investors: Alliance VC

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