It’s been a year of significant milestones for several startups in the Capital Region. As 2021 comes to a close, we are considering which startups we expect to reach milestones in the next year as part of Albany Inno’s first-ever Startups to Watch. The companies in this group have each made strides recently that foreshadow growth in 2022. Some of them have raised millions of dollars. Some already have hundreds of customers. And all of them have big plans for the new year and beyond. From sparking revolutions in vegan food to reimagining health care, these startups are working to disrupt their industries and change the way we live and do business.
Atlast Food Co.
Industry: Plant-based food
Headquarters: Production in Albany; farm in Green Island
Atlast Food Co. started selling a vegan bacon alternative in a pilot run at the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany in late 2020. That first product, called MyBacon, has consistently sold out since then.
Now, Atlast has been hiring and preparing for wider distribution of the product, first at area restaurants, and directly to the consumer. It currently has 20 employees and plans to triple that number in 2022.
The startup in early 2021 raised $40 million in series A funding to help prepare for increased production. Company investors have included Robert Downey Jr. and executives from Whole Foods, Applegate Farms and Stonyfield Farm. The funding is going toward building a mycelium farm inside an 80,000-square-foot facility in Green Island.
Atlast is spun off from Ecovative Design, which spent years developing mycelium — the root-like structure of mushrooms — that can be used for a range of products. It has used a strain that closely resembles meat to make the MyBacon product.
The plan is to sell whole cuts of meat substitutes and other food products in the future, but the focus right now is entering the $6 billion bacon market.
Industry: Health care software
The startup grew revenue 300% in 2021, and they expect similar growth in 2022.
The Levrx digital platform enables the sharing of information on which medications are covered under a patient’s health plan and which pharmacy sells those medications for the lowest cost.
CDPHP was the first insurance company in the Capital Region to contract with Levrx to offer the service to its members. Most recently, Levrx contracted with Hudson Headwaters to offer the service to its employees.
Apart from its main service, Levrx created custom software for the new CDPHP building that contains several medical offices in Clifton Park. Using the software, staff at a single reception desk can check in all patients for visits to any of the practices.
There’s more to come from Levrx. The team will have an announcement in 2022 regarding a new project that’s underway.
Levrx has about 25 employees now and expects to be at about 60 by the end of 2022. The company is based in a newly expanded 15,000-square-foot office in downtown Troy.
Industry: Building inspection
Headquarters: Troy Innovation Garage
Inspect Point doubled its seven-figure revenue and added hundreds of new clients in 2021. With the go-ahead this year to further expand services into Canada, the startup plans to continue that growth internationally in 2022.
Inspect Point’s software allows fire protection companies to manage building inspections, proposals, invoices and service tickets through a cloud-based application. The startup has customer companies of various sizes throughout North, Central and South America. It is available in English, Spanish and Canadian French.
The industry Inspect Point works in tends to move slowly on using new technology, but the company got a big boom in business when the pandemic hit because fire inspections needed to continue even though people were working remotely.
The startup expects continued growth in the coming years as the industry continues to embrace new technology. As that growth happens, the company is looking into working with large facilities, universities and more international markets.
To do so, Inspect Point will need to continue hiring. The startup’s few dozen workers include a new vice president of business development hired in 2021.
G&G Industrial Lighting
Founder: Jason Baright
G&G Industrial Lighting has been working on a number of big projects that nearly doubled the company’s revenue to $20 million in 2021.
The company, which makes LED lights designed to withstand harsh environments, sold more than 50,000 units in 2021. That includes a deal earlier this year, after four years of work, to outfit the Holland Tunnel downstate.
Other past projects have included installing lights for the Kennedy Space Center launch facility and the SpaceX recovery vessel, as well as for the Acosta Bridge in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.
Jason Baright founded G&G in 2010, beginning by designing a waterproof LED light for the car wash industry.
Some of the company’s latest business has come from sales of that car wash lighting system’s next generation, which integrates and synchronizes colorful lighting as a car moves through the wash.
G&G was on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies in 2021 with 164% growth over the past three years, making it the fastest growing manufacturer in New York state.
And G&G is continuing to look for a 40,000-square-foot facility to house its headquarters and manufacturing operations.
UCM Digital Health
Industry: Health care
After working in an emergency room for a decade, Keith Algozzine developed a triage telemedicine company meant to keep people out of the ER unnecessarily.
After several years building UCM Digital Health and signing some big customers, the startup secured $5.5 million in a series A funding in early 2021. Algozzine said that was the first of what he plans will be additional rounds in the future.
Since then, the company has been enhancing services and strengthening its team.
That has included adding mental health services by partnering with a network for therapists.
Three C-suite positions were added in 2021: chief technology officer, chief financial officer and chief revenue officer. And the plan is to add about 20 tech staff by late 2022 to strengthen the product.
UCM has hundreds of clients and operates in all 50 states. The startup is continuing to work on growing its client base and product awareness, with the goal of establishing a new front door for health care.
Headquarters: Troy Innovation Garage
Nuvalence has been operating pretty quietly since it started three years ago, but it’s clear the startup has grown quite a bit since then.
The company, which focuses on professional services in the cloud computing industry, now occupies the majority of the second floor of the Troy Innovation Garage. And there are plans to expand into three new offices and two new cities, according to Sinclair Schuller, managing partner and chief technology officer.
Nuvalence posted on its LinkedIn page in late 2021 that it had hired its 100th employee. And the company has 30 posts on its website for jobs in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and remotely.
Two of the startup’s leaders – Schuller and Abraham Sultan – were founders of Apprenda, a Troy cloud computing company founded in 2005 that raised $56 million in venture capital. The company’s assets were sold in 2018.
Schuller is managing partner and chief technology officer for Nuvalence. Sultan is a partner and vice president of engineering. Rakesh Malhotra, who worked at Apprenda, is a managing partner for Nuvalence. Mike Jazayeri is a general manager. Michael Michael is a general manager and chief product officer.