Life before 2020 feels like the 19th century. The world gingerly toying with concepts like e-commerce and video calls. A fully-online company was seen as obscure.

Then a global pandemic reeled in 12 years of technological progress in 12 months, and now something like Pioneer seems almost obvious.

A theme for us in this latest cohort is verticalization: Clubhouse, but for book clubs. Roam Research, tailored to real-estate. MasterClass for doctor education. Etc. It kind of makes sense -- as software becomes easier to build it should become more specialized (especially in situations with a loose network effect).

Check out the latest 7 Pioneer companies:

Peek – Deborah Igunma
Clubhouse for Book Clubs

Goodreads’ flaws are well documented: clunky UX, irrelevant recommendations, easily gameable – all typical of an acquisition by a behemoth like Amazon. Peek is an intimate response built for the podcasting generation: a voice-first social network for readers.

With a Tinder-like sign-up flow, readers get personalized book and author recommendations, can create or join one of hundreds of existing book clubs, as well as monetize their insights or audience.

Helios – Anny Chang, Walee Ahmed, Dean Banik, Umair Khalil
Roam Research for Real Estate

Real estate data is messy and decentralized. Helios offers a browser extension and API that delivers leads on properties while you browse the web. It’s Siri for brokers, investors and construction managers who need up-to-date reporting on pre-foreclosures, foreclosures, violations, permits and comparables.

Booste – Erik Dunteman
ML as an API

Implementing an ML stack requires extensive technological expertise. Booste is a Stripe-like API that allows developers to run ML models from a single line of code.

They currently serve pre-trained GPT2 and GPT-XL models and plan to expand across NLP, computer vision and time-series models as simply as:

import booste
output = booste.gpt2(api_key, input)

Depiction – Daniel Chen, Adam Vandervorst
AI-powered PowerPoint

Consultants often spend 20-30 hours a week in Powerpoint. Current slide generation tools like DeckRobot and focus on design, but the real challenge is telling a compelling story.

Depiction AI uses modern text to image ML software to automatically generate the best storytelling visuals in seconds. By creating directionally accurate content quicker, Depiction eliminates 60% of the work.

Herostream – Holger Niessner
Automatic Video Editor for E-Sports

Behind every Fortnite highlight reel is a video editor’s painstaking search for the best moments. HeroStream is software that lets streamers feed in 13 hour long videos and minutes later receive social media-ready highlight clips.

Their deep-learning model is currently trained on the three most popular video games but is easily extensible to other games and sports in the real world as well.

Collectour – Austin Schwab, Jarrett McCusker
Virtual Sotheby's

The art world is built upon in-person events, galleries, and auction houses. Still very much paint, and not pixels. Collectour is the first online space dedicated to buying and selling art, and connecting with artists.

Users can produce and interact with content on public feeds, private groups or direct messages. Examples of content include commentary on recent news, research on a particular artist or style, Q&A, upcoming auctions and exhibitions, collection sharing and more.

Edropin – Saj Arora, Sanjay Uppal
Netflix for Dental Courses

Online education ought to look much more like a Chris Nolan film. The standard is low quality videos in pay-per-view packages. Edropin is a subscription-based all-in-one educational platform for professionals, focused on the highest quality content.

They’ve transacted over $1.5M since founding in April 2020 and created in excess of 90 hours of videos. While focused purely on the dental CE space right now, they will expand to other practices and services this year.

If these people and projects sound interesting to you, check out the full list: And if you’d like to earn your place on that list… just start playing: