After a fierce live competition from our five early-stage tech startup finalists, here’s the pitch that won Levantr the title of OutPitch 2.0 Champion:

In case you missed it, watch every pitch and view every deck of OutPitch 2.0 here

As the virtual applause faded, we caught up with founder and CEO Jennifer Hong and the OutPitch judges to dig into what this win means for the Levantr team.

Why were you inspired to build Levantr?

I went to an international school for a few years growing up. Most of my friends were ex-pats and diplomats’ kids, so traveling has been a big part of my life since I was young. Because of that, I really believe that seeing new places and meeting people from very different backgrounds makes a person less prejudiced and more intellectually curious. So I wanted to inspire more people to travel farther, explore the unfamiliar and grow from experiences shared with old and new friends. 

I’ve organized/planned maybe 50 trips with friends and family and wanted to pull my hair out each time. Planning should be fun. We are the happiest during planning—even more than while traveling—because it’s pure excitement and hope. At Levantr, we want to help and reward people who care about their travel experiences from start to finish, which first means freeing them from endless spreadsheets.

All of the judges really liked the fact that Levantr’s product has a social hook. Planning a trip is inherently a group activity. Inviting new members to the platform isn’t just a growth hack but a necessary product attribute, which we believe will lead to low user-acquisition costs over time. 

We also like that there were many obvious business models that could get spun out of the business. For example, Levantr could develop into an OTA, a media business, or a lead-generation business for touring activities, just to name a few.

In addition to the scalability of Levantr, we agreed that Jen had the appropriate growth background to execute on the vision and build a successful business.”

 – Ali Hamed, Coventure and Crossbeam VC

What is your long-term vision for Levantr?

Levantr, in its current form, is a productivity tool for travel coordination. As such, we get a behind-the-scenes look at our users’ travel plans—their dream flights, hotels, excursions, eateries, and so on—and key insights into how they’re making their travel decisions, allowing us to a powerful personalization engine for travelers.

We’re essentially creating a new kind of decentralized, demand-driven marketplace for travelers with personalized deals and inter-user inspiration. Looking forward, we believe Levantr will become the ultimate marketing channel and marketplace for all types of travel providers and complementary businesses, such as hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, influencers, ancillary services, the hospitality industry, and even OTAs. We’re thrilled to kick this journey off with our partners at Shanti Global Hospitality, which includes 30+ hotels and travel brands, and the upcoming pilot marketplace featuring international hotel partners Nira Caledonia, Shanti Maurice, and more! 

 At Outlander, we believe strong founders are the primary determinant of successful companies. 

With Levantr, I was super impressed with Jen’s background and how it has informed her thinking in building out the Levantr marketplace model. Throughout her pitch, she demonstrated a strong understanding—and many first-hand experiences—of travelers exasperated by trying to coordinate and organize group itineraries.

And although Levantr is a very early-stage company, Jen’s smart, early execution and intelligence around which pieces of her company to prioritize initially makes me believe she’s got what it takes to build something big. 

We’re super excited to welcome Jen to the Outlander family!

– Leura Craig, Outlander VC

Why do you want to work with Outlander VC? 

When we started looking for early-stage investors, Outlander VC came highly recommended again and again. As an early-stage company creating an entirely new business model, we knew we needed investors who understand how to support an early-stage founding team and add value to our growth. For us, that’s Outlander VC.

What drew you to OutPitch 2.0?

Funnily enough, I actually attended the first OutPitch! I remember thinking it would be such a great opportunity for Levantr, so I immediately messaged them about the next one on Twitter. A few months later, we applied as soon as it opened. 

To now win OutPitch 2.0 is surreal. We had just begun our fundraising journey, so winning this pitch competition strengthens our conviction that Levantr can help the industry. The whole experience and the Outlander VC team’s excitement have made us more energized and motivated to tackle the next hurdles and accelerate our growth!


Thank you again to all five of our OutPitch 2.0 finalists, who made our judges’ decision incredibly difficult by representing the most innovative early-stage tech startups across the US.

Watch each finalists’ live pitch and Q&A here:

Until next time, keep hunting and stay outlandish!

OutPitch 2.0 replay

In celebration of Outlander’s first birthday 🎂, we’re hosting another Outlander Demo Day on September 30, 2021, where you can meet five of the game-changing companies and visionary founders we’ve invested in since our September 2020 launch! For your convenience, there are two ways to celebrate with us:

  1. Register now and join us virtually on 9/30 to participate in the live audience Q&A with the presenting companies.
  2. Register now and watch the event recording at your own leisure!

The recording of Outlander Demo Day will be available to all registrants immediately afterward here, so either way, register now! You do not want to miss these pitches.

From innovations in Video Robotic Process Automation (vRPA) and machine learning, consumer health and care data tracking, and SaaS-enabled marketplaces to shop local, build your next startup dream team, or find inclusive transportation, here’s a sneak peek of the magic to come at Outlander Demo Day:

City Shoppe — SaaS-enabled marketplace powered by local small businesses and values-based consumers.

City Shoppe’s SaaS-enabled marketplace is an interconnected platform bridging the gap between local businesses and modern consumers. On the business side, we manage and build SMB’s business behind the scenes, allowing them to just focus on product curation. The consumer side is our one-stop-shop marketplace that exceeds the expectations of the next generation of consumers by enabling them to shop ethically, filter by values, empower local vendors, and change the world. City Shoppe is the future of  “Think Local First.”

You may recognize City Shoppe as the winner of OutPitch 2021! Based in Austin, TX, founder and CEO Ash Cintas is laser-focused on creating a SaaS-enabled marketplace that empowers anyone to shop locally from anywhere through City Shoppe.

Huddle — where freelancers invest in startups with their time + startups scale in exchange for equity or cash.

At Huddle, we get that finding talented people to work on your startup is hard. After spending an average of 3-6 months fundraising, founders spend an additional 3-months putting their team together. That’s why we build Huddle: a social marketplace that connects the world’s top startup builders to founders. Founders pitch the Huddle community on what they’re building and need help with (pitch deck, mobile app, new brand, etc). Huddle’s platform matches startups with flexible, super teams that can move fast and be paid in cash and equity, meaning no more wasted time scrolling freelance marketplaces and interviewing expensive agencies. 

Based in Miami, FL, co-founder and Chief Product Officer Stephanie Golik is obsessed with increasing entrepreneurship and creator ownership via the FinTech, AI, blockchain, and creator economy marketplace that culminates to Huddle.

MedHaul — enabling safe, reliable, and efficient transportation for patients with unique needs.

Access to transportation can mean the difference between chronically ill patients safely managing their health at home or missed treatments and costly unnecessary visits to an emergency room, and MedHaul is here to close that transportation gap. We serve as a conduit between multiple communities—healthcare providers, transportation workers, and underserved populations—creating a unique solution that empowers the entire community to better health. MedHaul’s technology makes it easy for healthcare providers to find and book rides for their most vulnerable patients, regardless of their unique needs. Through our streamlined transportation platform, we help healthcare workers save time, reduce costs, and improve patient satisfaction while closing critical transportation gaps for those who are impacted most. 

Based out of Memphis, TN, founder and CEO Erica Plybeah is committed to providing safe, cost-effective, and reliable healthcare transportation for all through MedHaul.

Talli — hardware + software solution for one-touch, mobile, hands-free logging of health and care data.

Our mission at Talli® is to reduce the mental burden of caregiving through easier logging of care and health data. Our flexible IoT platform provides hardware and software options for one-touch, mobile, and hands-free logging across infant care, senior care, and home health markets. Talli is flexible enough to track any type of event and then translate that data into actionable information and the insights you need most.

Based in Atlanta, GA, co-founder Lauren Longo is disrupting the tracking and sharing of health and care data through an IoT logging and health data platform with configurable hardware and software solutions through Talli.

Vidrovr — video analysis platform for indexing and activating video content to create vRPA workflows.

Vidrovr enables users to index live and archival video content, access embedded video data, and use their video data to create Video Robotic Process Automation (vRPA) workflows. Our platform unlocks the untapped potential of a  company’s unstructured data within video, audio, and image assets, then translates those data points into actionable business insights. As a result, we leverage video data to modernize industries dependent on physical operations in ways never thought possible! Vidrovr’s AI localizes the complex interactions between people, objects, and events within video data and then creates insights on improving safety, simplifying compliance, and streamline logistics. Simply put: At Vidrvor, we make videos as searchable as the web.

Based in Atlanta, GA and New York, NY, co-founder and CEO Joe Ellis is obsessed with everything machine learning, artificial intelligence, vRPA, and workflow automation—all culminating in Vidrovr.

Click here to meet the rest of our innovative portfolio companies.

Out of 150+ applications and fierce competition from the six early-stage tech startup finalists from across the Southeast, here’s the pitch that won City Shoppe the title of OutPitch 2021 Champion:

As the virtual applause faded, we caught up with CEO and co-founder Ash Cintas and the OutPitch 2021 judges to dig deeper into how City Shoppe out pitched the competition and what this win means for Ash and her team.

Why were you inspired to build City Shoppe? 

As a former small business owner, I was frustrated with the lack of support and platforms for small business owners (SMBs) to manage and compete against the pay-to-play of eCommerce. My business was too grown to be on Etsy but too small to make a dent on Amazon. Why wasn’t there an option for small-to-medium-sized businesses to fit in? 

As a conscious consumer, the rabbit hole of search engines and social media made it impossible for me to find the brands or retailers I aligned with, and I didn’t want to or have the time to spend hours searching. I thought to myself: Why does local shopping have to be limited to my physical proximity in a digital world? Why can’t I shop local value-driven brands from around the country, all from one site?

City Shoppe has demonstrated impressive traction in solving acute pain points for small business owners. Their timing and trends have remained aligned in spite of challenges like the pandemic, focusing on loyalty to local businesses in every iteration of developing their robust solution. Plus, Ash is a strong founder with domain expertise! “ – Ariana Desiree Thacker, Guest Judge from Conscience VC

What keeps you and your team at City Shoppe going on hard days?

What keeps us going is the community and support we are building for small businesses that have notoriously been left out to bring their products worldwide. It brings excitement and reassurance that the City Shoppe team is creating a life-changing experience and company when a seller on City Shoppe gets their first sale from a customer halfway across the country, who usually would have never known about them and their products.

“Personally, I am always looking for more ways to shop locally and by impact, but I have struggled to find great makers and products. City Shoppe clearly helps solve the needs of so many small business owners by connecting consumers to the products they want more than ever.

As a founder, Ash has the right set of experiences and vision for building a company like City Shoppe. Plus, the founding team’s demonstrated ability to execute quickly and their solution’s early traction is something we always look for when investing in early-stage startups. We are super excited to welcome Ash to the Outlander family!” – Leura Craig, Judge from Outlander VC

Why do you want to work with Outlander VC? 

What drew me to Outlander and their OutPitch competition was their team’s vision. They could see our idea for a different world of e-commerce created by the collective of small businesses, which not only employ most of the US workforce but they’re also the hearts and souls of our communities. From the beginning, Outlander’s in-depth analysis of our market showed authentic engagement and belief. 

Being a Southern woman at heart, growing up in Virginia and North Carolina, and now building our HQ in Austin, I knew the Outlander’s intentionality and passion for funding underrepresented founders in the Southeast made them the perfect fit to work with. Winning OutPitch, I look forward to the Outlander team’s guidance, mentorship, and support to help push City Shoppe to the next level. 

“Many small businesses don’t have the resources or experience to effectively manage their digital commerce. City Shoppe is helping fill that gap via services and technology. The team has a deep understanding of the problem and relevant experience that qualifies them to solve this problem. They’ve executed quickly during uncertain times and early metrics indicate they’re creating value for the small businesses and consumers they serve.” – Jermaine Brown, Judge from Outlander VC

What is the long-term vision for City Shoppe?

City Shop’s long-term vision is to redefine what it means to buy and sell online (instead of our current siloed and fragmented platforms) by building a digital community of shared resources, engagement, and connection for businesses and consumers globally. 

Nine months ago, our team of seven came together to change the way the world shops local and to give small businesses a fighting chance to succeed in eCommerce. I want to spotlight and thank the City Shoppe team for their tireless work, passion, and belief in what we are building. The fun has just begun!

Thank you again to all six of our OutPitch 2021 finalists, who made our judges’ decision incredibly difficult by representing the most innovative early-stage tech startups across the Southeast. Watch all six finalists’ live pitch and Q&A here:

Thank you to our brilliant panel of VC judges, including Ariana Desiree Thacker from Conscience VC and Jermaine Brown and Leura Craig from Outlander VC, for your thoughtful questions for each finalist, as well as Paige Craig for a lively and insightful Q&A with our OutPitch 2021 audience. #TeamCockroach

And thank you to our audience of 200+ investors and founders for tuning in from around the globe to cheer on our innovative OutPitch 2021 finalists.

Until next time, keep hunting and stay outlandish!

For us, Talli has always been love at first Demo Day. 💙

In the fall of 2020, Outlander VC’ Founding Partner Leura Craig happened upon Lauren Longo pitching at Launchpad2X. Immediately, Leura was intrigued by the badass female founder determined to help new parents with innovative, intuitive tech. With Lauren’s background in user experience and software product management—coupled with her husband John’s software and hardware development background—they created the first Talli device as a way to stay afloat during the overwhelming first months with a newborn.

As Lauren and John spoke with friends about how they were keeping up with new-parent life via a simple button device they’d built, they realized they’d built something other parents needed too. Putting their technical skills to work, they developed their concept into a beta version of the Talli device—all built inside plastic storage containers! They sent the beta device out to 30 families across the US, along with a web application they’d built to record and analyze the device’s event data. After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from their beta testing, they decided to go all-in getting Talli ready for market, bringing on long-time colleague Patrick Caldwell as Talli’s CTO to work with Lauren as CEO. 

From the beginning, the Talli team has received frequent requests from other segments of the caregiving market who wanted Talli to help them, too: parents of older children with special needs, people struggling with diagnosis and management of chronic diseases such as epilepsy, and adult children managing the care of aging loved ones. Talli has laid the groundwork for their platform to easily expand into these additional segments, building the entire Talli platform for easy reconfiguration. 

Next week, Lauren and Patrick will present at Outlander VC’s inaugural Demo Day, bringing the meet-cute story of Outlander and Talli full-circle. To mark the occasion, we’ve asked both Lauren Longo and Leura Craig to reflect on Talli’s journey since that pitch in the fall of 2020 and how they foresee Talli changing even more lives in the next 20 years.

Why does the world need Talli?

Lauren Longo, CEO, Talli: Millennial parents have grown up as master multi-taskers with technology streamlining their professional and personal lives. With a growing number of couples working toward a seemingly-elusive work-life balance while also raising children, more and more parents are turning to tech for new ways to solve age-old parenting dilemmas: sharing the load of feedings, diapers, sleep, and day-to-day care, while also monitoring overall health and development; finding success with breastfeeding (a common hurdle new moms face); establishing sleep schedules that are healthy for baby and supportive of parents’ mental and physical health; and more.

Traditional pen and paper tracking can more-or-less get the job done but are a little clunky and obviously have zero automation for getting the data into a useful summary to show trends and patterns. Baby tracking apps have emerged in recent years as the next step; however, logging events in an app is a multi-step process and requires you to have your phone with you in the first place—neither of which is ideal in the 24/7 whirlwind of infant care. Plus, this method requires all of your child’s caregivers to be relatively tech-savvy, which can be difficult for nannies, grandparents, and other caregivers to access and update, preventing consistent tracking of care when Mom and Dad are away.  

Talli’s simple, one-touch device distills the multi-step logging of these apps into the press of a button. It’s quick and easy for parents, freeing up time and mental space in their daily routine, and it’s intuitive enough for grandparents and nannies, enabling consistent tracking of care across caregivers. And we’ve even added an Alexa skill for hands-free logging as well! From the Talli device or Alexa skill, baby’s events are logged in our app, where all data appear in real-time from anywhere.

What does the future of care look like with Talli? 

Lauren: In the short-term, we are planning to unlock full customization features this summer, which will allow parents to extend the use of their Talli beyond the infant phase. Once Talli is fully-customizable, the sky’s the limit for what our customers can track and for other markets we can serve.

With that being said, we envision Talli providing simple tracking across the care tech market: infant care, senior care, chronic conditions, and animal care in B2C and B2B channels. We also envision our customers publishing their own Talli configurations that helped them and that others can download and use, such as configurations for smoking cessation, plant care, daily chores, workout routines, etc.

We know that caregivers across industries are facing increasing demands for data entry and tracking, in addition to increased patient loads. It’s approaching an untenable situation, reflected in high turnover rates and staffing shortages. We believe that simplifying the logging of repeated care activities to the push of a button will expedite the data-entry process for overworked staff and allow them to improve the consistency of data being tracked. In this way, Talli can help staff focus on the quality of care and improve the health outcomes of the people they serve.

Why did you and your co-founders decide to pursue Talli?

Lauren: First and foremost, we’re parents, so we know from personal experience how difficult and overwhelming that first year is with a new baby. We know how important and daunting it is to try and keep up with everything from shaping a symbiotic sleep schedule to getting the hang of feeding (especially breastfeeding) for both baby’s development and a parent’s peace of mind that you’ve got this under control.

We’ve spent our careers honing technical skills for finding the simplest ways technology can solve a real-world problem and then implementing those solutions. But, until Talli, we were applying these skills to things like budgeting systems and time card management. These are real business problems, for sure, but Talli is our opportunity to improve the day-to-day life and well-being of families throughout all of the wonderful and challenging stages of caregiving. 

“We all truly believe Talli is something the world needs, and we believe there’s nobody who would do it better than us. ”

— Lauren Longo, CEO, Talli

What formative experiences do you believe primed you for a life of entrepreneurship?

Lauren: My dad has been an entrepreneur for the last 30 years in various cleaning-related businesses. Until my sister and I forced him to stop, he was famous for taking a sip of his organic and environmentally friendly multi-purpose cleaner on sales calls! He’s had his share of both success and failure as an entrepreneur, so he has been a wonderful source of advice and support to me in this journey. 

My mom spent her entire career teaching students with hearing impairments and special needs, and she always went above and beyond to support her students’ families outside of school. I was lucky enough to be directly involved in her work for much of my childhood, which really instilled in me a drive to help others wherever I can.

What has been the hardest thing you’ve faced as a founder? How did you tackle it?

Lauren: In short: 2020. From a business perspective, the pandemic disrupted our production and we were forced to delay our Talli Baby launch. Plus, our team has now worked remotely from homes full of kids running amok for much of this year as well. I can attest that being a full-time working mom with both of my kids at home has certainly leveled-up my ability to multitask and increased my capacity for stress!

At the same time, my kids have always kept me focused on the “why” of Talli, and they’ve been very involved in this journey in their own ways. We hope to instill in them lessons around perseverance, work ethic, and never giving in to fear by modeling those behaviors through this venture.

As an investor, what drew you to Lauren and Talli?

Leura Craig: When I first saw Lauren pitch at Launchpad2X, I was immediately intrigued by the potential of such a huge and relatable problem—one which Lauren had faced herself—that Talli was seeking to solve with intuitively simple software and hardware. As an investor, I really value founders with category-expertise who develop their solutions out of their own experiences. When you’re solving a problem you’ve faced, the motivation and drive behind your venture is extremely personal, and that’s why you want to solve it.

When I reached out to learn more about Talli, she told me about a night when she broke down sobbing because her doctor wanted her to track all of these data points and metrics so they could understand how her first child was growing and evolving. And this is a common thing that pediatricians ask for because a newborn’s eating and sleeping routine is critical to their development and growth, right? But like all new parents, she was feeling overwhelmed and couldn’t figure out a way to keep track of all that information, so she decided to build a better way.

I mean, she literally built a better way. After learning more about what Lauren and her co-founders were developing with Talli, I was not only impressed with Lauren as a brilliant, organized, and driven founder, but also that they had already managed to create and test their hardware prototype. Hardware is a notoriously difficult category for tech startups. Many ventures run into issues figuring out 1) how to build a prototype, 2) how to test it, 3) when do you get users to test it, and 4) and when do you evolve it to the next generation. But Lauren and her co-founders, through thoughtful iterations and early user testing, developed a very sticky product that people absolutely love.

What is compelling about Talli’s hardware + software solution?

Leura: Well, to start, one of Lauren’s superpowers is her eye for branding and UI/UX, which is so important in a solution aimed at ease-of-use. To have hardware that’s intuitive and elegantly designed paired with incredibly intelligent software is a game-changer in the category of baby care. But what was also compelling to me as an investor is that they’re not stopping with baby care. We’ve already seen how quickly and organically Talli’s baby care platform has grown, so we are anticipating a similarly enthusiastic response when they branch out into other categories as well.

Talli’s event logging solution can easily be applied to senior care, pet care, fitness routines, medication and symptom management, and more. But in the bigger picture, it can also be applied to B2B manufacturing or any other category of business that could benefit from smart recommendations based on tracking events. In my mind, there are endless use-cases because they’ve intentionally designed it to be content-agnostic. Talli can help people be more mindful and productive, while also enabling them to reflect on the trends of their lives based on their logged-events. That’s why Talli is such a powerful solution: it can be applied to anything.

Why should others invest in Talli?

First and foremost, I believe that other investors should invest in Talli because they’ve proven to be an exceptional early-stage company a la Outlander’s Founder Framework: the founding team has already proven they have the vision, intelligence, character, and execution to build a multi-billion dollar company. Lauren and her team are not only extremely dedicated, but they have also demonstrated they have the outside-of-the-box creativity, problem-solving, and grit necessary to navigate the challenges scaling will inevitably bring. 

In the last few years, consumer hardware has been neglected by venture capital. Because of this industry trend, I worry that investors will be hesitant to embrace the potential power hardware can have in solving consumer problems, especially when combined with great software. So, to all my fellow investors who love consumer products: get excited to meet Lauren and her team! This is one of those types of companies where if they get it right, Talli will change the way we think about event tracking tech solutions for good.

“This is one of those types of companies where if they get it right, Talli will change the way we think about event tracking tech and solutions for good.”

— Leura Craig, Founding Partner, Outlander VC

TALLI — hardware + software for one-touch, mobile, hands-free logging health care

Our mission at Talli® is to reduce the mental burden of caregiving through easier logging of care and health data. Our flexible IoT platform provides hardware and software options for one-touch, mobile, and hands-free logging across infant care, senior care, and home health markets. Talli is flexible enough to track any type of event and then translate that data into actionable information and the insights you need most.

Based in Atlanta, GA, co-founders Lauren Longo and Patrick Caldwell are disrupting the tracking and sharing of health and care data through an IoT logging and health data platform with configurable hardware and software solutions.

To learn more from cofounders Lauren Longo and Patrick Caldwell about Talli, register for Outlander VC’s inaugural Demo Day on March 2, 2021 at 4 pm EST.

In November of 2020, Coco raised an additional $5.5M from Sam Altman and Jeff Kearl (Pelion Ventures) to expand our robot delivery fleet across Los Angeles and to grow our core team.

Since then, we’ve grown to a team of 70+ people, deployed 50 new robots, and launched multiple cities within LA County, where we allow grocery stores, restaurants, and convenience stores to deliver to their customers at a reduced cost.

We’ve paired the brilliance of people with the industrial resilience and efficiency of robots to deliver food and goods cheaper than any other platform in existence. As the fastest growing robotic delivery service in the galaxy, we aim to:

Our pilot and robot delivery teams help us make deliveries cheaper than humans could in person. The pilots—or, as we call them, Coconauts—work remotely to navigate city streets, make deliveries to consumers, and keep the bots out of the way of any stray humans or vehicles. But our robot fleet isn’t just left out on the streets! Every night, our robots return to the home of the pilot who looks out for them. In return for being our robots’ eyes and ears, we create fulfilling, well-paying jobs that also allow our Coconauts to serve their communities.

And we’re just. getting. started. Next, we’re planning to add thousands of robots to our fleet with the goal of fulfilling 10,000+ deliveries per day. So check to see if the fastest robotic delivery system in the galaxy can serve you, too.

– Zach Rash, Co-founder & CEO, Coco

© Outlander VC. 2022.