2024 Request for Startups

Some of the Areas that Makes Me Excited for the New Year

Ali Tamaseb
5 min readDec 21, 2023

As many of my fellow investors know, I prioritize the founder's strength, resilience, and resources more in the way I assess startups. My belief is that the best entrepreneurs will eventually change and pivot until they find the right problem space. That being said, there are some areas where I’m passionately looking for products and startups to back and partner with exceptional founders. We had published a prior list of Request for Startups in 2020 for which many entrepreneurs reached us. We funded seven companies in the categories we listed in the prior Request for Startups including Kettle and Pano in the Wildfire space, ZwitterCo and another stealth one in the Water space, Fervo and Forth Power in the renewable energies, a stealth company in antimicrobial resistance, and Reality Defender in fighting deepfakes.

Here, I wanted to publish my thoughts about some of the areas that are currently interesting to me and I’d be actively looking for startups in 2024.

1) Gen AI but not in more chatbots, text foundational models, or replacing search

  • foundational models for the physical world (machine vision, robotics motion planning, signal processing, etc.)
  • edge hardware optimized for inference
  • New shapes and forms of compute/chips and heterogeneous architectures
  • software to run light inference on edge
  • enabling editing/multi-step reasoning on foundational model-generated content (text, audio, image, video, 3D, etc.)
  • Mobile-first genAI platforms
  • Foundational models for biology and chemistry
  • Foundational models for math and physics
  • Tooling like LlamaIndex and Langchain
  • Multi-modals and state space models
  • Enabling RLHF and RLAIF easily for all applied AI companies
  • Corporate governance and audit on the use of genAI for employees and data policies

2) Cyberattacks are becoming hyper-personalized

  • Cybersecurity products against phishing, spear phishing, smishing, emails, etc. created by LLMs.
  • Protecting against hardware layer attacks/industrial cyber (ATM machines, factories, etc.)
  • Continuation of the shift-left movement with code assist and block assist
  • Infra-less enablement of organizations to build software without an extensive CISO/security team
  • Code supply chain and open-source security

3) Hyper-Financialization of the world

  • Bringing to the masses new ways of pricing risk and accessing assets. Titan and Kalshi are examples. Specifically looking for a platform that democratizes hedging as a strategy
  • Hyper-focused on a unique demographic
  • Enables new trading for the masses (e.g. insurance, risk, real physical assets, futures, debt)
Kalshi enables trading on real-world events

4) The cost of Fraud is massively coming down — need more antifraud

  • Financial fraud is on the rise enabled by more tools and AI. ACH reversal fraud, deepfake voice spoofing, social engineering, etc.
Reality Defender detects Deep Fakes across audio, image, text, and video

5) Gaming is the largest form of entertainment — we need next-generation infra

  • The next Unity but in other parts of game creation
  • Conversation infrastructure, character infrastructure, logic infrastructure, graphics infrastructure, social mapping infrastructure, 3D to real-life infrastructure

6) Defense/National Security

  • Massive data ingestion engines for language, documents, and intelligence.
  • Orchestration of large number vectors of attack, e.g. multi-drones, multi-task force.
  • Future of air space orchestration.

7) Healthcare admin and payment platforms

  • LLMs for prior auth, coding, and claim negotiation with the payer.
  • Operating system that involves patient interaction, experience, and management, e.g. in the Emergency Room.
  • AI for triaging and referral management
  • Surrogacy and IVF marketplace and legal streamlining
  • Bundled payment or specialty insurance models for niches (e.g. MSK, hip replacement, Lasik surgery, etc.)

8) The aging population Requires Better Infrastructure

  • Marketplace for aging-related services
  • Operating System for senior living facilities
  • Enabling late pregnancy
  • Financial fraud on senior citizens
  • Financial co-pilot for senior citizens

9) Industrials — Trillion-dollar industries with no major tech player

  • Energy: electricity trading markets, APIs, and infrastructure for storage, deployment, etc.
  • Manufacturing: robotics deployment, financing, actuation/motion planning with AI.
  • Electrification: huge strain on power transition lines. Infrastructure for a fully electric world with distributed power generation
  • Shipping: ever-growing shipping volumes. Orchestration and streamlining platforms as well as new mediums and hardware
  • Chemicals: Industrial chemicals are used in almost every industry, and the market is controlled by a few monopolies. There is a massive opportunity to compete with these monoliths — or even work with them — to develop new paints, coatings preser­v­a­tives, cleaners — and the microbes that make them — that will have a massive impact on our lives.
  • Construction: new processes to build commercial and residential buildings, tunnels, and bridges, faster and cheaper?

10) Applied AI and Future of Work — Dealing with the plethora of information cross-organization

  • Self-updating CRMs, databases, project management, that uses LLMs and GPT for real-time data capture from internal data and real-time/internet.
  • Self-learning RPAs for prosumers, and enterprise, next generation of UiPath
  • Self-updating enterprise knowledge
  • Self-updating sales and customer support autonomous agents

If you have an A+ team and are working on solutions to some of these challenges — or others like them! — I want to hear from you. Reach out to me by email (you can easily guess)



Ali Tamaseb

Partner at DCVC ($4Bn VC firm) and author of “Super Founders”. #1 bestseller new release VC book on Amazon. https://getbook.at/superfounders