Jason Boehmig spent two years as a lawyer in Silicon Valley, putting together documents for startups, before he had enough of the clunkiness of the job. Now, for the fifth time, he’s signed his name on a financing document for his own startup, Ironclad, which makes software to more efficiently manage contracts such as these.
GM Cruise has raised another $1.15 billion in new equity from a group of investors that includes T. Rowe Price Associates, Honda, SoftBank Vision Fund and its parent company GM, as the self-driving vehicle company pushes to launch a commercial autonomous ride-hailing service this year.
This investment increases Cruise’s post-money valuation to $19 billion, inclusive of SoftBank’s previously announced investment commitment. Cruise has secured capital commitments totaling $7.25 billion in the past year, according to the company.
Parker Conrad’s last startup, Zenefits, drowned in busy work. Now with Rippling, he wants to boil that ocean. Instead of trying to nail one thing then expand, “very counter to conventional wisdom, we took on something that’s a lot broader and more ambitious.” That meant spending two years with 40 engineers working in stealth to build integrations with nearly every popular business tool to combine HR, IT and single-sign on services. The result is that when you hire an employee, Rippling onboards them to all those services in a single click. Goodbye, busy work. Hello, gateway to the enterprise app ecosystem
Now Torch is ready to lead the way to better management for more companies, as it’s just raised a $10 million Series A round led by Norwest Ventures, along with Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and West Ventures. It already has 100 clients, including Reddit and Atrium, but the new cash will fuel its go-to market strategy. Rather than trying to democratize access to coaching, Torch is doubling-down on teaching founders, C-suites and other senior executives how to care… or not care too much.
When Jason Boehmig was in law school at Notre Dame in 2012, he decided he really wanted to be in technology. So he sent a cold email to Ted Wang, who was one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent lawyers, having represented Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Square and Spotify.
Boehmig asked Wang for a 15-minute meeting to pitch him on his idea to bring intelligent software to the legal world. Wang agreed to hear him out, so Boehmig hopped on a plane from Indiana to meet with the lawyer in the Bay Area.
Yesterday, Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced its acquisition of This is L., a period care startup that manufactures organic pads and tampons. Although the startup would not disclose the acquisition amount, TechCrunch reported that a person with knowledge of the investment put the price tag at roughly $100 million. This is a big win for the Femtech space, which some still view as “niche”.
This is L. was founded in 2011 by Talia Frenkel, a former photojournalist who worked with the United Nations and the Red Cross. While documenting humanitarian crises around the world, Frenkel witnessed first-hand the neglect of women’s sexual reproductive rights and the effects of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. She initially began a distribution campaign of condoms and then expanded her business to include period products. But the mission has always been the same: for every product sold, another is made accessible to a girl or woman in need.
A person with knowledge of the investment put the price tag at roughly $100 million — a healthy outcome for investors and company founder Talia Frenkel. But just as important as the financial outcome is the deal’s implications for other mission-driven companies.
This is L. launched from Y Combinator in August 2015 with a service distributing condoms in New York and San Francisco and steadily expanded into feminine hygiene products.
The trucks were previously noticed by a Reddit user, who photographed and shared images this week showing tractors emblazoned with the Embark logo and trailers painted with the Amazon Prime logo.
Consolidation in the micromobility space has arrived — in Brazil, at least. A few months after Y Combinator-backed Grin merged its electric scooter business with Brazil-based Ride, it’s now merging with Yellow, the bike-share startup based in Brazil that has also expressed its ambitions to get into electric scooters.
If Yellow sounds familiar to you, it may be because, in September, the company raised $63 million in a funding round led by GGV Capital. That was the largest Series A round for a Latin American startup. A month later, Grin raised a $45.7 million Series A round.
The app-based offering is aimed at facilitating personal and small merchant payments within countries and across Africa’s national borders. Existing Visa cardholders can send and receive funds at home or internationally on GetBarter.
Internet satellite startup Astranis, which aims to deliver cost-effective high-speed internet to underserved markets, announced Wednesday that it has signed an exclusive agreement to provide satellite bandwidth to Alaska-based internet provider Pacific Dataport.
Under the terms of the contract, Astranis launch a single satellite in 2020 that will provide 7.5 Gbps of bandwidth. Pacific Dataport will use a portion of the available bandwidth to provide internet services to business. Those businesses include Microcom, which provides residential internet services and launched Pacific Dataport as a separate venture two years ago.
Next-gen pharmacy Alto Pharmacy has raised $50 million in a series C round of funding from Greenoaks Capital, Zola Capital, and Jackson Square Ventures.
Founded in 2015 after acquiring AG Pharmacy, a brick-and-mortar pharmacy which served San Francisco for more than 30 years, Alto Pharmacy is one of a number of online pharmacies to offer same-day prescription deliveries, in addition to related services such as medication management apps.
Today we are proud to announce that Pachyderm has closed a Series A financing of $10M led by Benchmark, with participation from existing investors Ace & Co, Blumberg Capital, Data Collective, Foundation Capital, Susa Ventures, Tuesday Capital, and Y Combinator. As part of the funding, Benchmark’s Chetan Puttagunta will be joining our board. We’re also announcing our next major version of Pachyderm, v1.8.
We founded Pachyderm over four years ago with the understanding that data science would be critical to businesses over the next decade, and that Docker® containers were the perfect technology with which to build the next generation of tools. Those beliefscontinue to strengthen with each day.
Pachyderm allows data scientists to use the tools they already know and love on unified infrastructure while maintaining complete data lineage and provenance. We believe it’s the future of how individuals and teams develop, deploy, collaborate on and communicate about all things data.
Grin, the Mexico City-based electric scooter company backed by Y Combinator, is merging with São Paulo-based Ride to further the company’s expansion across Latin America. This comes shortly after Grin raised a ~$45 million Series A round.
Currently, Grin only operates in Mexico City, but it has plans to expand to other cities throughout Latin America. The merger with Ride, which already operates in São Paulo, will enable Grin to do this as early as next week, Grin co-founder Sergio Romo told TechCrunch.
“I think any company scaling today has to have a crypto strategy. This is the start of ours,” Omni founder and CEO Tom McLeod tells me. His on-demand property storage and rental marketplace raised $25 million in XRP coins back in January in what some saw as an opportunist move to capitalize on the cryptocurrency boom. That industry has since gone bust, and XRP is in the cross-hairs of regulators who may classify it as a security with extra restrictions.
Now Omni has a way to get rid of some of its XRP. It’s beginning to let people get paid in the coin when they rent their stuff to fellow Omni users. Their balance of earnings is held in USD, but they can cash out to XRP at any time with no fee.
Grin, an electric scooter startup backed by Y Combinator, has raised a $45.7 million Series A to operate shared, electric scooters in Latin America.
Last week the Federal Government released an update to their self-driving policy known as Automated Vehicles (AV) 3.0. This update is especially significant because, for the first time, it includes rules that set out how to deploy self-driving trucks. We are very excited about this update — as a result of AV 3.0 self-driving trucks are now allowed to operate across more than 90% of the United States once they are demonstrated to be safe.
Honda will commit $2.75 billion as part of an exclusive agreement with GM and its self-driving technology subsidiary Cruise to develop and produce a new kind of autonomous vehicle
Let the computers do the legal busy work so attorneys can focus on complex problem solving for their clients. That’s the lucrative idea behind Atrium LTS, Twitch co-founder Justin Kan’s machine learning startup that digitizes legal documents and builds applications on top to speed up fundraising, commercial contracts, equity distribution and employment issues. For example, one of its apps automatically turns startup funding documents into Excel cap tables.
Investment in Latin American tech continues to reach new highs. In the first quarter of 2018, more than $600 million was invested. That followed a record 2017, which was the first time VCs funneled more than $1 billion into the continent’s tech ecosystem during a 12-month period.
Sergio Romo is trying to build the Latin American version of Lime or Bird, recently raising about a $20 million seed round for Grin, his scooter startup, from prominent Silicon Valley investors including Y Combinator, DCM Ventures and Shasta Ventures, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Romo said he has learned a lesson from some of the disorderly scooter deployments in U.S. cities: Find brick-and-mortar allies.
C16 Biosciences is aiming to greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the globe with their lab-grown palm oil, an alternative to a product that is found in a truly massive amount of goods. C16’s alternative is grown in bioreactors and is 20 percent less expensive to customers but “doesn’t destroy the planet,” the company says.
The startup has already begun early partnerships with a number of beauty and food distributors that together spend $1.2 billion on palm oil annually.
Gecko Robotics aims to save human lives at our nation’s power plants with its wall-climbing robots. To continue doing so, the startup tells TechCrunch it has just secured $7 million from a cadre of high-profile sources, including Founders Fund, Mark Cuban, The Westly Group, Justin Kan and Y Combinator.
We first reported on the Pittsburgh-based company when co-founder Jake Loosararian came to the TechCrunch TV studios to show off his device for the camera. Back then, Gecko was in the YC Spring 2016 cohort, working with several U.S. power plants and headed toward profitability, according to Loosararian.
According to a report by the American Cancer Society, an estimated 266,120 women will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States this year and (according to a 2016 estimate) can expect to pay between $60,000 and $134,000 on average for treatment and care. But, after hundreds of thousands of dollars and non-quantifiable emotional stress for them and their families, the American Cancer Society still estimates 40,920 women will lose their battle to the disease this year.
Worldwide, roughly 1.7 million women will be diagnosed with the disease yearly, according to a 2012 estimate by The World Cancer Research Fund International.
While running Molly’s, the Seattle-based ready meal wholesaler he founded, Stefan Kalb was upset about its 28 percent food wastage rate. Feeling that the amount was “astronomical,” he began researching how to lower it — and was shocked to discovered Molly’s was actually outperforming the industry average. Confronted by the sheer amount of food wasted by American retailers, Kalb and Bede Jordan, then a Microsoft engineer, began working on an order prediction engine.
The project quickly brought Molly’s percentage of wasted food down to the mid-teens. “It was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my career,” Kalb told TechCrunch in an interview. Driven by its success, Kalb and Jordan launched Shelf Engine in 2016 to make the technology available to other companies. Currently participating in Y Combinator, the startup has already raised $800,000 in seed funding from Initialized Capital, the venture capital firm founded by Alexis Ohanian and Gerry Tan, and is now used at more than 180 retail points by clients including WeWork, Bartell Drugs, Natural Grocers and StockBox.
Cameron Yarbrough was working as a couples counselor in San Francisco when he started booking appointments with a new type of client: would-be tech startup founders who were trying to launch the next billion-dollar company together.
The fit made sense, according to Yarbrough. Couples counseling is typically more affordable than individual therapy, because two people split the bill, and startup cofounders are typically eager to save money.
A Y Combinator-backed startup, JetLenses, is taking on the major contact lens e-commerce sites, like 1-800-Contacts, Lens.com, and other online ordering systems offered by major retailers, such as Walmart. The startup’s goal is to bring down the cost of prescription products by automating the overhead associated with these businesses, in areas like prescription verification, order tracking, compliance and fulfillment, then pass those savings on to customers.
The fields of computer vision and VR are difficult. But a new company, Send Reality, is entering the race. The Y Combinator-backed company is looking to offer full 3D-modeling for virtual walkthroughs of real estate listings.
Founder and CEO Andrew Chen said he was the kid back in middle school and high school that spent hours walking around the streets of Paris, NYC and SF on Google Streetview.
Betsie Larkin spent the first ten years of her professional career as an EDM artist. She released two solo albums, toured five continents and worked with the likes of Armin van Buuren and Ferry Corsten. But after being constantly frustrated by shapewear she wore under her stage outfits, she felt compelled to try her hand at a new industry.
That’s how HoneyLove was born.
Embark Trucks has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital in its bid to be the first to develop and launch a commercially viable driverless truck.
Spero Foods‘ newest product is shaking up the food industry. Scramblit is a vegan “superfood” egg mix that can be used to make omelettes, quiches, or scrambled eggs. It is said to be the first product of its kind.
Scramblit is made using pepita, the edible seeds from squash or pumpkin. Its only other ingredients are water, turmeric, garlic powder, and black salt. On a per gram basis, the pepita contains three times the amount of protein, eight times the amount of iron, and seven times the amount of zinc than an egg from chickens. Additionally, it has 400 times more fiber, 20 times more antioxidants, and twice as many omega-3s than eggs. It is also more sustainable to produce.
While everybody is focused on self-driving cars, Shone is working on autonomous technologies for container ships. The startup doesn’t want to turn those giant ships into unmanned vehicles, but it wants to help seafarers and make ships more efficient.
“The basic idea is that autonomous ships are coming. Overall, it seems unavoidable,” co-founder and CEO Ugo Vollmer told me. “And yet, there are still 25 people on the boat and it runs on Windows.”
A Cambridge-based biotech company focused on disrupting the sugar industry to improve human health has been awarded a £60,000 grant by The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative to invest in the development of its natural sugar substitute technology.
Scentbird, the subscription-based fragrance company, announced it has raised $18.6 M, one of largest Series A funding rounds secured by a direct-to-consumer brand led by a female CEO, taking the total investment to $24.4 M.
Soma invested in the seed round.
At eight years old, a young Ronnie Madra moved to New York City having no idea he would experience a world far greater than his own. Born in the South American country of Guyana to West Indian parents, Bibi and Ronald, he recalls the pivotal moments of being a part of a large family because they fostered a part of his identity which he lives out every single day, that 1 Of A Kind hospitality.
Isaac Mangrum was just hanging out with a friend when he looked over his buddy’s shoulder and saw him scrolling through an app filled with jobs. Mangrum had already been driving for Uber and Postmates in his spare time just to get through college. The list of jobs he saw as his friend scrolled through the app had similar flexibility where he could work in his spare time, but paid a guaranteed hourly wage.
Developing new medicines can take years of research and cost millions of dollars before they are even ready for clinical trials. Several biotech startups are using machine learning to revolutionize the process and get drugs into pharmacies more quickly. One of the newest is called Reverie Labs, which is part of Y Combinator’s latest batch. The Boston-based company wants to fix a critical bottleneck in the drug development process by speeding up the process of identifying promising molecules using recently published machine learning algorithms.
Sleep tracking tech company Eight Sleep has raised $14 million in a new round of funding, which the brand says it’ll use to expand distribution of its ever-growing line of products.
Eight Sleep was founded in 2014 with the goal of being as much a leader in the technology sphere as in the bed-in-a-box industry. In this vein, the brand has always sought to improve users’ sleep not only with comfortable mattresses, but also with advanced sleep tracking tech.
Andreessen Horowitz is venturing into space with today’s announcement that it’s leading an $18 million round in Astranis. The San Francisco-based startup is launching out of stealth today with plans to build its first commercial telecommunications satellite. Y Combinator, Fifty Years, Refactor Capital, and Indicator Fund also participated in the round.
YC-backed startup Proven wants to make it suck less for women to find skincare that works for them. The co-founders are taking what they describe as a “rational, logic-based” approach to figuring out which ingredients might be most appropriate for each individual.
As a TC Disrupt battlefield founder once memorably put it during her on-stage pitch, the beauty industry makes a whole lot of money from a whole lot of BS. And skincare falls squarely into the ‘full of it’ category, with its expensively marketed pseudoscientific claims touting ‘miracle’ fixes that most definitely aren’t.
Human Interest — as its former name Captain401 implied — focuses on creating an easy system for small businesses to begin offering a 401(k) to employees. It’s geared toward companies trying to get it up-and-running for the first time, as when companies start to mature benefits like that quickly become table stakes, lest they lose those employees to competitors with more robust benefits. It’s also important to get those plans in place early, as employees likely want to begin securing their finances early on.
Founded in 2016, Palo Alto-based startup Yoshi is an on-demand car maintenance platform that delivers gas to your automobile, as well as handling related tasks, such as oil changes, cleaning, and more — all while your car is parked just where you left it. Drivers can order the service directly from the Android or iOS mobile app.
A self-driving truck operated by tech startup Embark recently completed a test run from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Fla., which the company hailed as the first coast-to-coast journey by an automated truck.
Second, we’re announcing Lambda School’s first graduating class! This initial class includes 20 students that have worked incredibly hard over the past six months to become talented and capable software engineers. We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to learn alongside these individuals, and we thank them for helping us continually improve the Lambda School experience for future learners.
Earlier this month, I wrote that crypto companies are going to become investors in 2018. I didn’t quite imagine that happening as quickly as mid-January, but here we are. Ripple, the fintech startup behind the controversial XRP token, has its first investment after it backed U.S.-based storage startup Omni through a $25 million round.
E-commerce remains among the biggest tech opportunities in India, one of the world’s most populated countries whose economy continues to rapidly evolve and now has over 500 million people connecting to the Internet. And today, a startup that is playing in this space — aiming to make it easier to take and make payments online — has announced a significant round of funding.
When a company is looking for a candidate for an open role, the hiring manager is probably going to rattle off a bunch of qualifications that they’re looking for to a recruiter — and Kanjun Qiu says recruiters will probably just run with that when the manager’s requirements might not actually be so rigid.
It’s that intent from the manager — the idea that the actual boundaries for a qualified candidate are more opaque — that sparked the idea for Sourceress. Instead of just hunting down candidates based on a bunch of keywords, Sourceress works with hiring managers to understand the kinds of attributes they need in a potential hire and builds a model to find someone who would fit what a hiring manager is looking for, even if they don’t fit the bill explicitly. To do this, Sourceress has raised $3.5 million in new financing from Lightspeed Venture Partners, OpenAI researchers, Y Combinator, Dropbox founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, as well as other smaller investors.
A biomaterials startup using CRISPR gene-editing technology has raised $4.4 million in seed funding for its plant-based bio-peroxide technology. Solugen will use the funding to expand distribution of its bioperoxide and launch a consumer brand of household cleaning products. Investors in the round include Y Combinator, Refactor Capital, MIT, Liquid 2 Ventures and Social Capital Partnerships, among others.
When you open a Google doc or a spreadsheet, you get a blank spreadsheet and some documentation as to what you can do with it — and that’s pretty much where we’ve been for quite some time.
But two MIT graduates, coming in from Microsoft and Google, have built up a team that for the past three years has quietly been trying to rethink how we approach documents. CEO Shishir Mehrotra spent his life in documents, and now he and co-founder Alex DeNeui have raised $60 million for a startup called Coda that’s trying to start the concept of an online document or spreadsheet from scratch. Greylock Partners, Khosla Ventures, and General Catalyst participated in the financing, with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and General Catalyst’s Hemant Taneja joining the board of directors.
Customers complete a quiz, and Gainful’s algorithm tailors a protein powder blend to their unique body type and fitness goals. Each customer is also matched with their very own Registered Dietitian.
Gigster is shifting from letting anyone outsource full-stack app development to building next-gen tech projects for big companies. If an enterprise needs machine learning and vision, data visualization, blockchain, React or Swift work done and doesn’t want to hire full-time employees, Gigster assembles a squad of freelancers and guarantees the work at a fixed price.
Marijuana legalization is sweeping the nation, and The Green Rush is upon us. As pot sellers scramble to comply with complex regulations, one startup has built the full-stack of specialized commerce software they need. Meadow offers everything from an eye-catching digital storefront for teasing tasty plants, to automated patient records management for which you’ll go to jail if you screw up.
Ironclad, a Silicon Valley startup that wants to automate the way legal contracts are created and managed, now has $8 million in new funding to try to make that happen.
This Series A round, led by Accel, brings total funding to over $11 million for the two-year old company, which sees a huge opportunity to ease the workflows used by tens of thousands of corporate lawyers. Steve Loughlin, a partner at Accel, will join Ironclad’s board.
Flutterwave, the payment company founded by Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, has just raised over $10 million in a series A funding round. Greycroft Partners and Green Visor led the new funding round with existing investor Y Combinator and new investors like Glynn Capital.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP – Successful start-up in Morocco may seem impossible, but by launching “Ways to Cap” , Niama El Bassunie has proven that with perseverance (and some failures), the dream of every entrepreneur is not out of achievement.
Jack Altman and Eric Koslow were working on software to track team goals a year ago when the cofounders of startup Lattice realized they were missing out. Corporate America had fallen out of love with performance reviews, but it didn’t like the alternatives, either.
“Employees hated performance reviews, so [companies] said let’s throw them away,” says Altman, Lattice’s CEO. “And they switched to continuous feedback, and it turned out a lot of employees didn’t like that, too.”
Self-driving trucking startup Embark has raised $15 million in Series A financing, the company announced on Tuesday. Embark first broke cover back in February, when it revealed trucks equipped with its neural net-based deep learning approach to autonomous trucking. The startup’s also revealing a team-up with heavy equipment manufacturer Peterbilt today, which will help it roll out its new group of test trucks.
Open Listings, the YC-backed startup that lets buyers purchase homes and get a 50% refund on whatever fee their real estate agent would normally make, has raised $6.5M in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners. Initialized Capital and Arena ventures also participated as new investors.
As a platform that addresses the business-to- business buying and selling of merchandise across Africa, Morocco-born WaystoCap is aiming to solve the fragmented situation in a market that is still in the process of going digital. Besides being an online marketplace for products, founder and CEO Niama El Bassunie asserts that WaystoCap is also an “ecosystem offering services such as insurance to suppliers, financing to buyers and logistics management to remove inefficiencies.”
Short-term rental management startup Pillow has raised $13.5 million in new funding, and is launching a new product to provide more transparency to apartment owners when renters make their apartments available on platforms like Airbnb.
Alto is also pushing beyond the Bay Area for a nationwide rollout with the new capital. Most of its competitors have focused on certain cities and areas so it will be interesting to see how Alto fares with such a large expansion.
Soma invested in the seed round. Alto investors include Greenoaks Capital, Jackson Square Ventures, and Twitch co-founder, Justin Kan.
Cross-border commerce platform WaystoCap has raised new funding to expand its reach in Africa, the startup confirmed to TechCrunch today.
A recent graduate from the Y Combinator accelerator program in the U.S., WaystoCap is an online destination for buyers and sellers of business-to-business goods in Africa. Founded in Casablanca, Morocco, it aims to digitize the centuries old cross-bordering trading industry that exists in the continent and make it easier for those outside of Africa to get into the region.
Through my years as a founder, I have always wondered: What are other entrepreneurs experiences raising money for startups whose markets are only in LATAM?
By experiences I mean: I want to know the real deal. I want to see the raw numbers. What are your metrics? What was easy? What was tough? Tell me about the time everyone said no, and you cried like a baby in a corner, all alone. What did you do next?
So I kept seeing ads on Facebook for this product called FREY for men. I finally was interested enough to look into what it was. That was when I realized my wife was telling me about it for several weeks. It’s Laundry Detergent… For Men. Now I have seen everything. My amazing wife does 99% of the laundry in our household, which I am eternally grateful for, but this seemed like a ploy.
So I got me a set. Included was fabric softener dryer sheets, detergent, smell good (freshener), stain remover, all in a fancy box. This isn’t something that I would normally go for, but I gave it a shot.
Medical billing is a largely untapped and lucrative industry, potentially pulling in $55 billion globally by 2020. But its inner workings are still very murky — most of the time it’s not clear how much something will cost and sometimes you don’t even get the (possibly whopping) bill until months down the road. Founder Katelyn Gleason wants to make it easier to know what and how much you are paying for before you step into the doctor’s office with her new medical billing startup Eligible.
Leveraging post-literate tools like YouTube and emojis to create a website and mobile app that allows people to review the books they’re reading while they’re reading them, Beek is a startup that embraces the amazing contradictions of the internet age.
Graduating from the most recent batch of Y Combinator, the Mexico City-based company began as a hackathon project in Austin, Texas, where co-founder Pamela Valdes was studying at the University of Texas.
Conrad’s new company is called Rippling, which is launching today. The goal is to turn the process of bringing on an employee and assigning them hardware and the services they’ll need to operate — like Gmail or Salesforce — right away. Rippling integrates with a bunch of major services on the back-end and automatically assigns those accounts to new employees, and also helps managers set up payroll in several states.
TL Biolabs’ $15 genomic test provides farmers information on the health, productivity, and fertility of their cows — from early in the animal’s life — so farmers can make management and breeding decisions earlier and more efficiently. The results are provided in software that helps farmers improve production by selecting which calves to keep or sell, and which bulls to breed to which cows.
On February 29th, 2016–that’s Leap Day–the team members behind Meerkat secretly launched a new live-streaming app. Rather than pitch reporters or spend money on ads to promote it, they opted to just put the app in the App Store and see what happened. To help keep their identity secret and avoid potential coverage, they identified the developer using a pseudonym rather than credit Alexander Herzick, who happens to be the husband of the app’s cofounder, Sima Sistani .
Business Insider confirmed that that the company had raised $50 million from leading venture firm Sequoia, beating out other investors interested in the deal, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the raise. The company’s previous investors, including Greylock Partners, Aleph, and Comcast Ventures participated in the round. Houseparty’s CEO Ben Rubin didn’t return a request for comment.
Nationally, bars today lose billions of dollars from improperly managed alcohol inventory. These losses add up quickly as a result of oversized pours, spills and even theft.
Nectar, a stealth connected-device startup operating out of a Palo Alto dentist’s office (of all places), just locked down a $4.55 million seed funding round from the likes of Joe Lonsdale (8VC + Palantir), Lior Susan (Eclipse Ventures) and the founding family of Modelo Group (brewery) to complete development on a new IoT solution for the hospitality and consumer packaged goods industries.
Flex, the tampon alternative you can wear during sex, has raised a $3 million seed round led by Vivek Ranadive’s new fund, Better Our World Capital, with participation from Cyan Banister of Founders Fund, Ellen Pao and others.
Capital One is making another acquisition in the fintech space, this time snatching up the price tracking service Paribus, which helps online shoppers get automatic refunds when prices drop on items they purchased. Deal terms were not disclosed, but the acquisition involves bring both the team and the technology itself to Capital One.
Last year, LinkedIn spent $1.5 billion on Lynda.com, an online learning platform. Online education itself has become a huge market. But the course completion rates and retention is far too low, according to Jumpcut CEO Kong Pham — because the lectures are simply too boring. He’s hoping that his team can build a company based around “Spielberg-like” online courses, starting with professional networking videos like learning how to network and become better at social media. The company has $85,000 in monthly recurring revenue and is doubling month-over-month with a $17-per-month subscription model. It’s going to be challenging for sure: it’s going to be hard to figure out how to make highly cinematic videos that go into tough subjects like computer science and mathematics. But Pham and his team — which have previously built a company in viral video — hope they can crack that market.
Payday lender-alternative LendUp landed $47 million in series C funding this week. Y Combinator’s growth fund, Y Combinator Continuity, led the round. Google Ventures, Thomvest Ventures, QED Investors, Data Collective, Susa Ventures, Radicle Impact, Bronze Investments, SV Angel and other angels also contributed.
ApolloShield, which was originally incorporated as Airfence Inc., has launched an anti-drone system that detects drones flying where they’re not authorized or wanted, and forces them to fly home.
The startup intends to sell its technology to owners or managers of venues that have intense security needs such as oil refineries, nuclear facilities, airports, prisons, stadiums or hotels and buildings where high-net worth individuals or public figures may reside.
OMG Digital, the Ghana-based media startup dubbed the “BuzzFeed of Africa,” announced today that it has raised $1.1 million in seed funding. Its main site, OMG Voice, already has versions for Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya, and the new capital will be used to expand into more countries.
OMG Digital’s new investors are Kima Ventures, Soma Capital, Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Social Capital, M&Y Growth Partners, and Macro Ventures. Angel investors, including Josh Buckley of Mino Games, Will Sternlicht, entertainment lawyer Kenneth Hertz, and Off-Grid Electric founder Frances Xavier Helgesen, also participated. The startup was previously covered by TechCrunch last summer while taking place in Y Combinator’s accelerator program.
General Motors this morning announced that it will acquire Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology. No financial terms were disclosed, but Fortune has learned from a source close to the situation that the deal is valued at “north of $1 billion,” in a combination of cash and stock.
While Uber, Lyft, and similar ride-sharing services can help you get from one place to the next, they aren’t practical for hauling your large purchases – like those from an IKEA shopping spree, or a sofa you found on Craigslist, for example. That’s where a service called Lugg comes in. If Lyft is like your friend with a car, then Lugg is like your friend with a truck.
Before Sumir Meghani was a Groupon exec and Saureen Shah was a Google engineer, they both dipped their toes into much smaller ventures. Meghani was raised by two small business owners, and Shah used to be a McDonald’s cashier.
Now the 34-year olds have teamed up to launch a Y Combinator-backed startup called Instawork to combat the pain small business owners have to go through when it comes to hiring employees.
Bright, a solar panel installation and distribution startup, pulled in $4 million in seed money to build out its solar software and financing team.
The startup launched out of the last batch of Y Combinator and began building in Mexico last year. Energy is expensive and often complicated in the country, costing upwards of $4,000 MXD ($250 USD) in hot summer months in some cases, according to the Mexican Federal Electric Commission.
Partner programs can be a big source of revenue — for example, channel sales account for 80 percent of Cisco’s revenue. Now a startup called GrowSumo is working to make those programs easier to manage, particularly for businesses that don’t have Cisco’s resources.
GrowSumo is part of the current batch of startups at incubator Y Combinator. Co-founder Bryn Jones told me that the team was originally trying to build online collaboration tools, but “it turns out that we weren’t Slack.”
After School is back and ready to try again. The mission is the same: Give teens a safe but anonymous place to talk to high school classmates. After several months of retooling the app just relaunched on the App Store and, even with the aggressive safety features in place, growth hasn’t slowed down.
When After School hit the App Store in October 2014, it immediately sparked outrage as teens took to the platform and anonymously posted derogatory and hateful content without fear of repercussion (or so they thought). But the creators didn’t give in to the immense pressure to shut down the app or change course.
Cash flow is all important for small businesses — it’s the difference between life or death — so it is frustrating when customers don’t pay invoices up front. Nothing puts a strain on finances quite like waiting 30, 60 or 90 days for your money, and that’s not even mentioning the resources spent following up and chasing down payment.
From Starcraft to League of Legends, the e-sports market has gone through a massive expansion over the last decade in a half. Millions of dollars are now at stake over video games played in front of audiences of thousands, both at live events and in matches broadcast online.
Y Combinator -backed Kickback is looking to expand the scope of that market by building competitive ecosystems around pre-existing games. Its initial release is built upon Minecraft, the adventure toolbox now owned by Microsoft.
Booking travel is never easy, but booking travel for work is even worse. NexTravelwants to provide a better way for employees to search flights and hotels, while giving employers the ability to track and manage costs.
Even as consumers have gotten used to using simple online platforms for booking their own travel, the corporate travel world has failed to catch up. Employees are asked to navigate archaic travel booking websites or talking to travel agents for hours trying to get the right hotels or flights confirmed.