Misfits Market, a startup known for selling “ugly” fruits and vegetables at discount prices, announced this morning that it has raised $200 million in Series C funding.
The company says this brings its total funding to $301.5 million and moves its valuation into unicorn territory (i.e. above $1 billion). It isn’t getting any more specific about that valuation, though Bloomberg reports that it’s $1.1 billion.
Many of the world’s organizations shifted to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But even as more people are vaccinated and offices are planning re-openings, it’s clear that for some organizations, remote work is here to stay.
Deel, a startup that provides payroll, compliance tools and other services to help businesses hire remotely, has seen increased demand in the wake of this shift.
Many launch providers think reusability is the best way to lower the cost and delay involved in getting to space. SpaceX and Rocket Lab have shown reusable first stages, which take a payload to the edge of space — and now Stoke Space Technologies says it is making a reusable second stage, which will take that payload to orbit and beyond, and has raised a $9.1 million seed round to realize it.
Designing a first stage that can return to Earth safely is no small task, but the fact that it only reaches a certain height and speed, and doesn’t actually climb into orbit at an even higher velocity, means that it is simpler to try. The second stage takes over when the first is spent, accelerating and guiding the payload to its destination orbit, which generally means it will have traveled a lot farther and will be going a lot faster when it tries to come back down.
Kalshi, the first federally regulated exchange dedicated to trading on event outcomes, announced today that it has raised $30 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Sequoia Capital with participation from Charles Schwab, chairman of Charles Schwab Corporation, Henry Kravis, co-chairman & co-CEO of KKR, SV Angel and previous investors including Neo and YC Continuity. The announcement comes on the heels of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approving Kalshi as a Designated Contract Market (DCM) in November, making it one of just 16 DCMs in the U.S.
This morning Citadel ID announced a combined $3.5 million raise for its income and employment verification service. The startup provides an API to customer companies, allowing them to rapidly verify details of consumer employment.
The capital came from a blend of venture firms and angels. On the firm side, Abstract and Soma VC were in there, along with ChapterOne. Brianne Kimmel put capital in as well, according to the startup. And denizens with work histories at companies like Zynga (Mark Pincus), Stripe (Lachy Groom), Carta (Henry Ward) and others also put cash into the fundraise. (The company reached out to add that Fathom Capital also put a good amount in the round.)
This morning Ramp, a startup that competes in the corporate spend market, announced that it has secured a $150 million debt facility with Goldman Sachs. Ramp previously raised a $30 million Series B in late December 2020, after raising a $23 million Series A earlier in the same year.
TechCrunch spoke with Ramp co-founder and CEO Eric Glyman about its new credit access. Glyman said that until it was secured, his company had previously financed customer corporate spend off its own balance sheet. That effort would have become more difficult and inefficient as Ramp secured more customers, something that its rapid-fire fundraising implies that it has.
Jonah Kallenbach spent the summer before his senior year with Anton, the hulking fluorescent supercomputer housed in the midtown Manhattan offices of hedge fund D.E. Shaw. Armed with 512 processors running in parallel, it’s been used since 2008 to probe some of the biggest questions in protein folding and structure.
Alloy Automation, a startup that was part of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 cohort, announced today that it has closed $5 million across two rounds, the most recent of which brought $4 million to the company in October of 2020.
The new funds were raised at a $16 million pre-money, $20 million post-money valuation, Alloy told TechCrunch.
The company’s latest fundraising was led by Bain Capital Ventures and Abstract, with participation from Color Capital, BoxGroup and a collection of individual investors, including Shippo’s Laura Behrens Wu.
BukuWarung, an Indonesian startup focused on digitizing the country’s 60 million small businesses, announced today it has raised new funding from Rocketship.vc and an Indonesian retail conglomerate.
The amount was undisclosed, but sources say it brings BukuWarung’s total funding so far to $20 million. The company’s last round, announced in September 2020, was between $10 million to $15 million. Launched in 2019, BukuWarung was founded by Chinmay Chauhan and Abhinay Peddisetty and took part in Y Combinator last year.
I am proud to announce that BOND has led Ironclad’s $100 million Series D round. Lux Capital, known for investing in frontier technologies like space and AI, also participated, along with our lead investors in prior rounds, Accel, Sequoia, and Y Combinator Continuity.
With this financing, we aim to solve the most important unsolved problem of modern business: the problem of business contracting.
The problem of business contracting
The problem of business contracts in 2021 reminds me of a totally different problem from the last century: shipping, before containerization.
Nayya, the leading insurance benefits experience and management platform, today announced that it has closed $11M in Series A funding led by Felicis Ventures, with continued support from all early investors including Social Leverage, Guardian Life, one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the US, and Cameron Ventures. Unum Business Ventures also joined the round with a venture investment from the Fortune 500 insurance company covering 39 million Americans.
Gainful, a startup offering personalized subscriptions to protein powders and hydration products, is announcing that it has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding.
COO Eric Wu, who founded the company with CTO Jahaan Ansari, told me that Gainful began with his own experience experimenting with different protein powders and eventually finding the combination that worked best for his goals and dietary needs.
Our accelerating global growth is a product of ElectroNeek’s diverse team, working in almost all of the time zones around the globe, making Robotic Process Automation accessible to mid-market and smaller companies no matter where they are. A big Thank You to everyone who worked with us this year as well as to those who have just embarked on their automation journey with ElectroNeek – your talent and dedication is what fuels better customer and user experience.
Corporate spend management startup Ramp has raised $30 million more in a new round, it announced today. TechCrunch covered Ramp’s launch earlier this year, when it also detailed that it had raised around $23 million up to that point.
The startup raised its latest round in August of 2020, with conversations about the deal kicking off in June. The new capital is Ramp’s second priced raise after its August, 2019 seed round worth $8 million and the first after its February, 2020-era $15 million raise. D1 and Coatue were new investors in this new investment, which included some prior backers.
U.S. retailer Walmart and autonomous vehicle company Cruise are pairing up to test grocery delivery in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Under the pilot program, customers will be able to place an order from their local Walmart store and have it delivered via one of Cruise’s autonomous, electric Chevy Bolt cars. While the vehicles will operate autonomously, a human safety operator will always be behind the wheel.
Explo, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 class, which is helping customers build customer-facing business intelligence dashboards, announced a $2.3 million seed round today. Investors included Amplo VC, Soma Capital and Y Combinator along with several individual investors.
The company originally was looking at a way to simplify getting data ready for models or other applications, but as the founders spoke to customers, they saw a big need for a simple way to build dashboards backed by that data and quickly pivoted.
Chiper has been amassing a network of digitized corner stores in Latin America for the past two years. Now armed with $12 million in Series A funding, the Colombia-based e-commerce platform for independent merchants is poised to capture even more corner-store retailers.
The cannabis industry is quickly growing up, and companies like Nabis play a critical role. Today, the company is announcing it raised $5 million in Series A funding, which will help it grow and expand its offering.
Nabis is a business to business distributor, handling logistics, payment, and warehousing. Instead of being a distributor for beer, snacks, or pet supplies, Nabis is a cannabis distributor. The company acts as a middleman between cultivators and retail establishments, providing both parties’ unique services. Since it’s illegal to ship cannabis through traditional means, most cannabis operators turn to private operations to transport goods.
Arist, a text message learning platform used by organizations including DuPont, the Poynter Institute, and the State of California, today announced it has raised $1.9m from Acadian Ventures, Global Founders Capital and Craft Ventures, with additional participation from Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Emles Venture Partners, Hack VC, Rebel Fund, Liquid 2 Ventures, and angel investors Derek Schoettle (CEO of Cloudant) and Adam Goldstein (founder of Hipmunk), among others. Founded by Michael Ioffe, Ryan Laverty, and Maxine Anderson, Arist makes learning accessible and frictionless by delivering courses entirely via text message and WhatsApp.
Learning from Ioffe’s prior work improving access to learning in war-torn countries, the Arist team saw a different but critical need in the American workplace. The Arist platform makes it easier to create and simpler to access training. Organizations can create and launch text message courses in just minutes on any topic — from diversity and inclusion, compliance and sales enablement to safety training. Arist is particularly well-suited for reaching frontline employees who may not have laptop or LMS access, and is currently trusted by more than 50 leading companies, universities and nonprofits.
Bangalore-headquartered Razorpay, one of the handful of Indian fintech startups that has demonstrated accelerated growth in recent years, has joined the coveted unicorn club after raising $100 million in a new financing round, the payments processing startup said on Monday.
The new financing round, a Series D, was co-led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and Sequoia India, the six-year-old Indian startup said. The new round valued the startup at “a little more than $1 billion,” co-founder and chief executive Harshil Mathur told TechCrunch in an interview.
A developer’s primary priority is to write code. The secondary tasks, like keeping track and managing access of secrets, or digital authentication credentials, go on the back burner. However, secrets management must be done well, or a developer team risks compromising their code at critical times. Yet, most secrets management software are built by DevOps and security-focused teams or are quickly hacked-together developer solutions that won’t be able to scale with greater use.
Brian Vallelunga has struggled first-hand with secrets management. He and his team have built Doppler to address the problem. Doppler is the first ‘Universal Secrets Manager’ built specifically for developer teams of all sizes. The San Francisco-based startup has raised $2.3M in a seed round from Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Abstract Ventures and Soma Capital, with participation from prominent tech investors and executives such as Aaron Levie, Peter Thiel, Nat Friedman, Dylan Field, Kevin Hartz, Greg Brockman, Jeremy Stoppelman and Ben Porterfield, and more.
As machine learning has grown, one of the major bottlenecks remains labeling things so the machine learning application understands the data it’s working with. Datasaur, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 batch, announced a $3.9 million investment today to help solve that problem with a platform designed for machine learning labeling teams.
The funding announcement, which includes a pre-seed amount of $1.1 million from last year and $2.8 million seed right after it graduated from Y Combinator in March, included investments from Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman.
A month after completing Y Combinator’s accelerator program, BukuWarung, a financial tech startup that serves small businesses in Indonesia, announced it has raised new funding from a roster of high-profile investors, including partners of DST Global, Soma Capital and 20VC.
The amount of the funding was undisclosed, but a source told TechCrunch that it was between $10 million to $15 million. The new capital will be used to hire for BukuWarung’s technology team. TechCrunch first profiled BukuWarung in July.
Stripe has led a $12 million Series A round in Manila-based online payment platform PayMongo, the startup announced today.
PayMongo, which offers an online payments API for businesses in the Philippines, was the first Filipino-owned financial tech startup to take part in Y Combinator’s accelerator program. Y Combinator and Global Founders Capital, another previous investor, both returned for the Series A, which also included participation from new backer BedRock Capital.
It’s official: Rappi is raising big funds. We’d previously reported that the Colombian unicorn had rallied US$155.8 million as per a recent SEC filing. But the startup, via press release confirmed today (24) that it raised more than US$300 million.
It’s worth pointing out that within the aforementioned SEC document, the startup is aiming for US$350 million.
“We’re happy to be working with this team of investors who trust our growth model and believe in our region and the role we have to play in promoting local commerce and actively contributing to the region’s economic recovery. This round of investments will allow us to fund the business, our partners, and the future,” said Rappi in a statement.
In the world of technology, online learning has been one of the bigger beneficiaries of the last several months, with people staying home and away from their normal routines because of the coronavirus pandemic and using that time to expand their knowledge, or more critically, figure out what to do next if they want to change careers, or have found themselves without a job.
When the data science platform Pachyderm first launched in 2014, open source project Hadoop was the only major big data player on the market (the startup’s name is actually an early jab at Hadoop, which has an elephant in its logo).
Pachyderm’s business didn’t really take off until 2017, says cofounder Joey Zwicker, when the demand for data science skyrocketed. From there, the startup started attracting the attention of venture capitalists and large business customers alike.
Kenyan startup WorkPay, which builds human resources (HR) and payroll solutions for Africa, has raised US$2.1 million in seed funding to fuel its growth.
Originally called TozzaPlus until it rebranded in 2019, WorkPay is a cloud-based human resources management and payroll solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Africa. The startup’s time tracking and salary disbursement tools help African businesses save money and time by eliminating ghost workers from their payroll and inefficiencies associated with cash payments.
The battle for the increasingly popular frizzy water market in the U.S. is heating up as Asian-inspired brand Sanzo has just closed a $1.3 million seed funding to expand distribution.
This round was led by entrepreneurs and angel investors, whom Sanzo’s founder and CEO Sandro Roco believes have a better understanding of his entrepreneurial journey than VC funds, including co-founder of Away, Jen Rubio; CPO and EVP at Adobe Creative Cloud, Scott Belsky; Boba Guys’ co-founders, Andrew Chau and Bin Chen.
Big news today in the world of enterprise IT startups. Rippling, the startup founded by Parker Conrad to take on the ambitious challenge of building a platform to manage all aspects of employee data, from payroll and benefits through to device management, has closed $145 million in funding — a monster Series B that catapults the company to a valuation of $1.35 billion.
Parker Conrad, the CEO who co-founded the company with Prasanna Sankar (the CTO), said in an interview that the plan will be to use the money to continue its own in-house product development (that is, bringing more tools into the Rippling mix organically, not by way of acquisition) but also to have it just in case, given everything else going on at the moment.
Low-code is a hot category these days. It helps companies build workflows or simple applications without coding skills, freeing up valuable engineering resources for more important projects. Paragon, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 cohort, announced a $2.5 million seed round today for its low-code application integration platform.
Investors include Y Combinator, Village Global, Global Founders Capital, Soma Capital and FundersClub.
Misfits Market, the ecommerce platform that sells ‘ugly’ produce (among other things), has today announced the close of an $85 million Series B financing round. The funding was led by Valor Equity Partners, with participation from Greenoaks Capital, Third Kind Venture Capital, and Sound Ventures.
Misfits Market started out as a subscription box that allowed folks to buy ugly or misshapen product on the cheap each week. This product would have been thrown out at the farm, before ever heading to a distributor or grocery store, because it usually goes to waste sitting on a grocery store shelf.
There’s nothing actually wrong with this produce, except for the fact that shoppers wouldn’t normally choose it from a pile of fruit or vegetables that look more pleasing.
Since raising its Series A, Misfits Market has been working to expand its selection, which now includes chocolate, snacks, chips, coffee, herbs, grains, lentils, sauces and spices. Users can add these products to their usual weekly produce box on an a la carte basis, and they’re priced 20-25 percent below retail. These products are available to ‘add to box’ once a week (on Thursdays).
Think back to the last time you onboarded at a new job. Was it a mishmash of documents and calendar invites and calls and, generally speaking, a mess?
Probably. That’s likely because onboarding is a process that often depends on disparate, unconnected HR tools. Sora, a startup that today announced $5.3 million in collected fundraising, wants to shake up the HR software world with a low-code service that helps companies connect their tooling and automate their HR processes. The startup might be able to make things like onboarding better for employees and companies alike.
For the first few months it was operating, Shelf Engine, the Seattle-based company that optimizes the process of stocking store shelves for supermarkets and groceries, didn’t have a name.
Co-founders Stefan Kalb and Bede Jordan were on a ski trip outside of Salt Lake City about four years ago when they began discussing what, exactly, could be done about the problem of food waste in the U.S.
Kalb is a serial entrepreneur whose first business was a food distribution company called Molly’s, which was sold to a company called HomeGrown back in 2019.
Y Combinator-backed fintech startup FamPay, on Thursday (July 16), launched FamCard, a numberless card to allow teenagers to independently transact online with minimal intervention from parents.
However, the card requires top-ups from an adult but lets children spend it the way they want, under supervision. This relieves parents from giving children physical cash or their debit/credit card, and gives a sense of financial freedom to teens. FamPay believes that such an offering can efficiently teach children about financial management.
Virtual classes might make it easier to work out anywhere, anytime, but not for anyone. Mainstream fitness tech often targets the young and fit, in advertisements and cardio-heavy exercises. It effectively excludes aging adults from participating.
This gap between mainstream fitness and elders is where Mighty Health, a Y Combinator graduate, comes in.
Mighty Health has created a nutrition and fitness wellness app that is tailored to older adults who might have achy hips or joint problems. Today, the San Francisco-based startup has announced it raised $2.8 million in funding by Y Combinator, NextView Ventures, RRE Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, Soma Capital and more.
Working these days is not what it used to be. To enforce social distancing and slow the spread of the COVID-19 health pandemic, many of us have decamped from our offices to our homes, we only connect with colleagues and others virtually, and it’s all too easy to lose sight of our focus and strategy in the midst of it all.
But in the grand tradition of enterprise IT, that creates an opportunity, and today, a startup called Lattice, whose platform helps track, reward and set goal achievement in the workplace, has closed a round of $45 million to help address some of those issues.
Athlane, the YC-backed company from the Summer ’19 cohort, is today ready to launch with a fresh $3.3 million in capital. Investors include Y Combinator, Jonathan Kraft (New England Patriots), Michael Gordon (President of Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club), Global Founders Capital, Romulus Capital, Seabed VC and more.
The startup originally positioned itself as the “NCAA of esports” but, after some time in stealth, has taken a new approach. Athlane is looking to be the connective fiber between streamers and brands, facilitating sponsorship and endorsement deals with more transparent data and analytics and a streamlined communications flow.
Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator -backed Nayya is on a mission to simplify choosing and managing employee benefits through machine learning and data transparency.
The company has raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by Social Leverage, with participation from Guardian Strategic Ventures, Cameron Ventures, Soma Capital, as well as other strategic angels.
The process of choosing an employer-provided healthcare plan and understanding that plan can be tedious at best and incredibly confusing at worst. And that doesn’t even include all of the supplemental plans and benefits associated with these programs.
Brazil-based Swap raised a $3.3 million seed round to help financial institutions create their own internal financial technology businesses faster and more effectively.
“We are like AWS [Amazon Web Services] for payments, helping companies improve connection, experience and embed finance into their business so they can stop outsourcing those functions,” Swap`s co-founder and Chief Product Officer Ury Rappaport, told Crunchbase News.
ONEVC led the seed round, with participation from GFC, SOMA Capital, Brad Flora, ABSeed, Flourish Ventures, Rhombuz, Canary, Hustle Fund and Patrick Sigrist.
Karat is a new startup promising to build better banking products for the creators who make a living on YouTube, Instagram, Twitch and other online platforms. Today it’s unveiling its first product — the Karat Black Card.
The startup, which was part of accelerator Y Combinator’s Winter 2020 batch, is also announcing that it has raised $4.6 million in seed funding from Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, SignalFire, YC, CRV and Coatue.2
Satellite telecommunications startup Astranis has achieved a key technical milestone with its MicroGEO product, a small geosynchronous communications satellite that it will use to launch its first commercial service starting next summer for customers in Alaska. This is a big milestone for Astranis because the MicroGEO satellite test article that passed this round of thermal-vacuum qualification testing will serve as the basis for a whole planned line of first products, designed to affordably provide low-cost broadband to specific geographic markets using individual spacecraft, region by region.
Tax-advantaged benefits, like flexible spending accounts, can save employees in the United States thousands of dollars annually, and reduce the amount of payroll taxes companies pay. But those benefits are often underutilized, simply because they can be confusing to navigate. Benepass wants to make the process easier with a mobile app that centralizes all of an employee’s tax-advantaged accounts, and is linked to physical and virtual payment cards. The startup announced today that it has raised a $2.4 million seed round.
Amid a sharp pullback in venture capital activity during the coronavirus pandemic, one Silicon Valley start-up is showing what could be a path forward for other new companies seeking funding.
The business, a payroll platform for remote workers called Deel, has secured a $14 million series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz, sources told CNBC exclusively. As part of the investment, Andreessen general partner Anish Acharya is joining the San Francisco-based company’s board.
San Francisco and Lagos-based fintech startup Flutterwave has launched Flutterwave Store, a portal for African merchants to create digital shops to sell online.
The product is less Amazon and more eBay — with no inventory or warehouse requirements. Flutterwave insists the move doesn’t represent any shift away from its core payments business.
The company accelerated the development of Flutterwave Store in response to COVID-19, which has brought restrictive measures to SMEs and traders operating in Africa’s largest economies.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced many non-essential businesses across the US to close their offices in a bid to stop the spread of the virus. The disruption caused by the virus has diminished consumer demand and severely impacted the day-to-day operations of firms of any size. Sergey Yudovskiy, Dmitry Karpov, and Mikhail Rozhin started ElectroNeek to help businesses increase their productivity, given the necessity for remote work during the pandemic. ElectroNeek picked up $2.5 million in their seed round led by 645 Ventures, with participation from Soma Capital, I2BF Global, and other funds and angel investors. The San Francisco-based startup was recently in Y Combinator’s (YC) Winter 2020 batch.
WorkClout, a graduate of the Y Combinator Winter 2019 cohort, announced today that it has shifted its focus from manufacturing automation to manufacturing performance support and has raised a $2.3 million seed round.
The funding was led by Spider Capital with participation from Y Combinator, Liquid 2, Soma Capital, Pioneer Fund, Mehta Ventures and several individual investors.
When the company launched last year, it was looking at helping customers drive operational efficiency in their processes, but WorkClout founder and CEO Arjun Patel says they were seeing that there was a ceiling in terms of how much efficiency they could squeeze out of work processes using software.
As global economic competition grows each year, firms work tirelessly to recruit the best talent available on the market. Companies invest in university and college recruiting sessions extensively. They also incentivize their employees with cash rewards to tap their networks to fill empty positions. Many think the problem with hiring top talent is related to not reaching enough potential candidates. However, Kerry and Anna Wang viewed the problem differently and created Searchlight.ai as their solution. Searchlight.ai is a hiring software startup integrating automated reference checks to companies’ hiring processes to build in-depth profiles of prospective candidates. The startup was in Y Combinator’s Winter 2019 batch.
Forager, the Chicago-based technology and logistics company focused on cross-border freight, announced Wednesday morning that it had closed a $10 million Series A round of venture capital funding.
The Series A was led by Silicon Valley firm U.S. Venture Partners (USVP); previous investor Chicago Ventures and new investor Soma Capital also participated in the round. Forager’s valuation was not disclosed.
CEO Matt Silver, VP of Finance & Analytics Jordan Salins, and COO Jessie Essman founded Forager in January 2019. Silver’s industry experience came from growing up at Coyote Logistics, the freight brokerage founded by his father in 2006, where he managed cross-border operations in Mexico and Canada. In November, Forager launched the first version of its cross-border freight matching and pricing platform, SCOUT.
Bengaluru-based fintech startup FamPay, on Thursday (March 12), announced a $4.7Mn seed funding round from Y Combinator, Venture Highway, Sequoia India and Global Founders Capital (GFC).
Founded by recent graduates of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, Kush Taneja and Sambhav Jain, FamPay is currently building a payments network which will specifically cater to teenagers in India.
It’s amazing that in this day and age, the best way to search for new clothes is to click a few check boxes and then scroll through endless pictures. Why can’t you search for “green patterned scoop neck dress” and see one? Glisten is a new startup enabling just that by using computer vision to understand and list the most important aspects of the products in any photo.
Now, you may think this already exists. In a way, it does — but not a way that’s helpful. Co-founder Sarah Wooders encountered this while working on a fashion search project of her own while going to MIT.
“I was procrastinating by shopping online, and I searched for v-neck crop shirt, and only like two things came up. But when I scrolled through there were 20 or so,” she said. “I realized things were tagged in very inconsistent ways — and if the data is that gross when consumers see it, it’s probably even worse in the backend.”
When it comes to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it’s not always as easy to offer 401(k)s as a benefit. And owners of those businesses often struggle with being able to save for retirement themselves. A startup out to change that has just raised a new round of funding to help it advance on its goal.
Human Interest, a retirement plan provider for SMBs, announced today it has closed a $40 million Series C round just months after raising a $15.4 million Series B.
Oberndorf Enterprises LLC, a family-owned office led by William Oberndorf, led the latest round, which brings Human Interest’s total debt and (mostly) equity raised to just over $75 million since its April 2015 inception. Combined, the last two rounds total more than three times the capital Human Interest raised during its first four years of operation, the company said.
Cleanly, the YC-backed company that looked to bring tech to the laundry industry, has today announced a merger with NextCleaners. The New York-based companies signed an all-stock deal after more than a year of negotiations, with Cleanly founder and CEO Tom Harari serving as Chairman of the Board and Next CEO Kam Saifi will stay in the Chief Executive role at the new company.
C16 Biosciences, a company seeking to commercialize a manufactured alternative to palm oil, announced yesterday that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding from backers including the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Why it matters: Palm oil is used in a massive array of products — from shampoo to foods to biofuels.
- Palm plantations are fueling deforestation that releases CO2 and erodes wildlife habitat in multiple countries.
How it works: The New York-based startup has a fermentation-based “bio-manufacturing” process for “brewing palm oil like beer.”
The student loan crisis in the U.S. has left venture capitalists searching for novel approaches to financing higher education, but can the same systems designed for helping coders in Silicon Valley get jobs at Google help underserved students in developing countries become part of a global work force?
Similar to the buzzy San Francisco startup Lambda School, Microverse is a coding school that utilizes ISAs, or Income Share Agreements, as a means of allowing students to learn now and pay later with a fixed percentage of their future salary. Microverse isn’t aiming to compete heavily with Lambda School for U.S. students, however, they are looking more heavily at courting students in developing countries. The startup currently has students in 96 countries, with Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and India among their most represented, CEO Ariel Camus tells TechCrunch.
Cruise recently received a permit to transport passengers in its autonomous vehicles in California. Granted by the California Public Utilities Commission, the permit is part of the state’s Autonomous Vehicle Passenger Service pilot.
As part of the program, Cruise must provide data and reports to the CPUC regarding any incidents, the number of passenger miles traveled and passenger safety protocols. Cruise must also have a safety driver behind the wheel and not charge passengers for rides.
Cruise is now one of five self-driving companies allowed to participate in this program. The others are Zoox, Waymo, Pony.ai, Aurora and AutoX. This program is a bit different from the one run by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which has granted 66 companies permits to test their respective vehicles in the state.
YC-backed Astranis has raised $90 million of new combined debt and equity funding in a Series B round led Venrock, with a sizeable contribution by existing investor (and lead of their 2018 round) Andreessen Horowitz. The funding will be used to help the company launch its first commercial satellites, the bedrock of its future internet service offering, aimed at connecting the massive market of underserved populations around the world.
Meet Ramp, a new startup that offers corporate credit cards with 1.5% cash back on everything. The company thinks that a cash-back program combined with an analysis of your payments to help you spend less is more valuable than alternative corporate card offerings.
Ramp is launching publicly today and has raised $25 million in funding from Keith Rabois, Coatue, BoxGroup, Conversion Capital, Soma Capital, Backend Capital and more than 50 business angels.
The car payment is due in seven days. The electric bill is past due. The cable service has been shut off. You need to go to the doctor, but you’re uninsured.
You also found out that your house needs significant repairs. You’ve hit your credit card limit, and your next paycheck doesn’t come for another week and a half.
These challenges are all too familiar in the United States of America. In the midst of an unprecedented stock market rally and record-low unemployment, many Americans still struggle to meet their financial needs. CNBC reports that roughly 40% of Americans can’t handle a $400 emergency. Anyone can fall behind on these recurring bills, and unexpected expenses can make the financial constraints even worse. Payday loans are used to bridge the gap between paychecks, but end up making a cash-flow issue worse due to their usurious interest rates. Financial disaster can happen to anyone in the United States.
Obie, a Chicago startup that’s building a commercial real estate platform, announced it has raised a seed round of funding and officially launched its product to the public.
Obie said Tuesday that it raised $2.8 million in seed funding from Y Combinator, MetaProp, FundersClub, Liquid 2 and Soma Capital. Opendoor founder JD Ross, Inkling founder Matt MacInnis and Rentlytics founder Justin Alanis also invested in the round.
The startup has built a cloud-based insurance and portfolio management platform for small- and medium-size commercial real estate funds and managers. Obie’s platform gives owners information about their assets in once place, and allows them to collaborate with property managers, leasing brokers, LPs and others who need access to the property data.
Obie also offers property and casualty insurance and says it can help customers cut premiums by 10-15%.
SoftBank’s second Vision Fund has led a new round of funding for Silicon Valley-based drug delivery firm Alto Pharmacy that valued it at over $1 billion, according to two people familiar with the development.
San Francisco and Lagos-based fintech startup Flutterwave has raised a $35 million Series B round and announced a partnership with Worldpay FIS for payments in Africa.
With the funding, Flutterwave will invest in technology and business development to grow market share in existing operating countries, CEO Olugbenga Agboola — aka GB — told TechCrunch.
The company will also expand capabilities to offer more services around its payment products.
India’s Razorpay, one of the largest payments processing firms in the country, today announced a range of new services aimed at startups, businesses, merchants and freelancers as the Bangalore-based firm expands the reach of its financial platform in the nation.
The startup, which raised $75 million from Ribbit Capital and others in June this year, today introduced a new kind of corporate credit card and some banking services for startups and SMEs, and a new payment option for individuals to quickly receive money from their clients.
College apparel is an integral part of how students express their pride for their universities and unique identities. However, university-branded clothing is not designed or reflective of women’s taste in fashion, as most sizes and designs are based on the average male body size. Cecilia Gonzalez, 25, and Kimberly Robles, 26, have started Hype and Vice (H&V) to create “cute, trendy, and fashionable” university clothing for women to wear on any occasion. The Los Angeles-based startup has successfully raised $1.5 million in a seed round led by Founders Fund’s Delian Asparouhov, with participation from Soma Capital, USC Marshall Venture Fund, and angel investors such as Jessica Livingston (co-founder of Y Combinator).
Eight Sleep wants hitting the pillow to be the equivalent of hitting the doctor’s office. The company, founded in 2014 by husband-wife duo Alexandra Zatarain (VP of Brand & Marketing) and Matteo Franceschetti (CEO) as well as Massimo Adreasi Bassi (CTO), makes high-tech mattresses and sleep products to turn bedtime into recovery time—filled with healthcare insights and analytics–with hope of sleep quality translating to life quality. Forbes is the first to report the company’s $40 million growth funding round, which brings their total funding to $65 million. This round was led by Founders Fund and joined by Khosla Ventures, Y Combinator, Craft Ventures, 8VC, Flexport Founder Ryan Petersen and Eventbrite Cofounder and Chairman Kevin Hartz.
“We’re a sleep-fitness company. The night is a moment for you to recharge and really wake up at your peak,” 38-year-old CEO and cofounder Franceschetti
Kovi, a fast-growing 17-month-old Brazilian mobility startup, has raised a $30 million Series A led by Global Founders Capital.
New investor Quona Capital and existing investors Monashees, Maya Capital, Accel partner Kevin Efrusy, Y Combinator, Broadhaven Ventures, Tinder founder Justin Mateen and ONEVC also participated in the financing, which brings Kovi’s total raised since its inception to $40.6 million.
Founded in 2018 by two former 99 (Brazil’s first tech unicorn) executives, São Paulo-based Kovi rents vehicles to on-demand drivers who work for ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Didi and Lyft. It operates under the premise that more people in Latin America would work for these companies if they could afford to operate the necessary vehicle. Less than half the population in Brazil own a car. Also, cars are significantly more expensive in countries like Brazil than in the U.S. and the difference is even greater when it comes to the average income of the population. Kovi gives drivers who don’t necessarily want, or cannot afford, to own a vehicle “quick access to quality cars” at what it says is “a fair price”
Enterprise software tool startups are so often birthed to either un-bundle or re-bundle what came before them. In an age where “consumerization of the enterprise” is a trendy phrase for investors, it was natural a startup would come along to bundle its take on some of the trendiest startup tools.
Taskade appears to be the love child of Notion, Slack and Asana. It’s a tool for startup teams to collaborate around projects that can be re-organized based on how the individual user best works through tasks. The startup graduated from YC in the most recent batch and has now locked down $5 million in seed funding from Grishin Robotics and Y Combinator, Taskade CEO John Xie tells TechCrunch.
Days out of Y Combinator, venture capitalists valued ZeroDown, a financial and real estate technology startup, at $150 million, the company has confirmed. The startup had the perfect match of experienced founders and eye-popping ambitions to carve a new path to home ownership.
“I think we will be known as a company that makes it easier to buy a home in every single aspect,” ZeroDown co-founder and chief executive officer Abhijeet Dwivedi tells TechCrunch.
The secretive New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management has led a $25 million Series C investment in Lattice, an employee performance and engagement management tool, with participation from the startup’s existing investors.
The round, which values Lattice in the ballpark of $200 million, says co-founder and chief executive officer Jack Altman, comes just six months after the business closed a $15 million Series B led by Shasta Ventures. The HR tool, founded in 2015 by Altman and Eric Koslow, is also backed by Thrive Capital, the Slack Fund, Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator.
Missing out on a month’s rent because you can’t find a tenant is a huge loss. Searching for someone to fill a home takes work, while property managers are incentivized to price your place too high, leading to costly vacancies.
But new startup Doorstead wants to take on the risk and the work for you. It acts as a property manager for single-family homes, but guarantees you rent at a specific rate starting in a certain number of days, even if it can’t fill the house or apartment. It also handles all the algorithmic pricing, advertising, tenant interviews, repairs, maintenance, leases and online payments in exchange for 8% of rent. Owners just sit back and receive the money, making it much easier to profit off of distant real estate. The startup claims to earn users 3% to 9% more than other property management models.
Embark Trucks, a self-driving tech firm created by two twenty-something Canadian computer scientists, just landed $70 million in new funding, its biggest investment round to date, and is opening the first cargo transfer hubs for its growing fleet of robotic semis.
The San Francisco-based startup is among a wave of companies including Alphabet’s Waymo, TuSimple, Starsky Robotics, Kodiak and Ike that see commercial opportunities to apply the same type of technology developed for autonomous robotaxis to long-haul trucks ferrying goods cross country. Three years after college friends (and Forbes 30 Under 30 alums) Alex Rodrigues, 23, and Brandon Moak, 24, founded Embark, the company has raised a total of $117 million, including the latest round. It operates 13 18-wheelers and has 70 employees.
Manila-based financial tech startup PayMongo has raised $2.7 million in seed funding to give merchants in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian markets simple ways to set up online payments. Investors included Founders Fund, Peter Thiel and Stripe, with participation from Y Combinator (PayMongo is the first Philippine fintech company it has funded), Global Founders Capital, Soma Capital, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen and other angel investors.
Another startup in India is cashing in on the popularity of WhatsApp, the most popular app in the country with more than 400 million users, to build a business around it.
Digi-Prex is a seven-month old startup that runs an eponymous online subscription pharmacy in Hyderabad and serves patients with chronic diseases. Patients share their prescription with Digi-Prex through WhatsApp and the startup’s workers then deliver the medication to them on a recurring cycle.
Ironclad, a startup that makes it easier for legal teams to manage their contracts workflow, today announced that it has raised a $50 million Series C round led by Y Combinator Continuity, with participation from Emergence Captial, as well as existing investors including Accel and Sequoia Capital. This round brings Ironclad’s total funding to $83 million, according to Crunchbase.
In addition to the new funding, Ironclad, which was part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2015 class, also today announced the launch of its Workflow Designer. This tool allows teams to easily create their own custom workflows based their individual business processes and timelines. Setting up those workflows looks be a pretty straightforward process. After tagging the existing contract, teams can then set up their processes based on what’s in a specific document. If a contract is over a specific value, for example, they can add a payment clause, or set up an approval process based on that value.
Colombian delivery app Rappi is reportedly set to expand operations to nearly 100 new cities around the world by the end of this year.
Rappi is currently operating in 55 cities across seven Latin American countries including, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay.
The news comes barely three months after the Colombian firm received US$1 billion in venture capital from Japanese investment group Softbank, setting a milestone in the region’s startup scene.
Eden Farm is a startup with the ambitious goal of building a food distribution network for Indonesia, where many restaurants currently rely on markets for fresh ingredients.
But this means high markups and unreliable supplies for restaurant owners and lower profits for farmers, co-founder and CEO David Gunawan tells TechCrunch. The company, part of Y Combinator’s current batch, wants to help both by simplifying the supply chain, ensuring stable pricing and reducing food waste. Eden Farm currently focuses on fresh produce and non-perishable items, but plans to expand its product line to meat and seafood, too.
San Francisco and Lagos-based fintech startup Flutterwave has partnered with Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba to offer digital payments between Alipay and African merchants.
Flutterwave is a Nigerian-founded B2B payments service (primarily) for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.
Alipay is Alibaba’s digital wallet and payments platform. In 2013, Alipay surpassed PayPal in payments volume and currently claims a global network of more than 1 billion active users, per Alibaba’s latest earnings report.
Francis Plaza, a serial entrepreneur, was long frustrated with the poor digital payments services in his home country the Philippines. One day, he decided to do something about it.
About four months ago, Plaza sat together with his Software Engineer friends to discuss the issues in the payments space in the country and developed a solution.
And it has now made it to Y Combinator’s summer batch 2019, the first Filipino fintech startup to achieve the feat.
Integrate, a demand orchestration platform, has acquired ListenLoop, an account-based programmatic advertising platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company also unveiled a new solution powered by ListenLoop that is designed to connect programmatic ABM and demand generation.
Latin America-based Grow, which formed after micromobility companies Grin and Yellow merged earlier this year, has hit 10 million rides. Grin, which first started operating about one year ago in Mexico, has since expanded into 23 cities across Latin America. That is, of course, thanks in part to its mergers with Yellow and Ride.
Nowports, a developer of software and services to track freight shipments from ports to destinations across Latin America, has aims to become the regional answer to Flexport’s billion-dollar digital shipping business.
Almost 54 million containers are imported and exported from Latin America each year, and nearly half of them are either delayed or lost due to mismanagement.
Machine learning is the holy grail of data analysis, but unfortunately, that holy grail oftentimes requires a PhD in Computer Science just to get started. Despite the incredible attention that machine learning and artificial intelligence get from the press, the reality is that there is a massive gap between the needs of companies to solve business challenges and the availability of talent for building incisive models.
YC-backed Intersect Labs is looking to solve that gap by making machine learning much more widely accessible to the business analyst community. Through its platform, which is being launched fully publicly, business analysts can upload their data, and Intersect will automatically identify the right machine learning models to apply to the dataset and optimize the parameters of those models.
Bengaluru-based online payments solution provider Razorpay on Tuesday said it had raised $75 million as a part of its Series C funding, led by new investors Ribbit Capital and Sequoia India. The round also saw participation from existing investors Tiger Global Management and Y Combinator.
Earlier, the company had raised a total of $31.5 million across Series A (2016) and Series B (2018) rounds, from 33 angel investors and a strategic investment by MasterCard. Matrix Partners had also participated in Razorpay’s last fundraise.
Dubai-based heavy equipment renal marketplace for the construction industry has raised $5.8 million in what it’s calling the largest ever seed funding round of MENA from some of the leading investors of Silicon Valley and the region. The round is led by Y Combinator and BECO Capital and joined by Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Paul Buchheit, Justin Mateen, Matt Mickiewicz, VentureSouq, SOMA, Dynamo, and Global Founders Capital.
Zeljko Popovic, a leader within Tesla’s Autopilot team, is leaving for Embark, the autonomous trucking start-up in San Francisco, according to a person familiar with the move. Embark confirmed the hire.
The departure comes at a critical time, as Tesla is promising its electric vehicles will be capable of operating as “robotaxis” by the end of next year — which is to say, they’d be fully self-driving in normal conditions, without human intervention. Tesla also says it plans to start production of its long-awaited electric semi trucks by the end of 2020.
Even rich San Francisco residents can’t buy a home. Sure, if your startup just went public, you might be amongst a small class of people able to put in all-cash offers over the asking price. But most people living in the Bay Area, even those with six-figure salaries, only aspire to become homeowners.
SAN JOSE, Calif., March 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Shield Diagnostics, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed clinical laboratory tackling antibiotic resistance by bringing precision medicine to infectious disease, announced the launch of Target-NG, a rapid molecular test for antibiotic susceptibility in Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
A common sexually transmitted infection, Gonorrhea has quickly become resistant to most major classes of antibiotics and resistance has now been reported in the final class of antibiotics we have left, requiring those patients to be hospitalized and treated with broad spectrum antibiotics in order to be cured. With 820,000 cases of Gonorrhea each year in the US, the CDC has named antibiotic resistant gonorrhea (dubbed “Super Gonorrhea”) a top 3 urgent public health threat.
Bars lose 20% of their alcohol to overpours and “free” drinks for friends. That amounts to $50 billion per year in booze that mysteriously disappears, making life tough for every pub and restaurant. Nectar wants to solve that mystery with its ultrasound depth-sensing bottle caps that measure how much liquid is left in a bottle by measuring how long it takes a sonar pulse to bounce back.
On the heels of Clutter announcing a large growth round of $200 million earlier this year, the storage startup is cleaning up the competitive field. TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Clutter has purchased the storage business of erstwhile rival Omni.
SoftBank Group Corp. is close to making a $1 billion investment in Latin American delivery app Rappi, according to people familiar with the matter. The investment is likely to be led by the Japanese company’s newly formed Innovation Fund, which was launched by SoftBank Chief Operating Officer Marcelo Claure to focus on technology investments in Latin America, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. It’s expected to invest alongside the conglomerate’s Vision Fund, the people said.
Jack Altman, whose resume includes a stint as vice president of business development at Teespring, has raised $15 million in Series B funding for his startup, Lattice, a modern approach to corporate goal setting. Shasta Ventures led the round, with participation from Thrive Capital, Khosla Ventures and Y Combinator, the latter being the organization his brother led as president until very recently.
Lattice, used by high-growth companies like Reddit, Slack, Coinbase and Glossier, helps human resources professionals develop insights about their teams. Founded in 2015, Altman and Eric Koslow, like most entrepreneurs, developed the idea for Lattice out of their own pain points.
The New Yorker entrepreneur Ronnie Madra has made it his mission to save our hearing. His stylish EAROS ONE is a sleek and comfortable way to protect your ears in places where the decibel levels can soar while still enabling full enjoyment of music and communication with those around you.
Skymind, a Y Combinator-incubated AI platform that aims to make deep learning more accessible to enterprises, today announced that it has raised an $11.5 million Series A round led by TransLink Capital, with participation from ServiceNow, Sumitomo’s Presidio Ventures, UpHonest Capital and GovTech Fund. Early investors Y Combinator, Tencent, Mandra Capital, Hemi Ventures, and GMO Ventures, also joined the round/ With this, the company has now raised a total of $17.9 million in funding.
Inokyo wants to be the indie Amazon Go. It’s just launched its prototype cashierless autonomous retail store. Cameras track what you grab from shelves, and with a single QR scan of its app on your way in and out of the store, you’re charged for what you got.
Laika , the new digital tool provides all the support to people so that the needs of your pet do not become a problem and customers always get the lowest prices.
This app seeks to prevent you from leaving your home, to become your assistant so you don’t have to worry about your dog or cat. Laika has a wide variety of food and products of all brands and services ranging from daycare, home bathroom, veterinary at home to the funeral home when the pet ceases to exist.
As someone who struggles with personal organization, I often find myself experimenting with new to-do apps and productivity tools, in order to cure my scatterbrained ways. The latest app I’ve tested is Taskade, from the company of the same name.
Taskade’s biggest strength is that it doesn’t do too much. It lets you effortlessly group your to-do lists into folders, allowing you to segment your business and personal duties.