When Alex Rodrigues started his company Embark Trucks Inc., he couldn’t rent a car without age restrictions. Now 26, Rodrigues becomes one of the first, and youngest, heads of an autonomous-driving company to pitch public investors on the promise that vehicles will soon be able to drive themselves.
Embark started trading Thursday on the Nasdaq under the ticker EMBK. It wasn’t an especially warm reception. The shares fell as much as 7.3% in the first minute of trading.
Razorpay has more than doubled its valuation to $7.5 billion from $3 billion in April as one of India’s largest fintech giants demonstrates fast growth and aggressively broadens its product offerings.
The Bangalore-headquartered startup, which is a market leader in payments processing in India, said Sunday evening it has raised $375 million in its Series F financing round. The new round, which brings more capital to the startup than all its other previous financings put together, was co-led by Lone Pine Capital, Alkeon Capital and TCV.
As teammates at buy now, pay later fintech Affirm, Stella Han and Carlos Treviño bonded over their shared background of growing up in real estate families. The mission of “pay at your own pace” at Affirm clashed with their firsthand experience of the taxing time commitment and high costs that comes with owning real estate; a contrast that eventually seeded the idea for Fractiona
Looking for a new apartment is either a leisurely thing to do or something that has to take place quite quickly. When you don’t reach anyone in the leasing office, you often move on to the next one on the list, even if it was one you would have considered.
The Great Resignation, the pandemic-caused seismic shift in the way we work, play and live, and the boom of the creator and influencer economy, has led to a surge in apps designed to serve those creators. In fact, we had a very long-winded discussion about it at TechCrunch just this week.
It’s hard to know which apps are going to change the game and which are going to sink, but Emergence is betting big on a platform called Talent Hack.
The company is today announcing a $17 million Series A financing round, led by Emergence, with participation from existing investor Global Founders Capital.
As more people continue to work remotely, organizations globally have had to adjust — particularly when it comes to onboarding new employees and figuring out how to pay them, in some cases, across borders.
As a result, Deel — a San Francisco-based startup which provides payroll, compliance tools and other services to help businesses hire remotely — has seen a massive surge in demand.
Now almost exactly six months after raising $156 million at a $1.25 billion valuation, the startup is announcing it has raised $425 million in a Series D funding round that gives it a valuation of $5.5 billion. (The Information had reported in late September that the deal was in the works).
CostCertified, a Canadian startup which provides real-time, interactive residential construction estimates, raised $8.45 million in a seed round of funding.
FUSE, a Pacific Northwest venture firm which counts former Microsoft CFO John Connors and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner as venture partners, led the round.
The company is also backed by Y Combinator (having participated in the accelerator’s S21 batch), I2BF Global Ventures, Soma Capital and a number of proptech/construction tech founders such as Willy Schlacks, CEO and co-founder of EquipmentShare; Ryan Sutton-Gee, PlanGrid co-founder and former COO; Jonathan Wasserstrum, co-founder and CEO of SquareFoot and Bill Smith, founder and CEO of Landing.
Founded by entrepreneur Parker Conrad in 2013, the HR company Zenefits was quickly anointed one of the fast-growing companies in Silicon Valley, with a valuation that soared to $4.5 billion within three years. Then it began to fall apart. The company was discovered to face compliance issues. Conrad was forced to resign. And Zenefits’s valuation was slashed in half, with more than 60% of the company’s employees laid off over numerous rounds afterward.
GreenPark Sports today revealed it has closed a successful Series B round, raising $31 million. This investment comes just as GreenPark is preparing its first NFT drop.
GreenPark is a mobile platform that marries the communities of sports fans and esports fans. According to GreenPark’s site, members can “suit up for your favorite team and go head-to-head against rivals in epic battles to win Fanergy.”
Indian mobile wallet firm Razorpay is talking to large global funds about raising $200 million to $250 million at a $4 billion valuation, two people familiar with the talks said in a Mint report.
Razorpay is talking to hedge funds including Tiger Global Management, Coatue Management, D1 Capital Partners and technology-focused funds DST Global, Dragoneer Investment Group and Falcon Edge Capital, among others, the sources told Mint anonymously.
Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners and Rabbit Capital have already invested in Razorpay. It’s unclear if those companies or other existing investors would give up their ownership stakes as part of the latest fundraising round.
Earlier this year, Razorpay raised $160 million at a $3 billion valuation as part of a plan to bulk up its business banking unit.
“Players such as Razorpay are looking at acquisitions on the talent pooling side, besides targeting a bit matured places in the B2B SaaS (software as a service) space,” one of the sources told Mint.
Startup raised $225 million from investors, including SoftBank, as online grocery sales continue to boom.
Investors poured more than $350 million into Solugen, a sustainable chemicals start-up.
Less than six months after raising $55 million in a Series C round of funding, SMB 401(k) provider Human Interest today announced it has raised $200 million in a round that propels it to unicorn status.
The Rise Fund, TPG’s global impact investing platform, led the round and was joined by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. The financing included participation from new investor Crosslink Capital and existing backers NewView Capital, Glynn Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, Wing Venture Capital, Uncork Capital, Slow Capital, Susa Ventures and others.
Less than a year after its $3 million seed round, Verifiable snapped up another $17 million for its healthcare provider credentialing API toolkit.
The Austin-based company’s technology creates an infrastructure for healthcare provider data management that puts providers at the center. Verifiable founder Nick Macario told TechCrunch that data fuels critical operations across health systems and insurance carriers, like contracting, credentialing, enrollment, claims and directories. All of this is being done manually now, and often inaccurately, which is leading to billions of dollars of annual waste.
Today we’re wrapping our multi-week exploration of the global venture capital market’s second-quarter performance. We’ve gone around the world, working to better understand the geyser of cash flowing into today’s startups. But we’ve saved the best for last: Latin America.
In the battle for the almighty blinking computer cursor, all-in-one doc startup Coda is gaining steam. The startup, which offers customizable and collaborative documents, has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round that values it at $1.4 billion, more than double its valuation a year ago.
“Our viewpoint is that the lines between the different document formats are artificial and that anyone can make a doc as powerful as an app,” says Shishir Mehrotra, Coda’s cofounder and CEO.
Stock in many American companies, like Amazon, Alphabet or Tesla, can host hundreds or thousands of dollars per share. Fractional trading, or buying part of a single share through a brokerage, makes them more accessible—at least to people within the United States. Investors in other countries, however, often have to pay high fees through interactive brokers. Gotrade makes fractional trading of U.S. stocks available to people in 150 countries, and charges a minimum of just one dollar.
Startup aims to make sensible tax advice and filing accessible for anybody making 1099 income, helping them identify write-offs and deductions from everyday purchases. Keeper Tax, the #1 tax filing software for gig workers, creators and freelancers, today announced it has raised its $13M Series A.
Embark, a San Francisco-based developer of robot truck technology, plans to list shares in a merger with a blank check company that may raise $614 million to help meet a goal of commercializing its service by 2024. The company is also adding former U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to its board.
Earlier this year, the company had raised its seed round worth $500,000, which saw participation from Y Combinator, FinSight Ventures, Kunal Shah of CRED, Jitendra Gupta of Jupiter, among others
Embark Trucks Inc., a maker of self-driving technology for the trucking industry, said Wednesday it is going public via a merger with special purpose acquisition corporation Norther Genesis Acquisition Corp. II NGAB, 0.71%, in a deal with a pro forma implied enterprise value of about $4.55 billion. “Over the last five years, Embark has operated America’s longest running road-testing program for self-driving trucks to refine the company’s sophisticated self-driving software — purpose-built to navigate Class 8 trucks on long-distance freight trips,” the companies said in a joint statement.
How big is the market in India for a neobank aimed at teenagers? Scores of high-profile investors are backing a startup to find out.
Bangalore-based FamPay said on Wednesday it has raised $38 million in its Series A round led by Elevation Capital. General Catalyst, Rocketship VC, Greenoaks Capital and existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Y Combinator, Global Founders Capital and Venture Highway also participated in the new round, which brings FamPay’s to-date raise to $42.7 million.
Cruise, the self-driving subsidiary of GM, has tapped a $5 billion line of credit from the automaker’s financial arm to pay for hundreds of purpose-built electric and autonomous Origin vehicles as they start to roll off the assembly line.
The access to the credit provided by GM Financial will push Cruise’s “total war chest” to more than $10 billion as it prepares for commercialization, CEO Dan Ammann wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
BukuWarung, a fintech focused on Indonesia’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), announced today it has raised a $60 million Series A. The oversubscribed round was led by Valar Ventures, marking the firm’s first investment in Indonesia, and Goodwater Capital. The Jakarta-based startup claims this is the largest Series A round ever raised by a startup focused on services for MSMEs. BukuWarung did not disclose its valuation, but sources tell TechCrunch it is estimated to be between $225 million to $250 million.
For small and mid-sized restaurants in Nigeria and most of Africa, food procurement can be a complex process to manage. The system is such that a business can easily run out of money or have considerable savings. Most restaurants don’t have access to deal directly with farms to get better deals because they lack the staffing to chase them. Besides, they also don’t have the aggregation pull as single entities to directly get good value from the farms.
On any given day, thousands of drivers snake through the Dodger Stadium parking lot, not to catch a game but to swab their mouths to test for Covid-19.
By most measures, Los Angeles, where hospitals are running out of space and morgues are at capacity, is not a model city for how to control a deadly pandemic.
Eight glasses of water a day. That’s the old recommendation you and I have heard growing up. And while we all know the importance of hydration to our health, some methods of hydration are more efficient than others. At least, that’s the premise that Hydrant was built on.
A new startup by three ex-Googlers has a unique name: “We’re called Warmly, because we provide warm leads,” says cofounder and CEO Max Greenwald. Stylized as “Warmly,” (comma included, as in the sign-off to an email), the software company is announcing itself in the Silicon Valley tech scene with an idea to help businesses find new customers by leveraging their network of existing customers.
Flat has raised one of Mexico’s largest pre-seed rounds to take the Opendoor real estate marketplace model across the Rio Grande.
The company snagged a $4.6 million pre-seed round to expand its business helping homeowners quickly sell their properties in Mexico. The round was led by ALLVP, an active early-stage fund in Mexico. California-based Liquid 2 Ventures (for which Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is a GP), Next Billion, Picus Capital and a few angels supported the round, as well.
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.
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 narrow waterway separating the European and Asian sides of this metropolis has inspired classical myths and frustrated invading armies for centuries.
But today drivers traveling over the three bridges spanning the picturesque Bosporus are more likely to experience road rage than nostalgia in a city known as one of the world’s most congested for traffic.
Most founders don’t walk away from their startup after raising $32 million and reaching 1000 clients. But Roger Dickey’s heart is in consumer tech, and his company Gigster had pivoted to doing outsourced app development for enterprises instead of scrappy entrepreneurs.
World-Class cannabis, richly textured and studied success, all tempered by deep humility and a history far greater than anyone here (meaning the USA), would even comprehend, nor understand. Let me share with you, I was immediately taken by Dae Lim. So self assured, highly polished yet approachable and peacefully humble.
Qué tienen en común Laika, Airbnb y Dropbox? Laika, una plataforma colombiana que se especializa en comercializar productos y servicios para mascotas, ingresó en un grupo de startups que son seleccionadas por Y Combinator, la aceleradora estadounidense más importante del mundo catalogada por la revista Fortune como un criadero de gigantes tecnológicos emergentes.
Google Stadia and Xbox Cloud Gaming may have shown that remotely running your console titles in the cloud has big performance advantages, but would you pay a monthly subscription to do the same with your browser? That’s what startup Mighty is hoping to convince people comes next, with the promise of turning the computer on your desk or lap into a viewer for Chrome engine Chromium running on a potent remote server.
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.
Madhav Krishna, Founder and CEO, Vahan started playing the guitar in 2003 when he started college.
“I also played in a band back then. Piano is something I picked up during the pandemic as I was keen to learn a new skill. Music, especially playing an instrument, is a fantastic way of de-stressing. It helps take one’s mind off the day-to-day problems that are a part and parcel of entrepreneurship. It is also a great way of exercising the left/artistic side of the brain which helps hone ..
Part real estate fund, part tech startup, ZeroDown wants to make it easier to buy a home in the Bay Area
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.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a negative, life-altering event for restaurant owners across the world. Even before COVID-19, it was well known that running a successful, profitable restaurant was one of the most difficult things for any talented business owner to do. So difficult, in fact, that Restaurant Brokers concludes 90% of independently owned restaurants, i.e. neighborhood restaurants, close during their first year, and the remaining 10% will only survive a total of five years! It is heartbreaking then, to see an already challenging industry face a watershed event like COVID-19.
Cityfurnish – a Gurgaon-based furniture and consumer appliances rental startup, which was recently part of the Y Combinator winter batch of 2019, has announced the launch of its operations in Hyderabad. The offerings of Cityfurnish already live in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Gurgaon & Noida. The online rental furniture startup is revolutionizing the on-demand rental economy in India.
At Singularity University, we are unleashing a generation of women who are smashing through barriers and starting some of the most ambitious technology companies on the planet.
New brands are trying a take-it-or-leave-it approach in marketing to millennials. But will young women stand for being squished?
Coral, a San Francisco biotech developing new clinical tests to improve medication selection and market access for autoimmune patients has partnered with DrugViu, a healthcare technology company that helps patients with autoimmune diseases get full control and consolidate their medical records to find better treatment options, participate in clinical trials and track their contributions to research.
Julián Ríos Cantú knows all too well about the importance of early and accurate breast cancer detection. The 19-year-old’s mother survived two bouts with breast cancer, despite an inaccurate diagnosis. But from that experience came EVA — a bra that detects cancer.
This summer, a new series called Going Public will stream on Entrepreneur.com and across that publication’s social channels. Both accredited and non-accredited investors will have the opportunity to invest in companies appearing on the series.
The Food and Drug Administration approval process can be like navigating a minefield for health startups hoping to get through regulations and begin selling to the American public. YC company Enzyme.com hopes to help these small businesses by automating the process for them.
Biomedical engineer Jared Seehafer came up with the idea through his own experience consulting with health companies like Genentech. He found going through all the paperwork to get into compliance wasn’t just tedious but also a big part of what’s holding back small companies.
“You find you spend almost as much time documenting the work as you do doing the work,” Seehafer told TechCrunch. “This is a multitrillion-dollar industry and I thought ‘why isn’t there software to automate the process?’ ”
Darmiyan, Inc., a San Francisco, CA-based developer of brain diagnostics, raised $6M in the initial closing of a seed funding.
The round was led by Eisai with participation from IT-Farm and Y-Combinator (YC).
Led by Padideh Kamali-Zare, PhD, president and founder CEO, Darmiyan provides AI-Powered virtual microscope BrainSee, its novel and proprietary technology (US patent 10573414) that provides a solution for early diagnosis, monitoring, and stratification of Alzheimer’s disease. BrainSee’s AI-powered algorithm takes the currently available standard clinical brain MRI and basic cognitive tests and generates brain maps and scores that indicate pathology at the earliest stages of the disease when treatments are feasible.
Growing up in Morocco, Niama El Bassunie observed the many highs and lows her parents experienced as they ran the business they started 45 years ago – an enterprise she was always expected to join. But even as her siblings were signing on, she was eyeing an opportunity to help small businesses in Africa use the internet to securely buy and sell goods online. She envisioned a pan-African digital marketplace as varied and vibrant as the kiosks, boutiques, and shops scattered throughout Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, and Togo.
In 2016, she and her co-founders created WaystoCap, a unified platform for businesses to buy and sell goods starting in those five African countries, with a plan to expand into more nations over the upcoming years. The technology-driven platform now sells Kente fabric, diapers, argan oil, rice, and hundreds of other products fast and securely. Thousands of buyers and suppliers have signed up.
Platzi , the online learning platform, announced the 12 finalist startups of the seventh edition of its DemoDay and that they will compete on April 10 for
“The finalist startups are exceptional. In total, they have added $ 4.6 million in revenue in the last six months and have created more than 200 jobs. In addition, they combine the ability to have traction, make a product and manage as teams, ”Juliane Butty, director of Startups at Platzi, the online education platform, said in a statement.
Many 3D printing companies restrict customers to a limited selection of costly, proprietary materials. AON3D, however, has committed to the open materials standard since its founding; customers can print hundreds of different materials on open materials 3D printers.
In addition, AON3D has focused its materials engineering expertise on developing optimized process parameters for vendors that provide the highest quality materials on the market. These include notable brands such as Solvay, SABIC, Kimya, DSM, Infinite Material Solutions, and many others.
AON3D announces the launch of their AON-M2 2020, the latest large format industrial 3D printer in their flagship product line. A high-temperature 3D printer designed to print an expanding array of plastics, including PEEK, ULTEM™, PEKK, polycarbonate, and hundreds of other materials. This enables cutomers to print parts for the most demanding applications and environments, such as harsh chemical environments, extreme temperatures, and intense mechanical stress.
Many 3D printing companies restrict customers to a limited selection of costly, proprietary materials. AON3D, however, has committed to the open materials standard since its founding; customers can print hundreds of different materials on open materials 3D printers.
In a joint effort to innovate for period health, retail giant CVS and direct-to-consumer brand, FLEX, are partnering to bring comfortable, high-performance, eco-friendly period products to shoppers in over 5,000 CVS stores nationwide.
According to recent June 2019 syndicated retail sales data, traditional tampon unit sales are down 4.3% year over year across drug retailers. Category growth is being driven by alternative period products, including innovation led by FLEX in cups and discs.
Additionally, industry reports do not yet capture the unprecedented growth of online sales of alternative period products like FLEX™ Discs and the FLEX Cup™. With changing consumer attitudes and behaviors toward alternative period products, retailers like CVS are starting to recognize the gap in physical distribution and are taking swift action to meet the growing demand by consumers.
The Flex Company launched its first period product, the FLEX Disc, in late 2016. It quickly developed a devoted and engaged consumer following and has grown to be a top performing direct-to-consumer brand.
Validere, a leading informatics platform that enables energy companies to realize efficiencies through real-time product quality insights, announced the closing of its US $15 million USD ($20,551,275 CAN) Series A funding round led by Wing VC, with participation from Greylock Partners and Sallyport Investments.
With offices in Houston, Calgary, and Toronto, Validere was founded by Harvard graduate and award-winning scientist Dr. Ian Burgess and entrepreneur Nouman Ahmad, who both recognized the enormous opportunity to bring data transparency to oil and gas.
“Forty trillion dollars of physical oil and gas is traded annually and 3 – 5% of that value evaporates due to opaque and fragmented product quality data,” said Ahmad, CEO at Validere. “As oil changes hands multiple times across the supply chain, it’s incredibly challenging to keep track of product quality. Product quality is critical as it underpins what the product is worth and where it can be delivered. Despite its importance, access to real-time quality data has been an elusive gap for the industry. We are solving this fundamental challenge by bridging new technologies with a deep understanding of the industry’s complexities. As recent market volatility has shown, optimization tools like Validere’s are more important than ever in helping the industry reduce costs and increase profitability.”
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. And now it’s bringing real-time pour tracking to beer with its gyroscopic taps. The result is that bar managers can determine who’s pouring too much or giving away drink, which promotions are working and when to reorder bottles without keeping too much stock on hand — and avoid wasting hours weighing or eyeballing the liquor level of their inventory.
Linkagoal, the first-ever ‘Goal Oriented Social Network’, announced today that it has raised $1.25M in Series A funding, led by Sh. Amr F M Zedan, CEO of the Saudi Zedan Group, with advisory services provided by Privity FZ LLE. With the funding, San Francisco-based Linkagoal will continue to advance its Goal Based Engine with a veteran software development team led by Founder and CEO Mohsin Shafique and a Sales and Marketing team led by Co-Founder and Deputy CEO Nasir Jamal.
With its rapidly growing user base and an approved patent by USPTO (Method of Goal Based Social Network – Patent No: 8694439), Linkagoal is an innovator in the goal-oriented social networking space. Linkagoal aims to build a global community of goal oriented, like-minded individuals, under its revolutionary social networking platform with a mission of identifying personal and professional objectives and accomplishing them, supported by other members of the community.
Direct-to-consumer subscription-based beauty company Scentbird is adding wellness to its offerings in an effort to expand its portfolio and keep up with consumer trends.
In May, the company added 17 full-size wellness-focused products to its assortment, including powder supplements from Golde, and CBD cream and ingestibles from Highline Wellness. Founded in 2014 as a fragrance subscription service, Scentbird has slowly been expanding its offerings: In March, it began offering skin care, and last year, it moved into private-label body and skin care and launched a makeup pilot program. The company, which has over 300,000 subscribers and has raised more than $18 million in venture capital funding, declined to state its annual revenue.
“We realized we wanted to stay on-trend, and wellness is a category that is driving a lot of interest and curiosity from the consumer,” said Richard Vera, vp of brand relations for Scentbird. “These are brands that have a very millennial profile and a unique value proposition.”
Sym, a new platform that makes it easier for developers to integrate security and privacy workflows into their process, today announced that it has raised a $9 million Series A round led by Amplify Partners. Earlier this year, the company announced its $3 million seed round lead by Andy McLoughlin of Uncork Capital and Robin Vasan of Mango Capital. Angel investors include former Google CISO Gerhard Eschelbeck, Atlassian CTO Sri Viswanath and Jason Warner, the CTO of GitHub.
Sym co-founder Yasyf Mohamedali spent the last few years as CTO of health tech company Karuna Health. In that role, he became intimately familiar with working in a high-compliance industry, handling vendor reviews and security audits. To make those processes more efficient, his team built lots of small tools, but he realized that everybody else in the industry was doing the same.
Flatfile, the groundbreaking data onboarding software company, today announced $35 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Workday Ventures. and previous investors including Afore Capital, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, Gradient Ventures, and Two Sigma Ventures. Among a list of powerful angels investing in this round you’ll find founders of Box, Looker, and Segment. This brings the company’s total funding to nearly $45 million, $42.6 million of which has been raised in just the last year. This latest infusion of capital will be used to accelerate the company’s expansion of its all-remote workforce, along with continued product development.
Deskless workers make up 80% of the global workforce, but to Desmond Lim, that job title is his entire world.
Lim grew up in Singapore and saw his father wake up every morning, six days a week, at 5 a.m. to start his job as a driver. Lim and his mom, who worked as a cleaner, joined his father from time to time in the van. Lim realized there needed to be an easier way for hourly, or deskless, workers to find jobs quickly.
Lim is the founder of Workstream, an end-to-end software solution to help small-and-medium businesses fill open positions. Today, the startup announced it has raised a $10 million Series A round, bringing its total known financing to $12.5 million.
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.
TechCrunch spoke with co-founders Sara Du, CEO, and Gregg Mojica, CTO, about the round, their market and their experience in Y Combinator.
Du, a Harvard dropout, and Mojicam, who skipped college altogether, met after the former emailed the latter about speaking at an open-source conference. The event didn’t end up happening, but the pair stayed in touch. Du wound up running a small streetwear store, interested in automation and app-connecting tools like Zapier, which she found to be too simple, and MuleSoft, which she described as very expensive. Out of a desire for something in between that would let her connect apps, Alloy Automation was eventually born.
A new startup hopes to build a better clearing firm, a type of financial-market infrastructure business that drew scrutiny during the GameStop Corp. stock frenzy earlier this year.
Embedded Financial Technologies Inc. is a new custodian-and-clearing firm for equities and options founded by Michael Giles, who previously ran Cash App Investing LLC, a subsidiary of Square Inc. Its future customers would be able to integrate stock trading features into their mobile apps through Embedded’s APIs, or code that allows apps to communicate.
I started Microverse in February 2018 to help anyone, anywhere, learn software development and connect with life-changing global opportunities.
While we have much work to do, I’m happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish at just over a year old.
💪🏼 Created an incredibly selective process to identify the world’s most talented individuals (current selection rate is 0.3%).
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.
Obie, which has developed an insurtech platform for landlords, has raised $10.7 million in a Series A funding round led by Battery Ventures.
Thomvest Ventures, Funders Club, MetaProp and Second Century Ventures also participated in the financing.
If this sounds like a niche offering, that’s because it is. Obie’s software specifically targets small-to-medium size apartment landlords who own single-family rentals and/or larger apartment buildings.
Chicago-based Obie — which also went through the Y Combinator program — says its platform stands out because it offers instant quotes (by instant, they mean in about three to five minutes). The company also claims to save policyholders up to 25-30% compared to other insurance premiums. Over the past year, Obie has secured insurance for over $3 billion worth of property.
This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara and Gerard are joined by Kelly Smith, founder and CEO of Prenda, a company that helps create flexible learning environments known as microschools. Often described as the “reinvention of the one-room school house,” microschools combine homeschooling, online education, smaller class sizes, mixed age-level groupings, flipped classrooms, and personalized learning. Kelly shares what inspired him to launch Prenda in 2018, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted microschools to fame. They discuss how Prenda ensures teacher preparation in core academic areas, holds teachers accountable for student outcomes, and works to bridge achievement gaps.
Stories of the Week: A new report from Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann projects that school closures could cost the U.S. economy over $14.2 trillion by the end of the century. Idaho Gov. Brad Little announced $150 million in funding to public schools and parents for COVID-19 relief, including direct payments to families for educational materials, devices, and services. In The Atlantic, scholars discuss the pros and cons of families’ increasing propensity to consider alternatives to public schools, as a result of COVID.
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. The San Francisco-based startup raised over $2.5 million in their recent oversubscribed seed round led by Accel, with participation from Founders Fund, Soma Capital, Operator Collective, Jason Boehmig, Mathilde Collin (CEO of Front), and Amber Feng.
Every year around this time, Uber drivers, Wag dog walkers, Bird scooter chargers, social media influencers and other gig economy workers face the unsightly challenge of paying their taxes.
Companies like Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors, which means you aren’t given any benefits and the company doesn’t withhold any of your taxes. This puts gig workers in a tough position come tax day, especially if they aren’t prepared to shell out big sums to the IRS.
From long payment cycles to antiquated processes on how to bill workers, the hefty inefficiencies of the construction industry are long overdue for innovation.
Enter startups such as the large venture-backed Katerra and recently public companies such as Procore. Still, independent contractors or workers from small family businesses often can’t afford hefty fees from SaaS platforms promising better management. Or, they don’t have a parent company behind them to foot the bill.
Commercial contractors are critical to maintaining a building’s key infrastructure, such as elevators, escalators, security systems, and more. However, their business potential is limited by their antiquated, manual go-to-market strategies. Charlie Warren, Blake Meulmester and Brandon Dement saw the need for software in the commercial services business, creating Convex as a result. Convex is an enterprise software company focusing on helping commercial servicers increase their revenues through data-driven go-to-market strategies and improved customer discovery techniques. The San Francisco-based startup participated in Y Combinator’s Winter 2019 batch.
Four years after being set up in Marseilles, France, Volta Medical SAS reported raising $28 million in a series A round for the VX1 software mapping system, an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that is compatible with most readily available multipolar catheters and technology used in operating rooms and cath labs to treat cardiac arrhythmia.
Engineers have been chasing a form of AI that could drastically lower the energy required to do typical AI things like recognize words and images. This analog form of machine learning does one of the key mathematical operations of neural networks using the physics of a circuit instead of digital logic. But one of the main things limiting this approach is that deep learning’s training algorithm, back propagation, has to be done by GPUs or other separate digital systems.
Now University of Montreal AI expert Yoshua Bengio, his student Benjamin Scellier, and colleagues at startup Rain Neuromorphics have come up with way for analog AIs to train themselves. That method, called equilibrium propagation, could lead to continuously learning, low-power analog systems of a far greater computational ability than most in the industry now consider possible, according to Rain CTO Jack Kendall.
The dairy and egg industries are being disrupted by plant-based foodtech and the implications are huge. Phenomenal advances in food science are happening as consumers realise the benefits of plant-based both to themselves and to the environment. Food tech is stepping in, one such company is Spero Foods.
Eggs are consumed in more than 90% of North American households, however, 40% of American households are turning to plant-based, and the forecast is that this will continue to rise. Spero is one of the plantbased egg alternatives on the market, in addition to JUST, Clara Foods and others.
While the growth of game-streaming audiences have continued on desktop platforms, the streaming space has felt surprisingly stagnant at times, particularly due to the missing mobile element and a lack of startup competitors.
Lowkey, a gaming startup that builds software for game streamers, is aiming to build out opportunities in bit-sized clips on mobile. The startup wants to be a hub for both creating and viewing short gaming clips but also sees a big opportunity in helping streamers cut down their existing content for distribution on platforms like Instagram and TikTok where short-form gaming content sees a good deal of engagement.
Taconic Partners and Silverstein Properties announced that c16 Biosciences Inc. will establish its executive headquarters and biomanufacturing research lab within the Hudson Research Center at 619 West 54th Street.
A biomanufacturing company that uses microbiology to brew sustainable alternatives to palm oil, c16 Biosciences Inc. has leased 20,000 s/f of pre-built lab and office space on the 7th floor of the building. The company will move in at the end of summer.
“Hudson Research Center’s pre-built lab program was perfectly suited for what we do and where our company is headed,” added Shara Ticku, co-founder and CEO of c16 Biosciences Inc. “Its location, flexible lab spaces and amenities made the building an ideal fit for our team as we continue to address the drastic societal and environmental costs associated with palm oil. We are excited to grow our company here in New York City.”
Torch, a leading coaching, mentoring and learning development platform for enterprise-level executives, employees and HR leaders, and Radical Candor, an executive education company co-founded by Kim Scott, author of the bestselling book Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, together announce the launch of a new month-long course called “The Radically Candid Coach.”
Participants of the course will attend virtual presentations from Scott and randomly selected participants out of the first 100 to register will have a chance to receive live personal coaching with Scott during the sessions. The course launches May 27 and will run for four weeks. Those interested can register at: https://lp.torch.io/the-radically-candid-coach/.
Only 25% of organizations are using artificial intelligence (AI) in their businesses today. Why? Custom AI-enabled solutions are expensive to build, as talented data scientists are a hot commodity today and don’t come cheap. Top performers can easily command over $250,000 in annual salary, which seriously makes us question the money we
wasted invested in getting our MBAs. Not to mention, it can take months or even years to implement. CTOs are understandably suspicious of the latest buzzword du jour, so you need to show results fast.
More than 15,000 founders from 7,200 startups applied to this batch of Y Combinator. It chose just over 100, with founders from 22 countries, to go through its accelerator program. Today, the second half of those companies launched onstage, and we have breakdowns of all 51 of these businesses.
Oh, and the ACLU. The 97-year old legal activism nonprofit is far from a startup, but went through YC to learn more growth tactics.
Today’s set of companies focused on hardcore backend engineering tools and scrappy social apps. And thanks to YC’s recently developed Investor Match system, it’s able to route the startups and VCs most interested in each other into meetings.
Security compliance may not be the hottest conversation starter, but it’s a critical and often grueling process that companies have to endure every year to show that their security practices are up to par. It’s a burden that bogs down startups more than others, and so it’s fitting that startups are trying to find a better way.
Enter security compliance startup Secureframe, founded by Shrav Mehta and Natasja Nielsen, which thinks it has.
Today Doppler, the Universal Secrets Manager leader, launched Doppler Share and released enterprise-grade enhancements to its flagship platform. Now most organizations, regardless of size, can use Doppler to securely store secrets, increasing developer productivity while strengthening overall security. “In today’s environment speed equals competitive advantage,” stated Brian Vallelunga, founder and CEO of Doppler. “However speed can lead to compromised security when trying to meet aggressive timelines, especially if the security protocols create roadblocks.
Pawp (https://www.pawp.com/) is introducing an affordable alternative to pet insurance that supports pets and their owners during emergency situations, without exclusions. A $19 monthly subscription to Pawp Clinic includes 24/7 access to licensed vets and a $3,000 emergency fund — no matter a pet’s age, breed, location, or medical history — and can be applied for up to 6 cats and dogs in a household at no extra cost.
One of the woes of anyone’s teenage years is that no one trusts you with money. You’re young enough for adults to be a little skeptical but old enough that it stings. But what if there was a platform where you could have control over how you spend your money? Well, that is exactly what FamPay, a Bengaluru-based neo-bank (a bank that’s completely online) start-up, is providing adolescents. With its app and numberless card, called Famcard, its founders, Kush Taneja and Sambhav Jain expect that it will impart some financial education on the youth.
Sagar Malhi pulls out his phone and calls up a map of North America, covered in 7,200 pink dots. They speckle the continent, streak down the West Coast and cluster around cities like Chicago.
Each circle represents a truck fitted with one of Vancouver-based Switchboard’s electronic logging devices (ELDs).
“We bet huge on ELDs,” said Michael Ip, who co-founded the now nine-person startup with Malhi.
“This ELD was a big boon because this U.S. government mandate forced pretty much 20 million trucks to adopt this new technology. That’s crazy.”
Prior to the pandemic, average grocery profits hovered around 2%, mostly due to transportation and logistical inefficiencies. Shifting product demand and sales compounded these issues, with stores now responsible for 10% of U.S. food waste. This over-ordering not only costs profitability, but forces retailers to increase prices to make up for the losses. In April 2020, grocery prices showed their steepest monthly increase in nearly 50 years, led by rising prices for perishables like meat and eggs.
Reverie Labs, a pharmaceutical startup founded by Jonah Kallenbach, A.B./S.M. ’17 (computer science) and Ankit Gupta, A.B./S.M. ’17 (computer science) raised $25 million from investors.
The company uses machine learning, physics-based modeling, and massive-scale computational infrastructure to engineer new medicines. Reverie will use this funding to advance its internal and partnered drug discovery programs towards the clinic, further develop its innovative computational discovery platform, and expand its team of scientists and engineers.
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.
UWM’s Sandra McLellan and MIT’s Eric Alm are among the world’s foremost experts at detecting very small organisms in very large quantities of sewage — a useful tool during the COVID-19 pandemic. But despite their similar research capabilities, Alm’s work is having a wider impact and creating more economic value and high-paying jobs.
The reason: A startup spinout called Biobot Analytics.
Sean Mitchell is the CEO of REZI, a leading technology company he co-founded in 2017. REZI is the only fully remote and automated marketplace for long-term apartment rentals. It empowers landlords to lease their apartments up to 80% faster than the market average by allowing tenants to find, tour, and close on their next rental in as little as 5 minutes. Before co-founding REZI, Sean had a career in financial services including roles at Corbin Capital Partners and JP Morgan Chase’s Chief Investment Office. He graduated from Florida A&M University with a BS in Business Administration. He grew up in South Florida, before relocating to New York City, where he lives with his wife.
REZI knows that where you live determines how you live. That’s why it’s steadfastly committed to using innovative technologies to make the rental experience simple, fast, and fair for landlords and tenants alike.
Lean manufacturing, the philosophy driving gains in productivity and quality for more than a century, is based on five core ideas:
● Figure out a product’s value to customers
● Map its value-stream and remove unnecessary steps
● Set up a flow that allows it to move continuously through the remaining steps
● Establish a pull system for production
● Strive to perfect the process
These principles led companies to become world leaders. While the manufacturing facility has evolved in recent decades, the principles of lean manufacturing still apply. Indeed, advances in artificial intelligence and factory robotics are automating the manufacturing process even further, opening up new paths to apply lean.
Jim Xiao learned about building enterprise platforms at Microsoft China. An executive role at a wireless company taught him about manufacturing Android devices. And he saw how hardware wasn’t catching up to software during a 4.5-year stint with Dan Gilbert’s venture capital firm.
All three experiences led Xiao to what is arguably his most exciting adventure yet: leading Seattle startup Mason, which has quietly grown into a fledgling “mobile infrastructure as a service” company that just raised a $25 million investment round.
Software APIs help different tools communicate with one another, let developers access essential services without having to code it themselves and are critical components for driving a platform-driven strategy. Yet they require solid documentation to help make the best use of them. ReadMe, a startup that helps companies customize their API documentation, announced a $9 million Series A today led by Accel with help from Y Combinator. The company was part of the Y Combinator Winter 2015 cohort.