Posted Feb 12, 2018 by Connie Loizos (@cookie)
According to serial entrepreneur Jeff Cavins, more than 35 million people each year look to rent an RV — 38 percent of them so-called millennials. Yet they often walk away from the experience empty-handed. The reason, he says: There are fewer than 100,000 commercially owned vehicles available from traditional rental services.
Cavins says that his San Francisco-based company, Outdoorsy, is beginning to address this issue by enabling owners of the 14 million privately owned RVs in the United States to rent them to users, à la Airbnb.
The vehicles are mostly sitting around collecting dust anyway, says Cavins, who co-founded the company in late 2014 after heading up seven previous companies — two of which were publicly traded.
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The financial services industry is facing a wave of digital disruption that is starting to reshape the sector. The Fintech 100 celebrates the top companies this bold new space: the 50 leading established players creating change within financial services, and 50 of the emerging fintech stars of tomorrow. The Fintech 100 offers an in-depth view of the most exciting startups and organisations taking advantage of technology to revolutionise the industry. The report is a collaborative effort between H2 Ventures and KPMG.
Love Bitcoin or hate it, Wall Street’s establishment increasingly wants to trade it.
On Tuesday, CME Group
Later this quarter, CME will begin trading Bitcoin futures by way of a cash-settled contract based on its CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate. The once-a-day rate will set the price of bitcoin futures and will be based on pricing seen on crypto exchanges such as Bitstamp, DGAX, itBit and Kraken.
CHICAGO, 31 OCTOBER 201 /CME GROUP/ — CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, today announced it intends to launch bitcoin futures in the fourth quarter of 2017, pending all relevant regulatory review periods.
The new contract will be cash-settled, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR) which serves as a once-a-day reference rate of the U.S. dollar price of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures will be listed on and subject to the rules of CME.
“Given increasing client interest in the evolving cryptocurrency markets, we have decided to introduce a bitcoin futures contract,” said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “As the world’s largest regulated FX marketplace, CME Group is the natural home for this new vehicle that will provide investors with transparency, price discovery and risk transfer capabilities.”
May Mobility is a startup making its official debut at Y Combinator’s demo day on Monday, focused on offering autonomous driving technology that companies with commercial fleets will be able to use in the near-term, not a decade from now. But the startup, while young, actually has a decade of experience, thanks to a team that’s been working on autonomous tech since the third DARPA Grand Challenge in 2007.
May Mobility is led by CEO and co-founder Edwin Olson, who used to act as lead investigator on Ford’s autonomous driving program. Olson was also a co-director focused on autonomous driving at Toyota Research Institute, which houses some of the top minds in the world in robotics, and is taking a leave from his current role as an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Michigan to build May.
But VCs aren’t giving up on the dream of getting food delivered cheaply through an app. They’re just trying to find ways to do so with fewer subsidies, or even profitably. One promising niche is targeting the hungry office worker. Investors recently put $30 million into Eat Club Inc., which delivers premade lunches in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles. The company, which said it’s profitable, plans to use the money for an expansion to New York.
Eat Club offers similar options to Munchery or Sprig, with about 20 entrées per day, but only delivers to offices with 20 or more employees. Workers can order from an app or website. By delivering an office’s meals together, the company estimates it costs 90 percent less per dish compared with on-demand startups. Eat Club said its couriers drop off 20,000 meals a day, mainly to midsized technology companies such as Flipboard. Eat Club declined to say how many corporate customers have signed up but said it expects to generate $50 million in revenue this year.Read more–>
EAT Club, the fastest-growing provider of corporate lunch programs, announced today that it raised a $30 million Series C round, led by a strategic investor, Sodexo, the worldwide leader in Quality of Life Services, with participation from existing investors August Capital and Trinity Ventures. The $30 million investment will fund expansion to New York City and broaden the company’s existing footprint in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles.
EAT Club is a Silicon Valley startup that is revolutionizing the way people eat at the office at thousands of companies in California today. The company sets itself apart from the overcrowded food delivery segment with a unique logistics model driven by its own proprietary technology, providing offices with individually selected employee meals at scale. Today, EAT Club serves tens of thousands of individual meals per day with a 99.7% on-time delivery rate, and is generating a profit with healthy contribution margins, a measure of success others have not been able to achieve in this large and growing segment.
European founders, adept at launching startups which cross many international borders are fast ganging a reputation for launching in emerging markets. In countries where markets are often still very chaotic, there remains a host of opportunities.
That’s evidenced by the news today that the Frontier Car Group, which builds and runs marketplaces for used cars in emerging markets, has closed a $22 million investment, which was co-led by Balderton Capital, EchoVC+ and TPG/Satya. Also included was NEA, Tekton Ventures, Partech Ventures and “a few large global family offices” according to their statement.
Frontier now has operations in Chile, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey but operates out of Berlin, with 200 employees. It’s going to use the cash to expand into Chile, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.
In a statement Sujay Tyle, co-founder and CEO of Frontier said: “The automotive sales sector is fundamentally broken in top-tier emerging markets around the world. Despite massive consumer demand, there is no good way for people to sell their cars efficiently for a fair price. Our vision is to reinvent how the used automotive sales sector works in global emerging markets through technology and infrastructure creation.”
E-commerce fraud is a growing problem, but Signifyd thinks it has a solution to save businesses money.
Their company is growing fast and has closed a $56 million Series C investment led by Bain Capital Ventures. Menlo Ventures and American Express also participated in the round.
Signifyd counts big clients like Jet.com, Peet’s Coffee and Lacoste, where it uses its pattern recognition technology to warn them upfront about potential fraudulent charges. Signifyd is so confident in its assessments that it offers the companies a guarantee, so they don’t have to pay for errors.
The product “protects the merchants so they don’t have to bear the liability,” said co-founder and CEO Rajesh Ramanand. The team has been developing a “machine learning platform that makes these decision in real-time.”
Don’t you love it when there’s a fragmented market with many different actors and outdated tech products? French startup FretLink is using all the tips in the startup handbook and applying them to a neglected industry — the trucking industry.
FretLink is a software-as-a-service marketplace connecting thousands of transportation companies with companies that need to send big piles of stuff. And the startup just raised $6.4 million (€6 million) from Daphni, Tekton Ventures, Elaia Partners and Breega Capital.
If you’re like me, you don’t know much about the transportation industry. Sure, you know the names of a few big logistics companies that bring you your Amazon packages. But it’s a bit more mysterious if you think about the pallets that move from one warehouse to another.
Viva Republic, the company behind Korean financial services app Toss, has closed a $48 million Series C funding round which includes a strategic investment from payment giant PayPal.
The deal is PayPal’s second investment this year — coming just days after it backed health startup Virta — but the round was led by San Mateo-based VC firm Goodwater Capital, which led Viva Republica’s Series B round and counts Korean tech giants Kakao (messaging) and Coupang (e-commerce) among its portfolio. Bessemer Venture Partners, Altos Ventures, Tekton Ventures and Partech Ventures also participated in the round.
There’s a field full of flower delivery services to choose from these days from the old school 1-800-flowers and FTD to startups popping up over the last few years like BloomThat, Farmgirl Flowers, UrbanStems and The Bouqs.
That last one just raised $24 million in Series C financing, bringing the total now to $43 million. The Bouqs doesn’t quite roll off the tongue but that fresh new funding puts it at the top of the heap in capital raised among on-demand flower startups.
Like its competitors, the Los Angeles-based outfit delivers Pinterest-worthy bouquets at the click of a button. The difference being The Bouqs gets its supply directly from the farm, cutting out costs from middlemen and bringing you flowers that last longer.
The financing was led by new investor Partech Ventures. Other newbies to the round include Tekton Ventures, NextEquity Partners and Reimagined Ventures. Existing investors Azure Capital Partners, KEC Ventures, Quest Venture Partners, and Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec (who first laughed at the valuation during The Bouqs initial presentation to the Sharks, by the way. So, entrepreneurs, don’t give up hope!).
Cuvva, the Scottish startup that reckons it’s spotted a gap in the market by offering hourly car insurance sold through a mobile app, is set to launch a novel and potentially disruptive new type of car insurance designed for infrequent drivers.
It’s well known that many people who own a car drive it less and less these days, especially those who live in a city, and yet conventional car insurance does a relatively poor job of reflecting this in the premiums we pay…
…Cuvva is announcing £1.5 million in new funding, in a round led by LocalGlobe, the VC fund founded by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein.
The startup’s other backers include Tekton Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Seedcamp, Nick Hungerford (founder of Nutmeg) and Ian Hogarth (founder of SongKick). Cuvva has raised £2 million since being founded in late 2014.
Drone delivery startup Flirtey has raised $16 million in Series A funding to bring its high-flying service to new customers, companies and possibly countries. Earlier, the startup raised $120,000 in seed funding and participated in the Y Combinator accelerator. Flirtey was also the first company to attain FAA approvals to conduct a drone delivery in the US in 2015. That fact helped it land one of its drones in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, a milestone that CEO Matthew Sweeny calls a “kittyhawk” moment for the startup.
Flirtey’s Series A round was led by the company’s seed investors, Menlo Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures, and joined by Tekton Ventures, Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, Y Combinator and World Innovation Lab, a firm that counts among its limited partners the Japanese airline ANA, Goodwater Capital, Amity Ventures and Partech Ventures.
This announcement caps off a record year of growth for the company, which recently welcomed Laura Mercier founder and former CEO Janet Gurwitch to its Advisory Board
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Memebox announced it had raised $60M in a Series C extension round. Led by new and existing investors including Goodwater Capital, Altos Ventures, Tekton Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Mousse Partners, Formation Group, Funders Club, Pear Ventures, Cota Capital and Janet Gurwitch, the round is an extension of the $66M the company raised in its initial Series C. The round brings the company to $160M raised since it was founded in 2012.
The additional investment will allow Memebox to continue to invest in streamlining its mobile shopping experience, develop a database of beauty ingredients and products, and build out its global operations for efficiency as the company grows its global footprint.
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Hyperloop Technologies Inc., a Los Angeles-based company building a futuristic transportation system, said it raised $50 million in convertible-debt financing and hired Uber Technologies Inc.’s former chief financial officer.
DP World Group of Dubai, one of the world’s largest ports operators, led the funding round, with its chairman and chief executive officer Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem taking a Hyperloop board seat. The company, known as Hyperloop One, has now raised $160 million. CEO Rob Lloyd, a former Cisco Systems Inc. executive, has made finding a chief financial officer and new strategic partners top priorities since joining the company last year. Hyperloop One already works with organizations such as French railway SNCF and engineering giant Arup Group.The new hire, former Uber CFO Brent Callinicos, will serve as a full-time strategic adviser, the company said in a statement. Previously, he worked as vice president, treasurer, and chief accountant at Google, and also held various roles in finance at Microsoft Corp.
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TapFwd matches online and offline data sets to mobile device IDs and then sells these data sets to help advertisers target campaigns. The rough analogy is “a BlueKai built from the ground up for mobile,” said TapFwd CEO Alex Wasserman.
By including data that marketers want to use for targeting, such as automotive, financial, purchase history and demographic data sets, TapFwd plans to accelerate the use of mobile as a platform for brand advertising, not just performance advertising.
“Person-level targeting in desktop has been around for awhile, but on mobile it hasn’t been around except for Facebook,” Wasserman said.
On the content creation side of its business, the startup reports that 2.5 million unique users have already created 25 million “Gfycats,” or short, silent, looping animations and video clips.
Gfycat also boasts 75 million monthly active users on the viewer side of its platform, who watch 1.5 billion user-generated GIFs and clips there per month.
CEO and founder Richard Rabbat said the clips are not technically the same as GIFS. Technically, the company’s site is a Webm host that lets people convert videos into short-form, shareable, looping and fast-loading clips.
“My cofounders and I were avid GIF creators but just found them hard to make, slow to upload, and when you shared them, the quality wasn’t very good. We wanted to make it easier to upload a video, say this is the part I want to turn into a GIF and then to share it,” he explained.
Gfycat is already ranked as a top 100 site in the U.S. by Alexa, however it is not yet generating revenue. A repeat media entrepreneur, Rabbat started the company formally with Dan McEleney and Jeff Harris in 2015.
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Online merchants spend a lot of money on chargebacks, which are demands by credit card providers to reimburse for fraudulent charges. That’s why Signifyd created technology that assesses a transaction risk before the card is processed.
The San Jose-based company is raising $19 million in financing for its fraud protection services. Investors include Menlo Ventures, TriplePoint Capital and American Express Ventures.
Many e-commerce businesses do not have the resources to screen for risky transactions, so Signifyd’s financial guarantee has allowed them to secure clients like Jet.com, Lacoste, and Peet’s coffee. Signifyd says it has developed machine learning capabilities that are accurate enough for them to feel confident reimbursing the merchant on the rare occasions when its predictive technology is wrong.