BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is acquiring FutureAdvisor, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based online financial advisory firm that aims to help people manage their existing IRAs, 401(s) and other investment accounts. According to the Financial Times, FutureAdvisor was picked up for between $150 million and $200 million. The company had raised $21.5 million from investors, shows Crunchbase.
BlackRock Embraces Robo Finance Advice with Acquisition of FutureAdvisor
Rise, A Nutrition Coaching App, Acquires HealthyOut
Rise, a service that connects users with diet coaches, has acquired healthy restaurant food recommendation startup HealthyOut. HealthyOut combs the menus of nearby restaurants to find healthy foods and then gives recommendations on what is the best option for different kinds of diets and eating habits. It uses machine learning to process restaurants, and is processing 140,000 restaurants around the country. HealthyOut has been downloaded around 730,000 times and helps Rise provide more of what they think is necessary to help create a healthier diet in a range of different scenarios, CEO Suneel Gupta said.
Verge Genomics Wants To Cure Neurodegenerative Diseases Through Advanced Algorithms
Launching out of Y Combinator, Verge Genomics is looking to find cures for brain diseases. Alzheimers, ALS, and Parkinsons are complex diseases that usually involve a network of genes, as opposed to a single gene. According to the company, over 99.9 percent of drug discoveries ultimately fail because researchers are looking at a single gene at a time. But Verge Genomics is able to cure brain diseases 1000x more quickly than big pharma by using algorithms to map out the human genome and understand hundreds of genes at once. The company then takes public information about which genes are affected by already-FDA-approved drugs that may have expired patents and go into testing once the matching process is already complete. By comparison, big pharma goes straight into blind testing on drugs based on single genes, usually spending around $2 billion and 12 years to get a single new drug to market. “I like to use a basketball analogy,” said co-founder Jason Chen. “Big pharma is taking the approach of covering the best player on the court, whereas we approach the game by spreading out our defense and covering the whole team, man-to-man.”
Healthy Food Delivery Startup Zesty Served $17 Million In Funding To Cater Beyond The Bay
Food delivery startup Zesty turned corporate last year and began an office catering program. The startup now plans to go beyond serving in San Francisco and recently pulled in $17 million in Series A funding to do that. Index Ventures led the round, with participation from Founders Fund and previous investor Forerunner Ventures. Zesty raised a healthy $3.7 million in seed money from Y Combinator, SV Angel and others in the spring of 2014. The startup now possesses a total of $20.7 million in venture capital to use for its expansion plans.
Interactive Video Startup Fuisz Media Shows It Pays to Hit Cannes to Wheel and Deal
If you’ve never been to the Cannes advertising festival, you may wonder if any work actually gets done amid all of the yacht parties, rosé consumption and celebrity sightings. Well, the startup Fuisz Media may provide an illuminating look into why all these high-powered media and ad executives spend so much money to get to the South of France for a week. Fuisz, with the help of media investor and just-named board member Ross Levinsohn, used Cannes last week to conduct more than 20 meetings with top ad agency executives and chief marketing officers from major brands. Chief Executive Justin Fuisz said he expects to have immediate, serious discussions about partnerships with several of these folks in the next few weeks as the result of his Cannes travels.
On-Demand Used Car Buying and Selling Comes to L.A.
The on-demand economy has, with a few taps on an app, brought everything from lunches to laundry to our doorsteps. Now it wants to bring us something a lot bigger: used cars. Bay Area start-up Shift recently rolled out its on-demand car buying and selling service in Los Angeles, providing what it calls the “full end-to-end experience” of buying or selling a used car -- from your desktop or phone. At its core, it’s like Craigslist, but a slew of features brings it closer to on-demand counterparts like grocery delivery service Instacart and postal service Shyp.
Couch Wars: The Startup Trying to Corner the Used-Furniture Market
In the race to disrupt Craigslist’s saggy-sofa trade, a little startup called Move Loot just took a big step. On Thursday morning, the company began connecting used-furniture sellers with buyers in Los Angeles and New York, linking an untold pile of weathered coffee tables and creaky dressers with the operations it already has in Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and around its Oakland (Calif.) headquarters. Basically, Move Loot is a consignment shop mashed up with a Web store like Etsy and a delivery service like UPS. It has about 100 employees that will pick up old furniture, give it light refurbishment, list it online, and deliver it to a buyer. The seller gets 50 percent of the sale price and doesn’t have to create an online profile, worry about shipping, or even snap a series of fuzzy photos in terrible lighting.
New rules for IPOs in America - Open season
THE ECONOMIST - Sometimes revolutions have small beginnings. SeedInvest is a three-year-old company with 20 employees sharing space in a second-tier building near Wall Street. But it has positioned itself to be at the heart of a fundamental change in America’s capital markets. On June 19th Title IV of the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act of 2012 goes into effect. It will change how small companies raise money. Those seeking $20m-50m will be able to offer their shares to the public while skipping some of the most costly regulatory requirements that normally involves, including being vetted by state officials, issuing quarterly reports and listing their shares on an exchange.
Grocery Labels for Do-Gooders
In this week’s happy news, I learned that the grocery products stocking my kitchen are systematically destroying society and ruining the planet. The Greek yogurt has a lousy carbon footprint. The ancient jar of mustard was produced with substandard labor practices. And those innocent-looking carrots? Raised by an evil, chemical-crazed agrimonster.
Video Conferencing Company Fuze Buys LiveMinutes, Raises $20M To Expand Into Team Collaboration
San Francisco-based video conferencing company Fuze is expanding its platform today with the acquisition of an online team collaboration platform, LiveMinutes. With the addition, Fuze is no longer focused only on online meetings, but is now also rolling out a new product called Fuze Spaces which allows colleagues to chat, share and comment on files, organize projects, and more via a web-based dashboard. Fuze also announced today it had closed on $20 million in new funding from Hermes Growth Partners to continue to expand its business.
Interior Define, Maker Of Ultra-Customizable Couches, Launches 3D Visualizer
Interior Define, the company that offers totally customizable sofas at a relatively affordable price, is today announcing new tools to help online shoppers. The company is introducing a new 3D interface for shoppers so that they can see the products from every angle, in every different customization, so that they truly know what they’re getting into. Before, users were checking out static images of the products. Interior Define tapped a company called Cylindo, which offers furniture visualization technology, to power the new functionality on their own website.