Spending money on products and services that match your values can be tricky if you don't have the time -- or inclination -- to do huge amounts of research each time you go shopping. There's a lot at stake. After all, Americans spend $36 billion each day, said Andrei Cherny, a former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore and co-founder of Aspiration -- an investment firm that aims to make it much easier to spend on products and services you trust. "People want to think about how they can use their money to make a positive impact, but often they don't have the information to make those decisions," said Cherny, who has also worked as a financial fraud prosecutor.
Roomi raises $11 million to find you a roommate
Looking for a roommate on Craigslist can be cumbersome. And it can be difficult to determine what the person will be like in real life. A startup called Roomi thinks it has a better solution for finding people to live with. Its app and website help you search for apartment listings with background-checked profiles from the tenants. It also pulls data from social media, like photos and employment information. New York-based Roomi says it has signed up a million people since it launched in 2015. Its average customer is a young professional, aged 26. Roomi is announcing that it’s raised $11 million to accelerate its business.The round is led by London-based Atami Capital, with participation from DCM, Great Oaks Venture Capital and others. Strategic investors including Scott and Cyan Banister are also participating. This brings the total funding raised to date to $17 million.
Sports jersey rental startup Rep the Squad expands to NBA, raises another $1M from athletes
Rep the Squad is growing. The Seattle startup, which launched its sports jersey rental service three months ago, today added NBA jerseys to its collection and also announced an additional $1 million in funding. Rep the Squad charges customers $19.95 per month to receive selected jerseys in the mail, one at a time — it’s the model Netflix used in its early days. When you’re done wearing one, you can return it and receive a different jersey as long as you maintain your subscription. The company launched with NFL jerseys for Seahawks, 49ers and Lions players; it added Denver and Oakland last month. NBA jerseys from Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons, and Denver Nuggets players will soon be available on the platform, the company announced Wednesday. Seattle hoops fans, take notice: Rep the Squad also added retro Sonics jerseys today.
Thrive Capital leads healthtech startup Welkin Health’s $8 million Series A
Digital patient relationship platform Welkin Health has landed $8 million in Series A financing, led by Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital. This now brings the total in the VC piggy bank to $12 million for the company. Welkin launched in 2013 as a digital monitoring system for diabetics. It joined Rock Health in 2014 to create a disease management platform with robotic coaching tools similar to Livongo Health and other chronic condition management platforms. Welkin launched its first major pilot with Humana’s Innovation Group in 2015, helping to put the startup in a recognizable position among competitors.
Rep the Squad is a subscription service to borrow authentic sports jerseys
Authentic sports jerseys are expensive and infrequently worn, but that doesn’t stop fans from wanting to own as many as possible from all their favorite players. So why not borrow them? Meet Rep the Squad – the company is essentially Netflix (well, the old DVD-version of Netflix) for sports jerseys. For $20 a month the startup will send you one authentic jersey at a time that you can wear to a game, to the bar or around the house. You keep it as long as you want, and once you return it they’ll send you the next one on your list. The jerseys will always be 100% authentic and authorized by each respective league – meaning for NBA jerseys fans will get the new Nike ones, with a built-in interactive chip. There’s also a youth option for $17 per month, with smaller versions of the same jerseys that adults get. All jerseys are also professionally cleaned and inspected before being re-sent out.
Acorns to launch new retirement accounts after buying Portland fintech startup, Vault
Micro-investment service, Acorns, which automatically invests small amounts from its customers’ bank accounts into investment funds, has bought Vault, a Portland-based developer of retirement fund investment services. Vault’s application lets its users set aside part of their paychecks into retirement funds. The deal is a solid compliment to Acorns’ own investment app, which is more for acclimating users to the idea of investing in the stock market. The company said that, thanks to the acquisition, it will be launching a new individual retirement account, called Acorns Later. Current Acorns customers can get on the waitlist today for the new product, available starting January 2018, the company said.
Away's New Collaboration With Gray Malin Was Made For Wanderlusts
Away founders and 30 Under 30 alumni, Steph Korey and Jen Rubio have been changing the way people travel since they launched in February 2016. In under two years, the brand has sold more than 150,000 suitcases with projections to generate $50 million in revenue by the end of 2017. From a “millennial pink” collection that sold out in days to capsules with brands like Madewell, Away continues to be a cult favorite and the go-to luggage for celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski, Jessica Alba and the Haim sisters, and “it" girls all over Instagram. Korey and Rubio aren’t stopping anytime soon. Today, the brand revealed their latest collaboration co-designed by jet-setting photographer, Gray Malin.
This Former White House Staffer Invented a Video Game That Could Reinvent the Hiring Process
Hiring someone who turns out to be a bad fit can be costly: Unhappy employees cost the U.S. economy between $450 billion and $550 billion in lost productivity each year, according to research firm Gallup. And replacing a full-time worker can cost up to twice the employee's salary. While working on a project at Harvard Law School, Angela Antony found herself immersed in statistics like those. "If you look across the economy, about 46 percent of hires leave within 18 months. That's despite all the time, resources, and billions of dollars spent trying to effectively hire," Antony says. "My research was really trying to understand what that missing data set was that was preventing us from being able to accurately predict people's long-term performance in a role."
Silicon Valley's shoe darling launches a line for kids
A shoe company that has already won over Silicon Valley's adults is launching a line for kids. Online start-up Allbirds, which opened its first New York store last month, has designed a pint-size version of its shoes for children, called Smallbirds. Smallbirds is available starting Tuesday, selling in Allbirds' two physical stores and on its website. "We thought this was a natural use of our soft, comfortable materials, to create kids' shoes that were just as good, if not better," co-founder Tim Brown told CNBC. "There was a really strong sense from customers that they wanted this." The merino wool-built shoes are fit for kids' constant movement, the company said, and are made with a machine-washable, stretchable fabric. The pairs will come in blue, red and gray, and retail for $55.
Gfycat hits 130M monthly active users as short form video heats up
GIFs — or, let’s call it for what it is: short-form video — were always pretty popular, but it still seems surprising that we would embed them into our phone’s keyboards. But here we are in 2017, and there is a group of startups that are looking to bring the usage, or in the case of Gfycat the creation, of GIFs closer and closer to an everyday thing. So it’s not surprising that Gfycat CEO Richard Rabbat would explain why the company says it has hit 130 million daily active users as many of these startups start to run past the 100 million mark. That number counts how many users call in short form video from the startup’s back-end, which means that based on tracking mechanisms Rabbat says aims to be on the more conservative side. Giphy, a GIF keyboard and network, said it hit 200 million monthly active users in July, and all this growth just goes to show how effective GIFs have become as a way of cramming a lot of information into a small amount of space.
Allbirds is launching a kids shoe line called–what else?–Smallbirds
Allbirds, Silicon Valley’s favorite wool shoe brand, just got a whole lot cuter with a new limited-edition line of toddler and kids shoes called–wait for it–Smallbirds. Allbirds has been a darling of the startup world, having raked in more than $27 million in investment to scale its growth. Founded in 2015 by New Zealander Tim Brown, a former soccer player, and entrepreneur Joey Zwilinger, the company has so far only produced two styles of shoe, a sneaker and a flat, both for $95. The shoes, which are made from superfine merino wool, are soft, moisture wicking, temperature regulating, and odor-minimizing. They can also be worn sock-free. All of these features make them perfect for toddlers and kids. The stretchy nature of the material means that they can accommodate
How This Travel Brand Is Transforming Social Impact
In the age of social responsibility, startup founders are more than innovative – they're socially conscious and committed to the world around them. Now more than ever, millennial entrepreneurs are aware of the impact their brands have on the world, and they embrace the double bottom line approach. Doing good isn't just a part of the company puzzle, it's the very foundation. Enter Away. Away is an innovative travel brand bringing trendy, high-quality luggage to the mass market. Launched in February 2016, Away has already sold more than 100,000 suitcases and is projecting more than $50 million in revenue in 2017. But for the Away team, it's always been about more than travel. For founders Steph Korey and Jen Rubio, two Forbes and Inc. 30 under 30 alums, creating a company that made an impact on the world has been the foundation of their work at Away.