Six-year-old sneaker startup Allbirds is collaborating with the 70-year-old sporting giant Adidas to design a performance sports shoe with what the brands believe will be the world’s lowest carbon footprint. The companies aren’t sharing many specific details, but we know they’re planning to combine their respective areas of expertise to create a shoe that has a carbon footprint of just 2 kg compared to the average 12.5 kg of other sneakers on the market. “Allbirds’ goal is redesigning the sneaker from the ground up,” says James Carnes, VP of brand strategy at Adidas. “Adidas’s goal is to sustainably manufacture at scale.” They hope to release a shoe in the next year.
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The entrepreneur Ben West realized that he wanted to make his own line of grills in 2015, while working as the C.E.O. of a cookstove and solar product company stationed in Kenya, where the temperate weather allows for a steady stream of barbecues. “That’s where I fell in love with cooking outdoors, with wood and charcoal,” West told me recently. Now, he is preparing to fill orders for his newly launched brand, Spark Grills. With a barrel shape inspired by midcentury modern design, the matte-finished, weather-resistant grills are available in dark gray, cream, sage and navy and are equipped with double-walled porcelain enamel shells that provide insulation and come with an attached chopping board made from bamboo. They’re also gas-free; West partnered with food and biomass scientists in Boulder, Colo., to create custom briquettes — available, for now, in hickory and apple-wood flavor
Human Interest tacks on $10M more to its Series C
The COVID-19 pandemic is making life worse for many startups, but not all. Those benefiting are often taking advantage of the market updraft to add more capital to their accounts. Robinhood, for example, saw usage of its consumer fintech product rise rapidly. Then the company raised a Series F worth $280 million at a new, higher valuation. Another startup has done something similar. Human Interest, a finservices 401(k) provider for SMBs, added $10 million to its Series C today. The company’s Series C round is now worth a total of $50 million. Glynn Capital led the Series C extension.
Companies are scrambling to figure out how to get employees back to the office safely. One of Silicon Valley's favorite healthcare startups thinks it has the solution.
Silicon Valley Based Collective Health is stepping in to help employers navigate getting back into the office. Today the company introduced Collective Go, which they called their "return to work product that combines testing and verification, contact and symptom screening and tracing in a single app."
Sequoia Capital-led $14.5M Series A Brings Vise Out Of Stealth
Portfolio management platform Vise came out of stealth mode Tuesday with $14.5 million in Series A funding and several clients with financial advisors, committed to using Vise, that represent more than $800 million in assets under management. Samir Vasavada and Runik Mehrotra founded the New York City-based startup in 2016 to automate aspects of investment management for financial advisers using artificial intelligence. Vise’s full-stack platform spans the entire lifecycle of the adviser-client relationship, including designing personalized portfolios for clients, managing portfolios and providing ongoing intelligence.
Trillions are at stake in the retirement wars, and Vise nets $14.5M from Sequoia to manage it
The retirement wars are heating up. As millions of baby boomers leave their jobs in the coming years and transition into retirement, there is a huge competition for who will manage their savings. On one hand are traditional wealth managers, firms like Edward Jones, who either employ full-time human financial advisors or empower independent contractors to help clients plan through their finances. On the other side has been the rise of “roboadvisors” like Wealthfront that use algorithms and simple financial products like ETFs to advise people at lower cost.
This eco-friendly hand sanitizer kills germs and is plastic-free
Just over a year after it launched on a mission to eliminate excess packaging and single-use plastic from personal care products, by Humankind has made a name for itself with smartly designed items such as an all-natural refillable deodorant stick, a well-reviewed bar shampoo and conditioner, and just-add-water mouthwash tablets. Now, as our reliance on single-use plastic increases in the name of COVID-19 prevention, by Humankind is stepping up with a new hand sanitizer that protects your health and takes the environment into consideration.
Allbirds debuts its first running shoe
Allbirds is daring to enter the highly competitive market for athletic footwear. And if going up against brands like Nike, Adidas and Asics was not daunting enough, Allbirds is debuting its first-ever running shoe in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic. The Silicon Valley-based start-up, known for its comfy wool sneakers made out of sustainable materials, has been working on perfecting the running silhouette for years, said Allbirds co-founder Tim Brown. Prior to Covid-19 slamming the U.S. economy and forcing the closure of thousands of retailers’ shops, including Allbirds’, Brown said the company was targeting an April 2020 launch.
Miss your fancy coffee shop habit? Silicon Valley has the answer—in one tablespoon
For many people, the coffee shop is high up on the ever-growing list of previously daily conveniences and rituals you now miss, thanks to the necessity of social distancing and shelter-at-home orders. A perfect espresso. A soothing latte. Even if they spelled your name wrong on the cup. After a month of making do by making your own at home, you’d gladly take a cup with “Kevin” scrawled across it. It is into this caffeinated void that a new kind of coffee company called Jot is launching—promising a better-tasting, perfect cup delivered like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Clara Health Raises $11M to Launch COVID-19 Clinical Trial Initiative
San Francisco-based startup Clara Health announced Tuesday that it raised $11 million in its latest financing round, led by Founders Fund. The company plans on using the new funding to support the launch of its new “World Without COVID” initiative. Once patients register on the company’s website, they can access a wide variety of experimental treatments for COVID-19, completely free. Clara Health then presents patients with opportunities to participate in clinical trials for vaccines, treatments, antibody testing and blood plasma transfusion.
Allbirds Is The First Fashion Brand To Label Its Carbon Footprint Like Calories
Sustainable fashion brand Allbirds has just announced it has become the first fashion brand to label every item produced with its carbon footprint. From now on, everything that the brands makes will include a number representing the CO2 emitted to create it–7.6 kg CO2e being the average for Allbirds footwear. For context, the carbon footprint of a plastic bag is around 1.6 kg, a pair of jeans is around 29.6 kg, and bicycles are around 240 kg.
How a 25-year-old is addressing mental health during the coronavirus crisis
Improving the mental health care system has been a longtime passion for 25-year-old Ariela Safira. When a friend attempted suicide, she got an eye-opening look at a system that she realized didn't make sense. She dedicated years to studying and redesigning it, and after joining Columbia University's clinical psychology program, she discovered even more fundamental flaws within the system, chief among them being an outdated training model and an unstable income stream that deters many potentially eager providers from pursuing private practice. From this, she decided to start Real, a membership-based organization offering an innovative approach to therapy and mental health for female-identifying people in New York. Imagine The Wing, but for mental health.