Can you improve on something that's already close to perfect? That's what I wondered after Allbirds last month debuted a new shoe, the $95 loafer-style "Wool Loungers." When I reviewed the original $95 “Wool Runners,” last year, I was charmed by the New Zealand wool sneakers' look and feel. And I've continued to get tons of unsolicited compliments from strangers on them since. I'm not the only one in their thrall. Over the last year, Silicon Valley startup founders and venture capitalists have
Away Packs Capital for Retail Stores
Travel-gear startup Away is expanding its brick-and-mortar presence, an increasingly common business strategy for e-commerce ventures. Like Warby Parker, where some of the company’s founders previously worked, Away has a direct-to-consumer sales approach. After shipping 100,000 suitcases since February 2016, the company is gearing up to expand into other travel-related goods. To fuel those capital-intensive efforts, Away said it has raised $20 million in a Series B funding from existing investors. Global Founders Capital, which led the company’s Series A less than a year
How AI Is Changing Your Job Hunt
A few years ago, Jason Freeman was confronted by a classic hiring challenge. The 10-person startup he had founded, an online commercial real estate service called 42Floors.com, was growing and needed to rapidly staff up. Suddenly, it seemed, Freedman, who had myriad other duties as CEO, was spending hours at a time sifting through towering stacks of résumés. He was overwhelmed. The solution appeared in the form of artificial intelligence software from a young company called Interviewed. It speeds the vetting process by providing online simulations of what applicants might do on their first day as an employee.
Away nears 100K stylish suitcases sold as it raises $20M
What do people actually want in luggage? A phone charger, unbreakable exterior, and maximum packing space at a resonable price is what Away discovered. So it built a line of sleek but expansive polycarbonite suitcases equipped with battery packs, and sold them direct-to-consumer. Now after selling nearly 100,000 suitcases and generating $20 million in revenue, Away has raised a $20 million Series B led by existing investor Global Founders Capital plus Forerunner Ventures, Comcast Ventues, and Accel
VCs Pour $30M into EAT Club, Looking for a Food Delivery Business That’s Sustainable
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,
This New App Wants to Be the Uber of Camping
According to a report by the Outdoor Foundation, Americans log 598 million nights a year under the stars. At an average of $40 in expenses and fees per night, that’s $24 billion spent on campsites alone. Add in all the related costs—gear, transportation, food—and the Outdoor Industry Association figures the industry generates closer to $167 billion annually. But former investment banker Michael D’Agostino, who grew up camping on a farm in Litchfield, Conn., still calls the industry a broken business. The tipping point came a few summers ago, when D’Agostino found himself on vacation “directly across from a campsite of 40 people at a Wiccan convention: robes and UFO spotters and streaking and all.”
Streaming TV service Pluto TV adds an on-demand video library
In an effort to be more competitive in the streaming TV market, the ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV announced this morning it will expand its offering of live streaming channels to include a large library of on-demand movies and television shows. The launch of on-demand content comes shortly after the company announced licensing deals with Lionsgate, MGM and Warner Bros. The news was first reported by Variety, which also noted that Pluto TV has more than 6 million monthly viewers and may consider a subscription service tier in the future.
Interior Define, the 'Warby Parker' of Furniture, Raises $8M
Chicago startup Interior Define has raised a new round of funding to grow its Warby Parker-like furniture business. Interior Define announced Tuesday that it has raised $8 million from Chicago investors Breakout Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Listen Ventures. The startup makes custom sofas on-demand and at reasonable prices by cutting out the warehouse and middleman. Interior Define sells sofas online and at its Lincoln Park brick-and-mortar location. It's opening a second retail shop in New York later this month. The startup said it is using the funding to open brick-and-mortar locations, improve its online experience and scale its team.
Pluto TV Announces New Premium Content Partners
Pluto TV, the leading free Internet television service in America, announced today new premium content partnerships with premier networks, studios, and digital media brands. These new partnerships, with premium content providers such as Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), and Warner Bros. will power the 100+ channels found on Pluto TV with content that includes thousands of hit movies and TV shows. These partnerships will provide Pluto TV viewers with free access to movies such as MGM's Silence of the Lambs and The Usual Suspects, and Lionsgate's Haywire, Brothers, & Bad Boys as well as complete TV shows like Warner Bros.'s The Ben Stiller Show and Super Fun Night.
This analytics firm uses one trillion Facebook and Twitter posts to predict stock movements
You may not have heard of Crimson Hexagon, but the chances are it's heard of you. Since it launched in 2008, the Boston-based analytics firm has collected, stored, and indexed over a trillion public posts from Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram to create the world's largest database of its kind. The firm's core competency is "unstructured text analytics." In other words, as Crimson Hexagon's CEO Stephanie Newby tells BI
Why Your Next Wi-Fi Setup Should Be a Mesh Network
I tested three popular Wi-Fi systems: Eero, Google Wifi and Netgear’s Orbi. All were solid, though my favorite was Eero. Here’s what you need to know about mesh networks when picking one that suits your home. First, a primer on how a mesh system works. You connect a primary base station to your broadband modem. From there, you connect satellite stations in rooms where you m