#4 Virta Health Corp. Developing an online treatment plan for Type 2 diabetes. Virtual coaches help provide personalized diet plans. Physicians oversee the plans remotely. Based in San Francisco, founded in 2014 by Sami Inkinen, Stephen Phinney, Jeff Volek. Virta has raised $75 million to date and has 101 employees.
Acorns receives 10,000 pre-orders for its newly launched payments card and debit account
Acorns, the financial management service for micro-investments, is adding a rewards debit card to its arsenal of tools aimed at getting Americans to create balanced stock portfolios for economic health. The company has already racked up 10,000 pre-orders for its new (gorgeous) payment card that offers perks like investments into Acorns accounts when users purchase with the card at certain online and brick and mortar retailers. The debit card comes with Acorns micro-investment and its retirement account built into the card’s services. According to the company, it’s the next step in its mission to build an easy,
Acorns hits 3.5 million users, sees 100,000 sign-ups for retirement product in its first month
It looks like the investment service Acorns may turn into an oak faster than expected. Billed as an automated investment manager for the people, Acorns is off to a blistering start with its new retirement account service picking up 100,000 accounts in its first month. Unlike other investment services, Acorns takes spare change from transactions and rewards agreements with certain retailers to invest in a managed portfolio. The company’s initial “spare change” investment service cost $1 per month and its new retirement-focused account costs $2.
Online Butcher Shop Porter Road Pockets $3.7 Million in Seed Funding
Porter Road, an online animal butcher shop, has secured $3.7 million in seed funding. The investors included Max Ventures, Slow Ventures, BoxGroup, Tribeca Venture Partners, Collaborative Fund and Great Oaks VC. Porter Road – the first online, whole animal butcher shop catering to today’s consumer appetite for sustainability and transparency in the meat and poultry food system – today announced that it has raised $3.7 million in seed funding from investors including Max Ventures, Slow Ventures, BoxGroup, Tribeca Venture Partners, Collaborative Fund, Great Oaks VC, among others.
As luggage startups drop like flies, Away beefs up with 249 jobs
In the world of direct-to-consumer luggage startups, there are winners and losers. Last week, I wrote about how Raden, a three-year-old smart-luggage startup, shuttered, only weeks after a similar brand, Bluesmart, ceased operations. But against this backdrop, two-year-old Away is thriving. The brand just announced that it is adding 249 jobs over the next five years in a major expansion. It will relocate its headquarters to a cavernous 56,000-square-foot space on 82 Mercer Street in New York’s Soho neighborhood. To support this expansion, New York State will provide Away with $4 million in performance-based tax credits. The new jobs will be across many functions, including customer service, product development, and editorial.
How the ‘World’s Most Comfortable Shoe’ is Challenging Nike and Adidas
Driven by word-of-mouth sales and an eco-focus, San Francisco's Allbirds has sold over a million shoes in two years. But can this Silicon Valley success story last? It’s a random Saturday in May, and I can barely find enough free space inside Allbirds’s Soho store to try on a pair of what the brand proclaims the “world’s most comfortable shoes.” I’ve been on rush-hour subway cars filled with fewer people. I have to ask a harried sales associate twice to get the $95 Wool Runner sneakers in my size. While waiting, I fondle a display shoe that looks like a pared-down version of an Adidas Yeezy Boost 350. Yet, while that shoe’s upper is made from a synthetic material, the sneaker in my hand is knit from merino wool, making it resemble a winter sock affixed to a white rubber sole, with prominent laces as thick as bucatini.
BlackRock Invests $50 Million into Acorns to Find Out What Young Investors Want
The world’s biggest money manager is buying a stake in a startup that invests its users’ pocket change, reinforcing a broader push by BlackRock Inc. BLK 2.19% to serve individual investors. The investment in Acorns Grow Inc., which was announced Wednesday, is part of a $50 million fundraising round that BlackRock is leading. It is using its own money instead of client funds for the investment. BlackRock manages $6.3 trillion in assets. The Acorns stake is part of a larger strategy to broaden BlackRock’s appeal beyond big institutions to individuals and wealth managers. Because BlackRock does not sell mutual funds or exchange-traded funds directly to retail investors, as rivals Vanguard Group and Fidelity Investments do, BlackRock lacks direct access to information about how individuals choose to invest over time and what younger people prefer when it comes to digital apps.
BlackRock, world's biggest investing company, is planning to nickel-and-dime you
BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, handling more than $6 trillion, is leaving no stone unturned in its effort to shore up the investing dollars of the millennial and Gen Z generations. Having already made inroads in the robo-advisor business in recent years, BlackRock is coming for your nickels and dimes next. BlackRock announced Wednesday that it has led a $50 million investing round in microinvesting site Acorns. BlackRock declined to say how much it had specifically invested in Acorns. The personal finance app allows customers to automatically invest spare change from everyday purchases, such as those made via credit card transactions, in exchange-traded funds from BlackRock and Vanguard.
Yale undergrads created delicious, 90-calorie energy bars with as much caffeine as an espresso
Three current Yale undergrads, Matt Czarnecki, Bennett Byerley, and André Monteiro, didn't want to sit around simply complaining about ineffective energy solutions (or all the money wasted on them). In the spring of 2016, they started experimenting with caffeinated energy bar recipes in their dorm room kitchen. The guiding philosophy behind the recipes was that simple is better. Could they create bars that made people more energized, while sticking to ingredients everyone knows and recognizes? After more than 100 tries, they did land on the perfect combination and started handing the bars out to friends. It was clear they had to take it to scale once they rented a local bakery to make energy bars during its off-hours and still couldn't keep up with demand.
Verb Re-Energizes With New Line and Rebrand
Coming off a $1 million investment round, caffeinated snack maker Verb Energy is evolving to get consumers to think beyond the cup for their afternoon pick-me-up. The caffeinated, green tea-based snack brand announced today that it has rebranded, revised its product line from bars to bites and has further built out it’s ordering system. The goal is to shake its collegiate vibe and resonate with a new core, caffeine seeking consumer as its founders graduate and relocate the company’s headquarters from the Yale University campus to Boston. This rebrand and platform expansion was, in part, funded by the nearly $1 million of capital that Verb raised earlier this year from investors including Global Founders Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Vast Ventures and a syndicate of angel investors including Kevin Ryan, the founder of Business Insider.
How to Live in San Francisco Without Spending Any Money
“A lot of those customers are bad customers in that they’ll never pay you what your product is worth,” said Henry McNamara, a partner at venture-capital firm Great Oaks Venture Capital, which invests in startups including Allbirds shoes and meal company Plated. In general, free credits and referral bonuses are “two things we push and urge our companies to avoid,” he said. Such discounts are everywhere in the highly competitive food-delivery space, troubling some participants.
Acorns launches retirement account product to expand beyond retail investing
Acorns, the mobile service that’s providing a gateway to investing in the stock market, has completed the master plan it set in motion months ago with the acquisition of Vault by finally launching a retirement account product today. Called Acorns Later, the service is the first Acorns investment vehicle to get the same kind of tax advantages the swells get when they invest through products like Individual Retirement Accounts. “Setting up a retirement account is confusing and, as a result, two out of three Americans aren’t saving for later in life,” said Noah Kerner, Acorns chief executive officer, in a statement. “Acorns Later removes friction from the decision making process, getting back to our central product philosophy: make big decisions small.”