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.
Chromecast gets new CBS, HGTV, FOX Now, FXNOW, Pluto TV, and Haystack apps
Ever since Google launched the Chromecast in July 2013, the company has been steadily updating the HDMI dongle with new capabilities and features. Today, the company has announced six new apps for its $35 streaming media stick: CBS All Access, HGTV, FOX Now, FXNOW, Pluto TV, and Haystack. While the last one is a news app (tuned specifically to your interests so that you can keep up with current events), the other five apps are all about TV content. As a Google spokesperson told us, Chromecast users now have more options: “They can binge through shows like Empire, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Americans, Property Brothers, and Fixer Upper.”
The Muse Raises $10M From Aspect Ventures To Scale A Career Site For Millennials
It was only a few years ago that I met Kathryn Minshew, Alexandra Cavoulacos, and Melissa McCreery through Y Combinator. They were three women who set out to make a career site for other young women like them with rich, photo-intensive profiles of employers featuring interviews with their teams. Today that site, The Muse, sees more than 3 million active users per month and Minshew says the company feels poised to compete against destinations like Glassdoor, Monster.com, and LinkedIn for their youngest users. So they’ve raised $10 million in Series A funding from Aspect Ventures, the firm that Accel’s lone female general partner Theresia Gouw left to create with Jennifer Fonstad, DBL Partners and QED. The company’s other seed investors include YC, 500 Startups, Tyra Banks, Great Oaks Ventures, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Anjula Acharia-Bath, Chris Herrmannsen, the former CEO of Monster.com Europe, former Toys R Us CEO Mike Goldstein, and the former chairman of Hearst Magazines Cathie Black.
Tencent Buys Stake in U.S. Game Maker Pocket Gems
Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. has taken a roughly 20% stake in U.S. mobile-games startup Pocket Gems Inc., people familiar with the matter said, its latest effort to expand its mobile offerings in China though tie-ups with overseas game developers. Tencent is paying $60 million for the stake, the people said, and will take a seat on the Pocket Gems board. The deal follows Tencent’s $126 million purchase of a 14.6% stake in U.S. mobile-games company Glu Mobile Inc. last month. In December, Tencent bought a minority stake in Japanese game developer Aiming Inc. for an undisclosed amount, while in May 2014 it spent $500 million for 28% of Korean mobile games companyCJ Games Corp.
From Communal Living to Peer-to-Peer Construction Rentals
Brothers Willy and Jabbok Schlacks have drawn from their experience growing up on a commune to raise $2.1 million for EquipmentShare, a peer-to-peer marketplace for construction equipment. Based in Columbia, Mo., EquipmentShare has created a website and mobile apps that allow contractors to find and rent equipment for construction jobs from one another, rather than renting from a more expensive, corporate provider, or in lieu of buying large, expensive equipment that they may not need on a regular basis. Co-founder Willy Schlacks said he and his brother had been bouncing around the idea to create this kind of online resource for years, practically since they separated from their commune, Shepherdsfield Community, in August 2010. While on the commune– which allowed its members no private ownership of any possessions– they worked on many construction jobs. They had access to a shared toolshed and any equipment they needed there.
Creatives Come up with Campaigns that are Better than the Pros'
As a photojournalist working the edges of popular culture, Rebecca Smeyne has shot Miley Cyrus dancing topless in Bushwick and a bejeweled Chihuahua during a Fashion Week dog show. But a series she's been planning on an upcoming music festival could mark a new frontier in Ms. Smeyne's career—and point toward a lucrative new way for creative types to fund their projects. The New York photographer is in the midst of negotiations that could wind up with the photo series being sponsored by an advertiser, instead of assigned by a magazine. The deal would pay about $10,000 for a week's work, or roughly triple what Ms. Smeyne might get as a freelancer for publications like Nylon, New York magazine and Paper.
A Simple Model for Making Real Money Off Used Clothing and Other Goods
We buy a lot of things. We throw away a lot of things. In honor of Earth Day, let's celebrate the fact that the secondary goods market is getting an upgrade. Whether inspired by shopping at a discount or conserving resources, startups and consumers across the country are turning a frustrating and fragmented ordeal into a simple and satisfying way to buy and sell quality used goods time and time again. In this evaluation, we dig into: Why a secondary goods market is important to economic growth What it means to redefine "ownership" Problems behind buying and selling used through current means Solutions being tested by startups in the clothing, furniture, and automobile sectors
Startup Knotch Promises to Help Prove That Branded Content Actually Works
Marketers continue to pump more money into digital content–either for their own social media profiles or in the form of sponsored content. But many in the industry complain that there are few proven methods for gauging whether all this brand-produced content actually works. That’s where the startup Knotch says it comes in. The company has just raised $4 million as it looks to build out a standard digital means of tracking the impact of content produced by, or for, advertisers. Among Knotch’s investors are Greylock, Allen & Co. and Stanford University, as well as individuals such as former Facebook U.S. sales chief Tom Arrix and the entrepreneur Michael Birch. In addition, Ross Levinsohn, former chief executive at Yahoo, has joined the company’s board.
Micro-Investment App Acorns Raises $23 Million Led By Greycroft, e.Ventures
Acorns, the micro-investment app that sets up a portfolio for you by collecting your spare change, has today announced the close of a $23 million Series C financing, led by Greycroft Ventures and e.Ventures, with participation from Sound Ventures, Garland Capital, and MATH Venture Partners. This brings Acorns’ total amount raised to $32 million. The company, which rounds up to the next dollar on every user transaction and invests it into a customizable portfolio, says that it has grown to 650,000 members with around half of them opening up investment accounts on the platform. Acorns also says that it’s processed over 28 million trades and linked more than a million debit and credit cards to the platform. Acorns claims to be the world’s first mobile investment platform, letting users attach their credit cards, debit cards, etc. and make deposits or withdrawals at will. But the special sauce of Acorns lies in its sticky-handed grab at your spare change. On every transaction made on attached credit or debit cards, Acorns automatically rounds up to the nearest dollar and takes the spare change, placing it into your investment portfolio. Obviously, users can opt out of that, or set up a system to go in daily and choose which transactions should be rounded up. Users also have control over the type of portfolio they choose, with five options ranging from conservative to aggressive.
Acorns, the app that automatically invests your spare change, raises $23 million
Opening and managing an investment account can be intimidating for a lot of people, but what if a simple smartphone app could take care of it all for you? Acorns, a eight-month old smartphone app built for exactly that purpose, said Wednesday that it had raised $23 million in additional funding. Acorns’ app was designed to help people, especially first-time investors, get started in investing with small automated investments into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, that the company selects and balances. Users link their bank accounts to the app, which then automatically rounds up the cost of all transactions to the nearest dollar, withdraws that spare change and invests it. For example, if you buy a coffee for $2.40, Acorns will take an extra 60 cents and invest it in an exchange-traded fund.
On-Demand Food Delivery Service Sprig Has Raised $45 Million
Sprig, a food delivery service that specializes in healthy on-demand meals in San Francisco, has raised $45 million in a funding round led by Social+Capital and Greylock Partners. The company plans to expand to the remainder of the Bay Area and Chicago in the coming months, and then more cities by the end of 2015. Sprig’s menu is limited, but is supposed to arrive no later than 20 minutes after someone places an order, and usually costs around $10. Sprig prepares all the food in its own kitchen run by several high-profile chefs. Many on-demand services, such as Sprig, have seen intense interest in recent months from the venture capital community. Shyp is raising $50 million at a valuation greater than $250 million. Postmates is expected to raise a large funding round. And Instacart, an app that lets users order groceries and delivers them, raised $210 million in December.