Minibar Delivery , a marketplace for wine, beer and spirits, has today announced the close of a $5 million funding round led by Corigin Ventures, with participation from Female Founders Fund, Winklevoss Capital, LaunchCapital and RiverPark Ventures. Minibar Delivery launched back in 2013, trying to give liquor stores an ecommerce outlet and users the ability to buy booze with the click of a button. The company has since expanded to 37 markets across the country and has started to test shipping for new markets. Shipping essentially allows Minibar users outside those 37 markets to place an order on the platform and receive their order via the mail.
Silicon Valley's Fuzzy Fad
Now comes the Allbird, a knit wool loafer. In uncomfortable times, Silicon Valley has turned to a comfortable shoe. If there’s a venture capitalist nearby, there’s probably a pair of Allbirds, too. The Google co-founder Larry Page wears Allbirds, according to the shoemaker, as do the former Twitter chief Dick Costolo and the venture capitalists Ben Horowitz and Mary Meeker. Founded by a New Zealand soccer star and a clean-technology entrepreneur, Allbirds makes the sneakerlike shoes from wool and castor bean oil. Slightly fuzzy to the touch, Allbirds have minimal styling (tiny logos only) and come in two versions: a runner and a lounger. Both styles, for men and women, sell for $95. Next month, Allbirds is opening its first store in Manhattan.
Tableau acquires ClearGraph, a startup that lets you analyze your data using natural language
Business intelligence and analytics firm Tableau today announced that it has acquired ClearGraph, a service that lets you query and visualize large amounts of business date through natural language queries (think “this week’s transactions over $500”). Tableau expects to integrate this technology with its own products as it looks to make it easier for its users to use similar queries to visualize their data. Tableau acquires ClearGraph, a startup that lets you analyze your data using natural language Typically, you’d have to know SQL or a similar database query language to pull information out of most enterprise databases. Recent advances in natural language processing and machine learning now allow services like ClearGraph to understand more about the underlying database and then take these sentences and essentially translate them into database queries. Given that Microsoft’s Power BI and other competitors already offer this capability, it’s no surprise that Tableau is also looking into this (though Tableau argues that — unlike the likes of Microsoft — it can be a neutral party
Meet Wim, a Gadget That'll Make Fast Frozen Yogurt on Your Kitchen Counter
Invented by a Google alum, this Keurig-for-Froyo makes individual servings of fresh frozen yogurt with no mess—all you need is milk. The kitchen counter has become a crowded place. Alongside coffee machines, mixers, and toasters are now juicers, dehydrators, soda makers, and the darling of the home cooking set, the all-purpose Instapot. A new machine that wants to take its place in the gleaming, stainless-steel lineup: the Wim frozen yogurt maker. The unassuming, 15-pound gadget, similar in size to a Nespresso machine, plans to use convenient flash-freezing technology to become a major player in the frozen dessert category, which is estimated at $28 billion nationally and $60 billion worldwide. (Market research company Research & Markets projects that frozen desserts will be nearly a $30 billion industry in the U.S. by 2020.)
MojiLaLa, the sticker marketplace, lands $1.5M seed round from Great Oaks, betaworks
The launch of iOS 10 and its iMessage Store has launched emojis and stickers into mainstream communication. In fact, 6 billion emoticons are sent every day. And a new startup called MojiLaLa is looking to capitalize, both figuratively and literally. MojiLaLa is a marketplace that lets artists submit their sticker packs to the iOS store with zero hassle, for free. The company has just raised $1.5 million in seed funding from Great Oaks Ventures and betaworks ventures, and IVP partner Dennis Phelps. Founder and CEO Dana Loberg, a former artist, says that the process of submitting art to the App Store requires learning XCode, owning a Mac and iPhone, and $99. MojiLaLa does all the heavy lifting for artists for free, letting them focus on their artwork instead of their business development.
Millennial Dad Site Fatherly Raises $4 Million to Expand Into Video and Events
Fatherly, a New York City-based media startup, has raised $4 million in venture funding from BDMI, the investment arm of media company Bertelsman, and talent agency UTA. The company plans to use the money to expand the scope of its content, launch a podcast, develop original video series, and expand internationally in the next 18 months. The company has created franchises like 940 Weekends, a reference to the number of weekends dads have to spend with their kids between birth and age 18; My Father The…, a series of interviews with children of famous men, and the Father of the Year awards, which it hopes will lead to more events. Michael Rothman, the company’s CEO, says the strategic expertise from UTA and BDMI will be key to accomplishing Fatherly’s goals.
Indeed is buying Interviewed to make task simulations part of job applications
Indeed, the job platform with over 200 million people searching for jobs each month, is acquiring Interviewed, the online job assessment tool. The terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but all 12 of Interviewed’s employees, including the three co-founders, will be going to work at Indeed. Based in San Francisco, Interviewed was part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2015 class and provides job assessment tools to customers like IBM, Zillow and Thumbtack. It went on to raise a seed round of $2M. Indeed was also a client of Interviewed, and its Japan-based parent company Recruit was an early investor in the startup. The job platform used Interviewed’s API to let employers attach an automated screening interview or assessment to applications. These assessments include an automated phone screening, customer support and administrative assistant simulations, and an excel test. We tried out some of these assessments when Interviewed first launched, and found them to be pretty realistic and potentially a good way to predict future job performance.
Sugarfina Raises $35 Million to Expand Its Instagramable Candy Empire
Green juice. Rosé. Bourbon. If a drink trend is getting a lot of hype, it’s likely Sugarfina has repurposed it as a candy. The Los Angeles-based luxury confectionary business has thrived even as overall candy sales in the U.S. have fallen. Last year, it took in $25 million. This year, it's on pace to hit $50 million, proof that while Americans are increasingly wary of sugar, they still like posting pictures of it on Instagram — provided the packaging is pretty enough. On the back of this growth, Sugarfina announced it has raised $35 million from the private equity firm Great Hill Partners (which brings total funding to $50 million). The latest round will be used to bolster the company's retail presence in North America, where it currently has 24 locations, as well as expand into Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
Eero acqui-hires smart home management startup Thington
Mesh Wi-Fi router company Eero wants to provide an easy way for consumers to connect and connect with all the smart devices in their home. As it looks to build more intelligence around how those devices interact, the company has acqui-hired the team behind smart home management app Thington. Launched in 2015, Thington was founded by Dopplr founder Matt Biddulph and former Yahoo Brickhouse head of product Tom Coates. With an undisclosed amount of funding from angel investors that include Ray Ozzie, Stewart Butterfield, Eric Wahlforss, Joi Ito, Marko Ahtisaari, Saul Klein, Loic Le Meur, Matt Rolandson and Samantha Tripodi, they hoped to create a way to help consumers manage the large — and growing — number of connected devices consumers were adding to their homes.
Ibotta Raises $25M Led by Silicon Valley Heavyweight GGV Capital
Mobile retail app Ibotta is joining the ranks of major online services like Soundcloud, Airbnb and Pandora thanks to an investment from Silicon Valley-based investment firm GGV Capital. Ibotta, started in Denver five years ago, is one of the largest mobile retail apps on the market. The app offers users cash rebates on purchases from retail stores like Target and Walmart, but Ibotta also works with such online businesses as Uber and Ebay. GGV Capital has invested in nearly 150 different companies in the U.S. and China. Some of its most high-profile investments include e-commerce giant
This Startup Landed a $11 Million Series A to Disrupt Women’s Health Care
Being a parent is stressful. Being a parent in the information age? "Utterly overwhelming." Those are the words Jenny Davis, mom of a six-month-old, uses to describe her experience with pregnancy and parenthood so far. "Everyone from the UPS guy to random people at the gym gives me unsolicited advice," she says. And on her Facebook page, well-meaning strangers love to opine on everything from walkers ("hazardous for cognitive development!") to specific toys ("that one has mold!"). Davis says the influx of unsolicited advice put her in constant state of anxiety—that is, until she started consulting actual medical professionals. She turned to Maven, a telemedicine startup that specializes in women's health care, for advice without the need to actually visit a doctor's office. Davis, whose employer offers Maven as benefit, says the service helped her avoid a late-night trip to the emergency room after a (failed) attempt to self-diagnose via Google.
Mobile savings & investment app Acorns raises $35M from Bain, is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017
Acorns is quickly turning into an oak tree in the financial services space. The company now boasts more than 2 million investment accounts (with 600,000 opened in 2017 alone) and is on track to do 1 billion trades in 2017 through the proprietary broker-dealer that it created. Those are hefty numbers to post for any financial services company, especially considering that Fidelity (one of the nation’s largest money managers) will do approximately 60 million trades over the same period.