On June 27, the world’s first robot-crafted burger will roll off a conveyor belt in San Francisco and into the hands of the public. You could call it the freshest burger on Earth. The product, from Bay Area-based Creator, a culinary robotics company, is assembled and cooked in a machine that contains 20 computers, 350 sensors, and 50 actuator mechanisms. It does everything from slicing and toasting the brioche bun to adding toppings (to order) and seasoning and cooking the patties, all in five minutes. The meat is ground to order—why it’s touted as so fresh—and sourced from premium ingredients. It emerges from the machine piled with tomatoes and lettuce, sprinkled with seasonings, and drizzled with sauces, at which point it’s transferred by human hands to the customer. The price: $6.
Taste test: Burger robot startup Creator opens first restaurant
Creator’s transparent burger robot doesn’t grind your brisket and chuck steak into a gourmet patty until you order it. That’s just one way this startup, formerly known as Momentum Machines, wants to serve the world’s freshest cheeseburger for just $6. On June 27th, after eight years in development, Creator unveils its first robot restaurant before opening to the public in September. We got a sneak peek…err…taste. When I ask how a startup launching one eatery at a time could become a $10 billion company, Creator co-founder and CEO Alex Vardakostas looks me dead in the eye and says, “the market is much bigger than that.”
Match buys Hinge, furthering its dating app domination
Match Group has announced that it has bought a majority stake in the dating app Hinge. The company acquired a 51% ownership of Hinge, with the option to acquire the remaining 49% within the next 12 months. With its Hinge acquisition, Match Group continues its dating app domination. Matter of fact, Match Group probably owns most of the dating apps you probably use on a regular basis. Match Group’s current portfolio of dating apps now includes Hinge, Tinder, OkCupid, Match, and Plenty of Fish–along with almost 40 other brands. The only major dating app Match Group doesn’t own is Bumble–and it’s likely to stay that way after the conglomerate sued the anti-Tinder dating app over alleged patent and trademark violations.
Peek raises $23M and inks partnership with Google in push to digitize travel activities
Peek, a U.S. startup aiming to digitize the travel activities industry, has pulled a $23 million Series B round of financing and uncorked a partnership with Google that will help increase its visibility. Founded in 2012 by Ruzwana Bashir (CEO) and Oskar Bruening (CTO), the San Francisco-based startup describes itself as “OpenTable for the activities market” in that it aims to make booking activities as seamless and straightforward as a restaurant or even a flight.
WSJ Top 25 Tech Companies to Watch 2018
#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.