Another U.S. education technology company has reached the billion-dollar valuation mark, and with that comes bragging rights to being a “unicorn.” But its CEO winces when he hears the word. He really, really doesn’t want to talk about it. “I am careful about that term being the focus,” says Andrew Grauer, who co-founded Course Hero in 2006. The word, he notes, “can be backward looking. It becomes problematic if that’s the end goal.” Soft spoken yet excitable, Grauer would rather let the numbers speak for themselves. The valuation—$1.1 billion, to be exact—comes courtesy of a $10 million Series B round from NewView Capital, whose founder and managing partner, Ravi Viswanathan, will join Course Hero’s board of directors.
Haus raises $4.5 million to replace your wine club membership
Co-founders Helena Price Hambrecht and Woody Hambrecht, who are married, have also secured $4.5 million in seed funding to fuel their bid for a more laid back and less alcohol-centric way to party, starting with a 15 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) citrus and flower-flavored aperitif. For comparison, most hard liquors are between 35 and 45 percent alcohol. Wine averages at 11.6 percent. Members in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Denver can now sign up for a monthly shipment of either six bottles per month for $144, two bottles per month for $63 or one bottle per month for $35. Unlike most wine clubs, it’s free to join.
Moov, A Marketplace For Used Manufacturing Equipment, Emerges From Stealth With $2.4M From NFX
Headquartered in San Francisco, today the used equipment marketplace platform launches out of stealth with $2.4 million in seed funding from NFX. Additional participating investors include Tencent cofounder Jason Zeng’s Decent Capital, real estate investor David Adelman’s family office Darco Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital and other individual investors. Moov says its round was oversubscribed. In a statement provided to Crunchbase News, the company said it intends to use the funding to hire people here while pursuing an expansion into Asia, the world’s leading region for semiconductor manufacturing.
Gentem raises $3.7 million to fund future growth
Gentem, has raised $3.7 million to help doctors run viable healthcare practices and remain independent. Gentem is building the infrastructure that will power the future of healthcare reimbursement and spur a new generation of medical and surgical practices while making current practices more efficient. This new round of funding will grow their engineering and operations teams to reach more healthcare providers. Gentem transforms the reimbursement experience by not only handling the end-to-end billing and revenue cycle processes, but also paying physicians upfront for their services. Because they leverage automation, data science and access to financial products, Gentem is able to increase cash flow, drastically reduce account receivable days and uncover opportunities to increase revenue.
Virta Health Raises $93M to Expand Clinically Proven Treatment to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Virta Health, a San Francisco, CA-based company delivering the first clinically-proven treatment to safely and sustainably reverse Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) has raised $93M in Series C funding led by Caffeinated Capital. The round also included participation of key early investors such as Venrock, Obvious Ventures, Creandum, Playground Global and SciFi VC.
This woman tattooed the logo of diabetes management start-up Virta Health on her arm to remind her to stick with the program
Anne Viola-Krause has been taking medication for her diabetes for more than a decade. In 2016, her doctor recommended that she up her dose, but Viola-Krause felt reluctant because of the side effects. Viola-Krause is one of more than 30 million Americans with type 2 diabetes, which affects the way the body processes blood sugar, putting her at an increased risk of many health conditions including strokes. People who get diagnosed are typically advised to exercise regularly and lose weight, but are often prescribed a battery of medications by their doctors to keep their blood sugar under control.
Allbirds is charting a climate-positive roadmap that other brands can follow
The last four years have been a whirlwind for Joey Zwillinger and Tim Brown, the founders of Allbirds. The brand first popped up in March 2016 with a funny-looking sneaker made from sustainably sourced wool, a material that hadn’t been commonly used in footwear before. And remarkably, the shoes were an overnight hit, allowing the Zwillinger and Brown to roll out other designs made from equally unusual materials, like eucalyptus tree fibers (otherwise known as Tencel) and sugarcane-derived soles. Today, the brand has a global presence, selling shoes in London, Germany, China, and soon, Japan. It’s got a dozen stores in these locations and plans to add another 20 to the mix.
Huckleberry raises $18 million to match small businesses with insurance plans using AI
Small businesses are generally unprepared for unforeseen catastrophes, surveys show. A whopping three-fourths of U.S.-based outfits say they don’t have an insurance policy that meets their unique needs, while 40% admit they don’t have coverage of any kind. Of course, the latter are on the hook for incidents like client complaints, contract disputes, and employee injuries, in addition to burglary or theft and customer injury — all of which can amount to hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs and remedial disbursements. That’s why in 2017 former McKinsey business analyst and Morgan Stanley associate Bryan O’Connell founded Huckleberry, a carrier built on a robust cloud-based software and data science and analytics backend. The San Francisco-based company ambitiously aims to digitize the purchase and management of commercial insurance, a category of coverage that’s notoriously slow to acquire and which historically has been wrapped up in layers of bureaucracy. And it’s achieved a measure of success so far, with investments from Great Oaks Venture Capital, Promus Ventures, and others.
The rise of Recess, a New York startup that could be the White Claw of CBD
Recess is a one-year-old, New York-based startup whose product is a canned beverage containing CBD. While the brand has skyrocketed in popularity on social media, the company has been navigating unclear CBD regulations behind the scenes. Recess' Instagram has no shortage of vivid imagery: A cartoon Saturn dips into a warm periwinkle sea, three pink Recess cans spout octopus arms, and a creamsicle-colored Recess can crashes into the moon. "We canned a feeling," Recess founder and CEO Ben Witte told Business Insider.
Lululemon COO to leave for luggage maker Away
Canadian athleisure apparel maker Lululemon’s Chief Operating Officer, Stuart Haselden, will leave in January to head privately owned luggage maker Away. Haselden joined Vancouver-based Lululemon as chief financial officer in 2015 from peer J Crew and became the COO in May 2017. He was part of the team that guided the company after Laurent Potdevin’s exit as chief executive officer in February 2018 until Calvin McDonald took charge in July last year. Haselden, a former U.S. army captain, will join Away co-founders Steph Korey and Jen Rubio on the board in January, with current CEO Korey becoming the executive chairman.
Atom Finance’s free Bloomberg Terminal rival raises $12M
If you want to win on Wall Street, Yahoo Finance is insufficient but Bloomberg Terminal costs a whopping $24,000 per year. That’s why Atom Finance built a free tool designed to democratize access to professional investor research. If Robinhood made it cost $0 to trade stocks, Atom Finance makes it cost $0 to know which to buy. Today Atom launches its mobile app with access to its financial modeling, portfolio tracking, news analysis, benchmarking, and discussion tools. It’s the consumerization of finance, similar to what we’ve seen in enterprise SAAS. “Investment research tools are too important to the financial well-being of consumers to lack the same cycles of product innovation and accessibility that we have experienced in other verticals” CEO Eric Shoykhet tells me. In its first press interview, Atom Finance today revealed to TechCrunch that it’s raised a $10.6 million Series A led by General Catalyst to build on its quiet $1.9 million seed round. The cash will help the startup eventually monetize by launching premium tiers with even more hardcore research tools.
Forbes 30 Under 30 Venture Capital
McNamara has sourced investments in companies including Allbirds, RigUp, Away and Acorns. The Bowdoin College alum joined Great Oaks directly out of undergrad and has since helped invest in seven businesses with valuations greater than $1 billion, across four different states. Outside of VC, McNamara volunteers with Venture for America and serves on the board of Runway for Recovery, a nonprofit supporting breast cancer survivors and their families. Says McNamara: "Nothing in my professional life energizes me more than learning from and having the opportunity to work with ambitious entrepreneurs re-imaging products and services that shape the world around us."