Acorns Grow Inc. RZI 4.44% wants to go viral. It has enlisted A-Rod and J.Lo to help. Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are buying a stake in the California-based company, Acorns said Monday, joining an investor base that includes Ashton Kutcher, Bono and Kevin Durant. Acorns doesn’t just want celebrities as investors—it is also talking to some of them about designing financial products tailored to their interests. The influencer strategy is the brainchild of Acorns Chief Executive Noah Kerner, a onetime DJ for Ms. Lopez and a former head of marketing at WeWork Cos. He is trying to transform Acorns from a niche savings app that invests users’ spare change into a bank alternative used by 100 million consumers. “Our focus is getting everyday Americans saving and investing for the future...in the hopes that we help the next Kevin Durant or Jennifer [Lopez] get there,” Mr. Kerner said.
Cashback and rebate startup Ibotta secures funding at a $1B valuation
Ibotta, a startup whose platform doles out rewards for in-store and online purchases, today announced a series D funding round led by Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Disruptive Technologies, at a $1 billion valuation. The size of the raise wasn’t disclosed, but it comes after three previous rounds totaling roughly $85 million. CEO Bryan Leach said the capital infusion will enable Colorado-based Ibotta to accelerate its hiring plans over the next year and expand its two-floor downtown Denver headquarters.
Human Interest Raises $15.4M Series B For DIY Startup Retirement Plans
Human Interest wants to help every startup worker get a 401k. And with new capital in hand it’s on its way to accomplishing that. The San Francisco-based financial services startup announced today that it has raised $15.4 million dollars in a Series B led by U.S. Venture Partners. Wing VC, Uncork Capital, and Slow Ventures also participated in the round. Human Interest was founded by Roger Lee and Paul Sawaya as part of the Y Combinator Summer 2015 batch. The company sells software to help small businesses, like tech startups, build their own retirement plans.
Denver Startup Ibotta Reaches $1 Billion Valuation
Shopping rebates app maker Ibotta Inc. said it is worth $1 billion after receiving a new funding round that looks likely to make it the highest-valued technology startup in Colorado. The Denver-based payments company just raised an undisclosed nine-figure Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. The company is now valued at $1 billion. The startup offers a coupon alternative for consumers that want to save money and get cash back rewards. Users of the Ibotta app can shop at places like Uber, Chipotle, Whole Foods, among others and get cash back rewards for each transaction.
Verb Energy Plans to Expand Unique Text-to-Commerce Platform, Portfolio with $3.5M Fundraise
An infusion of $3.5 million in seed funding will help the trio of co-founders behind the startup Verb Energy meet the rapidly growing demand not just for its caffeinated oat- and nut butter-based bars, but also for the human touch the company offers consumers through its unique text-to-order platform.
Personal lender Oportun Financial files for a $50 million IPO
Oportun Financial, which provides installment loans to low and moderate income consumers with limited credit history, filed on Wednesday with the SEC to raise up to $50 million in an initial public offering. The San Carlos, CA-based company was founded in 2005 as Progress Financial (Progreso Financiero) and changed its name to Oportun Financial in 2015. The company booked $523 million in gross revenue for the 12 months ended March 31, 2019 and plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol OPRT. Oportun Financial filed confidentially on July 18, 2018. Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Jefferies, and Keefe Bruyette Woods are the joint bookrunners on the deal. No pricing terms were disclosed. The article Money moves: Personal lender Oportun Financial files for a $50 million IPO originally appeared on IPO investment manager Renaissance Capital's web site renaissancecapital.com.
Notable raises $40 million to personalize cancer drug regimens
Notable Labs, a Foster City, California-based provider of personalized drug combination testing for cancer patients, today revealed that it’s closed a $40 million series B round co-led by B Capital Group and LifeForce Capital, with participation from B Capital and Industry Ventures. Cofounder and CEO Matt De Silva said the cash infusion brings the company’s total raised to over $55 million following a $14.8 million series A in September 2017.
Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2019
RIGUP - There are nearly 1,000 rigs drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. Each well requires the input of dozens of service companies and workers — everything from high-horsepower compressors for fracking, to miles of steel pipe, and millions of gallons of water and truckloads of sand. Cofounder Xuan Yong, formerly of Citadel and D.E. Shaw, believes RigUp can improve on the good ol’ boy network by more efficiently connecting the “hyperfragmented” market of roughnecks, engineers and business owners with the big oil companies that call the shots. RigUp pre-vets workers and vendors, and creams an estimated 4% off every contract made via its online platform. Yong isn’t worried about machines invading the oilpatch. “Even with A.I. there will be demand growth for labor,” he says. “Field tickets are still signed on paper and stamped.” For now.
FORTUNE 40 Under 40: Jen Rubio & Steph Korey of Away
Since shipping their first soon-to-be-iconic minimalist suitcase in early 2016, Away’s Jen Rubio and Steph Korey have sold more than a million bags; they posted $150 million in sales in 2018 and expect to double that this year. By selling direct to consumers, the company’s products cost less than half of those from competitors like Tumi; by wallpapering social media with influencers toting the sleek suitcases, Away has locked down its spot as visual shorthand for the smart modern traveler.
FORTUNE 40 Under 40: Tim Brown & Joey Zwillinger of Allbirds
Allbirds founders Brown, a former professional soccer player, and Zwillinger, a clean-tech engineer, are on a mission to change the world’s carbon footprint, one cushiony pair of shoes at a time. The duo emphasize the sustainability of the product, constructed from natural materials like merino wool and eucalyptus fiber. They want the larger shoe industry, with its polluting and wasteful manufacturing processes, to follow their lead. Allbirds was profitable in its first year of operation, and three years later it has an estimated value of $1.4 billion. Its most recent $50 million round of funding paves the way for more retail locations and a launch in China.
Bolt raises $68 million to simplify ecommerce
Bolt — not to be confused with blockchain startup Bolt Labs, hardware investor Bolt, or the ride-sharing firm formerly known as Taxify — aims to accomplish no less than reinventing the ecommerce payments stack top to bottom. The San Francisco-based company, which was founded in 2014 by Eric Feldman and Ryan Breslow, provides a suite of tools designed to streamline transactions across web platforms. And to gear up for its next stage of growth, it’s raising substantial venture capital. Bolt today revealed the closure of a $68 million series B funding round co-led by Activant Capital and Tribe Capital, which brings its total raised to $90 million. Other contributors included Allbirds’ Benny Joseph; Revolve’s Jon Tam; Bombas’ Dave Heath; Burrow’s Kevin Weinman; Brett Jackson, formerly of Crocs; Kelly Cooper, previously of Athleta; Stance’s Paul Zaengle; Kevin Han, formerly at Forever 21; Jet.com’s Evan DiMeglio; and Dagne Dover’s Melissa Mash.
eCommerce Checkout Platform Bolt Raises $68 Million In Funding
Bolt, the San Francisco-based startup that operates an eCommerce checkout platform in the cloud, raised $68 million in venture funding bringing its total capital raised to date to $90 million. The Series B round of funding was led by Activant Capital and Tribe Capital and included personal investments from current and former retail and brand executives from REVOLVE, Crocs, Forever 21 and Jet.com among others. It’s the largest round of funding the startup has raised since launching in January of 2018.