Petal, the startup credit card company that’s offering a no-fee credit line to people without a credit history, is now publicly available. Launched earlier this year by co-founders Jason Gross, Andrew Endicott, David Ehrich, and Jack Arenas, Petal has received a $34 million credit facility from Jeffries and Silicon Valley Bank to bring its consumer lending product to the masses. That money will take Petal beyond the few thousand customers that have trialed the company’s credit card in a pre-release to broad distribution for applicants.
Sky-Backed Streaming Service Pluto TV Launching on Now TV in U.K.
Pluto is extending its orbit to Europe. The free streaming service has set the U.K. as the first stop of an international roll-out and will become available via Sky’s Now TV service in Britain starting Monday evening. Sky was an early investor in Pluto. Now TV is Sky’s low-cost streaming service. Pluto TV will be a free app for consumers with Now TV set-tops or smart sticks. Olivier Jollet, Pluto TV’s managing director for Europe, told Variety that Pluto TV would complement the paid-for fare on Now TV. “Netflix is launching on Now TV as well and I think it’s interesting to bring Pluto to these kind of devices,” Jollet said. “[Consumers] want great original series, but there is room for all kinds of content and especially a more lean-back approach. We want to bring the lean-back into the OTT world.”
Subscription startup Bespoke Post is creating its own brands and products for men
Bespoke Post says it has more than 100,000 subscribers signed up to receive a monthly “box of awesome” (that’s what it calls its bundles of curated men’s products). Next up: Creating brands and products of its own. It’s a common move for retailers and e-commerce companies to launch their own brands, but it sounds like Bespoke Post isn’t just looking to create generic versions of stuff you’re already buying. Instead, it says its “brand development studio” the Foundry will identify opportunities for men’s products that don’t exist, work with manufacturers to create those products and improve them with feedback from Bespoke Post customers.
Sequoia's Jess Lee Backs Maven, a Digital Health Startup for Women
Sequoia Capital’s Jess Lee has made her fifth investment since joining the venture capital firm as its first female investing partner in the U.S. in late 2016. This time, she’s placing her bet on Maven, a digital health startup focused on women—and run by women, and funded by women. “This is the first all-female board that I’ve been a part of,” Lee said in a recent phone interview with Fortune. Sequoia’s investment is part of Maven’s just-announced $27 million series B round of funding, which was co-led by Oak HC/FT and includes Female Founders Fund and other investors. This new round brings New York-Based Maven’s total financing to $42 million and will help the company “enhance” its flagship product, a benefits platform for new moms that it sells directly to companies like Snap and Bumble.
Sequoia backs Maven, a virtual health clinic for women
Despite the increase in women in the U.S. workforce and public pledges from several high-profile CEOs to close the gender pay gap, women, especially working mothers, often find themselves without the resources necessary to succeed at work. Maven, a digital health startup and benefits platform focused on improving access to healthcare for women, has emerged specifically to help businesses help their female employees. Today, Maven is announcing a $27 million Series B co-led by Sequoia and Oak HC/FT. Existing investors Spring Mountain Capital, 14W and Female Founders Fund have also participated in the round.
Shift Raises $70M in Series D Funding, Led by Lithia Motors $LAD
Used car marketplace, Shift Cars, says that is has raised $70M in new equity in its Series D financing, led by Lithia Motors $LAD. Alongside the equity, Shift has also raised $70M in debt to help fund its operations and inventory. Lithia CEO Bryan B. DeBoer will join Shift's board of Directors as the company eyes future growth an a potential public offering.
Online used car startup Shift raises $140 million
Shift Technologies, an online marketplace for used cars, has closed a Series D financing round of more than $140 million in equity and debt. The round, which consists of about $70 million in debt and $71 million in equity, was led by automotive retailer Lithia Motors. Bryan DeBoer, CEO and president of Lithia, will join Shift’s board of directors. Previous investors Alliance Ventures, BMW iVentures, DCM, DFJ, G2VP, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners and Highland Capital also participated. This new capital brings Shift’s total financing of equity and debt to $265 million.
Porter Road wants to herd the meat industry in a new direction
Down a two lane road on the outskirts of Princeton, Ky., next to a cemetery and past the Light of Truth Church is the Porter Road Butcher Meat Co. facility — a staging ground for what the Nashville-based startup Porter Road hopes will be a revolution in the American meatpacking industry. For the company’s co-founders, James Peisker and Chris Carter, the refashioning of the meat business in America is the next step in a nearly decade-long journey since the former chefs first met working in the restaurant of Nashville’s historic Hermitage Hotel. The two men started their butcher business, selling locally sourced meat from the East Nashville Farmer’s Market in 2010 and eventually moved to a storefront in the same neighborhood a year later.
Is This the Suitcase of the Summer?
Save for Louis Vuitton steamer trunks, luggage has never had a particularly sexy connotation. (Recall Holden Caulfield complaining about his Gladstones banging the hell out of his legs.) The 1 percent of yore hired people to carry their belongings, and some celebrities still glide through airports with nary a suitcase in sight. But about a year ago, amid the sea of black polyester-nylon that dominates most airports, I started noticing something new: sleek, colorful, grooved hard-shell rolling suitcases with built-in chargers. They’re made by Away, a two-year-old luggage start-up with $81 million of investment. Fans include Rashida Jones, Karlie Kloss and Dwyane Wade, all of whom have designed limited editions with the company.
Nylas scores $16M Series B to expand email API tool
Nylas, a startup that helps developers integrate email content into applications via an API, announced a $16 million Series B today led by Spark Capital. Other investors joining in included Slack Fund, Industry Ventures, and ScaleUp along with existing investors 8VC, Great Oaks Capital, Rubicon Venture Capital and John Chambers’ personal fund. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $30 million. The Nylas API works in a similar way to Stripe or Twilio, but instead of helping developers connect to payments or communications
Hungryroot, a popular plant-based meal delivery service, makes it possible for vegans and meat eaters like me to assemble healthy meals in under 10 minutes
When it comes right down to it, my biggest hurdle to healthy eating is convenience. I love neither grocery shopping nor cooking, and I don't want to spend my limited free time deep diving into (often contentious) online nutritional resources to construct balanced meals each week. But, I do want to eat healthy foods that are good for me. So when I heard about Hungryroot through a colleague, I was intrigued. Hungryroot is a meal subscription service that sends healthy, nearly-ready meals to your door, with ingredients and sauces that you essentially just heat and mix together. Each serving costs about $6-$7 when you do the math, and they take fewer than 10 minutes to prepare.
Andreesson Horowitz leads $20M round in Wonderschool's marketplace for in-home preschools
Linda Jung's living room has been taken over by six noisy, cheering, playful little children — their toys, their books, and their art. Brightly colored geometric shapes cover the walls, and an alphabet rug and train tracks lie where a coffee table or storage taller than three feet might have once been. None of the children are Jung's. Last year, Jung quit her job at a San Francisco Bay Area preschool, where she had been making about $50,000 a year, to launch a preschool out her two-bedroom apartment in the East Bay. Right now, she earns close to $80,000, with room to grow, and has plans to lease a home in the future so she can accommodate more students.