Ben McKean thinks comfort food can be guilt-free, and his company just raised another $7.7 million to prove it. McKean founded Hungryroot in 2015, sensing an opportunity to use plant-based ingredients to make healthy, easy-to-prepare versions of “craveable” foods. In two years, he has raised a total of $13.5 million in venture capital from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Crosslink Capital, among others. McKean doesn’t mince words -- he is aggressively going after Big Food. The top 25 U.S. food and beverage companies have lost $18 billion in market share in the last five years.
EquipmentShare, the Airbnb of construction, raises $26 million
It hasn’t even been a year since EquipmentShare raised a Series A round of funding, but the “Airbnb of construction rentals,” has closed a $26 million Series B round. The Columbia, Missouri-based startup helps contractors rent out their under-utilized equipment, or rent safety tested equipment that they need from a fellow contractor. Last year, EquipmentShare also launched a telematics system for contractors called ES Track that allows them to automatically gather data about their equipment, whether it’s parked, being used on a job, or rented out. The data is displayed on a digital dashboard that’s easy to read on a mobile device or PC.
EquipmentShare Builds Case for Peer-to-Peer Construction Gear
A Missouri company that is bringing the on-demand marketplace business model to the construction industry has raised $26 million. Insight Venture Partners and Romulus Growth, a Romulus Capital fund, led the round in EquipmentShare. Previous investor Y Combinator also participated. EquipmentShare operates as a marketplace like AirBnB where contractors can lend or rent construction equipment ranging from forklifts to concrete buggies.
Atomic, With First Fund, Looks to Upend Venture-Capital Model
Is venture capital’s approach to building startups the latest industry to get upended by technology? Jack Abraham, founder of a startup studio called Atomic Management LLC, thinks so. His firm comes up with ideas and then builds and funds its startups from scratch, essentially mashing together the roles of founder and investor. “We think we’re inventing the next version of venture capital,” Mr. Abraham said.
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Cheddar Announces New Millennial-Focused Business Network To Launch On Pluto TV
Cheddar, the popular live and on demand network, today launched a business news network on Pluto TV, the leading OTT destination for free television in America. Cheddar is programming the millennial focused network with its live shows, Opening Bell and Between Bells, which are broadcast from the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange and the Sprint Flatiron Building Store.
Meal-Delivery Service Sprig Cooks Up A Bigger Menu And New Delivery Plan
In 2013, meal delivery service Sprig launched in San Francisco with one simple goal: making it easy to eat well. The creation of tech entrepreneurs, not restaurateurs, the service launched with just three meal options a day, available only at dinner and ordered through an app. The high-quality, healthy meals typically included a protein and a few sides and were delivered to wherever you were in roughly 20 minutes. If you weren’t interested in one of the three meals, then you weren't interested in Sprig, at least that night.
Online grocery GrubMarket breaks even, and wants to go public in 2018
Despite the copious amounts of venture funding that have flowed to them in recent years, food tech startups haven’t had an easy time of it especially in the food delivery game. Since 2015, GoodEggs, Zesty and Munchery have shuffled their executive decks, meal kit delivery darlings Blue Apron struggled with worker safety, and logistics providers Postmates struggled to lock in a new round of funding. By contrast GrubMarket, a younger e-grocery backed by Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, has reached a $5 million monthly revenue run rate, and hit breakeven on its business overall according to founder and CEO Mike Xu. Could this be the next Whole Foods or Costco? The CEO attributes GrubMarket’s growth and margins to disciplined spending on marketing and merchandising, and a mix of direct-to-consumer and business-to-business customers.
Gary Vaynerchuk Acquires Women’s Publisher PureWow
Over the past few years, media companies ranging from BuzzFeed to Vice to the New York Times have expanded their in-house units that act like advertising agencies and work with big marketers. Increasingly, agencies are counteracting and creating editorial properties of their own, reaching new audiences across social media platforms. Now one well-known agency entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, is outright acquiring a publisher: PureWow, a lifestyle digital media company focused on “upper” millennial and Gen-X women.
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Maven Clinic: For connecting women with the care they need, when they need it For many women, a family doctor simply isn't equipped to handle questions specific to women's health. Some women will see their gynecologist, but that's not always appropriate for issues related to hormones and nutrition, for instance. That's where Maven Clinic, a telehealth company for women founded by former journalist Katherine Ryder, comes in. The company works with hundreds of providers that sit inside and outside of the traditional medical system, including lactation consultants, midwives, family doctors, obstetricians, and physical therapists—and all of them were vetted for their ability to serve female patients.