Allbirds, the Silicon Valley startup behind a wildly popular wool sneaker, is pivoting from sheep to trees. The venture-capital darling is unveiling two new models Thursday made with the fibers of eucalyptus trees, effectively doubling its product line. One of its new kicks will be a flora version of its seminal, minimalist running shoe. “We’ve been the leaders, you could argue, in creating a new class of footwear,” said co-founder Tim Brown of the company’s novel use of wool. “And at first glance, shoes made out of trees don’t make a lot of sense, either.” Allbirds said eucalyptus will require only 5 percent of the resources that go into a traditional shoe made of leather, plastic, rubber or some combination thereof. And while there’s a lot to like about wool shoes, from a warm, fuzzy fit to anti-microbial properties, they still don’t pair overly well with summer or rain. Allbirds is hoping its eucalyptus line, which wicks away sweat, will strip some of the seasonality out of its business and expand sales in America’s southern climes, as well as in markets such as Australia.
Allbirds co-founders on their new plant-based shoe collection
In its first two years, sneaker startup Allbirds sold more than a million pairs of shoes. The San Francisco-based company says it's committed to using sustainable environmental practices to make what it calls "the world's most comfortable shoe." The company is launching Tree, a new line of shoes with material sourced from eucalyptus. Co-founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss why they were inspired to start the company and how they developed their new line. "There was this trend where everything was adding more and more and more, flashy logos, more seams, everything that wasn't doing something for comfort. So if we could strip everything down to its simplest form, remove everything that wasn't functional, we thought that we could make something quite beautiful," Zwillinger said.
Online Butchers Cater to Meat Lovers in the Age of Amazon
For the last seven years Porter Road has carved out a profitable niche selling small-batch meat to discerning shoppers in Nashville, Tennessee. Keen to start peddling its prime cuts of beef, pork and lamb to the rest of the country, the butcher opened an online store last month. Porter Road and an expanding list of upstarts are tapping into growing demand for meat that’s sustainably raised on family farms even as Americans open their minds and wallets to buying fresh food online. While a tiny part of the almost $55 billion U.S. meat industry, these companies are providing an alternative—albeit a pricey one—to the mass-produced steak, pork and chicken sold by giant agribusinesses like Perdue and Tyson. “What we're trying to do is bring fresh meat delivery service into the 21st century," says Porter Road co-founder James Peisker.
This woman built a multimillion-dollar company in her own backyard
With $15M in new funding, Interior Define will now let you shop for sofas in augmented reality
No one can accuse Interior Define of resting on its laurels. The Chicago startup, which sells custom furniture online, announced on Thursday that it has raised a $15 million Series B round of funding. That news comes less than a year after Interior Define closed its $8 million Series A. Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Fifth Wall co-led Thursday’s round, which the company will use to expand its team, invest in technology and open new brick-and-mortar locations.
The Founders of Away Have 3 Tips for Female Entrepreneurs
When we launched Away, it was because of a personal pain point: Jen’s luggage broke. When she looked for a replacement, she realized there wasn’t a luggage brand that was iconic but accessible, and that made a high-quality product that didn’t cost more than the trip you were planning to take it on. That’s why in 2015 we set out to create a company that would offer the luggage that Jen was looking for and to create a brand that people could get excited about. We appropriately named it Away, and we create products and experiences that make travel more seamless.
Collective Health Nabs $110M in Funding
Collective Health Inc., a startup offering tech-savvy tools for managing health benefits, has raised a fresh infusion of investor cash as it seeks to win over more employers fed up with a fragmented, costly market. The San Francisco-based company, founded in 2013, is betting that growing dissatisfaction with rising health-care costs will lure more firms to its technology, which lets employers cut through the tangle of different benefits they typically administer. The Collective Health employer portalSource: Collective Health
How a Sports Jersey Subscription Service was Born
Since launching in August 2017, Rep the Squad has disrupted the sports jersey market by offering a range of them from the NFL (Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos), NBA and MLB essentially for rent. The subscription based service will send jerseys for use, which are then to be returned for other jerseys. Essentially, you get fresh jerseys to wear on a monthly basis. It is a novel idea that just got even a bit more creative. Now, users are being told they can trade-in counterfeit, outdated and unwanted jerseys in exchange for a discounted membership and guarantee of authentic jerseys. The 1st month of a membership is discounted by half and get another free month once the jersey is received.
Acorns, the financial management service for everyone else, adds 3 million users
corns, the financial management service focused on getting low- and middle-income households to invest and save responsibly, has reached 3 million users in the United States. The company has roughly $800 million in assets under management, with accounts coming from primarily low and middle income customers across all fifty states, according to Acorns co-founder and chief executive Noah Kerner. Unlike other savings and investment services — like the automated advisory services on offer from Betterment or Wealthfront, or the no-fee stock and cryptocurrency trading service from Robinhood — Acorns is trying to introduce responsible investing principles and savings methods to consumers who have never had the option before.
The Deeply Human Core Of Roche's $2.1 Billion Flatiron Health Acquisition -- And Why It Made It
Roche's recently announced acquisition of the oncology data company Flatiron Health for $2.1 billion represents a robust validation of the much-discussed but infrequently realized hypothesis that technology entrepreneurs who can turn health data into actionable insights can capture significant value for this accomplishment. Four questions underlying this deal (a transaction first reported, as usual, by Chrissy Farr) are: What is the Flatiron business model? What makes Flatiron different from other health data companies?
Collective Health's approach to self-insured employer health plans
The wheels on this are already turning. For example, Collective Health, a startup that's raised $119 million from investors including Peter Thiel's Founders Fund and GV since getting its start in 2013, works with employers to build out plans that fit their needs, adding technology with the hope of making things like submitting claims and reading bills easier than it tends to be. Chief Health Officer Dr. Rajaie Batniji cofounded Collective Health with CEO Ali Diab, who was working in technology, including working on the search team at Yahoo. At the same time, Batniji was going the academic route, getting a PhD in healthcare financing. "I was taking the academic route thinking I'd make the system better by writing papers about it," Batniji said.
Alphabet-backed Flatiron Health is being acquired by Roche for $2.1 Billion
Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Group is buying Flatiron Health, an Alphabet-backed cancer-focused start-up founded by two former Google employees, according to sources familiar with the matter. The company will pay $1.9 billion, adding to its existing stake, for a total value of $2.1 billion. The company has confirmed the deal in a press release. Flatiron was valued at $1.2 billion when it raised its last round from Roche in 2016. Medical distribution giant McKesson was also interested in buying the company, sources say. Alongside Alphabet's GV (formerly Google Ventures), Roche is one of the biggest backers in Flatiron, having led the most recent venture round of $175 million in 2016. It already owned 12% of the company. As part of the deal, Roche agreed to acquire several of the company's software products, which was intended to put the company in a position to go public.