I’ve never had a meeting quite like the one I had with Built Robotics. Within about 10 minutes of meeting Built’s co-founder Noah Ready-Campbell, we’re steering an 80,000-pound construction excavator around what is basically his company’s back yard. He wants me to see what it’s like to drive one; how much skill and finesse it takes to safely and efficiently move mountains of dirt around with this massive machine. The answer? Lots. That’s why his company wants these machines to drive themselves. Built is taking the concepts and technology that others are using to build self-driving cars and adapting them for a whole different vertical: construction.
In the Elevator With Away CEO Steph Korey
RigUp secures $60M to fuel the growth of its marketplace
Continuing a fiery month of funding for Austin tech, local oil and gas technology startup RigUp raised a $60 million Series C on Tuesday. RigUp’s marketplace connects oil and gas contractors with on-demand jobs available in their industry. The company reported that pre-qualified oilfield laborers can land their next job within just a few days of registering on RigUp’s platform. Its technology adds value to both enterprise buyers and contractors by making the process to hire contingent labor much faster and easier. “Operators enjoy the simplicity, speed and transparency we provide — contractors enjoy the ease of finding work and getting paid quickly,” said Yong.
Viacom CEO lays out distribution strategy after PlutoTV acquisition
How Ibotta Is Helping Every Day Consumers Save Time And Money
Denver, Colorado-based Ibotta is a free mobile shopping app that makes it easier for consumers to earn cash back on everyday purchases by using a smartphone. Ibotta has partnered with a number of brands and retailers to provide offers on groceries, clothes, gifts, electronics, restaurants and more. Ever since Ibotta launched in 2012, the company has paid out over $275 million in cash back for its users and has been downloaded over 23 million times. And Ibotta users spend over $6 billion every year using the app. Currently, Ibotta has over 500 employees, most of which are based in Denver. Ibotta founder and CEO Bryan Leach was born in Nairobi, Kenya where his father worked for a car dealership but dreamed about becoming an entrepreneur in the U.S. Leach said that he had a front-row seat to his father’s version of the American dream
Woman Spends Her Entire Life Savings On 300 Gallons of Rose Wine
Alix Peabody was 24 years old and suffering from a big health crisis when she started throwing some parties at her aunt and uncle’s house in Sonoma to raise money to pay for her medical bills. After going through this upheaval, she realized that she wanted to change directions and do something centered around women that was more meaningful. She then received a notification that she had to transfer some funds from the 401k plan she had from her first job out of Dartmouth as a math major. So, she took her entire life savings and decided to buy 300 gallons of rosé wine and some cans to put it in, and she started Bev. “I cashed it all in to buy this tote of rosé and see where it took me,” Peabody says.
This Entrepreneur Started a Streaming Service for His 2-Year-Old. Five Years Later, Viacom Bought It for $340 Million
When serial entrepreneur Ilya Pozin and his co-founder Tom Ryan launched Pluto TV in 2014, the idea went against the grain. The future of online entertainment looked like it would be mostly on-demand, subscription-based, and ad-free--à la Netflix or Hulu. Meanwhile, Pluto TV would stream over 100 channels of live cable TV for free--no sign-up required--and use ads to make money. (The startup later added on-demand content.) Five years later, Pozin and Ryan's bet is paying off. In January, Viacom agreed to acquire Los Angeles-based Pluto TV for $340 million in cash. Having mainly operated in the U.S., the acquisition will give Pluto TV access to Viacom's massive library of content and the opportunity to expand faster internationally, chief growth officer Pozin told Inc. Viacom, composed of networks like Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon, has more than 700 million subscribers and operates in over 160 countries. Going global while maintaining a lead in the U.S. is not easy, as it requires more resources and unique content, Pozin admits. Pluto TV had raised $50 million in funding to date and has 12 million monthly active users.
Allbirds Is Headed to China with a Partnership with Alibaba
Allbirds Inc., the wool shoe startup that’s become a staple of Silicon Valley fashion, is opening its first stores in China, aiming to replicate its viral success in the world’s second-largest economy. San Francisco-based Allbirds plans to announce this week that it will open a brick-and-mortar store in Shanghai in the coming months. By the end of the year, it plans to have stores in Beijing and Chengdu. It will also be rolling out its goods on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Tmall online shopping website as well as building its presence on Chinese social media services including WeChat and Weibo.
The $95 Sneakers Barack Obama Wore to the Duke-UNC Game
One of the things about being a president of the United States is that everyone cares about everything you do for the rest of your life. Wherever you go, whomever you talk to, whatever you're wearing—the people need to know. Take former president Barack Obama, for example, who went to the Duke-UNC game this week. The internet damn near lost its mind at the sight of his very stylish Rag & Bone bomber, which was embroidered with a custom "44" to flex on his leader-of-the-free-world experience. Who needs a letterman jacket, you know? But the bomber wasn't the only thing of note Obama was wearing. He was also wearing a pair of knit Allbirds sneakers.
Why Acorns is one of the World's 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2019
“Don’t make people do the math,” says Noah Kerner, CEO of digital-investment pioneer Acorns, which is on a mission to help people squirrel away money as effortlessly as possible. The company launched in 2014 with a product that rounds up users’ daily purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically puts the difference into investment accounts; a growing stable of brand partners (320 and counting) offer further contributions for qualifying purchases. Last year, Acorns began offering its 4.2 million users the ability to open an IRA, along with a checking account and debit card that link to the company’s investment products. It also redesigned its app to help users better visualize the impact of all those saved dollars and cents.
Fable, A New Pet Brand, Just Launched A High Quality Pet Line In Beautiful Pastels
Here’s something for the very good puppers of the world and the humans who love them: Fable, a new pet gear line, is as gorgeous as it is effective — and it’s got humaneness at its heart. Founded by Sophie Bakalar and Jeremy Canade, Fable produces beautiful, well-made items that eschew aversion training-based design in favor of pain-free, practical design aimed at ensuring and improving both your pet’s well-being and your own. When it comes to training dogs, there are generally two popularly used methods when it comes: Aversion training and reward-based training. Aversion training uses negative consequences or punishments to stave off bad behavior, while reward-based training uses positive consequences, like praise or treats, to encourage good behavior. But research shows that aversion training is both no more effective than
Affinity raises $26.5 million to manage relationships with machine learning
Relationships are a tricky thing — and particularly fraught in the enterprise world, where the right connection or second-degree contact can make the difference in a high-stakes deal. That’s why almost five years ago, Stanford grads Ray Zhou and Shubham Goel cofounded Affinity, a San Francisco startup developing what they describe as a “relationship intelligence” platform. Unlike some relationship management products on the market, Affinity is entirely automatic — it dispenses with manual data entry in favor of an AI-driven, automated approach. Toward that end, Goel and Zhou say it’s helped to identify over three million “warm introductions” in networks and auto-populated over 300 million data fields with relevant contact information. And it’s just getting started.