In 2008, when he was 23, Nat Turner was on a hike in North Carolina with his 6-year-old cousin, Brennan Simkins. Brennan’s legs got weak, and the weakness kept getting worse. He turned out to have a rare and deadly pediatric leukemia that kept coming back after treatment. When Brennan needed a second bone marrow transplant, several hospitals refused to do it and his family was losing hope—until they found a specialist who would help. Exasperated, Brennan’s father asked Turner: Why doesn’t one hospital know what others will do? Is there anyone collecting statistics?
Fetch Rewards Bags $8M After Shaking Up Its Grocery Rewards Model
Mobile app startup Fetch Rewards has scooped up $8 million in new venture funding to try and expand its grocery shopping rewards business. The Madison, WI-based company’s latest equity financing was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC this week. Fetch CEO and co-founder Wes Schroll couldn’t be immediately reached for comment Friday afternoon. Fetch has raised at least $24.1 million in equity funding to date, according to SEC filings. Its earlier backers include Loeb Enterprises and Great Oaks Venture Capital, both based in New York. Fetch last raised capital in September 2017: a $9.6 million funding round that marked one of Wisconsin’s largest startup investments last year.
Affinity is on the 2019 Breakout List
“If you join a company, my general advice is to join a company on a breakout trajectory.” – Sam Altman, President at Y Combinator Breakout growth creates breakout opportunities. Investors know which companies are doing well. And candidates are making an even bigger bet – 100% of their working time on one company. Candidates deserve to know which companies are growing and which companies are stagnant. Because when you’re a candidate, you’re betting your career. Discover the companies you’ll want to apply to. Further your career. Find the company you deserve. Find your tribe. Efficiently find opportunities that are uniquely suited to you and what you want by reading the key takeaways. It’s bigger than before. Which means more companies that you may want to apply to.
2018 Totally Unbiased Gift Guide
We, at Great Oaks, are very lucky to partner with ambitious entrepreneurs reimagining products and experiences for consumers across many industries. In keeping with tradition, we put together a list of products & services that are among the most exciting consumer brands we’re lucky enough to work with! Check out the guide below and find a gift for everyone on your list! @allbirds @eaze @rumbleboxingnyc @away @prbutcher @hicolugo @geteero @interiordefine @sugarfina @materialkitchen @hungryroot
Next Billion-Dollar Startups: How Two Young Entrepreneurs Used Relentless Online Marketing To Build Away Into A $700M Luggage Brand
Jen Rubio was rushing through the Zurich airport when her suitcase broke. She stuffed her clothes back inside and duct-taped the mess. Then she asked her 2,600 Facebook friends for advice on what suitcase to buy. No one had a good answer. Rubio was an early employee of Warby Parker, the company that upended eyeglass retailing by cutting out the middleman. “I started thinking, How do we do what Warby Parker did for glasses?” she says. “How do we take something really simple, and make people care about it?” If a direct-to-consumer business can displace opticians, surely it can displace luggage stores.
The best travel strollers you can buy
The best travel stroller overall: Colugo. Colugo is a newcomer to the baby gear marketplace, but mark my words: Some day, it'll be considered a legacy brand. I say that for three reasons. First, the Colugo Compact Stroller is genuinely one of the most compact folding strollers I've ever used. How compact is it? It folds down small enough to fit into a backpack that comes included with the stroller. Yet when deployed, it's even larger than the average umbrella stroller, approximating the feel and function of a full-sized option.
Plastiq raises $27M at 2X+ value to let you pay for anything on credit
Whether you’re trying to pay your rent or tuition on credit, or you have a business and want to invest in a new opportunity or get a better rate by paying vendors up front, Plastiq can help. For a flat 2.5 percent fee, you pay Plastiq through your credit card, and it issues the proper wire transfer, check, or deposit for up to $500,000 on your behalf to whoever you owe. Now with over 1 million clients, growth stage VCs are taking notice. Kleiner Perkins has just led a $27 million Series C for Plastiq with partner Ilya Fushman joining the board. A source says the raise that also comes from DST Global between doubles and triples Plastiq’s valuation over its 2017 Series B-1 rounds of $11 million and $16 million. Now with $73 million in total funding, it plans to add 100 more people to its current team of 60 while building out its small business product and bank partnerships.
Fitter, healthier, happier? How wellness drinks took over Instagram
In 2015, entrepreneur Zak Normandin was intrigued by the direct-to-consumer space. Normandin, who founded children’s snack company Little Duck Organics, witnessed the skyrocketing success of startups such as Glossier and wondered: why isn’t anyone doing the same thing for food and beverage? After all, beverage consumers make emotionally-based decisions numerous times a day. Meanwhile, millennials are increasingly health-obsessed, with cold-pressed juice and kombucha replacing the vacuum left by sugary sodas. Nielsen reports that 67% of Americans say they prioritize healthy food purchases.
Genies brings lifelike avatars to other apps with $10M from celebrities
Genies is emerging as the top competitor to Snapchat’s wildly popular Bitmoji as Facebook, Apple, and Google have been slow to get serious about personalized avatars. Over one million people have customized dozens of traits to build a realistic digital lookalike of themselves from over a million possible permutations. When Genies launched a year ago after raising $15 million in stealth, it misstepped by trying to show people’s Genies interpreting a few weekly news stories and seasonal moments. Now the startup has figured out users want more control, so it’s shifting its iOS and Android apps to let you chat through your avatar, who acts out keywords and sentiments in reaction to what you type, which you can then share elsewhere. And Genies is launching a software developer kit that charges other apps apps to let you create avatars and use them for chat, stickers, games, animations, and augmented reality.
50 Best Inventions of 2018: Shoes That Could Help Save the World
The shoe industry has a big carbon footprint, thanks in part to the fact that many shoe parts—including plastic soles, logos and shoelace tips—are made from petroleum. Retail startup Allbirds is testing an eco-friendly alternative: SweetFoam, a new material made from parts of sugarcane that would otherwise be discarded (thereby releasing climate change–causing carbon dioxide into the air). Allbirds launched SweetFoam earlier this year in a line of flip-flops; it plans to start using the material across its entire product line soon—including its popular wool sneakers, which have sold more than 1 million pairs since their 2016 debut. And in an effort to encourage its competitors to follow suit, the San Francisco–based company has made the technical know-how behind SweetFoam “available to anyone who wants it, without question,” says co-founder Joey Zwillinger.
Citrix pays $200M to acquire Sapho, which connects legacy software with ‘micro apps’
As large organizations grapple with adopting modern work practices without throwing out all of their legacy software, a company that works with them is making an acquisition that it hopes will help with that process. Citrix today is announcing that it has acquired Sapho, a startup that develops “micro apps” for legacy software so that workers could use them as they would more modern applications: in the cloud, on mobile and more. We understand that the acquisition was for around $200 million in an all-cash deal. It’s a good return: Sapho had raised just under $28 million since 2014 from investors that included AME Cloud Ventures, Louie Alsop,
Citrix acquires Sapho for $200 million to surface actionable insights in the workplace
Citrix Systems today announced it acquired Sapho in an all-cash $200 million deal, a Citrix spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. Sapho makes micro-apps for team collaboration apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams that call upon more than 50 popular SaaS products like Salesforce, Workday, Concur, ServiceNow, Outlook, and Google Drive. Sapho’s 90 employees at offices in San Bruno, California and the Czech Republic will also join Citrix as part of the deal.