In his home country of Ecuador, Andres Mosquera felt pretty good about his finances. Mosquera, who has a master’s degree in business education, had two credit cards with a combined limit equal to around $20,000, and he never had any trouble paying them off. But around nine months ago, the 27-year-old moved to Long Island, New York, with his wife for a job in the insurance industry, and shortly after, they had their first child. Given his strong financial background in Ecuador, Mosquera figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to get a new credit card in the U.S. That turned out to not be the case. Like many new immigrants, Mosquera quickly learned that his financial track record in Ecuador would not help him in the U.S.; from the perspective of the banks he applied to in New York, he had no credit history. “It was like starting all over again,” he says. To start building credit, Mosquera could only qualify for secured cards, which came with limits of around $200 or $300–nowhere near enough for a flight home, should he need one.
Petal Raises $30 Million To Offer Credit Card To Those New To Credit
Petal, the New York fintech that offers a credit card for those just starting out, raised $30 million in venture funding. The Series B round of funding was led by Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures, which is already an investor in the startup. Other investors that participated in the round include Greyhound Capital, which is joining as a new institutional investor, Third Prime Capital, Rosecliff Ventures, Story Ventures, RiverPark Ventures, and Afore Capital. Petal plans to use the latest round of funding to expand its offering as well as bring on more customers. As it stands it has thousands of customers and is aiming to grow that by the tens if not hundreds of thousands this year.
Comcast & NBCUniversal invest in fintech app Acorns with a deal to produce content through CNBC
NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are taking a bet on millennial-focused financial technology app, Acorns. The companies announced an equity investment in the start-up on Monday that includes a strategic partnership with Comcast-owned CNBC to produce original content with Acorns. The two will team up on articles, videos and eventually live conferences with the aim of increasing financial literacy, the companies said. The investment was part of Acorns' latest $105 million funding round, which puts its valuation at $860 million. BlackRock, Bain Capital Ventures, TPG's Rise Fund, DST and Michael Dell's MSD Capital also took part in the Series E round. NBCUniversal, which is now Acorns' biggest shareholder, will also receive a seat on the start-up's board. It will be filled by CNBC Chairman Mark Hoffman.
Investing Startup Acorns Surpasses Betterment with $860M Valuation
There is big money in pocket change. A new $105 million fundraising round for Acorns Grow Inc., whose namesake smartphone app automatically invests small contributions from users into baskets of stocks and bonds, values the startup at $860 million, the company said Monday. That is more than triple the valuation Acorns attained in a 2016 financing round, and it makes the startup worth more than robo-adviser rivals including Betterment LLC that have raised more capital from investors and manage several billion dollars more in client assets.
Knotch raises $20M Series B to help brands are take more marketing in-house
Marketers continue to seek more tools to evaluate the performance of their digital advertising and branded content. And venture capital money appears to be following. Marketing-tech company Knotch has raised $20 million in Series B funding to accelerate its move into tools that help brands analyze their content. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and also included previous investors. With the funding news, NEA venture partner Hilarie Koplow-McAdams and former GroupM exec Rob Norman are joining Knotch's board. Knotch has raised $34 million to date and has 35 employees.
Viacom agrees to buy ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million
Viacom has agreed to acquire streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million in cash, the latest piece of its strategy to build a streaming business as consumers cut the cord. Pluto TV is a free, ad-supported service that has given over-the-top viewers a video option that doesn't require a cable subscription or monthly payments to Netflix. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. For Viacom, which owns MTV, Comedy Central and VH1, the acquisition could help in future negotiations with pay-TV distributors. Viacom plans to let carriers such as Comcast and Charter offer the service
Viacom Acquires Video-Streaming Service Pluto TV
Viacom Inc. VIAB -2.79% said it bought the ad-supported video-streaming service Pluto TV for $340 million in cash, a move that gives the pay-television giant another entrée to the realm of online video. Acquiring Pluto TV will allow Viacom to increase the digital audience for its programming, while giving the owner of networks such as Nickelodeon and MTV instant scale for its online advertising business.
Why Boxing Is the Hot Workout of 2019
At Rumble, a Manhattan fitness studio that could pass for a more hardcore version of SoulCycle, a swanky white entry decked in emoji-like logos and pop art leads to a crimson-lit workout room. Instead of bikes, however, the room is filled with bags, swinging under heavy assault. Rumble—which launched in New York in 2016 before expanding to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and last year sold a minority stake to luxury mega-gym Equinox—is at the forefront of the boutique-ification of boxing, a sport more likely to evoke the sweaty ambience of “Rocky” than a Victoria’s Secret outlet. The combat sport has evolved into something a casual gym-goer might try. Among the catalysts: social media-savvy supermodels like Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Adriana Lima, and stylish male celebs like David Beckham, Chris Hemsworth, and Scott Eastwood—all of whom happily Instagram jabs and crosses.
Startup Knock Raises $400M in Equity & Debt, Bets Homebuying Can Be More Like Trading in a Car
SHARE THIS ARTICLE Share Tweet Post Email Knock, a startup seeking to simplify the house-buying process by making it more like purchasing a car, raised $400 million in equity and debt as it seeks to double the number of U.S. markets it operates in. The company, which currently operates in five cities, uses cash to acquire homes on behalf of regular buyers, who agree to buy the property from Knock once they are able to sell their existing house. The model is similar to how car dealers let buyers trade-in old rides as part of the transaction, Chief Executive Officer Sean Black said in an interview.
How to Make a Millennial Feel Cozy in Just One Beverage
Ease, comfort, and pleasure are what millennials, those members of the high-anxiety “Doom Generation,” really want — and capitalism is into it. A new beverage called Recess is a case study in where those desires meet. Bubbles? Yes. CBD? Check. Sans-serif block font? Yeah! A knowing, nudging, creepily on-point Instagram presence? Obviously. Recess is a sparkling water infused with CBD (government name: cannabidiol), a nonintoxicating hemp extract that is said to act as a pain reliever, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and chillifier. The drink also contains adaptogens, ephemera from the neverland of is-it-food-or-not that are supposed to reduce stress and improve memory, focus and immunity. Their efficacy is without definitive evidence, but both CBD and adaptogens are decidedly a thing in functional health and wellness — and their marketing.
Coca-Cola Joins A-Rod With Stake in Text-to-Pay Beverage Brand
Coca-Cola Co., facing shifting shopping habits that have roiled the food and beverage industry, is taking a minority stake in Iris Nova, the company behind a cashierless New York City store where customers pay for drinks via text message. Coke, now the startup’s largest investor, led a $15 million investment round that values Iris Nova at about $60 million. Iris Nova is the maker of Dirty Lemon, a line of upscale drinks, including a recently discontinued one made with CBD, that found traction with customers on Instagram before the company launched its first retail location in Manhattan this year.
Coca-Cola is leading a $15 million funding round in the trendy direct-to-consumer beverage startup behind Dirty Lemon
Coca-Cola's investment in Iris Nova comes at a time when the beverage industry giant is looking towards new categories and strategies for growth. In recent months, Coca-Cola has invested in sports brand BODYARMOR, purchased Australian kombucha maker Organic & Raw Trading Company, bought juice company Tropico, and invested in healthy beverage company Made Group. Coca-Cola also spent $5.1 billion to buy Costa Coffee, a coffee chain with almost 4,000 locations.