RIGUP - There are nearly 1,000 rigs drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. Each well requires the input of dozens of service companies and workers — everything from high-horsepower compressors for fracking, to miles of steel pipe, and millions of gallons of water and truckloads of sand. Cofounder Xuan Yong, formerly of Citadel and D.E. Shaw, believes RigUp can improve on the good ol’ boy network by more efficiently connecting the “hyperfragmented” market of roughnecks, engineers and business owners with the big oil companies that call the shots. RigUp pre-vets workers and vendors, and creams an estimated 4% off every contract made via its online platform. Yong isn’t worried about machines invading the oilpatch. “Even with A.I. there will be demand growth for labor,” he says. “Field tickets are still signed on paper and stamped.” For now.
Notable raises $40 million to personalize cancer drug regimens
Notable Labs, a Foster City, California-based provider of personalized drug combination testing for cancer patients, today revealed that it’s closed a $40 million series B round co-led by B Capital Group and LifeForce Capital, with participation from B Capital and Industry Ventures. Cofounder and CEO Matt De Silva said the cash infusion brings the company’s total raised to over $55 million following a $14.8 million series A in September 2017.
FORTUNE 40 Under 40: Tim Brown & Joey Zwillinger of Allbirds
Allbirds founders Brown, a former professional soccer player, and Zwillinger, a clean-tech engineer, are on a mission to change the world’s carbon footprint, one cushiony pair of shoes at a time. The duo emphasize the sustainability of the product, constructed from natural materials like merino wool and eucalyptus fiber. They want the larger shoe industry, with its polluting and wasteful manufacturing processes, to follow their lead. Allbirds was profitable in its first year of operation, and three years later it has an estimated value of $1.4 billion. Its most recent $50 million round of funding paves the way for more retail locations and a launch in China.
FORTUNE 40 Under 40: Jen Rubio & Steph Korey of Away
Since shipping their first soon-to-be-iconic minimalist suitcase in early 2016, Away’s Jen Rubio and Steph Korey have sold more than a million bags; they posted $150 million in sales in 2018 and expect to double that this year. By selling direct to consumers, the company’s products cost less than half of those from competitors like Tumi; by wallpapering social media with influencers toting the sleek suitcases, Away has locked down its spot as visual shorthand for the smart modern traveler.
eCommerce Checkout Platform Bolt Raises $68 Million In Funding
Bolt, the San Francisco-based startup that operates an eCommerce checkout platform in the cloud, raised $68 million in venture funding bringing its total capital raised to date to $90 million. The Series B round of funding was led by Activant Capital and Tribe Capital and included personal investments from current and former retail and brand executives from REVOLVE, Crocs, Forever 21 and Jet.com among others. It’s the largest round of funding the startup has raised since launching in January of 2018.
Bolt raises $68 million to simplify ecommerce
Bolt — not to be confused with blockchain startup Bolt Labs, hardware investor Bolt, or the ride-sharing firm formerly known as Taxify — aims to accomplish no less than reinventing the ecommerce payments stack top to bottom. The San Francisco-based company, which was founded in 2014 by Eric Feldman and Ryan Breslow, provides a suite of tools designed to streamline transactions across web platforms. And to gear up for its next stage of growth, it’s raising substantial venture capital. Bolt today revealed the closure of a $68 million series B funding round co-led by Activant Capital and Tribe Capital, which brings its total raised to $90 million. Other contributors included Allbirds’ Benny Joseph; Revolve’s Jon Tam; Bombas’ Dave Heath; Burrow’s Kevin Weinman; Brett Jackson, formerly of Crocs; Kelly Cooper, previously of Athleta; Stance’s Paul Zaengle; Kevin Han, formerly at Forever 21; Jet.com’s Evan DiMeglio; and Dagne Dover’s Melissa Mash.
Millennial booze startup Haus wants you to ditch the Aperol Spritz
A little over a month ago, the New York Times had a hot take—”The Aperol Spritz Is Not a Good Drink“—and an online firestorm ensued. For many, this was blasphemy. The Aperol Spritz—a cocktail containing prosecco, soda, and the eponymous Italian aperitif had become a holy rite of summer—mostly, as it turns out, because Campari, Aperol’s parent company, had made it so with some genius guerrilla marketing. The Times, it seemed, was impugning millions of summer-loving people’s alcoholic sensibilities. Those who read the entire article (which I’m guessing most did not) were met with a slightly different thesis than the headline implied. The idea wasn’t that the Aperol Spritz is always and completely bad, but that the version most often served in millions of bars around the world is a saccharine syrup bomb that could be so much better. This fervor, perhaps unintentionally, highlighted an emerging trend: Aperitifs, long part of cocktail culture in Europe, are catching on in the United States.
MakerSights Racks Up $8.5M Series A to Modernize Retail Product Decision-making
MakerSights, pioneer of the product decision engine for retail, today announced its $8.5 million Series A round led by new investors Forerunner Ventures and joined by Brett Hurt and Brant Barton, the founders of BazaarVoice. Brian O'Malley of Forerunner Ventures will also join the MakerSights Board of Directors. Following a $3.1 million seed funding round, the additional capital infusion will enable key leadership hires, accelerate the growth of in-house engineering and data teams, fuel international expansion and scale its go-to-market operations. MakerSights has grown its customer base by 5x and significantly expanded its footprint of enterprise brands—including Calvin Klein, Levi's, Tommy Hilfiger, Shinola, Taylor Stitch, HOKA ONE ONE, Teva and Allbirds.
Collective Health Raises $205 Million in SoftBank-Led Funding Round
Enterprise healthcare platform Collective Health raises $205M led by SoftBank
SoftBank’s Vision Fund may be facing some challenges when it comes to restocking its massive reserves, but the firm famous for cutting big checks is leading a sizeable round for Collective Health. This startup focused on enterprise employee healthcare management announced a $205 million Series E raise today, brining its total funding to $434 million since its founding in 2013. Its last raise was a $110 million round in February, 2018. Collective Healths’ client list includes Red Bull, Pinterest, Zendesk and more, and it counts GV, NEA, DFJ Growth and Sun Life among its financial backers. Its platform is an integrator for the various insurance and benefit providers that large employers offer to the their employees, and provides access to info, as well as claims filing, eligibility checks and data sharing across vendors. The funding will also help with additional engineering hires to continue to build out the platform. The funding will help the company add more partner providers, a process that’s key to continued growth as it seeks to expand its footprint and ensure that it can serve customers and their employees across the U.S. In addition to the Vision Fund, this round included new investors PSP Investments, DFJ Growth, G Squared, as well as new participation from existing investors.
Billionaires Jim Breyer & Thomas Tull Lead $15M Bet That Genies’ Avatars Will Be Next Big Thing
If you had asked Genies CEO Akash Nigam a year ago when he would start making money off his cartoon avatar business, he would have said probably not until 2023. But in the last year, Genies’ digital caricatures have popped up everywhere—from Scooter Braun’s Instagram account to DJ Khaled’s and attracted a star-studded list of investors from athletes Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving to musicians like 50 Cent. Suddenly brands like scooter company Bird were calling Nigam, five years ahead of his own revenue deadline, to pay to get Genies’ celebrity network to post videos of the digital avatars riding Birds on the day of its new scooter launch. Even Gucci partnered with Genies to let people style their avatars in Gucci-branded products from inside Genies' app. The lifelike avatars can then be exported and used in everything from iMessage to Instagram.
Pillar launches with $5.5M from Kleiner Perkins and others to tackle your student loan debt
A new startup aims to help you get your student loans under control. Today, an app called Pillar, backed by $5.5 million in seed funding led by Kleiner Perkins, is launching a simpler way for consumers to better understand their student loan debt — and even pay it off early. To do so, the app connects with your student loan servicer and bank, then makes personalized suggestions based on your loans, your income, and your spending. When it finds a way you can make a bigger dent in your overall student loan debt, it will send an alert to your smartphone. Pillar co-founder and CEO Michael Bloch, an early DoorDash employee, said he came up with the idea after his wife graduated from law school with around $300,000 worth of student loans.