October 14, 2019 News Magazine

Startups Weekly: YC grad Revel’s plan to connect women over 50

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy news pertaining to startups and venture capital. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. I’ve been on a bit of a startup profile kick as of late. Last week, I was tired from Disrupt. Before that, I wrote about up and coming telemedicine company Alpha Medical.

Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here.

Startup Spotlight

Y Combinator’s latest batch concluded two months ago, which means my inbox is beginning to fill with pitches from companies ready to talk about the first rounds of fundraising. We’ve profiled many of the companies already, like Tandem, Narrator, SannTek Labs and more to come.

This week, I have some notes on Revel, a recent grad from the hot accelerator network that plans to create a nationwide subscription-based network tailored to women over the age of 50. The startup’s founders, Harvard Business School graduates Lisa Marron and Alexa Wahl, say there are no good existing options in the market to help women in this demographic foster new relationships.

Revel

“I think a lot of the things that exist are nonprofits that are a little antiquated now,” Marron tells TechCrunch. “I think we saw that those are really serving the need of our members’ parents’ generation, but they haven’t really adapted as much to the modern age.”

Women 50 years and older can become a member of Revel. For now, the service is free, though the company plans to charge a $100 annual fee in the coming months. Currently, Revel’s community includes 500 women. With a $2.5 million funding led by Forerunner Ventures’ Kirsten Green, the small team plans to expand within the Bay Area. They said they won’t begin establishing Revel outside the region until they raise a Series A.

It’s hard to imagine women will stay committed to paying an annual Revel membership, considering the real value comes from the company’s ability to facilitate introductions to like-minded women. Once those introductions have been made, women can discontinue their membership and develop relationships outside the service. Forerunner Ventures, however, is known for backing successful and prominent brands, like Glossier, Warby Parker and Outdoor Voices. My guess is Revel has ambitions to become the brand representing women over 50 seeking meaningful connections.

“We want to take this wide in a short number of years because we feel there is a need and opportunity to build this strong community for women of this age; venture capital in that sense was rocket fuel,” adds Marron.

VC rounds

  • Lilium seeks $500M, says sources
  • Indian e-commerce company Club Factory nabs $100M
  • Grammarly gets $90M at more than $1B valuation
  • Clari snags $60M on $500M valuation
  • Electric moped business Revel gets $27.6M
  • Parsley Health secures $26M Series B
  • Lattice valued at $200M with new funds from Tiger Global
  • Polte raises $12.5M to track devices using LTE signal

M&A

  • Uber plans to buy a majority stake in a Latin American grocery delivery business called Cornershop. The Chilean startup was founded in 2015 by Oskar Hjertonsson, Daniel Undurraga and Juan Pablo Cuevas. It will continue to operate under that leadership in its current form for now, says Uber.
  • To beat Amazon Go, Standard Cognition is buying DeepMagic, a pioneer in autonomous retail kiosks. “The $86 million-funded Standard Cognition is racing to equip storefronts with an independent alternative using cameras to track what customers grab and charge them. But Amazon’s early start in the space poses a risk that it could patent troll the startup,” writes TechCrunch’s Josh Constine.

Extra Crunch

Extra Crunch subscribers have a lot to chew on this week. Reminder, if you haven’t yet signed up for our premium content service, you still can here.

This week, I wrote about the importance of having a culture expert on staff at a venture capital firm. Increasingly, startups are being judged for their cultures, diversity of staff and more. VCs, for the most part, are unprepared to help their companies foster more inclusive environments, and that’s a problem. One firm, True Ventures, has taken a big step toward holding their companies accountable for culture and giving them real resources to help them improve things early. I talked to True Ventures’ Madeline Kolbe Saltzman about her new title, VP of Culture.

Equity

I took a break from Equity this week, but my co-host Alex Wilhelm was in studio with IPO expert James Clark. Listen to the excellent conversation here.

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all the casts.

Banner
Related Posts

Newly renamed Superside raises $3.5M for its outsourced design platform

September 5, 2019

September 5, 2019

Superside, a startup aiming to create a premium alternative to the existing crowdsourced design platforms, is announcing that it has raised $3.5 million in new funding. It’s also adding new features like the ability to work on user interfaces, interaction design and motion graphics. Co-founder and CEO Fredrik Thomassen said this allows the company to offer “a full-service design solution.” You may have heard about Superside under its old name Konsus . In a blog post, Thomassen explained the recent change in name and branding, writing, “We changed our name and look to align with what we had become: The world’s top team of international designers and creatives.” He told me Superside was created to address his own frustrations after trying to use marketplaces like 99designs and Fiverr. He argued that there’s a problem with “adverse selection on those platforms.” In other words, “The best people … don’t remain, because they don’t have a career path — they’re fighting with other freelanc..

Meet Bobbie, a baby formula delivery startup promising healthier ingredients

May 10, 2019

May 10, 2019

Don’t like the idea of your baby guzzling down liquid candy all day? It may surprise you to find corn syrup is the main ingredient in most infant formulas in the U.S. That’s where Bobbie, a Bay Area-based baby formula delivery startup promising only wholesome ingredients hopes to fill in. Just go down the baby food aisle of any supermarket in America and start reading the ingredients and you’ll likely find corn syrup, soy bean oil, glucose syrup, maltodextrin and palm oil at the top. Even “organic” options often add these ingredients. While it’s high fructose corn syrup we should be most concerned with when it comes to diabetes (and some doctors might even recommend adding some sort of syrup to your baby’s diet to combat constipation), corn syrup is not something some parents may want their baby guzzling down all day. Touting itself as “European” style, Bobbie’s first product features fresh, grass-fed cows milk as the main ingredient. What it does not include, however, is key for th..

New THC and CBD-infused beverage company, Cann, joins the race to replace booze

July 24, 2019

July 24, 2019

Cann, a Los Angeles-based purveyor of CBD and THC-infused intoxicants, is rolling out its first major distribution through the venture-backed delivery service Eaze as it begins to hit the streets in California. The company, founded by two former Bain consultants, is the latest to take on the growing market for non-alcoholic intoxicants that use a combination of chemicals traditionally found in the marijuana plant to make their drinks. First dreamed up by Jake Bullock while attending business school at Stanford, Cann launched earlier this month at MedMen and is now selling its $30 multi-flavor six-packs both in stores and through Eaze . The beverages come with a 2 milligram dose of THC and 5 milligrams of CBD per can. Bullock and his partner Luke Anderson met while both men were at Bain Consulting — and both have a background in consumer retail businesses. Bullock initially worked at the investment bank Allen & Co. before moving over to Bain for consulting and finally settling in to..

Why Luckin’s ultimate target may not be Starbucks

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

Starbucks plans to double its store count in China to 5,000 in 2021 and Luckin, a one-year-old coffee startup, is matching up by aiming to reach 4,500 by the end of this year. Luckin’s upsized $651 million flotation has brought American investors’ attention to this potential Starbucks rival in China, where the Seattle giant controlled over half of the coffee market as late as 2017. But as soon as you make your first purchase with Luckin, you realize its ultimate goal may not be to topple Starbucks. To get your caffeine intake from Luckin, the ordering process happens entirely on its app. First, you will decide how you want to fetch the drink: have it delivered within 30 minutes, pick it up at a nearby Luckin kiosk, or sit back and sip at one of its full-on cafes, or what it calls ‘relax stores.’ Say you’re tied up at the desk, you can input your location to check if you’re within Luckin’s delivery radius. Luckin has essentially built a vast coffee delivery network through its partner..

Uber prices IPO at $44-50, to raise $7.9-9B, PayPal takes $500M stake in strategic partnership

April 26, 2019

April 26, 2019

Uber, the transportation-on-demand behemoth, today filed its much-anticipated updated S-1, where it announced that it would be pricing its initial public offering at $44-50 per share. Selling 180 million common shares, Uber plans to raise between $7.9 billion and $9 billion ahead of its public debut on the NYSE, valuing it at $84 billion — squarely in the middle of the $80-90 billion that was projected as late as yesterday. With the greenshoe, shareholders selling shares in the IPO, it could raise as much as $10.4 billion. Separately, there were two surprise announcements in the S-1. First, PayPal said it would make a $500 million investment in the company in a private placement, as part of an extension of the partnership between the two, where they will develop new digital wallet services. Second, Uber said it expects to post a loss of between $1 billion and $1.1 billion for the first quarter of this year, a huge swing from net income of some $3.7 billion a year ago. PayPal has bee..

Measured promises a smarter approach to ad attribution

May 15, 2019

May 15, 2019

Measured is giving advertisers a new way to determine whether their ads are actually working. Many of those advertisers currently rely on multi-touch attribution, an approach designed to measure how each channel and each ad contributed to a purchase decision. In fact, that’s what Measured CEO Trevor Testwuide offered at his last startup, Conversion Logic. But Testwuide (who co-founded Measured with CTO Madan Bharadwaj) said this approach has serious limitations, particularly when it comes to measuring channels like Facebook, as well as offline channels like direct mail. “I would say that multi touch attribution, for nine out of the 10 brands that we see, is a fool’s errand because it measures such a small percentage of media,” he said. Instead, Measured employs what it calls “steady-state test-and-control experimentation.” Testwuide described it as a sophisticated form of A/B testing that measures whether an ad will actually provide an incremental improvement in consumer behavior. ..

Cooks Venture picks up $12 million to rethink agriculture from the ground up

September 5, 2019

September 5, 2019

“You are what what you’re eating eats,” says Matthew Wadiak, cofounder and CEO of Cooks Venture and former Blue Apron COO. The company, which just received $12 million in funding, is looking to rethink the way we grow crops, feed our livestock, and ultimately take better care of our planet. The strategy is three-fold. First, Cooks Venture partners with small farms to set up regenerative agricultural practices from its own IP, which it has also set up at its own 800-acre farm. This includes determining which types of plants will protect the soil itself and sequester carbon in the ground. It also includes measuring soil carbon, nutrition and other biological factors to promote biodiversity and stave off pest populations. According to the company, leading climate scientists believe that if this process was carried out for all farms across the globe, climate change could be reversed. But regenerative agriculture as a product is just a small slice of what Cooks Ventures is all about. Af..

Enterprise drone service Kespry raises new funding from Salesforce Ventures

March 27, 2019

March 27, 2019

Kespry, a company that offers industrial users a subscription-based drone service, today announced that it has raised funding from Salesforce Ventures, marking that firm’s first hardware investment. With this, Salesforce and Kespry are also partnering around bringing Kespry’s drone services for the insurance industry to Salesforce’s own tools for this vertical. Sadly, the companies did not disclose the actual funding amount, but our understanding is that it’s a substantial amount that’s comparable to other Salesforce Ventures investments. With its focus on industrial use cases, the company, which was founded in 2013, has developed a strong foothold in the mining and aggregates space, where it offers tools for doing volumetric measurements of stockpiles based on the imagery it captures from its drones, for example. In addition, though, the company also focuses on the construction, insurance and — most recently — energy sector. Today, Kespry has more than 300 customers, the company’s ..

C2A raises $6.5M for its in-car cybersecurity platform

February 11, 2019

February 11, 2019

Cars are now essentially computers on wheels — and like every computer, they are susceptible to attacks. It’s no surprise then that there’s a growing number of startups that are working to protect a car’s internal systems from these hacks, especially given that the market for automotive cybersecurity could be worth mor $900 billion by 2026. One of these companies is Israel’s C2A Security, which offers an end-to-end security platform for vehicles, which today announced that it has raised a $6.5 million Series A funding round. The round was led by Maniv Mobility, which previously invested in companies like Hailo, drive.ai and Turo, and ICV, which has invested in companies like Freightos and Vayyar. OurCrowd’s Labs/02 also participated in this round. Like most companies at the Series A stage, C2A plans to use the new funding to grow its team, especially on the R&D side, and help support its customer base. Sadly, C2A does not currently talk about who its customers are. The promise of ..

Step raises $22.5M led by Stripe to build no-fee banking services for teens

June 6, 2019

June 6, 2019

The smartphone revolution has well and truly disrupted the world of banking. A wide range of startups have cropped up that have completely removed the need to make visits to physical branches to open accounts, make deposits, pay for things, and ask for loans: you can now do all of these on the go by way of a simple tap on an app. Now, in the latest development, a new startup is leveraging that progress to create a new service targeting one of the most avid demographics when it comes to smartphone usage. Step, which builds mobile-based banking services for teenagers, is today announcing a round of $22.5 million led by Stripe. “Schools don’t teach kids about money,” CJ MacDonald, the CEO and co-founder, said in an interview. “We want to be their first bank accounts with spending cards, but we also want to teach financial literacy and responsibility. Banks don’t tailor to this, and we want to be a solution teaching the next generation of adults to be more responsible with money in the c..

Knowable launches its ‘not a podcast’ $100 audio classes

October 1, 2019

October 1, 2019

Books on tape were the lifeblood of self-help. But eLearning startups like Khan Academy and Coursera demanded our eyes, not just our ears. Then came podcasts that make knowledge accessible yet rarely focus on you retaining and applying what they teach. Today, a new startup called Knowable is launching to provide gaze-free audio education at $100 per 8-hour course on topics like How To Start A Startup or How To Sleep Better. The idea is that by layering chapter summaries and eventually interactive activities atop premium, long-form, ad-free lessons, it can become the trusted name in learning anywhere. With always-in Bluetooth earbuds and smart speakers becoming ubiquitous, we can imbibe content in smaller chunks in new environments. Knowable wants to fill that time with self-improvement. The big question is whether Knowable can differentiate its content from free alternatives and build a moat against copycats through savvy voice-responsive learning exercises so you don’t forget everyt..

Startups Weekly: Peloton’s 29 secret weapons

August 31, 2019

August 31, 2019

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about a new e-commerce startup, Pietra. Before that, I wrote about the flurry of IPO filings. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here. What’s new? Peloton revealed its S-1 this week, taking a big step toward an IPO expected later this year. The filing was packed with interesting tidbits, including that the company, which manufacturers internet-connected stationary bikes and sells an affiliated subscription to its growing library of on-demand fitness content, is raking in more than $900 million in annual revenue. Sure, it’s not profitable, and it’s losing an increasing amount of money to sales and marketing efforts, but for a company..

Scribd has more than 1M paying subscribers

January 28, 2019

January 28, 2019

Subscription ebook and audiobook service Scribd says it’s grown to more than 1 million subscribers. It still has a long way to go before reaching the heights of Netflix (nearly 150 million subscribers) or Spotify (87 million paying subscribers), but the announcement should help put any lingering doubts to rest around whether there’s a sizable audience willing to pay an $8.99 subscription fee for books. The company also says it’s been profitable since early in 2017, and that it’s currently bringing in $100 million in annual recurring revenue. Scribd started out as a document-sharing service before moving into the subscription ebook business in 2013, when it signed its first deal with a major publisher — namely, HarperCollins. Since then, the service has added other big publishers and moved beyond older “backlist” titles. In fact, last year HarperCollins released the latest book from “Divergent” author Veronica Roth on Scribd, on launch day. Chantal Restivo-Alessi has been chief digi..

Clockwise nabs $11M Series A to make your calendar smarter

June 17, 2019

June 17, 2019

Almost every organization, regardless of size, is inundated with meetings, so much so it’s often hard to find dedicated time do actual work. Clockwise wants to change that by bringing machine learning to the calendar to help employees free up time. Today, it announced an $11 million Series A investment, and made the product, which had been in Beta, generally available. The round was co-led led by Greylock and Accel . Other investors included Slack Fund, Michael Ovitz, Ellen Levy, George Hu, Soraya Darabi, SV Angel and Jay Simons. The company has raised a total of $13 million. Matt Martin, CEO and co-founder at Clockwise says the company’s mission is to help employees make time for what matters, and they are doing that by applying machine learning to the calendar to free up blocks of time to concentrate on work. Calendars have tended to be pretty static and this provides a way to bring a level of intelligence to automatically shift meetings to a better time when it makes sense. You d..

Using AI to improve dentistry, VideaHealth gets a $5.4 million polish

September 25, 2019

September 25, 2019

Florian Hillen, the chief executive officer of a new startup called VideaHealth, first started researching the problems with dentistry about three years ago. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard educated researcher had been doing research in machine learning and image recognition for years and wanted to apply that research in a field that desperately needed the technology. Dentistry, while an unlikely initial target, proved to be a market that the young entrepreneur could really sink his teeth into. “Everyone goes to the dentist [and] in the dentist’s office, x-rays are the major diagnostic tool,” Hillen says. “But there is a lack of standard quality in dentistry. If you go to three different dentists you might get three different opinions.” With VideaHealth (and competitors like Pearl) the machine learning technologies the company has developed can introduce a standard of care across dental practices, say Hillen. That’s especially attractive as dental businesses b..

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *