May 26, 2019 News Magazine

Category: Startups


Which public US universities graduate the most funded founders?

May 25, 2019

May 25, 2019

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Big revenues, huge valuations and major losses: charting the era of the unicorn IPO Some reassuring data for those worried unicorns are wrecking the Bay Area A lot of students attend public universities to lessen the financial burden of higher education. At last tally, tuition and fees at American public colleges and universities averaged around $6,800 a year, per the federal government. That’s far below the $32,600 mean price tag for private, nonprofit institutions. Yet when it comes to public universities, the old adage “you get what you pay for” clearly does not apply. Leading public research universities in particular have a track record of turning out enviably knowledgeable and successful graduates. That includes a whole lot of funded startup founders. And that leads us to our latest ranking. At Crunchbase News, we’ve been tracking the intersection of alumni affiliation and sta..

Startups Weekly: VCs are drunk on beverage startups

May 25, 2019

May 25, 2019

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s most noteworthy venture deals, fundraises, M&A transactions and trends. Let’s take a quick moment to catch up. Last week, I wrote about an alternative to venture capital called revenue-based financing and before that, I jotted down some notes on one of VCs’ favorite spaces: cannabis tech. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. This week, I want to share some thoughts — questions, rather — on beverages. Just as my inbox has been full of cannabis-related pitches, it’s also been packed with descriptions of new…drinks. Perhaps the most noted so far is Liquid Death, canned water for the punk rock crowd, because why not? Liquid Death has attracted nearly $2 million in funding from angel investors like Away co-founder Jen Rubio and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Before I tell you about a few other up-and-com..

How to see another company’s growth tactics and try them yourself

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

Julian Shapiro Contributor Share on Twitter Julian Shapiro is the founder of BellCurve.com, a growth marketing agency that trains you to become a marketing professional. He also writes at Julian.com. More posts by this contributor How do you hire a great growth marketer? How do startups actually get their content marketing to work? Every company’s online acquisition strategy is out in the open. If you know where to look. This post shows you exactly where to look, and how to reverse engineer their growth tactics. Why is this important? Competitive analysis de-risks your own growth experiments: You find the best growth ideas to adopt and the worst ones to avoid. First, a warning: Your goal is not to repurpose another company’s hard work. That makes you a thief. Your goal is to identify other companies who face the same growth challenges as you, then to study their approaches for solutions to draw from. As..

CoinBits launches as a passive investment app for bitcoin

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

Erik Finman is a twenty-something bitcoin maximalist as famous for his precocity as he is for his $12 bet on the currency a few years ago. Now, Finman, who built his first company while still in high school, is launching a new startup called CoinBits, which allows users to passively invest in bitcoin. The idea, according to Finman, is to democratize access to the currency by letting everyday folks invest nominal sums through well-known mechanisms like roundups on transactions made with a credit or debit card or through regular transactions from a customer’s savings or checking account to bitcoin through CoinBits. Every transaction also helps Finman’s own bitcoin holdings grow, and makes the young entrepreneur a little wealthier himself through his bitcoin holdings. Users can make one-time investments of $10, $25, $50 or $100 through the web-based platform and can establish a level of risk for their holdings. Finman’s app collects no commissions on transactions, and 98% of the bitc..

Livekick raises $3M to use live video for one-on-one training

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

Livekick, a startup that gives customers access to one-on-one personal training and yoga from their home (or hotel room, or elsewhere), is announcing that it has raised $3 million in seed funding. The company was founded by entrepreneur Yarden Tadmor and fitness expert Shayna Schmidt. Tadmor said that with all his travel for work, his fitness routine “really eroded,” so he contacted Schmidt and asked her to train him remotely — they’d connect via FaceTime, he’d mount his phone at the gym and she’d supervise his workout. “We trained this way for a while, and then we realized: Hey, this is something that other people can really benefit from,” Tadmor said. So with Livekick, users can sign up for one, two or three live, 30-minute sessions with a remote trainer, who they’ll connect with via the Livekick iOS app or website. (After a two-week trial, pricing starts at $32 per week.) The workouts will be tailored to the space and equipment that you have access to, and the trainers will also ..

CFIUS Cometh: What this Obscure Agency Does and Why It Matters to Your Fund or Startup

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

Evan J. Zimmerman Contributor Evan J. Zimmerman is an entrepreneur, investor, and writer. He is the Chairman of Jovono and Chairman of the Clinton Health Access Initiative technology council. He is a partner and director in Mighty Mug/Mighty Products, Inc, and chairman of Brush Up Club, an innovative oral health company. On January 12, 2016, Grindr announced it had sold a 60% controlling stake in the company to Beijing Kunlun Tech, a Chinese gaming firm, valuing the company at $155 million. Champagne bottles were surely popped at the small-ish firm. Though not at a unicorn-level valuation, the 9-figure exit was still respectable and signaled a bright future for the gay hookup app. Indeed, two years later, Kunlun bought the rest of the firm at more than double the valuation and was planning a public offering for Grindr. On March 27, 2019, it all fell apart. Kunlun was putting Grindr up for sale instead. What went wrong? It wasn’t that Grindr’s business ground ..

Luckin leaves bitter aftertaste, now trading below IPO price

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

In the first few days following Luckin Coffee’s initial public offering, the stock chart for LK looked like a roller coaster. Now it’s looking more like a freefall. The Chinese Coffee chain successfully completed its highly anticipated offering roughly a week ago, raising over $550 million after pricing at $17 per share, the high end of its $15-$17 per share range. Luckin was met with a warm reception from the markets, with the stock skyrocketing roughly 20% to a greater than $5 billion market cap in its first day of trading. However, concerns over the company’s lofty valuation, major cash burn and uncertain path to profitability have caused the stock to nosedive since. Luckin has around 25% since closing its debut trading day at $20.38 per share, and 40% from its intraday peak of $25.96. As of Friday’s open, Luckin stock sat at $15.44, now well below its IPO price. Leading into the IPO, Luckin had already been the topic of much debate. Luckin had filed for its public offering just..

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..

Nigeria’s Gokada raises $5.3M round for its motorcycle ride-hail biz

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

In many large cities across Africa, motorcycle taxis are as common as yellow cabs in New York. That includes Lagos, Nigeria, where ride-hail startup Gokada has raised a $5.3 million Series A round to grow its two-wheel transit business. Gokada has trained and on-boarded more than 1,000 motorcycles and their pilots on its app that connects commuters to moto-taxis and the company’s signature green, DOT– approved helmets. The startup has completed nearly 1 million rides since it was co-founded in 2018 by Fahim Saleh — a Bangladeshi entrepreneur who previously founded and exited Pathao, a motorcycle, bicycle and car transportation company. For Gokada’s Series A, Rise Capital led the investment, joined by Adventure Capital, IC Global Partners and Illinois-based First MidWest Group. Coinciding with the round, Nigerian investor and Jobberman founder Ayodeji Adewunmi will join Gokada as co-CEO. Gokada will use the financing to increase its fleet and ride volume, while developing a network..

Online bank Simple makes things harder by removing bill pay

May 24, 2019

May 24, 2019

With a growing number of challenger banks taking on the U.S. market, one of the original startup banks, Simple — now owned by BBVA — has taken the unusual step of removing a core banking feature: bill pay. The company claimed the feature was under-utilized and usage was trending downwards, which is why it decided to sunset the option to pay bills through its app. That decision, not surprisingly, has angered a number of customers who are taking to social media and online forums like Reddit, threatening to switch banks as a result. It’s likely true that fewer people today use bill pay than in the past. The feature is something of a holdover from an earlier era before electronic payment options and auto pay became as ubiquitous as they are now. And many customers may still have bill pay set up even though another electronic option has since become available. Or they may not want to take the time to reconfigure things, when what they have works. But despite bill pay’s waning usage, it’s..