November 19, 2019 News Magazine

Category: Startups


Luna is a new kind of space company helping biotech find its footing in microgravity

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Toronto-based startup Luna Design and Innovation is a prime example of the kind of space company that is increasingly starting up to take advantage of the changing economics of the larger industry. Founded by Andrea Yip, who is also Luna’s CEO, the bootstrapped venture is looking to blaze a trail for biotechnology companies who stand to gain a lot from the new opportunities in commercial space – even if they don’t know it yet. “I’ve spent my entire career in the public and private health industry, doing a lot of product and service design and innovation,” Yip told me in an interview. “I was working in pharma[ceuticals] for several years, but at the end of 2017, I decided to leave the pharma world and I really wanted to find a way to work along the intersection of pharma, space and design, because I just believe that the future of health for humanity is in space.” Yip founded Luna at the beginning of this year to help turn that belief into action, with a focus on highlighting the oppo..

Clumio raises $135M Series C for its backup as a service platform

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Clumio, a 100-people startup that offers a SaaS-like service for enterprise backup, today announced that it has raised a $135 million Series C round, led by existing investor Sutter Hill Ventures and new investor Altimeter Captial. The announcement comes shortly after the company’s disclosure in August that it had quietly raised a total of $51 million in Series A and B rounds in 2017 and 2018. The company says it plans to use this new funding to “accelerate its vision to deliver a globally consolidated data protection service in and for the public cloud.” Given the amount of money invested in the company, chances are Clumio is getting close to a $1 billion valuation, but the company is not disclosing its valuation at this point. The overall mission of Clumio is to build a platform on public clouds that gives enterprises a single data protection service that can handle backups of their data in on-premises, cloud and SaaS applications. When it came out of stealth, the company’s focus w..

Give InKind’s smarter giving platform brings in surprise $1.5 million in pre-seed funding

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Helping out a friend in need online can be surprisingly difficult. While giving cash is easy enough, that’s often not what people need most — so Give InKind aims to be the platform where you can do a lot more than write a check. The idea is such a natural one that the company tripled its goal for a pre-seed round, raising $1.5 million from Seattle investors. The company was selected for inclusion in the Female Founders Alliance’s Ready Set Raise accelerator, at the demo day for which I saw founder Laura Malcolm present. Ready, Set, Raise — the Y Combinator for female founders — announces second cohort The problem Malcolm is attempting to solve is simply that in times of hardship, not only do people not want to deal with setting up a fundraising site, but money isn’t even what they require to get through that period. Malcolm experienced this herself, when she experienced a personal tragedy and found that what was out there to let others help was simply inadequate. “My friends and fa..

Robotics startup Picnic, known for its automated pizza assembly system, raises $5 million

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Picnic, a robotics startup that focuses on food production, announced today that it has raised $5 million in additional seed funding. The new round was led by Creative Ventures, with participation from Flying Fish Partners and Vulcan Capital. The company also said it has hired Kennard Nielsen, a product engineer who worked on the first four Kindle Fire tablets, Nike Fuelband, Microsoft Xbox and Doppler Labs’ HereOne from Doppler Labs at previous positions, as its new vice president of engineering. The new funding will be used for product development, hiring and marketing. Picnic is known for an automated pizza assembly system that launched in October. The configurable, modular platform currently focuses on high-volume pizza production and can reach rates of up to 180 18-inch pizzas or 300 12-inch pizzas an hour. The system fits into existing kitchen layouts, including food trucks and kiosks, and integrates with Picnic’s software to provide backend data and cloud analytics that help ..

Here’s the first look inside Orbex’s Scotland rocket factory

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

European private launch startup Orbex is getting ready to start actually launching payloads aboard its own rockets, and it’s pulling back the curtains to give a look at the factory it’s using to build its launch vehicles. The UK-based company is building its rockets from a facility in Scotland, and this virtual tour gives an idea of what they’re doing to make the first rocket field by renewable, clean-burning fuel a reality. Orbex Prime’s Stage 2 vehicle. The second stage that Orbex will use employs bio-prone for its fuel, which will reduce carbon emissions by as much as 90 percent vs. the kerosene based fuel used on most similar vehicles. Orbex also built reusability into their ‘Prime’ launch vehicle design, and it’s 3D-printing its engines in one single piece, working with partner SLM to make this possible. That will add more structural reliability to the engine, the company says. Orbex carbon fibre winding machine. In service of making this unique vehicle, the Orbex site in Scot..

SocialRank sells biz to Trufan, pivots to a mobile LinkedIn

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

What do you do when your startup idea doesn’t prove big enough? Run it as a scrawny but profitable lifestyle business? Or sell it to a competitor and take another swing at the fences? Social audience analytics and ad targeting startup SocialRank chose the latter and is going for glory. Today, SocialRank announced it’s sold its business, brand, assets, and customers to influencer marketing campaign composer and distributor Trufan which will run it as a standalone product. But SocialRank’s team isn’t joining up. Instead, the full six-person staff is sticking together to work on a mobile-first professional social network called Upstream aiming to nip at LinkedIn. SocialRank co-founder and CEO Alex Taub Started in 2014 amidst a flurry of marketing analytics tools, SocialRank had raised $2.1 million from Rainfall Ventures and others before hitting profitability in 2017. But as the business plateaued, the team saw potential to use data science about people’s identity to get them better jo..

Eden office management platform raises $25 million Series B

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Eden, the workplace management platform that connects office managers with service providers, today announced the close of a $25 million Series B round led by Reshape. Participants in the round also include Fifth Wall Ventures, Mitsui Fudosan, RXR Realty, Thor Equities, Bessemer Venture Partners, Alate Partners, Quiet Capital, S28 Capital, Canvas Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Upshift Partners, Impala Ventures, ENIAC Ventures, and Crystal Towers, among others. Eden was founded by Joe Du Bey and Kyle Wilkinson back in 2015 and launched out of Y Combinator as an on-demand tech repair and support service, sending IT specialists to consumers’ homes to help set up a printer or repair a cracked phone screen. Within the first year, Eden had pivoted its business entirely to the enterprise, helping B2B clients with their IT issues at much cheaper cost than employing an IT specialist full time. By 2017, Eden had expanded well beyond IT support into other office management categories, like invento..

Angell is a smart bike with an integrated display

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Meet Angell, a new smart bike from a French startup led by Marc Simoncini who is mostly known for founding Meetic. The company is announcing its first electric-bike today. And the goal is to make an e-bike that is smarter than everything out there. “We dedicate half of public space to cars even though cars only represent 12% of trips,” Angell co-founder and CEO Marc Simoncini told me. And according to the company’s data, only 2% of people use bikes to move around a city in France, compared to 31% in the Netherlands and 13% in Germany. So there’s a market opportunity for a newcomer in the e-bike space in France, and eventually in other major cities around the world. “Our goal is to become the global leader in the smart bike space,” Simoncini said. When it comes to hardware, the Angell e-bike is a 14kg bike with an aluminum frame, integrated lights and a removable battery. It has a 2.4-inch touch screen to control the bike. The battery should last 70km on a single charge. There are al..

Perlego raises $9M Series A for its textbook subscription service

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Perlego, the textbook subscription service, has raised $9 million in Series A funding. Backing the round is Charlie Songhurst, Dedicated VC, and Thomas Leysen (Chairman of Mediahuis and Umicore). Perlego’s existing investors including ADV, Simon Franks and Alex Chesterman also reinvested on a pro-rata basis. London-based Perlego says the additional funding will be used to develop the next generation of Perlego’s “smarter learning platform,” including adding new features that simplify and enhance the learning experience, as well as content libraries in non-English languages to enable further expansion to “strategic” European markets beyond its U.K. roots. Pitched as akin to a “Spotify for textbooks,” Perlego enables students, and also professionals, who now make up 30% of users, to access textbooks on a subscription basis. It houses over 300,000 eBooks, from over 2,300 publishers, and the service is cross-device — via the web and iOS and Android apps — and available in multiple lang..

Playbuzz becomes Ex.co and expands its content marketing platform

November 19, 2019

November 19, 2019

Playbuzz, a startup that helps publishers to add things like polls and galleries to their articles, has rebranded itself as Ex.co. Co-founder and CEO Tom Pachys told me the name stands for “the experience company,” and he said it reflects the company’s broader content marketing ambitions. Ex.co will continue working with news publishers, but Pachys said there’s a bigger market for what the company has built. “We’re seeing businesses wanting to become publishers in a way, to interact with their users in a way that’s very similar to what a publisher does,” Pachys said. Playbuzz/Ex.co is hardly the first publishing startup realize that there may be more money in content marketing, but Pachys argued that this isn’t just a sudden pivot. After all, the company is already working with clients like Visa, Red Bull and Netflix (as well as our corporate siblings at The Huffington Post). “The previous name does not reflect the values that we stand for today — not even future values,” he said. ..