Monthly Archives: January 2019

Startups Weekly: Squad’s screen-shares and Slack’s swastika

We’re three weeks into January. We’ve recovered from our CES hangover and, hopefully, from the CES flu. We’ve started writing the correct year, 2019, not 2018. Venture capitalists have gone full steam ahead with fundraising efforts, several startups have closed multi-hundred million dollar rounds, a virtual influencer raised equity funding and yet, all anyone wants to talk about is Slack’s new logo… As part of its public listing prep, Slack announced some changes to its branding this week, including a vaguely different looking logo. Considering the flack the $7 […]

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FanDuel co-founder Tom Griffiths just closed a seed round for his decidedly noncontroversial new startup, Hone

Tom Griffiths has founded four companies, two of which “weren’t much to write home about,” he jokes. The third captured the world’s attention: FanDuel, the fantasy sports company that was routinely in the press — not always for desirable reasons — from nearly the day it launched, to its near merger with rival DraftKings, to its ultimate sale last May to the European betting giant Paddy Power Betfair in a deal that reportedly saw FanDuel’s founders, along with its employees, walk away with almost nothing at the end of […]

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Sony venture arm invests in geocoding startup what3words

Sony’s venture capital arm has invested in what3words, the startup that has divided the entire world into 57 trillion 3-by-3 meter squares and assigned a three-word address to each one. Financial details were not disclosed. The startup’s novel addressing system isn’t the whole story. The ability to integrate what3words into voice assistants is what has piqued the interest and investment from Sony and others. “what3words have solved the considerable problem of entering a precise location into a machine by voice. The dramatic rise in voice-activated systems calls […]

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Whyd now helps companies create their custom voice assistant

Y Combinator-backed startup Whyd is pivoting from hardware to software. The startup had been working on a connected speaker with a voice-control interface specifically designed for music. But a couple of years later, it’s clear that subsidized voice assistant devices from Google and Amazon have taken over the market. Whyd is only keeping its own software platform and partnering with other companies. In other words, if you’re working on an app, a website or a skill for the Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can create your […]

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SimplyCook dishes up £4.5M Series A for its subscription-based flavourings and recipe service

SimplyCook, the recipe kit service that focuses on flavour ingredients, has closed £4.5 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Octopus Investments. Unlike other recipe or meal kits, such as HelloFresh, Gousto and Marley Spoon, U.K.-based SimplyCook doesn’t send all of the fresh ingredients required to turn its recipes into food on your table. Instead, the subscription service consists of recipe cards and what SimplyCook calls “ingredients kits,” which are herbs, spices, sauces and other extras needed to cook each meal. It’s not only […]

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Flash, the stealthy e-scooter and ‘micro-mobility’ startup from Delivery Hero founder, raises €55M Series A

Flash, the stealthy mobility startup from Delivery Hero and Team Europe founder Lukasz Gadowski, is de-cloaking today, with news that the Berlin-based company has raised a whopping €55 million in Series A funding. Despite rumours that multiple VC firms would be involved, the bulk of the new funding comes from Target Global via its mobility fund, which led this round and was already an existing backer of Flash. Others participating in Flash’s Series A include Idinvest Partners, Signals Venture Capital and a number of unnamed angel investors. […]

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A look at Birdies, the popular slipper shoe startup that just raised $8 million more from investors

Bianca Gates is a first-generation American, her parents having immigrated to the U.S. from Latin America. As such, she says, after graduating from UC Irvine, she was expected to get a safe job with a 401(k) plan and to live with her parents until she was married. Things haven’t gone exactly that way, but one can imagine Gates’s parents feeling pretty satisfied with their daughter’s trajectory nevertheless. The reason: Gates and Marisa Sharkey are the co-founders of Birdies, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based footwear brand that has made it […]

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Slack’s product chief is out ahead of direct listing

Slack is losing its chief product officer, April Underwood, ahead of a direct listing expected in 2019. Tamar Yehoshua, a long-time Google vice president, has been tapped to fill Underwood’s shoes as Slack’s new product chief. Underwood joined Slack, the provider of workplace communication tools, in 2015 as its head of platform after a five-year stint as Twitter’s director of product. She was promoted to the chief product role about 10 months ago. Underwood is also a founding partner of #Angels, an investment collective that pushes to […]

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SeeTree raises $11.5M to help farmers manage their orchards

SeeTree, a Tel Aviv-based startup that uses drones and artificial intelligence to bring precision agriculture to their groves, today announced that it has raised an $11.5 million Series A funding round led by Hanaco Ventures, with participation from previous investors Canaan Partners Israel, Uri Levine and his investors group, iAngel and Mindset. This brings the company’s total funding to $15 million. The idea behind the company, which also has offices in California and Brazil, is that in the past, drone-based precision agriculture hasn’t really lived up to […]

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Dreaming of Mars, the startup Relativity Space gets its first launch site on Earth

3D-printing the first rocket on Mars. That’s the goal Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone set for themselves when they founded Los Angeles-based Relativity Space in 2015. At the time they were working from a WeWork in Seattle, during the darkest winter in Seattle history, where Ellis was wrapping up a stint at Blue Origin . The two had met in college at USC in their jet propulsion lab. Noone had gone on to take a job at SpaceX and Ellis at Blue Origin, but the two remained in […]

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