Category Archives: eCommerce

The clock is ticking for e-cig companies to block underage users

The FDA is giving makers of e-cigarettes 60 days to come up with a more effective, forceful plan to combat underage use of the products. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb is yet again moving the goal posts for e-cig companies. He now considers underage use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) an epidemic, forcing the government to make a choice that we all knew was coming: save the smokers or save the kids? “I believe in the power of American ingenuity to solve a lot of problems, […]

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Atrium raises $65M from a16z to replace lawyers with machine learning

Let the computers do the legal busy work so attorneys can focus on complex problem solving for their clients. That’s the lucrative idea behind Atrium LTS, Twitch co-founder Justin Kan’s machine learning startup that digitizes legal documents and builds applications on top to speed up fundraising, commercial contracts, equity distribution and employment issues. For example, one of its apps automatically turns startup funding documents into Excel cap tables. Automating expensive legal labor has led to a rapid rise to 110 employees and 250 clients for Atrium, including […]

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Behind the turnaround that netted Vinted €50 million

It was May 2016 when Thomas Plantenga got the call. He was living in New York and working on projects with Fabrice Grinda — the co-founder of classified juggernaut OLX and the founder of FJ Labs. Plantenga had worked with Grinda on expanding OLX and was ready for the next challenge — which came in the form of the used clothing marketplace, Vinted. The invitation came from Insight Venture Partners and it was an offer to help work with one of their portfolio companies — a former […]

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Instacart now serves 70 percent of U.S. households

Toward the end of 2017, Instacart penned a partnership with one of the country’s biggest grocery retailers, Kroger. At the time, it was a smaller deal with one of Kroger’s chains called Ralphs. But today Instacart is expanding its partnership with Kroger, bringing Instacart delivery to 75 additional Kroger markets, growing Instacart’s Kroger footprint by 50 percent nationwide. The expansion will be completed by late October, bringing Instacart delivery to more than 1,600 Kroger stores. This builds on Instacart’s momentum, following partnership deals with chains like Albertsons, […]

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Hear how to build a brand from Tina Sharkey, Emily Heyward and Philip Krim at Disrupt

For startups, especially e-commerce companies, branding is everything. A slogan, an ad, even the design of the logo can make the difference between success and failure. But understanding how to develop a brand and strategically evolve that brand over time isn’t the easiest task. Luckily, three experts are coming to Disrupt to talk through the ins and outs. Red Antler’s Emily Heyward, Brandless’ Tina Sharkey, and Casper CEO Philip Krim will join us at TC Disrupt SF in early September, and it’s a conversation you won’t want […]

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Plant-focused startup The Sill raises $5M

The Sill, a startup that sells potted plants online and in physical stores, announced this weekend that it has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Raine Ventures. The company was founded in 2012 and has now raised a total of $7.5 million. It was bootstrapped until last year, when it raised seed funding from Brand Foundry Ventures, Halogen Ventures, BBG Ventures, Tuesday Capital, Blueseed and The Chernin Group. (BBG Ventures is backed by TechCrunch’s parent company Oath.) That seems like a long time for […]

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Titan launches its mobile ‘not a hedge fund’

What Robinhood did to democratize buying individual stocks, Titan wants to do for investing in a managed portfolio. Instead of being restricted to rich accredited investors willing to pour $5,000 or even $500,000 into a traditional hedge fund that charges 2 percent fees and 20 percent of profits, Titan lets anyone invest as little as $1,000 for just a 1 percent fee on assets while keeping all the profits. Titan picks the top 20 stocks based on data mined from the most prestigious hedge funds, then invests […]

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Autonomous retail startup Inokyo’s first store feels like stealing

Inokyo wants to be the indie Amazon Go. It’s just launched its prototype cashierless autonomous retail store. Cameras track what you grab from shelves, and with a single QR scan of its app on your way in and out of the store, you’re charged for what you got. Inokyo‘s first store is now open on Mountain View’s Castro Street selling an array of bougie kombuchas, snacks, protein powders and bath products. It’s sparse and a bit confusing, but offers a glimpse of what might be a commonplace […]

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The company behind BarkBox is opening an ‘outdoor clubhouse’ for Nashville’s dogs

Bark, the company behind the BarkBox subscription for dog treats and toys, is planning to open what it calls its first BarkPark in Nashville. It sounds like the goal is to create a space that combines a dog park with a coffee shop or other hangout spot for humans. “I was out with friends, we’re drinking wine, it’s a really cool restaurant … it was like a poster for people having a good time in the city,” said Bark co-founder Henrik Werdelin in a company blog post. […]

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To fight the scourge of open offices, ROOM sells rooms

Noisy open offices don’t foster collaboration, they kill it, according to a Harvard study that found the less-private floor plan led to a 73 percent drop in face-to-face interaction between employees and a rise in emailing. The problem is plenty of young companies and big corporations have already bought into the open office fad. But a new startup called ROOM is building a prefabricated, self-assembled solution. It’s the IKEA of office phone booths. The $3,495 ROOM One is a sound-proofed, ventilated, powered booth that can be built […]

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