Category Archives: Food

After raising $125M, Munchery fails to deliver

On-demand food delivery startup Munchery is ceasing operations effective immediately, the startup announced in an e-mail to customers on Monday. Founded in 2010, the San Francisco-based business had raised a total of $125 million in venture capital funding, reaching a valuation of $300 million with an $87 million round in 2015, according to PitchBook. Munchery was backed by Greycroft, ACME Ventures (formerly known as Sherpa Capital), Menlo Ventures, e.Ventures, Cota Capital, M13 and more. “Since 2010, we have been committed to bringing fresh, local, and delicious meals […]

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WeWork gets into the food business, backing the superfood startup of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton

WeWork CEO Adam Neumann has been described as an avid surfer, one who has been known to grab his board and go, both in the Hamptons in Long Island, where he reportedly owns a home, as well as in Hawaii. Maybe it’s no surprise, then, that WeWork is now also investing in a so-called superfood company that was created several years ago by big wave surf star Laird Hamilton, who Neumann was apparently surfing alongside just last week. In a video call with Neumann on Monday, a Fast […]

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Meet Caper, the AI self-checkout shopping cart

The Amazon boogie-man has every retailer scrambling for ways to fight back. But the cost and effort to install cameras all over the ceiling or into every shelf could block stores from entering the autonomous shopping era. Caper wants to make eliminating checkout lines as easy as replacing their shopping carts while offering a more familiar experience for customers. The startup makes a shopping cart with a built-in barcode scanner and credit card swiper, but it’s finalizing the technology to automatically scan items you drop in thanks to […]

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To automate bigger stores than Amazon, Standard Cognition buys Explorer.ai

Standard Cognition helps retail stores stand up to Jeff Bezos’ juggernaut. The $50 million-funded autonomous checkout startup is racing to equip bigger shops with scanless payment technology that lets customers walk out the door without ever stopping at a cashier. While Amazon Go opens its own 2,000 square foot boutiques, Standard Cognition is working on outfitting 20,000 square foot and larger drug stores and grocers. That led Standard Cognition to make its first acquisition, Explorer.ai. Why would an automated checkout company acquire a self-driving car startup? Because whether […]

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Square Roots is bringing more transparency to its produce

If you’re concerned about what you eat, there’s a good chance you’ve looked at the food in the supermarket, or in your fridge, and wondered where it actually comes from. Now urban farming incubator Square Roots is introducing a new way for you to check full history of the produce that you’re about to purchase. To do so, you just scan the QR code or type in the lot number that the company says will be included in the packaging of all its produce moving forward. Either […]

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The limits of coworking

It feels like there’s a WeWork on every street nowadays. Take a walk through midtown Manhattan (please don’t actually) and it might even seem like there are more WeWorks than office buildings. Consider this an ongoing discussion about Urban Tech, its intersection with regulation, issues of public service, and other complexities that people have full PHDs on. I’m just a bitter, born-and-bred New Yorker trying to figure out why I’ve been stuck in between subway stops for the last 15 minutes, so please reach out with your […]

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Bowery, an indoor farming startup, raises $90 million more, including to counter a SoftBank-funded rival

When in July of last year, SoftBank’s Vision Fund led a whopping $200 million round in the Silicon Valley startup Plenty, investors behind a competing indoor farming startup across the country, New York-based Bowery, were left reeling. Just one month earlier, they’d closed on a round that brought Bowery’s total funding to $31 million. As one of Bowery’s backers told us in the immediate aftermath of Plenty’s enormous round, SoftBank’s involvement “definitely gives you pause.” Its involvement has not, however, prompted investors to give up. On the […]

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Let’s talk hardware in Vegas

Hello, Las Vegas! We are all heading to LV for CES next month and instead of spending all our cash on a booth we’ll be wandering the halls and want to meet you as far away from the Convention Center as possible without ending up in the Grand Canyon. And we need your help. While I have some ideas, I’d love it if someone could recommend a nice place to host about 150 people with drinks, food, and other goodies. We’ll have beer, exhibitors, and some good […]

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Farmstead is an ambitious grocery delivery startup with plans to defeat Instacart

In its 3,000-square-foot warehouse in San Francisco’s Mission District, Farmstead founders Pradeep Elankumaran and Kevin Li, a pair of former Yahoo product managers, plot the future of grocery shopping. “Think of us as if Whole Foods was rebuilt from scratch by tech founders,” Elankumaran, Farmstead’s chief executive officer, told TechCrunch. “Of course we do delivery because it’s 2018 and no one wants to go to the store anymore.” Elankumaran launched San Francisco-based Farmstead in 2016 after Amazon and Instacart’s food delivery services repeatedly disappointed him. The startup leverages artificial intelligence-powered predictive […]

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Uber Eats test lets restaurants trade discounts for ranking boost

Uber Eats has effectively invented its own native ad unit. Uber confirmed to TechCrunch that a test quietly running in markets around India allows restaurants to bundle several food items together and sell them at a discounted price in exchange for promoted placement by Uber Eats in a featured section of local “Specials.” In some cases, restaurants foot the cost of the discount, while in others Uber pays for the discounts. The Uber Specials feature demonstrates the massive leverage awarded to food delivery apps that aggregate restaurants. […]

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