Category Archives: founders fund

In-car commerce startup Cargo extends Uber partnership to Brazil

Cargo, the startup that brings the convenience store into ride-hailing vehicles, is making its first international expansion through an exclusive partnership with Uber in Brazil. Uber drivers in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will now be able to sign up for Cargo and potentially earn additional income by selling products to passengers during their ride. Cargo, which launched in 2017, provides qualified ridesharing drivers with free boxes filled with the kinds of goods you might find in a convenience store, including snacks and phone chargers. Riders […]

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SoFi launches gig-focused ETF

SoFi is one of the leading fintech startups to emerge from San Francisco and breach the financial markets. Originally started as a way to better finance student debt, it has since expanded to include products targeted at personal loans and home loans. Today, the company announced a new index fund product focused on the gig economy. GIGE, which trades on Nasdaq, is an actively-managed fund advised by Toroso Investments that allows investors to capitalize on this hot sector of the economy. Toroso offers a range of services […]

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Where top VCs are investing in media, entertainment & gaming

Most of the strategy discussions and news coverage in the media and entertainment industry is concerned with the unfolding corporate mega-mergers and the political implications of social media platforms. These are important conversations, but they’re largely a story of twentieth-century media (and broader society) finally responding to the dominance Web 2.0 companies have achieved. To entrepreneurs and VCs, the more pressing focus is on what the next generation of companies to transform entertainment will look like. Like other sectors, the underlying force is advances in artificial intelligence […]

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Mutiny at HQ Trivia fails to oust CEO

This week’s banishment of host Scott Rogowsky was merely a symptom of the ongoing struggle to decide who will lead HQ Trivia. According to multiple sources, over half of the startup’s staff signed an internal petition to depose CEO Rus Yusupov who they saw as mismanaging the company. But Yusupov then fired some core supporters of the mutiny, leading to a downward spiral of morale that mirrors HQ’s plummeting App Store rank. TechCrunch spoke to multiple sources familiar with HQ Trivia’s internal troubles to piece together how […]

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Clearbanc plans to disrupt venture capital with ‘The 20-Min Term Sheet’

Raising venture capital isn’t easy; for some, it’s impossible. Clearbanc offers startups a fundraising alternative — despite itself being well-capitalized by VCs — and is today launching a new campaign to back 2,000 businesses with $1 billion in non-dilutive capital by the end of 2019. “Everyone is watching this flurry of tech IPOs this year, but no one is talking about how little of these companies the founders actually own,” Clearbanc co-founder and president Michele Romanow told TechCrunch. “Our vision is if Clearbanc is successful, there’s a […]

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Morphin instantly Deepfakes your face into GIFs

Want to star in your favorite memes and movie scenes? Upload a selfie to Morphin, choose your favorite GIF and your face is grafted in to create a personalized copy you can share anywhere. Become Tony Stark as he suits up like Iron Man. Drop the mic like Obama, dance like Drake or slap your mug on Fortnite characters. Now after three years in stealth developing image-mapping technology, Morphin is ready to launch its put-you-in-a-GIF maker. While it might look like just a toy, investors see real […]

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The Silicon Valley exodus continues

For a long time, it was the norm for founders to haul their hardware to the 3000 block of Sand Hill Road, where the venture capitalists of “Silicon Valley” would be awaiting their pitches. Today, many of the investors that touted the exclusivity of “The Valley” have moved north to San Francisco, where they have better access to top entrepreneurs. Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley institution and to many the lifeblood of the startups and venture capital ecosystem, is the latest to pack up shop. YC, which […]

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Startups Weekly: Flexport, Clutter and SoftBank’s blood money

The Wall Street Journal published a thought-provoking story this week, highlighting limited partners’ concerns with the SoftBank Vision Fund’s investment strategy. The fund’s “decision-making process is chaotic,” it’s over-paying for equity in top tech startups and it’s encouraging inflated valuations, sources told the WSJ. The report emerged during a particularly busy time for the Vision Fund, which this week led two notable VC deals in Clutter and Flexport, as well as participated in DoorDash’s $400 million round; more on all those below. So given all this SoftBank […]

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Ritual raises $25M for its subscription-based women’s daily vitamin

In the era of #spirtual and #physical #wellness, everything needs to be Instagrammable, even dietary supplements. Ritual, a subscription-based service that charges customers $30 per month for shipments of its women’s daily or prenatal vitamins, has effectively tapped into that Instagram crowd. The company admits its social media strategy has been key to harnessing a cult following of wellness enthusiasts. Since it was founded in 2015, the business has sold 1 million bottles of vitamins; today, it’s announcing a $25 million Series B funding led by Lisa Wu at […]

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Startups Weekly: Even Gwyneth Paltrow had a hard time raising VC

I spent the week in Malibu attending Upfront Ventures’ annual Upfront Summit, which brings together the likes of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC’s elite for a two-day networking session of sorts. Cameron Diaz was there for some reason, and Natalie Portman made an appearance. Stacey Abrams had a powerful Q&A session with Lisa Borders, the president and CEO of Time’s Up. Of course, Gwyneth Paltrow was there to talk up Goop, her venture-funded commerce and content engine. “I had no idea what I was getting into […]

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