Category Archives: Uber

Startups Weekly: Uber’s headline-grabbing week and sextech at SXSW

I spent the week at SXSW, Austin’s really, really huge technology, music, comedy and film festival. It’s my first year making the trek down here for the event, which I did to interview sextech entrepreneur Lora DiCarlo founder Lora Haddock, whose robotics innovation reward was infamously revoked at this year’s CES. “I brush my teeth and I masturbate. It’s all normal,” she said, addressing the stigma surrounding female-focused pleasure tech. Haddock, during our chat, also announced the first-ever government grant for a sextech startup, a $99,637 funding […]

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Nigeria’s Gloo.ng drops consumer e-commerce, pivots to e-procurement

Nigerian startup Gloo.ng is dropping consumer online retail and pivoting to B2B e-procurement with Gloopro as its new name. The Lagos-based venture has called it quits on e-commerce grocery services, shifting to a product that supplies large and medium corporates with everything from desks to toilet paper. Gloopro’s new platform will generate revenues on a monthly fee structure and a percentage on goods delivered, according to Gloopro CEO D.O. Olusanya. Gloopro, which raised around $1 million in seed capital as Gloo.ng, is also in the process of […]

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Airbnb agrees to acquire last-minute hotel-booking app HotelTonight

As Airbnb gears up for its big leap into the public markets, it’s expanding its accommodations platform to include more than just treehouses and quirky homes. Today, the company has confirmed its intent to acquire HotelTonight, the developer of a hotel-booking application that lets travelers arrange last-minute accommodations. The deal was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal, which wrote in January that negotiations for the transaction had “gone cold.” Airbnb is expected to complete an initial public offering as soon as this year, though co-founder and […]

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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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Failed meal-kit service Munchery owes $6M to gift card holders, vendors

Several weeks after a sudden shutdown left customers and vendors in the lurch, meal-kit service Munchery has filed for bankruptcy. In the Chapter 11 filing, Munchery chief executive officer James Beriker cites increased competition, over-funding, aggressive expansion efforts and Blue Apron’s failed IPO as reasons for its demise. Munchery owes $3 million in unfulfilled customer gift cards and another $3 million to its vendors, suppliers and various counterparties, the filing reveals. The company’s remaining debt includes $5.3 million in senior secured debt and convertible debt of approximately […]

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With a $3.5 million haul, Dray Alliance joins a booming logistics startup scene in LA

With an angle on a long-neglected part of the shipping industry — the short-haul movement of cargo from docks to logistics centers — Dray Alliance is joining a growing startup scene for logistics businesses based in Los Angeles. With some of the nation’s largest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Southern California region is now fertile ground for businesses hoping to tackle what amounts to a trillion-dollar industry. Companies like Shippabo, a provider of shipping tracking and logistics for international small cargo transport, and NEXT Trucking, […]

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Airbnb, Automattic and Pinterest top rank of most acquisitive unicorns

Jason Rowley Contributor Jason Rowley is a venture capital and technology reporter for Crunchbase News. More posts by this contributor Companies raising supergiant VC aren’t getting any younger Coastal startups don’t have a monopoly on raising big at early-stage It takes a lot more than a good idea and the right timing to build a billion-dollar company. Talent, focus, operational effectiveness and a healthy dose of luck are all components of a successful tech startup. Many of the most successful (or, at least, highest-valued) tech unicorns today […]

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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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Pinterest files confidentially to go public

Visual search engine Pinterest has joined a long list of high-flying technology companies planning to go public in 2019. The business has confidentially submitted paperwork to the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering slated for later this year, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Pinterest declined to comment. Founded in 2008 by Ben Silbermann, earlier reports indicated the company was planning to debut on the stock market in April. In late January, Pinterest took its first official step toward a 2019 IPO, hiring Goldman Sachs […]

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Startups Weekly: Spotify gets acquisitive and Instacart screws up

Did anyone else listen to season one of StartUp, Alex Blumberg’s OG Gimlet podcast? I did, and I felt like a proud mom this week reading stories of the major, first-of-its-kind Spotify acquisition of his podcast production company, Gimlet. Spotify also bought Anchor, a podcast monetization platform, signaling a new era for the podcasting industry. On top of that, Himalaya, a free podcast app I’d never heard of until this week, raised a whopping $100 million in venture capital funding to “establish itself as a new force in […]

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