Category Archives: United States

Birth control delivery startup Nurx taps Clover Health’s Varsha Rao as CEO

Varsha Rao, Airbnb’s former head of global operations and, most recently, the chief operating officer at Clover Health, has joined Nurx as its chief executive officer. Rao replaces Hans Gangeskar, Nurx’s co-founder and CEO since 2014, who will stay on as a board member. Nurx, which sells birth control, PrEP, the once-daily pill that reduces the risk of getting HIV, and an HPV testing kit direct to consumer, has grown 250 percent in the last year, doubled its employee headcount and attracted 200,000 customers. Rao tells TechCrunch […]

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Kindbody raises $15M, will open a ‘Fertility Bus’ with mobile testing & assessments

Kindbody, a startup that lures millennial women into its pop-up fertility clinics with feminist messaging and attractive branding, has raised a $15 million Series A in a round co-led by RRE Ventures and Perceptive Advisors. The New York-based company was founded last year by Gina Bartasi, a fertility industry vet who previously launched Progyny, a fertility benefit solution for employers, and FertilityAuthority.com, an information platform and social network for people struggling with fertility. “We want to increase accessibility,” Bartasi told TechCrunch. “For too long, IVF and fertility […]

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YC alum Keeper raises $1.6M to help gig workers pay taxes

Every year around this time, Uber drivers, Wag dog walkers, Bird scooter chargers, social media influencers and other gig economy workers face the unsightly challenge of paying their taxes. Companies like Uber and Lyft classify their drivers as independent contractors, which means you aren’t given any benefits and the company doesn’t withhold any of your taxes. This puts gig workers in a tough position come tax day, especially if they aren’t prepared to shell out big sums to the IRS. Keeper, a startup that’s just graduated from […]

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Uber, Lyft, and the challenge of transportation startup profits

How much does transportation cost you? In most cities, bus or subway fare might set you back $3 or so. A tank of gas, maybe $30 or $40 depending on your car. An hour of street parking? Sometimes it’s free, sometimes it’s a few bucks. And you can usually snag an economy seat on a round-trip U.S. domestic flight for under $300. These numbers probably ring true for most people. There’s just one problem: Everything you know about the cost of transportation is wrong. Despite a massive […]

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Human rights activist Amira Yahyaoui is battling the US college financial aid system

Tunisian human rights activist Amira Yahyaoui couldn’t go to college. Not because she couldn’t afford it; where she comes from, college is virtually free. She lost the opportunity to pursue higher education, to finish high school, even, when she was exiled from Tunisia at age 17, under the repressive regime of the country’s former President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. As part of the Tunisian human rights diaspora, she was inspired to build Al Bawsala, a globally renowned NGO that fights for government accountability, transparency and access […]

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Startups Weekly: US companies raised $30B in Q1 2019

Let’s start this week’s newsletter with some data. Nationally, startups pulled in $30.8 billion in the first quarter of 2019, up 22 percent year-on-year, according to Crunchbase’s latest deal round-up. A closer look at the numbers shows a big drop in angel funding and a slight decrease in mega-rounds, or financings larger than $100 million. The number of mega-rounds fell to 57 deals in Q1 and deal value was down too. With that said, mega-rounds still accounted for $16.4 billion, making Q1 2019 the second-best quarter on […]

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Snap is channeling Asia’s messaging giants with its move into gaming

Snap is taking a leaf out of the Asian messaging app playbook as its social messaging service enters a new era. The company unveiled a series of new strategies that are aimed at breathing fresh life into the service that has been ruthlessly cloned by Facebook across Instagram, WhatsApp and even its primary social network. The result? Snap has consistently lost users since going public in 2017. It managed to stop the rot with a flat Q4, but resting on its laurels isn’t going to bring back […]

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Femtech’s billion-dollar year

There are a lot of people who never thought they’d see the day venture capitalists would funnel millions into femtech businesses, direct-to-consumer tampon retailers no less. But that’s our new reality and Cora is proof. San Francisco-based Cora, which develops and sells organic tampons, pads and other personal care products, has just closed a $7.5 million Series A led by Harbinger Ventures. Cora is one of many femtech startups to raise funding this week alone, in what is turning out to be a red-hot year for VC […]

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Fleksy’s AI keyboard is getting a store to put mini apps at chatters’ fingertips

Remember Fleksy? The customizable Android keyboard app has a new trick up its sleeve: It’s adding a store where users can find and add lightweight third party apps to enhance their typing experience. Right now it’s launched a taster, preloading a selection of ‘mini apps’ into the keyboard — some from very familiar brand names, some a little less so — so users can start to see how it works. The first in-keyboard apps are Yelp (local services search); Skyscanner (flight search); Giphy (animated Gif search); GifNote […]

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Online catering marketplace ezCater gets another $150M at a $1.25B valuation

In 2007, Stefania Mallett and Briscoe Rodgers conceived of ezCater, an online marketplace for business catering, and began building the company in Mallet’s Boston home, mostly at her kitchen table. Recently, sitting at that same table, Mallett negotiated with Brad Twohig of Lightspeed Venture Partners the final terms of a $150 million Series D-1 at a $1.25 billion valuation. Lightspeed, alongside GIC, co-led the round, with participation from Light Street Capital, Wellington Management, ICONIQ Capital and Quadrille Capital. “Raising money or getting to unicorn status, it’s all […]

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