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Month: April 2019

SoftBank makes a huge bet on Latin America

Rappi represents a new era for Latin American technology startups. Based in Bogotá, Colombia, the on-demand delivery startup has taken the region by storm, attracting a record amount of venture capital funding in mere months. Today marks the beginning of a new round of explosive growth as SoftBank, the Japanese telecom giant and prolific Silicon Valley tech investor, has confirmed a $1 billion investment in the business. The king-sized financing comes two months after SoftBank announced its Innovation Fund, a new pool of capital committed to spending billions on the growing tech ecosystem in Central and South America. VC funding in Latin America catapulted to new heights in 2018. Startups located across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and more have secured nearly $2.5 billion since the ...

Spot.IM raises $25M to help publishers engage with readers

Spot.IM announced today that it has raised $25 million in Series D funding. We’ve written about the company’s commenting platform before, but CEO Nadav Shoval said it’s now building a broader “community platform.” That platform goes beyond commenting and moderation to also include community pages and other ways to highlight and monetize user generated content. Its customers include Hearst, Refinery29, Fox News and our corporate siblings at Engadget and AOL.com. Shoval argued that these tools are particularly important as digital media businesses models are struggling — regardless of whether those publishers are focused on advertising, subscriptions or other business model, the key is to focus on loyal users rather than “random users that come in and disa...

Golden unveils a Wikipedia alternative focused on emerging tech and startups

Jude Gomila, who previously sold his mobile advertising company Heyzap to RNTS Media, is taking on a new challenge — building a “knowledge base” that can fill in Wikipedia’s blind spots, particularly when it comes to emerging technologies and startups. While Gomila is officially launching Golden today, it’s already full of content about things like the latest batch of Y Combinator startups and morphogenetic engineering. And it’s already raised $5 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Gigafund, Founders Fund, SV Angel, Liquid 2 Ventures/Joe Montana, plus a long list of individual angel investors including Gomila’s Heyzap co-founder Immad Akhund. To state the obvious: Wikipedia is an incredibly useful website, but Gomila pointed out that notable companies and ...

Old Facebook finally wants you to ‘Meet New Friends’

Facebook’s social graph is aging, full of long-lost acquaintances and hometown friends you don’t care much about seeing in the News Feed any more. But Facebook is now testing a pivot away from its core identity of connecting you with existing friends so it can revitalize the social graph and keep people coming back. Facebook’s “Meet New Friends” lets you browse people from shared communities such as your school, workplace or city who’ve also opted in to the feature. It’s now in testing in a few markets before it’s rolled out more widely soon. Meet New Friends could give people fresh pals to follow in their News Feed, or help recently registered users grow their network until they have access to enough content to keep them busy. And eventually...

Altice USA buys digital news network Cheddar for $200M

Cable television provider Altice USA has confirmed plans to pay $200 million for the millennial-focused, digitally native news network Cheddar in an all-cash, or all-cheddar, rather, deal. The price tag comes at a 25 percent premium to the media startup’s $160 million Series D valuation. Jon Steinberg, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Cheddar and former president and chief operating officer of BuzzFeed, will become president of Altice News. Altice, an existing Cheddar investor, plans to leverage Cheddar’s broadcasts and CheddarU, a growing network of 1,600 screens on 600 college campuses, to expand its portfolio of news businesses. “Our goal is to make Altice News a leader in local, business, national and international news everywhere,” Steinberg said in a statement. “Th...

Glovo, the on-demand ‘deliver anything’ local app, raises $169M Series D

Glovo, the Spain-headquartered on-demand delivery app that has similarities to Postmates in the U.S., has raised $169 million (€150m) in Series D funding. Lakestar led the round alongside Drake, owner of global pizza franchise Papa John’s. Idinvest Partners and Korelya Capital also participated, bringing total raised to approximately $322 million. The company last raised funding ten months ago: a $134 million Series C round from Seaya Ventures, Cathay Innovation and Rakuten Capital. Founded in January 2015 by Oscar Pierre and Sacha Michaud, Glovo offers a ‘shop on your behalf’ app that promises to let you order anything locally on-demand and have it delivered “within minutes”. This includes food items — the company is known for its McDonald’s deliveries in Spain — and non-takeout foo...

Verified Expert Brand Designer: The Working Assembly

The Working Assembly began as a side hustle. Jolene Delisle and Lawrence O’Toole juggled full-time jobs while collaborating on projects for startup clients, and they eventually realized there was an opportunity to help companies with branding, marketing, and advertising. In the past four years, TWA has grown from a team of two to a team of twenty in NYC’s Flatiron district. We spoke with Creative Director and Partner Jolene Delisle about their start, their new initiative 24-Hour Assembly—a branding program for minority and women founders, what makes an ideal TWA client, and why she’s excited about the new frontier of experiential and immersive branding.    On common founder mistakes: “Clients often come to us and say, “I love the branding of this.” And we’re like, &...

Cushion wants to negotiate bank service fees on your behalf

Out-of-network ATM fees. Monthly service fees. Card replacement fees. Foreign exchange fees. Wire transfer fees. Overdraft fees. Check fees. Fees, fees, fees, fees, fees. Oh and interest, of course. Banking used to be built on a simple economic premise: tuck money away from customers into deposit accounts that pay interest, and then lend that money back out as loans at a higher interest rate. Today though, the modern bank — much like the airline industry — thrives on fees tacked on to basic services. JP Morgan Chase made about $77.44 billion on interest income, but $50 billion on non-interest income (i.e. fees), according to MarketWatch. As the pressure builds on banks to increase that income, consumers can be bamboozled into paying all kinds of fees they didn’t even know they were expecte...

Fabletics, the activewear brand from Kate Hudson, launches NYC pop-up shop

Fabletics, the digital-first activewear brand founded by Kate Hudson, Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler, has recently opened up a physical store in Soho as part of its 2019 expansion plans. The company has plans to open up 12 new permanent retail stores over the course of this year alongside the Soho pop up shop, all of which will include a heavy tech element. For one, Fabletics has built its own POS system that connects offline and online sales. The system, called OmniShop, allows Fabletics to track the conversion of every item that goes into a dressing room, by size color and style all the way down to each individual customer. Co-CEO and cofounder Adam Goldenberg said that the company invested more than $150 million in OmniShop. But the system doesn’t just make the product easier to ...

Watch Facebook’s F8 2019 keynote right here

Facebook’s yearly developer conference kicks off today. The keynote starts at 1PM / 10AM with opening remarks from Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg. As in past years, the event will last several hours and feature updates from various Facebook departments. This year’s event comes as Facebook is attempting an ambitious transition to a privacy-focused messaging platform. It’s a tough sell given the company’s recent history and a consumer base increasingly becoming jaded to Facebook’s data-harvesting ways. But the show must go on. We’ll be onsite but you can follow along with Facebook’s official video feed here or through Oculus Venues, Facebook’s VR live platform. Source: Tech Feed

Vault Platform raises $4.2M to fix workplace misconduct reporting

Vault Platform, a London-based startup that has built software to “re-imagine” workplace misconduct reporting, has raised $4.2 million in seed funding. Leading the round is Kindred Capital, with participation from Angular Ventures, System.One, Jane VC, and ex-Mosaic Ventures Partner Mike Chalfen. Founded in 2018 by Neta Meidav and Rotem Hayoun-Meidav, Vault is attempting to create a new and better way for company employees to report misconduct, such as workplace bullying or harassment, and in turn replace existing “hotline” systems, which it reckons are underused and often ineffective. The so-called “TrustTech” offering lets employees easily record incidents in a diary-like space, with the option to only action those complaints when others also come forward. T...

Perkbox, the employee experience platform, raises £13.5M

Perkbox, the London-based startup now calling itself an “employee experience platform,” has raised a further £13.5 million in funding. The round is led by existing investor Draper Esprit, alongside a number of previous Perkbox angels. Prior to this, the company, which launched in 2015, had raised £11 million. Targeting companies of all sizes, from SMEs to larger businesses, Perkbox’s platform lets employers give employees a number of benefits and rewards to enrich their work and personal life. The broader aim, of course, is to improve retention and staff well-being. The offering now spans several products beyond its “perks” origins, including card-linked loyalty and medical provision. In addition, Perkbox enables companies to measure employee sentiment to help...

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