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Month: July 2019

8 Self-Check Questions That Keep Leaders Up At Night

Even entrepreneurs who have built many startups, or sold their last one for millions of dollars, know they make occasional people leadership mistakes. They know leadership is all about managing their own complicated, illogical, and fallible human foibles, as well as the people they depend on. These can trip up even the best, often at the cost of more than a good night’s sleep. Thankfully, most mistakes won’t be as spectacular as the America Online merger with Time Warner for $350 billion, back in 2000, engineered by then superstar entrepreneurs Stephen M. Case and Gerald M. Levin. They apparently ignored all conventional wisdom and advisors, and struck a deal which crashed both companies, now a case study in many business schools. By most accounts, this case exhibits almost all the lapses ...

Startups Weekly: The opportunities & challenges for mental health tech

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about Zoom and Superhuman’s PR disasters. Before that, I noted the big uptick in VC spending in 2019. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here. Now let’s talk about mental health startups. VCs may be confident in the potential of teletherapy, but struggling companies in the space tell another story. Nine months ago Basis launched a website and app for guided conversations via chat or video with pseudo-therapists or people train...

Medallia stock up 76% following first day trading on the NYSE

Customer experience management platform Medallia (NYSE: MDLA) rose more than 70% in its New York Stock Exchange debut Friday. The nearly two-decades-old business priced its shares at $21 apiece, the top of its proposed range, Thursday evening and traded as high as $39.54 the following morning. Medallia closed up roughly 76% at about $37 per share on Friday. Medallia sold a total of 15.5 million shares in its IPO, raising $326 million at a $2.5 billion valuation in the process. San Mateo-headquartered Medallia, led by chief executive officer Leslie Stretch, operates a platform meant to help businesses better provide for their customers. Its core product, the Medallia Experience Cloud, provides employees real-time data on customers collected from online review sites and social media. The ser...

Deadline extended! Apply to the All Raise female founder program at Disrupt SF 2019

We’ve got great news for all the time-strapped female founders out there. Yeah, we’re looking at you, sister. We’re extending the application deadline to apply for the All Raise “ask me anything” (AMA) sessions at Disrupt SF 2019. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to meet with a leading female VC and, well, ask her anything. Apply for an AMA session by August 15. Not familiar with All Raise? This startup nonprofit, dedicated to accelerating female founder success, will host a day-long AMA event on October 3 at Disrupt SF 2019 — in a dedicated section of Startup Alley. Each AMA session lasts 30 minutes and consists of three founders and one VC. All Raise expects more than 100 female founders to take part in at least 30 sessions scheduled throughout the day. Don’t bring your pitches, bring yo...

India’s Oyo valued at $10B after founder purchases $2B in shares

The fast-growing Indian hospitality business Oyo has garnered a valuation of $10 billion after its founder, Ritesh Agarwal, reportedly purchased $2 billion in shares from venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Agarwal, 25, founded Oyo in 2013 at the age of 19. Following immense growth of the now global hotel chain business, Agarwal opted to increase his 10% stake to 30% via a Cayman Islands company called RA Hospitality Holdings, according to The Wall Street Journal. SoftBank has also increased its percent ownership as part of this round, now owning nearly half of the company. Oyo has raised a whopping $1.6 billion in equity funding to date, reaching a valuation of $5 billion at its last funding round. Other investors in the company include Airbnb, Grab Hold...

Self-driving startup AutoX expands beyond deliveries and sets its sights on Europe

AutoX, the Hong Kong and San Jose, Calif.-based autonomous vehicle technology company, is pushing past its grocery delivery roots and into the AV supplier and robotaxi business. And now, it’s taking its business to Europe. AutoX has partnered with NEVS — the Swedish holding company and electric vehicle manufacturer that bought Saab’s assets out of bankruptcy — to deploy a robotaxi pilot service in Europe by the end of 2020. Under the exclusive partnership, AutoX will integrate its autonomous drive technology into a next-generation electric vehicle inspired by NEVS’s “InMotion” concept that was shown at CES Asia in 2017. This next-generation vehicle is being developed by NEVS in Trollhättan, Sweden. Testing of the autonomous NEVs vehicles will begin in the third quarter of...

How to go to market in middle America

Deborah Eisenberg Contributor Share on Twitter Deborah Eisenberg is the founder of TechStarts PR, where she helps technology companies both big and small hone their message and reach their audience. There comes a time for many startup companies where they either realize they need to do a nationwide roll-out, or they need to actively target buyers in the middle of the country. If you are a startup on either the east or the west coasts, it’s worth thinking about how this market might present its own set of unique challenges, and how you plan to overcome them. There are a lot of misconceptions about what some people call “flyover country”, and as a San Francisco native who spent two decades in NY, DC, and Boston before moving to Pittsburgh, I can assure you they are almost all wrong. Wi...

Mylk Guys wants to be the online vegan grocery store that non-vegans can love

Gaurav Maken, the chief executive officer of the online vegan grocery store, Mylk Guys, doesn’t think of his company as a place to just buy food. For him, it’s a testing ground and platform for all of the new food products he expects to be developed as startup entrepreneurs and established food companies start tackling the plant-based and alternative meat market in earnest. The company has raised $2.5 million in support of that vision from investors including Khosla Ventures, Pear Ventures, and Fifty Years. “Today we’re an online grocery store,” says Maken. “We are also a place for cultured meats and any genetically engineered food that allows us to scale our food production and allows us to keep feeding people.” Maken isn’t wedded to plant-b...

Conservative leadership election: Boris Johnson vs Jeremy Hunt – who’s better for small businesses?

The Tory leadership challenge is heating up, and we’re barely a week away from our next prime minister. But which candidate offers more for small businesses?… Source: Startups

What the 5 Stages of Grief Teach Us About Technology

How many times have investors heard startups start their pitch by touting that their technology is “disruptive?” What entrepreneurs forget or don’t realize is that most customers are wary of all technology, educating the market on new technology is expensive, takes a long time, and people buy problem solutions rather than technology. Investors will likely wait for more traction. The concept of disruptive technology was first introduced by Clayton M. Christensen in “The Innovator’s Dilemma” way back in 1995. Such technologies, like the digital camera and mobile phones, introduce such novel concepts that they displace existing technology quickly by societal standards. Unfortunately this “quickly” may be too slowly to save initial startups in the space. In this time of rapid change, it’s easy...

Lexion raises $4.2M to bring AI to contract management

Contract management isn’t exactly an exciting subject, but it’s a real pain point for many companies. It also lends itself to automation, thanks to recent advances in machine learning and natural language processing. It’s no surprise then, that we see renewed interest in this space and that investors are putting more money into it. Earlier this week, Icertis raised a $115 million Series E round, for example, at a valuation of more than $1 billion. Icertis has been in this business for ten years, though. On the other end of the spectrum, contract management startup Lexion today announced that it has raised a $4.2 million seed round led by Madrona Venture Group and law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, which was also one of the first users of the product. Lexion wa...

Tiny UK startup takes on Google’s Wing in the race to a drone traffic control system

A future where drones can easily and cheaply do many useful things such as deliver packages, undertake search and rescue missions and deliver urgent medical supplies, not to mention unclogging our roads with flying taxis, seems like a future worth shooting for. But before all this can happen, we need to make sure the thousands of drones in the sky are operating safely. A drone needs to be able to automatically detect when entering into the flight path of another drone, manned aircraft or restricted area and to alter its course accordingly to safely continue its journey. The alternative is the chaos and danger of the recent incidences of drones buzzing major airports, for instance. There is a race on to produce just such a system. Wing LLC, an offshoot of the Alphabet / Google-owned X compa...

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