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Slack wants to make search a little easier with search filters

Slack’s search functions are getting another little quality-of-life update today with the introduction of filters, which aims to make search a little more granular to find the right answers. The company also says searches are going to be more personalized. All of this is an attempt to get to the right files or conversations quickly as Slack — a simple collection of group chats and channels that can get out of hand very fast — something a little more palatable. As companies get bigger and bigger, the sheer amount of information that ends up in it will grow faster and faster. That means that the right information will generally be more difficult to access, and if Slack is going to stick to its roots as a simple internal communications product, it’s going to have to lean on improv...

WeWork competitor Convene raises a $152 million Series D

New York-based meeting room booking startup Convene announced a $152 million Series D this week. The round is led by ArrowMark Partners, along with a number of real estate-related organizations, including Steve Case’s Revolution Growth. It’s probably telling that the company simply refers to itself as a “WeWork competitor” in the pitch email that was sent on its behalf. Convene doesn’t exactly spur a lot of brand name recognition, but the company’s certainly got the fundraising cache. This round brings its total raise up to $260 million. The well-funded startup certainly isn’t as ubiquitous as WeWork, but it’s got a number of the U.S.’s largest cities covered, including Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston Chicago and its home court, New York. Convene currently lays claim to...

Foursquare brings on Liz Ritzcovan as Chief Revenue Officer

Foursquare has just hired Liz Ritzcovan as Chief Revenue Officer. Ritzcovan hails from BazaarVoice, where she also served as CRO. She previously held CRO positions at Sizmek and Parade Media Group, and before that, spent time at Yahoo, Time Inc, and Interbrand. Though Foursquare has been around since 2009, things have changed a lot for the company. What started as a consumer-facing app to log and share location information has become a SaaS company focused on helping brands understand their customer’s real-world habits and convert those habits into meaningful transactions and experiences. That started with the unbundling of the legacy Foursquare app into Foursquare (a Yelp competitor centered around recommendations) and Swarm (a social location check-in app). As of 2016, both apps ha...

Toast raises $115M at a $1.4B valuation to create a one-stop management tool for restaurants

While massive restaurant chains might have resources to build out their own management systems or integrate with larger point-of-sale providers, Toast — a provider of tools for restaurants to manage their business — is raising a big round of funding to go after everyone else. Now Toast is a business valued at $1.4 billion thanks to a fresh infusion of $115 million in its latest round of funding. At its core, Toast is a point-of-sale for restaurants, though over time it’s added more and more services on top of that. Now the goal is to be not just a point of sale, but offer a whole system to help restaurants operate efficiently. That can range from the actual point of sale all the way to loyalty programs and reporting on that information. The round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, ...

With Lime teaming up Uber, can rival Bird afford to go it alone?

Yesterday, we learned that 18-month-old, Bay Area-based electric scooter rental company Lime is joining forces with the ride-hailing giant Uber, which is both investing in the company as part of a $335 million round and planning promote Lime in its mobile app. According to Bloomberg, Uber also plans to plaster its logo on Lime’s scooters. Lime isn’t being acquired outright, in short, but it looks like it will be. At least, Uber struck a similar arrangement with the electric bike company JUMP bikes before spending $200 million to acquire the company in spring. There are as many questions raised by this kind of tie-up as answered, but the biggest may be what the pact means for Lime’s fiercest rival in the e-scooter wars, 15-month-old L.A.-based Bird, who several sources tel...

Lodgify, the SaaS for vacation rentals, books $5M in Series A funding

Lodgify, the Barcelona-based SaaS for property owners to manage vacation rentals, today announced it has secured $5 million in Series A funding. Existing backers Nauta Capital, Howzat Partners, and a number of angels participated, in addition to new investor Intermedia Vermögensverwaltung. It brings total funding for the Spanish startup to $7.3 million yo date. Primary pitched as a way for property owners to grow their direct vacation rental bookings, as opposed to solely relying on platforms like Airbnb or Booking.com, the Lodgify SaaS enables the creation of a mobile-friendly website for each property. Crucially, this includes the ability to accept online bookings and take payment. “Just like Shopify became the decentralised platform for businesses by democratizing access to e-comm...

N26 updates its web app

Fintech startup N26 wants to compete with traditional banks on all fronts. And it means providing a useful web interface to view your past transactions, transfer money and more. Most users likely interact with N26 through the mobile app. But it doesn’t mean web apps are useless. Contrary to Revolut, N26 has had a web interface since day one. It lets you control most things in your account. For instance, you can add a new recipient and send money. You can configure notifications, get a PDF with your IBAN number and download banking statements. You can also lock your card, reset the card pin, reorder one or block some features from the web. This way, if somebody steals your phone with a wallet case, you can still go to the website and disable your card. With today’s update, N26 is most...

Retail startup Bulletin is giving brands new tools to manage their in-store presence

If you visited a Bulletin store, or bought products off its website, COO Ali Kriegsman said you might “pigeonhole” the company as a “feminist apparel brand” — a place to buy T-shirts and accessories with fun, provocative political slogans. And yes, that is part of what draws consumers. But Kriegsman and her co-founder Alana Branston have also laid out their broader vision for a more flexible, WeWork-style approach to brick-and-mortar retail, one where brands essentially rent out shelf space in Bulletin stores. So brands that may have only sold online can experiment with physical sales, while shoppers can purchase from a curated, constantly refreshed selection of brands and products. “We’re building this more feminine retail company, but we are also part ...

Instacart hires its first Chief Communications Officer, Dani Dudeck

Instacart, the grocery delivery platform valued at $4.2 billion, has today announced that it has hired its first Chief Communications Officer in Dani Dudeck. Dudeck has been in the communications world for the past 15 years, serving as VP of Global Communications at MySpace for four years and moving to Zynga as CCO in 2010. At Zynga, Dudeck oversaw corporate and consumer reputation of the brand before and after its IPO, helping the company through both tremendous periods of growth and a rapidly changing mobile gaming landscape. Dudeck joins Instacart at an equally interesting time for the company. Though Instacart is showing no signs of slowing down — the company recently raised $200 million in funding — the industry as a whole is seeing growing interest from incumbents and behem...

PlayVS CEO Delane Parnell to talk high school eSports at Disrupt SF

The gaming world is evolving at a rapid clip. No longer is the idea of the lonely gamer a reality. Twitch and Discord have brought gamers together and given everyone the opportunity to see just how talented some of these young players are. Meanwhile, publishers and eSports organizations have built out an infrastructure. But there is plenty left to do, and PlayVS founder and CEO Delane Parnell is well aware of this. We’re amped to announce that Parnell is joining us at TC Disrupt SF in September to talk about how high school esports could pave the way for even more growth in this industry. PlayVS is a startup that has partnered with the NFHS to bring esports to the high school level, providing infrastructure around scheduling, refs, rules, and state tournaments. Not only does this all...

Topbox raises $5M for its customer experience analytics service

Topbox helps businesses understand how their customers experience their products and where they run into issues by analyzing voice and text chats to surveys, social media posts and online reviews. Today, the company announced it has raised a $5 million funding round led by Telescope Partners, with participation from Cascade Angels, Flyover Capital and the Maryland Venture Fund. Topbox CEO Chris Tranquill told me he first experienced the problem he’s trying to solve when he was running call centers with thousands of agents. All of the companies that contracted his services faced the same problem: understanding the friction points their customers were experiencing. “We always had this vision that being able to really understand those friction points with deep context — that...

TaxScouts wants to make filing your tax return a lot less tedious

TaxScouts, a U.K. startup founded by TransferWise and Marketinvoice alumni, is the latest online service designed to make filing your tax return a lot less tedious. However, rather than focusing on the bookkeeping part of the problem primarily tackled by cloud accounting software — which is often overkill if you are self-employed or simply earn a little additional income outside of your day job — the company combines “automation” with human accountants to help you prepare your tax submission. “Doing taxes is either tedious when you have to do them yourself, or expensive when you hire an accountant,” says TaxScouts co-founder and CEO Mart Abramov, who was employee number 8 at TransferWise and also previously worked at Intuit, MarketInvoice and Skype. R...

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