Author: Connie Loizos

The Minte raises $2.25 million in seed funding to bring hotel-style housekeeping to luxury residences

TECHCRUNCH As an MBA student at the University of Chicago’s Booth school, Kathleen Wilson was struck with an idea while looking at businesses that provided daily housekeeping in one of her classes. Given the density and physical structure of many apartment buildings, she wondered why a housekeeper couldn’t similarly push a cart down the hall and spend an hour or less in each unit. To test out her theory, Wilson and a classmate started cleaning the apartments of friends, spending 30 minutes to an hour at a time and trying to establish a reasonable price point for the work....

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Fortnight’s funding royale, China struggles, and Coinbase gets a boost to $8 billion

TECHCRUNCH Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week, we missed Alex Wilhelm, who was sunning himself somewhere (vitamin D deficit), but we had a rollicking time nonetheless with TC’s very excellent VC reporter Kate Clark, along with our always dependable co-host Danny Crichton and, in a bit of perfect timing, investor Brad Twohig of Lightspeed Venture Partners, whose firm participated in one of the week’s biggest financings, a $1.25 billion round for Epic Games, maker of the gaming smash hit “Fortnite.” It wasn’t just a lot of moolah for Epic,...

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“Grit” author Angela Duckworth on working smart versus working too hard, when it’s okay to pivot, and the impact of tech on grit

TECHCRUNCH Connie Loizos Contributor More posts by this contributor True Ventures has two new funds totaling $635 million to plug into a wide range of startups Another Kleiner investor has just raised her own fund Today, in San Francisco, at an inspriring gathering of roughly 400 women investors and founders organized by the months-old nonprofit AllRaise — a large and growing group of female funders and founders who aim to accelerate the success of their peers —  we had the opportunity to interview Angela Duckworth. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has gained...

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True Ventures has two new funds totaling $635 million to plug into a wide range of startups

TECHCRUNCH True Ventures never seems to be short on exits. Most recently, the 13-year-old venture firm saw early checks to Ring, Blue Bottle Coffee, Duo Security and Evident.io pay off via exits to Amazon, Nestle, Cisco, and Palo Alto Networks, respectively. Collectively, it should be mentioned, these acquirers shelled out about $4 billion for the startups. Then again, True, which has offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco, has been on a bit of a roll for years. Others of its bets include the 3D printing company Makerbot, acquired for $604 million in 2013; ad tech company Brightroll, sold...

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Another Kleiner investor has just raised her own fund

TECHCRUNCH She may not have the name recognition of former colleague Beth Seidenberg, but Lynn Chou O’Keefe, who has spent the last five-plus years investing in healthcare on behalf of the venture firm Kleiner Perkins, is raising her own debut fund. According to a newly processed SEC filing, the firm is called Define Ventures, and it has already locked down $50 million in capital commitments from a handful of investors. (The filing says it is targeting $65 million.) Chou O’Keefe had joined Kleiner Perkins in 2013 as a partner in its small life sciences group, to focus on digital health...

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These 14 startups — endorsed by the seed-stage investment firm Pear — just hit the fundraising trail

TECHCRUNCH Earlier this week, in a beautiful garden in Woodside, Ca., the team at the five-year-old, seed-stage venture firm Pear hosted it fifth annual demo day. It’s an event that’s limited to roughly 100 VCs who year after year happily fill the space to see what Pear — which has written early checks to the “unicorn” delivery service DoorDash and newly public Guardant Health, among others — has up its sleeve. As with last year, what those investors wound up seeing on Tuesday was 15 teams, most of them six months old or younger and led by current students or recent graduates who’d been invited by Pear to build companies over ten weeks in its Palo Alto offices. These ranged from a startup with ambitious plans to build a new commercial space station, to a machine learning-powered cloud video platform that makes it far easier to edit video clips, to a startup that used AI to negotiate salary discussions on behalf of its clients. But in a bit of a twist, this time around, Pear also featured a sprinkling of young companies that are now ready for Series A funding, including a solar design and sales platform for residential and commercial photovoltaic systems and a company that thinks its check-out free shopping technology could help all kinds of Amazon rivals compete with the giant’s growing number of surveillance-powered, no-checkout convenience stores. In...

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Silicon Valley is waiting for the dust to settle in Saudi Arabia, but other headwinds are picking up

TECHCRUNCH It’s been painful, the silence of Silicon Valley with regards to Saudi Arabia, whose shifting accounts about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have nearly veered into slapstick. He freely walked out the Saudi consulate in Instanbul! No, rogue killers got to him. Okay, fine, the truth is that he was in a fist-fight and was subdued to death by Saudi officials. Wait. We did set out to brutally murder him, just as Turkish officials told the world at the outset. It isn’t hard to understand why the story of Khashoggi’s final moments has finally come full circle. Why not...

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Metrc, whose tracing system helps regulators track cannabis from seed to sale, just raised $50 million, including from Tiger Global

TECHCRUNCH A growing number of states has legalized retail marijuana sales, but ensuring that everything works as advertised is no easy task. Among the many things that regulators have to concern themselves with are: granting licenses to dispensaries, retail sales, delivery, distribution, ensuring marijuana has been tested for pesticides and other materials, and other parts of the cannabis supply system. In California, the software system that’s being used statewide to record the inventory and movement of cannabis and cannabis products through the commercial cannabis supply chain is made by Metrc, a low-flying, five-year-old, Lakeland, Florida company. In fact, Metrc now services 11 states altogether, including Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, and Louisiana. It’s also used by regulators in Washington, D.C. It’s the kind of traction that investors notice, and indeed, today Metrc is announcing its first outside round of funding, in the form of $50 million from Tiger Global Management and Casa Verde Ventures, the three-year-old, cannabis-focused venture firm that was famously cofounded by rapper Snoop Dogg but is largely managed day-to-day by Goldman Sachs and Nomura Securities alum Karan Wadhera. In fact, Wadhera tells us he’d been following Metrc for a “number of years as it became one of the de facto track-and-trace systems” for government entities that regulate the cannabis industry. Tiger and Casa Verde “share deal flow quite regularly,” adds Wadhera, pointing to another...

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