Author: Joanna Glasner

Startup names may have passed peak weirdness

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Where seed and early-stage funding is growing, contracting or holding steady Hire faster, work happier: Startups target employment with AI and engagement tools For years, decades even, startup names have been getting weirder. This isn’t a scientific verdict, but it is how things have seemed to someone who spends a lot of hours perusing this stuff. Startups have had a long run of branding themselves with creative misspellings, animal names. human first names, made-up words, adverbs and other odd collections of letters. It’s gone on so long it now seems normal. Names like Google, Airbnb and Hulu, which sounded strange at first, are now part of our everyday vocabulary. Over the past few quarters, however, a peculiar thing has been happening: Startup founders are choosing more conventional-sounding names. “As we reach the edge of strangeness… they’re saying: ‘It’s too weird. I’m uncomfortable,’” said Athol Foden, president of Brighter Naming, a naming consultancy. While quirky startup monikers haven’t gone away, founders are increasingly comfortable with less-unusual-sounding choices. Foden’s observations are reflected in our annual Crunchbase News survey of startup naming trends. We’re seeing a proliferation of startups choosing simple words that describe their businesses, including companies like Hitch, an app for long-distance car rides; Duffel, a trip-booking startup named after the popular travel bag; and Coder, a software development platform. But fortunately for fans of offbeat...

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Where seed and early-stage funding is growing, contracting or holding steady

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Hire faster, work happier: Startups target employment with AI and engagement tools Robot couriers scoop up early-stage cash In startup circles, it’s trendy to talk about how entrepreneurs are leaving high-tax, high cost-of-living metros for cheaper locales. While Silicon Valley remains ground central for hobnobbing with investors, the common wisdom goes, early-stage funding stretches much further elsewhere. As memes go, it makes sense. But does the data bear this out? Is Texas turning into the new California? Is Salt Lake City edging out Seattle? Are the largest U.S. startup hubs losing their edge in luring promising early-stage startups? In a somewhat eccentric data crunch, Crunchbase News set out to see the extent to which certain regions are gaining in early-stage and seed activity. We also attempted to see whether any of the big, established startup ecosystems are showing obvious signs of decline. To lay out our case, we looked at four metrics. First, we measured total reported annual seed funding and round counts by state for the 18 largest venture capital ecosystems. Next, we looked at seed through early-stage investment and deal counts across three size ranges. They include moderately sized rounds of $1 million to $5 million, larger ones of more than $5 million and less than $50 million and really big early-stage investments of $50 million and up. The...

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Hire faster, work happier: Startups target employment with AI and engagement tools

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Robot couriers scoop up early-stage cash Bots replacing office workers drive big valuations If you have a job today, there’s a good chance you personally reached out to your employer and interviewed with other humans to get it. Now that you’ve been there a while, it’s also likely the workday feels more like a long slog than the fulfilling career move you had envisioned. But if today’s early-stage startups have their way, your next employment experience could be quite different. First, forget the networking and interview gauntlet. Instead, let an AI-enabled screening program reach out about a job you don’t seem obviously qualified to do. Or, rather than talk to a company’s employees, wait for them to play some online games instead. If you play similarly, they may decide to hire you. Once you have the job, software will also make you more efficient and happier at your work. An AI-driven software platform will deliver regular “nudges,” offering customized suggestions to make you a more effective worker. If you’re feeling burned out, head online to text or video chat with a coach or therapist. Or perhaps you’ll just be happier in your job now that your employer is delivering regular tokens of appreciation. Those are a few of the ways early-stage startups are looking to change the status quo of job-seeking and employment. While employment is a...

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Robot couriers scoop up early-stage cash

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Bots replacing office workers drive big valuations Getting personal: Funding rises for software-driven tastemakers Much of the last couple of decades of innovation has centered around finding ways to get what we want without leaving the sofa. So far, online ordering and on-demand delivery have allowed us to largely accomplish this goal. Just point, click and wait. But there’s one catch: Delivery people. We can never all lie around ordering pizzas if someone still has to deliver them. Enter robots. In tech-futurist circles, it’s pretty commonplace to hear predictions about how some medley...

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Bots replacing office workers drive big valuations

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Getting personal: Funding rises for software-driven tastemakers The alumni of these universities raised the most VC in the past year A lot of people still get paid to sit in offices and do repetitive tasks. In recent years, however, employers have been pushing harder to find ways to outsource that work to machines. Venture and growth investors are doing a lot to speed up the rise of these worker-bots. So far this year, they’ve poured hundreds of millions into developers of robotic process automation technology, the term to describe software used...

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Getting personal: Funding rises for software-driven tastemakers

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Global unicorn exits hit multi-year high in 2018 Boston-area startups are on pace to overtake NYC venture totals It has the feel of a science fiction plot. A young man heads online to look up deals on things he likes. Slowly, the tables turn. Now, it’s the computer that starts telling him what he wants. Buy these pants. Play this song. Eat this pizza. Date this girl. Read news with this political spin… OK, I lied. This isn’t sci-fi at all. It’s the current reality. And it’s the kind of thing...

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The alumni of these universities raised the most VC in the past year

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Global unicorn exits hit multi-year high in 2018 Boston-area startups are on pace to overtake NYC venture totals Whatever criteria we look at, whether it’s schools with the highest number of well-capitalized founders, highest funding totals or even where startup investors went to college, the same names top the list. The only surprise factor, it seems, is whether Harvard or Stanford will be in first place. It’s possible we’ll do a data-driven university- and startup-related ranking that doesn’t feature the same two schools in the top two positions. But that’s not happening...

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Global unicorn exits hit multi-year high in 2018

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Boston-area startups are on pace to overtake NYC venture totals Home run exits happen stealthily for biotech Unicorn exits are taking flight. With the IPO window wide open, an apparent record number of venture-backed companies privately valued over $1 billion have launched public offerings this year. Crunchbase data shows 23 unicorn IPOs globally so far in 2018, well outpacing full-year totals for 2016 and 2017. Collectively, this year’s newly public unicorns are doing pretty well too. Most priced shares around or above expectations. We’re also seeing a lot of impressive aftermarket gains. At...

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