Author: Jordan Crook

Interior Define and Monica + Andy collaborate to make children’s furniture

It isn’t super common to find two entrepreneurs in one marriage, especially two entrepreneurs that want to work together. But married couple Rob and Monica Royer are making it happen with a new collaboration between Interior Define and Monica + Andy. Interior Define, founded by Rob Royer, looks to offer super customizable, high-quality furniture at an affordable price point. Users can pick the style of their furniture, the materials used, and even specify dimensions to ensure that their stuff fits perfectly in their space. Monica + Andy, on the other hand, was founded by Monica Royer and Brian Bloom,...

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Meditation app Calm hits unicorn status with fresh $88 million funding

Calm, the meditation and wellness app that launched back in 2012, has today announced the close of an $88 million Series B financing with a valuation of $1 billion. (We have not been able to clarify whether the valuation was post- or pre-money.) The funding was led by TPG Growth, with participation from CAA and existing investors Insight Venture Partners and Sound Ventures. As meditation grows in popularity across the U.S. — the CDC says it tripled from 4.1 percent in 2012 to 14.2 percent in 2017 — Calm has capitalized on the craze by offering a suite of...

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By Humankind picks up $4M to rid your morning routine of single-use plastic

Single-use plastics are the scourge of the environment, which is why many lawmakers are working to eliminate them. Today, a new brand is launching to try and eliminate single-use plastic in the area of personal care. With $4 million in seed funding led by Lerer Hippeau (with participation from Red Sea Ventures, BoxGroup, SV Angel, Great Oaks, SoulCycle Co-founder Elizabeth Cutler, and CPO of Adobe, Scott Belsky, among others), By Humankind offers deodorant, shampoo and mouthwash. But unlike your typical personal care products, the By Humankind portfolio products are rethought from the ground up to eliminate single-use plastic and be kind to the environment. For example, the mouthwash doesn’t come in a big plastic container, but rather in tablet form. Users can drop a tablet into a small cup of water and the mouthwash, which is alcohol-free, dissolves into a liquid. With the shampoo, the By Humankind team decided to eliminate the plastic bottle by simply taking a page out of the old’ soap bar playbook, creating a shampoo bar. Meanwhile, the By Humankind deodorant comes in a refillable plastic roller, with paper-pod refills (which the company calls KindFills). The company says that its products eliminate single-use plastic by 90 percent when compared to other products in their respective categories. Moreover, By Humankind has designed its shipping packages with biodegradable, bamboo fiber-based materials. “Keeping our packaging footprint to a...

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Warby Parker dips into AR with the launch of virtual try-on

Warby Parker is today introducing virtual try-on to let shoppers select a pair of frames and instantly see how they look. The tech was built on Apple’s ARKit, and the feature is only available to users on the Warby Parker iOS app on an iPhone X or later. Warby Parker, which launched in 2010, attempted to implement a virtual try-on feature on its website, but pulled the feature shortly after it debuted. The issue? With something like glasses, virtual try-on needs to be as close to reality as possible. Virtual objects can’t be overlaid ‘close to’ the user’s face, but rather match up with all their facial curves, and the placement of the ears, eyes and nose. “It was really our first time building out a full AR feature as a company, and there were two things that were really important,” said Sr. Director of E-Commerce and Consumer Insights Erin Collins. “The first was getting fit right, which was a technical challenge that required a bunch of revisions. And the second thing was making sure the frame images looked as photorealistic as possible, which meant getting 3D artists to digital render them and lots of revisions to get it pixel perfect on each pair of frames.” The technology Warby Parker built uses a proprietary algorithm to perfectly place virtual frames on the user’s face. The feature also allows users...

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Juul Labs hires former Apple employee to lead the fight against counterfeits

Juul Labs, the e-cig company under fire for its product’s popularity with young people, has brought on a new VP of Intellectual Property Protection with Adrian Punderson, formerly of PwC and Apple. Punderson’s job is all about working alongside government agencies, as well as Juul Labs Intellectual Property VP Wayne Sobon, to combat the sale of counterfeit and infringing products. These can range from copycat vapes and pods that are actually marketed as Juul products all the way to products that are designed specifically to be Juul compatible without using the trademark. These counterfeit and infringing products pose a...

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American Airlines taps Apple Music for in-flight entertainment

American Airlines and Apple Music have closed a deal that would give passengers access to the full library of Apple Music songs on AA flights. Apple Music’s more than 50 million songs will be available on any domestic American Airlines flight equipped with Viasat satellite wifi at no extra cost to customers, marking the first commercial airline to offer exclusive access to Apple Music via in-flight wifi. Here’s what VP of Apple Music Oliver Schusser had to say: For most travelers, having music to listen to on the plane is just as important as anything they pack in their...

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State Farm sponsors popular Fortnite streamer DrLupo

DrLupo, one of the biggest names and most recognizable voices in Fortnite streaming, has closed a sponsorship deal with State Farm. Bejanmin “DrLupo” Lupo has nearly 3 million Twitch followers and often plays with the world’s most popular streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Beloved for his talent and his personality alike, Lupo has also worked as a caster for various Fortnite tournaments and events. Last year, DrLupo held a charity stream for St. Jude’s Research Hospital and raised $1.3 million. State Farm Marketing Director Ed Gold had this to say: DrLupo is one of the world’s most followed Fortnite streamers....

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The new Parsley Health Center in NYC doesn’t feel like a doctor’s office

Parsley Health has just opened up a new, fully redesigned space on Fifth Avenue in New York City, marking the first true Parsley Health Center. Since launch, the startup has been operating out of clinics in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. But TechCrunch got the chance to check out Parsley’s new Fifth Ave location, which marks the company’s first space designed from the ground up as Parsley Health. Founded by Dr. Robin Berzin, Parsley Health is a healthcare membership, where customers are offered a holistic approach to their health by a team of doctors and health coaches, complete with 24/7 unlimited messaging. The idea stemmed from the troublesome reality that the average American spends less than 20 minutes a year with their doctor, who more often than not treat symptoms instead of the root problem. Parsley members spend around four hours/yr with medical professionals, including five doctor visits a year and five health coach visits. Plus, Parsley offers 24/7 communication with your doctor and health coach. The hope is that Parsley doctors can better diagnose and treat their patients’ issues if they have the time to get the full story. Plus, Parsley doctors have the benefit of advanced biomarker testing alongside their focus on functional medicine, where root issues are prioritized for treatment rather than symptoms. Part of giving the highest quality treatment is creating an open...

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