Author: Jordan Crook

Postmates brings on two new execs from Pinterest

Postmates has made two new hires, both of which hail from Pinterest, in the form of Eric Edge and Andreas Lieber. Edge joins Postmates as the SVP of Brand & Communications while Lieber joins as SVP of business development and corporate development. Both come to Postmates from Pinterest where they served as Head of Global Marketing Communications and Head of Consumer Business Development respectively. “Postmates has a deep understanding of its own business metrics and how to optimize them,” said Lieber. “In the Bay Area, you’ll see different variations of that understanding across companies. But what I saw in...

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Electric, the startup that automates IT, raises $25 million from GGV

Electric.ai, the NY-based startup that offers chat-based IT support, has announced the close of a $25 million Series B round led by GGV. As part of the deal, partner Jeff Richards will be joining the board. Founder Ryan Denehy launched Electric in 2016. Previously, he’d run two startups which were sold to USA Today Sports and Groupon respectively, where he realized that all of the simplicity that came with using a service like Zenefits simply didn’t exist in the IT world. “It was all local service providers, and they all charge way too much money,” said Denehy. “I thought ‘this is so nuts!’ Companies are using more and more technology every day.” With his second startup, Swarm, he saw even more clearly how big of a problem this was as the company sold a product that required hardware installation at retailers. “We were building a company on top of local IT providers, and I saw up close and personal how difficult it was and how fragmented the industry was.” And so, Electric was born. The premise is relatively simple. Most of IT’s tasks focus on administration, distribution and maintenance of software programs, meaning that the individual IT specialist doesn’t necessarily need to be desk side troubleshooting a hardware issue. Companies using Electric simply install its software on every corporate laptop, giving the top IT employee or the org’s decision-maker...

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Brandless introduces a $9 price point with the launch of baby and pet products

Since launch, Brandless has looked to make shopping for everyday items simple by pricing everything at $3. Today, for the first time since the company came on the scene, Brandless will be adding new items that exceed its own $3 limit. The e-commerce brand is adding baby and pet products to its portfolio. Baby products include Premium Diapers with no latex, lotion fragrance or chlorine processing, organic baby food pouches and cruelty-free baby care products like baby wipes, lotion, shampoo and diaper rash cream. Pet products include protein treats, supplement chews, non-toxic toys, hemp collars and pet cleanup waste...

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Varsity Tutors acquires Veritas Prep to expand into live online classes

Varsity Tutors, the online learning platform that launched in 2011, has today announced the acquisition of Veritas Prep. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but, according to the press release, the Veritas Prep team will remain at its Calabasas, CA office and that the product will continue on as a separate brand. Veritas Prep launched in 2002 with a suite of test prep courses. Over the years, Veritas built out its online live classes as well as a business around admissions consulting. As Varsity Tutors focuses on geographical and product expansion, the Veritas Prep acquisition allows the...

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Former Facebook engineer picks up $15M for AI platform Spell

In 2016, Serkan Piantino packed up his desk at Facebook with hopes to move on to something new. The former Director of Engineering for Faceboook AI Research had every intention to keep working on AI, but quickly realized a huge issue. Unless you’re under the umbrella of one of these big tech companies like Facebook, it can be very difficult and incredibly expensive to get your hands on the hardware necessary to run machine learning experiments. So he built Spell, which today received $15 million in Series A funding led by Eclipse Ventures and Two Sigma Ventures. Spell is...

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We Company CEO in hot water over being both a tenant and a landlord

The company formerly known as WeWork has come under scrutiny for potential conflict of interest issues regarding CEO Adam Neumann’s partial ownership of three properties where WeWork is (or will be) a tenant. TechCrunch has seen excerpts of the company’s prospectus for investors that details upwards of $100 million in total future rents WeWork will pay to properties owned, in part, by Adam Neumann. In March 2018, The Real Deal reported that Neumann had purchased a 50 percent stake in 88 University Place alongside fashion designer Elie Tahari. That property was then leased by WeWork, which then leased space...

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HyperScience, the machine learning startup tackling data entry, raises $30 million Series B

HyperScience, the machine learning company that turns human readable data into machine readable data, has today announced the close of a $30 million Series B funding round led by Stripes Group, with participation from existing investors FirstMark Capital and Felicis Ventures as well as new investors Battery Ventures, Global Founders Fund, TD Ameritrade, and QBE. HyperScience launched out of stealth in 2016 with a suite of enterprise products focused on the healthcare, insurance, finance and government industries. The original products were HSForms (which handled data-entry by converting hand-written forms to digital), HSFreeForm (which did a similar function for hand-written...

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Rumor suggests Apple’s AirPower mat has finally gone into production

In 2017, Apple announced the Qi-compatible AirPower Mat, a device that would charge multiple devices at once simply by placing them on the mat. That product has been seriously delayed due to reported interference and overheating issues, with a whole year going by without hearing much about the availability of the product. In fact, Apple’s total silence on the matter led some to believe it may have been canceled altogether. Today, however, a new rumor has breathed life back into hopes for an AirPower Mat. Hong Kong website ChargerLAB tweeted that a credible source in the supply chain said Luxshare Precision (the same manufacturer that builds Airpods and USB-C cables) has started production on the AirPower charing pad. Breaking: AirPower is finally coming. We just learned from credible source in supply chain that the manufacture Luxshare Precision has already started producing Apple AirPower wireless charging pad. Luxshare Precision is also the maker of Apple AirPods and USB-C cables. pic.twitter.com/UqgWIAh3sx — ChargerLAB (@chargerlab) January 12, 2019 MacRumors took a look at the tweet and used Google Translate to translate the WeChat screenshot included in the tweet, saying that the conversation is consistent with the information in the tweet. ChargerLAB went on to tweet that another manufacturer, Pegatron, would start production on January 21st alongside Luxshare Precision. A report from June said that Pegatron would also be involved in manufacturing, so...

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