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Funding Friday: Helping Healthcare Workers

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the US, the people who are stepping up the most to meet this challenge are our country’s healthcare workers. We should do everything we can to help make sure they can work safely during this crisis. So today I am highlighting two fundraisers for protective equipment for these health care workers. Both are on GoFundMe (which happens to be a USV portfolio company but that is just a coincidence here). I have given to both of them. A Million Masks For...
Tags: Crowdfunding, NYC, US, Trends, USV, Current Affairs, Edward Norton, Flexport, Nick Grossman


Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian on how to survive these crazy days (and what to learn from them)

Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian founded Initialized Capital roughly nine years ago and they’ve closed four funds since, including most recently in late 2018. That $225 million vehicle is roughly twice the size of their previous fund, but because of the coronavirus, the firm, and its portfolio companies — some of which include Opendoor, Instacart and Coinbase — could be facing a tougher road in 2020. Certainly, that’s true of nearly ever other venture firm and startup right now. To get a sense...
Tags: Google, Amazon, Florida, Tech, Peter Thiel, Reddit, Alexis Ohanian, Fda, Cannes Lions, Garry Tan, Bay Area, Flexport, Cabo San Lucas, Redwood City, Tan, Mehta


Flexport, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others launch a fund to get supplies to front-line responders

There’s a global shortage of available protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies for use by frontline responders working to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, and the Frontline Responders Fund wants to channel donations to help address that shortage. The fund, which is seeking public donations via GoFundMe, will use all proceeds to cover the costs of transportation of these crucial supplies to the hospitals, clinics and public agencies that need them most. Flexport is facilitati...
Tags: Apple, TC, Gadgets, Hardware, Safety, Softbank, Articles, San Francisco, Tech, Silicon Valley, Edward Norton, Philanthropy, Gofundme, Ron Conway, Flexport, Petersen


Shrunken unicorn Fair cancels car leasing to Uber drivers

When Fair laid off 40% of its staff in October, CEO Scott Painter promised it wasn’t shuttering leasing services to on-demand fleets. But just one week later, Painter was removed as CEO and replaced in the interim with Adam Hieber, a CFA from Fair investor SoftBank. Today, according to two sources, Fair announced at an all-hands meeting that it would end its Fair Go program that helped Uber drivers lease cars. The program will cease in April. Uber now confirms the news to TechCrunch, and n...
Tags: Startups, TC, Transportation, Uber, Finance, Softbank, Tech, Automotive, Venture Capital, Getaround, TechCrunch, Flexport, Fair, Elliott Management, Scott Painter, xChange


Shrunken unicorn Fair cancels car leasing to Uber drivers, citing high insurance premiums

When Fair laid off 40% of its staff in October, CEO Scott Painter promised it wasn’t shuttering leasing services to on-demand fleets. But just one week later, Painter was removed as CEO and replaced in the interim with Adam Hieber, a CFA from Fair investor SoftBank. Today, according to two sources, Fair announced at an all-hands meeting that it would end its Fair Go program that helped Uber drivers lease cars. The program will cease in April. Uber now confirms the news to TechCrunch, and n...
Tags: Startups, TC, Transportation, Uber, Finance, Softbank, Tech, Automotive, Venture Capital, Getaround, TechCrunch, Flexport, Fair, Elliott Management, Scott Painter, xChange


SoftBank-backed Fair puts the brakes on weekly car rentals for Uber drivers

When Fair laid off 40% of its staff in October, CEO Scott Painter promised it wasn’t shuttering leasing services to on-demand fleets. But just one week later, Painter was removed as CEO and replaced in the interim with Adam Hieber, a CFA from Fair investor SoftBank. Today, according to two sources, Fair announced at an all-hands meeting that it would end its Fair Go program that helped Uber drivers lease cars on short-term deals. The program will cease in April. Uber now confirms the news ...
Tags: Startups, TC, Transportation, Uber, Finance, Softbank, Tech, Automotive, Venture Capital, Getaround, TechCrunch, Flexport, Fair, Elliott Management, Scott Painter, xChange


SoftBank-backed companies laid off more than 3,000 people in 2020 and more than 7,000 in the past year. Here's everything we know.

SoftBank-backed companies are laying off thousands of employees globally as they struggle to find paths to profitability. In the first full week of 2020, four companies – Oyo, Rappi, Getaround, and Zume – laid off a combined 2,600 employees.  In the last two months, other SoftBank-backed companies including WeWork, Uber, Wag, and Fair have also cut their ranks dramatically.  SoftBank is also seeing significant executive turnover. If you work at a SoftBank-backed company, Business Insider wants...
Tags: Uber, UK, London, Australia, China, India, Softbank, Israel, US, America, Trends, Bloomberg, Canada, New Zealand, WeWork, Getaround


Layoffs hit Flexport, another SoftBank-backed startup worth $3.2B

Fearing weak fundraising options in the wake of the WeWork implosion, late-stage startups are tightening their belts. The latest is another Softbank-funded company, joining Zume Pizza (80 percent of staff laid off), Wag (80 percent),  Fair (40%), Getaround (25 percent), Rappi (6 percent), and Oyo (5 percent) that have all cut staff to slow their burn rate and reduce their funding needs. Now freight forwarding startup Flexport is laying off 3 percent of its global staff. “We’re restructuring some...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, Startups, TC, Transportation, Layoffs, Enterprise, Softbank, Funding, Tech, Bloomberg, Venture Capital, Getaround, Talent, Logistics, Flexport, Oyo


Layoffs hit another Softbank co as $3.2B Flexport cuts 50

Fearing weak fundraising options in the wake of the WeWork implosion, late stage startups are tightening their belts. The latest is another Softbank-funded company, joining Zume Pizza (80% of staff laid off), Wag (80%+),  Fair (40%), Getaround (25%), Rappi (6%), and Oyo (5%) that have all cut staff to slow their burn rate and reduce their funding needs. Freight forwarding startup Flexport that is laying off 3% of its global staff. “We’re restructuring some parts of our organization to move fa...
Tags: Fundings & Exits, Startups, TC, Transportation, Layoffs, Enterprise, Softbank, Funding, Tech, Bloomberg, Venture Capital, Getaround, Talent, Logistics, Flexport, Oyo


Rossum raises $4.5M to make OCR-like data entry many times more accurate

Every day, people slog over inputting date from invoices and other forms. So instead of using traditional Optical Character Recognition (OCR) extraction software, you could apply a new form of machine learning to documents to speed up the process. That’s the thinking behind Rossum’s technology, which uses ‘Cognitive Data Capture’ to teach computers to understand documents in the way humans do. It says its AI tool has been proven to extract data six times faster than at a human rate while saving ...
Tags: Google, TC, Twitter, Pinterest, US, Tech, OCR, Seedcamp, Flexport, Rossum, Localglobe, Vijay Pandurangan, Ryan Petersen, Reshma Sohoni, Michael Stoppelman, Miton


The House Fund closes its second fund with $44 million to pour into UC Berkeley grads, alums and faculty

In 2016, we profiled a then-24-year-old named Jeremy Fiance who had managed to pool together $6 million for a fund focused on his alma mater, UC Berkeley, where as a student he’d brought to campus Kairos Society, an organization for budding entrepreneurs, as well as created a student accelerator called Free Ventures. Fiance wasn’t waiting on someone to give him a job in venture; he wanted to create his own vehicle — dubbed The House Fund — with the support of the school to invest in its talented...
Tags: Apple, TC, Facebook, Stanford, Tech, CMO, Venture Capital, Berkeley, UC Berkeley, University Of California, Doordash, Kabam, Flexport, Superhuman, Fiance, Forte


Looking to become the central hub for logistics management, Shipwell raises $35 million

Shipwell, the software platform for managing trucking logistics, has raised $35 million and is expanding its suite of services to become a full-service hub for logistics management.  The new round led by Georgian Partners comes as the company has just expanded its suite of tracking and management tools to integrate with FedEx’s parcel shipping services. The company is also planning an expansion into ocean shipping in the coming months, according to chief executive, Gregory Price. The Aus...
Tags: Amazon, TC, Europe, Business, Mexico, Tech, Companies, Chicago, Austin, Canada, Logistics, Fedex, Online Tools, Flexport, Canada Mexico, Georgian Partners


Bloomberg Beta, now six years old, closes its third $75 million fund

Bloomberg Beta, a San Francisco-based outfit that uses Bloomberg LP’s money to make bets on startups, has closed its third fund with $75 million, according to Roy Bahat, who’d previously run the online media company IGN and who operates the fund as an equal partnership with Karin Klein and James Chan. (Klein formerly ran Bloomberg’s new initiatives; Chan was formerly a principal with Trinity Ventures.) We talked with Bahat briefly last night about the new vehicle to ask how its capital will be d...
Tags: TC, California, San Francisco, Future Of Work, Tech, Bloomberg, Venture Capital, Bloomberg LP, LaunchDarkly, Crunchbase, Trinity Ventures, Textio, Wonder, Flexport, CHAN, Bloomberg Beta


Fuel Capital, co-led by TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque, just closed a $75 million fund

Almost three years ago, as the gig-economy company TaskRabbit was nearing its eventual sale to Ikea, its founder, Leah Busque, headed into the venture world. More specifically, she joined Fuel Capital, a firm founded in 2013 by Chris Howard, a VC who’d spent nearly six years as a principal with Ignition Parters before deciding to break out and do his own thing. Things have seemed to go well since the two teamed up. The early-stage firm, which looks for startups building developer tools, business...
Tags: TC, Boston, San Francisco, Tech, Intel, Venture Capital, Ikea, Ibm, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Taskrabbit, Convoy, Flexport, Howard, Busque, Leah Busque


Amazon Prime’s dominance is spurring new startup opportunities

John (Jiang) Lin Contributor John Lin is an associate partner at Trinity Ventures supporting investments in developer tools, artificial intelligence and real estate. E-commerce is one of the economy’s bright spots; U.S. e-commerce sales have nearly doubled in five years, and now exceed $500 billion. Unsurprisingly, Amazon has swooped in to claim a disproportionate share of the riches, gobbling up nearly 50 percent of the market share, driving competitors out of ...
Tags: Amazon, Ecommerce, Column, Tech, Walmart, Amazon Prime, Economy, Artificial Intelligence, Online Shopping, Logistics, Emerging-technologies, Trinity Ventures, Deliv, Last Mile, Flexport, Starship Technologies


Here are the executive power moves that help explain everything that's going on in finance, tech and retail

Keeping an eye on major hires and promotions is one of the best ways to understand a company's strategy.  The Org tracks executive changes at companies big and small.  Here's a snapshot of the most important executive moves of the week across finance, tech and retail. Every week we bring you an overview of the most important executive changes from the past week. Last week, JPMorgan named a new CFO and moved finance chief Marianne Lake to a new role. Read more about this and other notable exe...
Tags: Trends, SEC, Barry, Robinhood, Jamie Dimon, Sap, Lake, Flexport, Jpmorgan, JPMorgan Chase, JPMorgan Chase Co, Friedman, Executive Board, Marianne Lake, Google Cloud, Scott Friedman


Logistics startup Zencargo raises $20M to take on the antiquated business of freight forwarding

Move over, Flexport. There is another player looking to make waves in the huge and messy business of freight logistics. Zencargo — a London startup that has built a platform that uses machine learning and other new technology to rethink how large shipping companies and their customers manage and move cargo, or freight forwarding as it’s known in the industry — has closed a Series A round of funding of about $19 million. Zencargo’s cofounder and head of growth Richard Fattal said in an intervi...
Tags: Amazon, Europe, London, Softbank, Tech, DST Global, Cto, Flexport, Picus Capital, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Christian Saller, Fattal, Zencargo, Richard Fattal, Samos LocalGlobe, Alex Hersham


VC Trends in 2019: More Money, Fewer Deals But Women Still Get Less

If you’ve been following venture capital trends, what you expected to happen in the first quarter of 2019 did: More money is being invested in fewer deals, and women founders still are getting less of it than men.Venture firms sent $32.6 billion into startups nationally during the first three months of 2019, the second largest amount for any quarter since at least 2006, according to data released overnight by PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association. But that large sum came from o...
Tags: Deals, Startups, Lyft, Uber, Hardware, Entrepreneurship, Softbank, Funding, Women, Trends, Tech, Vc, Software, Physics, Pwc, Venture Capital


Scalyr launches PowerQueries for advanced log management

Log management service Scalyr today announced the beta launch of PowerQueries, its new tools for letting its users create advanced search operations as they manage their log files and troubleshoot potential issues. The new service allows users to perform complex actions to group, transform, filter and sort their large data sets, as well as to create table lookups and joins. The company promises that these queries will happen just as fast as Scalyr’s standard queries and that getting started w...
Tags: TC, Cloud, Enterprise, Tech, Ceo, Machine Learning, Chairman, Giphy, Flexport, Newman, Barracuda Networks, Spiceworks, Okcupid, Scalyr, Christine Heckart, Steve Newman


Here are the 85+ startups that launched at YC’s W19 Demo Day 1

Y Combinator’s incubator classes have gotten huge. With over 200 companies, the Winter 2019 class is by far YC’s largest yet. Meanwhile, the incubator prepares to shift its headquarters from Mountain View to San Francisco. It’s so large, in fact, it’s had to change the way it does Demo Day. Rather than all pitches happening on one stage, they were split across two stages (the “Pioneer” and “Mission” stages) running in parallel. So even if you were in the building, you couldn’t see all the pit...
Tags: Google, Startups, TC, Facebook, Y Combinator, Hbo, New York, Instagram, Navy, China, India, Nigeria, Africa, US, Los Angeles, San Francisco


Startups Weekly: Uber’s headline-grabbing week and sextech at SXSW

I spent the week at SXSW, Austin’s really, really huge technology, music, comedy and film festival. It’s my first year making the trek down here for the event, which I did to interview sextech entrepreneur Lora DiCarlo founder Lora Haddock, whose robotics innovation reward was infamously revoked at this year’s CES. “I brush my teeth and I masturbate. It’s all normal,” she said, addressing the stigma surrounding female-focused pleasure tech. Haddock, during our chat, also announced the first-ever...
Tags: Startups, Uber, Y Combinator, Money, Finance, India, Funding, US, Tech, Austin, United States, Venture Capital, Aws, Sam Altman, Airbnb, Tiger Global


Transportation Weekly: Tesla astroturfs, Softbank flexes, BMW and Daimler hookup, What is a Jelbi?

Welcome back to Transportation Weekly; I’m your host Kirsten Korosec, senior transportation reporter at TechCrunch. This is the third edition of our tome, I mean newsletter, and this week let’s settle in for a mind meld on why logistics is the new Hansel, a curious Tesla subsidiary, and discover a new mobility species called the Jelbi. Never heard of TechCrunch’s Transportation Weekly? Catch up here and here. As I’ve written before, consider this a soft launch. Follow me on Twitter @kirstenkoros...
Tags: Apple, Google, Amazon, Transportation, Asia, Elon Musk, Berlin, Softbank, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tech, Tesla, Canada, Automotive, Geneva, Bmw


Startups Weekly: Flexport, Clutter and SoftBank’s blood money

The Wall Street Journal published a thought-provoking story this week, highlighting limited partners’ concerns with the SoftBank Vision Fund’s investment strategy. The fund’s “decision-making process is chaotic,” it’s over-paying for equity in top tech startups and it’s encouraging inflated valuations, sources told the WSJ. The report emerged during a particularly busy time for the Vision Fund, which this week led two notable VC deals in Clutter and Flexport, as well as participated in Doo...
Tags: Startups, TC, Lyft, Uber, Y Combinator, Hong Kong, London, Pinterest, Saudi Arabia, Softbank, San Francisco, Startup, Tech, Venture Capital, Tencent, The Wall Street Journal


Pinterest and Lyft move closer to IPO, and LPs question the Vision Fund’s investment strategy

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. What a week. It had looked a bit quiet with just a few big rounds to cover. I was looking forward to a relaxed episode, frankly. But no, as Kate and I were prepping the show notes, the News Gods opened the heavens and dropped a fifty-weight of mana right on our heads. It was a lot of news. In quick order, here’s what we tried to run through while keeping it brief: ...
Tags: Apple, Startups, TC, Lyft, Pinterest, Silicon Valley, Kate, Flexport, Equity podcast, Vision Fund


Freight startup Flexport just nabbed $1 billion through a SoftBank-led funding round, and it's now worth $3.2 billion

Freight forwarder Flexport is now valued at $3.2 billion. That's after a $1 billion investment round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund. Founded in 2013, Flexport is already the 11th-largest freight forwarder in the world.   Flexport has driven big-name investors into the less-than-thrilling world of logistics — , Y Combinator, Google's GV, Bloomberg Beta, and even Ashton Kutcher.  And now, the freight forwarder, which operates globally, can add another enviable investor to its list: SoftBank. ...
Tags: Amazon, California, China, Softbank, Trends, UPS, Ashton Kutcher, Pacific, Flexport, Bloomberg Beta, Ryan Petersen, SoftBank Vision Fund Founded


Logistics startup Flexport just raised a Softbank-led round at a whopping $3.2 billion valuation

Flexport, a 5.5-year-old, San Francisco-based full-service air and ocean freight forwarder, says it has raised $1 billion in fresh funding led by the SoftBank Vision Fund. Earlier backers of the company, including Founders Fund, DST Global, Cherubic Ventures, Susa Ventures and SF Express, all participated in the round, which reportedly pegs the company’s post-money valuation at $3.2 billion. According to Forbes, which broke the news earlier, Flexport generated revenue of $471 last year, up fr...
Tags: Softbank, San Francisco, Tech, Forbes, Flexport, Petersen, Ryan Petersen, Axios, SF Express, SoftBank Vision Fund Earlier, DST Global Cherubic Ventures Susa Ventures, Crunchbase Flexport, DHL FedEx


Investors are pouring money into Latin America’s logistics and shipping businesses

New technology companies are poised to transform the shipping and freight industry across Latin America. Startups like Liftit, a Colombian provider of trucking services, and Nowports, a Mexican freight shipping startup, are angling to be the next Convoy and Flexport — at a time when shipping and logistics business in Latin America is booming thanks to increasing trade coming from China. In the first half of 2018, Chinese foreign direct investment in Latin America increased to a whopping $15.3 bi...
Tags: TC, Uber, Y Combinator, Technology, Mexico, China, Boston, Africa, Tech, E-commerce, Colombia, United States, Santiago, Chile, Mexico City, Transport


Sequoia-backed NEXT gets $97M as investment in logistics heats up

Despite its “unsexy” reputation, the logistics industry is attracting massive investment from venture capitalists. With a fresh $97 million in Series C funding, NEXT joins a fleet of heavily funded logistics platforms, including Flexport, Huochebang and Convoy. The company, which connects shippers and carriers through an online marketplace, raised the capital from Brookfield Ventures, with participation from Sequoia Capital and logistics solutions provider GLP. NEXT declined to disclose the valu...
Tags: Startups, Transportation, California, Tech, United States, Venture Capital, Online Marketplace, Logistics, Sequoia Capital, Driver, Flexport, Yan, Lynwood California, Lidia Yan, Omar Hamoui, Recent Funding


These are the most successful companies to emerge from Y Combinator

Earlier this month, Brex, a credit card provider to startups, announced it had raised $125 million at a $1.1 billion valuation. The round was impressive for a couple of reasons. 1. The founders are a pair of 22-year-olds that had set out to build a virtual reality company before pivoting to payments. And 2. They had only completed Y Combinator, a well-known Silicon Valley startup accelerator, the year prior. Y Combinator is responsible for many successes in the startup world, certainly more...
Tags: Amazon, Startups, TC, Y Combinator, Drew Houston, Finance, Tech, Economy, Software, Gm, Dropbox, Zenefits, Reddit, Virtual Reality, Silicon Valley, Alexis Ohanian


Deliverr raises $7M to help e-commerce businesses compete with Amazon Prime

When Amazon rolled out its membership-based two-day shipping service in 2005, e-commerce and customer expectations around fulfillment speed changed forever. Today, more than 100 million people use Amazon Prime. That means, 100 million people are fully accustomed to two-day shipping and if they can’t have it, they shop elsewhere. As The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims recently put it: “Alongside life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you can now add another inalienable right: tw...
Tags: Amazon, Startups, TC, Uber, Texas, Ebay, Funding, San Francisco, Tech, Walmart, E-commerce, Software, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Computing