|Wednesday! Hope yours is going well.:) |
News: The founders of the e-cig startup that’s taking over the world — Juul — are now coming in September to our second and last INSIDER event of the year in San Francisco. More on the fuller agenda as it develops, but we’re incredibly excited to sit down with them.
|Today, at its Texas launch facility, Blue Origin successfully performed a live separation test of its crew capsule from the rocket booster — its most critical test to date. Company owner Jeff Bezos credited his lucky boots in part.|
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|Kindly Care Scores $5.4 million to Place Caregivers — Then Help Families Pay for Them|
|There are roughly 45 million unpaid eldercare providers in the United States, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau. It’s tough on these family caregivers, many of whom are working women who are also raising their own children. |
There are alternatives to family members doing it themselves. For example, there’s no shortage of agencies willing to place a rotating cast of caregivers into the homes of the elderly, though they can be prohibitively expensive for many families. There are also upstarts trying to address the challenge — and opportunity — that an aging American population presents. One startup, Honor, places full-time employees in the homes of seniors with an eye on maintaining a consistent experience for the seniors with whom they work.
Now, another startup in the space, three-year-old, San Francisco-based Kindly Care, is taking more of a marketplace approach, pairing vetted caregivers with families who need them, then helping both sides manage their financial and tax arrangements by acting as their back-office provider.
The company, as with many similar companies, was born of the need of its founder and CEO, Igor Lebovic, a native of Croatia who’d moved to the U.S. to nab two aerospace engineering degrees and stayed, starting a company with a college co-founder.
They later sold their startup to About.com, then a property of The New York Times. Despite the happy outcome for Lebovic, however, he worried about his parents, thousands of miles away, as the realization set in that he might never again be as available to them as he was when they lived in close proximity.
“Like a lot of people who leave their parents behind, it’s one of those things that I’ve wondered about over time. We don’t have a lot of plans for our parents, and there’s this guilt.”
Whether the 12-person company eventually expands into Europe is a distant unknown, but Kindly Care seems to be resonating with caregivers in the U.S. According to Lebovic, more than 100,000 caregivers have registered with the platform in hopes of finding an assignment through it, and 20,000 have been fully vetted and are now available to contact through the platform.
|Brat, an 11-month-old, Beverly Hills, Ca.-based production studio behind scripted dramas for teens and twentysomethings on YouTube and elsewhere, has raised $30 million in new funding led by Anchorage Capital. The company has already raised $40 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here. |
Centivo, a 16-month-old, New York-based startup behind a new kind of self-funded health plan, has raised $34 million in Series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. Other investors in the round include F-Prime Capital Partners, Maverick Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Ingleside Investors, Rand Capital, Grand Central Tech Ventures, Oxeon Investments, and several individual investors. More here.
Light, a five-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based maker of advanced computational imaging software, has raised $121 million in Series D funding led by the SoftBank Vision Fund (whose investment will be made in tranches, subject to certain conditions), with participation from Leica Camera AG. TechCrunch has more here.
Lygos, a seven-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based startup that’s generating microbial catalysts to convert agricultural feedstocks into commodity chemicals, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding led by IA Ventures and First Round Capital, with participation from Y Combinator Continuity Fund and OS Fund. The company has now raised a total of $40 million, including non-equity government funding from the US Department of Energy, US Department of Agriculture, and National Science Foundation. More here.
R4 Technologies, a three-year-old, Ridgefield, Ct.-based artificial intelligence startup that’s trying to make AI available as a service for business users, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Pilot Growth Equity. The company has now raised $75 million altogether. VentureBeat has more here.
Seeq, a five-year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based company whose software applications aim to help manufacturing organizations quickly find and share data insights, has raised $23 million in Series B funding. The Altira Group led the round, with participation by Chevron Technology Ventures, next47, Second Avenue Partners and other existing investors. GeekWire has more here.
Standard Cognition, a year-old, San Francisco-based startup that sells an AI- and camera-based system that allows retailer shoppers pay without waiting in line, scanning or stopping to check out. has raised $5.5 million in fresh seed funding led by CRV. The company has now raised $11.2 million altogether. More here.
SWIM.AI, a three-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based edge intelligence software firm, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Cambridge Innovation Capital, with a strategic investment from Arm and further participation from earlier backers Silver Creek Ventures and Harris Barton Asset Management. More here.
Venminder, a 17-year-old, Elizabethtown, Ky.-based financial services startup focused on third party risk management, has raised $5 million in Series B funding led by MissionOG, with participation by earlier investors, including Bain Capital Ventures. More here.
|Greycroft, the 12-year-old, New York and L.A.-based venture firm, has raised $250 million for its fifth flagship fund. TechCrunch has much more here.|
|Okta, the publicly traded cloud identity management company, announced today it has purchased a three-year-old startup called ScaleFT to bring the Zero Trust concept to the Okta platform. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. ScaleFT had raised. $2.8 million over two rounds, looks like. TechCrunch has more here. |
Slack announced today that it has acquired Missions, an enterprise software company whose app allows Slack users to build tools that automate simple routines without code. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Mission is the third company that Slack has acquired to date. TechCrunch has more here.
|“If you don’t start layering in HR once you’ve passed 50 people on your way to 150, something is going to go badly wrong,” founder-investor Marc Andreessen says in a new book about high-growth companies. |
Another chipmaker’s CEO has gotten sacked over personal conduct violations. This time it’s Brian Crutcher of Texas Instruments, who assumed the role this year after spending two decades with the company.
Google has removed Marwan Fawaz as CEO of its Nest unit, two years after installing him in the role. His ouster reportedly followed employee complaints about his leadership.
Colin Huang’s decision to quit Silicon Valley and return to China is proving one of the more lucrative career moves in recent years, reports Bloomberg. As it notes, “The former Google engineer, who founded Shanghai-based Pinduoduo three years ago, could soon have an $8.3 billion fortune, based on his holdings in the e-commerce operator.” (It’s on the cusp of an IPO.)
Uber has hired its first chief privacy officer in Ruby Zefo, who formerly led Intel’s global privacy and security legal team.
Recode talks with Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook’s very bad year.
|A new Android antitrust decision handed down today threatens to shake the mobile industry — and Google‘s very business model.|
| The secret Facebook Groups for shocking DNA tests. |
Jeff Goldblum as you’ve never quite seen him before.
Ronaldo really pays for himself. (We know, not exactly. But over time!)
|An $85 million island in the Bahamas, anyone?|