Outschool, newly profitable, raises a $45M Series B for virtual small group classes

Outschool, which started in 2015 as a platform for homeschooled students to bolster their extracurricular activities, has dramatically widened its customer base since the coronavirus pandemic began.The platform saw its total addressable market increase dramatically as students left campus to abide by COVID regulations instituted by the CDC. Suddenly, live, small-group online learning classes became […]

3 VCs discuss the state of SaaS investing in 2020

Yesterday during Disrupt 2020 I sat down with three investors who know the SaaS startup market very well, hoping to get my head around how hot things are today. Coming on the heels of the epic Snowflake IPO (more to come on that in this weekend’s newsletter), it was a great time for a chat. […]

N95 masks could soon be rechargeable instead of disposable

The pandemic has led to N95 masks quickly becoming one of the world’s most sought-after resources as essential workers burned through billions of them. New research could lead to an N95 that you can recharge rather than throw away — or even one that continuously tops itself up for maximum effectiveness. The proposed system, from […]

As low-code startups continue to attract VC interest, what’s driving customer demand?

Investor interest in no-code, low-code apps and services advanced another step this morning with Airtable raising an outsized round. The $185 million investment into the popular database-and-spreadsheet service comes as it adds “new low-code and automation features,” per our own reporting. The round comes after we’ve seen several VCs describe no- and low-code startups as […]

Unicorn layoffs prompt more startups to consider acqui-hiring

Alex Zajaczkowski was just months into her role at Toast, a restaurant point-of-sale software company, when she was let go during COVID-19 layoffs. Toast, last valued at $5 billion, cut 50% of its staff through layoffs and furloughs. Zajaczkowski said she started applying for jobs within a week. “I think I got on the boat […]

As COVID-19 era drags on, VCs look beyond Zoom calls for due diligence and sourcing

While the coronavirus has accelerated the dealmaking pace for many early-stage startups, activity has not come without adaptation. Remote investment struggles for investors were clear from the get go: it’s challenging to invest millions in someone you have never met, and there’s not a lot to learn from “off-the-cuff” conversations that are calendared days in […]

What’s driving API-powered startups forward in 2020?

Startups that deliver products via an API are seeing momentum in 2020, as their method of serving customers becomes increasingly mainstream. And investors are taking note. It’s not hard to find a startup with an API-based delivery model that is doing well this year. This column noted a grip of recently funded API-focused startups in […]

Slack’s earnings detail how COVID-19 is both a help and a hindrance to cloud growth

Slack’s shares are set to fall sharply this morning, down around 16% in pre-market trading. As the company beat analyst expectations last quarter and guided within range, the selloff might feel a little surprising. Perhaps it shouldn’t. I spoke with a VC last week about what the new benchmark results are for private SaaS companies, […]

This Labor Day, spare a thought for the workers who made your doorstep delivery possible

Arjuna Costa Contributor Arjuna Costa is a partner at Omidyar Network and early stage investor in Ruma. More posts by this contributor Tech workers looking to make a difference in the world should donate their skills A few weeks ago, I bought a used paperback mystery for $3 via a small online bookseller. Intrigued that […]

3 views on the future of geographic-focused funds

For many investors, the coronavirus has effectively taken geography out of the equation when it comes to vetting new opportunities. While this dynamic opens up startups to more investment opportunities, venture capital firms that focus on a specific region are in a thornier spot. The competitive advantage they once had when raising — the notion […]