Startups Weekly: Upfront Ventures bets on a bus service

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy news pertaining to startups and venture capital. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I profiled an e-commerce startup Part & Parcel. Before that, I wrote about Stripe’s grand plans. Remember, you can […]

At TechCrunch Disrupt, insights into key trends in venture capital

At TechCrunch Disrupt, the original tech startup conference, venture capitalists remain amongst the premier guests. VCs are responsible for helping startups — the focus of the three-day event — get off the ground and as such, they are often the most familiar with trends in the startup ecosystem, ready to deliver insights, anecdotes and advice […]

Tech startups want to destigmatize sex

Sex, despite being one of the most fundamental human experiences, is still one of those businesses that some advertisers reject, banks are hesitant to financially support and some investors don’t want to fund. Given how sex is such a huge part of our lives, it’s no surprise founders are looking to capitalize on the space. […]

Modern Fertility raises $15 million to sell its hormone tests — and gather more fertility data from its users

Modern Fertility is a San Francisco-based company that sells fertility tests directly to consumers, but increasingly, those customers will be educating the company, too. Indeed, the two-year-old startup now plans to develop a database of anonymized data about its largely younger demographic. A fresh $15 million in funding led by Forerunner Ventures should help. Forerunner […]

Airbnb officially owns HotelTonight

Airbnb has completed its acquisition of the last-minute hotel booking application, HotelTonight, the company announced on Monday. The deal is Airbnb’s largest M&A transaction yet, and will accelerate the home-sharing giant’s growth as it gears up for an initial public offering. Airbnb reportedly began talks to acquire HotelTonight months ago, and finally confirmed its intent […]

Glossier triples valuation, enters unicorn club with $100M round

Glossier, known for its flagship line of barely there beauty products, has landed a $100 million Series D led by Sequoia Capital. The round values Emily Weiss’ business at a whopping $1.2 billion, fully cementing the company as a startup “unicorn” and tripling the valuation it garnered with a $52 million Series C in 2018. […]

Digital publisher Serial Box raises $4.5M

Serial Box, a startup bringing back the tradition of serialized fiction, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding. The company actually disclosed the funding last week when announcing a partnership to produce stories about Marvel characters, but it’s sharing more details about the round — namely, the fact that it was led by Boat Rocker […]

Airbnb agrees to acquire last-minute hotel-booking app HotelTonight

As Airbnb gears up for its big leap into the public markets, it’s expanding its accommodations platform to include more than just treehouses and quirky homes. Today, the company has confirmed its intent to acquire HotelTonight, the developer of a hotel-booking application that lets travelers arrange last-minute accommodations. The deal was previously reported by The […]

Ritual raises $25M for its subscription-based women’s daily vitamin

In the era of #spirtual and #physical #wellness, everything needs to be Instagrammable, even dietary supplements. Ritual, a subscription-based service that charges customers $30 per month for shipments of its women’s daily or prenatal vitamins, has effectively tapped into that Instagram crowd. The company admits its social media strategy has been key to harnessing a […]

Startups Weekly: Even Gwyneth Paltrow had a hard time raising VC

I spent the week in Malibu attending Upfront Ventures’ annual Upfront Summit, which brings together the likes of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC’s elite for a two-day networking session of sorts. Cameron Diaz was there for some reason, and Natalie Portman made an appearance. Stacey Abrams had a powerful Q&A session with Lisa Borders, […]