Sam Lessin and Andrew Kortina on their voice assistant’s workplace pivot

Sam Lessin, a former product management executive at Facebook and old friend to Mark Zuckerberg, incorporated his latest startup under the name “Fin Exploration Company.” Why? Well, because he wanted to explore. The company — co-founded alongside Andrew Kortina, best known for launching the successful payments app Venmo — was conceived as a consumer voice […]

Slack’s value rockets as stock closes up 48.5% in public debut

It was a historic day for Slack (NYSE: WORK). The workplace communication software juggernaut debuted on the New York Stock Exchange up 48% at $38.50 per share after reports emerged Wednesday night that the business had agreed to a reference price of $26 per share. Slack, founded in 2009 as Tiny Speck, closed up 48.5% […]

Willo is a robot that wants to replace your toothbrush

If you think about it, the basic concept of a toothbrush hasn’t evolved since… forever. Sure, many people have switched to an electric toothbrush, but it remains a stick with a brush at the end. Willo thinks that’s not good enough. The company has developed an oral care device to improve brushing with a focus […]

Startups Weekly: The Peloton IPO (bull vs. bear)

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the proliferation of billion-dollar companies. Before that, I noted the uptick in beverage startup […]

Social Capital reincarnated

Nine months ago, the once high-flying venture capital fund Social Capital made the bold decision to stop accepting outside capital and operate as a family office, in essence. The co-founder of the outfit, brazen billionaire and early Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, pledged to upend his investment strategy and make fewer but much larger investments as […]

Fitness startup Mirror nears $300M valuation with fresh funding

Today, Peloton is a bonafide success. The company, which sells $2,245 internet-connected exercise bikes, boasts a $4 billion valuation and a cult following. That hasn’t always been the case. For years, Peloton battled for venture capital investment and struggled to attract buyers. Now that it’s proven the market for tech-enabled home exercise equipment and affiliated […]

Less than 1 year after launching its corporate card for startups, Brex eyes $2B valuation

Brex, the fintech business that’s taken the startup world by storm with its sought after corporate card tailored for entrepreneurs, is raising millions in Series D funding less than a year after it launched, TechCrunch has learned. Bloomberg reports Brex is raising at a $2 billion valuation, though sources tell TechCrunch the company is still […]

DoorDash, now valued at $12.6B, shoots for the moon

More than five years ago, Sequoia partner Alfred Lin called Tony Xu, the founder of a small on-demand delivery startup called DoorDash, to say he was passing on the company’s seed round. This was, of course, before venture capital funding in food delivery startups had taken off. DoorDash, launched out of Xu’s Stanford graduate school […]

Future launches $150/mo exercise app where real coaches nag you

The only way to beat laziness is with guilt, so that’s what Future sells. It assigns you an actual human trainer who builds personalized workout plans and messages you throughout the day to make sure you’re doing them. It even gives you an Apple Watch to track your activity and ensure you’re not lying. Future […]

Slack aims to be the most important software company in the world, says CEO

Slack this morning disclosed estimated preliminary financial results for the first quarter of 2019 ahead of a direct listing planned for June 20. Citing an addition of paid customers, the workplace messaging service posted revenues of about $134 million, up 66% from $81 million in the first quarter of 2018. Losses from operations increased from […]