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Blue Origin lofts NASA and student experiments in New Shepard tomorrow morning
Devin Coldewey

The 11th mission for Blue Origin's New Shepard launch vehicle is slated for takeoff Tuesday morning. The craft will be carrying 38 (!) experimental payloads from NASA, students, and research organizations around the world. You'll be able to watch the launch live tomorrow at about 6 AM Pacific time.

Netatmo enters the smart door lock space with programmable NFC keys
Romain Dillet

Netatmo, the French startup that got acquired by Legrand, is announcing a new device at CES, the Netatmo Smart Door Lock. You can install it as a replacement to any cylinder door lock, which are more common in Europe than U.S.-style deadbolts. Compared to many smart door locks, Netatmo isn’t as heavy-handed as other solutions […]

Launch startup Skyrora successfully tests 3D-printed rocket engines powered by plastic waste
Darrell Etherington

Rocket launch startup Skyrora, an Edinburg-based company that’s developing a new launch vehicle for small satellites, has successfully tested its new rocket engines in their first stationary ground-firings, a huge step on the way towards developing their launch vehicle. Skyrora’s rocket engines are novel not only in their use of 3D printing, but also because […]

Startups Weekly: This year in startups
Kate Clark

In this week's newsletter: The moments that defined venture capital and startups in 2019.

Sinclair leads $10.3M investment in rideshare advertising startup Octopus
Anthony Ha

Octopus Interactive, a startup bringing an interactive TV and ad experience into Uber and Lyft rides, has raised a $10.3 million funding round led by Sinclair Digital Group. Backseat TVs mixing show snippets and commercials have become a common part of the taxi experience in New York City and elsewhere. Octopus is offering something of […]

Albertsons sets off Firework’s livestream, shoppable video experience on website
Christine Hall

Albertsons is the first U.S. grocer to utilize Firework's platform to create, host and curate its own short-form and livestream video to improve customer engagement.

Gopuff, the instant grocery startup, is raising $1.5B in a convertible note at up to a $40B valuation, ahead of going public as soon as mid-2022
Ingrid Lunden

Instant grocery — where urban-dwelling consumers buy food and other essentials and can get them delivered in 15 minutes or less — continues to be a big business, and one of the juggernauts in the space is now raising a big round of funding to meet that opportunity: Gopuff is in the process of raising […]

WayUp’s new dashboard helps employers see where their recruiting process loses diverse candidates
Anthony Ha

WayUp started out as a platform to help college graduates find jobs and internships, but over time, it has increasingly focused on helping employers find diverse job candidates. And it recently introduced a new feature to help those employers see exactly where their diversity and inclusion efforts may be falling short. Co-founder and CEO Liz […]

Venture capital will soon be brimming with ghosts
Natasha Mascarenhas

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced take on this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here. “There’s more dry powder powder than ever before.” “There’s never been a better time to start a startup.” “Discipline is the new scale.” (OK, OK, […] Venture capital will soon be brimming with ghosts by Natasha Mascarenhas originally published on TechCrunch

PayPal and Venmo to increase instant transfer fees in the US
Aisha Malik

PayPal and Venmo are increasing their instant transfer fees for both consumers and merchants in the United States in the coming weeks, PayPal announced on Thursday. Instant transfers allow customers to transfer their money instantly to a bank account or debit card for a fee. For personal accounts on PayPal and consumer and business profiles […]

Max Q: Rocket Lab unveils Neutron, plus more private space station news
Aria Alamalhodaei

Hello and welcome back to Max Q! There was a TON of space news this week so I won’t ramble too much, other than to remind you that many of the people mentioned below will be at TC Sessions: Space on the 14th and 15th! That includes Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab, Nanoracks’ Jeffrey Manber, and […]

NGK Spark Plugs launches $100M corporate venture fund, will seek M&A opportunities
Catherine Shu

NGK Spark Plug, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of automative spark plugs, announced a new $100 million fund to invest in startups and find potential merger and acquisition deals. The fund was launched with Pegasus Tech Ventures, the “venture capital as a service” firm that has also worked with corporations like Sega Sammy Holdings, […]

Sightfull, a startup that tracks key business activities, raises $18M
Kyle Wiggers

In late 2020, developers Noam Liran and Alex Litvak were inspired to create a platform that applied automation concepts from security to the business analytics space. Drawing on their experiences in cybersecurity — Liran was the chief technology officer at Microsoft’s R&D center in Israel — they created software that lets companies analyze business data […] Sightfull, a startup that tracks key business activities, raises $18M by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

Boston Robotics delivers plan for logistics robots as early as next year
Devin Coldewey

Boston Dynamics is just months away from announcing their approach to logistics, the first real vertical it aims to enter, after proving their ability to build robots at scale with the quadrupedal Spot. The company’s new CEO, Robert Playter, sees the company coming into its own after decades of experimentation. Playter, interviewed on the virtual […]

Venture capital is going to get even bigger, faster, and more expensive this year
Alex Wilhelm

The venture capital market has skewed later and larger in recent quarters, something you might have felt in the rapid recent pace of new unicorn formation. December was a hot month for new unicorns, for example. So was January. February likely will be more of the same. Powering those unicorns births are huge rounds led […]

Khosla Ventures debuts first opportunity fund
Christine Hall

Managing partner Samir Kaul told TechCrunch that the fund gives the firm an opportunity to retain its pro rata and double down on earlier investments.

Architect Capital brings alternative capital to the early stage with new $100M fund
Mary Ann Azevedo

Early-stage startups are increasingly looking for alternative ways to access capital, meaning not every company wants to raise money from VCs or take on debt. In recent years, a flurry of startups have emerged to give companies other options. (Think Pipe, for example.) And today, San Francisco-based Architect Capital is a new firm that is […]

PayU calls off $4.7 billion BillDesk acquisition deal
Manish Singh

Prosus Ventures and PayU, the payments giant it controls, called off the $4.7 billion merger of BillDesk they announced last year citing failure of fulfilment of “certain conditions precedent” in a surprising move weeks after they received approval from the local regulator to go ahead with the deal. (More to follow…) PayU calls off $4.7 billion BillDesk acquisition deal by Manish Singh originally published on TechCrunch

Accel leads $18M Series A for Knoetic, a startup that wants to make HR professionals’ lives easier with software
Mary Ann Azevedo

Knoetic, a startup that has built a software analytics platform for chief people officers, emerged from stealth today with $18 million in Series A funding. For the unacquainted, chief people officers are also known as heads of human resources, or HR. Accel led the financing, which notably also included participation from over 100 angel investors, […]

Loft Dynamics raises $20M to tackle pilot shortage with VR training
Paul Sawers

Loft Dynamics, a Swiss startup creating virtual reality (VR) simulation technology for helicopter pilots, has raised $20 million in funding from U.S. venture capital (VC) firms including David Sacks’ Craft Ventures, Sky Dayton, and Up Ventures. Alongside the funding, the company is also formally announcing its name-change from VRM Switzerland. Founded out of Zurich in […] Loft Dynamics raises $20M to tackle pilot shortage with VR training by Paul Sawers originally published on TechCrunch

Venture capital firm Redpoint hires a ‘head of founder experience’
Kate Clark

"The founder is the center of the solar system,” says Redpoint's new hire Travis Bryant.

Wrangle secures $2M to automate company workflows
Christine Hall

The company’s no-code software can automate any kind of process: employee onboarding, contract approvals, help tickets or any other recurring work.

E-commerce platform Whitebox raises $18M
Anthony Ha

Whitebox, a startup that manages e-commerce logistics and fulfillment for a variety for brands, has raised $18 million in Series B funding. While discussing the new funding, CEO Marcus Startzel repeated a point he made after Whitebox raised its $5 million Series A last year — that the startup is differentiated by combining tools for […]

How to make coaching work for your sales team
Ram Iyer

To realize the power of personalized coaching, sales leaders should create a coaching culture that supports their team at every level of their career. How to make coaching work for your sales team by Ram Iyer originally published on TechCrunch

SaaS growth appears to slow as churn concerns rise
Alex Wilhelm

A set of charts provided to TechCrunch detail how the growth rate of SaaS companies, in both B2B and B2C, are falling. The market could be in for SaaS's first patch of hard times in recent memory.

How do you hire a great growth marketer?
Arman Tabatabai

Editors Note: This article is part of a series that explores the world of growth marketing for founders.

Google quietly acquires Dataform, the UK startup helping businesses manage data warehouses
Steve O'Hear

Dataform, a startup in the U.K. that was building what it dubbed an “operating system” for data warehouses, has been quietly acquired by Google’s Google Cloud division. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, although I understand this is mostly an acqui-hire, albeit one where the founders — both ex-Googlers prior to founding Dataform — […]

Austin-based FlashParking raises $60 million for parking management technology
Jonathan Shieber

FlashParking, an Austin-based developer of parking management software and services, has raised $60 million in new financing from the private equity investment firm L Catterton. The company’s software, first launched in 2011, provides real-time data and variable pricing options for parking space providers. FlashParking’s CEO and co-founder, Juan Rodriguez, envisions his company’s software and services […]

Why are VCs launching SPACs? Amish Jani of FirstMark shares his firm’s rationale
Connie Loizos

It’s happening slowly but surely. With every passing week, more venture firms are beginning to announce SPACs. The veritable blitz of SPACs formed by investor Chamath Palihapitiya notwithstanding, we’ve now seen a SPAC (or plans for a SPAC) revealed by Ribbit Capital, Lux Capital, the travel-focused venture firm Thayer Ventures, Tusk Ventures’s founder Bradley Tusk, […]

Tesseract makes spacecraft propulsion smaller, greener, stronger
Devin Coldewey

Launch vehicles and their enormous rocket engines tend to receive the lion's share of attention when it comes to space-related propulsion, but launch only takes you to the edge of space — and space is a big place. Tesseract has engineered a new rocket for spacecraft that's not only smaller and more efficient, but uses fuel that's safer for us down here on the surface.

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