Category: Spark Capital

June 6, 2019 Off

Postmates taps longtime Apple engineer to boost autonomous delivery efforts

By Jill T Frey

Postmates has hired Apple veteran and author Ken Kocienda as a principal software engineer at Postmates X, the team building the food delivery company’s semi-autonomous sidewalk rover, Serve.

Kocienda, author of “Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs,” spent 15 years at Apple focused on human interface design, collaborating with engineers to develop the first iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Kocienda left Apple in 2017 to focus on his book.

Now, he’s picked Postmates as his next project, citing the team’s spirit and energy as motivation for joining.

“My goal throughout my career has not been technology for the sake of opportunity, I am interested in making product experiences that people out in the world will find useful and meaningful,” Kocienda tells TechCrunch. “It’s not about the technology or just the design, it’s about the technology and design coming together.”


Postmates unveiled ServeRead the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Fitness startup Mirror nears $300M valuation with fresh funding

By Jill T Frey

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 subscription products, a whole bunch of startups are chasing down the same customer segment.

Mirror, a New York-based company that sells $1,495 full-length mirrors that double as interactive home gyms, is closing in a round of funding expected to reach $36 million, sources and Delaware stock filings confirm, at a valuation just under $300 million. It’s unclear who has signed on to lead the round; we’ve heard a number of high-profile firms looked at Mirror’s books and passed. The company has previously raised a total of $38 million from Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer … Read the rest

June 1, 2019 Off

Startups net more than capital with NBA players as investors

By Jill T Frey

If you’re a big basketball fan like me, you’ll be glued to the TV watching the Golden State Warriors take on the Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals. (You might be surprised who I’m rooting for.)

In honor of the big games, we took a shot at breaking down investment activities of the players off the court. Last fall, we did a story highlighting some of the sport’s more prolific investors. In this piece, we’ll take a deeper dive into just what having an NBA player as a backer can do for a startup beyond the capital involved. But first, here’s a chart of … Read the rest

April 29, 2019 Off

Tray.io hauls in $37 million Series B to keep expanding enterprise automation tool

By Jill T Frey

Tray.io, the startup that wants to put automated workflows within reach of line of business users, announced a $37 million Series B investment today.

Spark Capital led the round with help from Meritech Capital, along with existing investors GGV Capital, True Ventures and Mosaic Ventures. Under the terms of the deal Spark’s Alex Clayton will be joining the Tray’s board of directors. The company has now raised over $59 million.

Rich Waldron, CEO at Tray, says the company looked around at the automation space and saw tools designed for engineers and IT pros and wanted to build something for less technical business users.

“We set about building a visual platform that would enable folks to essentially become programmers without needing to have an engineering background, and enabling them to be able to build out automation for their day-to-day role.”

He added, “As a result, we now have a service … Read the rest

April 27, 2019 Off

Startups Weekly: All these startups are raising big rounds

By Jill T Frey

TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos published some interesting stats on seed and Series A financings this week, courtesy of data collected by Wing Venture Capital. In short, seed is the new Series A and Series A is the new Series B. Sure, we’ve been saying that for a while, but Wing has some clean data to back up those claims.

Years ago, a Series A round was roughly $5 million and a startup at that stage wasn’t expected to be generating revenue just yet, something typically expected upon raising a Series B. Now, those rounds have swelled to $15 million, according to deal data from the top 21 VC firms. And VCs are expecting the startups to be making money off their customers.

“Again, for the old gangsters of the industry, that’s a big shift from 2010, when just 15 percent of seed-stage companies that raised Series A rounds were already making … Read the rest