Author: Jordan Crook

iAngels raises $55 million, anchored by the European Investment Fund, for first institutional fund

iAngels, the private investment platform founded and helmed by Mor Assia and Shelly Hod Moyal, has today announced the close of its first institutional fund. The firm has raised $55.5 million, which was anchored by the European Investment Fund, which put in $25 million.

This brings iAngels’ total assets under management to $300 million.

Until now, iAngels has operated in a very unique way. The platform has allowed accredited investors all over Israel and beyond to participate in private funding rounds of some of the best startups in Israel. That said, iAngels does all of the diligence on the startups, handles legal requirements, and even writes the check before the deal is listed on the platform. In other words, the deal flow and investment process isn’t unlike an institutional fund, but rather the firm’s ability to share these deals with angel investors gives it extra fire power in these deals.

This framework also allows iAngels to negotiate on behalf of the angels on the platform, allowing room for follow-on investment, which can be difficult for angels when they bet on a big winner. Thus far, iAngels has invested in 22 startups who have exited profitably, including eight more recent exits, including Arbe, eToro, Applitools and Simplex.

With the institutional fund, not much changes by way of operation. iAngels will still source the deals, do the due diligence, and cut the check, but angels on its platform will be able to participate in these rounds.

Of the $55.5 million (555 (Read more...)

Recapped lands $6 million for collaborative sales software that gets the customer in the mix

Recapped, a startup building collaborative sales software, announced the close of a $6.3 million seed round today. The deal was led by Charles River Ventures. Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, CoFound, AirAngels, Prime Set, Twenty5Twenty, Peter Kazanjy, Alan Chunk and other angels also participated in the round.

Recapped was founded by Mark Fershteyn and Ujwal Battar. Fershteyn spent his career in sales, first as an account executive at Citrix and then as vice president of sales at App Academy. He felt firsthand the difficulty of collaboration in the sales space, not only with members of the sales team and other departments within an organization, but also with the buy side of a transaction. That cross-team, cross-company clunkiness leads to challenges around transparency and business planning.

Recapped aims to solve the issue. Its software allows users within an organization to collaborate around a deal. For example, the customer experience (CX) and post-sales team can keep abreast of a deal as it’s coming together, as can the CEO or CFO. That may help those teams and individuals better project future workloads, for example.

But perhaps most uniquely, buyers are given an almost identical UX as the sales team, allowing both parties to have a collaborative check-list of action items, deliverables, and data to work off of to make sure they cross the finish line.

Salespeople can create a super customizable and interactive landing page with Recapped that they can send to a potential client. That page may include customer testimonials, product videos, and (Read more...)

Acelerate raises $14.44M Series A to turn existing restaurants into cloud kitchens

Acelerate, a software company looking to help restaurants make the most out of their infrastructure, is today announcing the close of a $14.44 million Series A financing led by Sequoia Capital.

The startup was founded by George Jacobs, who grew up working in his family’s pizzeria. He attended USC with a plan to get a business degree and ultimately expand Georgee’s Pizza, but realized that there was an opportunity beyond his own family restaurant to help all kinds of restaurants in the wake of the tech boom.

After a couple of years at Doordash, he came up with the idea for Acelerate, a startup working to give restaurants a way to make the most of their infrastructure.

The first piece of the business is a simple software solution that allows restaurants to manage their entire digital footprint, from order management, pricing, menu updates and changes, to sales and marketing. The idea is that many restaurants are selling through their own brick-and-mortar location, of course, but also selling through a bevy of other platforms like Doordash, Uber Eats, or Seamless. On top of that, their restaurants are listed on Opentable, Yelp, and other marketing platforms.

It can be a lot to manage.

Acelerate’s SaaS product allows restaurants to manage all of these platforms from a single spot.

But where the company really differentiates from rival players is its licensing business. Acelerate has developed seven proprietary restaurant brands, all with their own menus. They license those brands, complete with the recipes, cooking (Read more...)

Beeflow raises $8.3 million to save the bees AND put them to work

Bees are absolutely critical to the health of our agricultural system, ecosystem, and overall wellbeing as a species here on Earth. And yet bee populations are decreasing and extinction concerns are growing.

Beeflow, a startup that today announced the close of a $8.3 million Series A round, is looking to both save the bees and help farmers be more efficient and effective at the same time.

The startup uses proprietary scientific technology that essentially makes bees healthier, particularly in cold weather. A wealth of research led the company to understand that certain plant-based foods and molecules, when fed to the bees, can reduce the mortality rate of bees by up to 70 percent, and help them perform better in colder weather.

You might be wondering what I mean by performance. That’s fair.

Bees are the planet’s natural pollinators. They turn flowers into fruit, spreading pollen from one landing spot to another. Many farmers will ‘rent out’ bees from beekeepers to hang out on their farms and pollinate their plants. In almost every way, the effectiveness of this can’t be measured, and the bees themselves can’t truly be controlled.

Beeflow’s technology ensures that the bees are healthy and strong, and can fly up to 7x more during colder weather than they’d be able to without it. This means that those bees are much more likely to effectively and efficiently pollinate crops for the farmers.

Beyond reducing the mortality rate of bees, the company also offers a second product called (Read more...)

Seven Seven Six, the new venture firm from Alexis Ohanian, closes $150 million Fund 1

In June of last year, Alexis Ohanian announced that he was leaving Initialized Capital, the venture firm he co-founded alongside Garry Tan in 2011. Nearly a year later, he’s announcing that his new venture firm, Seven Seven Six, has raised $150 million for its first fund.

Seven Seven Six is named for the year of the first Olympics, when a cook from nearby village ended up winning the Stadion race. Ohanian’s idea with the name stems from the fact that the cook was likely a fantastic athlete, but not necessarily the best athlete out there; many people were excluded from the first Olympic games, from athletes outside of Greece to those who didn’t have the means to show up to women, who weren’t even allowed to watch the games.

“When I thought about that track record, and all the things that I’ve been proud of as an entrepreneur and investor, I couldn’t help but feel like I was celebrating the cook,” said Ohanian. “I’m still very proud of that track record, but I know that I could have done better. I want the idea that we’re always on the first starting line trying to do better in pursuit of greater returns.”

He added that this pursuit, to leave no entrepreneurial rock unturned, is not necessarily something he wants to do because he enjoys it and it feels good, but because “it will make more money, it’s more successful and more effective.”

Equity and inclusion, then, is built into (Read more...)

Treet, with $2.8 million in seed funding, gets brands involved in the resale market

Treet, a company rethinking the resale retail market, announced the close of a $2.8 million seed round today. The financing comes from Bling Capital, Matchstick Ventures, Techstars, BABM Ventures, BBG Ventures, Green Meadow, Interlace Ventures, V1.VC, and Alante Capital.

Despite the fact that selling old clothes is the most sustainable, and most financially beneficial way to dispose of them, the process can be super tedious for both sellers and buyers.

Treet’s approach to simplifying its market and lowering consumer friction is to go through brands. Essentially, Treet helps brands set up their own resale sites where buyers and sellers can list and find items. Because Treet is tied in with the brand itself, sellers can easily list their items based on SKU and buyers can trust that the items they’re browsing are the real deal.

For brands, they get the chance to own their secondhand market and potentially gain new customers. The company says that 30 percent of buyers on Treet haven’t purchased directly from the brand before.

Involving brands benefits Treet in a big way, too. Brands are best positioned to know who has their items, and can send emails and messaging encouraging resale through Treet. They also have the distribution to put potential customers on to the resale site.

Treet gives sellers two options to redeem their funds. If they choose cash, a ten percent cut goes to the brand and a ten percent cut goes to Treet. If they choose to redeem via brand credit, only (Read more...)

Parametrix Insurance raises $17.5 million to offer cloud downtime insurance

Insurtech is picking up steam in a big way, but startup Parametrix thinks there is still plenty of room left to innovate. The company, which today announced the close of a $17.5 million funding round, offers insurance policies for companies who rely on third-party cloud providers, ecommerce services, payment gateways and CRM systems.

In essence, downtime from one of these services can cost a company millions in revenue, but it’s completely out of their control. A fact of life, one might say, until Parametrix.

Parametrix approaches this problem in two key ways.

The first is that the company has developed a system that continuously monitors third-party IT services all over the world, giving the startup a direct view into service interruptions down to the millisecond. This system is also aware of the interdependent nature of many of these services and incorporates that into the precision monitoring.

The second differentiator is its pricing model, which uses millions of data points to help customers estimate the financial risk involved with downtime and lets them customize the payout per hour of downtime. The model spits out a premium based on that payout rate.

“We’ve all felt the pain of downtime,” said co-founder and CTO Neta Rozy. “When any part of the infrastructure goes down, the companies go down as well. Normally, when you have a pain caused by technology, you try to fix it with technology. Downtime is inevitable. It doesn’t matter how great your infrastructure is or how redundant your (Read more...)

Stampli raises $50 million in Series C to help companies intelligently manage invoices

This morning Stampli, a software platform that optimizes corporate invoice management, announced a $50 million Series C financing round, led by Insight Partners with participation from Signal Fire and Nextworld Capital.

The company launched in 2015 with the goal of simplifying the process of invoice management. Why is that needed? Services and software are purchased by employees of companies across a variety of departments. The resulting invoices then land in the finance department, a part of companies that can be a bit siloed. Finance is then left to determine a number of factors, like why something was purchased, whether it delivered, and if the invoice should it be paid at all.

Stampli turns each bill into a communications hub, connecting the folks in finance to other stakeholders on the purchase, including the vendor. Its system uses machine learning to recognize patterns around how the organization allocates cost, manage approval workflows, and what data can be extracted from invoices.

Stampli has been historically payment platform agnostic, meaning that its customers could use whatever payment method or provider they wanted. However, in early 2020, Stampli launched Direct Pay, its own payments product that solve some of the stickier problems for the accounting department. This fits into the general trend of seeing modern software companies bake a payments option into their services, adding a revenue stream to their books in the process.

Because Stampli’s core product focused on the context of individual (Read more...)

User Interviews, the CRM for qualitative user research, raises $10 million Series A

User Interviews, the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator-backed company that has built a CRM for product developers to get user feedback, has closed on a $10 million Series A round. The financing was led by Teamworthy Ventures, with participation from Las Olas, Accomplice, FJ Labs, ERA, Trestle Partners and ValueStream.

The company, cofounded by Basel Fakhoury, was created out of failure, in some ways. Originally, the User Interviews team started with a project called Mobile Suites, an amenities logistics platform for hotels. It was a dud, and the team — Basel Fakhoury, Dennis Meng and Bob Saris — decided to do more user research before determining their next product.

In trying to collect that research, they stumbled upon a huge problem. It often takes companies weeks, if not months, to conduct a study around user research. The company decided to build out a platform that would procure subjects for research quickly and effectively, using an algorithm to pair qualified, engaged testers with the client.

The product became Recruit, and ran on an a la carte model. To complement Recruit, the team also launched Research Hub, which is a CRM tool for all the testing methodologies used with actual users. To be clear, User Interviews doesn’t run the surveys or A/B tests themselves, but rather helps companies manage the frequency and data of those tests, not unlike what Salesforce does for sales people.

Recently, User Interviews added a subscription layer to its product, allowing companies to purchase access to the software (Read more...)

2up launches ahead of Valentines Day to help gamers find one another

People don’t often equate gaming with dating, but maybe they should. As gaming continues to grow in popularity, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, a new startup called 2up is launching to help gamers connect both on and off screen.

The app was founded by sibling duo Stephanie and Lincoln Smith, who have been gamers since they were young.


Image Credits: 2up

2up isn’t specifically a dating app — users can specify if they’re looking for new friends, new teammates, or a romantic connection on the app. They can also share their preferred console or platform, favorite games, and whether they prefer to play games competitively or casually, filtering down their potential matches based on aligned interests.

Delightfully, 2up is designed with an old-school 8-bit aesthetic.

The startup plans on generating revenue through a premium subscription, not unlike other matching and dating apps. A premium subscription will provide unlimited swiping, as well as Charms. Charms are the equivalent of a Super Like, helping users get the attention of someone they’re interested in matching with.

At launch, one month of premium 2up will cost $19.99, six months costs $12.49 per month, and a yearly subscription costs $8.49 per month.

2up also has quests, which rewards people for using the app on a daily basis and completing monthly engagement goals. Those who complete quests will be entered into a raffle to win a real-world prize like a gaming headset, gaming chair or even a new console.

“2up is one network that (Read more...)