Fundings & Exits

Y Combinator takes machine intelligence startups to school and learns a thing or two

 Machine intelligence startups are the black sheep of the startup world. The new kids on the block are challenging investors to do their technical homework and differentiate themselves in intentional ways. Y Combinator joined a growing list of investors offering exclusive services to these companies in a specialized AI track for its latest S17 batch of startups. In the competitive world of… Read More

Amazon will lose money on Whole Foods — but probably not for long

 Sometimes giving up something in the short-term can yield a big reward in the long-term. That’s the idea behind many of Amazon’s businesses, and that’s particularly true of the recent Whole Foods deal. Amazon’s purchase of the upscale Whole Foods grocery chain for $13.7 billion will go through on Monday, and already the online retailer has said prices will drop on… Read More

Polygram detects facial reactions to shared photos

 What if you could see if your Instagrams made people happy, surprised, or disgusted? That’s just one of the innovative features of new photo sharing social network Polygram. Using facial detection, Polygram gives you analytics about the emotional reactions people have to the photos you post. Polygram also has augmented reality makeup to that let’s you look more attractive instead… Read More

Indonesian Uber rival Go-Jek closes in on new $1.2 billion round

 Go-Jek, the on-demand transportation company that rivals Uber and Grab in Indonesia, is getting close to pulling in its next huge funding round. That’s because JD.com, the China-based e-commerce firm that rivals Alibaba, has agreed to join Go-Jek’s upcoming $1.2 billion round, a source with knowledge of discussions told TechCrunch. The news was first reported by The Information.… Read More

Equity podcast: Uber grows against all odds, Amazon makes Whole Foods cheaper, WeWork raises $4.4B

 Welcome back to Equity, our podcast for all things venture capital and tech business. I host along with Matthew Lynley and Alex Wilhelm, who was out-of-town (how dare he). This week we were joined by Rob Coneybeer, who is co-founder and managing director at Shasta Ventures. We talked about Uber (what else?!), which shared its growing financials, suggesting that people are still using the… Read More

Ezetap, racing against bigger rivals like Paytm, just raised $16 million in fresh funding

 There are more than 1 billion cellphone users in India, which abruptly went cashless last November. These two developments play nicely into the vision of Ezetap, a six-year-old, Bangalore-based startup whose software as a service is used by more than 200,000 merchants. Read More

Amazon says Whole Foods deal will close Monday, grocery prices will drop

 It’s official…Amazon says its purchase of Whole Foods will close on Monday. According to the release, “the two companies will together pursue the vision of making Whole Foods Market’s high-quality, natural and organic food affordable for everyone. As a down payment on that vision, Whole Foods Market will offer lower prices starting Monday on a selection of… Read More

Descartes Labs raises $30 million Series B for its brand of geospatial analytics

 Descartes Labs is announcing a $30 million Series B this morning in a large round led by March Capital. This comes just three months after one of Descartes’ largest competitors, Orbital Insight, closed its own $50 million Series C with Sequoia. Both Descartes and Orbital are playing in the emerging market of geospatial analytics. These companies use machine learning to produce insights… Read More

Business messaging service Eko picks up $2M to fuel push into Japan, US and UK

 Eko Communications, a U.S.-Thailand company that operates a messaging app targeted at businesses, has closed a strategic investment of $2 million to grow in Japan and expand into Europe and the U.S.. The funding was led by Japanese corporate Itoc...

Social Capital to help startups go public without an IPO

 Silicon Valley venture firm Social Capital plans to help startups go public without the dreaded IPO process. And it’s something different than what Spotify is doing.  Social Capital is creating a shell company known as a “SPAC” that exists solely to merge with a startup. These types of transactions are not rare outside of the venture world but have little precedent with… Read More

The top 7 startups from Y Combinator S’17 Demo Day 2

 Day two of YC S’17 brought us autonomous store checkout, cannabis genomics and at home fertility testing. We whittled down the strong day of pitches to just seven hot companies. These are the startups our writers and the investors we spoke with were most excited about. If you want to check out the full list of startups from day 2 you can read about them here.  Additional reporting by… Read More

Here is Uber’s first pitch deck

 On the ninth anniversary of the founding of Uber, its co-founder Garrett Camp shared the company’s initial pitch deck via a personal Medium post. The deck, and the short post, comes off quite sentimental because of how much has happened to the company since it was created. But company growth and drama aside, there’s a lot to be learned from Uber’s 25 slide deck. Enjoy the… Read More