London-based Weezy raises pre-seed funding for its 15-minute grocery delivery app

TechCrunch

By Steve O’Hear (TechCrunch)

First there was same-day delivery. Then came one-hour delivery. Now a new London startup wants to make 15 minute delivery a thing.

Putting the hyper hyper-local into online grocery shopping, Weezy combines its own strategically located fulfilment centres with a fleet of electric moped and bicycle couriers, ready to accept orders via the Weezy app. Its founders, Kristof Van Beveren and Alec Dent, think they’ve spotted a gap in the market for an online grocery service that targets “time-poor professionals and parents” who want the speed of an on-demand service but without it being prohibitively expensive.

investors appear to agree, with Weezy launching out of stealth off the back of £1 million in pre-seed funding from Heartcore Capital, in addition to various individual backers made up of former executives of Ocado, Tesco, Sainsbury’s Chop Chop and Deliveroo.

Starting in London’s affluent Fulham and Chelsea districts, customers use Weezy’s app to select and pay for items on their shopping lists -– spanning fresh fruits, vegetables, bread and cupboard fillers, to over-the-counter medicines, cleaning products and alcoholic drinks. The order is then picked and packed at Weezy’s own fulfilment centre, before being delivered on electric scooters or bicycles within 15 minutes. The service runs between 10am and 10pm every day, charging £2.95 for delivery.

Notably, groceries are sourced not only from selected wholesalers, but also from local independent bakers, butchers and markets, seeing Weezy talk up its support for local businesses. The startup plans to open up to 15 more fulfilment centres in the U.K. capital city by the end of next year, before setting its sights on broader U.K. expansion.

“No other service delivers as quickly,” says Weezy CEO and co-founder Van Beveren. “Our hyperlocal fulfilment centre model works since we are able to optimise the space for fast picking and packing while having low property and fit-out costs, thereby keeping prices in check. This, coupled with our in-house team of riders, allows us to offer the fastest and friendliest grocery delivery service. And, compared to convenience stores, Weezy has better pricing and a broader and more premium range of products”.

In comparison, Van Beveren notes that Sainsbury’s Chop Chop takes up to 60 minutes to deliver (and outsources delivery to courier company Stuart). Amazon Prime Now promises 1-2 hours delivery via Morrisons and its own warehouses, while Amazon Fresh in London offers same or next day delivery.

“Next to speed, we have a full range of carefully curated products and pricing in line with recommended retail prices,” adds Weezy co-founder and COO Dent. “We also only use electric vehicles or bicycles for deliveries. We are committed to creating a supportive culture and the best working conditions for our team of riders, who are also trained to work in the fulfilment centre, and offered opportunities for career progression. Happy staff make happy customers”.

Original Article

Thriva raises £4M from Target in an era when at-home blood testing is more crucial than ever

TechCrunch

By Mike Butcher (TechCrunch)

Thriva emerged in 2016 as an at-home blood-testing startup allowing people to check, for instance, cholesterol levels. In the era of a pandemic, however, at-home blood testing is about to become quite a big deal, alongside the general trend toward people proactively taking control of their health.

It has secured a £4 million extension to its Series A funding round from Berlin-based VC Target Global . The investment takes Thriva’s total funding to £11 million. The investment comes from Target Global’s new Early Stage Fund II and will top up the £6 million Series A raised in 2019. Existing investors include Guinness Asset Management and Pembroke VCT.

Thriva has processed more than 115,000 at-home blood tests since 2016. Interestingly, these customers actually use the information to improve their health, with 76% of Thriva users achieving an improvement in at least one of their biomarkers between tests.

The startup has also launched personalized health plans and high-quality supplements, scaling up its partnerships with hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Founded by Hamish Grierson, Eliot Brooks and Tom Livesey, it claims to be growing 100% year-on-year and has expanded its team to 50 members in the company’s London headquarters.

In a statement Grierson said: “As the world faces unprecedented challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, we have all been forced to view our health, and our mortality, in a new light.”

Speaking to TechCrunch he added: “While there are other at-home testing companies, we don’t see them as directly competitive. Thriva isn’t a testing company. Our at-home blood tests are an important data point but they’re just the beginning of the long-term relationships we’re creating with our customers. To deliver on our mission of putting better health in your hands, we not only help people to keep track of what’s really happening inside their bodies, we actually help them to make positive changes that they can see the effects of over time.”

Dr. Ricardo Schäfer, partner at Target Global said: “When we first met the team behind Thriva, we were immediately hooked by their mission to allow people to take health into their own hands.”

Original Article

Capgemini buys Purpose

Research-Live

By ResearchLive

FRANCE – Consulting business Capgemini has acquired social impact agency, Purpose, for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in New York in 2009 and now with outlets across the globe, Purpose’s 100 employees – covering campaigners, creatives, strategists and technologists – will be combined with Capgemini’s digital innovation, consulting and transformation brand, Capgemini Invent.

Purpose has spent the past decade building a reputation in creating purpose-driven campaigns, branding, creative content, and participatory social impact strategies clients.

Cyril Garcia, CEO of Capgemini Invent said: “Heightened demands from stakeholders have driven a major shift towards building business with purpose. For many large companies, this has evolved beyond corporate social responsibility to business transformation and redefining business models, practices and culture.

“Purpose joining Capgemini will bolster the capabilities of our teams that are working closely with senior executives and boards, to envision and build what’s next for their organisation.”

Jeremy Heimans, CEO and co-founder of Purpose, added: “By joining the Capgemini Group, we can truly take Purpose to the world – dramatically growing our scale and impact at a crucial moment for so many of the issues we care about. Capgemini Invent, combined with the wider group’s scale, offers us access to vast technological capacity, unrivalled data and analytics, and a deep understanding of how to change organisations and business models from the inside out.”

Purpose will continue to operate as a Public Benefit Corporation and will be run independently with its senior management remaining in place.

Original Article

Perlego raises $9M Series A for its textbook subscription service

Tech Crunch

Backing the round is Charlie Songhurst, Dedicated VC, and Thomas Leysen (Chairman of Mediahuis and Umicore). Perlego’s existing investors including ADV, Simon Franks and Alex Chesterman also reinvested on a pro-rata basis.

London-based Perlego says the additional funding will be used to develop the next generation of Perlego’s “smarter learning platform,” including adding new features that simplify and enhance the learning experience, as well as content libraries in non-English languages to enable further expansion to “strategic” European markets beyond its U.K. roots.

Pitched as akin to a “Spotify for textbooks,” Perlego enables students, and also professionals, who now make up 30% of users, to access textbooks on a subscription basis.

It houses over 300,000 eBooks, from over 2,300 publishers, and the service is cross-device — via the web and iOS and Android apps — and available in multiple languages. Along with U.K. publishers, Perlego now also includes content from key publishers in Germany, the Nordics and Italy.

For the students, the draw is obvious: text books are increasingly expensive to purchase, and public libraries are under resourced. In the U.K., Perlego gives readers access to its entire digital library for £12 per month. As long as the needed text books are available on the service, that is infinitely more affordable.

For publishers, Perlego claims to offer a distribution method that stems revenue losses caused by piracy and the buoyant used text book market — hence the comparison to Spotify’s positioning.

Publishers such as Pearson, Wiley and Sage are already on board, Perlego says it is seeing a 116% increase in new subscribers month-on-month, though it isn’t breaking out subscriber numbers.

Original Article

Fox To Acquire Majority Credible Labs Stake For Fintech Marketplace

seekingalpha

By Donovan Jones (seekingalpha)
Quick Take

Fox (FOXA) announced it has agreed to acquire a controlling interest in Credible Labs for $265 million.

Credible Labs operates an online multi-lender financial services marketplace.

With the deal, FOXA hopes to combine Credible with its Fox Business and Television Station assets and leverage those audiences for Credible’s fintech marketplace.

Target Company

San Francisco, California-based Credible was founded in 2012 to develop an online multi-lender marketplace that allows borrowers to receive competitive loan offers from lenders.

Management is headed by Founder and CEO Stephen Dash, who was previously Investment Director at M.H. Carnegie & Co.

Investors have invested at least $25.3 million in the company and include Ron Suber, Carthona Capital, Regal Funds Management, AMTD Group, Scott Langmack, Soul Htite, Cthulhu Ventures, and Redbus Group among others.

Market & Competition

According to a market research report by TransUnion, in 2018, the unsecured personal loan market reached an all-time-high of $138 billion, marking a year-over-year [yoy] growth of 17%.

During the same year, fintech companies made up about 38% of the personal loans market.

In contrast, traditional banks’ and credit unions’ shares accounted for 28% and 21% of the market in 2018, representing a drop from 40% and 31% in 2013, respectively.

Major fintech firms that provide personal loans include:

Lendio
LendKey
Upstart Network
Nav

Acquisition Terms and Financial

Fox disclosed the acquisition price and terms as an acquisition of 67% of the Credible Labs equity for $265 million in cash to Credible’s shareholders.

Additionally, Fox committed to invest ‘up to $USD 75 million of growth capital to Credible over approximately two years.’

A review of the firm’s most recent 10-K filing indicates that as of June 30, 2019, Fox had $3.2 billion in cash and equivalents and $9.6 billion in liabilities, of which borrowings totaled $6.8 billion.

Free cash flow for the twelve months ended June 30, 2019, was $2.3 billion.

Since the stock began trading in mid-March as a result of the spin-off from the sale of its film and TV assets to Disney, the price has dropped about 20%.

Commentary

Fox is acquiring Credible to integrate it into its Fox Business and Fox Television Stations business segments.

As Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch stated in the deal announcement, “Credible, which has tremendous synergy with core brands such as Fox Business and Fox Television Stations and will benefit from our audience reach and scale, will drive strategic growth, further develop our brand verticals and deepen consumer relationships.”

Beyond that generality, Fox didn’t provide any meaningful details about how the deal would be synergistic.

One must assume that Fox wants to reach deeper beyond simply being a media firm and become a direct provider of marketplace services, in this case, financial services.

It is notable that the new Fox’ (post-Disney acquisition of its film & TV assets) first significant foray is in acquiring an Internet fintech marketplace company.

Fox wants to combine it with its existing media properties to leverage its existing audience into this fintech marketplace.

While the deal won’t immediately move the stock price needle for FOXA, it provides investors with a directional signal about Murdoch’s intentions for the future with the new slimmed-down Fox.

Original Article

Murdoch’s Fox Corp to buy fintech Credible Labs in $397 million deal

Reuters

By Paulina Duran (reuters)

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. broadcaster Fox Corp (FOXA.O) on Monday agreed to buy Credible Labs Inc (CRD.AX) in a deal valuing the online finance broker at $397 million, as the Murdoch-controlled firm hunts for growth following the sale of its film and TV assets to Disney.

In a challenging media landscape, the San-Francisco-based Credible Labs, listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, gives Fox exposure to an online service that matches personal borrowers and lenders seeking to service the $1.6 trillion a year U.S. mortgage market.

“The acquisition of Credible underscores Fox Corporation’s innovative digital strategy that emphasizes direct interactions with our consumers,” Lachlan Murdoch, Fox Corp’s executive chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Credible’s online platform provides credit checks to borrowers seeking mortgages and student and personal loans, and uses that information to show them pre-qualified loan rates and refinancing options that they can click through to obtain.

The fintech company had synergies with FOX Business and FOX Television businesses and would join its FOX Sports app, live and on demand content and FOX Now, Fox said, which would help both companies to grow.

Rupert Murdoch’s newly spun-off media company Fox Corp debuted on the Nasdaq in March following the $71 billion sale of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s film and television assets to Walt Disney Co (DIS.N).

The smaller firm now relies on costly live cable sports and news in an increasingly competitive television industry.

PREMATURE SALE

Credible said its shareholders will receive A$2.21 in cash per CHESS depository interest (CDI), valuing it at A$585 million less than two years after it listed in Australia at just over half that value.

Fox’s offer price represents a 7% premium to its last close of A$2.06 on August 2.

Majority shareholder, founder and Chief Executive Stephen Dash would remain head of the new Fox subsidiary and would exchange shares equal to one-third of Credible’s outstanding common stock into units of a newly created Fox subsidiary.

The transaction is subject to shareholder approval. Credible’s board of directors – who own a combined 13% of shares in the company – unanimously backed the proposal.

Some minority shareholders were surprised by the approach and feared missing out on the potential growth of the company if they sell now, said Bell Potter analyst Damien Williamson, who values Credible at A$2.78 per share.

“Premature is the word to describe how some minority shareholders see the transaction,” said Williamson. “This company is operating in a very large market and has the potential to do really well.”

Williamson said there was potential for Credible’s larger American rivals, such as Lendingtree Inc (TREE.O), to launch competing bids for the company.

Shares in Credible rose 6.3% percent to A$2.19 in a broader market that was down 1.8%.

Original Article

Postmates’ self-driving delivery rover will see with Ouster’s lidar

techcrunch.com

By Kirsten Korosec (techcrunch.com)

Postmates’ cooler-inspired autonomous delivery robot, which will roll out commercially in Los Angeles later this year, will rely on lidar sensors from Ouster, a burgeoning two-year-old startup that recently raised $60 million in equity and debt funding.

Postmates unveiled the first generation of its self-described “autonomous rover” — known as Serve — late last year. The vehicle uses cameras and light detection and ranging sensors called lidar to navigate sidewalks, as well as a backup human who remotely monitors the rover and can take control if needed.

A new second-generation version made its debut onstage earlier this month at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech event. This newer version looks identical to the original version except a few minor details, including a change in lidar sensors. The previous version was outfitted with sensors from Velodyne, a company that has long dominated the lidar industry.

The supplier contract is notable for Ouster, a startup trying to carve out market share from the giant Velodyne and stand out from a global pack of lidar companies that now numbers close to 70. And it could prove substantial for the company if Postmates takes Serve to other cities as planned.

Lidar measures distance using laser light to generate highly accurate 3D maps of the world around the car. It’s considered by most in the self-driving car industry a key piece of technology required to safely deploy robotaxis and other autonomous vehicles.

Ouster’s strategy has been to cast a wider net for customers by selling its lidar sensors to other industries, including robotics, drones, mapping, defense, building security, mining and agriculture companies. It’s an approach that Waymo is also pursuing for its custom lidar sensors, which will be sold to companies outside of self-driving cars. Waymo will initially target robotics, security and agricultural technology.

Ouster’s business model, along with its tech, has helped it land 437 customers to date and raise a total of $90 million.

The contract with Postmates is its first major customer announcement. COAST Autonomous announced earlier this week that it was using Ouster sensors for its a low-speed autonomous shuttles. Self-driving truck companies Kodiak and Ike Robotics have also been using the sensors this year.

Ouster, which has 125 employees, uses complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology in its OS1 sensors, the same tech found in consumer digital cameras and smartphones. The company has announced four lidar sensors to date, with resolutions from 16 to 128 channels, and two product lines, the OS-1 and OS-2.

Original Article

Unilever and SAP lead £4m investment round in digital reward platform WeGift

City A.M.

By Michael Searles (City A.M.)

The likes of SAP and Unilever have led a £4m investment round into London startup WeGift, which is aiming to become the first real-time digital reward platform.

The company secured the £4m Series A funding, which was also led by venture capital firm Stride, as it also reported a 500 per cent growth in annual revenue.

WeGift plans to use the funds to increase the scale of its operations, improve its technology platform, and support its expansion into the US.

“Employees and customers alike expect consumer-like experiences from businesses,” said SAP managing director Ram Jambunathan. “Being able to provide those experiences is a key driver of retention and satisfaction.

“But today, businesses rely largely on archaic, manual processes for rewards. WeGift can uniquely enable customers to provide appealing experiences from incentives to reimbursements, which is well-aligned with SAP’s distinctive ability to leverage operational data and drive experience management.”

Meanwhile, Unilever Ventures said WeGift had “huge opportunity to leverage their technology across the consumer goods industry”.

Other investors included Simon Franks of the Redbus Group and Zoopla founder, Alex Chesterman.

WeGift uses cloud-based technology to allow businesses to automate sending digital value in real-time rather than relying on manually sending rewards on cards or in the post.

Original Article

WeGift, the digital rewards platform, raises £4M Series A

techcrunch.com

By Steve O’Hear (techcrunch)

WeGift, the U.K. startup that has developed a platform to let businesses easily issue e-gift cards and other digital rewards, has closed £4 million in Series A funding.

Leading the round is Stride.VC — the relatively new early-stage venture capital firm founded by Fred Destin and Harry Stebbings — alongside a number of other investors including SAP.iO fund, Unilever Ventures, James Hind (founder of Carwow,) and Eamon Jubbawy (co-founder of Onfido).

The startup’s previous backers include Alex Chesterman, Charlie Songhurst, Simon Franks, Ascension Ventures, and Fuel Ventures.

“Currently payments are a one way street,” WeGift founder and CEO Aron Alexander tells TechCrunch. “Payments technology is built to enable businesses to take money from consumers but it doesn’t let businesses send money to consumers.

“We’ve created a new category of digital non-cash rewards to power customer acquisition, retention and loyalty globally: the ‘Twilio for e-gift cards’”.

Alexander says that historically businesses would offer a physical reward to power these use cases. For example, “open a bank account and get a free toaster (for my generation it was a free Filofax). In comparison, he says that e-gift cards are more appealing to consumers because they’re “easier to deliver than merchandise, they don’t get lost in the mail and they can spend it on what they want”.

There are upsides for the businesses handing out digital rewards, too. They include bulk percentage discounts when purchasing e-gift cards from retailers, and negating the need to ask for a customer’s bank account details. Most importantly, says Alexander, “you can track how they affect the customer journey”.

However, the problem with using e-gift cards at scale is that the technology infrastructure to automate orders and delivery is missing, meaning that it remains quite a manual process that often falls back on emails, CSV files and PDFs “This is what we are changing… [by automating] the issuing process of non-cash rewards,” explains the WeGift founder.

The resulting WeGift cloud-based platform offers an open API to enable businesses to automate sending digital rewards, on-demand and in real-time. “We give them instant access to a huge choice of rewards and payouts, an ever-growing network of more than 500 brand partners, across 26 markets and 20 currencies, in real-time,” adds Alexander.

Stride.VC’s Destin says digital rewards is a “messy, fragmented industry with broken processes, prone to errors and leakage, aged technology stacks and plenty of misalignment and distrust between the players”. It is also an industry dominated in the U.S. by two incumbents with a legacy in the physical gift card space and therefore ripe for disruption.

“The business model is well understood,” writes Destin in a Medium post. “Think Stripe, applied to non-cash payouts. Robust APIs, real-time capabilities, disruptive pricing, transparency”.

Meanwhile, WeGift says the Series A will enable the company to deliver on its vision of create “the world’s first” real-time infrastructure for digital rewards and incentives. Specifically, the funding will be used to further scale WeGift’s operations, support expansion to the U.S, and to continue investing in its technology platform.

Original Article

Peerspace Launches 2.0 iPhone App For Instant Bookings Of Hourly Event, Meeting and Production Rentals

prnewswire

By Peerspace

SAN FRANCISCO, June 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Peerspace, the world’s largest marketplace for hourly rentals of unique spaces for events, meetings, photo shoots, and media productions, today announces the 2.0 version of their iPhone app now available on the Apple App Store. Peerspace makes it easy for anyone to find and rent inspiring spaces by the hour for meetings, events, photo shoots and more. Peerspace unlocks significant income for property owners for their facilities, galleries, offices, and spaces – which may otherwise remain empty or underutilized seasonally or on certain days of the week.

Over 10,000 venues are available on Peerspace for hourly rental throughout the United States with a focus on metros including San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, and Atlanta – with more locales slated to be added throughout 2019.

New Peerspace 2.0 app features include expanded location search and activity selection, advanced filtering by guest capacity, price, amenities and more, the ability to search by activity type, and Instant Booking – a new way to easily book the desired venue. For more information please visit, www.peerspace.com.

“Increasingly, we see our customers book their meetings and events on-the-go,” said Eric Shoup, CEO at Peerspace. “We believe the future is where booking and hosting events is so easy that it can all be done with a few taps on your phone. Our 2.0 app is a big step towards that vision.”

Peerspace’s expanding catalog of unique spaces and locations range from an authentic Brooklyn Coffee Shop to a 1906 Historic Church in Pasadena, California to a Downtown Chicago office in one of the nation’s tallest buildings and a 75 Acre Horse Ranch outside of Houston.

For event and meeting planners, Peerspace removes the hassles of intricate booking negotiations and paperwork, while Peerspace’s expert support provides knowledgeable guidance and service to make sure events go off without a hitch, available 7 days a week.

Peerspace 2.0 features include:

Instantly book a space
Entirely updated design
Crisp, high-resolution location imagery
Search by any location, select activity types, and even your specific date and time
Advanced, specific filters to help match you to the best space
Communicate on the go with hosts
Easily manage bookings directly from your phone
For more information on hosting, or to sign up to make your space available through Peerspace, please visit: https://www.peerspace.com/host

Visit Peerspace on Instagram by visiting: https://www.instagram.com/peerspace

About Peerspace
Peerspace provides access to cities’ best places to meet, create and celebrate, removing the hassle of securing a space for events while making it easy for anyone to rent out their space. The Peerspace marketplace opens the door to thousands of spaces available at all price points – from lofts and mansions to storefronts and studios – so people have a choice of places to get together. By making their space available to an audience of millions, Peerspace makes it easy for both individuals and businesses to safely share and earn extra income from their space.

Founded in April of 2014, Peerspace is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago. The company’s investors include Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, Structure Capital, Carthona Capital, and 31VENTURES.

Original Article