VidMob Raises $2M To Build A Marketplace Where You Can Find Professional Video Editors

So you’ve shot some cool video footage — congrats! But if it needs any editing, you’ve still got a lot of work ahead of you.

Or you could try out a startup called VidMob, which is building a marketplace for professional video editors. The company has been beta testing its products, with plans to launch an iOS soon, and an Android app later on.

VidMob is also announcing that it has raised $2 million in seed funding from Foundation Capital and Acadia Woods Partners, plus various media executives and the venture arm of ad agency Mother New York.

Founder and CEO Alex Collmer said that he decided to launch the service because of the growing amount of video content online (in his words, “the web was quickly become a video medium”), as well as the growing number of smartphones, GoPro cameras and other devices that are capable of shooting that footage.

New tools have also emerged on the editing side, such as Animoto and Magisto, but Collmer argued that they “sort of fall flat.”

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Time flies, but this tech may help slow it down a little

Three experts visit TODAY with new gear and gadgets designed to make the most of the precious commodity of time. Digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong shows Matt Lauer new apps to simplify tasks; Jason Tanz of Wired magazine introduces Carson Daly to Alexa, who may be giving Siri a run for her money, and's Meena Duerson shows Natalie Morales innovative ways to optimize your time with your pets.

See the video on TODAY.COM

Healthy Food Delivery Startup Zesty Served $17 Million In Funding To Cater Beyond The Bay

Food delivery startup Zesty turned corporate last year and began an office catering program. The startup now plans to go beyond serving in San Francisco and recently pulled in $17 million in Series A funding to do that.

Index Ventures led the round, with participation from Founders Fund and previous investor Forerunner Ventures.

Zesty raised a healthy $3.7 million in seed money from Y Combinator, SV Angel and others in the spring of 2014. The startup now possesses a total of $20.7 million in venture capital to use for its expansion plans.

"We are already on an eight-figure gross revenue run-rate, and we had a waiting list for the first six months of 2014 due to such overwhelming demand."  — David Langer, Zesty co-founder

Zesty differentiates itself from other catering companies like ZeroCater by offering startups in San Francisco with 10-1,000 employees a healthier meal option. 

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Zesty Raises $17M Series A to Deliver Healthy Meals to Companies

Zesty, the next generation office catering company in San Francisco, today announced a $17M Series A funding round led by Index Ventures and joined by Founders Fund and returning investor Forerunner Ventures.

Danny Rimer of Index Ventures will join the Board of Directors. This follows the $3.7M in seed funding previously raised from Y Combinator, SV Angel and other angel investors. The company will use its funding to expand into new markets outside of San Francisco and more than double its current team of 30 over the next 12 months. 

Co-founders David Langer and Chris Hollindale met studying mathematics together at Oxford University a decade ago and launched Zesty’s office catering service in January of 2014. Since then, Zesty has rapidly become the go-to option for companies looking to provide their San Francisco-based employees with delicious and healthy meals from their favorite restaurants. Zesty is now serving tens of thousands of meals every week to hundreds of companies, including Slack, Instacart, Twitch, Eventbrite and Teespring.

“We believe we are now the largest catering company by revenue in San Francisco,” said founder & CEO David Langer. “We are already on an eight-figure gross revenue run-rate, and we had a waiting list for the first six months of 2014 due to such overwhelming demand.”

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Startup Vertical Mass Aims to Help Celebrities, Brands Reach Their Fans

A relatively new startup says it can help celebrities and brands better understand who their most passionate fans are and where to find them online.

The company, Vertical Mass, is set to publicly launch a technology platform, known as Identity, that aggregates data on entertainment and sports fans across social media, websites, mobile apps, e-commerce sites and content streaming services.

Vertical Mass works with more than 300 talent clients that include actors, athletes, musicians and social media influencers and a handful of enterprise partners in the space such as movie studios, sports teams and record labels to pull in and manage audience data. Among its clients are six Procter & Gamble brands, film studios Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., and Footlocker.

“Our job is to bring these very specific and highly valuable sports, music and entertainment audiences to the forefront for the companies and the brands who look to reach those specific audiences with their marketing or their content,” said CEO Mark Shedletsky.

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Pretty soon millennials will buy everything online; Parachute raises $3.75M to check bedding off the list

At some point in the not too distant future, you may be telling your great-grandkids about the days of hanging out on Friday nights at the mall and picking out fresh pair of Skidz and Guess Jeans from Merry-Go-Round. And they will have not idea what you are talking about.

"You mean, kind of like a whole bunch of pop-up shops, Grandma?"

While e-commerce is nowhere close to this possible future, it is growing rapidly as a percentage of total retail sales. According to Mary Meeker's latest Internet Trends screed, e-commerce now accounts for 9 percent of total retail sales, up from less than 1 percent in 1998.

And while e-commerce is still a high-risk proposition for some investors, one area that is seeing a few more successes than broad, all-encompassing e-commerce sites and daily deal startups is with companies selling niche products to devoted customer bases.

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Clutter Raises $2M To Expand Its On-Demand Storage Service

Los Angeles-based, on-demand storage startup Clutter has raised $2 million to acquire more customers in areas it operates in and expand to Orange County and San Diego over the coming months.

Clutter founder Brian Thomas told TechCrunch last week that his startup’s big technology differentiator is that it owns its own software stack, letting it skip legacy warehouse management systems altogether. It also means Clutter can use essentially any space as storage, so long as it provides climate controls and offers adequate access to its drivers.

On the user side of things, Clutter offers the experience you’d expect from an on-demand version of long-term storage. Depending on what someone’s hoping to put away, it’ll send a car, van or truck and even help pack up belongings (though that’s optional, because some people just don’t want others touching their junk). Then it brings that stuff to one of its locations, and keeps it until you need it back. When that happens, it’ll handle returns, too.

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Tapiture kicks off Series A with $2.75M

Santa Monica-based Tapiture is picking up steam. 

After appearing on both Built In LA and Business Insider's "Top startups to watch in 2015" lists, Tapiture's CEO, John Ellis, confirmed on Tuesday they have raised $2.75 million as part of their Series A round.

Previously described as the Pinterest for men, Tapiture has continued to grow since its first round of seed funding in February 2014. Ellis says the newly acquired funds will go directly towards growing their brand and user base. 

While still targeting the 25-45 year old demographic, Tapiture has expanded past the "men only" label. The site makes it simple to discover, share, and buy anything on the internet. And while most users are visiting the site to kill time, the company has continued to captivate its growing user base.


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The 25 most exciting Bitcoin startups

Blade: Getting shops to take Bitcoin

Retailer adoption is still a major hurdle facing Bitcoin: In the real world, there are very few shops that are able to accept the digital currency. While companies like Coinbase and Blockchain are building merchant tools to make this easier, Blade has a workaround in the interim. It offers a pre-paid debit card that users can top up with Bitcoin, and then use anywhere that accepts cards. It means crypto aficionados can continue to “pay with Bitcoin” even in shops that have never heard of digital currencies.

CoinDesk reports that the CEO, Ed Boyle, previously served as general manager for American Express’ prepaid cards unit.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amex Veteran Launches White-Label Bitcoin Debit Card Platform

A new platform for payments processing is looking to capitalize on nascent demand for bitcoin-powered debit card solutions.

Founded in February, Blade Financial is pitching its service to digital currency companies that want to offer debit card services to customers but lack the resources or capabilities to actually launch a product. Such offerings have proved problematic for some startups, and for Blade, this uneven track record is a big business opportunity.

CoinDesk spoke with CEO Ed Boyle, who has previously served as general manager for American Express' prepaid cards unit. Boyle said that the Blade team has decades of experience launching similar products and hopes to leverage this expertise to provide debit cards to an industry he described as very interested in such a solution.

Read the rest of this article on CoinDesk

Wallaby Financial Acquired by Bankrate

One of the innovators in the field of credit card reward optimization,Wallaby Financial has been acquired by online personal finance publisher, Bankrate. Terms were not disclosed.

Wallaby founder and CEO Matthew Goldman sees many advantages to being a part of Bankrate. “Their massive consumer audience, leading distribution partnerships, and financial resources will allow Wallaby to help millions of Americans acquire and use the right financial products,” he said.

Bankrate CEO Kenneth S. Esterow added that the acquisition will help his company deepen customer relationships. Esterow said that “Tests with their products have demonstrated substantial increases in conversion rates in our profitable and growing credit card channel.” 

Some have expressed surprise at the acquisition. But Wallaby’s ability to help drive credit card lead generation is one likely synergy between the two companies. Wallaby’s technology helps consumers choose credit cards that are most compatible with their financial needs and goals. The company maintains a credit card database of more than 2,400 credit cards, and has more than 100,000 users on its platform.

Read the rest of the article on Finovate

University Beyond Raises $300K Seed To Hook Up Brands And College Kids

Plenty of companies are looking to give brands and recruiters a way to connect with the ultra-valuable, soon-to-be-working, super influential college demographic, and University Beyond has just raised $300,000 in seed funding to do just that.

The round was led by Innovation Garden, with participation from two unnamed angel investors.

The idea behind University Beyond is to first connect brands with students who are interested in being in brand ambassador programs, and then facilitate that relationship through an online dashboard.


Read the rest of this article on TechCrunch

P.S. XO Merges With Toy And Crafts Company Seedling, Raises $7 Million

Two companies targeting the “mom” demographic with a product lineup that includes party supplies, crafts, toys, and more, Seedling and P.S. XO, are now merging. The combined companies have also now raised $7 million in new funding from UpFront Ventures and Greycroft Partners, in light of the deal and the revenue projections as a combined entity. The two are expected to hit $10 million in revenue by year-end, and more than double that by year-end 2015.

You may recall that earlier this month, the family oriented startup Moonfrye, which is best known as the company that claimed child star Soliel Moon Frye (Punky Brewster)’s involvement, officially announced its rebranding and pivot to P.S. XO, an e-commerce company focused on selling invitations and party supplies.

With a new iOS application and a growing e-commerce business, the company led by CEO Kara Nortman, now Chairman at Seedling, was still targeting the parenting crowd the Moonfyre photo editing app once did, but in a far more practical way – with an online shop where you could buy party supplies kits and decorations, plus a mobile app for managing party invites and thank you’s and more.

The business on its own competed with other greeting card startups and party planning resources including the likes of Red Stamp, Sincerely, Paperless Post, Evite, Shutterfly/Tiny Prints, Minted, and Punchbowl, to name a few. P.S. XO was hoping to differentiate itself with its mobile-first focus and a limited product lineup with “mass market” price points.

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With $2M In Funding, AirMedia Aims To Be The Syndication Platform For Premium Video

With more viewers than ever tuning into digital video services, premium publishers are looking for more ways to get in front of those audiences. With a syndication network built specifically for video, a startup called AirMedia hopes to find new distribution for premium publishers.

AirMedia was founded by RealGravity execs Luke McDonough and Doug Neiman, along with former Nexon and Backtick CTO Lynn Gabbay. After raising about $3.5 million in funding, RealGravity was acquired by Scripps Networks Interactive and became the basis for its internal video player and distribution platform.

But RealGravity also had other clients, and as it became clear that Scripps was focused on it as an internal tool rather than one that would continue to become available to other customers, there became a need for another player out there in the market.

AirMedia hopes to solve several problems for premium video publishers that are being underserved in today’s market. The first is one of distribution and syndication. Premium publishers today are mostly getting views for their videos on their own sites, and are looking for audiences from around the web, but there aren’t a lot of tools for doing so.

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New York’s Harri offers a one-stop shop for hospitality jobs

If you needed proof that good restaurant help is hard to find, then look no further than the oversexed and underachieving servers of Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules. Watch the show for ten minutes (we dare you) and you’d think waiting tables largely involved screaming matches during service and sneaking booze from the bar.

That’s where New York’s Harri comes in – the company is looking to be the LinkedIn for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Harri helps both restaurants and waitstaff get off the Craigslist treadmill, offering users the chance to create personalized profiles and the ability to highly refine their job search.

Read the rest of this article on Wakefield

Venga Secures $1 Million from VCS and Restaurateurs led by Militello Capital

Venga, the only complete customer management system for restaurants, announced it has closed a $1 million Series A round.  Founded in 2010, Venga has raised a total of $1.65 million.

Led by Militello Capital, the round includes a prestigious roster of industry executives, restaurant groups and angel investors. They include: Think Food Group (Jose Andres’ restaurant group), Big Red Ventures (Cornell University’s venture fund), Bill and Pat Anton (founders of Anton Airfood), Philip Cummins (partner, Innovative Dining Group), Gus DiMillo (owner, Passion Food Hospitality), Brad Zions (co-founder, Lemonade Restaurants), Alicia Aloe (founder, RezSource), Jodie McLean (President and Chief Investment Officer, EDENS), and various angels.

Venga’s patent-pending technology automatically links restaurants’ point of sale systems and reservation systems (such as OpenTable®). In doing so, it connects purchases to the individual guests who made them to seamlessly build profiles on individual guests’ habits and preferences. Restaurants use this information to increase visit frequency, customer satisfaction, and spending through targeted email campaigns and personalized service. To date, they’ve tracked over $160m in spending and created over 6 million guest profiles. Restaurants using Venga have seen an ROI exceeding 650%.


Read the rest of this article at Militello Capital

Venga Reserves $1 Million Series A To Create Restaurant Customer Profiles

Venga, a DC-based startup, has raised $1 million in Series A financing to help restaurants create profiles of their customers by whipping reservation data, point-of-sale, and other basic information into a soufflé of delicious CRM.

Militello Capital led the round and a number of major restaurant groups and angels also invested. Think Food Group, Bill and Pat Anton, and Cornell’s Big Red Ventures were also on the menu.

Founded by Sam von Pollaro and Winston Bao Lord, the company incubated in the The Fort in DC. The company bills itself as the only “complete guest management platform for restaurants” and essentially takes reservations data and point of sale information to create a customer profile. This allows restaurants to offer dedicated, personalized service as a matter of course, ensuring that VIPs get extra breadsticks and chilled tap water.


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