Disruptive innovation and the power “Market Networks”

A market network is what you get when you combine a social network, a marketplace, and a SaaS company.

They demonstrate the power of an investment theme we focus on regarding post-digital transformation fragmentation within industry segments. A pattern that can be found repeating itself when disruptive innovation transforms industries, causing hyper fragmentation and silos in the first wave of digital transformation. 

The 2nd wave of companies are those that build the infrastructure efficiency by defragmenting and bringing the best aspects together that enable the next wave of scalability. The emergence of the market network is a perfect example that every entrepreneur, start-up, and company looking to disrupt should study and apply to their critical thinking, approach, and strategy to evolving platforms.

Also Read:

Market Networks: Dissecting ‘The Business Model Of The Decade’ - Forbes

Watch "Market Networks the Hidden Advantage" with James Currier,

 

Original article Written by James Currier
General Partner at NFX, a seed-stage venture firm headquartered in San Francisco.

Market Network - NFX Essay

Most people didn’t notice when a 35-person company in San Francisco called HoneyBook announced a $22 million Series B in March 2015.

What was unusual about the deal is that nearly all the best-known Silicon Valley VCs competed for it. That’s because HoneyBook is a prime example of an important new category of digital company that combines the best elements of networks like Facebook with marketplaces like Airbnb — what we call a market network.

Market networks will produce a new class of unicorn companies and impact how millions of service professionals will work and earn their living.

What Is A Market Network?

Marketplaces provide transactions among multiple buyers and multiple sellers — like Poshmark, eBay, Uber, Patreon, and LendingClub.

Networks provide profiles that project a person’s identity and then lets them communicate in a 360-degree pattern with other people in the network. Think Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and LinkedIn.

What’s unique about market networks is that they:

  • Combine the main elements of both networks and marketplaces
  • Use SaaS workflow software to focus action around longer-term projects, not just a quick transaction
  • Promote the service provider as a differentiated individual, helping build long-term relationships

Market networks are also unique from a monetization standpoint. They combine the strong network effects defensibility and scalability of direct networks like LinkedIn or Facebook together with the lucrative revenue models of SaaS or marketplace businesses.

Market Network - NFX Essay

An example will help: let’s go back to HoneyBook, a market network for the events industry.

An event planner builds a profile on HoneyBook.com. That profile serves as his professional home on the Web. He uses the HoneyBook SaaS workflow to send self-branded proposals to clients and sign contracts digitally.

He then connects the other professionals he works with like florists and photographers to that project. They also get profiles on HoneyBook and everyone can team up to service a client, send each other proposals, sign contracts and get paid by everyone else.

Market Network - NFX Essay

This many-to-many transaction pattern is key. HoneyBook is an N-sided marketplace — transactions happen in a 360-degree pattern like a network, but they come here with transacting in mind. That makes HoneyBook both a marketplace and network.

A market network often starts by providing a SaaS tool to a professional that lets them perform a critical task. That same SaaS tool then also lets the professional connect better with their network as it already exists offline today, whether they be clients or other professionals or both. Many of the people in these professional networks have been transacting with each other for years using fax, checks, overnight packages, and phone calls.

By moving these connections and transactions into software, a market network makes it significantly easier for professionals to operate their businesses and clients to get better service.

We’ve Seen This Before

AngelList is also a market network. I don’t know if it was the first, but Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi deserve a lot of credit for pioneering the model in 2010.

On AngelList, the pattern is similar. The CEO of the startup creates her own profile, then prompts her personal network of investors, employees, advisors, and customers to build their own profiles. The CEO can then complete some or all of her fundraising paperwork through the AngelList SaaS workflow, and everyone can share deals with everyone else in the network, hire employees, and find customers in a 360-degree pattern.

In 2013, when I met Oz and Naama Alon, two of the founders of HoneyBook, they were building a beautiful network product — a photo-sharing app for weddings. We sat down and I walked them through the new idea of a market network. They embraced it immediately, and have taken it to a whole new level – from the design and workflow to the profile customization and business model. They are now able to become a horizontal platform for transactions and workflows, working across many professional sectors.

Similar Essay

Growth Frameworks For Your Marketplace

Houzz is a third good example. Houzz connects homeowners with home improvement professionals and with products they can buy for their homes. They have a product that is very nearly a market network. The company raised $165M in its last round (update: since the time of this article’s initial publication, Houzz went on to raise a $400M round valuing the company at a reported $4 billion. Further, they acquired Ivy, an NFX-backed company, which gives them the full market network capabilities with interior designers).

DotLoop in Cincinnati shows the same pattern for the residential real estate brokerage industry. DotLoop was acquired by Zillow Group for $108M in August 2015 as part of the Zillow Group’s evolution into a market network.

Looking at AngelList, DotLoop, Houzz, and HoneyBook, the market network pattern is visible.
AngelList and HoneyBook - NFX Essay

Seven Attributes Of A Successful Market Network

1. Market networks target more complex services

In the last decade, the tech industry has obsessed over on-demand labor marketplaces for quick transactions of simple services. Companies like Uber, Lyft, Mechanical Turk, Thumbtack, DoorDash, and many others made it efficient to buy simple services whose quality is judged objectively. Their success was based on commodifying the people on both sides of the marketplace.

However, the highest value services – like event planning and home remodels — are neither simple nor objectively judged. They are more involved and longer-term. Market networks are designed for these.

2. People matter

With complex services, each client is unique and the professional they get matters. Would you hand over your wedding to just anyone? Does your home remodel? The people on both sides of those equations are not interchangeable like they are with Lyft or Uber. Each person brings unique opinions, expertise, and relationships to the transaction. A market network is designed to acknowledge that as a core tenet and provide a solution.

Service Professionals - NFX Essay

3. Collaboration happens around a project

For most complex services, multiple professionals collaborate among themselves—and with a client—over a period of time. The SaaS at the center of market networks focuses the action on a project that can take days or years to complete.

4. They have unique profiles of the people involved

Pleasing profiles with information unique to their context give the people involved a reason to come back and interact here. It captures part of their identity better than elsewhere on the internet.

5. They help build long-term relationships

Market networks bring a career’s worth of professional connections online and make them more useful. For years, social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook have helped build long-term relationships. However, until market networks, they hadn’t been used for commerce and transactions.

6. Referrals flow freely

In these industries, referrals are gold, for both client and service professionals. The market network software is designed to make referrals simple and more frequent.

7. They increase transaction velocity and satisfaction

By putting the network of professionals and clients into software, the market network increases transaction velocity for everyone. It increases the close rate on proposals and speeds up payment. The software also increases customer satisfaction scores, reduces miscommunication, and makes the work pleasing and beautiful. Never underestimate pleasing and beautiful.

Social Networks Were The Last 10 Years.
Market Networks Will Be The Next 10.

First we had communication networks like telephones and email. Then we had social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. Now we have market networks like HoneyBook, AngelList, DotLoop, and Houzz.

You can imagine a market network for every industry where professionals are not interchangeable: law, travel, residential real estate, commercial real estate, media production, architecture, investment banking, interior design, personal finance, commercial construction, residential construction, consulting, and more. Each market network will have different attributes that make it work in each vertical, but the principles will remain the same.

Over time, nearly all independent professionals and their clients will conduct business through the market network of their industry. We’re just seeing the beginning of it now.

Market networks will have a massive positive impact on how millions of people work and live, and how hundreds of millions of people buy better services.

I hope more entrepreneurs will set their sights on building these businesses. It’s time. They are hard products to get right, but the payoff is potentially massive.


Jetty raises $23m and launches new flexible rent payment product

Rental-based financial services company Jetty has launched a new program, Jetty Rent, which will give more flexibility with late fees, according to a press release.

The service will take away the cost burden and give renters flexibility on when they pay rent.

Now, Jetty will set about paying rent for renters on the first of the month. Then, the renters will have until the 24th to pay rent to Jetty.

Jetty raises $23M to help give renters more payment flexibility

Fintech Platform Adds Latest Offering for Renters

Jetty, the financial services company on a mission to make renting a home more affordable and flexible, today announced the launch of Jetty Rent, a new product that removes the cost burden of expensive late fees by giving renters the flexibility to choose when they pay their rent. This latest offering on the Jetty platform was developed and brought to market with the backing of a new, $23M equity financing round from investors that include Citi and Flourish Ventures.

According to data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), in the first six months of 2021 an average of 21% of renters failed to pay their rent by the 6th of the month*, a cutoff date that would typically trigger late fees from property owners. The federal eviction moratorium restricted the charging of late fees, but with the moratorium now partially lifted, many renters will once again be facing this financial challenge.

"It's a tricky situation—property managers need predictable cash flow to meet their financial obligations, yet forcing renters to meet rigid, first-of- the-month payment dates doesn't reflect the financial realities of today's renter population," said Mike Rudoy, Co-Founder and CEO of Jetty. "We solved this monthly headache with Jetty Rent, which gives renters more flexibility with payment while at the same time offering property managers the reliable cash flow they need."

With Jetty Rent, Jetty will pay rent on behalf of renters on the first of the month and renters will then have until the 24th of each month to repay Jetty, which they can do in one lump sum or through installments..

To launch Jetty Rent, the company partnered with Cortland, a top 20** real estate investment, development and management company, who rolled out the offering to residents across a portfolio of properties.

"At Cortland, we're focused on improving the resident experience, and the process of paying rent is a massive part of that," said Jonathan Kirn,  Director of Ancillary Services at Cortland. "Jetty Rent makes life easier on our residents and takes the burden of rent collection off our shoulders—it's a true win-win."

Jetty Rent is the latest product to be offered by Jetty. The company also offers low-cost renters insurance as well as its industry-leading security deposit replacement, Jetty Deposit.

"We're seeing overwhelming demand from renters and property managers alike for new financial services across the entire renter lifecycle," said Rudoy. "Our team is working toward building the most all-encompassing financial services platforms for the rental market. From Jetty Deposit to Jetty Protect to now Jetty Rent, our platform is unrivaled in the industry."

Emmalyn Shaw, Managing Partner at Flourish Ventures, added:

"Embedded finance platforms like Jetty are quickly becoming one of the most influential technology trends taking place around the world—one where the customer's experience with such things as online payments and loans comes first. We're thrilled to back the Jetty team as they continue to develop their fintech platform and product offerings to help reach those who need relief and flexibility with meeting housing costs."

Jetty Rent loans are made by Cross River Bank, an Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC. All new Jetty Deposit bonds are backed by Farmers Insurance®.

* Source: NMHC Rent Payment Tracker 
** Source: NMHC Top 50 Apartment Managers

About Jetty
Jetty is the financial services platform on a mission to make renting a home more affordable and flexible. Jetty's integrated suite of products helps property managers increase lease conversions, improve resident retention, reduce bad debt, and boost NOI. For renters, Jetty decreases the financial burden of moving into a new home and offers greater flexibility with how and when to pay rent. To learn more about Jetty, visit jetty.com.

Contact
Jetty
Alex Vlasto
alex.vlasto@jetty.com


2021 Finovate award winner for top emerging tech Company goes to Synctera

We're excited to announce our disruptive fintech innovation portfolio company Synctera has been awarded the Finovate 2021 Top Emerging Tech Company Award. Which is given to a fintech startup two years old or younger that is the most likely to become the next fintech unicorn.

Synctera is just getting started with its rapid trajectory as the leading marketplace for banks and fintech platforms to partner, and we can't wait to share all the exciting things ahead. Make sure to reach out to our team if you have any questions or would like to connect to build a collaborative partnership as a bank or fintech CONNECT HERE with an expert

Synctera makes it easy for community banks and FinTechs to find their perfect match and work together.

2021 Finovate Award Winners Unveiled

Today we’re busting out the virtual confetti to announce the winners of the 2021 Finovate Awards, recognizing excellence in fintech across 25 different categories. This is the third annual Finovate Awards competition, which aims to highlight strong work done by the companies who are driving fintech innovation forward and the individuals who are bringing new ideas to life.

We may not get to congratulate the award winners with handshakes this year, but that doesn’t make the accomplishments any less compelling. These companies and individuals have proven that they have what it takes to capture the attention of the fintech world through standout products, services, and overall excellence.

Judges for the awards include media analysts, board members, bankers, fintech founders, and more. Each were given the difficult task of taking a record number of nominations and distilling them down to just a single winner in each category.

  • Top Emerging Tech Company: Synctera
  • Best Alternative Investments Platform: Pipe
  • Best Back-Office / Core Service Provider: MANTL
  • Best Consumer Lending Platform: Salary Finance
  • Best Customer Experience Solution: TMRW by UOB
  • Best Digital Bank: Oxygen
  • Best Digital Mortgage Platform: LendingHome
  • Best Embedded Finance Solution: ApexEdge
  • Best Enterprise Payments Solution: GoCardless
  • Best Financial Mobile App: Simplifi by Quicken
  • Best Fintech Accelerator/Incubator: Financial Solutions Lab
  • Best Fintech Partnership: T-Mobile and BM Technologies
  • Best ID Management Solution: IDology
  • Best Insurtech Solution: FloodFlash
  • Best Mobile Payments Solution: Simpl
  • Best RegTech Solution: Featurespace
  • Best SMB/SME Banking Solution: Ramp
  • Best Use of AI/ML: Zest AI
  • Best Wealth Management Solution: Charles Schwab
  • Excellence in Financial Inclusion: Airtel Money
  • Excellence in Pandemic Response: Biz2Credit
  • Excellence in Sustainability: BlocPower
  • Executive of the Year: Barbara Morgan, FIS
  • Fintech Woman of the Year: Jo Ann Barefoot
  • Innovator of the Year: Jon Schlossberg

While only one company can win each category, it’s also worth recognizing the quality of all of the finalists who made it to the last stage in the process.

We owe a huge thank you to the panel of judges, followers, and everyone who took the time to submit a nomination. Congratulations to the winners!


Ecommerce fulfillment tech and services provider MasonHub opens East coast fulfillment center

The new 200,000 square-foot facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsilvania complements MasonHub's West Coast fulfillment operations. Tripling their capacity and enabling two day shipping in the United States.

MasonHub's new East Coast fulfillment center in Wilkes-Barre, PA boasts 200,000 square feet of space within close proximity of New York City and the densely populated Northeast corridor. The facility triples MasonHub's capacity and enables two-day shipping to 90 percent of the U.S. MasonHub's West Coast facility and headquarters are in Los Angeles, CA.

MasonHub, a game-changing provider of fulfillment technology and services founded by retail operations veteran Donny Salazar, has opened a 200,000-square-foot East Coast fulfillment center in Wilkes-Barre, PA, enabling two-day ground shipping to 90 percent of U.S. customers. The custom-built facility is close to New York City and within the densely populated Northeast corridor, making it the optimal bicoastal complement to MasonHub's Los Angeles headquarters.

With this new facility, MasonHub gives its clients advanced order-routing capabilities based on the location of available inventory and transit time to the customer. In the future, this technology will allow MasonHub to automatically recommend the best inventory distribution throughout its network and recommend the fastest and most cost-effective way to route returns. Both facilities are fully owned and operated by MasonHub, and offer ambient temperature-controlled storage.

"In this day and age, fast shipping and low-cost delivery are table stakes. An East Coast facility is critical to meeting customers' needs as we continue to build our network of fulfillment centers," said MasonHub CEO Salazar.

In 2018, MasonHub raised $6.5M in seed funding led by Canvas Ventures, enabling the opening of a 100,000 sqf fulfillment center in Los Angeles' Inland Empire. Along with its cutting-edge technology and hands-on fulfillment services focused on the specific needs of fast-growing omnichannel retailers, MasonHub is modernizing the multi-billion U.S. third-party logistics industry.

As retailers search for a more cohesive way to connect and manage the disparate systems required for omnichannel distribution, MasonHub delivers with an easy-to-use, powerful order management system and an integration platform focused on fulfillment, paired with highly personalized customer service boasting an industry-leading NPS score of 78. Built by retailers for retailers, MasonHub is engineered to scale with fast-growing companies and take the guesswork out of connecting multiple sales channels.

About MasonHub, Inc.: 
Founded in Los Angeles in 2018 by Stanford Graduate School of Business alumnus and retail operations veteran Donny Salazar, MasonHub, Inc. (www.masonhub.co), is an omnichannel fulfillment technology and services company revolutionizing the third-party logistics industry. Built from the ground up by retail veterans and innovators, MasonHub employs cutting-edge technology to meet the specific needs of fast-growing omnichannel retailers. Its high-touch, personalized service includes a user-friendly interface that provides clients with complete and real-time data visibility. MasonHub is supported by a seed round of $6.5M led by Canvas Ventures.


Corelight cybersecurity closes $75 Million Series D Funding with Energy Impact Partners, H.I.G. Growth Partners, CrowdStrike and Capital One Ventures

We are thrilled to announce joining Corelight's Series D round and disruptive cybersecurity innovation journey with world-class investors Energy Impact Partners, H.I.G. Growth Partners, CrowdStrike, Gaingels and Capital One Ventures.

Also Read:

Corelight secures $75M Series D to bolster its network defense offering - TechCrunch

Follow Corelight on Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube 

 

Corelight, provider of the industry’s first open network detection and response (NDR) platform, today announced it has raised $75 million in Series D investment led by Energy Impact Partners (EIP).

Previous investors AccelGeneral CatalystInsight Partners and Osage University Partners also joined the round, as well as new investor H.I.G. Growth Partners, and strategic investment from Capital One VenturesCrowdStrike Falcon Fund, and Gaingels. Corelight has raised a total of $160 million to date, with this latest round fueling acceleration of both global market presence and development of new data and cloud offerings.

Corelight is the fastest-growing NDR platform, serving defenders in some of the world’s largest financial institutions, retail and healthcare organizations, critical infrastructure providers, and government agencies. Building on more than 20 years of open source development and community-driven insight, Corelight provides security teams with the world’s best network evidence so they can close investigations quickly, even when incidents go back years.

“This latest investment is a powerful affirmation not only of the network detection and response category, but also of our open-source heritage, data-centric approach, and commitment to customer success,” said Brian Dye, CEO of Corelight. “I am grateful for our investors’ partnership as we help organizations around the world move to a data-driven security strategy.”

Lead investor EIP is a global investment platform backed by a large coalition of forward-looking utilities and industrial partners and focused on investing in cybersecurity, digital transformation, utility infrastructure and the broader energy transition.

“EIP’s focus on critical infrastructure providers is highly aligned with both our mission and market traction,” said Dye. “Helping these institutions defend against increasingly sophisticated attackers is essential given their role in society and the economy.”

“Corelight’s strong NDR technology, rooted in open source, has had a significant impact across industries and is rapidly becoming the de-facto standard for sophisticated defenders,” said Shawn Cherian, partner at EIP. “We look forward to supporting them as they expand their existing footprint within the sustainable energy, manufacturing and other critical infrastructure sectors.”

New investor H.I.G. Growth Partners is the dedicated growth capital investment affiliate of H.I.G. Capital and focuses on certain high-growth sectors where it has extensive in-house expertise such as technology, healthcare, internet and media, consumer products, and technology-enabled financial and business services.

“Corelight helps some of the world’s most advanced companies protect and secure their networks from cyber threats,” said Scott Hilleboe, managing director at H.I.G. Growth Partners. “By leveraging Zeek, the industry’s leading open-source data platform, Corelight is uniquely positioned to help security operations teams become more efficient in threat inspection, response, and remediation. We have been incredibly impressed by the company’s exceptional growth and are excited to partner with a world-class organization.”

Strategic investments signal solid support for Corelight’s Open NDR strategy and the company’s commitment to diversity

“These strategic investors mirror our strategy, market focus, and values as an organization,” said Dye. “Each brings a unique perspective that will improve our ability to deliver data-centric security.”

The CrowdStrike Falcon Fund focuses on both early-stage and strategic investments in companies that are building solutions that integrate with the CrowdStrike Falcon® platform.

“Corelight and CrowdStrike’s strong shared commitment to data-centric security makes this a strong fit within the Falcon Fund portfolio,” said Michael Sentonas, CTO at CrowdStrike. “We are excited to support Corelight’s continued innovation in the NDR category and the growth of their new data and cloud offerings. As cyber threats increase in number and complexity, the importance of solutions like Corelight have never been greater, providing increased visibility and comprehensive data that allows organizations to identify vulnerabilities and resolve security issues faster.”

Capital One Ventures is a strategic investor, funding startups that are driving the future of data, technology and financial services, including cybersecurity companies.

“We root our decisions on which companies we invest in based on the impact we believe those companies will have on their customers,” said Jay Emmanuel, partner at Capital One Ventures. “Partnering with Corelight in this round is a natural extension of the work we have been doing with open source NDR tools and the investments we have been making in strong cyber security solutions. We are thrilled to work with Corelight on new opportunities.”

Gaingels is the leading investment syndicate in support of and representing the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the venture capital space. Gaingels invests in companies with LGBTQ+ founders and C-suite leaders at all stages of growth, as well as in other high-growth companies resolved on building more inclusive teams.

“As the largest investor network focused on supporting and investing in the best venture-backed companies that embrace and value diverse leadership, including LGBTQ+, Gaingels is proud to be participating in this financing round with Corelight,” said Lorenzo Thione, managing director of Gaingels. “Our team is resolved on helping the company grow and scale while strengthening its prospects of success by building a culture that reflects the diversity of its executive teams, staff and customers.”

Corelight is continuing to invest in hiring diverse talent across all levels of the business around the globe. More information on job openings can be found on the Corelight careers page.

About Corelight

Corelight provides security teams with network evidence so they can protect the world’s most critical organizations and companies. Corelight’s global customers include Fortune 500 companies, major government agencies, and large research universities. The company has received investment support from Accel, General Catalyst, Insight Partners and Osage University Partners. Based in San Francisco, Corelight is an open-core security company founded by the creators of Zeek, the widely-used network security technology. For more information, www.corelight.com.

About Energy Impact Partners

Energy Impact Partners (EIP) is a global investment platform leading the transition to a sustainable energy future. EIP brings together entrepreneurs and the world's most forward-looking energy and industrial companies to advance innovation. With over $2.0 billion in assets under management, EIP invests globally across venture, growth, credit and infrastructure – and has a team of more than 50 professionals based in its offices in New York, San Francisco, Palm Beach, London, Cologne, and soon Oslo. For more information, visit www.energyimpactpartners.com.

About H.I.G. Growth Partners

H.I.G. Growth Partners is the dedicated growth capital investment affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a leading global alternative investment firm with $45 billion of equity capital under management. H.I.G. Growth seeks to make both majority and minority investments in strong, growth-oriented businesses located throughout North America, Europe and Latin America. H.I.G. Growth Partners considers investments across all industries but focuses on certain high-growth sectors where it has extensive in-house expertise such as technology, healthcare, internet and media, consumer products and technology-enabled financial and business services. H.I.G. Growth strives to work closely with its management teams to serve as an experienced resource, providing broad-based strategic, operational, recruiting, and financial management services from a vast in-house team and a substantial network of third-party relationships. For more information, please refer to the H.I.G. website at www.HIGgrowth.com.


AllStripes Raises $50 Million Series B round to transform rare disease research led by Lux Capital

We are very excited to partici[tae in Allstripes Series B, and be a part of their incredible disruptive health tech innovation, and approach to leveraging one of our favorite collective data intelligence themes. Real first-party data from patients or audience participants enables companies to effect meaningful change and impact. Especially in the case of Allstripes and their mission to make a difference for rare disease patients by enabling them to be a part of the solution by sharing their data for their community. The future solutions are the companies that develop the technology to be able to aggregate direct data and apply artificial intelligence to extract metrics and solve problems.

Follow Allstripes journey on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Youtube

From the Allstripes Blog!

The AllStripes team is thrilled to announce we’ve raised $50 million in Series B financing to greatly expand our impact and continue building the leading research platform in rare diseases.

This support will make it possible for us to launch 100 new rare disease research programs, grow our global reach to include more communities and develop new features for patients, families and our research partners.

AllStripes’ mission is to unlock new treatments for people affected by rare disease, and we are grateful to have the support of a passionate community, partners and backers.

The B financing is led by Lux Capital, and includes a strong coalition of funders and angel investors, including Leila Zegna, Director of the Kabuki Syndrome Foundation. We’re incredibly proud that our investors have recognized the progress we’ve made and are thankful for their continued support of our vision to transform rare disease research. For more investor details you can check out the full press release.

In addition to expanding our impact, this new funding will enable technology and data automation enhancements to improve research insights, and allow us to invest in growing our dedicated team working to make rare disease research faster and better.

“Beginning research on a rare condition can feel like being dropped into a new world without a map and we are on a mission to change that with data,” said Nancy Yu, CEO and Co-founder of AllStripes. “This investment will allow us to better support the rare disease community, where each person’s experience is essential to understanding disease progression — ultimately leading to new treatments for rare disease patients around the globe.”

Bringing Communities and Researchers Together

AllStripes is currently partnering with more than 30 patient advocacy organizations across 40 conditions, with more than 3,000 patients and families using our platform to access their own records and contribute to current or future research.

As we look to this next stage of growth and adding 100 new research programs, we are uniquely positioned to continue bringing together patient communities, researchers and drug companies to move research forward.

These joint research programs aim to enhance clinical understanding of rare disease treatment research. In one recent example, AllStripes and the University of Pennsylvania’s Orphan Disease Center are focused on clinical understanding of Lesch-Nyhan disease and Crigler Najjar syndrome type 1, with the goal of facilitating therapeutic discovery for both conditions.

“There are more than 7,000 rare diseases and only 5 percent have treatments. By working with AllStripes, we hope to improve the number of treatments available by accelerating research for rare diseases,” said James M. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., Rose H. Weiss Professor and Director of the Orphan Disease Center; Director, Gene Therapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania; Professor in Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine.

Becoming a Public Benefit Corporation

As we mark this funding milestone, AllStripes is also reaffirming our ongoing commitment to the rare disease community and pledging to embody our mission and values in all of our operations.

This month, AllStripes officially became a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), with a stated purpose to drive forward research for the rare disease community and create technology to break down research silos. A Public Benefit Corporation is a company that weighs social good in its business decision-making.

As part of our PBC structure, AllStripes will advocate for the importance of real-world evidence in the development of treatments and is continuing to build tools that make research more inclusive for the global rare disease community. For more information on AllStripes as a Public Benefit Corporation, read our full PBC charter.

A Thank You to Our Partners and Collaborators

We would like to thank the communities that have come together on AllStripes, especially the incredible AllStripes Ambassadors and dedicated patient organizations who have helped rally their communities to further research. We are proud to partner with Allo Hope Foundation, Angioma Alliance, Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, Batten Disease Support and Research Association, The Chandler Project, Children’s Tumor Foundation, the CLOVES Syndrome Community, Cure GM1 Foundation, Cure IBM, Cure Sanfilippo Foundation, Cure VCP Disease, Cure Mito Foundation, Cystinosis Research Network, Firefly Fund, GoPI3Ks, IDefine, the International Foundation for CDKL5 Research, International Society for Mannosidosis and Related Diseases, Love Never Sinks, Lymphangiomatosis & Gorham’s Disease Alliance, MitoAction, Morquio Community, Myositis Support and Understanding, National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation, National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association, NF2 Biosolutions, Niemann-Pick Canada, PSP & CBD Foundation, SLC6A1 Connect, Stand by Eli and WonderFIL Smiles.

AllStripes is also proud to collaborate with various biopharmaceutical companies and other entities on real-world evidence studies, including: HemoShear Therapeutics, Inc., Orphan Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Taysha Gene Therapies, Inc., UCB Biopharma SRL and Novartis Pharma AG. These joint research programs aim to enhance clinical understanding of rare disease treatment research.

If you are part of a patient organization interested in partnering with AllStripes, please reach out to community@allstripes.com. If you are with a life sciences company and are interested in collaborating on research, please visit allstripes.com/partner to request a demo.


Shopping delivery service AirLift raises record $85 Million series B for startups in Pakistan

AirLift raised a record Series B to accelerate its rapid growth and international expansion. Setting them up for a Series C and unicorn statues in the next 3-6 months. The company is now the fastest-growing company in the MENA region with its quick commerce logistics platform.

Usman Gul, co-founder and chief executive officer at Airlift Technologies Pvt Ltd., discusses the company’s latest funding round, his business strategy, and the startup scene in Pakistan. He spoke exclusively on “Bloomberg Markets: Asia.”

Airlift Technologies CEO on Funding Round, Pakistan Startups

AirLift Crunchbase | LinkedIn | Twitter

Pakistan’s Airlift raises $85 million for its quick commerce startup, eyes international expansion

Manish Singh for TechCrunch original article

A one-year-old startup that is attempting to build the railroads for e-commerce in Pakistan has just secured a mega-round of funding in a major boost to the South Asia nation’s nascent startup ecosystem.

Airlift operates a quick commerce service in eight cities, including Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad in Pakistan. Users can order groceries, fresh produce, and other essential items, including medicines, as well as sports goods from the Airlift website or app and have it delivered to them in 30 minutes.

The startup said on Wednesday that it has raised $85 million in its Series B financing round at a valuation of $275 million. Harry Stebbings of 20VC and Josh Buckley of Buckley Ventures co-led the financing round, which is by far the largest for a Pakistani startup.

Sam Altman, former president of Y Combinator; Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and Medium; Steve Pagliuca, co-chairman of Bain Capital; Jeffrey Katzenberg, ex-chief executive of Disney and Quibi; and Taavet Hinrikus, founder and chief executive of TransferWise also participated in the new round, which brings the startup’s to-date raise to $110 million.

Stanley Tang, co-founder of DoorDash; Simon Borrero, founder and chief executive of Rappi; Bastian Lehmann, founder and chief executive of Postmates; Quiet Capital and Indus Valley Capital also participated in the new round.

Airlift started as a transit business, building a service similar to Uber for air conditioned-buses in Pakistan. The startup quickly amassed traction, clocking over 35,000 rides a day. And then the pandemic arrived, disrupting all mobility in the country.

That’s when Usman Gul, the founder and chief executive of Airlift, took the call to pivot to quick commerce, he told TechCrunch in an interview.

“This entire space of quick commerce is on the brink of global transformation. Airlift is in the forefront for leading that transformation in Asia and Africa,” he said. Gul said he plans to expand the service to many international markets in the next few months.

Airlift website

“Airlift’s early traction in Pakistan is a window into the future for how quick commerce will play out in the developing world,” said Altman in a statement.

Airlift today operates more than 30 dark stores and processes hundreds of thousands of orders each month.

Gul said the startup has found that setting up these fulfillment centers is the most efficient way to serve the market. “The more middlemen you introduce in this chain between the items and the customers, you begin to compromise the experience,” he said.

Within the first 12 months of launch, Airlift has been able to reduce its cost of blended customer acquisition to $5 and unit costs to $2.50, it said.

Gul said the startup, which today employs over 100 people, plans to expand to more categories, including electronics. “The idea is to expand to new categories and build the railroads to move consumer goods from manufacturers to consumers,” said Gul.

He left his job at DoorDash and moved back to Pakistan to start Airlift. “The idea was to create impact at the base of the pyramid and solve problems that would enrich millions of lives — for whom change is desperately needed. That drove my transition frankly,” he said.

“Transparently, when I first met Usman, I knew this was an entrepreneur who was going to create an industry-defining company. Humble, ambitious and strategic, Usman will be one of the great founders of this generation,” said Stebbings in a statement.

 


Octane digital lending closes $52M series D at a $900M valuation with Progressive, Valar & Citi Ventures

We are excited to announce our joining the Octane series D round with Gaingels. The company serves a large underserved market for consumers who are passionate about recreation and the great outdoors. Its a vast market that's ripe for Octane to disrupt lead its digital transformation.

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Octane Acquires the Motorcycle Group from Bonnier Corp. Media Brands include Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Dirt Rider, Motorcycle Cruiser, UTV Driver, ATV Rider, and Cycle Volta.

Series D Is Earmarked to Scale Octane's Buying Solution for Major Recreational Purchases

Octane Lending Inc. (Octane), the industry leader in digital products supporting consumers, dealerships, and OEMs throughout the buying journey for major recreational purchases, today announced it has raised $52 million in Series D funding. Progressive Investment Company, Inc., a member of the Progressive Insurance ® group, led the round, with participation from existing investors Valar Ventures, Upper90, Contour Venture Partners, Citi Ventures, Third Prime and Parkwood as well as new investors Gaingels and ALIVE. This brings the company's valuation to over $900 million with over $192 million in total equity funding raised to date.

The new round of financing will further Octane's mission to connect people with their passion. Octane is the only fintech in its verticals that enables transactions from start to finish, including editorial content, consumer prequalification tools, instant full-spectrum financing and digital deal closing. Octane is growing quickly because it makes purchases faster and simpler for consumers and dealers. The new capital will be used to scale Octane's buying solution for consumers shopping for powersports vehicles online, grow its family of 3,800 dealership partners and 40 OEM and brand partners—which include BRP, Suzuki, and Triumph Motorcycles—and expand to adjacent markets.

"We're thrilled to embark on the next phase of growth backed by Progressive Insurance and our existing partners, who wholeheartedly believe in our mission of connecting people with their passion," said CEO Jason Guss. "We are winning in the market because we offer a faster lending experience that also covers more consumers than competitors, and we engage shoppers earlier in the process to streamline transactions."

Octane makes major recreational purchases seamless by adding value at each stage in the buying journey. Octane does this by inspiring and informing enthusiasts through media brands such as Cycle World and UTV Driver, acquired in 2020 along with five other titles, prequalifying consumers instantly on dealer and OEM websites and helping consumers find a dealership for a simple closing experience. Partnerships with select OEMs enable Octane to offer loans with promotional rates through its in-house lender, Roadrunner Financial.

"We're excited for the opportunity to invest in Octane," said Andrew Quigg, Chief Strategy Officer at Progressive Insurance. "Technology and consumers' needs continue to evolve and Octane's point-of-sale loan origination platform provides benefits to consumers and dealerships in a specialty segment of the lending market. We like to partner with innovative, forward-thinking companies and believe that our investment in Octane aligns very well with this strategy."

When embedded on partnered dealership and OEM websites, Octane's prequalification product has a customer Net Promoter Score of 90 and has increased conversion rates by as much as 7X. Meanwhile, Octane's point-of-sale offerings enable finance managers at dealerships to close installment loans in as few as five minutes. Octane expects to originate over $1 billion in the next 12 months, has doubled revenue annually for three years, and is net-income and cash-flow positive.

About Octane:
Octane offers instant financing to fuel your lifestyle. Octane dramatically simplifies and accelerates the transaction process for large recreational purchases such as motorcycles, ATVs, and zero-turn lawn mowers with automated underwriting, innovative credit products, and financing, through our in-house lender Roadrunner Financial. Octane reaches millions of enthusiasts through editorial brands like Cycle World and UTV Driver and helps consumers buy their favorite products by prequalifying them on dealer and OEM websites. Octane is revolutionizing lending in underserved verticals that account for tens of billions of dollars in annual transactions.

Octane is a remote-first workplace with offices in NY and Dallas. It has grown its team by 50% in the last year, from 213 to 336 employees, and continues to actively recruit top talent. To learn more about career opportunities and view openings, please visit the careers page on www.octane.co.

Contact: Justine FuchsOctane@n6a.com

SOURCE Octane Lending Inc.


Argentine fintech Ualá closes $350M series D at a $2.45B valuation in SoftBank, Tencent-led round

The venture capital dollars keep flowing into Latin America as disruptive innovation drives global digital transformation around the globe. We're investing in disruptors in LATAM and other global markets who are building the digital infrastructure. We are excited to join the Uala round and journey as they scale into being the fintech platform for LATAM and the United States Latina America population.

Today, Argentine personal finance management app Ualá announced it has raised $350 million in a Series D round at a post-money valuation of $2.45 billion.

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Argentina's Uala buys Billionaire Eurnekian's Digital Bank - Bloomberg

Tencent, SoftBank-led funding pushes Argentina's Uala to $2.45 bln valuation

(Reuters) - China's online giant, Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), and SoftBank Group Corp's (9984.T) Latin America-focused fund led an investment round for Argentine firm Uala which took its valuation to $2.45 billion, the fintech company said on Friday.

The $350 million investment comes several months after Uala announced its expansion into Mexico, as it tries to capitalize on the interest around the fast-growing fintech industry in Latin America.

Launched in October 2017, Uala offers a Mastercard branded prepaid card and an app that allows users access to a number of financial services including sending and receiving money, online shopping, withdrawing cash at ATMs and requesting loans.

The digital banking startup, founded by Harvard University graduate Pierpaolo Barbieri, has a headcount of 1,000, and aims to raise it to 1,500 by the end of the year. In an interview in May, Barbieri said Uala could eventually expand into Peru, Paraguay, Colombia, Chile, United States and Europe.

In June, the company said it had issued more than three million Mastercard branded prepaid cards in Argentina. Uala is also trying to expand through the acquisition of rival Wilobank, the first fully digital bank approved by the central bank in Argentina.

Investment giant SoftBank has doubled down on its bets in South America, with the Japanese conglomerate investing in startups including Mexico's Clip and Brazil's Creditas. read more

Nubank, the Brazilian digital bank backed by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N), is also gearing up for a U.S. listing that could be one of the biggest market debuts of a South American company. read more

Uala's latest round included existing investors Goldman Sachs (GS.N), venture capital firms Ribbit Capital and Greyhound Capital and billionaire George Soros' investment firm, Soros Fund Management.

New investors D1 Capital Partners and 166 2nd, a fund created by WeWork (BOWX.O) co-founder Adam Neumann, also participated in the round.


Craft Aerospace’s eVTOL aircraft could upend local air travel

We are excited to announce our joining Craft Aerospace Technologies $3.5M seed round with Calm Ventures, Deep Ventures, Soma Capital and Countdown Capital as the company heads to Y Combinators summer 21 demo day.

Air taxis may still be pie in the sky, but there’s more than one way to move the air travel industry forward. Craft Aerospace, with $3.5M in funding, aims to do so with a totally new vertical takeoff and landing aircraft that it believes could make city-to-city hops simpler, faster, cheaper and greener.

The aircraft — which, to be clear, is still in small-scale prototype form — uses a new VTOL technique that redirects the flow of air from its engines using flaps rather than turning them (like the well-known, infamously unstable Osprey), making for a much more robust and controllable experience.

Co-founder James Dorris believes that this fast, stable VTOL craft is the key that unlocks a new kind of regional air travel, eschewing major airports for minor ones or even heliports. Anyone that’s ever had to take a flight that lasts under an hour knows that three times longer is spent in security lines, gate walks and, of course, getting to and from these necessarily distant major airports.

“We’re not talking about flying wealthy people to the mall — there are major inefficiencies in major corridors,” Dorris told TechCrunch. “The key to shortening that delay is picking people up in cities and dropping them off in cities. So for these short hops, we need to combine the advantages of fixed-wing aircraft and VTOL.”

The technique they arrived at is what’s called a “blown wing” or “deflected slipstream.” It looks a bit like something you’d see on the cover of a vintage science fiction rag, but the unusual geometry and numerous rotors serve a purpose.

The basic principle of a blown wing has been explored before now but never done on a production aircraft. You simply place a set of (obviously extremely robust) flaps directly behind the thrust, where they can be tilted down and into the exhaust stream, directing the airflow downward. This causes the craft to rise upward, then forward, and as it gets enough airspeed it can retract the flaps, letting the engines operate normally and driving the craft forward to produce ordinary lift.

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