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NEW YORK TIMES
For Robots, It’s a Time to Shine (and Maybe Disinfect)

Indeed, cleaning robots are having a moment in commercial real estate. Their creators are promoting the machines as cost-effective solutions to the cleaning challenges posed by the pandemic. They can be put to frequent use without requiring more paid labor hours, they are always compliant, and some can even provide the data to prove that they have scoured every inch assigned.


. . .


Somatic, a start-up in New York, is working on a robot that can clean bathrooms using a spray technology, said Michael Levy, the chief executive. Removing a human cleaner from the bathroom makes the area safer because of the reduced risk of spreading germs, Mr. Levy said. And the robot will always do the job exactly as it is programmed to do.

“You have to let the chemicals set to do their job, but compliance is tough in the industry,” Mr. Levy said. “If you tell a robot to leave the chemicals for 36 seconds, they leave the chemicals for 36 seconds every single time.”

ADEXCHANGER
C2 Ventures’ First Investment Boostr Raises $7M At Triple The Valuation

The tech investment fund C2 Ventures (C2V), founded by mobile ad tech entrepreneur Chris Cunningham, said Monday that one of its previous investments – Boostr – raised $7 million, at a valuation that triples what it had last year.


Boostr founder and CEO Patrick O’Leary did not disclose terms of the deal or the company’s exact valuation.

Boostr is a software solution for sales planning and revenue management.


C2V, which is backed by a deep bench of programmatic and digital media execs including Snap VP of sales Peter Naylor, former IAB President Patrick Dolan and Spotify engineering VP Brian Adams, invested a low six-digit seed round in Boostr last year.


C2V is investing in the new round in Boostr as well, Cunningham said. It’s the fund’s first investment in a larger venture capital round.

TECHCRUNCH
This startup streamlines the pro bono work of lawyers, including those fighting for immigrants at the border

Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday were on very different paths until three years ago. Conrad was an associate at the powerhouse law firm Skadden Arps. Meanwhile, Sonday, a Princeton grad and the first person in her family to go to college, was reflecting on the several years she’d spent with the U.S. Department of Justice in Mexico City, working to extradite fugitives.


As it happens, both were coming to similar conclusions about the U.S. legal system, including that it’s especially challenging for people who don’t speak English. For Conrad, an opportunity to litigate a pro bono asylum case would set her on a path of wanting to do more for people fleeing persecution from their own countries. For Sonday, the experience of working with foreign governments had a similar impact.

YOUTUBE
Rens Original Review Most Innovative Sneaker Of 2020

This sneaker unboxing has one of the most innovative sneakers of 2020. Rens originals is the worlds 1st coffee sneaker made from recycled plastic and coffee grounds. With so many color ways and a anniversary sale happening now as we speak head over to rens original to buy you some sneakers now. [Video]

CHEDDAR
Otari Smart Fitness Mat Uses A.I. to Give You Adjustments in Real Time

Chris Kruger, CEO & co-founder of Otari, joins 'Cheddar Innovates' to show how this smart yoga mat can change the future of the fitness industry. [Video]

CBS19-NEWS
Otari Announces Launch of AI-Enabled Yoga and Fitness Mat

Otari is thrilled to announce the launch of their innovative AI-enabled yoga mat this spring.


This first-of-its kind mat is attached to a large flat screen, allowing users to take live or on-demand classes with industry-leading yoga, strength, and cardio instructors.


Otari is equipped with a moveable, magnetic camera arm that uses sensors to scan the user’s body as they complete their workout routines. Otari’s AI analyzes the user’s movements and delivers real time feedback and pose corrections. Each class is tracked on the user’s personal dashboard, enabling them to track their class-over-class progress.


Otari’s community features include group challenges and competitions. “Inclusivity is one of Otari’s guiding principles”, Otari CEO Chris Kruger said in a briefing earlier this week, “Otari was created to be a supportive option for those who have felt intimidated, excluded, or inconvenienced by traditional in-person studio classes”.

NEW YORK TIMES
Golfers Embrace CBD, Even as Its Gentility Is Questioned

PGA and Champions Tour players have become more vocal about using CBD to treat their ailments since the compound was removed from banned substances list in 2018.


Billy Horschel went six months without a top-eight finish last year before he found a remedy for his ailing golf game from a surprising source: the hemp plant. Horschel, a five-time PGA Tour winner, began using cannabidiol, or CBD, products shortly after he missed the cut at the British Open in July. He had four top-eight finishes in the next four months and was playing some of the most consistent golf of his career before the season was suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Horschel, the 2014 FedEx Cup champion, is convinced that the CBD-infused topical creams and powders produced by the company Beam have contributed to his return to top form by increasing his quality of sleep and decreasing inflammation in his knees and ankles. So bullish is Horschel on the products, he recently became an investor in Beam.

TECHCRUNCH
A new pro bono portal just launched for lawyers looking to help people hit hard by the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has laid low a lot of Americans, more than 62,000 of whom have already died since the beginning of March and 30 million more who are now out of work owing to the resultant shutdown of most businesses and public gathering places.


The ensuant crisis it has created is so massive that any type of coordinated effort is a challenge to pull together. Fortunately, that hasn’t stopped the American Bar Association and a justice tech company called Paladin that we introduced to readers last year. On the contrary, the SaaS startup — which helps legal teams sign up for pro bono opportunities, then makes their work and its impact easier to track — has teamed up with the ABA to help lawyers find pro bono opportunities specifically to help people affected by the coronavirus pandemic and other natural disasters.


It’s a way to accelerate work that the ABA has been doing for the last 13 years through its Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services Program — because time, right now, is of the essence.

BLOOMBERG LAW
ABA, Paladin Launch Pro Bono Portal for Those Hit by Virus

The American Bar Association’s Disaster Legal Services Program and justice tech company Paladin launched an online portal enabling lawyers to find pro bono opportunities to help people affected by the coronavirus pandemic and other natural disasters.


“The COVID-19 public health crisis has made the need for a nationwide Disaster Legal Services pro bono portal more apparent than ever,” said ABA President Judy Perry Martinez in a statement Thursday. “Streamlining our volunteer recruitment and referral process means connecting those in need following a disaster to volunteer attorneys as quickly as possible.”


The ABA’s Young Lawyers Division’s Disaster Legal Services Program and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been providing free, immediate temporary legal assistance to disaster survivors since 2007.

WFMZ-TV
Magellan AI: How Coronavirus Has Impacted Podcast Advertising

Magellan AI, the podcast industry's leading provider of ad level data, has released a whitepaper outlining the impact coronavirus is having on the podcast industry's advertising landscape. While many analytics companies have addressed the change in podcast consumption, to date there hasn't been a report addressing advertising activity and spend. This report does so. In this whitepaper we explore the following:

  • What's happening in the market overall?

  • Which advertiser categories have increased or decreased spend?

  • Which podcast genres have seen the biggest changes in ad revenue?

  • How has COVID-19 changed the content of podcasts?

  • How have podcast hosts incorporated coronavirus into their ad reads?

  • Which advertisers have been ramping up spending in response to coronavirus?

FORBES
Billy Horschel Invests In Beam—Believes The Boston Company Will Become ‘The Nike’ Of The CBD World

Athletes looking to take a break from all their worries over prescription painkillers and anyone who’s hankering to try out the new cannabinoid-based treatments for their conditions (without worrying about potentially getting dosed with some THC) can now turn to beam.

FORBES
Self-Professed ‘Hippie’ Danica Patrick Invests In CBD Wellness Company

With Americans largely confined to their homes and the stress of the coronavirus pandemic a daily strain on the mind and body, maybe now more than ever engaging in wellness could be key to making or breaking many people.


So maybe it should come as no surprise that some current and former athletes are becoming more actively engaged in the wellness business channel. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the market was worth $4.5 trillion in 2018.


While many athletes may lend their brand to certain products, former NASCAR and IndyCar driver Danica Patrick is well aligned with wellness—so much so that she has invested in beam, a CBD company. While she won’t say how large her stake is, Patrick was part of a $5 million seed investment in beam.

PEOPLE
Danica Patrick on Investing in CBD — and How She and Aaron Rodgers Are Handling Self-Isolation

Danica Patrick is all-in on promoting health and wellness — and now, she’s doing that by investing in something she says really works: CBD.


Patrick invested in company Beam, which sells pharmaceutical-grade products made with natural ingredients and THC-free CBD oil, she announced this week.


“I just think that it’s part of investing in your health,” she says of her involvement in Beam.


Patrick says Beam is “special” because its founders Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran are, too, ex-athletes — the former a hockey player and the latter a baseball player.

USA TODAY
5 questions with Danica Patrick about why she invested in a CBD company

Danica Patrick’s post-NASCAR career is largely about health, fitness and self-improvement. Her book and her podcast, both titled Pretty Intense, focus on those themes, and lately, in addition to regularly posting her workout routines on social media, she’s been leading workouts on Instagram Live while people are social distancing because of the COVID-19 outbreak.


And Patrick’s latest business venture aligns with her brand. She recently invested in the Boston-based company beam — a wellness brand that sells organic CBD (cannabidiol) products made from hemp that are THC-free — and contributed in a $5 million seed round in September 2019.

VNEXPRESS
A Vietnamese duo in Finland making the world’s first shoes from coffee grounds have made it into Forbes's 30 Under 30 Europe listing.

Tran Bao Khanh, 28, and Chu Hoang Son, 24, co-founders of Rens Original, have been honored in the category of Social Entrepreneurs in the annual list recognizing the most influential people in Europe across various categories.


"This Vietnam-born duo is recycling them by turning discarded grounds into fresh kicks. The Helsinki-based company has sold their sneakers to individuals in over 100 countries," Forbes said.


. . .


Rens Original is a startup founded by the duo that uses residual coffee grounds as raw material for shoes, the first time ever that it has been done. Rens shoes are waterproof and odor-free. Each pair is made from 300 grams of used coffee grounds (equivalent to the remains of 21 cups of coffee) and six recycled plastic bottles.

YOUTUBE
Sneakers Made From Recycled Coffee! [rens REVIEW]

Hey y'all, my friend Nick backed a pretty awesome kickstarter, and I wanted to share his experience.  Enjoy! [Video]

TECHIDENCE
Somatic: This is Bathroom Cleaning Robot

Somatic is an autonomous robot that has been created to do the arduous task of cleaning public toilets throughout its life. In different offices in New York, it spends its days leaving the bathrooms spotless. Being a robot it doesn’t get tired or complain, even though its salary is half of what it would be paid if it were human.


Somatic’s robot is a kind of box with four wheels that has a robotic arm that vacuums and cleans the floor. It also has other smaller dispensers for pouring pressurized water, detergents and other substances onto the surfaces to be cleaned. It operates completely autonomously once the bathroom to be cleaned has been identified.

TECHCRUNCH
This bathroom cleaning robot is trained in VR to clean up after you

You’ve no doubt heard about the three Ds of automation. Somatic’s robot handily qualifies for two. I’d say “dangerous” is probably a bit of a stretch here, but the robot is well-focused on replacing a job that’s generally regarded as both “dirty” and “dull.”


The startup, which is ostensibly based in the New York area (it’s a small, geographically dispersed team in search of a more permanent home) effectively came out of stealth onstage at TC Sessions: Robotics + AI at UC Berkeley. Its first product is a large, commercial restroom cleaning robot.

EU-STARTUPS
10 promising Netherlands-based startups to watch in 2020 - 5. Kambr

It’s not all windmills, bicycles and canals. Known for its open culture, driven work ethic and the fastest broadband speed in Europe, the Netherlands is a haven for startups. Ranked at no. 3 in the EU on the 2019 Global Innovation Index, the Netherlands boasts more than 10 leading innovation hubs, all offering founders world-class incubation and acceleration. Moreover, as of 2015, entrepreneurs from outside Europe can get a 1-year “startup visa”, which affords temporary residence to launch a business, as long as they are supported by a Dutch mentor.


. . .


Kambr, founded in 2019, believes that a perfect storm has been steadily brewing to disrupt the aviation industry status quo. It sees that airline commercial operations are overdue for change, regarding airline-passenger relationships, digitalization and data management. It offers airlines software, advisory services and media expertise to keep them at the top of their game and lift their revenues. With a seed investment of more than €3.5 million in 2019, the startup has already expanded to New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.

TRIPACTIONS
10 Travel Startups to Watch in 2020 - 8. Kambr

We are thrilled to work at one of the most recognized travel startups transforming the industry today. But we thrive in part due to our colleagues who have built global businesses that are changing how we travel in radical ways. To kickstart 2020, we reflected on hundreds of conversations from the past year to understand which startups are crafting a completely new narrative for the travel industry.


. . .


Kambr is a B2B SaaS startup focused on innovation in the airline industry that recently raised $4 million in funding. Its mission is to help airlines navigate the challenges of digital transformation by lifting their revenues through operator-designed products.

As Kambr puts it, “A perfect storm has been steadily brewing to disrupt the industry status quo. The ever-evolving airline-passenger relationship, digitalization, an explosion of data sources and a host of new technologies have shaken traditional models and methods to their core.” They seek to transform airline commercial operations. Here at TripActions, we are bullish on technologies that want to bring the outdated aspects of the travel industry into the future.

MAXIM
These Pro Athlete-Approved CBD Products Will Improve Physical and Mental Wellness

A new wellness brand called beam, created by two former pro athletes, makes superior quality, THC-free CBD products designed to improve physical and mental well-being.


beam uses a patented extraction method to make CBD products pure enough to be sanctioned by world-class sporting bodies with rigorous drug-testing rules, like the World Crossfit Games. The CBD company's signature CO2 extraction method preserves not just pure, THC-free CBD oil from the hemp plant, but also maintains a range of terpenes and other botanical compounds that help beam's products work better.


Whether you're trying to get better sleep, feel less anxious or reap anti-inflammatory benefits after a workout, beam's products are designed to optimize mental and physical wellness. The Massachusetts-based beam's products are totally THC-free and are third-party tested three times prior to shipment for no THC, the accurate amount of CBD, toxins and heavy metal.

TECHCRUNCH
Obvious Ventures makes CBD sporty with beam, which sells cannabis products to the GNC set

Athletes looking to take a break from all their worries over prescription painkillers and anyone who’s hankering to try out the new cannabinoid-based treatments for their conditions (without worrying about potentially getting dosed with some THC) can now turn to beam.


The Boston-based company founded by two former athletes (who were friends at Boston College)  is pitching a product that’s 100% CBD sourced from hemp plants without any of the psychoactive ingredients that are found in tetrahydrocannabinol.

CNBC
Credit card start-up Petal raises $300 million debt round from Jefferies

Credit card start-up Petal just completed a new financing round.

The New York City-based company announced a $300 million debt round from Jefferies on Tuesday, adding to existing venture capital investments from names like Peter Thiel's Valar Ventures.


Petal offers a Visa rewards card to people with little to no credit history. Founder and CEO Jason Gross said the idea was to offer younger customers, who often haven't established credit, a rewards-based card. Instead of using a traditional FICO score, it uses other data and metrics to assess whether or not someone can repay the loans. Companies like Square, Stripe and PayPal are leaning on similar tactics to underwrite small business loans.

ADEXCHANGER
Ad Tech Vet Jason Kelly Brings Programmatic Mindset To Airline Industry

Jason Kelly is returning to his old stomping grounds, the flight travel industry, with the launch of an airline revenue management system (RMS) called Kambr, backed by a $4 million funding round.


Kelly spent a decade managing online sales and revenue for airlines before getting into advertising technology in 2007 with Rapt, a digital monetization company acquired by Microsoft a year later. Later he was CRO of Admeld when it sold to Google in 2011, CEO of the DSP Sociomantic when it sold to Tesco’s Dunnhumby in 2014 and president of SSP Millennial Media when it sold to AOL in 2015.


“This revolution happened with media and advertising technology and with retail with ecommerce, and there are principles of that to be applied in the airline industry,” Kelly said.

MARTECHSERIES
boostr Announces the End of Siloed Ad Sales and Operations with the General Release of its Omni-channel Order Management System

boostr, the first of its kind, next-generation CRM platform designed specifically for media & advertising companies, announced that its omni-channel order management system (OMS) is officially out of beta and generally available, enabling media companies to improve their revenue management.


boostr’s OMS solves challenges with order management across insertion order (IO) and programmatic sales, enabling margin protection, simplified media planning, efficiencies trafficking orders and month end close. The boostr OMS also allows for single IO across multiple ad tech systems and trafficking automation with integrations to leading ad tech platforms, including: Google Ad Manager, Rubicon, SpotX, AdX and Netsuite.

LIVEINTENT
LiveIntent Chooses Narrative to Accelerate New Onboarding Service

Partnership leverages Narrative’s automated data workflows and safe room capabilities to immediately scale LiveIntent’s ingestion and distribution of its clients’ offline and online files and provide file transfers never before possible.


LiveIntent, the people-based marketing platform, has selected Narrative to accelerate the rollout of its recently launched onboarding service that publishers and brands looking for identity independence. Narrative offered a white label experience, turnkey connectivity, and an easy-to-use interface for LiveIntent’s partners. Narrative also acts as a neutral party in support of the onboarding service.

FORBES
A Pair Of Former Pro Athletes Team Up To Get In The CBD Game

CBD oil is all the rage these days. The non-psychoactive extract of cannabis is said to do everything from reducing stress and anxiety to increasing concentration and energy levels. No longer sidelined on the fringes of alternative medicine, it has a become a mainstream lifestyle product, eclipsing over $500 million in estimated sales in 2018 alone. And now, some very established personalities are getting in on the game. 


Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran are its latest proponents. The former professional athletes joined forces this year to launch beam, a wellness brand offering pure, pharmaceutical-grade CBD made from organically grown Colorado hemp. The combination of cannabis extract and major league sports might seem curious to some, but to the nascent entrepreneurs, it's just business as usual. Here's what the have to say about an emerging industry that remains vastly misunderstood.

YAHOO
25 Best Workout and Fitness Apps to Stay Healthy in 2019

Book discounted classes last-minute with Zenrez.


What it is: Zenrez offers up empty spots in fitness classes at a discount the night before.


Why it's great: This app is the perfect way to mix up your routine with new boutique fitness classes at a discount. For example, a barre, yoga, or boot camp class you might normally pay $25 for may be available for $14 (prices vary based on the studio). Score. A new batch of classes for the following day shows up every night at 9 P.M., and it's available in most major U.S. cities. (iOS, free)

ALLEYWATCH
This NYC Startup Just Raised $3.87M to Give Denied Credit Applicants a Second Chance

For someone whose credit score is off a few points from a financial institution’s qualifying score has few options: they are either outright denied a loan or end up with an expensive financial product. But that’s changing with Bloom Credit, the financial wellness platform that provides denied applicants with a data-driven credit-building roadmap to help improve their financial health. This system analyzes credit reports to determine the cause of poor credit and it then provides a specific solution to improve customers’ scores. Customers normally become eligible for a loan within six months of using Bloom Credit.


AlleyWatch spoke with CEO and cofounder Matt Harris about the company and the process of raising capital to innovate the credit industry.


Who were your investors and how much did you raise?


Bloom Credit has raised a total of $3.87M in seed investment. Resolute Ventures led the latest investment with participation from Kindred Ventures and Slow Ventures. Earlier investors include 500 Startups through their Fintech Fund.

NASDAQ
Faces of Entrepreneurship: Mimi Chan, Founder & CEO of Littlefund

Mimi Chan is the founder & CEO of Littlefund,  a new, more intentional way for family and friends to gift savings to a fund dedicated to a child’s future goals and dreams. For instance, instead of gifting clothing that’s outgrown or toys that will be donated, family and friends can choose to gift a monetary amount that grows at 1% APY in compounding cash rewards. 


Chan took a moment to update the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center on her journey as a founder so far.


What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?


MC: Entrepreneurship means dreaming, creating, building, and sacrificing for change. I believe if you choose entrepreneurship, you are choosing to take on a mission to bring the world what you believe is missing and then, ultimately, improving the lives of others.

© 2020 C2 Ventures. All Rights Reserved.

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