Tag Archive | "urban"

WebLinc Raises $6M Series A To Expand Its Fast-Growing eCommerce Platform

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Urban Compass Raises $40M To Expand Its Apartment Marketplace Beyond NYC

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Urban Airship CEO Steps Down Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

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MakersKit Raises $1.5 Million In Seed Funding To Launch A DIY Empire

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Backed By Google Ventures And Eric Schmidt, Urban Engines Wants To Solve Urban Congestion Using Data Intelligence

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Mother’s Day: More than 27M U.S. moms on Facebook

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Facebook’s Data Science Team recently took a deep dive into Mother’s Day, finding that more than 27 million U.S. women identify as mothers, with the highest concentration of moms occurring in Wyoming.

Other fun facts about moms on Facebook:

  • The average age of all mothers on Facebook is 47, while the average age of new moms who have had a baby since last Mother’s Day is 30
  • The states with the most moms on Facebook are Wyoming, West Virginia, Iowa, South Dakota, Idaho
  • The states with the fewest moms on Facebook are New York, California, Virginia, Hawaii, New Jersey

Facebook also examined the geographical proximity between mothers and children over time.

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Sophia Amoruso To Speak At TechCrunch Disrupt NY

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Nasty Gal CEO Sophia Amoruso intently knows what it takes to build a brand online, turning her popular eBay vintage shop into a revenue opportunity worth over $100 million — and the envy of brick and mortar stores like Urban Outfitters — before she was thirty. Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

UrbanSitter Raises $15M To Harness The Power Of Social Recommendations In Child Care

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UrbanSitter, an online service for parents and sitters to connect, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by DBL Investors with participation from Match Group, a division of IAC and newly launched VC firm Aspect Ventures, as well as existing investors Canaan Partners, First Round Capital, Menlo Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners.

UrbanSitter harnesses the power of social recommendations in a space where a friend’s recommendation is critical—child care. UrbanSitter leverages Facebook Connect so parents can view sitters that their friends already know, trust and recommend. You sign up on the site, and connect your Facebook account, and can view sitters known through friends or affiliations—including schools, sports teams and parent groups.

Parents can view each sitter’s reviews, skills and certifications, experience, educational background, response time and the number of repeat families. Parents can also see profile pictures and video of sitters and availability, hourly rates and typical response times are also outlined. The bonus of using UrbanSitter is that it manages all the payments on both ends of the transaction.

Similar to how people use OpenTable for dinner reservations, parents can search for sitter availability by date and time and then book jobs (or interviews) in real-time. After the job is completed, parents can pay online and add reviews, ratings and Facebook Likes to sitter profiles. You can also search for sitters by various filters such as part-time, full-time, etc.

UrbanSitter is available in a dozen U.S. cities, and also offers mobile apps to allow parents to book sitters on the go.

To me, the power of UrbanSitter is taking the offline action of finding a babysitter through friends and recommendations, and bringing that online. Competitor Care.com, which has a broader goal of finding caregivers for kids, seniors and more, just went public at a valuation of well over $500 million so there is clearly a large opportunity here.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Apple And Others Fund $750 Million In Education Gadgets And Internet Broadband

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Major tech companies are giving away $750 million worth of products to help bridge the digital divide. During a speech earlier today, Obama gave details about the pledges from the tech companies, along with a commitment to connect more schools with broadband Internet.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Apple’s pledging $100 million in iPads, Macbooks, products and teacher training.
  • AT&T is giving $100 million in mobile broadband for 3 years to middle schools and for teacher development.
  • The Verizon Foundation is giving $100 million to educate teachers, with the Verizon Innovative Leading Schools program, among other initiatives.
  • Autodesk will offer free design software to every secondary school.

During the State of the Union, Obama announced that Apple, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon would help connect 15,000 schools and 20 million students to speedy Internet.

“Now, this is an extraordinary commitment by these business leaders, but they’re business leaders, so they’re not just doing it out of the goodness of their heart. They want the country to do well, but they also understand that they want educated customers,” said Obama. “They want customers who are able to get good jobs, who are going to be using these tools in the future. They want that next young architect coming out of here to be familiar with using that iPad so that they’re designing buildings and using their products.”

Research on the effectiveness of broadband in schools is more scant, however. The Urban Institute found that broadband in the home slightly decreased math and reading proficiency [PDF], while an experimental study in Portugal found the same for broadband in schools [PDF]. The authors cite heightened distraction as a potential explanation.

Though, technology could allow schools to also radically change their curriculum, which would teach a different set of skills that may not be captured by test scores. So it seems like the government is funding a project that we don’t entirely understand the outcome of.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Need A Date Idea? Delightful Sells Tailored Dates For The Couple That Has Done Everything

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I know you.

You’re lucky enough to have found the love of your life — and somehow, you’ve convinced her (/him) to love you back. For years and years, even!

You want to take them on the finest adventures. Symphonies. Speed boats. Friggin’ magic-carpet, whole-new-world kind of stuff.

But you’re also busy. When you’re not with them, you’re working (or, occasionally, sleeping.) You’re a hopeless romantic with hopelessly little time.

I know you, for you are me.

Delightful is a service built for couples to make date night easier. Delightful stealthily debuted into Beta at the end of 2013, launching as one of the first products out of OkCupid Labs (which itself is a part of IAC, the same company that owns Vimeo, Ask, Dictionary.com, CollegeHumor, UrbanSpoon, Tinder, and a zillion other mega brands that most people have no idea are related.)

This morning, the company is leaving Beta and launching their iOS app. Delightful is only available in SF at the moment, though some of the dates branch out to the East/South Bay Area.

You pick a date idea from their library, and Delightful gets everything ready. They’ll make the reservations, they’ll make sure everyone involved knows its a special night, and they’ll try to custom tailor the evening any way they can. (In one couple’s night out at the symphony, for example, Delightful made sure that glasses of champagne were waiting just outside of the theater at intermission so the couple didn’t have to wait in the drink line.) When you’re out on the town, you’ve got e-mail/phone/text access to an on-call concierge in case you need something in a pinch.

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Alternatively, you can “Build A Date”. You punch in the details on when you’re free and what you’re up for (Dinner and Drinks? Something educational? Something artsy? All of the above?), any custom requests (Vegetarian-friendly restaurants only? Need a taxi pre-scheduled to arrive at your place?), and their “date concierge” will work out the details.

In some cases, Delightful is able to offer up discounts. Businesses see it as a way to get a regular stream of customers who will (at least theoretically) have a particularly good experience, so they might drop the price a bit. But discounts aren’t the focus, co-founder Brian Luerssen says. “This isn’t a Groupon,” he tells me. “We don’t want people to have to print out a voucher, or bring in a coupon. They’re on a date. We want to help them focus on that. We’ll make sure the place knows you’re coming.” When Delightful can’t get a discount, they can often get something thrown in — a couple glasses of wine, VIP entrance, or a behind-the-scenes tour — to sweeten the deal.

Some examples of the sort of dates currently on the site:

  • Three-hour glassblowing class for two, plus complimentary flowers, for $180 (When I checked the glassblowing studio’s site, a pair of tickets was around $190)
  • A reservation at San Francisco’s E&O, two movie tickets, and two glasses of champagne — currently free for members.
  • Three-hour two of a bunch of Oakland restaurants, complete with tour guide and food at each stop, for $150
  • A pre-packed picnic basket, blanket and all, delivered to an SF park of your choice for $45.
  • A tour for two of the Kink.com (heads up: that’s not a link because it’s waaaay NSFW) armory/porn studio, followed by a round of drinks, for $25 (Yelp says this tour for two usually costs $50, or $35 if you find a promo)

So how do they make money? At its core, Delightful is a subscription service. After the first 30 days, membership costs $12 a month — though around half of the dates seem to be available sans-membership, albeit at a slightly higher rate. They also make a bit of money from each date, though the margin varies from date to date. With the above pre-packed picnic, for example, the margins are pretty solid because they provide everything; with the restaurant dates, they take a smaller (or no) percentage.

“Dumb!”, someone shouts from the crowd. “Just plan your own dates, lazy!”

And they’re not wrong! At least, not in an ideal world.

But sometimes, people who spend 10 hours a day working want to have a nice date without sweating the details. Sometimes, couples who’ve been together for years and feel they’ve tapped out all of their fresh ideas (and all of Google’s results for “Fun things to do around San Francisco”) could use a hand coming up with something special. And sometimes, people are just plain uncreative. At $12 a month (about what you’d pay for the tip on a decent meal for two) with the added bonus of occasional discounts and “VIP” add-ons, the price isn’t crazy.

With that said, this certainly seems a bit tough to scale. They’ve got the OKCupid ties, so they’ve got a pretty massive audience to pitch these dates to. The more they succeed, though, the more “concierges” they’ll need, and the more businesses they’ll need to get on board — which, presumably, means a bigger sales team. And, of course, some will appreciate this concept more than others — perhaps more than the other person in a relationship. Does a special night become less special when you paid someone else to plan it?

SF residents can sign up for Delightful now, or you can find their new iOS app right over here.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

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