McNamara has sourced investments in companies including Allbirds, RigUp, Away and Acorns. The Bowdoin College alum joined Great Oaks directly out of undergrad and has since helped invest in seven businesses with valuations greater than $1 billion, across four different states. Outside of VC, McNamara volunteers with Venture for America and serves on the board of Runway for Recovery, a nonprofit supporting breast cancer survivors and their families. Says McNamara: "Nothing in my professional life energizes me more than learning from and having the opportunity to work with ambitious entrepreneurs re-imaging products and services that shape the world around us."
Colugo wants to win the stroller wars with its new $445 design
The Serena Williams-approved, direct-to-consumer baby brand now has a full-size stroller. A year ago, entrepreneur Ted Iobst launched a compact baby buggy under a new direct-to-consumer brand called Colugo, which I dubbed the Warby Parker of strollers. The Colugo stroller was designed to meet the needs of busy parents who want to bring their babies for adventures in the city: It was lightweight, easy to fold or expand with a single hand motion, and equipped with clever accessories like a rain cover that folds into a little bag. While most stroller brands sell through a network of retailers, Iobst built Colugo as a direct-to-consumer brand with no middleman markup, allowing him to sell the stroller for $285, about a third less than comparable models on the market.
Truebill raises $15M to build a comprehensive platform for personal finance
Personal finance startup Truebill announced today that it has raised $15 million in Series B funding. The new funding was led by Eldridge Industries, with participation from Evolution VC and previous investors, including Cota Capital, Lucas Venture Group and YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim. When the Y Combinator-backed startup raised seed funding back in 2016, it was focused on what Chief Revenue Officer Yahya Mokhtarzada now describes as “a single function” — helping users track all their subscriptions and recurring expenses, and then to cancel them when desired. Mokhtarzada said the Truebill team subsequently saw an opportunity, given “the increasing degree of financial complexity in people’s lives,” to take “a more holistic view of personal finance.” Truebill still offers subscription tracking, and Mokhtarzada said that’s usually what brings new users in. But it’s also added capabilities like automated budgeting, automated saving and bill negotiation. And this fall, it plans to launch additional features, including bill pay, credit score monitoring and a rewards program.
Mira marries NLP with computer vision to create a rich, search-powered shopping experience
Empowered by AI technologies, Mira wants to create a more enriching buying experience that combines millions of consumer product reviews, side-by-side comparisons, and click-through purchasing into a single unified interface. For the moment, Mira is centered around shopping for beauty products — giving users a means of asking advice from other consumers who have similar skin types, skin tones, and aesthetic preferences. But the beauty industry isn’t the story; what’s compelling is the process and the technology underneath it all that has broader applications to other markets and verticals. “While we’re laser focused on serving the beauty community today, our technology clearly extends well beyond,” Jay Hack, Mira CEO and cofounder, told VentureBeat in an email interview. “We can do the legwork for the
Andreessen Horowitz Leads $300 Million Investment in RigUp
RigUp Inc., which operates a marketplace for contract workers in the energy sector, surged to a $1.9 billion valuation with a new infusion of capital, according to a person familiar with the situation. Andreessen Horowitz led the $300 million Series D financing in the Austin, Texas-based startup using its recently formed late-stage fund.
Hungryroot Bolsters Online Grocery Store With Popular Plant-Based Brands Like Beyond Meat, Banza And More
Eating vegan gets easier everyday as food companies race to make plant-based products more convenient for consumers. Grocery stores offer Impossible Meat, Blue Apron sends Beyond Meat to subscribers’ homes and today, Hungryroot announced an increase in their variety of plant-based groceries by teaming up with several packaged food brands. Customers will be able to purchase both Hungryroot and partnering products online. And when they are delivered, buyers can make vegan meals within minutes. “More products are becoming available to consumers,” Hungryroot CEO and founder Ben McKean said. The Hungryroot brand more or less remains the same, even with its changing gears. “The change is more partnering,” he said.
Atom Finance Raises $10.6 Million in Series A Round
Atom Finance, a new media and financial technology company, has raised $10.6 million in a Series A round, executives tell Axios. The company had previously raised $1.9 million in an unreported seed round in February. The big picture: The news and analysis market for high-end individual investors has been difficult to corner. While there are pricey solutions for big enterprise companies, like the Bloomberg Terminal, and free solutions for casual investors, like Google Finance, Atom execs argue that there isn't one company that truly owns the middle. Details: The round, led by General Catalyst, brings the company's total funding to $12.5 million. General Catalyst’s Peter Boyce will take a seat on the company's board.
Allbirds CEO Joey Zwillinger on Amazon's new competitive shoe
Built Robotics raises $33M for its self-driving construction equipment
Built Robotics, a company aiming to make construction equipment autonomous, is announcing a $33M Series B round this morning. With the construction industry facing a global labor shortage, Built’s aim is to allow one equipment operator to oversee a fleet of vehicles working autonomously in parallel, hopping in the cab only for tasks the machine can’t handle. Rather than building its own vehicles, Built focuses on converting the popular construction equipment thats already out there. They sell a kit that straps to the top of things like excavators, bull dozers, and skid steers, taking tech like LIDAR, GPS, and WiFi and meshing them into the machine’s innards to give it autonomous smarts. They sell the conversion boxes to other companies, help them get installed, then charge a usage fee whenever the machines are in autonomous mode.
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.
Allbirds now makes water-resistant shoes — here's your first look, plus our verdict
Online shoe brand Allbirds knew that its fans were starting to store away their shoes come fall and winter time in order to protect the wool construction. Now, it has two new shoes that let you enjoy soft comfort and support no matter the weather conditions. The new Mizzle collection features the Wool Runner Mizzle and the Wool Runner-Up Mizzle, which are both made with water-resistant merino wool and a reinforced sole for more traction on slippery surfaces.