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Kindbody raises $15M, will open a ‘Fertility Bus’ with mobile testing & assessments

Posted by on Apr 16, 2019 in articles, Entrepreneur, fertility, Health, infertility, IVF, Kindbody, Los Angeles, manhattan, New York City, Perceptive Advisors, Recent Funding, right, RRE Ventures, San Francisco, social network, Startups, TC, TrailMix Ventures, ultrasound, United States, Venture Capital, winklevoss capital | 0 comments

Kindbody, a startup that lures millennial women into its pop-up fertility clinics with feminist messaging and attractive branding, has raised a $15 million Series A in a round co-led by RRE Ventures and Perceptive Advisors.

The New York-based company was founded last year by Gina Bartasi, a fertility industry vet who previously launched Progyny, a fertility benefit solution for employers, and FertilityAuthority.com, an information platform and social network for people struggling with fertility.

“We want to increase accessibility,” Bartasi told TechCrunch. “For too long, IVF and fertility treatments were for the 1 percent. We want to make fertility treatment affordable and accessible and available to all regardless of ethnicity and social economic status.”

Kindbody operates a fleet of vans — mobile clinics, rather — where women receive a free blood test for the anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), which helps assess their ovarian egg reserve but cannot conclusively determine a woman’s fertility. Depending on the results of the test, Kindbody advises women to visit its brick-and-mortar clinic in Manhattan, where they can receive a full fertility assessment for $250. Ultimately, the mobile clinics serve as a marketing strategy for Kindbody’s core service: egg freezing.

Kindbody charges patients $6,000 per egg-freezing cycle, a price that doesn’t include the cost of necessary medications but is still significantly less than market averages.

Bartasi said the mobile clinics have been “wildly popular,” attracting hoards of women to its brick-and-mortar clinic. As a result, Kindbody plans to launch a “fertility bus” this spring, where the company will conduct full fertility assessments, including the test for AMH, a pelvic ultrasound and a full consultation with a fertility specialist.

In other words, Kindbody will offer all components of the egg-freezing process on a bus aside from the actual retrieval, which occurs in Kindbody’s lab. The bus will travel around New York City before heading west to San Francisco, where it plans to park on the campuses of large employers, catering to tech employees curious about their fertility.

“Our mission at Kindbody is to bring care directly to the patient instead of asking the patient to come to visit us and inconvenience them,” Bartasi said.

A sneak peek of Kindbody’s “fertility bus,” which is still in the works

Kindbody, which has raised $22 million to date from Green D Ventures, Trailmix Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, Chelsea Clinton, Clover Health co-founder Vivek Garipalli and others, also provides women support getting pregnant with in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). 

With the latest investment, Kindbody will open a second brick-and-mortar clinic in Manhattan and its first permanent clinic in San Francisco. Additionally, Bartasi says they are in the process of closing an acquisition in Los Angeles that will result in Kindbody’s first permanent clinic in the city. Soon, the company will expand to include mental health, nutrition and gynecological services.

In an interview with The Verge last year, Bartasi said she’s taken inspiration from SoulCycle and DryBar, companies whose millennial-focused branding strategies and prolific social media presences have helped them accumulate customers. Kindbody, in that vein, notifies its followers of new pop-up clinics through its Instagram page.

In the article, The Verge called Kindbody “the SoulCycle of fertility” and questioned its branding strategy and its claim that egg freezing “freezes time.” After all, there is limited research confirming the efficacy of egg freezing.

“The technology that allows for egg-freezing has only been widely used in the last five to six years,” Bartasi explained. “The majority of women who froze their eggs haven’t used them yet. It’s not like you freeze your eggs in February and meet Mr. Right in June.”

Though Kindbody touts a mission of providing fertility treatments to the 99 percent, there’s no getting around the sky-high costs of the services, and one might argue that companies like Kindbody are capitalizing off women’s fear of infertility. Providing free AMH tests, which often falsely lead women to believe they aren’t as fertile as they’d hoped, might encourage more women to seek a full-fertility assessment and ultimately, to pay $6,000 to freeze their eggs, when in reality they are just as fertile as the average woman and not the ideal candidate for the difficult and uncomfortable process.

Bartasi said Kindbody makes all the options clear to its patients. She added that when she does hear accusations that services like Kindbody capitalize on fear of infertility, they tend to come from legacy programs and male fertility doctors: “They are a little rattled by some of the new entrants that look like the patients,” she said. “We are women designing for women. For far too long women’s health has been solved for by men.”

Kindbody’s pricing scheme may itself instill fear in incumbent fertility clinics. The startup’s egg-freezing services are much cheaper than market averages; its IVF services, however, are not. Not including the costs of medications necessary to successfully harvest eggs from the ovaries, the average cost of an egg-freezing procedure costs approximately $10,000, compared to Kindbody’s $6,000. Its IVF services are on par with other options in the market, costing $10,000 to $12,000 — not including medications — for one cycle of IVF.

Kindbody is able to charge less for egg freezing because they’ve cut out operational inefficiencies, i.e. they are a tech-enabled platform while many fertility clinics around the U.S. are still handing out hoards of paperwork and using fax machines. Bartasi admits, however, that this means Kindbody is making less money per patient than some of these legacy clinics.

“What is a reasonable profit margin for fertility doctors today?” Bartasi said. “Historically, margins have been very, very high, driven by a high retail price. But are these really high retail prices sustainable long term? If you’re charging 22,000 for IVF, how long is that sustainable? Our profit margins are healthy.”

Bartasi isn’t the only entrepreneur to catch on to the opportunity here, as I’ve noted. A whole bunch of women’s health startups have launched and secured funding recently.

Tia, for example, opened a clinic and launched an app that provides health advice and period tracking for women. Extend Fertility, which like Kindbody, helps women preserve their fertility through egg freezing, banked a $15 million round. And a startup called NextGen Jane, which is trying to detect endometriosis with “smart tampons,” announced a $9 million Series A a few weeks ago.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Venture investors and startup execs say they don’t need Elizabeth Warren to defend them from big tech

Posted by on Mar 8, 2019 in Amazon, AT&T, ben narasin, chief technology officer, coinbase, Companies, economy, elizabeth warren, entrepreneurship, Facebook, Federal Trade Commission, Google, IBM, kara nortman, Los Angeles, Microsoft, new enterprise associates, Private Equity, Social Media, Startup company, TC, Technology, Technology Development, United States, upfront ventures, us government, venky ganesan, Venture Capital, Walmart, world wide web, zappos | 0 comments

Responding to Elizabeth Warren’s call to regulate and break up some of the nation’s largest technology companies, the venture capitalists that invest in technology companies are advising the presidential hopeful to move slowly and not break anything.

Warren’s plan called for regulators to be appointed to oversee the unwinding of several acquisitions that were critical to the development of the core technology that make Alphabet’s Google and the social media giant Facebook so profitable… and Zappos.

Warren also wanted regulation in place that would block companies making over $25 billion that operate as social media or search platforms or marketplaces from owning companies that also sell services on those marketplaces.

As a whole, venture capitalists viewing the policy were underwhelmed.

“As they say on Broadway, ‘you gotta have a gimmick’ and this is clearly Warren’s,” says Ben Narasin, an investor at one of the nation’s largest investment firms,” New Enterprise Associates, which has $18 billion in assets under management and has invested in consumer companies like Jet, an online and mobile retailer that competed with Amazon and was sold to Walmart for $3.3 billion.

“Decades ago, at the peak of Japanese growth as a technology competitor on the global stage, the US government sought to break up IBM . This is not a new model, and it makes no sense,” says Narasin. “We slow down our country, our economy and our ability to innovate when the government becomes excessively aggressive in efforts to break up technology companies, because they see them through a prior-decades lens, when they are operating in a future decade reality. This too shall pass.”

Balaji Sirinivasan, the chief technology officer of Coinbase, took to Twitter to offer his thoughts on the Warren plan. “If big companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are prevented from acquiring startups, that actually reduces competition,” Sirinivasan writes.

“There are two separate issues here that are being conflated. One issue is do we need regulation on the full platform companies. And the answer is absolutely,” says Venky Ganesan, the managing director of Menlo Ventures. “These platforms have a huge impact on society at large and they have huge influence.”

But while the platforms need to be regulated, Ganesan says, Senator Warren’s approach is an exercise in overreach.

“That plan is like taking a bazooka to a knife fight. It’s overwhelming and it’s not commensurate with the issues,” Ganesan says. “I don’t think at the end of the day venture capital is worrying about competition from these big platform companies. [And] as the proposal is composed it would create more obstacles rather than less.”

Using Warren’s own example of the antitrust cases that were brought against companies like AT&T and Microsoft, is a good model for how to proceed, Ganesan says. “We want to have the technocrats at the FTC figure out the right way to bring balance.”

Kara Nortman, a partner with the Los Angeles-based firm Upfront Ventures, is also concerned about the potential unforeseen consequences of Warren’s proposals.

“The specifics of the policy as presented strike me as having potentially negative consequences for innovation, These companies are funding massive innovation initiatives in our country. They’re creating jobs and taking risks in areas of technology development where we could potentially fall behind other countries and wind up reducing our quality of life,” Nortman says. “We’re not seeing that innovation or initiative come from the government – or that support for encouraging immigration and by extension embracing the talented foreign entrepreneurs that could develop new technologies and businesses.”

Nortman sees the Warren announcement as an attempt to start a dialogue between government regulators and big technology companies.

“My hope is that this is the beginning of a dialogue that is constructive,” Nortman says. “And since Elizabeth Warren is a thoughtful policymaker this is likely the first salvo toward an engagement with the technology community to work collaboratively on issues that we all want to see solved and that some of us are dedicating our career in venture to help solving.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Elon Musk says Tesla Model Y will be revealed at its LA design studio on March 14

Posted by on Mar 3, 2019 in California, Cars, electric vehicles, Elon Musk, Fremont, gigafactory, hyperloop, Los Angeles, Nevada, shanghai, TC, Tesla, Tesla Model S, Tesla Semi, The Boring Company | 0 comments

Tesla will pull back the curtains and unveil its Model Y crossover vehicle at an event in Los Angeles on March 14th, according to a tweet from chief executive Elon Musk.

It’s the fifth new car design to come from Tesla’s shop since the company was founded in 2003. Musk has been teasing the car’s release since 2015, and in a January letter to shareholders said that high volume production would begin by the end of 2020.

Tesla said that it would begin tooling for the Model Y later this year and that the company would be producing the vehicle at its “gigafactory” in Nevada. In the same letter, Musk predicted that the cost of the Model Y line would be substantially lower than the Model 3 line in Fremont, Calif., because it will share roughly 75% of the same components with the new low-cost vehicle.

Tesla’s Model Y reveal comes amid sweeping changes that the automaker announced last week in tandem with the commercial availability of its $35,000 low-cost Model 3.

Tesla said that to achieve this lower price it will shift all sales globally to online only, meaning the company will be closing many of its stores over the next few months. The stores that remain, in high-traffic locations, will be turned into information centers, Musk said on a call with reporters. There will be some layoffs as a result. Musk later said they would be hiring more service technicians.

“Shifting all sales online, combined with other ongoing cost efficiencies, will enable us to lower all vehicle prices by about 6% on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected,” the company wrote in a post.

Tesla’s management expects that all of these changes should result in better results for the company. “Model 3 will become a global product, the profitability of our business should become sustainably positive, our new Gigafactory Shanghai should start producing cars, and we will start tooling for Model Y production,” the January shareholder read.

If the Model Y were to finally go into production, it could mean a phase out of older Tesla models, although that’s not a certainty.

Tesla also has two other models that are waiting in the wings — the Roadster and the Tesla Semi, which are both under development.

As the Verge noted, Musk joked about unveiling the new Model Y on March 15th “because the Ides of March sounded good.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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With a $3.5 million haul, Dray Alliance joins a booming logistics startup scene in LA

Posted by on Feb 25, 2019 in cargo, Craft Ventures, Dray Alliance, Logistics, long beach, Los Angeles, mattel, Recent Funding, Startups, TC, transport, Uber | 0 comments

With an angle on a long-neglected part of the shipping industry — the short-haul movement of cargo from docks to logistics centers — Dray Alliance is joining a growing startup scene for logistics businesses based in Los Angeles.

With some of the nation’s largest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Southern California region is now fertile ground for businesses hoping to tackle what amounts to a trillion-dollar industry.

Companies like Shippabo, a provider of shipping tracking and logistics for international small cargo transport, and NEXT Trucking, which handles long-haul and short-haul trucking, have both launched in the Los Angeles area to tackle different areas of the shipping industry. And now Dray Alliance is joining them, trying to take a piece of the market transporting cargo from the docks to logistics centers.

The company has raised $3.5 million in seed funding from David Sacks’ Craft Ventures and has already signed contracts with the toy company Mattel and CMA CGM Group.

“Drayage is currently the most neglected area of the transit supply chain. The nuances of drayage create distinct challenges and opportunities that are quite different from other trucking segments such as FTL and LTL,” said Jeff Fluhr, general partner at Craft Ventures, in a statement. “Focus on drayage is what sets Dray Alliance apart. That focus, combined with deep industry expertise, technical skills, and entrepreneurial grit is why we believe this team will emerge as the leader in the sector.”

Founded by middle school friends Steve Wen, Hank Cui and Jason Yu, Dray Alliance leverages years of work that Yu and Wen had done as founders of their own trucking company. Cui was brought on board to start developing the technology product — which Wen says is exactly like an Uber for trucking.

Wen says the company has thousands of truckers who have signed up for the service — most of whom are now on a wait list as the company builds up supply before opening the floodgates on the demand side.

For every successful shipment, Dray Alliance takes 15 percent to 30 percent of the total cost of the shipment, which Wen acknowledged was a bit higher than the industry norm. The reason for that, he said, was because of the massive savings that shippers can realize.

Fines for late pickup on cargo can range from $100 to $1,000 per day. Working with Mattel, for instance, Dray Alliance was able to save the toy manufacturer nearly a quarter of a million dollars through its service.

“The drayage trucking industry still depends on emails and spreadsheets for its daily operations — leading to massive inefficiencies that result in lower earnings for truckers, less predictability in delivery times and 20-50 pefrcent increases in the drayage trucking cost of freight deliveries for shippers. This is not in the best interest of anyone involved,” said Steve Wen, CEO of Dray Alliance. “Dray Alliance wants to bring Uber-like airport pickup efficiency to the drayage industry by providing a seamless mobile experience, more predictability in delivery time and better economics for shippers, carriers and truckers.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Audi’s new V2I feature helps drivers hit every green light

Posted by on Feb 19, 2019 in Audi, Automotive, Cars, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, traffic, traffic light, transport, Transportation, Volkswagen Group | 0 comments

Audi has added a new feature to the vehicle-to-infrastructure technology embedded in its newer models that’s designed to help drivers catch every green light.

The tech, called GLOSA, or Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory, is part of the automaker’s built-in traffic light-reading technology. And Audi says it’s the first automaker to include this GLOSA feature in its cars.

It all began in 2016 when Audi launched Traffic Light Information, a system that enables the car to communicate with the infrastructure in certain cities and metropolitan areas across the United States. 

It was rather limited at the time, but in principle, the car would receive information from the sensor on a traffic light (via a 4G LTE hot spot) and be able to tell the driver how long before it turned from red to green. 

GLOSA builds on this by advising drivers what speed they should drive to catch a green light. The system is able to do this by combining traffic signal information and the current position of a vehicle, as well as other important data such as the distance to stop, the area’s speed limit and signal timing plans.

It then displays a speed recommendation intended to help drivers pass traffic lights on green. The end goal is to slash the number of stops at red lights and, in turn, the amount of time stuck in traffic. This helps reduce emissions and boosts fuel savings. For the average American driver, nearly 300 hours a year are spent behind the wheel, according to AAA.

Today, there are more than 4,700 intersections that support the “time to green” feature as well as this GLOSA function in 13 metro areas that include Dallas, Denver, Gainesville, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. and northern Virginia.

The feature is still somewhat limited, despite the expansion to more cities. Traffic Light Information is an Audi connect PRIME feature (a paid subscription) that is only available on select 2017, 2018 and newer models.

Audi says it intends to roll out more V2I-capable features in the future and could include integration with the vehicle’s start/stop function — which would reduce emissions — optimized navigation routing and other predictive services.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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With its Greenlots acquisition, Shell is moving from gas stations to charging stations

Posted by on Jan 30, 2019 in america, bp, California, ceo, ChargePoint, charging stations, Chevron Technology Ventures, chief executive officer, electric car, electric vehicle, electric vehicles, Energy, Greenlots, inductive charging, Los Angeles, managing partner, New Jersey, New York, Software, TC, Technology, Tesla, transport, United States, volkswagen | 0 comments

In a bid to show that it’s getting ready for the electrification of American roads, Royal Dutch Shell is buying Greenlots, a Los Angeles-based developer of electric vehicle charging and energy management technologies.

Shell, which is making the acquisition through its Shell New Energies US subsidiary, snatched the company from Energy Impact Partners, a cleantech-focused investment firm.

“As our customers’ needs evolve, we will increasingly offer a range of alternative energy sources, supported by digital technologies, to give people choice and the flexibility, wherever they need to go and whatever they drive,” said Mark Gainsborough, Executive Vice President, New Energies for Shell, in a statement. “This latest investment in meeting the low-carbon energy needs of US drivers today is part of our wider efforts to make a better tomorrow. It is a step towards making EV charging more accessible and more attractive to utilities, businesses and communities.”

Courtesy of Ed Robinson/Shell

Since Greenlots raised its cash from Energy Impact Partners, the company has become the partner of choice for utilities for electric vehicle charging, according to the firm. Greenlots was selected as the sole software provider for VolksWagen’s “Electrify America” charging program  last January.

“Utilities are playing a pivotal role in accelerating the transition to a future electric mobility system that is safer, cleaner and more efficient,” said Greenlots CEO Brett Hauser, adding, “We look forward to now working with the resources, scale and reach of Shell to further accelerate this transition.”

“Greenlots is on an incredible trajectory and, in the hands of a company with the resources such as Shell, will be able to advance the important electrification of transportation even faster,” said EIP managing partner Hans Kobler in a statement.

For Shell, the deal adds to a portfolio of electric charging assets including the Dutch-based company, NewMotion.

Across the board energy companies are spending more time and money backing and deploying electric charging technology companies. ChargePoint, a Greenlots competitor, raised $240 million in a November financing that included Chevron Technology Ventures, while BP bought the UK-based public charging network Chargemaster last year.

Despite pushback in some corners of America to the increasing electrification of U.S. highways and byways, the future of mobility needs to be electric if there’s any hope of slowing (and ideally halting and reversing) climate change globally.

Some signs of hope can be found in the latest earnings statement from Tesla, which points to increased uptake of its electric vehicles.  The teased release of an electric truck could potentially even help win converts among those drivers who like to “roll coal” in the presence of hybrids or electric cars.

 

States are already investing heavily in electric infrastructure themselves to promote the adoption of vehicles. California, New York, and New Jersey announced last June a total of $1.3 billion in new infrastructure projects focused on electric vehicle charging.

That’s still not enough to meet the goals necessary to reduce greenhouse gases significantly enough. In all, the U.S. needs to put roughly 13 million electric vehicles on the road in order to meet the targets put forward in the Paris Accords climate treaty (which the U.S. walked away from last year).

According to estimates from the Center for American Progress, the U.S. needs to spend $4.7 billion through 2025 to buy and install the 330,000 public charging outlets the nation will need to meet that electric demand.

“As power and mobility converge, there will be a seismic shift in how people and goods are transported,” said Brett Hauser, Chief Executive Officer of Greenlots. “Electrification will enable a more connected, autonomous and personalized experience. Our technology, backed by the resources, scale and reach of Shell, will accelerate this transition to a future mobility ecosystem that is safer, cleaner and more accessible.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Going long on LA, India, AI, and tech infrastructure March Capital raises $300 million

Posted by on Jan 24, 2019 in Artificial Intelligence, California, computing, crowdstrike, Earnin, financial services, India, Information technology, Los Angeles, managing partner, march capital partners, Microsoft, Salesforce, San Francisco, TC, Venture Capital, vmware | 0 comments

March Capital Partners, the Los Angeles-based venture capital firm, has raised $300 million for its latest fund.

It’s another indicator that the Los Angeles technology ecosystem is coming of age, but also a sign that March’s core investment strategies — to invest in companies applying artificial intelligence to business use cases and investing in the next wave transforming computing infrastructure — is paying off.

“We have two major areas and a couple of minor areas,” said Sumant Mandal, a managing director with the firm. “We like data driven business and two thirds of our portfolio are AI driven. We also like infrastructure for the internet… the majority of the portfolio will be around those two themes.”

Those two themes are borne out in the support March Capital has provided for The Hive, an artificial intelligence-focused incubator, and The Fabric, an infrastructure and internet of things-focused incubator. Those two San Francisco-based operations have been a pipeline for interesting startups that have become March portfolio companies.

And the firm is also looking at other opportunities. Given its home in Los Angeles, the company is also placing bets around the rise of eSports and gaming as a new pillar of entertainment and it’s looking abroad at opportunities in India, according to Mandal and managing partner, Jamie Montgomery.

In India, a massive demand for new financial services, coupled with a technology-forward government leadership that’s embracing controversial policies like demonetization, is creating incredible market tailwinds for startu tech businesses, according to Mandal.

Portfolio successes with investments in companies like Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity company which was founded in Irvine, Calif.; EarnIn, the financial services startup obviating the need for payday lenders; VeloCloud, the networking infrastructure and cloud management business sold to VMWare for $449 million; and CarTrade, an Indian used car marketplace; all seem to validate the firm’s approach.

“We are three to four years in to a twenty year cycle,” says Montgomery. “We’re making sure that we are doing stuff that will survive in an economic downturn.”

Primarily that means focusing mainly on enterprise software businesses,” Montgomery said. Companies like Microsoft, Salesforce, and others are arguably better positioned to survive the economic slowdown that Montgomery expects to hit in the next year or two. Montgomery believes there’s no business that won’t require information technology services, and he and his partners are building a portfolio that he thinks is designed to provide them.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Apple plans major US expansion including a new $1 billion campus in Austin

Posted by on Dec 13, 2018 in Apple, apple inc, apple store, austin, boston, boulder, Colorado, computing, cupertino, Electronic Arts, Energy, Governor, iPhone, Los Angeles, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, pittsburgh, Portland, san diego, Seattle, Steve Jobs, TC, Technology, texas, United States | 0 comments

Apple has announced a major expansion that will see it open a new campus in North Austin and open new offices in Seattle, San Diego and Los Angeles as it bids to increase its workforce in the U.S. The firm said it intends also to significantly expand its presence in Pittsburgh, New York and Boulder, Colorado over the next three years.

The Austin campus alone will cost the company $1 billion, but Apple said that the 133-acre space will generate an initial 5,000 jobs across a broad range of roles with the potential to add 10,000 more. The company claims to have 6,200 employees in Austin — its largest enclave outside of Cupertino — and it said that the addition of these new roles will make it the largest private employer in the city.

Beyond a lot of new faces, the new campus will include more than 50 acres of open space and — as is standard with Apple’s operations these days — it will run entirely on renewable energy.

Apple already has 6,200 employees in Austin, but its new campus could add up to 15,000 more

The investment was lauded by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

“Their decision to expand operations in our state is a testament to the high-quality workforce and unmatched economic environment that Texas offers. I thank Apple for this tremendous investment in Texas, and I look forward to building upon our strong partnership to create an even brighter future for the Lone Star State,” he said in a statement shared by Apple.

But Austin isn’t the only focal point for Apple growth in the U.S.

Outside of the Austin development, the iPhone-maker plans to expand to over 1,000 staff Seattle, San Diego and LA over the next three years, while adding “hundreds” of staff in Pittsburgh, New York, Boulder, Boston and Portland, Oregon.

More broadly, Apple said it added 6,000 jobs to its U.S. workforce this year to take its total in the country to 90,000. It said it remains on track to create 20,000 new jobs in the U.S. by 2023.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Volvo Trucks teases the all-electric semi truck it’s bringing to California in 2019

Posted by on Dec 13, 2018 in Automotive, electric truck, Los Angeles, TC, Tesla, Transportation, truck, volvo | 0 comments

Volvo Trucks released teaser images Wednesday of the electric trucks it plans to bring to California next year as part of a demonstration project, the latest truck manufacturer to publicize its electric plans in the state.

The attraction to California is no accident. The state has set aggressive targets to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, particularly those generated from tailpipes.

Daimler Trucks North America said in July it would begin testing 20 fully electric heavy- and medium-duty Freightliner models at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach this year. Tesla, which unveiled the Tesla Semi prototype in November 2017 , began testing its prototype semis in California and Nevada earlier this year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said production of the Tesla Semi, a Class 8 heavy duty truck, would begin in 2019.

Newcomer Thor Trucks is developing a medium-duty Class-6 electric truck for UPS, which will also be tested in California.

Volvo Trucks plans to test its new electric VNR truck, a refitted version of its diesel-powered VNR model. The electric VNR, which will be based on powertrain technology used in the Volvo FE Electric, will be produced for the North American commercial vehicle market starting in 2020, the company said.

The introduction of the Volvo VNR Electric models is part of a partnership called LIGHTS (Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions) between Volvo Group, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and industry leaders in transportation and electrical charging infrastructure.

The California Air Resources Board preliminary awarded $44.8 million to SCAQMD for the Volvo LIGHTS project. The LIGHTS project will focus on distribution, regional-haul and drayage operations.

The goal, according to Volvo Trucks North America President Peter Voorhoeve, is test and showcase their approach to electrifying the freight transport industry. The project will ultimately result in the commercialization of fully-electric heavy-duty trucks, Voorhoeve added.

“Electric trucks bring many unknowns and our holistic focus through the LIGHTS project will help our fleet partners transition securely and smoothly based on their individual needs regarding driving cycles, load capacity, uptime, range and other parameters,”Johan Agebrand, Volvo Trucks North America director of product marketing said in a statement. “Within the project we’ll look at everything from route analysis and battery optimization to servicing and financing. We always aim to offer high uptime and productivity.”


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Putting the band back together, ExactTarget execs reunite to launch MetaCX

Posted by on Dec 6, 2018 in alpha, api, business software, chief technology officer, cloud applications, cloud computing, computing, customer relationship management, exacttarget, indianapolis, Kobie Fuller, Los Angeles, Marketing, pilot, president, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, salesforce.com, scott dorsey, software as a service, TC, upfront ventures | 0 comments

Scott McCorkle has spent most of his professional career thinking about business to business software and how to improve it for a company’s customers.

The former President of ExactTarget and later chief executive of Salesforce Marketing Cloud has made billions of dollars building products to help support customer service and now he’s back at it again with his latest venture MetaCX.

Alongside Jake Miller, the former chief engineering lead at Salesforce Marketing Cloud and chief technology officer at ExactTarget, and David Duke, the chief customer officer and another ExactTarget alumnus, McCorkle has raised $14 million to build a white-labeled service that offers a toolkit for monitoring, managing and supporting customers as they use new software tools.

If customers are doing the things i want them to be doing through my product. What is it that they want to achieve and why did they buy my product.

“MetaCX sits above any digital product,” McCorkle says. And its software monitors and manages the full spectrum of the customer relationship with that product. “It is API embeddable and we have a full user experience layer.”

For the company’s customers, MetaCX provides a dashboard that includes outcomes, the collaboration, metrics tracked as part of the relationship and all the metrics around that are part of that engagement layer,” says McCorkle.

The first offerings will be launching in the beginning of 2019, but the company has dozens of customers already using its pilot, McCorkle said.

The Indianapolis -based company is one of the latest spinouts from High Alpha Studio, an accelerator and venture capital studio formed by Scott Dorsey, the former chief executive officer of ExactTarget. As one of a crop of venture investment firms and studios cropping up in the Midwest, High Alpha is something of a bellwether for the viability of the venture model in emerging ecosystems. And, from that respect, the success of the MetaCX round speaks volumes. Especially since the round was led by the Los Angeles-based venture firm Upfront Ventures.

“Our founding team includes world-class engineers, designers and architects who have been building billion-dollar SaaS products for two decades,” said McCorkle, in a statement. “We understand that enterprises often struggle to achieve the business outcomes they expect from SaaS, and the renewal process for SaaS suppliers is often an ambiguous guessing game. Our industry is shifting from a subscription economy to a performance economy, where suppliers and buyers of digital products need to transparently collaborate to achieve outcomes.”

As a result of the investment, Upfront partner Kobie Fuller will be taking a seat on the MetaCX board of directors alongside McCorkle and Dorsey.

“The MetaCX team is building a truly disruptive platform that will inject data-driven transparency, commitment and accountability against promised outcomes between SaaS buyers and vendors,” said Fuller, in a statement. “Having been on the journey with much of this team while shaping the martech industry with ExactTarget, I’m incredibly excited to partner again in building another category-defining business with Scott and his team in Indianapolis.”

 


Source: The Tech Crunch

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