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Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator launches 12 new startups at demo day tomorrow

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The Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, an incubator based in New York, is introducing 12 new companies at its 20th demo day tomorrow.

ERA has thus far had more than 226 companies go through the program that have raised more than $1 billion in capital and collectively share a market cap over $5 billion.

So without any further ado, here are the 12 companies launching out of ERA tomorrow.

Barista Valet is a virtual coffee shop, delivered via app, for luxury rental properties. Essentially, Barista Valet is emulating the cloud kitchen model with coffee, focusing only on delivery and not on an in-store experience. The company sells through to buildings and offices, allowing those entities to tack it onto existing costs as an amenity to tenants. The startup is currently operating in NYC.

BlendED is a platform and marketplace that allows professors to build, deliver and monetize course curriculum. Professors can upload their syllabus, integrate other technology like Zoom, Google Docs, etc., and integrate with existing Learning Management Systems to deliver rich digital experiences within their classes without the extra friction of having students join yet another platform. The startup is launching this fall with 700 professors and 11,000 students.

CarrotFI is a platform that focuses on optimizing mortgage asset performance, and avoiding foreclosures. It does this by giving lenders a better way to engage with mortgage customers, matching them proactively with borrowers with personal finance counseling that creates liquidity across household expenses.

GETMr. is a skin health brand focused on men. Their first product is The Daily, which is a 3-in-1 moisturizer, aftershave and sunscreen, aimed at reducing the risk of cancer and skin damage. The products are all natural and developed by dermatologists. The company’s distribution methods are D2C as well as tapping large dermatology networks, with pricing at $24.49 for a subscription. The Daily is registered with the FDA.

Hopscotch is targeting the pediatric behavioral health sector with a SaaS platform that allows providers to use digitized treatment programs for both in-person and virtual sessions. It includes gamified tools for patients and follow-up care and family/child portals. Hopscotch uses a freemium model for clinicians and offers a site license fee for hospitals, and currently has more than 1,500 clinicians on the platform across 46 states.

Magpie looks to offer users a digital vault for their collections of luxury goods, and treat them as a true asset class,  complete with portfolio management. Authentication of these goods is automated, and Magpie offers pricing and demand transparency for things like sneakers, handbags, baseball cards and more. The startup also offers insurance. It uses a freemium subscription model and has more than 1,000 people on the waitlist.

neurobotx was built on the heels of 30 years of Nobel Laureate R&D and aims to decrease cloud computing costs and increase efficiency in the autonomous robotics space by isolating and detecting only the relevant pixels. It operates on a B2B SaaS model and the company is testing the platform in four upcoming pilots.

OTONOMI is looking to disrupt the air cargo insurance industry by offering a more efficient product that uses data-activated triggers, smart contracts and integrated digital wallets, creating a more transparent and cost-efficient experience for both parties. The company claims to reduce claim resolution times from 45 days to 45 minutes, ultimately lowering costs. In beta, partnered with an unnamed “top-tier affiliate insurance administrator,” the company has already automated more than 1,000 policies.

Revmo looks to bring warm introductions to every new connection you might want to make. Users enter in the person they want to be connected with and Revmo uses data from your existing networks to do a fast search of who might connect you, automating a warm email/SMS introduction within the network of your customers, colleagues, classmates, etc. It operates on a B2B SaaS model and has a waitlist of 600+ business users.

SenseGrass is an agtech company that uses a combination of machine learning and soil sensors to deliver real-time soil health analysis and nutrient management recommendations to farmers. The hope is to reduce chemical fertilizer use, increase crop yields and help farmers grow sustainably. SenseGrass charges via subscription based on usage requirements per acre depending on crop type and some other factors. 

The Verticale is an e-commerce marketplace that allows users to shop for brands based on a variety of factors, including sustainability, ethical production and “for women by women.” This gives brands that fit into these verticals the chance to be highlighted and find their target customer base, and gives consumers an easy place to find what they’re looking for (with single-cart checkout across multiple brands) without doing all the research. The Verticale makes money by taking a commission on every order.

Turnout is a platform built specifically for internal communities and groups within an organization, making it easier for employees to host events and discussions across their company. Employee Resource Groups are a generally underserved demographic, with little to no tools built specifically for them. Turnout wants to change that. Thus far, it’s launched with several enterprise customers and is working directly with D&I teams to better support underrepresented employees.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said that demo day was today. It is actually tomorrow, April 29. 

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/28/entrepreneurs-roundtable-accelerator-launches-12-new-startups-at-demo-day/

Start Ups

Don’t wait for legislation banning NDAs: Write ethical policies now

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Companies across the United States should be closely following the California State Legislature hearings on the “Silenced No More Act,” which would prevent the use of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) to silence employees from speaking up about all forms of discrimination and harassment.

The legislation was introduced in response to the stunning claims brought forward by former Pinterest employees alleging a pattern of racial and gender discrimination, harassment and retaliation. They courageously called attention to the hypocrisy of Pinterest’s aspirational comments on social issues even though the company had required them to sign NDAs.

As attorneys who work with shareholders to hold companies accountable for this misconduct, these allegations have deeply impacted our work. They formed the basis of an ongoing shareholder derivative lawsuit that a state pension fund we represent brought against Pinterest’s board of directors and top executives for participating in and otherwise protecting powerful executives who are alleged to have discriminated against Pinterest employees.

Failure to recognize this necessity will lead to future corporate scandals as multiple accounts of the same type of misconduct in the workplace come to light.

The Silenced No More Act would extend existing laws that limit the use of NDAs. Such laws are important because NDAs are intended to protect executives by keeping their harassment, discrimination and retaliation under wraps. That NDAs chill the voices of employees who have already been victimized makes them even more toxic. NDAs cause women to fear reprisal from the company, sometimes even incorporating financial penalty clauses, long after their individual claims have been resolved.

The Silenced No More Act should pass swiftly and be a model for other states, but this is what all companies throughout the country should be doing on their own, rather than waiting for legislation to drag an ethical NDA policy out of them.

Failure to recognize this necessity will lead to future corporate scandals as multiple accounts of the same type of misconduct in the workplace come to light. It will continue to uphold an unsustainable corporate system where executives in positions of power assume they will be protected no matter how unlawful their behavior toward others in the workplace.

We have seen from our investigations the compounding impacts of NDAs and how they allow problems to fester over years.

The two of us, working with others and on behalf of Alphabet shareholders, were part of the team that led a groundbreaking $310 million settlement with the tech company that led to historic diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) reforms at the company. That settlement was the result of a shareholder derivative lawsuit where stockholders alleged that executives and board members violated their fiduciary duties by enabling a double standard that allowed executives to sexually harass and discriminate against women without consequence.

In that case, we believe Alphabet’s “culture of concealment” was driven in large part by the silencing effects of NDAs.

The duration of misconduct, enabled by NDAs, goes far beyond Alphabet and Pinterest. There is no shortage of #MeToo scandals at powerful companies, many with presences in California, that were exacerbated by muzzling NDAs. Weinstein Company, Wynn Resorts, NBC and 21st Century Fox are prominent examples of companies that first tried to keep allegations quiet through the use of NDAs and later faced a firestorm of allegations from former employees.

Fortunately, the landscape surrounding discrimination and harassment in the workplace is changing. Shareholders, workers, customers and other key business stakeholders are becoming more active in demanding that companies stop protecting harassers.

All of this should send a message to boards and C-suite executives that they must set the tone from the top and they are far better off being proactive than reactive. That means actively creating a company culture where DEI is a foundational component — not an afterthought. It also means intentionally prioritizing transparency and proactively doing away with policies that are antithetical to that goal, like NDAs that are intentionally designed to suppress the voices of employees.

The public and shareholders want to be associated with companies that do right by their employees. Business should recognize this change from a culture of compliance to one of equity and inclusion and embrace this new reality by stopping the practice of requiring complainants to enter into NDAs and fostering a culture of inclusion and accountability.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/13/dont-wait-for-legislation-banning-ndas-write-ethical-policies-now/

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Start Ups

The Briefing: Cyral Lands $26M For Cloud Security, Impress Raises $50M, And More

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

Cyral lands $26M for cloud security

Milpitas, California-based Cyral, a security provider for data in the cloud, announced that it raised $26 million in new funding from existing and strategic investors.

The financing brings total capital raised to date to $41.1 million.

Funding rounds

Impress picks up $50M for orthodontics: Barcelona-based Impress, a developer of orthodontic technology that offers invisible aligners, raised $50 million in a Series A round led by CareCapital, an investor focused on the dental and oral care industry.

DeepScribe raises $5M for medical record-taking: DeepScribe, an AI-driven platform for medical record-taking, announced it has raised $5.3 million in a seed round led by Bee Partners.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

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Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-5-13-21/

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Blockchain

BRD’s Blockset unveils its white-label cryptocurrency wallet for banks and other enterprise clients

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Blockset, the blockchain infrastructure platform for enterprises by BRD, announced early access to its Wallet-as-a-Service today. The white-label solution gives clients, like financial institutions, the ability to launch wallets that have the same features as BRD’s own mobile cryptocurrency wallet, which now has about 7 million users with over $20 billion assets under protection.

Blockset’s clients include some of the largest ATM networks and Japanese investment bank (and BRD investor) SBI Holdings, CoinFlip, Welthee, CoinSwitch, Coinsquare and Wyre. BRD’s other investors include Ripple and it has raised $56 million in funding so far.

One of Blockset’s selling points is access to real-time data about several kinds of cryptocurrencies. This not only allows users to see how their assets are performing, but also enables institutions to perform compliance tasks, fraud detection, anti-money laundering and other important services. Blockset also claims that its multi-chain API has up to 99.999% uptime.

The platform currently supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Tezos, Hedera, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV, and will add more chains based on customer demand.

Blockset already offered a white-label solution called WalletKit, before launching its current Wallet-as-a-Service with more features. BRD co-founder and CEO Adam Traidman compares its Wallet-as-a-Service to Google Maps, because both aggregate large amounts of constantly-changing data and can connect to other apps, while remaining user-friendly.

“The concept is really a result of learnings from working with our customers, tier one financial institutions, who need a couple things,” Traidman told TechCrunch. “Generally they want to custody crypto on behalf of their customers. For example, if you’re running an ETF, like a Bitcoin ETF, or if you’re offering customers buying and selling, you need a way to store the crypto, and you need a way to access the blockchain.”

“The Wallet-as-a-Service is the nomenclature we use to talk about the challenge that customers are facing, whereby blockchain is really complex,” he added. “There are three V’s that I talk about: variety, a lot of velocity because there’s a lot of transactions per second, and volume because there’s a lot of total aggregate data.”

Blockset also enables clients to add features like trading crypto or fiat or lending Bitcoin or Stablecoins to take advantage of high interest rates. Enterprises can develop and integrate their own solutions or work with Blockset’s partners.

Other companies that offer enterprise blockchain infrastructure include Bison Trails, which was recently acquired by Coinbase, and Galaxy Digital.

Blockset differentiates by focusing on real-time data. It looks at a smaller number of mainstream blockchains in order to ensure depth of information and speed.

“If you’re a financial institution, you can’t accept anything other than instant, accurate and highly-scalable kinds of data. Right down to the millisecond of latency is really important because it can give traders an advantage,” said Traidman.

In a press statement, Wyre chief executive officer Ioannis Giannaros said “Blockset is the clear industry leader in offering enterprise-grade SLAs [service-level agreements] that we require to guarantee high scalability, uptime and data integrity across multiple blockchains.”

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/13/brds-blockset-unveils-its-white-label-cryptocurrency-wallet-for-banks-and-other-enterprise-clients/

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Start Ups

Auto parts data platform PDM Automotive raises $4M after doubling revenue in 2020

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New funding: PDM Automotive, a 3-year-old company that runs an automotive product data platform for manufacturers and receivers, raised a $4 million round led by Fuse. The startup provides information on aftermarket automotive parts and other data to companies such as Walmart, Advance Auto Parts, Autozone, Amazon, and eBay. Large automotive parts companies also manage their catalog data with PDM.

The startup spun out of Velocity Automotive, an e-commerce leader in Europe for U.S. auto parts. PDM is led by founders Johannes Crepon and Philipp Crepon.

“The automotive aftermarket is antiquated when it comes to data exchange and procuring business,” Johannes said. “Our platform overarches several segments from data generation, data maintenance, data integration, and business connections. We make it easier to provide better data and streamline the exchange of data.”

The company’s revenue doubled in 2020. Johannes said the pandemic has helped drive demand with used car sales rising, an increase in accessory purchases, and supply chain issues all providing tailwinds. PDM has 20 employees and plans to hire.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2021/auto-parts-data-platform-pdm-automotive-raises-4m-doubling-revenue-2020/

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