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From Red Gold to Olympic Gold: Seedo Corp. Seeks Solutions for Athletes and More

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Seedo Corp. highlights saffron’s medicinal properties as mental health takes center stage at the Olympics in Tokyo.

TEL AVIV, Israel, August 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ – Seedo Corp. (OTC: SEDO), an agtech company that is developing the protocols to grow saffron using vertical farming technology, today announced that it is expanding its research to include the study of the spice’s well known natural anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties. Similar to the approach of the indoor cannabis industry, Seedo hopes to be able to enhance the medicinal properties of this unique herb for use in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. Mental health has come to the forefront in sports with Simone Biles withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics and Naomi Osaka opting out of the French Open and Wimbledon. With mental health entering the cultural conversation, Seedo Corp. hopes saffron will be seen as part of a new nature-based approach to mental health.

“The timing is right to leverage saffron’s potential medicinal properties and create new applications that could address the recent paradigm shift regarding mental health,” says David Freidenberg, CEO. “Seedo Corp is committed to developing breakthroughs rooted in nature that are effective and safe for athletes and everyday consumers alike.”

“Until recently, the options for treating depression and anxiety were quite limited,” says Dr.  Nizan Primor, CEO, Naveh Pharma, a company that specializes in creating pharmaceutical and healthcare products with unique active ingredients including saffron. “A recent study found that taking 28 mg of saffron daily was just as effective as Fluoxetine, Imipramine, and Citalopram — conventional treatments for depression.”A fascinating study was published in the Journal of Adolescent Psychopharmacology which explicitly found that saffron extract has the same efficacy as Ritalin in improving focus for children with ADHD, suggesting there is a promising future in developing new natural therapies to treat these common ailments. In another recent study by the Journal of Psychopharmacology it was discovered that patients who were administered saffron extract for eight weeks saw “a greater improvement in depressive symptoms.”

Seedo Corp successfully harvests saffron using vertical farming technology. Seedo Corp hopes to expand the billion dollar saffron market by producing a reliable, consistent and large-scale supply of the spice.

About Seedo:

Seedo Corp. (OTC: SEDO) is an agtech company that focuses on the research, development, and commercialization of agriculture products that are high in demand but are hindered by the low yields and specifications required by traditional farming. Seedo’s technology is aimed at offering a responsible and sustainable way to grow crops in a world confronted by environmental challenges and dwindling earth reserves, diminishing water sources and unstable weather conditions.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This letter contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are based on management’s current beliefs and expectations and are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that could cause our future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from that expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include risks relating to our ability to successfully execute a smooth transition of CFO functions as well as our ability to retain and recruit qualified executives; uncertainties related to, and failure to achieve, the potential benefits and success of our senior management team and organizational structure; our ability to successfully compete in the marketplace; our substantial indebtedness, which may limit our ability to incur additional indebtedness, engage in additional transactions or make new investments; compliance, regulatory and litigation matters; other financial and economic risks; and other factors discussed in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, including in the sections captioned “Risk Factors” and “Forward Looking Statements.” Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or other information contained herein, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You are cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

Contact:
David Freidenberg,

Chief Executive Officer
[email protected]
+1 (800) 608-6432

Source: Plato Data Intelligence

Real Estate

SoftBank and Demi Lovato back June Homes, a proptech startup emerging from stealth with $50M in funding

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June Homes, a proptech startup that aims to make renting less painful and more flexible for both tenants and landlords, is emerging from stealth today with $50 million in total funding.

SoftBank Ventures Asia led the startup’s latest round — a $27 million Series B. Other backers in the company include FJ Labs, Kairos, TQ Ventures II LP (Scooter Braun, Schuster Tanger, Andrew Marks), Reshape, Quiet Capital and angel investors including musician Demi Lovato and Behance founder Scott Belsky. 

The New York-based company also previously raised (but did not announce) a $13 million Series A — also led by SoftBank Ventures Asia —  and $10 million in seed funding.

Founder and CEO Daniel Mishin first became interested in real estate with a missed train and an unplanned stay in a cheap youth hostel in Berlin when he was 11 years old. The experience inspired him to start his first business at an early age, turning his grandmother’s empty apartment into a short-term rental space for backpackers. After starting, and selling, a hospitality business, Mishin founded June Homes in 2017. He was motivated after his one struggle with apartment hunting in New York City.

“Prohibitive costs, predatory fees, complicated requirements, long-term lease commitments — it seemed impossibly difficult to secure housing under these terms,” Mishin said. “I started thinking that there was a real opportunity for innovation that could benefit tenants as well as mom and pop landlords, and that’s how June Homes was born.”

Mishin founded the company on the premise that the current rental system is “broken” for both tenants and small landlords. Even the fact that we use the word “landlord” in itself is very outdated, he said, since the word literally means “lord over land.”

“We’re still speaking like we’re in the 16th century,” he said.

So how does it work exactly? The company says it has built an algorithm that detects mispriced rental apartments that are often in need of repair. It also has developed a process that it says can inspect, upgrade, renovate and list units for rent in less than 72 hours. Then, according to Mishin, people can discover, apply for and move into a new apartment “in as little as three hours.”

“Our proprietary algorithm automatically performs best use analysis for every building and chooses which June Homes model to apply to it,” Mishin said.

The startup touts that its units are fully customizable. Tenants can rent furnished or unfurnished, with roommates or alone, and have the option to stay for anywhere from one to 18 months. The company says that unlike some short-term corporate housing companies that significantly upcharge tenants for flexibility, its rental rates are more in line with the price range you’d expect to pay on a traditional lease.

On the flip side, June Homes says it helps landlords by working to help them fill properties faster and managing things like tenant defaults, non payments and building performance. The startup also eliminates broker and management fees, and never charges upfront fees to owners, according to Mishin. Instead, June Homes processes all rental payments from tenants through its platform and pays owners either a smaller fixed payment every month, or a portion of revenue collected from tenants. 

Over the last six months, according to Mishin, June Homes has seen a 150% increase in tenant growth and a 137% increase in unit growth. Specifically, it has signed on thousands of tenants across New York City, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Boston. In particular, millennials and Gen Zers seeking convenience and flexibility are some of the biggest users of the platform.

“The new generation deserves more when it comes to housing, and June Homes has created the easiest and fastest way for them to find their footing in a new city,” said singer Demi Lovato, who invested as part of the company’s Series A last year, in a written statement.

Because it offers more flexible lease terms, the company claims to have 25.5x less tenant defaults than the industry average. It also says that it can fill units 10x faster than traditional legacy systems. For example, Mishin said, in July 2021 the average June Homes apartment in New York was rented in 7.5 days while all other rental listings rented on average in 76 days. 

Looking ahead, June Homes plans to use the new capital primarily to expand to other markets in the U.S. in the short term, and then globally over the next 12 to 18 months. It also plans to do more hiring. Currently, the company has 144 employees, up 3x compared to this time last year.

Sherman Li, partner at SoftBank Ventures Asia and June Homes board member, believes that June Homes is providing today’s renters “with exactly what they want in the post-pandemic world — flexibility, access and convenience,” he wrote via email. 

He said SoftBank was also impressed with the company’s ability to build such a large housing company “without owning a single property.”

While SoftBank Ventures Korea initially focused on the South Korean market, it has since expanded its focus toward early-stage ventures all over the world. 

“We actively look for early- to growth-stage startups that have strong business potential regardless of geographical boundaries, and June Homes is definitely one such case,” Li said.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/22/softbank-and-demi-lovato-back-june-homes-a-proptech-startup-emerging-from-stealth-with-50m-in-funding/

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Real Estate

As inflation fears spike, 1build raises $14M to help construction firms optimize their cost estimates

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It’s an extraordinarily exhausting time to estimate costs in the construction industry. Lumber prices skyrocketed during the post-pandemic construction spree, only to come hurtling back down to Earth in recent weeks. Copper, concrete, and steel have also seen wild price swings as supply chain breakages, workers shortages, border restrictions and more plague price stability.

Construction is among the world’s largest industries, with firms planning and building projects valued at trillions of dollars at pretty much any time. Yet, it’s also one of the most archaic industries, with a heavy reliance on paper even as IT has increasingly filtered into more of the industry’s processes. Paper though can’t match the extreme volatility in materials and labor happening today, and that means construction firms need better and more real-time software tools to handle cost estimates.

1build has a bold vision to own not just cost estimating, but everything that it takes to get a building under construction. “We are going to occupy the whitespace niche of pre-construction — your planing, your estimating, up until you break ground on your building,” CEO and founder Dmitry Alexin said.

Alexin had been scouting around for startup ideas in the real estate sector in 2018 and 2019, having previously worked in finance. He worked briefly at a stealth startup in the space, where he “helped to select real estate with data science.” He discovered a problem when it came to modeling the development of a property though: it wasn’t easy to determine what could be built or how much it would cost. “I just assumed you can just use an API to figure out the cost to build,” he said.

That led him into the rabbit hole that is the math of the construction industry. He discovered “this analog industry … three times as large as ecommerce and still in this offline, non-digitized way to consume,” he said. He wanted to automate more of these processes, but even that ran into challenges. “When I was forming 1build, it was creating a data standard for the construction industry,” he explained. Eventually, he zeroed in on cost estimating.

Alexin is a solo founder, who has since built up a management team around him. He and a few early employees joined the YC Winter 2020 batch, where 1build was identified as one of TechCrunch’s 20 most exciting startups in the batch out of several hundred (the company was my selection).

The startup’s timing, though, was horrific. “COVID happened right as we were graduating,” Alexin said. The company suffered a “50% reduction in usage in the first 30 days.” The company was still small and it hunkered down, but then something surprising happened: the construction industry just zoomed forward as millions of people moved to new homes and offices with the rise of remote work.

The company raised a previously undisclosed $5.5 million seed round from Initialized Capital and kept building. It focused on building a single platform (that’s the “1build”) around all aspects of estimating costs and handling the planning phase of construction. It’s “almost an experience that feels like interacting a spreadsheet, but we pull in the latest materials rate, the latest labor rates,” Alexin said. From there, you can “develop your estimate yourself, line item by line item.” He says that integrating all construction planning in one location can massively save time and money, and is particularly valuable for smaller contractors and construction firms who don’t have the scaled-up planning teams of their larger brethren.

1build’s team, with CEO and founder Dmitry Alexin sitting in center of first row. Image Credits: 1build

Alexin said that subscription revenues have risen 7x in the past 10 months, and 10x since April when we talked a few weeks ago. That excitement led it to a quick, $14.5 million Series A led by Brent Baltimore at Greycroft. Alexin said that Baltimore has been engaged in construction tech for a long time, and said that “we felt that they were the one firm that understood what we are doing.”

The team, as is typical these days, is spread out, with the majority in the U.S. and others in Canada and Europe.

1build wants to be the one stop for the construction industry, and hopes that the industry standardizes on a universal set of data formats. “The more and more builders that adapt that, the more we can build into the product,” he said.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/22/1build-series-a/

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Artificial Intelligence

Cabinet brings in $2.6M, designs software for executive assistants

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Executive assistants are the ultimate multitaskers and instead of relying on half a dozen apps to make their jobs easier, startup Cabinet is pulling all of that together into one software package designed for the 10 million-person administrative professional market.

The company, with bases in both Denver and New York, is developing software to aid with daily productivity; for example, a scheduling tool that sits on top of existing company calendars like Outlook and GCal and a peer-to-peer community for EAs to share knowledge.

Cabinet was founded by CEO Julia Leibowitz and CTO Evan Kesten in 2018. Leibowitz, herself, started her career as an executive assistant, which she told TechCrunch was “an incredible place to start” because she was able to gain an inside look at how her organization functioned, especially at the top.

However, as her job grew, so did her responsibilities. And it wasn’t just owning the calendar and making travel arrangements for executives, which Leibowitz says most people think of when they think of EAs. Instead, that is a small part of the job that also includes event coordination, office catering, human resources and even marketing.

“You wear a lot of hats, especially if you are capable,” she added.

While in graduate school, she discovered that many tools and software were created for nearly everyone else in the organization to drive productivity, from engineering, sales and marketing to human resources, but she felt EAs were an overlooked market.

In 2018, she met Kesten while attending Cornell Tech. He was in engineering, and Leibowitz was getting her MBA. She brought him to an administrative professional conference, and not only was Kesten one of only two men, there were no software vendors of any kind, Leibowitz recalled. It was that starting point that then became Cabinet.

The company’s software is not just one feature, but brings a lot of capabilities into one package to drive workflow. Some EAs may have to schedule for more than one executive, and could be doing that more than 50 times per day. While some scheduling software is more suitable for individual executives, Cabinet provides ease in offering the option to either send a booking link or handpick from a variety of times that are automatically aggregated based on the executive’s calendar. It can even generate an email that lists the times available in plain text.

The software also goes beyond scheduling to improve efficiencies in travel management, office management and inbox management. Cabinet is a subscription-based model that charges users a fee of $29 per month if paying annually, or $36 per month.

“It’s a charge that EAs can easily purchase on their company credit card,” Leibowitz said. “That’s one of the ways that differentiates them — EAs are powerful customers because they typically have access to cards and are used to spending money on behalf of their teams.”

To get the software in front of more executive assistants, Cabinet closed on $2.6 million in funding, led by Harlem Capital with participation from Good Friends Capital and existing investor Parade Ventures. The investment also includes money from a pre-seed round in July 2020 from Parade, Techstars, Heroic Ventures, The Fund and angel investors.

“One of our former interns and now senior associates, Nicole DeTommaso, sourced Cabinet at a late 2020 Techstars demo day,” Henri Pierre-Jacques, managing partner of Harlem Capital, said via email. “It was a little early for us, but we kept in touch with Julia even through her pregnancy earlier this year. Seeing the product development and customer growth over the past few months was very impressive, especially for a small team and new mother. Julia embodies the type of founder we look for and we are grateful that she and Evan chose to partner with us.”

In the last six months, Cabinet has grown 30% month over month. It has also amassed over 4,000 administration professionals in its community, where they can exchange insider knowledge on topics like the best non-glitchy conferencing software.

The company also plans to invest the new funding in technology development. Cabinet works closely with its customers who often give feedback on new features, and the investment will enable the company to quickly iterate to drive efficiency in new feature launches.

In addition, the company is looking to hire marketing and engineering positions in its Denver and New York offices. Cabinet has three employees currently, and Leibowitz expects to be at eight in the next six months.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/22/cabinet-brings-in-2-6m-designs-software-for-executive-assistants/

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Startups

Mojo, a men’s sexual health startup that’s pushing therapy not pills, gets $4.4M seed

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A number of sexual health startups have spun up in recent years offering men discreet help with the awkward issue of erectile dysfunction. Companies like Numan and Roman. But ‘help’ in this context usually means making it easier to get hold of drugs like Viagra.

UK-based startup Mojo has been taking a different tack. It’s built a subscription service to support men’s sexual wellbeing by providing on-tap access to dedicated therapies — partnering with professional psychosexual therapists to provide online courses that are billed as offering a longer term solution to male sexual health problems vs just popping some blue pills.

This approach means Mojo sits within a wider digital health trend where the smartphone in the pocket is being appropriated by app makers to deliver targeted, non-pharmaceutical support — be it for insomnia, dietary needs, musculoskeletal disorders, mental health or indeed sexual wellbeing. (The latter category includes dedicated apps for women, too.)

The idea driving all of these startups is to offer people a viable alternative to Big Pharma. (And hopefully eat some of the drug companies’ lunch in the process.)

Mojo’s support platform is geared towards a spectrum of issues that can affect men and have links to their sexual wellbeing — with digital programs not just geared towards with erectile dysfunction but other sexual problems like porn addition or anxiety more generally.

So it could be an interesting ‘way in’ — to encourage men to explore wider psychological issues by accessing support services. (Men are a notoriously difficult group to get into therapy but erectile dysfunction is likely to be a trigger for a lot of therapy-shy individuals to seek support.)

Mojo’s quarterly subscription service (costing £49/$68 every three months) provides access to professional resources that Mojo bills as “unobtainable for most”. It also describes its app as a “virtual coach” — saying it’s aiming to “encourage men to reclaim their erections and have great sex without resulting to a medication first approach”.

The digital support package includes video courses and exercises, therapy podcasts and meditations, and live events — including the chance to connect directly with Mojo’s panel of sexual health experts and the wider community of men using the app. A dedicated community reduces the stigma that men may feel around discussing intimate health issues — since other users are likely to be experiencing similar problems.

The 2019-founded startup says it’s signed up “close to” 50,000 users across 36 countries so far.

It’s announcing seed funding today to step on the growth gas.

The £3.25 million ($4.4M) round is co-led by London early stage fund Kindred Capital and Octopus Ventures. Angel investors in the round include some familiar names in the European startup world, including Tom Blomfield (Monzo), Julien Callede (Made.com), Ian Hogarth (SongKick), Freddy Macnamara (Cuvva), Alex Rose (Let’s Do This) and Errol Damelin (Wonga).

Commenting on the seed funding in a statement, Kamran Adle, health investor at Octopus Ventures, said: “Taboo areas within health continue to be a key area of interest for us, as there is often high latent demand due to decades of underinvestment. Men’s sexual health is a perfect example of this, creating a huge opportunity for Mojo to challenge the stigma and move beyond pills to a much broader, sustainable and scalable solution.”

In another supporting statement, Maria Palma, general partner at Kindred, added: “We deeply believe that the strong founding team at Mojo can redefine the conversation around male sexuality and vulnerability. It is clear from their early evangelical user base that they have created a product which resonates with men all over the world and helps them transform their confidence, relationships, and their everyday lives.”

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/22/mojo-a-mens-sexual-health-startup-thats-pushing-therapy-not-pills-gets-4-4m-seed/

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