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Managing Health From Home: LetsGetChecked Raises $150M Series D



Virtual care company LetsGetChecked announced a $150 million Series D round to launch care pathways, its 360-degree customer care platform incorporating telehealth services, pharmacy capabilities and expanded at-home testing, to provide care for patients with chronic conditions.

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“We want to continue to scale and grow the platform,” LetsGetChecked founder and CEO Peter Foley told Crunchbase News. “We want to help people lead longer, happier lives, and to do that, we need to provide the capabilities of long-term therapeutic pathways to manage a person’s care into the future and manage better outcomes.”

LetsGetChecked offers more than 100 validated at-home tests including screening for sexual health, cholesterol, diabetes, thyroid and COVID-19, as well as follow-up care through its telehealth and pharmacy offerings.

Casdin Capital led the round and was joined by CommonFund Capital, Illumina Ventures, Optum Ventures, Transformation Capital, HLM Venture Partners, Qiming Venture Partners USA, and Rory Mcllroy through Symphony Ventures.

This latest investment brings the total capital raised by New York-based LetsGetChecked to more than $260 million since its founding in 2015, according to Crunchbase data. It also comes just over a year after LetsGetChecked brought in $71 million in Series C funding, co-led by Illumina and HLM, to increase its supply, manufacturing and testing capabilities for COVID-19.

“We have spent time with Casdin over the past couple of years, and the company is at the right stage now to take an investment from them,” Foley said. “We are ready to make the next step, and they are the right investors to support that.”

Foley intends to use the funding to scale supply chain and technology development. The company has its own manufacturing facilities and laboratories and is also in the process of acquiring a pharmacy in Jupiter, Florida, to assist in its expansion effort. LetsGetChecked also intends to introduce new test offerings this year.

Between 2019 and 2020, the company grew its revenue by more than 1,500 percent. Foley expects a similar trajectory in 2021. To date, the company has more than 600 employees, delivered more than 2 million tests, and signed more than 300 enterprise clients.

LetsGetChecked is among many venture-backed health care diagnostics providers that felt tailwinds as the global pandemic shifted much of the health diagnostic market to at-home testing. Venture capital investment into health diagnostics companies peaked in 2020 with $4.8 billion going into the sector, according to Crunchbase data.

LetsGetChecked is among 1,129 health diagnostic companies raising venture funding since 2017. Overall, investors have infused nearly $20.3 billion into this sector since that time, according to Crunchbase data.

Todd Cozzens, co-founder and managing partner at Transformation Capital, said his firm invests in companies in digital health, health information technology, and novel tech-enabled health care services.

By starting out in the direct-to-consumer space by building out its own software around logistics, manufacturing the testing kits, and owning its own laboratories, Cozzens believes LetsGetChecked has set itself apart from others.

“Seventy percent of diagnosis comes from labs, so it is more than just at-home labs, it is really wellness and preventative care in the home with clinical science behind it,” he said in an interview. “I don’t see these guys replacing anything in the care process, but expediting it. They have perfected the consumer experience, and that is a big leg up. Their tests are easy to use and combine data from other sources, like wearables and electronic medical records, and you do it all from home, on your time.”

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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

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Start Ups

Zenefits Payroll Glitch Results In Delayed Paychecks For Small-Business Employees



Employees of several small businesses were paid late Friday after payroll and benefits platform Zenefits closed for the Juneteenth holiday and experienced a glitch, two people affected told Crunchbase News.

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Zenefits provides tools for businesses to handle HR, onboarding, benefits and payroll. It’s used by many small and medium-sized businesses. The San Francisco-based company has raised at least $584 million in known venture funding, per Crunchbase data, and was most recently valued at $4.5 billion by private investors when it raised funding in 2015.

On Friday, several people took to the comments section of a Facebook post Zenefits made in honor of Juneteenth, which this week became a federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S., to complain that their employees hadn’t been paid, despite their respective companies processing payroll. 

The post was soon deleted.

John Bazyk, CEO of Connecticut-based security system company Command Corp., told Crunchbase News that he realized Friday morning that his company’s employees hadn’t been paid after one of them contacted him. 

Command usually sees a tax withdrawal and employees’ net pay come out of its bank account on Wednesday, but this week only the tax withdrawal was taken on Wednesday, Bazyk said. 

The payroll amount was taken out this morning, but had yet to be disbursed to employees as of 4 p.m. Eastern, he said.

Bazyk said he spent four hours Friday trying to deal with the issue, and hadn’t received any communication from Zenefits such as an email alerting him of the issue. 

Some employees have bills that automatically debit from their bank accounts, he said, and not being paid could put them in a bind.

“The employees are upset at me, they think I didn’t run payroll,” Bazyk said. “Some of these are new employees. They’re joining a new company and it’s like, ‘Wait I’m not getting paid?’ ”

Usually preceding a holiday, Zenefits will remind customers to run payroll early, Bazyk said, but that wasn’t the case this week. He noted that he understands it’s a unique situation — with President Biden on Thursday signing legislation that made Friday a new federal holiday in celebration of Juneteenth — but the situation and lack of communication from Zenefits were frustrating. 

“Even if they make it right, we’re probably going to leave them because it’s an unacceptable mistake,” Bazyk said.

It’s not clear how many of Zenefits’ customers or their employees were impacted by the error.

Nancy, a controller and HR administrator at a company in the Washington, D.C., area, said she was notified by two employees Friday that they hadn’t been paid. Around 2:15 p.m. Eastern, she saw a notification in the Zenefits portal acknowledging the issue. Nancy did not want to share her full name because she was not authorized to speak on behalf of her employer.

“Businesses can make mistakes,” she said. “Whatever caused the debit to not go out is not good. But then to not be there to answer what happened … that’s bad.”

A Zenefits spokeswoman said in an email to Crunchbase News that the issue causing the payroll delay was resolved, and that employees would receive payment by 5 p.m. Pacific time.

“Today, Zenefits experienced an issue that resulted in a delay for some employees’ direct deposits,” the statement read. “This has been resolved and we can confirm that employees who did not receive their direct deposit this morning will receive it today by 5 PM PT. All employees will be paid and the funds have already been processed. We are currently waiting on the banks to send them out this afternoon.”

Another Zenefits spokeswoman said in an email at 2:40 p.m. Pacific time that the issue was resolved and affected employees had been paid.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Editor’s Note: This story was updated after it was first published to reflect that payment for affected employees had gone through late Friday afternoon, after Crunchbase News first spoke with sources.

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

Handdii’s software works between insurance companies and vetted contractors.

New York-headquartered Gloat, an internal talent marketplace for employers, closed its $57 million Series C led by Accel with existing investors…

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Artificial Intelligence

Extra Crunch roundup: influencer marketing 101, spotting future unicorns, Apple AirTags teardown



With the right message, even a small startup can connect with established and emerging stars on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube who will promote your products and services — as long as your marketing team understands the influencer marketplace.

Creators have a wide variety of brands and revenue channels to choose from, but marketers who understand how to court these influencers can make inroads no matter the size of their budget. Although brand partnerships are still the top source of revenue for creators, many are starting to diversify.

If you’re in charge of marketing at an early-stage startup, this post explains how to connect with an influencer who authentically resonates with your brand and covers the basics of setting up a revenue-share structure that works for everyone.

Full Extra Crunch articles are only available to members
Use discount code ECFriday to save 20% off a one- or two-year subscription

Our upcoming TC Early Stage event is devoted to marketing and fundraising, so expect to see more articles than usual about growth marketing in the near future.

We also ran a post this week with tips for making the first marketing hire, and Managing Editor Eric Eldon spoke to growth leader Susan Su to get her thoughts about building remote marketing teams.

We’re off today to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday in the United States. I hope you have a safe and relaxing weekend.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch

As the economy reopens, startups are uniquely positioned to recruit talent

Little Fish in Form of Big Fish meeting a fish.

Image Credits: ballyscanlon (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The pandemic forced a reckoning about the way we work — and whether we want to keep working in the same way, with the same people, for the same company — and many are looking for something different on the other side.

Art Zeile, the CEO of DHI Group, notes this means it’s a great time for startups to recruit talent.

“While all startups are certainly not focused on being disruptive, they often rely on cutting-edge technology and processes to give their customers something truly new,” Zeile writes. “Many are trying to change the pattern in their particular industry. So, by definition, they generally have a really interesting mission or purpose that may be more appealing to tech professionals.”

Here are four considerations for high-growth company founders building their post-pandemic team.

Refraction AI’s Matthew Johnson-Roberson on finding the middle path to robotic delivery

Matthew Johnson-roberson

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

“Refraction AI calls itself the Goldilocks of robotic delivery,” Rebecca Bellan writes. “The Ann Arbor-based company … was founded by two University of Michigan professors who think delivery via full-size autonomous vehicles (AV) is not nearly as close as many promise, and sidewalk delivery comes with too many hassles and not enough payoff.

“Their ‘just right’ solution? Find a middle path, or rather, a bike path.”

Rebecca sat down with the company’s CEO to discuss his motivation to make “something that is useful to the general public.”

How to identify unicorn founders when they’re still early-stage

Image Credits: RichVintage (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images

What are investors looking for?

Founders often tie themselves in knots as they try to project qualities they hope investors are seeking. In reality, few entrepreneurs have the acting skills required to convince someone that they’re patient, dedicated or hard working.

Johan Brenner, general partner at Creandum, was an early backer of Klarna, Spotify and several other European startups. Over the last two decades, he’s identified five key traits shared by people who create billion-dollar companies.

“A true unicorn founder doesn’t need to have all of those capabilities on day one,” Brenner, writes “but they should already be thinking big while executing small and demonstrating that they understand how to scale a company.”

Founders Ben Schippers and Evette Ellis are riding the EV sales wave

disrupt mobility roundup

Image Credits: TechCrunch

EV sales are driving demand for services and startups that fulfill the new needs of drivers, charging station operators and others.
Evette Ellis and Ben Schippers took to the main stage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 to share how their companies capitalized on the new opportunities presented by the electric transportation revolution.

Scale AI CEO Alex Wang weighs in on software bugs and what will make AV tech good enough

Image Credits: Alexandr Wang

Scale co-founder and CEO Alex Wang joined us at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility 2021 to discuss his company’s role in the autonomous driving industry and how it’s changed in the five years since its founding.

Scale helps large and small AV players establish reliable “ground truth” through data annotation and management, and along the way, the standards for what that means have shifted as the industry matures.

Even if two algorithms in autonomous driving might be created more or less equal, their real-world performance could vary dramatically based on what they’re consuming in terms of input data. That’s where Scale’s value prop to the industry starts, and Wang explains why.

Edtech investors are flocking to SaaS guidance counselors

Image Credits: Getty Images / Vertigo3d

The prevailing post-pandemic edtech narrative, which predicted higher ed would be DOA as soon as everyone got their vaccine and took off for a gap year, might not be quite true.

Natasha Mascarenhas explores a new crop of edtech SaaS startups that function like guidance counselors, helping students with everything from study-abroad opportunities to swiping right on a captivating college (really!).

“Startups that help students navigate institutional bureaucracy so they can get more value out of their educational experience may become a growing focus for investors as consumer demand for virtual personalized learning increases,” she writes.

Dear Sophie: Is it possible to expand our startup in the US?

lone figure at entrance to maze hedge that has an American flag at the center

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

My co-founders and I launched a software startup in Iran a few years ago, and I’m happy to say it’s now thriving. We’d like to expand our company in California.

Now that President Joe Biden has eliminated the Muslim ban, is it possible to do that? Is the pandemic still standing in the way? Do you have any suggestions?

— Talented in Tehran

Companies should utilize real-time compensation data to ensure equal pay

Two women observing data to represent collecting data to ensure pay equity.

Image Credits: Rudzhan Nagiev (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Chris Jackson, the vice president of client development at CompTrak, writes in a guest column that having a conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and “agreeing on the need for equality doesn’t mean it will be achieved on an organizational scale.”

He lays out a data-driven proposal that brings in everyone from directors to HR to the talent acquisition team to get companies closer to actual equity — not just talking about it.

Investors Clara Brenner, Quin Garcia and Rachel Holt on SPACs, micromobility and how COVID-19 shaped VC

tc sessions mobility speaker_investorpanel-1

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Few people are more closely tapped into the innovations in the transportation space than investors.

They’re paying close attention to what startups and tech companies are doing to develop and commercialize autonomous vehicle technology, electrification, micromobility, robotics and so much more.

For TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, we talked to three VCs about everything from the pandemic to the most overlooked opportunities within the transportation space.

Experts from Ford, Toyota and Hyundai outline why automakers are pouring money into robotics

disrupt mobility roundup

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Automakers’ interest in robotics is not a new phenomenon, of course: Robots and automation have long played a role in manufacturing and are both clearly central to their push into AVs.

But recently, many companies are going even deeper into the field, with plans to be involved in the wide spectrum of categories that robotics touch.

At TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, we spoke to a trio of experts at three major automakers about their companies’ unique approaches to robotics.

Apple AirTags UX teardown: The trade-off between privacy and user experience

Image Credits: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Apple’s location devices — called AirTags — have been out for more than a month now. The initial impressions were good, but as we concluded back in April: “It will be interesting to see these play out once AirTags are out getting lost in the wild.”

That’s exactly what our resident UX analyst, Peter Ramsey, has been doing for the last month — intentionally losing AirTags to test their user experience at the limits.

This Extra Crunch exclusive helps bridge the gap between Apple’s mistakes and how you can make meaningful changes to your product’s UX.

How to launch a successful RPA initiative

3D illustration of robot humanoid reading book in concept of future artificial intelligence and 4th fourth industrial revolution . (3D illustration of robot humanoid reading book in concept of future artificial intelligence and 4th fourth industrial r

Image Credits: NanoStockk (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Robotic process automation (RPA) is no longer in the early-adopter phase.

Though it requires buy-in from across the organization, contributor Kevin Buckley writes, it’s time to gather everyone around and get to work.

“Automating just basic workflow processes has resulted in such tremendous efficiency improvements and cost savings that businesses are adapting automation at scale and across the enterprise,” he writes.

Long story short: “Adapting business automation for the enterprise should be approached as a business solution that happens to require some technical support.”

Mobility startups can be equitable, accessible and profitable

tc sessions

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Mobility should be a right, but too often it’s a privilege. Can startups provide the technology and the systems necessary to help correct this injustice?

At  our TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 event, we sat down with Revel CEO and co-founder Frank Reig, Remix CEO and co-founder Tiffany Chu, and community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer Tamika L. Butler to discuss how mobility companies should think about equity, why incorporating it from the get-go will save money in the long run, and how they can partner with cities to expand accessible and sustainable mobility.

CEO Shishir Mehrotra and investor S. Somasegar reveal what sings in Coda’s pitch doc

Image Credits: Carlin Ma / Madrona Venture Group/Brian Smale

Coda CEO Shishir Mehrotra and Madrona partner S. Somasegar joined Extra Crunch Live to go through Coda’s pitch doc (not deck. Doc) and stuck around for the ECL Pitch-off, where founders in the audience come “onstage” to pitch their products to our guests.

Extra Crunch Live takes place every Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT. Anyone can hang out during the episode (which includes networking with other attendees), but access to past episodes is reserved exclusively for Extra Crunch members. Join here.

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Start Ups

After years of shifting gears, online car sales platform Tred settles on model and lands $3M



Grant Feek, CEO of Tred. (Tred Photo)

If making customers happy was the only secret to success, Grant Feek would have been an entrepreneurial winner years ago.

Since launching his Seattle-based startup Tred in 2012, Feek has been in the business of helping people buy and sell cars. In its initial iteration, the company partnered with dealerships and delivered cars to people’s homes for test drives and sales.

A few years later they shifted to helping people sell their own used cars. They employed “wheel-estate agents” who ran around Seattle, taking photos and inspecting vehicles and facilitating test drives and sales. At one point Tred was buying the used cars itself and reselling them — not realizing for a period that it was operating illegally, selling more vehicles than allowed by law without being a licensed dealer.

Customers loved these varied concierge-style services, but they weren’t fiscally sustainable or scalable.

“It was a very popular service, but we had all the operational complexity of a dealership, but none of the benefits of a centralized lot,” Feek said.

In 2017, he settled on a final solution, automating the entire buying-and-selling process, providing a platform for collecting payments, arranging financing and warranties, and transferring titles.

It’s a “completely digital, nobody-leaves-the-office dealership,” Feek said.

With the new model in place, Tred has shifted into a growth phase:

  • It raised $3 million last month (the company has raised a total of $12 million, which includes prior convertible notes).
  • Last year Tred’s workforce more than doubled to 25 employees.
  • The company has expanded into Oregon, California, Texas and Florida.
  • In the next two months, it’s adding three more states, covering up to 45% of the U.S. market in total.

“We want to be the back-end engine for P2P (peer to peer) transactions,” Feek said. “We want to be PayPal for big ticket goods.”

It’s fortuitous timing. Used car sales are way up thanks to COVID-driven demand for personal vehicles combined with a production slowdown of new vehicles due to a shortage in computer chips. Pandemic stimulus checks are also providing people the means to buy cars.

Tred provides a platform for doing the sales transactions digitally, and the company is able to vet the buyers.

There are other companies in the space, including Vroom and Blinker. Many others facilitate car advertising, but not the services required for the actual sale.

As Tred has seemed to at last found its product market fit and settled into its business model, Feek’s focus has changed over the last six months.

“Once you have a company heading down the right track,” he said, “the most important thing is building a culture that makes your employees feel valued and happy.”

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Start Ups

Immunotherapy startup Umoja lands $210M, less than a year after raising $53M



Umoja Biopharma CEO Andy Scharenberg. (Umoja Photo)

New funding: Just seven months after announcing a $53 million Series A round, Umoja Biopharma has raised an additional $210 million in a Series B round. The company is developing immunotherapy treatments for blood-based and organ-based tumors in adult and pediatric patients.

Umoja launched in 2019 and is working to commercialize technology developed at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University. The company’s headquarters are in Seattle, and it has a manufacturing operations site in Boulder, Colo. The name comes from a Swahili word for unity.

The science: Umoja is developing a multi-pronged technology that harnesses a patient’s’ immune response to attack cancer cells. The company argues that its approach, which generates cancer fighting T cells in vivo, or within a person’s body, has benefits compared to treatments developed in vitro. The strategy also uses a system of tagging cancer cells.

The new funding will help develop treatments for clinical trials. That includes two programs, one using the tumor tagging technology for what are called folate receptor-expressing solid tumors, and another treatment for hematological cancers.

Co-founders: The Umoja team includes a roster of experienced biotech researchers and executives.

  • CEO Dr. Andy Scharenberg previously co-founded Pregenen and Generation Bio, and is a professor of pediatrics and immunology at the University of Washington. Scharenberg is also a principal investigator at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
  • Dr. Michael Jensen, Umoja’s scientific advisory board co-chair, is vice president of Seattle Children’s Therapeutics, a new effort by Seattle Children’s Hospital to expand its existing research efforts.
  • Philip Low, Umoja’s scientific advisory board co-chair, is a professor at Purdue who previously co-founded MorphImmune, Eradivir, Endocyte and other companies.
  • Chief Technology Officer Ryan Crisman is a veteran of ZymoGenetics, Juno Therapeutics and Gates Biomanufacturing Facility.

Funding: The round was co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Cormorant Asset Management. New investors included RTW Investments, LP, Temasek, Presight Capital, Caas Capital and SVB Leerink. Funds also came from existing investors: MPM Capital, DCVC Bio, Qiming Venture Partners USA, Casdin Capital, The Emerson Collective and Alexandria Venture Investments.

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