Thursday, January 20

Economics

Economics

Europe’s quick-commerce startups are overhyped: Lessons from China
Economics

Europe’s quick-commerce startups are overhyped: Lessons from China

Alexander Kremer Contributor More than 10 companies currently compete across Europe with an instant grocery delivery business model. Half of them were established in 2020, the year of the pandemic. These companies have raised more than $2 billion to date. Existing and well-funded online food-delivery service players like Delivery Hero are also joining the race by launching dedicated grocery offerings. However, if lessons from the world’s largest online grocery market, China ($400 billion), matter, then it’s clear that instant delivery is not the magic bullet to crack the dominance of Europe’s incumbent supermarket chains in the overall $2 trillion-plus flat market. Instead, China’s quick-commerce equivalents (like Dingdong Maicai, Miss Fresh an...
Pyka shows off its new electric passenger plane, the P3
Economics

Pyka shows off its new electric passenger plane, the P3

Pyka appeared out of nowhere in 2019 with an unusual take on electric aircraft: a pilotless crop duster. The success of this first plane led the company to begin developing its next one, the P3: a nine-passenger craft with a totally unique propeller setup aimed at making regional flights cheaper and simpler. It could be flying as soon as next year. The company also has a new president in Dan Grossman, formerly of Zipcar, Ford and Maven. The transportation sector DNA he brings could help Pyka create the networks and partnerships it needs to get off the ground in local air travel. The P3 is intended to fly up to 200 nautical miles (about 230 of our lubber miles) at 155 knots, in other words doing the kind of hour-ish hops people opt for instead of a long drive. Currently these routes ar...
Kiwibot partners with hospitality giant Sodexo to bring food delivery robots to more college campuses
Economics

Kiwibot partners with hospitality giant Sodexo to bring food delivery robots to more college campuses

Kiwibot, the robotic sidewalk delivery startup, has announced a partnership with food services and facilities management giant Sodexo to bring its robots to U.S. college campuses. As of this month, students and faculty at New Mexico State University, Loyola Marymount University and Gonzaga University should have the option to order fresh meals via cute little robots from Sodexo-serviced locations on campuses. This is not the first time Kiwibot is delivering food for over-caffeinated, hungover, exhausted college kids. Its robots, which are designed to look adorable and can move at around two miles per hour, were born at the University of Berkeley, California. There, the company was able to rack up 150,000 deliveries and prove its use case for expansion to other campuses, like the Unive...
Extra Crunch roundup: Zūm CEO interview, Cisco’s M&A ethos, neoinsurance bad romance
Economics

Extra Crunch roundup: Zūm CEO interview, Cisco’s M&A ethos, neoinsurance bad romance

It was once common practice for doctors to visit sick patients in their homes: In 1930, 40% of all consultations were house calls. By 1980, that figure was less than 1%. Today, urgent care centers occupy Main Street storefronts and 33% of all medical expenditures occur in hospitals. It’s clear that the additional overhead is generating higher prices, but not necessarily better results, according to Sumi Das and Nina Gerson, who lead healthcare investments at Capital G. “We can improve both outcomes and costs by moving care from the hospital back to the place it started — at home,” they write in a post that explores five innovations enabling at-home care and identifies investment opportunities like acute care and infrastructure development. Today, in-home care comprises just 3% of over...
The stars are aligning for federal IT open source software adoption
Economics

The stars are aligning for federal IT open source software adoption

Venky Adivi is director of strategic capture and proposal management at Canonical, publisher of Ubuntu. In recent years, the private sector has been spurning proprietary software in favor of open source software and development approaches. For good reason: The open source avenue saves money and development time by using freely available components instead of writing new code, enables new applications to be deployed quickly and eliminates vendor lock-in. The federal government has been slower to embrace open source, however. Efforts to change are complicated by the fact that many agencies employ large legacy IT infrastructure and systems to serve millions of people and are responsible for a plethora of sensitive data. Washington spends tens of billions every year on IT,...
Grocery delivery startup Membo is hungry to build a Europe-wide, local food producer network
Economics

Grocery delivery startup Membo is hungry to build a Europe-wide, local food producer network

Estonia-based Membo — which is backed by Y Combinator and will be presenting at the incubator’s Summer 2021 Demo Day next week — is aiming to take a slice of the premium end of grocery shopping in Europe and a bite out of supermarket giants’ continued dominance of the traditional weekly food shop.  On-demand food delivery in Europe is of course a highly competitive business, with rapid-fire market moves and bursts of consolidation among app makers making a kind of sizzling startup stir-fry. Online grocery delivery, by contrast, tends to be a bit more sedate. Although there is some overlap, with developments like dark stores. Interest in app-based grocery shopping also had an especially big boost during the pandemic — which has fired up consumer interest in doing the weekly shop online...
Allocations sees a world where myriad, smaller private equity funds are the norm
Economics

Allocations sees a world where myriad, smaller private equity funds are the norm

This morning Allocations, a fintech startup building software to help smaller private equity funds form and operate, announced that it has raised a $4 million round at a $100 million valuation. The startup also shared a host of performance metrics, including that it reached a $4.6 million revenue run rate in June, and a $6 million bookings run rate in the same month. Allocations also told TechCrunch that it has posted 28% monthly revenue growth over the last 12 months. With metrics like that, our curiosity was piqued. What is Allocations building that is attracting so much early demand? And how does the company’s thesis regarding the future of private equity funds intersect with microventure funds themselves? What Allocations does Born from CEO Kingsley Advani’s ef...
Back to the suture: The future of healthcare is in the home
Economics

Back to the suture: The future of healthcare is in the home

Sumi Das is a partner at CapitalG, Alphabet’s independent growth fund, where he leads healthcare tech and consumer fintech investments. Prior investments include Robinhood, Stripe, Convoy, Albert, Aye Finance, Next Insurance and Strive Health. Nina Gerson is a vice president at CapitalG, Alphabet’s independent growth fund, where she co-leads healthcare tech investments. Prior investments include Strive Health and Next Insurance. The pandemic has highlighted some of the brightest spots — and greatest areas of need — in America’s healthcare system. On one hand, we’ve witnessed the vibrancy of America’s innovation engine, with notable contributions by U.S.-based scientists and companies for vaccines and treatments. On the other hand, the pandemic has highlig...
Alerzo raises $10.5M Series A to bring Nigeria’s informal retail sector online
Economics

Alerzo raises $10.5M Series A to bring Nigeria’s informal retail sector online

The process of digitizing the operations of mom and pop stores in Nigeria is serious business right now. In fact, it might be the second-best thing after fintech at the moment. Today’s news is from Alerzo, a little-known B2B e-commerce retail startup based in Ibadan, Nigeria. The company is announcing a $10.5 million Series A round led by London-based Nosara Capital. FJ Labs and several family offices from the U.S., Europe and Asia, including Michael Novogratz’s, participated in the round. In total, Alerzo has raised more than $20 million since its launch. Early investors include the Baobab Network, an Africa-focused accelerator based in London, and Signal Hill, a Singapore-based fund manager that participated in its $5.5 million seed round last year. The company also said it closed a...
informed., you want to be? Trio of European media veterans take on the problem of news economics
Economics

informed., you want to be? Trio of European media veterans take on the problem of news economics

News is vital to society, but it’s also incredibly expensive to produce. As ad rates have suffered across the industry (minus a positive blip this summer), publishers have increasingly turned to paywalls to make ends meet. There’s just one problem: The open internet that allowed readers to range over the entire thought of humanity has transformed into row after row of walled gardens locked down by angry sentries. The subscription hell I talked about three years ago has indeed only accelerated. Fixing hell is going to take some doing, but three veterans of news and media in Europe are ready to take a crack at it. Benjamin Mateev, Martin Kaelble and Axel Bard Bringéus have come together to launch informed. (official branding: no caps, mandatory period). The Berlin-ba...