Gettin’ tidy

February 1, 2019

A storage startup rides the Marie Kondo tidy wave to the tune of $200m+ in funding.
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Clutter rides Marie Kondo’s tidy wave to $200m+ in funding

Clutter, the on-demand storage app that helps hobbyist hoarders get rid of garage garbáge, raised between $200m and $250m in a new funding round, according to a TechCrunch report.

Thanks to the magic of Marie Kondo, decluttering is totally ‘in’ this season, and as a result on-demand cleaning and storage apps like Clutter are sweeping up huge funding rounds.

Tidying is the trend of the season 

Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, encourages those with cluttered consciences to throw away all things that don’t ‘spark joy.’ 

But, instead of jettisoning all their junk, many of the planet’s more possessive proprietors are simply moving things to storage.

Out of garage, out of mind

Clutter offers an alternative to Kondo-ing for anyone who doesn’t really want to let their junk go. 

The on-demand storage company takes away all your not-needs, stores them for as long as you do need, and returns it all (at the touch of a button) when your spouse finally gives you permission to hang up your neon “Pull my finger” sign.

Clutter, which currently operates in San Francisco, LA, Seattle, New York, and Chicago, is now valued between $400m and $500m.

The business of decluttering is a mess

Clutter may be able to help you clean out your in-law unit, but so far it hasn’t been able to clean up its own fragmented storage industry. 

The $40B industry is littered with dusty old-timers (Public Storage, U-Haul) and disorganized newcomers (Omni, MakeSpace, Closetbox), but no single company has established a clean lead.

But with this new round of funding, Clutter could finally sweep up the competition: When it closes this round, Clutter will have raised more money than all its startup competitors combined.

A clean, mean, storage machine
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Uber goes public (no, not THAT kind of going public) by adding local transit routes

For the first time ever, Uber will now list public transit options such as trains and buses in its app alongside its own rideshare products.

The update, made possible by a partnership with Denver’s Regional Transportation District, transit data provider Moovit, and the ticketing app Masabi, shows that Uber’s ultimate goal is to dominate every type of transportation.

Uber’s march to a ‘multi-modal’ future

Down the road, Uber’s plan is to become a one-stop-shop for all transportation needs by building what it calls a multi-modal transportation network.

“Whether you’re using mass transit for your morning commute, taking an e-bike for a midday meeting, using Pool to take a ride home or renting a car for the weekend, we want Uber to be there,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi explained in April.

Last year, Uber bought JUMP e-bikes to build out its ‘micromobility solutions.’ Now, partnering with public transportation authorities is a logical next step for Uber to build out its ‘macro’ transportation options.

Cities are about to get Uber-ized

Today, Uber’s transit feature only directs users towards transit options and provides real-time updates about their arrivals. 

But in the next few weeks, Uber will roll out in-app payments, as well — meaning people will be able to pay for their bus and train rides directly in Uber’s app.

Uber plans to expand its transit program beyond Denver in the next few months: Masabi, Uber’s ticketing software partner, is already used in 30 different transportation authorities around the world.

   @ Me Anything
Conor Grant, News Writer at The Hustle

It’s no secret that US public transit could use an efficiency upgrade. But do I want Uber — a company with so little regard for personal data that it publicly mapped its users’ one night stands — collecting my bus ticket?
Show this thread
» Uber’s got a ticket to ride

Mobile banking app Steps into a no-fee mobile bank account for teens

As fintech apps like Venmo have all but banished hard cash to the same “farm” that physical contracts and pay stubs disappeared to, the days of asking your parents for a crisp 20 are all but over for today’s teens.  

A new fee-free mobile banking startup called Step has an answer for the 75m kids under 21 in the US who still use cash to buy fresh cans of pop at the Soda Shack… AKA whatever it is that young people spend their parents’ money on.

This market isn’t the “unbanked.” Instead, it’s the “pre-banked,” Step CEO CJ MacDonald told TechCrunch.

Isn’t that the same… ? Ok fine, ‘pre-banked’

MacDonald, along with CTO Alexey Kalinichenko, founded Step in May 2018. Shortly after, the company closed on $3.8m in seed funding.

Today, the market is f-f-f-flush with mobile banking apps, but the 13 and up demographic is significantly underserved, putting Step in a space with just a few opponents — including the subscription-based teen debit card/bank app Current and the parent-managed debit card from Greenlight.

Aiming to be more than just a debit card

Step offers the first all-in-one solution (checking, savings, and a Visa card that works as both debit and credit) and also allows parents to set spending limits.

Parents can also connect their own bank accounts to transfer funds for allowances and chores, the lifeblood of the teenage economy (until robot lawn mowers become more efficient, that is).

» Make way for Teentech

Orca AI raised $2.6m, not to mine shipwrecks, but to prevent them

Mother Ocean is not to be trusted, but d*mn it she should be respected! Just ask the 1 person in every friend circle who’s made the mistake of thinking the ocean is their friend, and they’ll show the scar that proves it’s not.

Orca AI is a company that already knows this, according to VentureBeat. The company, which engineers maritime navigation solutions using AI, announced the close of a $2.6m funding round to help stop shipwrecks before they start.

Putting lighthouses out of business

Nearly 4k boat collisions take place every year, with a majority of those collisions happening near shore or in ports (why do you think lighthouses were invented, people?) — but this is 2019.

According to Orca AI CEO Yarden Gross, mistakes often take place when a captain or crew is forced to rely on their instincts when existing navigation tools fall short.

With Orca, a combination of thermal cameras, low-light cameras, and other sensors keep seamen aware of nearby ships and alert them about potential danger.

Orca’s lookin’ at you, Maersk

Orca will sell its product to companies whose ships carry dangerous cargo like oil or gas or ships that float around in congested port areas.

“Basically, every commercial ship is the target. We’re building a solution that’s going to [one day] be suitable and generic to any kind of vessel,” Gross said. “Autonomous vessels will change the industry dramatically like autonomous cars.”

Two words: Robot Pirates.

» Arrrrrrtificial Intelligence, mateyyy

Apruve raises an additional $6m in funding to make accounts receivable folklore

Throwing paperwork, stress, and the burden of financial risk out the top-floor window? We like the sound of that. 

Apparently Cloud Apps Capital does too — they recently injected a cool $6 million into Apruve to help them continue their mission of getting B2B businesses to worry less about getting paid, and more about how they can grow their biz. 

Automate credit approvals, invoicing, collections, and more

Think about it this way: All that massive overhead needed for teams responsible for just collections? Fuhgeddaboutit

Apruve pays suppliers within 24 hours of invoicing while making it easy for customers to pay — even if they need to go through purchasing teams with strict payment terms or want to pay with old school paper checks. 

Apruve can even help you eliminate AR from your balance sheet, reduce financial risk to your business, and make your company run smoother than your first shave.

Ready to toss that paperwork like a bad banana? Click below to request a demo today.

Show me whatcha got → shower thoughts
  1. If you are rich enough, parking tickets are just how much it costs to park there.
  2. Meeting attractive people with bad personalities is just like pouring cereal and then realizing there’s no milk.
  3. Your eyelids slide so smoothly against your eye.
  4. The actual point when you become an adult is when you realise there is no single point when you become an adult.
  5. Since black absorbs the entire light spectrum, Goths are really the most colorful people out there.
  6. via Reddit
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