GrubMarket gobbles up $120M at a $1B+ pre-money valuation to take on the grocery supply chain

When people talk about “online food delivery” services, chances are that they’ll think of the Uber Eats, Instacarts and Getirs of this world. But today a startup that’s tackling a different aspect of the market — addressing the supply chain that subsequently turns the wheels of the bigger food distribution machine — is announcing a big round of funding as it continues to grow.

GrubMarket, which provides software and services that help link up and manage relationships between food suppliers and their customers — which can include wholesalers and other distributors, markets and supermarkets, delivery startups, restaurants, and consumers — has picked up $120 million in a Series E round of funding.

The funding is coming from a wide mix of investors. Liberty Street Funds, Walleye Capital, Japan Post Capital, Joseph Stone Capital, Pegasus Tech Ventures, Tech Pioneers Fund are among the new backers, who are being joined by existing investors Celtic House Asia Partners, INP Capital, Reimagined Ventures, Moringa Capital Management, and others, along with other unnamed participants

Mike Xu, GrubMarket’s founder and CEO (pictured, above), tells me that the company is currently profitable in a big way. It’s now at a $1 billion annualized run-rate, having grown revenues 300% over last year, with some markets like New York growing even more (it went from less than $10 million ARR to $100 million+).

With operations currently in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, and some 40 warehouses nationwide. GrubMarket had a pre-money valuation of over $1 billion, and now it will be looking to grow even more, both in terms of territory and in terms of tech, moving ahead in a market that is largely absent from competitors.

“We are still the first mover in this space,” Xu said when I asked him in an interview about rivals. “No one else is doing consolidation on the supply chain side as we are. We are trying to consolidate the American food supply chain through software technologies, while also trying to find the best solutions in this space.”

(And for some context, the $1 billion+ valuation is more than double GrubMarket’s valuation in October 2020, when it raised $60 million at a $500 million post-money valuation.)

Longer term, the plan will be to look at an IPO provisionally filing the paperwork by summer 2022, Xu added.

GrubMarket got its start several years ago as one of many companies looking to provide a more efficient farm-to-table service. Tapping into a growing consumer interest in higher quality, and more traceable food, it saw an opportunity to build a platform to link up producers to the consumers, restaurants and grocery stores that were buying their products. (Grocery stores, incidentally, might be independent operations, or something much bigger: one of GrubMarket’s biggest customers is Whole Foods, which uses GrubMarket for produce supply in certain regions of the U.S. It is currently is the company’s biggest customer.)

As we wrote last year, GrubMarket — like many other grocery delivery services — found that the pandemic initially provided a big fillip, and a big rush of demand, from that consumer side of the business, as more people turned to internet-based ordering and delivery services to offset the fact that many stores were closed, or they simply wanted to curtail the amount of shopping they were doing in-person to slow the spread of Covid-19.

But fast forward to today, while the startup still serves consumers, this is currently not the primary part of its business. Instead, it’s B2B2C, serving companies that in turn serve consumers. Xu says that overall, demand from consumers has dropped off considerably compared to a year ago.

“We think that restaurant re-openings have meant more people are dining out again and spending less time at home,” Xu said, ” and also they can go back to physical grocery stores, so they are not as interested as they were before in buying raw ingredients online. I don’t want to offend other food tech companies, but I think many of them will be seeing the same. I think B2C is really going to slow down going forward.”

The opening for GrubMarket has been not just positioning itself as a middleman between producers and buyers, but to do so by way of technology and consolidating what has been a very regionalized and fragmented market up to now.

GrubMarket has snapped up no less than 40 companies in the last three years. While some of these have been to help it expand geographically (it made 10 acquisitions in the Los Angeles area alone), many have also been made to double down on technology.

These have included the likes of Farmigo, once a Disrupt Battlefield contender that pivoted into becoming a software provider to CSAs (an area that GrubMarket sees a lot of opportunity), as well as software to help farms manage their business staffing, insurance and more: Pacific Farm Management is an example of the latter.

GrubMarket’s own in-house software, WholesaleWare, a cloud-based service for farmers and other food producers, saw its sales grow 3,500% over the last year, and it is now managing more than $4 billion in wholesale and retail activity across the U.S. and Canada.

There will be obvious ways to extend what GrubHub does deeper into the needs of its customers on the purchasing end, but this is in many ways also a very crowded market. (And not just crowded, but crowded with big companies. Just today, Toast, the company that builds software for restaurants, filed for a $717 million IPO at potentially a $16.5 billion valuation.) So instead, GrubHub will continue to focus on what has been a more overlooked aspect, that of the suppliers.

“I am focused on the food supply chain,” Xu said. “Operators in the food supply chain business most of the time don’t have any access to software and e-commerce technology. But we are not just a lightweight online ordering system. We do a lot of heavyweight lifting around inventory management, pricing and customer relations, and even HR management for wholesales and distributors.” That will also mean, longer term, that GrubMarket will likely also start to explore connected hardware to help those customers, too: robotics for picking and moving items are on that agenda, Xu said.

“GrubMarket has built a profitable, high-growth business underpinned by its best-in-class technology platform that’s reinventing how businesses access healthy, fresh foods,” said Jack Litowitz, director of strategic investments at Reimagined Ventures, in a statement. “We’re proud to support GrubMarket as it continues to expand into new regions and grow its WholesaleWare 2.0 software platform. At Reimagined Ventures, we always seek to invest in businesses that are disrupting inefficient industries in innovative ways. Mike Xu and the GrubMarket team have built one of these businesses. We’re excited to back their vision and work in making the food supply chain more efficient.”

“GrubMarket is transforming the trillion-dollar food distribution industry with unprecedented speed by implementing advanced digital solutions and operational discipline. The company’s scale, growth, and profitability are extraordinarily impressive. Pegasus is delighted and honored to be part of GrubMarket’s exciting journey ahead,” added Bill Reichert, partner at Pegasus Tech Ventures.

#arizona, #california, #canada, #ceo, #connecticut, #digital-solutions, #farmigo, #food, #food-delivery, #food-supply-chain, #funding, #georgia, #grocery-store, #grubhub, #grubmarket, #instacart, #japan-post-capital, #los-angeles, #massachusetts, #michigan, #mike-xu, #missouri, #new-jersey, #new-york, #olo, #online-food-delivery, #online-food-ordering, #oregon, #partner, #pegasus-tech-ventures, #pennsylvania, #reimagined-ventures, #retailers, #software, #software-platform, #supply-chain, #texas, #uber-eats, #united-states, #washington, #whole-foods

When Heat Waves, Wildfires and Drought Grip Oregon and Washington

As drought, record heat and wildfire smoke seize the Pacific Northwest, farm owners and fieldworkers struggle to adapt. Sometimes the response feels improvised or inadequate.

#agriculture-and-farming, #drought, #heat-and-heat-waves, #medford-ore, #oregon, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #weather, #wildfires

The Hunt Is on to Fix the Power Grid

Empowering consumers to control their electric consumption would free up power to meet demand elsewhere.

#air-conditioning, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #california, #electric-light-and-power, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #home-appliances, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #new-orleans-la, #north-carolina, #oregon, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #portland-ore, #portland-general-electric-company, #power-failures-and-blackouts

Facing Its Worst Virus Surge, Oregon Adopts Some of Nation’s Toughest Restrictions

The National Guard has been deployed. Health care workers are pleading for help. Now the state is ordering masks for everyone who gathers closely in public, even outdoors.

#brown-kate-1960, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #disease-rates, #masks, #oregon, #portland-ore, #wheeler-edward-tevis-ted

‘Grandfamily’ Housing Caters to Older Americans Raising Children

Intergenerational communities are sprouting up as the need grows for homes that suit aging adults and their young charges.

#affordable-housing, #content-type-personal-profile, #elderly, #families-and-family-life, #foster-care, #grandparents, #joint-center-for-housing-studies, #oregon, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #united-states

Wildfires Limit Outdoor Travel and Activity Across the West

Excessive heat and wildfires could disrupt the booming outdoor travel industry, as travelers now have to take a hotter and longer fire season into account.

#california, #global-warming, #hawaii, #idaho, #montana, #oregon, #travel-and-vacations, #washington-state, #western-states-us, #wildfires

Reconsidering Outdoor Travel in the West, as Wildfires Burn

Excessive heat and wildfires could disrupt the booming outdoor travel industry, as travelers now have to take a hotter and longer fire season into account.

#california, #fishing-sport, #global-warming, #hawaii, #idaho, #montana, #oregon, #travel-and-vacations, #washington-state, #wildfires

Alberto Salazar Barred from Track for Sexual, Emotional Misconduct

A former top coach who was once one of the world’s greatest distance runners, Salazar had already been suspended for breaking rules governing banned substances.

#athletics-and-sports, #doping-sports, #ethics-and-official-misconduct, #nike-inc, #olympic-games-2020, #oregon, #salazar-alberto, #track-and-field, #united-states-anti-doping-agency, #us-center-for-safesport

Maine Will Make Companies Pay for Recycling. Here’s How It Works.

The law aims to take the cost burden of recycling away from taxpayers. One environmental advocate said the change could be “transformative.”

#containers-and-packaging, #environment, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #maine, #mills-janet-t-1947, #oregon, #plastics, #pollution, #recycling-of-waste-materials, #waste-materials-and-disposal

The Bootleg Fire Is Now Generating Its Own Weather

Unpredictable winds, fire clouds that spawn lightning, and flames that leap over firebreaks are confounding efforts to fight the blaze, which is sweeping through southern Oregon.

#bootleg-fire, #california, #fires-and-firefighters, #forests-and-forestry, #global-warming, #lightning, #oregon, #weather, #wildfires

Covid-19 Delta Variant Widens Gulf Between Vaccinated and Unvaccinated

Data from overseas, particularly Britain, suggest the spread of the virus will set vaccinated and unvaccinated communities on very different paths.

#astrazeneca-plc, #australia, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #disease-rates, #england, #europe, #great-britain, #immune-system, #india, #infections, #israel, #nature-journal, #oregon, #pfizer-inc, #scotland, #seasons-and-months, #south-africa, #south-america, #southern-states-us, #states-us, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #western-states-us, #your-feed-science, #youth

New York City’s new biometrics privacy law takes effect

A new biometrics privacy ordinance has taken effect across New York City, putting new limits on what businesses can do with the biometric data they collect on their customers.

From Friday, businesses that collect biometric information — most commonly in the form of facial recognition and fingerprints — are required to conspicuously post notices and signs to customers at their doors explaining how their data will be collected. The ordinance applies to a wide range of businesses — retailers, stores, restaurants, and theaters, to name a few — which are also barred from selling, sharing, or otherwise profiting from the biometric information that they collect.

The move will give New Yorkers — and its millions of visitors each year — greater protections over how their biometric data is collected and used, while also serving to dissuade businesses from using technology that critics say is discriminatory and often doesn’t work.

Businesses can face stiff penalties for violating the law, but can escape fines if they fix the violation quickly.

The law is by no means perfect, as none of these laws ever are. For one, it doesn’t apply to government agencies, including the police. Of the businesses that the ordinance does cover, it exempts employees of those businesses, such as those required to clock in and out of work with a fingerprint. And the definition of what counts as a biometric will likely face challenges that could expand or narrow what is covered.

New York is the latest U.S. city to enact a biometric privacy law, after Portland, Oregon passed a similar ordinance last year. But the law falls short of stronger biometric privacy laws in effect.

Illinois, which has the Biometric Information Privacy Act, a law that grants residents the right to sue for any use of their biometric data without consent. Facebook this year settled for $650 million in a class-action suit that Illinois residents filed in 2015 after the social networking giant used facial recognition to tag users in photos without their permission.

Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the New York-based Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, said the law is an “important step” to learn how New Yorkers are tracked by local businesses.

“A false facial recognition match could mean having the NYPD called on you just for walking into a Rite Aid or Target,” he told TechCrunch. He also said that New York should go further by outlawing systems like facial recognition altogether, as some cities have done.

Read more:

#articles, #biometrics, #face-id, #facebook, #facial-recognition, #facial-recognition-software, #illinois, #learning, #new-york, #new-york-city, #new-yorkers, #oregon, #portland, #privacy, #rite-aid, #security, #surveillance, #techniques

Heat-Related Death Toll Climbs to Nearly 100 in Washington State and Oregon

The heat wave in parts of the Pacific Northwest played a role in the deaths of dozens of people, some of whom lived alone.

#deaths-fatalities, #heatstroke, #oregon, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #temperature, #washington-state

Pacific Northwest Continues to Bake Beneath ‘Heat Dome’

A wave of ocean air provided some relief after Portland, Ore., reached 116 degrees on Monday. Temperatures will climb into the upper 90s there on Tuesday, forecasters said.

#global-warming, #national-weather-service, #oregon, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #portland-ore, #salem-ore, #seattle-wash, #temperature, #washington-state, #weather

Pacific Northwest Bakes in Record-Setting Heat Wave

A high of 102 degrees was recorded on Saturday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, only the third time since 1945 that the high reached triple digits, the National Weather Service said.

#heat-wave, #oregon, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #seattle-wash, #temperature, #washington-state, #weather

Biden Must Stop the Line 3 Pipeline in Minnesota

The fight over the pipeline will be, at least for now, where Biden’s climate commitment will be judged.

#alberta-canada, #army-corps-of-engineers, #boston-mass, #canada, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #enbridge-inc, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #indigenous-people, #keystone-pipeline-system, #minnesota, #mississippi-river, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #oregon, #pipelines, #superior-wis, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wisconsin

Oregon House Ejects Mike Nearman for Aiding State Capitol Breach

The Oregon House voted 59 to 1 to remove Representative Mike Nearman, a Republican, for his actions in December.

#demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #nearman-mike, #oregon, #politics-and-government, #state-legislatures

Oregon Lawmakers Approve Changes to 94-Year-Old State Song

The lyrics to “Oregon, My Oregon,” which activists called racist, will be modified to reflect “significant cultural, historical, economic and societal evolution in Oregon,” a resolution said.

#discrimination, #music, #oregon, #oregon-my-oregon-song, #politics-and-government, #state-legislatures

In a Different Capitol Siege, Republicans in Oregon Call for Accountability

G.O.P. lawmakers in the state are calling for the resignation of a legislator who appears to have encouraged protesters to breach the State Capitol in December.

#demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #nearman-mike, #oregon, #salem-ore, #state-legislatures, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021

Amid Historic Drought, a New Water War in the West

A drought crisis has erupted in the Klamath Basin along the California-Oregon border, with fish dying en masse and farmers infuriated that they have been cut off from their main water source.

#agriculture-and-farming, #california, #drought, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #irrigation, #klamath-falls-ore, #native-americans, #oregon, #salmon, #water, #wildlife-die-offs

Their Own Private Idaho: Five Oregon Counties Back a Plan to Secede

In nonbinding elections, parts of eastern Oregon said they wanted to join Idaho. The conservative region has long felt alienated from the liberal politics of Oregon’s population centers.

#idaho, #oregon, #rural-areas, #secession-and-independence-movements, #states-us

Along the Columbia River, Making a Monument of the Land

In the Pacific Northwest, Maya Lin’s ‘art landscapes’ celebrate the river’s partnership with Native American tribes.

#architecture, #columbia-river-pacific-northwest, #confederated-tribes-of-the-umatilla-indian-reservation-ore, #confluence-project-nonprofit, #historic-buildings-and-sites, #lin-maya, #maxey-museum-walla-walla-wash, #minthorn-antone, #native-americans, #oregon, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #washington-state

How 4 New Jersey pools turned into a startup that just raised $10M

As the oldest of 12 children, Bunim Laskin spent much of his teen years looking for ways to help keep his siblings entertained. Noticing that a neighbor’s pool was often empty, Laskin reached out to ask if his family could use her pool. To make it worth her while, he suggested that they could help cover her expenses for maintaining the pool.

Soon after, five other families had made the same arrangement with her and the pool owner had six families covering 25% of her expenses. This meant that the neighbor was actually making money off her pool. The arrangement sparked a business idea in Laskin’s mind. At the age of 20, he founded Swimply, a marketplace for homeowners to rent out their underutilized pools to local swimmers, with Asher Weinberger.

The Cedarhurst, New York-based company launched a beta in 2018, starting with four pools in the New Jersey area. 

“We used Google Earth to find houses, and then knocked on 80 doors with a pool,” Laskin recalls. “We got to 100 pools organically. Word of mouth really helped us grow.” The site was pretty bare bones, he admits, with potential customers only able to view photos of the pools and connect with the pool owner by phone.

That year, Swimply did around 400 reservations and raised $1.2 million from friends and family.

In 2019, Swimply launched what he describes as a “proper” website and app with an automated platform. It grew “4 to 5 times” that year, again mostly organically. In an episode that aired in March 2020, the company appeared on Shark Tank but went home without a deal.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Swimply, Laskin said, pivoted right into the pandemic.

“We were the perfect solution for people when the world was falling on its head,” he said. The company restructured its offering to ensure that pool owners did not have to interact with guests. “It was the perfect, contact-free, self-serve experience to hang out and be with people you quarantined with.”

The CDC then came out to say that it was safe to swim because chlorine could help kill the virus, and that proved to be a big boon to its business.

“On one end, it was a way for people to have a normal day and on the other, it helped give owners a way to earn an income, at a time when many people were being affected financially,” Laskin told TechCrunch.

Business took off in 2020 with revenue growing 4,000% and now Swimply is announcing a $10 million Series A round. Norwest Venture Partners led the financing, which also included participation from Trust Ventures and a number of angel investors such as Poshmark founder and CEO Manish Chandra; Rob Chesnut, former general counsel and chief ethics officer at Airbnb; CEO Deborah Liu and Michael Curtis. 

Swimply is now operating in a total of 125 U.S. markets, two markets in Canada and five markets in Australia. It plans to use its new capital in part to expand into new markets and toward product development.

Image Credits: Swimply

The way it works is pretty straightforward. Swimply simply connects homeowners that have underutilized backyard spaces and pools with those seeking a way to gather, cool off or exercise, for example. People or families can rent pools by the hour, ranging in price from $15 to $60 per hour (at an average of $45/hour) depending on the amenities. New markets that Swimply has recently expanded to include Portland, Oregon; Raleigh, NC and the California cities of Oakland, San Luis Obispo and Los Gatos. 

“The shifting mindset from younger generations about ownership is a huge contributor to increased growth of the Swimply marketplace,” said co-founder Weinberger, who serves as Swimply’s COO. “Swimming is the third most popular activity for adults and number one for children, and yet no other company has tackled the aquatic space to make swimming more affordable and accessible…until now.”

While the company declined to provide hard revenue figures, Laskin said Swimply was seeing “7 digits a month in revenue” and 15,000 to 20,000 reservations a month. Families represent the most popular reservation.

“People can book and pay through our platform, and only 20% of hosts ever meet their guests,” Laskin said. “We’re enabling a new kind of consumer behavior with what we’re doing.”

The company is planning to use its new capital to also rebuild much of its tech infrastructure and boost its customer support team to be more “readily available.”

It is also now offering a complimentary up to $1 million worth of insurance per booking for liability as well as $10,000.

Swimply has a little over 20 employees, up 10 times from 2 people in December of 2020. It plans to double that number over the next few months.

The company’s model has proven quite lucrative for some owners, according to Laskin.

“Last year, there were some owners who earned $10,000 a month. One owner in Denver earned $50,000 last year and he had signed up toward the end of the summer. He should make over $100,000 this year,” Lasken projects.

Its only criteria is that owners offer a clean pool. Eighty five percent of hosts offer restrooms as well. If they don’t, they are limited to one-hour reservations with a max of five guests. Swimply has also partnered with local pool companies, and if they pay one of its owners a visit and certify that pool, that owner gets a badge on the site “so guests get an additional level of security,” Laskin said.

Ed Yip of Norwest Venture Partners admits that when he first heard of the concept of Swimply, he “didn’t know what to make of it.”

But the more he heard about it, the more excited he got.

“This is the holy grail for a consumer investor. We’re not changing consumer behavior, but rather productize the experience and make it safer and easier on both sides,” Yip told TechCrunch.

What also gets the investor excited is the potential for Swimply beyond just swimming pools in the future.

“We’re seeing a ton of demand from hosts wanting to list hot tubs and tennis courts, for example,” Yip said. “So this can turn into a marketplace for shared outdoor resources and that’s a huge market opportunity that adds value on both sides.”

Indeed, the concept of monetizing underutilized space is a growing concept. Earlier this year, we reported on Neighbor, which operates a self-storage marketplace, raising $53 million in a Series B round of funding. Neighbor’s unique model aims to repurpose under-utilized or vacant space — whether it be a person’s basement or the empty floor of an office building — and turn it into storage.



#airbnb, #ancestry-com, #australia, #california, #canada, #ceo, #co-founder, #coo, #denver, #entertainment, #funding, #fundings-exits, #manish-chandra, #new-jersey, #north-carolina, #norwest-venture-partners, #oakland, #oregon, #pool, #portland, #poshmark, #raleigh, #recent-funding, #renting, #sports, #startup, #startups, #tc, #united-states, #venture-capital

Representative Mike Nearman of Oregon, Who Let in Protesters, Is Charged

Surveillance footage shows State Representative Mike Nearman opening a door to let protesters into the Capitol, in Salem, last year.

#brown-kate-1960, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #oregon, #state-legislatures, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j

Linfield University Fires Professor Who Spoke Out About Misconduct Cases

Allegations of anti-Semitism, sexual misconduct and racial discrimination have led to turmoil on the small Oregon campus. Some have called for the university’s president to resign.

#anti-semitism, #colleges-and-universities, #discrimination, #jews-and-judaism, #oregon, #sexual-harassment, #the-merchant-of-venice-play

They Overcame Mutual Loathing, and Saved a Town

Environmentalists and loggers thought they had nothing in common, until they started talking.

#environment, #forests-and-forestry, #labor-and-jobs, #logging-industry, #oregon, #wood-and-wood-products

Salmonella Outbreak Is Linked to Wild Birds and Feeders, C.D.C. Says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 19 people had been sickened in eight states.

#birds, #california, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #hygiene-and-cleanliness, #kentucky, #mississippi, #new-hampshire, #oklahoma, #oregon, #salmonella-bacteria, #tennessee, #washington-state

ChargerHelp raises $2.75M to keep EV chargers working

The coming wave of electric vehicles will require more than thousands of charging stations. In addition to being installed, they also need to work — and today, that isn’t happening.

If a station doesn’t send out an error or a driver doesn’t report an issue, network providers might never know there’s even a problem. Kameale C. Terry, who co-founded ChargerHelp!, an on-demand repair app for electric vehicle charging stations, has seen these problems firsthand.

One customer assumed that poor usage rates at a particular station was down to a lack of EVs in the area, Terry recalled in a recent interview. That wasn’t the problem.

“There was an abandoned vehicle parked there and the station was surrounded by mud,” said Terry who is CEO and co-founded the company with Evette Ellis.

Demand for ChargerHelp’s service has attracted customers and investors. The company said it has raised $2.75 million from investors Trucks VC, Kapor Capital, JFF, Energy Impact Partners, and The Fund. This round values the startup, which was founded in January 2020, at $11 million post-money.

The funds will be used to build out its platform, hire beyond its 27-person workforce and expand its service area. ChargerHelp works directly with the charging manufacturers and network providers.

“Today when a station goes down there’s really no troubleshooting guidance,” said Terry, noting that it takes getting someone out into the field to run diagnostics on the station to understand the specific problem. After an onsite visit, a technician then typically shares data with the customer, and then steps are taken to order the correct and specific part — a practice that often doesn’t happen today.

While ChargerHelp is couched as an on-demand repair app, it is also acts as a preventative maintenance service for its customers.

Powering up

The idea for ChargerHelp came from Terry’s experience working at EV Connect, where she held a number of roles including head of customer experience and director of programs. During her time there, she worked with 12 different manufacturers, which gave her knowledge into inner workings and common problems with the chargers.

It was here that she spotted a gap in the EV charging market.

“When the stations went down we really couldn’t get anyone on site because most of the issues were communication issues, vandalism, firmware updates or swapping out a part — all things that were not electrical,” Terry said.

And yet, the general practice was to use electrical contractors to fix issues at the charging stations. Terry said it could take as long as 30 days to get an electrical contractor on site to repair these non-electrical problems.

Terry often took matters in her own hands if issues arose with stations located in Los Angeles, where she is based.

“If there was a part that needed to be swapped out, I would just go do it myself,” Terry said, adding she didn’t have a background in software or repairs. “I thought, if I can figure this stuff out, then anyone can.”

In January 2020, Terry quit her job and started ChargerHelp. The newly minted founder joined the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, where she developed a curriculum to teach people how to repair EV chargers. It was here that she met Ellis, a career coach at LACI who also worked at the Long Beach Job Corp Center. Ellis is now the chief workforce officer at ChargerHelp.

Since then, Terry and Ellis were accepted into Elemental Excelerator’s startup incubator, raised about $400,000 in grant money, launched a pilot program with Tellus Power focused on preventative maintenance, landed contracts with EV charging networks and manufacturers such as EV Connect, ABB and Sparkcharge. Terry said they have also hired their core team of seven employees and trained their first tranche of technicians.

Hiring approach

ChargerHelp takes a workforce-development approach to finding employees. The company only hires in cohorts, or groups, of employees.

The company received more than 1,600 applications in its first recruitment round for electric vehicle service technicians, according to Terry. Of those, 20 were picked to go through training and 18 were ultimately hired to service contracts across six states, including California, Oregon, Washington, New York and Texas. Everyone who is picked to go through training are paid a stipend and earn two safety licenses.

The startup will begin its second recruitment round in April. All workers are full-time with a guaranteed wage of $30 an hour and are being given shares in the startup, Terry said. The company is working directly with workforce development centers in the areas where ChargerHelp needs technicians.

#abb, #automotive, #california, #career-coach, #ceo, #chargerhelp, #charging-stations, #driver, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #energy-impact-partners, #evs, #green-vehicles, #inductive-charging, #kapor-capital, #los-angeles, #new-york, #oregon, #sparkcharge, #tc, #texas, #transportation, #washington

Oregon Is Blazing a Psychedelic Trail

A very promising mental health experiment is taking shape in the West.

#addiction-psychology, #depression-mental, #lsd-lysergic-acid-diethylamide, #mental-health-and-disorders, #mushrooms, #oregon, #referendums, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #research, #sheri-eckert, #therapy-and-rehabilitation, #tom-eckert

Oregon Man Is Charged With Two Murders Committed Two Decades Apart

Genetic genealogy connected Christopher Lovrien to a 1999 homicide victim, according to the authorities, who said they found the remains of a 2020 homicide victim when they searched his property.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #dribin-mark, #forensic-science, #genealogy, #genetics-and-heredity, #griffin-kenneth, #lovrien-christopher, #missing-persons, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #oregon, #police-department-portland-ore, #portland-ore, #search-and-seizure, #serial-murders

In Oregon, Scientists Find a Virus Variant With a Worrying Mutation

In a single sample, geneticists discovered a version of the coronavirus first identified in Britain with a mutation originally reported in South Africa.

#brazil, #clinical-trials, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #great-britain, #moderna-inc, #nature-journal, #new-york-city, #oregon, #pfizer-inc, #portland-ore, #research, #vaccination-and-immunization, #your-feed-science

On the West Coast, Avalanche Warnings and an ‘Atmospheric River’

The danger of avalanche is high in parts of the Cascade Mountains and areas farther south, the Northwest Avalanche Center said.

#avalanches, #cascade-mountains, #idaho, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #national-weather-service, #oregon, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #portland-ore, #rain, #washington-state, #western-states-us

Oregon Is Vaccinating Teachers. It Might Not Be Enough to Reopen Schools.

Oregon is a case study in how Pacific Coast cities are lagging the country in resuming in-person teaching.

#anxiety-and-stress, #brown-kate-1960, #california, #coronavirus-reopenings, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #disease-rates, #education-k-12, #oregon, #organized-labor, #shutdowns-institutional, #teachers-and-school-employees, #vaccination-and-immunization, #washington-state, #western-states-us, #workplace-hazards-and-violations

Can Biden Save Americans Like My Old Pal Mike?

A childhood friend’s deadly mistakes prompt reflection on our country’s — and my own.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #children-and-childhood, #democratic-party, #homeless-persons, #income-inequality, #labor-and-jobs, #mental-health-and-disorders, #minimum-wage, #oregon, #poverty, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #roosevelt-franklin-delano, #united-states, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wages-and-salaries, #yamhill-ore

A Letter to My Conservative Friends

Hold us accountable, but please do the same for the charlatans who deceive you, use you and cheat you.

#cable-television, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #fox-news-channel, #frauds-and-swindling, #freedom-of-speech-and-expression, #oregon, #republican-party, #rumors-and-misinformation, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #yamhill-ore

Conversa Health expands its Series B round to $20M

Portland, Oregon-based Conversa Health, a virtual care and communication platform that helps health organizations stay in touch with their patients and customers, today announced that it has expanded its Series B funding round from $12 million to $20 million. The round is still co-led by Builders VC and Northwell Health’s venture arm Northwell Ventures. Additional investors include UH Ventures, the venture arm of University Hospitals and VC firms P5 Health Ventures, Epic Ventures, StartUp Health and Nassau Street Ventures, as well Genesis Merchant Capital and J-Ventures, which came in as new investors in this expanded round.

“There’s been a recognition, especially with COVID, that the need for automated and virtual — which are two big trends in healthcare — were on the horizon but now the horizon has been pulled in because of COVID and the healthcare system recognizes that that’s going to be required to be able to allow access for patients and improve both the experience for patients and providers, and get better outcomes and do it at lower cost,” Conversa CEO Murray Brozinsky told me.

Brozinsky actually believes that within the next decade, 80% of care will be done remotely. This will allow for more personalized and evidence-based care, but it will also require investments in automation.

“Conversa links providers’ EHRs and other patient data to best-of-breed interactive digital care pathways and clinical analytics engine to automate care management 24×7. This improves care plan adherence pre and post visit, reducing costs and generating better outcomes for patients,” said Builders VC partner and Conversa board member Mark Goldstein. “Conversa’s enterprise platform and library of digital pathways are used by providers to care for patients across their populations, as opposed to one-off point solutions. It fills an enormous gap in the market.”

Given the pandemic, it’s maybe no surprise that Conversa’s business also boomed. The number of customers the company its services has grown fourfold while its financial metrics are up 6x because a lot of its larger companies have expanded their use of the platform.

The team decided to expand the existing Series B round to help it capitalize on this momentum and to bring on more engineers in order to scale the platform. Brozinsky believes that the need for a platform like Conversa’s will remain after the pandemic ends. In addition, the company is also already rolling out support for vaccination programs in its service to help educate consumers but also help in monitoring efforts after people get their shots.

“Everything we’re hearing from health systems, they recognize that they need to be prepared for this to happen again, they still need to care for the core demographics that haven’t changed — this aging population — with an acute shortage of healthcare workers,” Brozinsky said. “So the need for the systems and these platforms is going to be more acute and the investment is not so much an additional cost but an enormous return.”

#board-member, #builders-vc, #conversa-health, #epic-ventures, #health, #health-care, #healthcare, #murray-brozinsky, #northwell-ventures, #oregon, #portland, #primary-care, #recent-funding, #series-b, #startup-health, #startups, #vaccination, #vc

Australia Decides Not to Kill Joe the Pigeon

A racing pigeon named after the president-elect appeared to have traveled from Oregon to Melbourne, breaching quarantine rules.

#melbourne-australia, #oregon, #pigeons, #quarantines

Why Does Australia Want to Kill a Bird Named Joe (Biden)?

A racing pigeon that appeared to have traveled from Oregon to a backyard in Melbourne faces death. But there’s a twist.

#melbourne-australia, #oregon, #pigeons, #quarantines

State Capitols ‘on High Alert,’ Fearing More Violence

Officials around the country are bracing for any spillover from last week’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol. State legislatures already have become targets for protesters in recent days.

#capitol-building-washington-dc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #georgia, #idaho, #michigan, #minnesota, #missouri, #nevada, #oregon, #presidential-election-of-2020, #security-and-warning-systems, #shutdowns-institutional, #state-legislatures, #states-us, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #texas, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

A Long, Lonesome Look at America

Alone on a 10,000-mile road trip across the United States, a Times journalist found an America cloaked in solitude — and a country on edge.

#arkansas, #california, #colorado, #conservation-of-resources, #forests-and-forestry, #montana, #oregon, #ozark-mountains, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #states-us, #wildfires

Revealed: The Shipworm Sex Tapes

Nature’s weirdest clam surprises scientists once again, this time in video footage of its mating habits.

#animal-behavior, #biology-and-biochemistry, #biology-letters-journal, #clams, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #marine-borers-shipworms, #oregon, #reproduction-biological, #shipway-reuben, #sperm, #wood-and-wood-products, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

A Covid-19 Relief Fund Was Only for Black Residents. Some Left Out Sued.

Oregon earmarked $62 million to explicitly benefit Black individuals and business owners. Now some of the money is in limbo after lawsuits alleging racial discrimination.

#black-people, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #discrimination, #earmarks-finance, #fourteenth-amendment-us-constitution, #oregon, #race-and-ethnicity, #small-business, #state-legislatures, #suits-and-litigation-civil

A Year of Watching Earthly Beauty Burn

From orbit, satellites send tragic evidence of climate change’s destructive power. This film covers 10 days, Sept. 7-16, 2020, a period of intense fires activity in North and South America.

#air-pollution, #amazon-jungle, #anxiety-and-stress, #australia, #brazil, #california, #canada, #carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #china, #colombia, #colorado-state-university, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #earth, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #european-union, #fires-and-firefighters, #floods, #forests-and-forestry, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #gulf-coast-us, #hurricane-laura-2020, #international-space-station, #marshall-tex, #new-zealand, #north-america, #oregon, #pantanal-brazil, #politics-and-government, #sacramento-calif, #seasons-and-months, #stanford-university, #texas, #united-states, #washington-state, #weather, #western-states-us, #wildfires

Barry Lopez, Lyrical Writer Who Was Likened to Thoreau, Dies at 75

Mr. Lopez spent five years in the Arctic, and his books, essays and short stories explored the kinship of nature and human culture.

#books-and-literature, #deaths-obituaries, #lopez-barry-1945, #oregon, #states-us, #wolves

States Complain of Smaller Covid Vaccine Shipments Than Expected

The smaller number of expected doses, which appeared to be the result of a scheduling hiccup, reignited tensions between the federal government and Pfizer over vaccine supply.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #factories-and-manufacturing, #iowa, #oregon, #pfizer-inc, #vaccination-and-immunization, #your-feed-healthcare

Archaeologists Could Help Bring Otters Back From the Dead

The sea mammals vanished from Oregon’s coast long ago, but a technique from human archaeology offers a clue to restoring them.

#archaeology-and-anthropology, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #genetics-and-heredity, #oregon, #otters-animals, #proceedings-of-the-royal-society-b-journal, #research, #teeth-and-dentistry, #wildlife-trade-and-poaching, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

AWS brings the Mac mini to its cloud

AWS today opened its re:Invent conference with a surprise announcement: the company is bringing the Mac mini to its cloud. These new EC2 Mac instances, as AWS calls them, are now available in preview. They won’t come cheap, though.

The target audience here — and the only one AWS is targeting for now — is developers who want cloud-based build and testing environments for their Mac and iOS apps. But it’s worth noting that with remote access, you get a fully-featured Mac mini in the cloud, and I’m sure developers will find all kinds of other use cases for this as well.

Given the recent launch of the M1 Mac minis, it’s worth pointing out that the hardware AWS is using — at least for the time being — are i7 machines with six physical and 12 logical cores and 32 GB of memory. Using the Mac’s built-in networking options, AWS connects them to its Nitro System for fast network and storage access. This means you’ll also be able to attach AWS block storage to these instances, for example.

Unsurprisingly, the AWS team is also working on bringing Apple’s new M1 Mac minis into its data centers. The current plan is to roll this out “early next year,” AWS tells me, and definitely within the first half of 2021. Both AWS and Apple believe that the need for Intel-powered machines won’t go away anytime soon, though, especially given that a lot of developers will want to continue to run their tests on Intel machines for the foreseeable future.

David Brown, AWS’s vice president of EC2, tells me that these are completely unmodified Mac minis. AWS only turned off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It helps, Brown said, that the minis fit nicely into a 1U rack.

“You can’t really stack them on shelves — you want to put them in some sort of service sled [and] it fits very well into a service sled and then our cards and all the various things we have to worry about, from an integration point of view, fit around it and just plug into the Mac mini through the ports that it provides,” Brown explained. He admitted that this was obviously a new challenge for AWS. The only way to offer this kind of service is to use Apple’s hardware, after all.

Image Credits: AWS

It’s also worth noting that AWS is not virtualizing the hardware. What you’re getting here is full access to your own device that you’re not sharing with anybody else. “We wanted to make sure that we support the Mac Mini that you would get if you went to the Apple store and you bought a Mac mini,” Brown said.

Unlike with other EC2 instances, whenever you spin up a new Mac instance, you have to pre-pay for the first 24 hours to get started. After those first 24 hours, prices are by the second, just like with any other instance type AWS offers today.

AWS will charge $1.083 per hour, billed by the second. That’s just under $26 to spin up a machine and run it for 24 hours. That’s quite a lot more than what some of the small Mac mini cloud providers are charging (we’re generally talking about $60 or less per month for their entry-level offerings and around two to three times as much for a comparable i7 machine with 32GB of RAM).

Image Credits: Ron Miller/TechCrunch

Until now, Mac mini hosting was a small niche in the hosting market, though it has its fair number of players, with the likes of MacStadium, MacinCloud, MacWeb and Mac Mini Vault vying for their share of the market.

With this new offering from AWS, they are now facing a formidable competitor, though they can still compete on price. AWS, however, argues that it can give developers access to all of the additional cloud services in its portfolio, which sets it apart from all of the smaller players.

“The speed that things happen at [other Mac mini cloud providers] and the granularity that you can use those services at is not as fine as you get with a large cloud provider like AWS,” Brown said. “So if you want to launch a machine, it takes a few days to provision and somebody puts a machine in a rack for you and gives you an IP address to get to it and you manage the OS. And normally, you’re paying for at least a month — or a longer period of time to get a discount. What we’ve done is you can literally launch these machines in minutes and have a working machine available to you. If you decide you want 100 of them, 500 of them, you just ask us for that and we’ll make them available. The other thing is the ecosystem. All those other 200-plus AWS services that you’re now able to utilize together with the Mac mini is the other big difference.”

Brown also stressed that Amazon makes it easy for developers to use different machine images, with the company currently offering images for macOS Mojave and Catalina, with Big Sure support coming “at some point in the future.” And developers can obviously create their own images with all of the software they need so they can reuse them whenever they spin up a new machine.

“Pretty much every one of our customers today has some need to support an Apple product and the Apple ecosystem, whether it’s iPhone, iPad or  Apple TV, whatever it might be. They’re looking for that bold use case,” Brown said. “And so the problem we’ve really been focused on solving is customers that say, ‘hey, I’ve moved all my server-side workloads to AWS, I’d love to be able to move some of these build workflows, because I still have some Mac minis in a data center or in my office that I have to maintain. I’d love that just to be on AWS.’ ”

AWS’s marquee launch customers for the new service are Intuit, Ring and mobile camera app FiLMiC.

“EC2 Mac instances, with their familiar EC2 interfaces and APIs, have enabled us to seamlessly migrate our existing iOS and macOS build-and-test pipelines to AWS, further improving developer productivity,” said Pratik Wadher, vice president of Product Development at Intuit. “We‘re experiencing up to 30% better performance over our data center infrastructure, thanks to elastic capacity expansion, and a high availability setup leveraging multiple zones. We’re now running around 80% of our production builds on EC2 Mac instances, and are excited to see what the future holds for AWS innovation in this space.”

The new Mac instances are now available in a number of AWS regions. These include US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland) and Asia Pacific (Singapore), with other regions to follow soon.

#amazon-web-services, #apple, #apple-inc, #asia-pacific, #aws-reinvent, #bluetooth, #cloud, #cloud-infrastructure, #computing, #david-brown, #developer, #europe, #ipad, #iphone, #ireland, #mac-mini, #macintosh, #ohio, #oregon, #singapore, #steve-jobs, #tc, #web-hosting

Black Teenager Is Fatally Shot in Argument Over Music, Police Say

The authorities in Ashland, Ore., said they were investigating whether the killing of Aiden Ellison after a confrontation in a hotel parking lot had been “driven by race.”

#ashland-ore, #ellison-aiden, #keegan-robert-paul, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #oregon, #race-and-ethnicity

The Problem With Coronavirus School Closures

Children have suffered because many mayors and governors were too willing to close public schools.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #dropouts, #e-learning, #education, #education-k-12, #oregon, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #shutdowns-institutional, #teachers-and-school-employees, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

Sex-Abuse Claims Against Boy Scouts Now Surpass 81,000

The deluge of sex-abuse filings, coming ahead of a bankruptcy deadline, far surpasses the number of claims filed in Catholic Church cases.

#boy-scouts, #child-abuse-and-neglect, #girl-scouts, #oregon, #roman-catholic-church, #sex-crimes, #staten-island-nyc