Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40 and Too Short — the old school titans in this new supergroup — made their live debut at an event featuring pop stars and TikTok influencers.
Pearpop, the marketplace for social collaborations between the teeming hordes of musicians, craftspeople, chefs, clowns, diarists, dancers, artists, actors, acrobats, aspiring celebrities and actual celebrities, has raised $16 million in funding that includes what seems like half of Hollywood, along with Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six venture firm and Bessemer Venture Partners.
The funding was actually split between a $6 million seed funding round co-led by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures and Slow Ventures, with participation from Atelier Ventures and Chapter One Ventures and a $10 million additional investment led by Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six with participation from Bessemer.
TechCrunch first covered pearpop last year and there’s no denying that the startup is on to something. It basically takes Cameo’s celebrity marketplace for private shout-outs and makes it public. Allowing social media personalities to boost their followers by paying more popular personalities to shout out, duet, or comment on their posts.
“I’ve invested in pearpop because it’s been on my mind for a while that the creator economy has resulted in a lot of not equitable outcomes for creators. Where i talked about the missing middle class of the creator economy,” said Li Jin, the founder of Atelier Ventures and author of a critical piece on creator economics, “The creator economy needs a middle class“.
“When I saw pearpop I felt like there was a really big potential for pearpop to be the one of the creators of the creative middle class. They’ve introduced this mechanism by which larger creators can help smaller creators and everyone has something of value to offer something to everyone else in the ecosystem.”
Jin discovered pearpop through the TechCrunch piece, she said. “You wrote that article and then i reached out to the team,” said Jin.
The idea was so appealing, it brought in a slew of musicians, athletes, actors and entertainers, including: Abel Makkonen (The Weeknd), Amy Schumer, The Chainsmokers, Diddy, Gary Vaynerchuk, Griffin Johnson, Josh Richards, Kevin Durant (Thirty 5 Ventures), Kevin Hart (HartBeat Ventures), Mark Cuban, Marshmello, Moe Shalizi, Michael Gruen (Animal Capital), MrBeast (Night Media Ventures), Rich Miner (Android co-founder) and Snoop Dogg.
“Pearpop has the potential to benefit all social media platforms by delivering new users and engagement, while simultaneously leveling the playing field of opportunity for creators,” said Alexis Ohanian, Founder, Seven Seven Six, in a statement. “The company has created a revolutionary new marketplace model that is set to completely reimagine how we think of social media monetization. As both a social media founder and an investor, I’m excited for what’s to come with pearpop.”
Already Heidi Klum, Loren Gray, Snoop Dogg, and Tony Hawk have gotten paid to appear in social media posts from aspiring auteurs on the social media platform TikTok.
Using the platform is relatively simple. A social media user (for now, that means just TikTok) sends a post that exists on their social feed and requests that another social media user interacts with it in some way — either commenting, posting a video in response, or adding a sound. If the request seems okay, or “on brand”, then the person who accepts the request performs the prescribed action.
Pearpop takes a 25% cut of all transactions with the social media user who’s performing the task getting the other 75%.
The company wouldn’t comment on revenue numbers, except to say that it’s on track to bring in seven figures this year.
Users on the platform set their prices and determine which kinds of services they’re willing to provide to boost the social media posts of their contractors.
Prices range anywhere from $5 to $10,000 depending on the size of a user’s following and the type of request that’s being made. Right now, the most requested personality on the marketplace is the TikTok star, Anna Banana.
These kinds of transactions do have impacts. The company said that personalities on the platform were able to increase their follower count with the service. For instance, Leah Svoboda went from 20K to 141K followers, after a pearpop duet with Anna Shumate.
If this all makes you feel like you’ve tripped and fallen through a Black Mirror into a dystopian hellscape where everything and every interaction is a commodity to be mined for money, well… that’s life.
“What I appreciate most about pearpop is the control it gives me as a creator,” said Anna Shumate, TikTok influencer @annabananaxdddd. “The platform allows me to post what I want and when I want. My followers still love my content because it’s authentic and true to me, which is what sets pearpop apart from all of the other opportunities on social media.”
Talent agencies, too, see the draw. Early adopters include Talent X, Get Engaged, and Next Step Talent and The Fuel Injector, which has added its entire roster of talent to pearpop, which includes Kody Antle, Brooke Monk and Harry Raftus, the company said.
“The initial concept came out of an obvious gap within the space: no marketplace existed for creators of all sizes to monetize through simple, authentic collaborations that are mutually beneficial,” said Cole Mason, co-founder & CEO, pearpop. “It soon became clear that this was a product that people had been waiting for, as thousands of people rely on our platform today to gain full control of their social capital for the first time starting with TikTok.”
Bitcoin and even Dogecoin, which began as a playful experiment, are soaring in value as billionaires, companies and celebrities promote the digital currencies.
Casa Verde Capital, the investment fund co-founded by cannabis connoisseur Snoop Dogg (also known as Calvin Broadus), has closed on $100 million for its second investment fund, according to documents filed with the SEC.
The fund, whose managing director, Karan Wadhera declined to comment for this article, has managed to raise more cash just as the market for cannabis-related products seems poised for another period of expansion.
“What happened to the public perception of the cannabis industry is not too dissimilar to the dotcom bubble of the late ’90s, where there was a lot of hype — a lot of it driven by public companies — and a lot of speculative trading and valuations that weren’t really founded in reality. [We’re talking about] projections multiple years out into the future, and then crazy revenue multiples on top of that,” Wadhera said of the last bust when he spoke to TechCrunch in July. “Things just got really frothy, and that eventually burst, and last April or May was sort of the apex of that moment. It’s when things started to trade off. And it’s been those names, the public names in particular, that have been hit particularly hard.”
Since then, the industry has come roaring back.
“Sitting here today, four-plus months into COVID, cannabis has really proved itself to be a non-cyclical industry. Cannabis has been deemed an essential business everywhere across the U.S. We had record sales in March, April and May, and the trend has continued,” Wadhera said in July. “And now that we are getting into an environment where governments are going to be looking for additional sources of tax revenue, the potential urgency around cannabis legalization is going to be there, which is going to be massively positive for the industry.”
There’s no indication of the target for the new venture capital fund, but with the new fundraising, Casa Verde more than doubles the size of its initial investment vehicle.
Since Broadus, Wadhera and a third partner and the founder of Cashmere Agency and Stampede Management Ted Chung launched their debut fund in 2018, weed businesses have endured a roller-coaster business cycle of boom and bust.
In spite of those market vagaries, Casa Verde has managed to build a portfolio that is now worth at least $200 million, according to people with knowledge of the firm. That money has come through several special purpose vehicles and other fundraising mechanisms raised alongside the flagship fund.
The overall market for cannabis and cannabinoid derivatives is expected to hit $34 billion by 2025 according to an analyst report seen by TechCrunch from the investment bank Cowen.
With Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota all passing adult-use cannabis legalization measures in their states, the investment bank predicted roughly 30 percent growth to their total addressable market estimates.
For its part, Casa Verde has always taken a broad view on the potential addressable market that cannabis and its chemical compounds could capture.
Nowhere is that more on view than in the firm’s latest investment in the sleep company, Proper.
“[Cannabis] is an input as well and its use case will go beyond how people think of cannabis stigmatically,” Wadhera said. “At its core, [Proper] is a company that’s helping us target this sleep epidemic. We think CBD and cannabis at large can play a big role in addressing that in a way that traditional products haven’t been able to.”
And what’s true for sleep is true for a number of other different applications as well, Wadhera has said in the past.
Casa Verde has already invested heavily across the pure-play opportunities in cannabis, with investments spanning delivery, supply chain logistics, brands, and retail.
But the health benefits that cannabinoids could have for all kinds of ailments open up a much larger market — as do the broad consumer opportunities should Congress accede to the wishes of more than 60 percent of the American electorate and legalize recreational cannabis use nationally.
And, as Wadhera told us in July, a Biden administration presents a potentially much more positive regulatory environment for the industry than the previous Trump administration did.
“I think Biden will be very helpful. He has laid out many of the things that he wants, and [while] he isn’t taking it as far as full-scale legalization, he’s certainly in favor of full-scale decriminalization, [meaning] letting states have full authority over what happens with their businesses, and also the rescheduling of cannabis down from the current Schedule 1 level,” Wadhera had said. “So all of that will be incredibly helpful and will bring a lot more players who will feel comfortable investing in the space and, potentially, acquiring some of these businesses, too.”
As TikTok’s existential rollercoaster ride continues to rattle on, the company is trying to sway regulators and the public with a flood of dollars and arguments wrapped in free enterprise and free speech to ensure that its parent company Bytedance can retain control of its operations.
The push to validate its business comes as reports swirl around a potential Presidential ban and bid from Microsoft to take over the company’s business in the U.S.
As it confronts domestic competitors and political attacks, TikTok and its parent company Bytedance have picked up some defenders from the American civil rights movement.
“With any Internet platform, we should be concerned about the risk that sensitive private data will be funneled to abusive governments, including our own,” the ACLU wrote in a subsequent statement. “But shutting one platform down, even if it were legally possible to do so, harms freedom of speech online and does nothing to resolve the broader problem of unjustified government surveillance.”
Even as ownership of the service remains an open question, the company moved quickly to reassure its users that TikTok would continue to operate in the U.S.
The company is also redoubling its efforts to appeal to creators even as it faces defections over its potential mishandling of user data.
Founded in 2015, two years before TikTok began its explosive rise to prominence, Triller is backed by some of the biggest names in American music and entertainment including Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd, Marshmello, Lil Wayne, Juice WRLD, Young Thug, Kendrick Lamar, Baron Davis, Tyga, TI, Jake Paul and Troy Carter.
Now, TikTok stars Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, Noah Beck and Anthony Reeves are joining their ranks as investors and advisors. Richards, Johnson, Beck and Reeves are also being compensated by Triller, but the reason they cited for leaving the service are the security concerns from governments.
Triller is compensating Richards, Johnson, Beck, and Reeves, though the details of the deals are undisclosed. Despite that, the creators say they’re leaving TikTok because they’ve grown wary of the Chinese-owned company’s security practices.
“After seeing the U.S. and other countries’ governments’ concerns over TikTok—and given my responsibility to protect and lead my followers and other influencers—I followed my instincts as an entrepreneur and made it my mission to find a solution,” Richards, who’s assuming the title of chief strategy officer, told the LA Times.
TikTok has responded by announcing a dramatic increase in the company’s creator fund. Initially set at $200 million, in a blog post earlier this week, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer announced that the fund would reach $1 billion over the next three years.
TikTok’s charm offensive may stave off the assaults, but the company will need to address concerns around user data. It’s the most pressing threat to the company and the one it’s least equipped to deal with.
Early last year, excitement over the burgeoning cannabis industry was palpable in Silicon Valley, with a small number of venture firms writing their first checks to cannabis-related startups. Among them is the cross-border venture firm DCM, which even hosted an “inaugural” cannabis “tech summit” in May 2019 that drew so many investors that finding a seat was difficult.
Yet the buzz began to fade soon after, owing to a confluence of events, including a bubble in publicly traded cannabis companies; legalization that moved more slowly than hoped in certain states like New York; and an outbreak of lung injuries tied to vaping last fall.
The industry is still navigating around some of these trends, but it’s also proving more durable than outsiders might imagine, according to Karen Wadhera, a managing partner at Casa Verde Capital, the cannabis-focused venture firm founded by Snoop Dogg back in 2016. “Four plus months into COVID, cannabis has really proved itself to be a non-cyclical industry,” he said in a chat late last week, where we talked about what went so wrong, what’s happening right now, and whether he ever worries that Casa Verde might be too early to the cannabis party. Parts of that chat, edited for length, follow.
TC: The last time I saw you in person, last year, there was a lot of interest in cannabis. Since then, the headlines have pretty consistently been bad. What’s going on?
KW: What happened to the public perception of the cannabis industry is not too dissimilar to the dotcom bubble of the late ’90s, where there was a lot of hype — a lot of it driven by public companies — and a lot ofspeculative trading and valuations that weren’t really founded in reality. [We’re talking about] projections multiple years out into the future, and then crazy revenue multiples on top of that. Things just got really frothy, and that eventually burst, and last April or May was sort of apex of that of that moment. It’s when things started to trade off. And it’s been those names, the public names in particular, that have been hit particularly hard.
I don’t know if it was driven purely by scarcity value, but there was definitely an incentive to go public. So you had a lot of companies go public well before they were prepared to. And then you’ve had a lot of companies, which are just, quite frankly, poorly run, with poor management teams, and some with even real ethical concerns [regarding] how they ran their businesses. So I think that all started to come to a head and led to a pretty serious implosion.
It was pretty painful, for sure. But what’s so interesting is that even though that has been the public perception based on these stocks, the reality is the macro has continued to improve. Sitting here today, four-plus months into COVID, cannabis has really proved itself to be a non-cyclical industry. Cannabis has been deemed an essential business everywhere across the U.S. We had record sales in March, April, and May, and the trend has has continued. And now that we are getting into an environment where governments are going to be looking for additional sources of tax revenue, the potential urgency around cannabis legalization is going to be there, which is going to be massively positive for the industry.
TC: I thought the governor of Massachusetts was concerned about people bringing COVID into the state, but I guess he reversed course on dispensaries as essential businesses?
KW: Yeah, he was the one outlier, and he reversed course. What’s been interesting is first, as you can imagine in a moment where people are especially anxious, cannabis has been something many people have been turning to. Then, beyond that, what’s also been interesting is that like many other areas of the economy, we’ve seen e-commerce really [take off]. One of our businesses, Dutchie, which enables retailers to launch their own e-commerce and have their own delivery and pickup, has seen its gross merchandise value increase by like 600% [since March].
TC: You’re also an investor in [the same-day delivery startup] Eaze, where former executives were accounting for consumer sales as if they were transactions made to third party vendors. What do you think of that situation?
KW: It’s certainly in the past, but as you know, there’s always been a massive issue with the cannabis business [in that it] can’t really access traditional banking like other industries can, and one of the big issues there is credit card processing. So it sounds that an issue earlier in Eaze’s history was that it was able to process credit card payments potentially by not fully disclosing what was actually being transacted. I don’t know a ton of the details and where that lies currently, but I know that’s not anything that Eaze is involved in anymore.
TC: Bigger picture, does it tarnish the industry and make it harder for everyone to raise money? What are you seeing? Are new investors coming to the table? Are early investors still believers in this opportunity?
KW: It’s been fascinating for sure. The conversations have changed dramatically from when I first entered the industry to today. Initially, we [as a venture firm] were unable to get in front of a lot of pensions and endowments to have those conversations. Now, we’re at least having those conversations and they’re interested to hear about what we’re doing. I’m not quite sure if they’re ready to pull the trigger, but certainly even just the fact that they’re interested in understanding the industry better is a huge change.
TC: What are the biggest pockets of opportunity you see in cannabis investing right now?
KW: We have two main areas of focus. We love the ancillary tech-lead opportunities for businesses that are going to benefit from the overall macro theme of legalization and globalization of the cannabis industry, whether it’s software for retailers or manufacturers, or ancillary services like staffing and financial services. One of our businesses is Bespoke Financial, which helps with short-term financing for the industry. So we still see a lot of development in those areas.
We’re also very interested in consumer-facing brands. For a long time, cannabis sales were driven by potency and price. To use the alcohol equivalent, it would be as if every consumer made their decisions by walking into a liquor store and asking what’s the highest-proof vodka for the best price. We know that’s not how decisions are made.
TC: You and I talked before about precision dosing, soon after you’d invested in a vaping company that made it easier to understand how you’ll be impacted by what you’re ingesting.
KW: So that is business called Indose, which has created a medical-grade device that [enables users to] dial in the exact amount that they’re taking in . . . It’s much more of a business that’s going to be working with other consumer brands and allow them to use its technology to have that precision.
TC: How are these consumer-brands reaching customers? Do they have to be more . . . careful?
KW: Yeah, I mean, again, with cannabis businesses, that’s another huge restriction that a lot of them face. You can’t use a lot of the traditional channels that would be available to to non-cannabis businesses, so no Facebook ads, no Instagram, no Google AdWords, things like that, which is now a lot of the new brands’ playbook. So you have to be creative. There’s a lot of marketing happening in store within the dispensaries. You can rent billboards. Experiential marketing, pre COVID, was something that was people were very actively doing. There is also influencer influential marketing online that can still happen through Instagram channels or [channels] that a brand may own. But oftentimes those get get shut down as well. So yeah, it’s a tricky world from a marketing perspective for cannabis businesses.
TC: From a 20,000-foot level, one of the limitations of investing in cannabis would seem to be exit opportunities. There aren’t a whole lot of companies that are in a position to buy a cannabis business because of legal issues in part. How do you address that?
KW: There are a few ways to look at that. I think for ancillary, periphery businesses, there will be a lot of acquisition opportunities in the future from strategics that decide that they want exposure to the cannabis industry and may get it by buying a point-of-sale business or an e-commerce player or a financial services businesses, because that’s less directly touching the plant.
It’s going to be a question of how comfortable you are on the risk curve. Until we see kind of full-scale legalization, or until we see at least some of the the current bills in front of Congress passed or the rescheduling of cannabis from schedule 1 to schedule 2 or lower [by the Drug Enforcement Agency], some companies are going to be concerned about jumping into the space. But that’s the opportunity, as well, and as long-term investors, that’s how we see it.
In the meantime, we’ve had a couple of exits driven mainly by follow-on investors who want portions of our business, [including] a private equity firm that’s pursuing the roll-up of a particular category, and [to] a financial investor.
TC: Do you see the climate changing around acquisitions and legalization with a Biden administration?
KW: I think regardless of who’s in office, we’re going to see we’re going to see a lot of progress in the next four years. And that’s because this is no longer purely a partisan issue. I think Biden will be very helpful. He has laid out many of the things that he wants, and [while] he isn’t taking it as far as full-scale legalization, he’s certainly in favor of full-scale decriminalization, [meaning] letting states have full authority over what happens with their businesses, and also the rescheduling of cannabis down from the current schedule 1 level. So all of that will be incredibly helpful and will bring a lot more players who will feel comfortable investing in the space and potentially acquiring some of these businesses, as well.
To listen to this interview in its entirety, you can find it in podcast form here.
Helping Americans get their forty winks has never been more necessary as the country faces what some health experts have called a sleep epidemic, and Snoop Dogg’s cannabis-focused firm Casa Verde Capital wants to help.
The firm is leading a $9.5 million investment into a company called Proper, which is launching with a combination of sleep coaching and supplements, pitching a “holistic” sleep health solution.
One-third of US adults don’t get enough sleep according to Proper’s estimates, and the company’s chief executive, Nancy Ramamurthi, says that the COVID-19 epidemic has only made the problem worse.
“Proper aims to help solve what the CDC has identified as a public health crisis – insufficient sleep — with a truly more holistic and personalized solution,” said Ramamurthi, founder and CEO of Proper, in a statement. “Proper has combined the best of natural, safe, evidence-based sleep supplements with expert behavioral coaching, which consumers have not traditionally been able to access. Now, thanks to the increasing popularity of telehealth, sleep coaching can be delivered online.”
The sleep coaching services from Proper are provided by board-certified health and wellness coaches under the guidance of a clinical psychologist and behavioral sleep medicine specialist, according to a statement from the company.
Ramamurthi said that clinical validation is a core component of the company’s business. Indeed, the company is currently running its formulations through a clinical trial to prove their efficacy. It’s an additional step that the company doesn’t need to take, she said, because the supplements have all been studied with clinical trials supporting the use of the ingredients as treatments for sleep therapy. “That’s in addition to them being used for thousands of years,” said Ramamurthi.
Proper was incubated within the consumer health venture studio Redesign Health and will use the new capital from investors led by Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde to boost its sales and marketing efforts and continue its research and development activities.
While sleep aids may seem like a strange market for a cannabis-focused investment firm, Casa Verde partner Karan Wadhera says it’s a highly strategic investment for the firm.
“[Cannabis] is an input as well and its use case will go beyond how people think of cannabis stigmatically,” Wadhera said. “At its core, [Proper] is a company that’s helping us target this sleep epidemic. We think CBD and cannabis at large can play a big role in addressing that in a way that traditional products haven’t been able to.”
The investment in Proper, then, points to a maturation of the cannabis industry, as investors look at the various chemical components of the cannabis plant and try to tease out a broader range of health and wellness applications. “We are starting to shift how we think about the business. It doesn’t have to be a core, specific cannabis product,” Wadhera said.
Ramamurthi says that her company will be exploring applications for cannabinoids in its supplements later. “As we continue our product development process one of the things we are looking at is CBD,” she said. “CBD is one of the more effective ingredients at reducing stress and anxiety and stress and anxiety are one of the main reasons why people can’t get to sleep.”
Proper’s studies are supported by a scientific advisory board that includes Dr. Adam Perlman, the director of integrative health and wellbeing at the Mayo Clinic, and Dr. Allison Siebern, a clinical psychologist and board-certified sleep medicine specialist at the VA Medical Center in North Carolina.
There’s a reason why sleep is so poorly understood and ignored as a health issue in America. Around 90 percent of primary care physicians rate their understanding of sleep’s impact on the body as “poor to fair” and there’s only one board-certified sleep specialist for every 43,000 Americans, according to Proper’s data.
Customers who sign up for Proper’s service can select one of five sleep formulations available for $39.99 per bottle or for a subscription with a ten percent discount. New users also get a free 30-minute consultation with a Proper sleep coach, the company said.
The five versions of Proper’s sleep products include a core sleep product made from GABA, valerian root extract, rafuma leaf extract, and ashwagandha root and leaf extract; a sleep and restore product that includes melatonin; a calming pill with L-theanine added to the core sleep product; and a clarity product that includes concentrated grape extracts; and, finally, an immunity product with added zinc, vitamin C, B6, and D.
Artists like Edwin Birdsong and Ballin’ Jack aren’t household names, but their music is instantly recognizable as the samples behind hit pop songs.
Trump supporters like the ones calling for an end to stay-at-home orders “seem to fight hardest for the things that will kill them,” Jimmy Kimmel said.
Helena Price Hambrecht and Woody Hambrecht always had plans for Haus, their direct-to-consumer low-alcoholic drink, to land white-label partnerships with local restaurants. But when coronavirus spread across the country and hurt thousands of local restaurants, the Haus founders saw an opportunity to fast forward on that product plan and at the same time give back.
Haus recently announced its plans to work with restaurants across the country and co-create local digs-inspired apéritifs. For Mister Jiu’s, an upscale Chinese restaurant in San Francisco, the beverage will mix “warm black cardamom, smoky lapsang tea, spicy ginger, and floral osmanthus.” For JuneBaby, a southern fare restaurant in Seattle, the drink will have hints of elderflower and oranges. The entire profit will go to the restaurants themselves, Helena tells me. And Haus has already begun cutting five-figure checks to restaurants just from pre-orders of these Haus-powered beverages alone.
On this refreshing note, let’s get into other ways venture-backed startups are using their presence to help others struggling during this time.
1. A phone booth for COVID-19 tests. Room, which manufactures privacy-focused office phone booths, hasn’t had much of a customer base lately as COVID-19 limits people from going into the office. The company has pivoted its resources to deploy a new product: coronavirus test booths for use in hospitals. The booths allow healthcare professionals to conduct tests with a protective barrier. It has already donated the first group of test booths to hospitals around the world, and it has made the design files for the booths available for free download to encourage others to manufacture locally.
2.Mission critical deliveries for free. Onfleet is offering its delivery software free of charge for companies and organizations that have mobilized to do community building deliveries. The startup is notably focused on critical deliveries and institutions that have had to change to delivery operations overnight. It’s working with partners like SF-Marin Foodbank, The NYC Dept for the Aging, various farmers markets around the country and other PPE delivery organizations that have recently organized.
4. A daily assessment as a civic duty. A small team at Stanford Medicine created a National Daily Health Survey to help identify the prevalence of symptoms associated with COVID-19 in different ZIP codes across the United States. This survey is aimed at individuals who want to do a small part every day to help predict surges and inform response efforts. The survey takes 2-3 minutes to complete the first day, and 1 minute to complete in the days after that. It is currently being translated into five languages for broader usage. The team says that it’s looking for people who will make a long-term commitment for the survey.
5. World Without COVID. Clara Health, along with tech folks like Raj Kapoor of Lyft and Vijay Chattha of VSC, are launching a free website to track the public health status of the sick and healthy alike. The site wants to draw COVID-19 treatment data for public health professionals, as well as connect people to clinical trials. The team says that it will also track immunity status to help surface individuals that can volunteer in healthcare efforts in the future.
6. Twilio -powered hotline. WhileAtHome.org is a website spun up by volunteers to provide resources on education, healthcare tips and concerts. Recently, the team launched a Twilio-powered hotline so people can be connected to local state hotlines. If you dial 478-29COVID, Twilio will automatically route you to the hotline that is in your state.
Hiring efforts for laid-off make-up artists. Il Makiage is hiring makeup artists who were recently laid off due to COVID-19 related reasons for virtual one-on-one makeup tutorials. The direct-to-consumer beauty brand is paying make-up artists $25 an hour.
7. A charitable Chrome extension. 4thwall wants to take all the TV binge-watching and put it toward a social good. First, users can sign up for a 4th wall Chrome extension. Then, once they activate the extension, they can stream Netflix or Hulu. After 250 minutes of streaming, a relief cause is unlocked and users can pick which COVID-19 specific charity they want to support. 4thwall will make a donation at no cost to the user. Per the website, the cost-free donations are possible because the company will send the viewer demographic metrics, anonymized, to other companies to see viewing trends and create content accordingly. One of the creators, Andrew Schneider, says that the community has already raised $1,500 in the first two weeks, and the goal is to raise $40K in the next 10 weeks.
8. Bridal brand gives back. Online bridal brand Anomalie is delivering CDC-certified face masks to hospitals to help front-line healthcare workers. The company is using its supply chain and manufacturing relationships in China to make masks, instead of wedding dresses. The first two shipments of over 10,000 masks have been delivered and received.
9. Bedtime storytelling just got a glow up. Yumi, a science-based childhood meal delivery startup, has created a free children’s book to explain COVID-19 to your little ones. It is available for download, and Snoop Dogg tweeted about it.