Startups Weekly: Part & Parcel plans plus-sized fashion empire

Part & Parcel, for its part, has raised $4 million in seed funding in a round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners‘ Jeremy Liew. The startup launched …

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a weekend newsletter that dives into the week’s noteworthy startups and venture capital news. Before I jump into today’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about Stripe’s grand plans. Before that, I noted Peloton’s secret weapons.

Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. If you don’t subscribe to Startups Weekly yet, you can do that here.

Startup spotlight

The best companies are built by people who have personally experienced the problem they’re attempting to solve. Lauren Jonas, the founder and chief executive officer of Part & Parcel, is intimately familiar with the struggles faced by the women she’s building for.

San Francisco-based Part & Parcel is a plus-sized clothing and shoe startup providing dimensional sizing to women across the U.S. The company operates a bit differently than your standard direct-to-consumer business by seeking to include the women who wear and evangelize the Part & Parcel designs by giving them a cut of their sales.

Here’s how it works: Ambassadors sign up to receive signature styles from Part & Parcel, which they then share and sell to women in their network. Ultimately, the sellers are eligible to receive up to 30% of the profit per sale. The out-of-the-box model, which might remind you somewhat of Mary Kay or Tupperware’s business strategy, is meant to encourage a sense of community and usher in a new era in which plus-sized women can facilitate other plus-sized women’s access to great clothes.

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“I bought a brown men’s polyester suit and wore it to an interview,” Jonas, an early employee at Poshmark and the long-time author of the popular blog, ‘The Pear Shape,’ tells TechCrunch. “I was that kid wearing a men’s suit.”

Clothing tailored to plus-sized women has long been missing from the retail market. Increasingly, however, new brands are building thriving businesses by catering precisely to the historically forgotten demographic. Dia&Co., for example, raised another $70 million in venture capital funding last fall from Sequoia and USV. And Walmart recently acquired another brand in the space, ELOQUII, for an undisclosed amount. Part & Parcel, for its part, has raised $4 million in seed funding in a round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Jeremy Liew.

The startup launched earlier this year in Anchorage, “a clothing desert,” and has since grown its network to include women in several other underserved markets. Given her own history struggling to find a fitted woman’s suit, Jonas launched her line with structured pieces, including suits and blouses — though the startup’s biggest success yet, she says, has been its boots, which come in three different calf width options.

“Seventy percent of women in this country are plus-sized,” Jonas said. “I’m bringing plus out of the dark corner of the department store.”

This week in VC

sex tech 1

Image: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

Must read

TechCrunch’s Megan Rose Dickey published a highly anticipated deep dive on the state of sex tech this week. The piece provides new data on funding in sex tech and wellness companies, analysis on sex tech startup’s battle for public advertising and responses from industry leaders on how we can destigmatize sex with technology. Here’s a short passage from the story:

Cindy Gallop sees a market opportunity in every type of business obstacle she encounters. That’s why All The Sky will also seek to invest in startups that tackle the infrastructural tools needed to fuel sextech, like payments, hosting providers and e-commerce sites.

“I want to fund the sextech ecosystem to maintain and sustain a portfolio for All the Skies, to create a bloody huge sextech ecosystem and three, to monopolistically build out the ecosystem to be a multi-trillion-dollar market,” Gallop says.

On my radar

I swung by Contrary Capital‘s Demo Day this week, in which a number of startups gave a 4- to 5-minute pitch. Next on my list is Alchemist‘s Demo Day in Menlo Park. The accelerator welcomes enterprise startups for a six-month program focused on early customer adoption, company development and mentorship.

Also on my radar is Females To The Front. The event began this week in Palm Springs and if I were based in SoCal, I would have swung by. Led by Amy Margolis, the event is said to be the largest gathering of female cannabis founders and funders to date. Here’s how the group describes the event: “Females to the Front Retreat will mix immersive and hands-on workshops, pitch training, investment deck preparation and business skill set education with investor meetings and plenty of shared meals, pool time, yoga, connections, rest and rejuvenation. Every workshop is built to directly engage attendees instead of powerpoint and panels. Be prepared to return home inspired, engaged and with so many more tools in your toolbox.”

For the record, I don’t advertise events in my newsletter just wanted to give props to this one because it’s a great development for the cannabis tech ecosystem.

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Time to Disrupt

We are just weeks away from our flagship conference, TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco. We have dozens of amazing speakers lined up. In addition to taking in the great line-up of speakers, ticket holders can roam around Startup Alley to catch the more than 1,000 companies showcasing their products and technologies. And, of course, you’ll get the opportunity to watch the Startup Battlefield competition live. Past competitors include Dropbox, Cloudflare and Mint… You never know which future unicorn will compete next.

You can take a look at the full agenda here. And if you still need convincing, here’s five reasons to attend this year’s conference from our COO himself.

And finally… #EquityPod

This week, the lovely Alex Wilhelm, editor-in-chief of Crunchbase News, and I gathered to discuss a number of topics including WeWork’s IPO and Uber’s attempts to bypass a new law meant to protect gig workers. Listen here.

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Middesk Raises $4m in Seed Funding

The round was led by Accel Partners with participation from Sequoia Capital and Y Combinator. The company intends to use the funds to continue to …

middeskMiddesk, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of tools to help B2B companies identify business and regulatory risk in their customer base, raised $4m in seed funding.

The round was led by Accel Partners with participation from Sequoia Capital and Y Combinator.

The company intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and development efforts.

Led by Kurt Ruppel, CTO, and Kyle Mack, CEO, Middesk offers business verifications, legal and regulatory checks, and industry classification products for companies selling to businesses. They are building an end-to-end solution for B2B companies to verify, screen, and monitor their customers.

The solutions include tools for:

– Tax ID and Name Verification

– Secretary of State Filings

– Website Validation

FinSMEs

13/09/2019

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OkCredit raises $67 million from Lightspeed, Tiger Global

… said it has raised $67 million in a Series B funding round led by existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management.

Book-keeping startup OkCredit on Friday said it has raised $67 million in a Series B funding round led by existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management.

The startup helps small and medium businesses digitize their books of accounts, connects small business owners, suppliers and customers, and enables them to record credit and payment transactions. Merchants can use the company’s mobile app to keep track of sales and purchases and also send payment reminders.

The startup is also backed by China’s Morningside Ventures and US-based marquee startup accelerator Y Combinator. It last raised a Series A round of $15.5 million from these investors in June.

Harsha Kumar, Partner at Lightspeed India said “Lightspeed has been investing in the SME segment in India for years now and we deeply appreciate how complex user acquisition is for this segment. OkCredit represents a rare breed of companies that are discovering digital and viral growth in a market where traditionally, feet-on-street was the only acquisition strategy.”

OkCredit competes with another Y-Combinator backed firm, Khatabook, which raised $4 million from Sequoia Capital’s Surge program and other investors. According to an Economic Times report on July 2, Khatabook is in talks to raise a $20 million Series A from Sequoia Capital and Ribbit Capital, among others.

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5 reasons to attend Disrupt SF this October 2-4

Neeraj Agrawal (Battery Ventures) has the plan from his investments in AppDynamics, Bazaarvoice, Guidewire, Marketo, and others. Intent on building …

In little more than three weeks, San Francisco will be all aglow with TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF (October 2-4) at the Moscone Center. If you’re a part of the startup scene, or plan to be, there is a long list of reasons why you should join the event. (And there is a pass priced for most every pocketbook!) Here are five reasons why:

#1 The people you’ll meet. At nearly 8,000 attendees last year, Disrupt SF was TechCrunch’s biggest event ever but thanks to the CrunchMatch platform for attendees, meeting a potential (and relevant) investor, founder, employer or business partner is never more than a few taps away. Last year, CrunchMatch delivered almost 1400 1:1 meetings alongside tons of organic networking that happened on the show floor and during sessions.

#2 Watch, Work, Network. With the two Disrupt stages running concurrently, there’s always lots of content to take in – check out the agenda here. Pick your sessions, then take a break to take that call or tackle the inbox in one of the many comfy seating areas around the floor. Need a quiet place to take a meeting? There are several semi-private meeting rooms you can book. Stretch your legs in Startup Alley, where hundreds of startups are arrayed in categories, including ecommerce, SaaS, robotics and biotech, or line-up a few meetings through CrunchMatch. Days at Disrupt are guaranteed to be some of your most productive days this year.

#3 The Speakers. No matter your angle on the startup scene, TechCrunch’s editors have have produced an impossible (and highly diverse) speaker line-up.

  • There corporate titans include Spiegel (Snap), Benioff (Salesforce), Levie (Box), van Dijk (Naspers), and Hewson (Lockheed), Vestberg (Verizon)
  • The vast VC line-up counts the likes of Bannister (Founders), Gouw (Aspect), Dixon (a16z), Royan (Mithril), Krane (GV), Lee (Sequoia), Quinn (Spark)
  • The technologists / entrepreneurs span the gamut of tech from CRISPR to AI to robotics to security, to enterprise and mobility, including Thrun (Kittyhawk), Haurwitz (Caribou Biosciences), Altman and Brockman (OpenAI), Moll (Auris), Adkins (Google), Isakowitz (Aerospace Corp), Henderson (Slack), VanderZanden (Bird).

#4 Startup Battlefield. TechCrunch’s signature startup competition brings to the big stage 20 incredible early stage companies that you’ve never seen before. The company names are under wraps until the end of the show but there’s a reason why Ashton Kutcher, Marissa Mayer, Alfred Lin (Sequoia), Ann Miura-Ko (Floodgate), and Mamoon Hamid (KPCB) were eager to step in as finals judges. The 857 contestants to date have pulled in $8.9 billion and produced 111 exits. That Cloudflare IPO this week? They launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2011 at Startup Battield.

#5 The Extra Crunch angle. Many of the top speakers at Disrupt will appear on the new Extra Crunch stage, so named for TechCrunch’s new sub subscription service aimed at helping founders move faster up the curve. On the Extra Crunch stage, it’s the same drill plus we’ve added in time for them to take questions from the audience.

  • Want tips for that Y Combinator application? Michael Siebel, YC’s CEO will share his.
  • Wondering how to go from a zero to a billion dollar SaaS business? Neeraj Agrawal (Battery Ventures) has the plan from his investments in AppDynamics, Bazaarvoice, Guidewire, Marketo, and others.
  • Intent on building an open and high functioning company culture? Hear from the legendary Ray Dalio, head of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, and author of bestseller Principles.

We know that’s a lot but it’s just the start. Disrupt SF is one tech-focused startup event you have to experience in person. Don’t want for the FOMO to hit and get your passes to attend Disrupt SF this October.

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Whole Foods survey: When grocery shopping, millennials willing to pay top dollar

… vision to enable a seamless grab-and-go retail experience, announces that it has closed a $10mln Series A round of funding led by Lux Capital.

US: Caper announces $10mln in Series A funding to scale AI checkout

Caper, the first AI-powered shopping cart that uses computer vision to enable a seamless grab-and-go retail experience, announces that it has closed a $10mln Series A round of funding led by Lux Capital. Following Caper’s Seed funding, First Round Capital, Y Combinator, Hardware Club, Sidekick Fund, and FundersClub reinvested in the Series A – fortifying their confidence in Caper as builders of game-changing technologies for the grocery industry. Red Apple Group, a well-known New York supermarket chain that operates Gristedes and D’Agostino, as well as other undisclosed strategic investors, also participated in the round. The funding will be used to expand the team and fulfill its rollout pipelines with mega-retailers.

Source: prnewswire.com

Whole Foods survey: US millennials willing to pay top dollar when grocery shopping

A new Whole Foods survey found when it comes to millennials going grocery shopping, 80% said quality is what they’re looking for. Nearly 70% of those surveyed will spend more money if they can get high-quality foods. Another trend among millennials when grocery shopping is transparency. More than 65% of millennials emphasize the importance of food sourcing when they shop for food, especially when it comes to seafood and meat. Of those surveyed, a majority of millennials said they would gladly pay more money for products that have higher animal welfare standards and that are responsibly sourced. Much of that focus on sourcing may derive from the fact that many millennials are trying to eat healthier. In fact, 63% of millennials are starting or have already incorporated unprocessed or plant-based foods into their diets.

Source: foxbusiness.com

US: Albertsons names Geoff White as chief merchant

Geoff White has been promoted to executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Albertsons Cos. White, previously president of own brands, takes over the role formerly held by Shane Sampson, who left the company effective September 7 after serving as both chief merchant and chief marketing officer since January 2015.

Source: supermarketnews.com

Canada: Next-generation organics

“From what consumers are telling us, it’s a good news story for organics”, says Joel Gregoire, associate director of Food & Drink at Mintel, referring to the company’s Natural/Organic Shopper Canada 2018 report. “In the last year we saw that 28% of Canadians were buying more organic food and beverages.” That makes sense considering organics now comprise 2.6% of all grocery food and beverage sales, according to the Canada Organic Trade Association, and two-thirds of Canadian consumers now purchase organic products each week.

Source: canadiangrocer.com

US: FutureProof Retail announces a new partnership with IT Retail, making it easier than ever for grocers to offer a line free checkout experience

FutureProof Retail (FPR), provider of the latest line-free mobile checkout technology, offers merchants a more powerful, efficient and modern alternative to self-checkouts. The technology, which allows shoppers to scan and pay for items using their smartphones, is now officially integrated with IT Retail’s Retail Professional point of sale system. The integration makes FPR’s already easy deployment even easier by automatically synchronizing prices, customers and transactions between the two systems – dramatically shortening the time to pilot: “I don’t think there’s any easier way to start offering a line-free checkout experience”, FutureProof President Di Di Chan said, “These kinds of projects usually take weeks, often months – thanks to our partnership with IT Retail we can have a new store live in a matter of hours.”

Source: prnewswire.com

The 10 largest food retailers in the world by sales

E-commerce insights firm Edge by Ascential recently ranked international grocery chains by net sales as part of its Food and Beverage Sector Report. The findings are drawn from the firm’s Retail Market Monitor, which analyses how individual sectors are currently performing and how they are forecast to grow by 2024. The report also provided forward-looking estimates for in-store and, when applicable, online sales for 2024. The biggest global grocers by overall net sales (all figures US) and how they’re expected to grow: 10. Target: In-store net sales for 2019: $71bln, Online net sales for 2019: $7bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $79bln, Estimated online net sales for 2024: $18bln. 9. Tesco: In-store net sales for 2019: $82bln, Online net sales for 2019: $4bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $89bln, Estimated online net sales for 2024: $6bln. 8. Aeon: In-store net sales for 2019: $82bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $110bln. 7. Carrefour: In-store net sales for 2019: $106bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $124bln, Estimated online net sales for 2024: $6bln. 6. Aldi: In-store net sales for 2019: $108bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $135bln. 5. Schwartz Gruppe: In-store net sales for 2019: $117bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $145bln, Estimated online net sales for 2024: $3bln. 4. Kroger: In-store net sales for 2019: $119bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $135bln, Estimated online net sales for 2024: $9bln. 3. 7-Eleven Holdings: In-store net sales for 2019: $120bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $168bln. 2. Costco: In-store net sales for 2019: $151bln, Online net sales for 2019: $7bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $201bln, Estimated online net sales for 2024: $12bln. 1. Walmart: In-store net sales for 2019: $503bln, Online net sales for 2019: $49bln, Estimated in-store net sales for 2024: $568bln, Estimated online net sales for 2024: $110bln. “Walmart remains by far the world’s largest grocer. It is fast embracing grocery e-commerce, driving forward O2O integration in its vast store portfolio”.

Source:canadiangrocer.com

France: Carrefour denies weighing bid for French retail rival Casino

Carrefour denied it was examining a potential bid for debt-laden Casino, after BFM TV reported the French retailer was weighing up an all-share offer for its rival. “There is no offer, or any draft of an offer, on the table”, a spokeswoman for Carrefour said. Casino declined to comment.

Source: reuters.com

Amazon Europe received €241mln in tax credits in 2018

Amazon received €241mln in tax credits last year that it can deduct from future bills for its European business, despite efforts by authorities in Brussels to ensure the company pays more tax. Amazon Europe, which is based in Luxembourg and aggregates the billions of pounds of sales the retailer makes from individual countries across the continent, received the credits after reporting a pre-tax loss of €493mln in 2018. Sales rose 11.6% to €28bln.

Source: theguardian.com

Singapore: CASE launches new app to compare prices of groceries, household items and hawker food

A new crowdsourcing mobile application will allow shoppers to get more bang for their buck by comparing retail prices and promotions of groceries, household items and hawker food being sold at some outlets. Price Kaki, launched by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) on September 10, will also allow users to track price changes and earn cash vouchers by contributing information on prices and promotions. It can be downloaded on Apple’s App Store and Google Play during a pilot run from September 28, before being launched island-wide in early 2020.

Source: channelnewsasia.com

UK: Why are people shopping online late at night?

More consumers seem to be shopping online late at night and in the early hours of the morning, say retailers. New data from the John Lewis Partnership Card shows that one in 15 purchases are now made between the hours of midnight and 06:00. The research shows that the number of purchases made in this period rose by 23% in 2018, compared with 2017. Retail analyst Chris Field told the BBC that technology improvements have prompted this new trend. “It’s partly to do with the more recent generations of mobile phones, and the retailers are becoming much more sophisticated”, he says. “They’ve realised that if you go to the website and you don’t buy, they have to spend money trying to get you back on to the website, so they’re investing a lot on the websites and software.”

Source: bbc.com

Thailand: Central & China’s JD.com launch financial services app

Thailand’s largest retailer, Central Group, and China’s JD.com launched a financial services app to expand services with local banks in the latest move by the mall operator to increase its digital presence. The app, called Dolfin, will include an e-wallet function, digital lending platform, as well as insurance and wealth management, the joint venture, JD Central Fintech, said. “We aim to have 400,000 users by the end of the year and 1.5mln next year”, Chief Executive Rungruang Sukkirdkijpiboon, said in an interview.

Source: reuters.com

Saudi Arabia: Souq.com adds same day delivery offer

Amazon-owned Souq.com has launched the Fulfilled by Souq service, which will enable shoppers in Riyadh and Jeddah who purchase goods before midday to receive their orders on the same day. The company said it was the first ecommerce firm to offer the service, which costs SAR24 (about US$6.40), in the country. To benefit from the service Souq said there was no minimum order requirement. Commenting on the service’s launch, Souq.com’s general manager for Saudi Arabia, Saleem Hammad, said: “We believe that deploying innovation that allows for same day delivery is a significant step forward for the region, allowing customers to choose from a large assortment of products and categories at the quickest turnaround.”

Source: retailanalysis.igd.com

UK: AmazonFresh launches on demand deliveries

AmazonFresh has launched an on demand delivery option in the UK. The news was shared by Russell Jones, Country Manager, AmazonFresh UK, at IGD Amazon Vendor Leadership day 2019. Amazon Prime members in eligible areas are now able to use AmazonFresh by paying £2.99 per delivery, with a minimum order value of £40. Members are still able to choose the monthly subscription option and pay £3.99 per month for unlimited deliveries, but Amazon aims to cater to more occasional and first-time users through adding this more flexible option.

Source: retailanalysis.igd.com

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