Boom raises $7M Series A in bid to become the ‘Amazon for commercial photography’

Milan-headquartered scale-up Boom, which offers a two-sided tech platform to let companies book and manage commercial photo shoots, has raised $ 7 million in Series A funding.

The round is led by Italy’s United Ventures, with the participation from Wellness Holding. It will be used to support the photo tech company’s next stage of growth as it sets its sights on “5% market share” of the $ 80bn global digital photography market.

Specifically, Boom says it will invest in its proprietary plug & play technology for managing the commercial photography production pipeline, and build a presence in 180 countries, including opening offices and studios in London and New York. The platform combines a marketplace, logistics, photo online storage, APIs and a CRM, with Boom pitching itself as wanting to become the “Amazon for commercial photography”,

“Today, visual content is more vital than ever,” says Boom co-founder and CEO Federico Mattia Dolci . “Data shows that photography is the second most important key driver for successful online commerce after online payments. This was our opportunity”.

Dolci says that, while demand for high-quality content was huge, when the company was founded in 2018, “there was a lack of scalable solutions”. And scale is the name of the game, with estimates suggesting there was more than 2 trillion photos uploaded online in 2019.

“The largest online sellers have massive, ever-growing image libraries,” says the Boom CEO. “And the faster the market grew, the more we recognised a major digital supply-and-demand gap. We could see that countless internet giants were changing the way people shopped online, uploading billions of pictures on their websites and platforms every day, but these same brands had no access to a content provider that could keep up with their scaled-up, global, fast-paced environment. The whole system was expensive and obsolete”.

To address this, Boom has developed a “tech-first” oder system that enables companies and brands to easily commission “high quality, affordable content” on a global scale. The promise is that it offers a simple, streamlined, automated work-flow, coupled with a network of thousands of professional photographers, without compromising on quality. The platform matches a client photoshoot request with the best photographers in the area. It also employs automatic photo-editing to improve raw shots, so that if a brand wants to get access to photos instantly, the photographer can spend less time editing.

Meanwhile, Boom’s order system doesn’t just manage photoshoots. Clients can also book videographers, drone pilots, designers, and other creative assets using the innovative platform.

To that end, Boom claims in excess of 250 major corporate clients including the likes of Deliveroo, Vacasa, Uber Eats, OYO, Lavanda, Casavo, Westwing, Getyourguide and hundreds of SMEs across verticals. It has a presence in more than 80 countries and has processed 3 million images to date, averaging one shoot per minute, across real estate, travel, F&B, and e-commerce.

Adds Dolci: “Our customers can place an order and expect a delivery 24h later, whether the photoshoots take place in Milan, New York, or Sydney, and whether the order calls for one photoshoot or a thousand! We guarantee speed, efficiency, and quality consistency every single time”.

Noteworthy, Boom says it is profitable on a unit economics basis, bar re-investing in its tech and expansion plans, and aims to be fully profitable as early as 2022.

Startups – TechCrunch

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[Armory in TechCrunch] Armory nabs $40M Series C as commercial biz on top of open-source Spinnaker project takes off

As companies continue to shift more quickly to the cloud, pushed by the pandemic, startups like Armory that work in the cloud-native space are seeing an uptick in interest. Armory  is a company built to be a commercial layer on top of the open-source continuous delivery project Spinnaker. Today, it announced a $ 40 million Series C.

Read more here.

The post [Armory in TechCrunch] Armory nabs $ 40M Series C as commercial biz on top of open-source Spinnaker project takes off appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

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Armory nabs $40M Series C as commercial biz on top of open-source Spinnaker project takes off

As companies continue to shift more quickly to the cloud, pushed by the pandemic, startups like Armory that work in the cloud-native space are seeing an uptick in interest. Armory is a company built to be a commercial layer on top of the open-source continuous delivery project Spinnaker. Today, it announced a $ 40 million Series C.

B Capital led the round, with help from new investors Lead Edge Capital and Marc Benioff along with previous investors Insight Partners, Crosslink Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Mango Capital, Y Combinator and Javelin Venture Partners. Today’s investment brings the total raised to more than $ 82 million.

“Spinnaker is an open-source project that came out of Netflix and Google, and it is a very sophisticated multi-cloud and software delivery platform,” company co-founder and CEO Daniel R. Odio told TechCrunch.

Odio points out that this project has the backing of industry leaders, including the three leading public cloud infrastructure vendors Amazon, Microsoft and Google, as well as other cloud players like CloudFoundry and HashiCorp. “The fact that there is a lot of open-source community support for this project means that it is becoming the new standard for cloud-native software delivery,” he said.

In the days before the notion of continuous delivery, companies moved forward slowly, releasing large updates over months or years. As software moved to the cloud, this approach no longer made sense and companies began delivering updates more incrementally, adding features when they were ready. Adding a continuous delivery layer helped facilitate this move.

As Odio describes it, Armory extends the Spinnaker project to help implement complex use cases at large organizations, including around compliance and governance and security. It is also in the early stages of implementing a SaaS version of the solution, which should be available next year.

While he didn’t want to discuss customer numbers, he mentioned JPMorgan Chase and Autodesk as customers, along with less specific allusions to “a Fortune Five technology company, a Fortune 20 Bank, a Fortune 50 retailer and a Fortune 100 technology company.”

The company currently has 75 employees, but Odio says business has been booming and he plans to double the team in the next year. As he does, he says that he is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion.

“There’s actually a really big difference between diversity and inclusion, and there’s a great Vernā Myers quote that diversity is being asked to the party and inclusion is being asked to dance, and so it’s actually important for us not only to focus on diversity, but also focus on inclusion because that’s how we win. By having a heterogeneous company, we will outperform a homogeneous company,” he said.

While the company has moved to remote work during COVID, Odio says they intend to remain that way, even after the current crisis is over. “Now obviously COVID been a real challenge for the world, including us. We’ve gone to a fully remote-first model, and we are going to stay remote-first even after COVID. And it’s really important for us to be taking care of our people, so there’s a lot of human empathy here,” he said.

But at the same time, he sees COVID opening up businesses to move to the cloud and that represents an opportunity for his business, one that he will focus on with new capital at his disposal. “In terms of the business opportunity, we exist to help power the transformation that these enterprises are undergoing right now, and there’s a lot of urgency for us to execute on our vision and mission because there is a lot of demand for this right now,” he said.

Startups – TechCrunch

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Motif FoodWorks preps commercial production for its first ingredient

Motif FoodWorks, the Ginkgo Bioworks spinout focused on developing new plant-based flavorings and food ingredients, is readying commercial scale production of its first product — an ingredient to improve the flavor of beef substitutes.

The expansion of Motif’s manufacturing capacity presages the commercial availability of its new flavoring, which should be folded into consumer products by the fourth quarter of 2021, according to Motif chief executive Jonathan McIntyre.

“We’re making the product at pilot scale and we’re happy with the pilotization and now we’re scaling up to do large scales in formula development and characterization and talking to contract manufacturers about getting the product put in,” McIntyre said.

There’s a second product under development that’s focused on nutritional attributes for applications in sports nutrition and nutritional supplements, McIntyre said.

In all, Motif has nine ingredients under development with academic partners that will soon be coming to market.

“The first wave of those [ingredients] is targeted at plant-based meats,” McIntyre said. “Ground beef is the first one and the thing that you usually validate in.”

As the industry matures, there’s a growing sense among the lab-grown meat and plant-based meat substitute manufacturers that the process isn’t as simple as just coming up with novel proteins to replicate the bloody taste of meats (like plant-based heme). Instead there’re going to be an array of ingredients and proteins that need to be identified and developed to replicate the fibrous textures and fats that make meat taste like meat.

It’s not just the muscle meat, what is critical is getting the flavor attributes and the other tissue attributes. When you get a steak and you see the marbleizing. That marbleizing creates a relationship between the protein fibers and the fat… has a lot to do with taste… that does not occur in a plant-based product. Even when you cook a plant-based burger next to a beef burger you see the fat behavior differently.”

So Motif is working on new ways to make that connective tissue using plant-based substitutes. It’s part of the company’s mission to be the plant-based ingredient company that can replace the chemicals and animal byproducts currently used to add texture and flavor to a whole range of food products.

“The technology is a plant-based set of ingredients that have been transformed to have properties that have connective tissue,” McIntyre said. “We don’t lock in to just one technology. We lock into what is the issue that is going to taste better. We have been building as strong a food science, food application, culinology approach as we have protein science. Those ingredients are in the late analysis stage… where we’ll be making tens of kilos of material and getting those in front of consumers quickly.”

Looking ahead, McIntyre said that Motif Foodworks is looking to create what he called new “food forms.” The idea, McIntyre said, is to start making foods that have their own unique flavor profiles and ingredients that won’t necessarily need to be compared to an animal substitute.

“If you’re figuring out a way to make the plant-based option taste better, can you do other food forms that may not suffer by comparison to a burger?” McIntry said. “We want to show the plant-based food world it’s not about replacements.”

This is the next step in the evolution of a company that’s not yet two years old.

Motif spun out of Ginkgo Bioworks in February 2019, with a $ 90 million investment from Fonterra, the New Zealand-based multinational dairy company; the global food processing and trading firm Louis Dreyfus Co.; and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the climate-focused investment fund financed by a global gaggle of billionaires, including Marc Benioff, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman, John Doerr, Vinod Khosla, Jack Ma, Neil Shen, Masayoshi Son and Meg Whitman.

Motif isn’t just focused on making new ingredients and alternatives to traditional meat-based products. The company is also looking at ways to make existing food healthier with novel ingredients.

“That fortification game has been played a lot. We need to figure out how to get more servings of fruits and vegetables to consumers,” said McIntyre. “It could be that our list of ingredients could be more expansive to include not just plant protein. It might be having two servings of vegetables combined with all of that in a great new food.”

Startups – TechCrunch

This Swedish startup aims to ready its all-electric airliner for commercial flight by 2026; unveils new electric aircraft tech

There’s been a strong push to move from fossil fuels to electrical vehicles in recent years and all for the right reasons of lowering our impact on the environment. While we’ve seen a lot of progress in terms of electric cars on roads, things seemed to be moving a bit slower in the aviation sector. However, the Sweden-based air mobility startup Heart Aerospace has shared some fresh news. The company has introduced an electric drivetrain and new battery technology, which will be used in its upcoming airliner.

Heart Aerospace’s first electric airliner to be operational by 2026

Heart Aerospace previously announced that its upcoming all-electric aircraft ES-19 will sport a range of 400km with 215 knots of top speed. The airliner is also claimed to be capable of operating from shorter runways that are just 750 meters long. The new electric drivetrain, coupled with the new battery technology, will be able to push the aircraft to achieve a reasonable range, claims the company. The notable strides in battery development is being attributed to the automotive industry, which has shown notable progress in the recent years. 

“The aviation industry is facing a two-fold problem – reconciling itself with a carbon-constrained world and coronavirus hindering passenger demand for flights, particularly long-haul. This is a reset moment, as across the board, the provision of public finance comes with the caveat that bailouts will only be offered in exchange for cutting emissions and electric aircraft could be the most sustainable and cost-effective way to travel,” says Anders Forslund, CEO and founder of Heart Aerospace. 

Lofty, green goals 

The Sweden-based aviation company is currently working on its nineteen-passenger airliner ES-19. Initially, the company plans to offer point-to-point transportation between Scandinavian cities, before expanding operations worldwide. 

The Y-Combinator alumni was founded in 2018 by Anders Forslund has also received support from the Swedish government to electrify aviation. To date, Heart Aerospace has secured €1.9M in funding to further its ambition of developing electric aircrafts.

Speaking about the electric aircraft scene, Forslund adds, “Sweden has committed to make all domestic flights fossil-fuel-free by 2030 and Norway is targeting all domestic flights to be 100% electric by 2040. To achieve these goals, we have to get to work now. The technology is here and scale is possible for short-haul flights, which account for nearly half of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. We can’t wait for progress to happen ­­– that’s not how innovation works.”

Main image credits: Heart Aerospace

The post This Swedish startup aims to ready its all-electric airliner for commercial flight by 2026; unveils new electric aircraft tech appeared first on Silicon Canals .

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How to get approved for commercial warehouse lease for startup

25M, just started a new supplement business. I’ve saved up enough capital from previous job/selling old belongings to cover at least the first year of warehouse rent for a 3 yr lease.

However, they want to see tax returns and proof of income and whatnot. I have good credit (from paying off student loans) , but since this is a new business there’s no tax returns. Also since this is a startup there’s no cash flow coming from the business itself (yet).

Just want to know what you guys think I should do to maximize my chances of getting approved for a lease. Should I offer to pay a year in advance?

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