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American Express invests in insurance startup Next Insurance

BY Anna Irrera | Reuters | June 20th, 2017

American Express Co has invested in Next Insurance, a Palo Alto-based technology startup that sells customized insurance for small businesses online, as Silicon Valley companies look to shake up the insurance sector.

Next Insurance, which raised $29 million in May from investors led by reinsurer Munich Re’s HSB Ventures, said on Tuesday that American Express’s venture capital arm has joined the investor group. Next Insurance will use the new cash injection, which brings the investment round to $35 million, to expand the products it offers and target new business sectors, the company said.

Read the full article here.

Why this startup CEO went to the White House alongside Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos

BY CNN Money | by Aimee Rawlins | June 19th, 2017

The CEOs of some of the world’s biggest tech companies descended on the White House Monday — along with a few people who aren’t yet household names. One of those is Zachary Bookman, CEO of OpenGov. Launched in 2012, OpenGov focuses on helping state and local governments streamline their systems. Think opening up the budget process, setting trackable goals and being more transparent with constituents.

The state of Ohio, which used OpenGov to drill down on local spending, went from #46 in financial transparency to #1, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Meanwhile an official in Ivins, Utah (population 8,000) was able to cut his budgeting time in half using OpenGov. His experience made Bookman a perfect fit for Monday’s meetings, which were geared toward modernizing the federal government.

Read the full article here.

Fintech start-up SoFi is moving into traditional banking

BY LA Times | by AP | June 13th, 2017

Online lender and financial start-up SoFi has taken the first step toward competing with the nation’s biggest banks on their home turf: the checking account.

Last week, the San Francisco provider of student and personal loans submitted an application for federal deposit insurance, a protection normally available only to conventional banks. In its application, the company said its SoFi Bank subsidiary will offer bread-and-butter banking products, including checking accounts, debit cards and eventually credit cards.

Read the full article here.

Addepar raises $140 million to help rich people manage their assets

BY Paul Sawers | VentureBeat | June 9th, 2017

Addepar, a company that touts itself as the “operating system for the financial world,” has raised a whopping $140 million in a series D round of funding led by Valor Equity Partners, 8VC, and QuantRes founder Harald McPike.

Founded out of Mountain View, Calif. in 2009, Addepar is a data-driven investment management platform targeted at financial advisers, who use the software to track assets and “visualize” information for their clients. The company also offers APIs to integrate with third-party products, including Salesforce Financial Services Cloud. The company said that it works with hundreds of advisers, endowments, and major financial institutions, with more than $650 billion in assets funneled through its platform — up from $300 billion 18 months ago.

Read the full article here.

For OpenGov, President Trump is proving a boon for business

BY Connie Loizos | TechCrunch | Jan 24th, 2017

OpenGov, a Redwood City, Ca., company whose software helps local governments keep transparent financial records, has been picking up speed in a variety of ways, and co-founder and CEO Zac Bookman traces some of that momentum to the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

“We had the best Q1 in company history. It’s typically a quiet quarter, and we blew the top off” our internal projections, says Bookman…

Given the Trump “bump,” we ask Bookman — who has already raised $47 million for OpenGov and will announce a Series C round this year — if he has observed whether governments in so-called blue states and red states are distinct in any way. We ask if they use different products or whether their attitude toward the company itself is discernibly different.

Read the full article here.

The Bouqs Co. Takes Floral Delivery Back To The Source

BY PYMNTS.COM | March 2nd, 2017

Though using the online channel to order flowers for delivery is nothing new, it’s safe to say that most consumers have no idea where those flowers are coming from and what the supply chain is that’s used to get that delivery from Point A to Point B.

But huge economic and environmental waste comes as a result of many of those flowers not even surviving long enough to make it through the traditional supply chain, and John Tabis, co-founder and CEO of The Bouqs Company, knew it was time for a change.

Read the full article here.

SoFi Is in Talks for $500 Million Funding Led by Silver Lake

By Selina Wang and Alex Sherman | Bloomberg.com | February 16, 2017

Social Finance Inc. is close to raising about $500 million in a funding round expected to be led by private equity firm Silver Lake Partners to bolster the expansion of its online-lending businesses and personal financial services, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investment round should include several Asian investors, who will join Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., DCM Ventures, Third Point and others. The new international group will purchase SoFi’s loans as well as take an equity stake, said one of the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The round could close as early as next week, the person said. Bloomberg reported in September that SoFi was aiming to raise $500 million…

Read the Full article on Bloomberg.com Here

Flower delivery startup The Bouqs raises $24 million to grow past its many competitors

BY Sarah Buhr | TechCrunch | Jan 30th, 2017

There’s a field full of flower delivery services to choose from these days from the old school 1-800-flowers and FTD to startups popping up over the last few years like BloomThat, Farmgirl Flowers, UrbanStems and The Bouqs.

That last one just raised $24 million in Series C financing, bringing the total now to $43 million. The Bouqs doesn’t quite roll off the tongue but that fresh new funding puts it at the top of the heap in capital raised among on-demand flower startups.

Read the full article here.

TripActions launches its business travel app and unveils a $14.6 million round

By Bérénice Magistretti | VentureBeat.com | January 24, 2017

Booking a holiday is fun, but booking a professional trip often isn’t. TripActions is trying to change that with a solution that incentivizes employees to spend more consciously through a rewards program. The Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup, which has been in stealth mode until now, announced today the launch of its travel-booking app, as well as a funding round of $14.6 million.

Read the Full article on VentureBeat.com Here

Watch Out for These 10 Unicorns in 2017 – Tipalti 9

By Shama Hyder | Inc.com | January 23, 2017

9. Tipalti
In the past decade, there has been a proliferation of companies–whether e-commerce, affiliate, adtech, or otherwise–that need to pay a daunting number of suppliers or publishers every month. At the same time, regulations (especially international ones) have become onerous. Enter Tipalti. Its payment automation software helps businesses make mass payments across the globe with ease and compliance. The software automates payments in almost any currency and manages regulatory requirements, such as withholding payments from people on international “Do Not Pay” blacklists. Tipalti claims its product reduces the time its customers spend on payments by up to 80 percent. And last year, the company rolled out technology that brings automation to the entire accounts payable lifecycle. Tipalti’s quickly expanding customer base includes behemoths like Twitter and nimble startups like Visually. Last September, the company closed its most recent fundraising round, pulling in $14 million to drive new customer acquisition.

Read the Full article on Inc.com Here