Accel backs Produze to help agri-producers in India export globally

Accel has led a $2.6 million funding in Produze, an Indian startup that is attempting to help local agri producers sell to international retailers, the latest in a series of bets as investors and entrepreneurs look to bring efficiency to supercharge one of the world’s largest agri producers. “We are helping agri-producers to reliably access international markets where they can make more margins for their produce,” said Ben Mathew, who previously worked at Ninjacart, a Flipkart-backed startup that operates a business-to-business platform to connect farmers, manufacturers and brands to retailers. Mathew teamed up with former colleague Gaurav Agrawal, entrepreneur Rakesh Sasidharan and Y Combinator alum Emil Soman earlier this year to start Produze. He said Produze works similarly as ‘Fulfilled by Amazon,’ offering a digital supply chain infrastructure that comprises of customer acquisition, last-mile distribution, export-import port operations and source logistics. In the tradition

The iconic Meyers Manx dune buggy makes it return as an EV

The Meyers Manx, the iconic 50-year-old dune buggy that’s been copied thousands of times, is officially making its return in 2023. But this time around, it’s electric. The Meyers Manx 2.0, which debuted Monday at an event in Malibu, will launch thanks to venture capitalist Phillip Sarofim and famed automotive designer Freeman Thomas, say they are committed to bringing back the dune buggy that is intimately connected to California’s surf history. “I think in some ways I’m, I’m connecting to my childhood,” Sarofim, the CEO and founder of Trousdale Ventures, the VC firm that purchased Meyers Manx from Bruce Meyers in 2020, told TechCrunch, “I think the Meyers Manx represents so much. It’s a symbol of, of fun, of purity, of simplicity, and it also represents 1960s California optimism, and we want to bring that back.” The Meyers Manx 2.0: An electric dune buggy Details are still sparse on the little machine. The tl;dr is that it looks a lot like the iconic dune buggy designed more tha

Boundary Layer skims across the water with a cavalcade of launch partners

It seems like only a couple of months since Boundary Layer announced its $5 million-ish round of financing, but the company hasn’t been resting on its laurels. Today, its founders told me it signed up some beefy launch partners and is gearing up for a large-scale roll-out as early as 2025. Boundary Layer wants to steal air freight’s lunch and transport it by water instead The company is planning to operate high-speed, hydrogen-powered cargo ships called ARGO — the menacing-looking beast at the top of this article. The ships offer zero-emission transit alternatives. The company hopes that its solutions can compete with regional air freight. The company’s flagship ARGO will be powered by green liquid hydrogen and fuel cells, emitting zero CO 2 during operation. That’s an attractive feature for companies trying to cut into their climate impact. Reducing reliance on air freight is a key aspect of that. “We recognize that new technologies like ARGO play an important role in reduc

Haus, a VC-backed apertif startup, is up for sale after Series A falls through

Haus launched in 2019 as an answer to a generation’s craving for a more transparent alcohol brand, raising millions in venture funding from angels such as Casey Neistat, Away co-founder Jen Rubio and funds including Homebrew, Haystack Ventures, Coatue, Shrug Capital and Worklife Ventures. Haus has raised $17 million on rolling SAFE notes to date. Today, CEO and co-founder Helena Price Hambrecht tapped into the same ethos of transparency to announce that the startup’s Series A fell through and the company is in the process of closing down. In an interview with TechCrunch, Hambrecht spoke about Haus’s transition from buzzy VC-backed startup to a business currently up for sale, as-is or in parts. Haus sells a series of citrus, spice and flowery low ABV (alcohol by volume) apertifs, meant to be an alternative to hard liquors and a little stronger than wines. Made in Sonoma, California, Haus also promised a product made of all-natural ingredients with a key differentiator: users could o

Canoo burns cash in race to hit $1B EV sales goal

Electric vehicle company Canoo’s second-quarter results, like its first-quarter results, show a pre-revenue company that’s burning through cash. However, last quarter, Canoo was warning it might not have enough cash to stay in business. Three months later, the EV startup-gone-SPAC is touting access to enough capital to see it through the rest of 2022. “We are preparing for [standard operating procedure] readiness,” said Ramesh Murthy, chief accounting officer at Canoo, during Monday’s earnings call. “ We have customers. We have access to capital. We have a strategy that benefits our company and shareholders against the backdrop of this global economic condition. We are making it happen.” Canoo says it has closed out the quarter with more than $1 billion in its sales pipeline. This is largely attributable to a recent deal with Walmart to purchase 4,500 units, with an option to buy up to 10,000 units. Canoo also scored a deal to supply its multi-pur

SoftBank cautions startup winter may last longer if unicorn founders don’t accept lower valuations

Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of SoftBank Group, which reported a quarterly loss of over $23 billion, is worried that the funding winter for startups may linger in the immediate future. The 64-year-old executive, whose Vision Funds have backed over 470 startups globally in the past six years, said on Monday that some unicorn founders are unwilling to accept lower valuations in fresh funding deliberations, a fact that has led him to believe that the “winter maybe longer” for unlisted companies. “Unicorn companies’ leaders still believe in their valuations and they wouldn’t accept that they may have to see their valuations [go] lower than they think,” he said, according to company’s official translator. “So until the multiple of listed companies is lower than those of unlisted companies, we should wait,” said Son, referring to a popular way investors assign value to firms. He said the winter for publicly listed companies is still continuing, but a similar downturn for startups “m

Baidu to operate fully driverless commercial robotaxi in Wuhan and Chongqing

Chinese internet giant Baidu has secured permits to offer a fully driverless commercial robotaxi service, with no human driver present, in Chongqing and Wuhan via the company’s autonomous ride-hailing unit, Apollo Go. Baidu’s wins in Wuhan and Chongqing come a few months after the company scored a permit to provide driverless ride-hailing services to the public on open roads in Beijing . The difference here is the service in Beijing is still not a commercial service — Baidu is offering free driverless rides in the name of R&D and public acceptance — and Beijing’s permit still requires a human operator in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. When Baidu launches in Wuhan and Chongqing, it’ll be the first time an autonomous vehicle company is able to offer a fully driverless ride-hailing service in China, Baidu claimed. Meanwhile in the U.S., Cruise recently began offering a driverless commercial service in San Francisco , and Waymo has been offering one in Arizona since 2020 .

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