Future Family launches a $200 membership for fertility coaching

Future Family is a startup aiming to make fertility services like IVF and egg freezing more accessible. They work with doctors and clinics to make the pricing of these services more predictable and upfront, then offer monthly payment plans to help customers spread the cost (often in the tens of thousands of dollars) over a few years.

In its recent user research, Future Family  found that around 70% of their new customers had yet to see a fertility doctor; they were starting the process online, often without the next steps mapped out. With that in mind, today they’re rolling out a new membership plan that offers users a dedicated fertility coach, and helps them to find a doctor in their area.

The membership will cost $200, which gets you:

  • Two and a half hours with a dedicated fertility coach, who will video chat with you on your schedule and platform of choice to help you figure out what’s next. Future Family CEO Claire Tomkins tells me that their coaches are all registered nurses with clinical fertility experience, many of whom the company recruited from top US clinics. The coach can help you figure out the first steps, prep you to meet with your doctor, and to help understand your lab results.
  • Recommendations on doctors/clinics in your area, based on things like distance, cost, and your personal preferences like the doctor’s gender and whether they’re part of a large hospital or a smaller clinic.
  • Upfront service pricing; as Future Family already works with these doctors, they’re able to tell you how much it’ll all cost before you dive in.

The membership will also offer a way for members to sign up for one of Future Family’s financing plans — but Claire Tomkins tells me that there’s no lock in. If a customer does the video coaching and doctor matching and already has the payment side of things figured out, the promised prices will all still apply.

The new membership program will go live today.


Evident Raises $20 Million for Secure, AI-Powered Identity Verification

The financing will allow Evident to respond to demand for its platform, which uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, facial recognition, and end-to-end cryptography to meet customers’ increasingly strict privacy requirements

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Evident ID, Inc., the revolutionary platform that powers identity and credential verification for many of the world’s fastest-growing companies, has raised $20 million in a Series B financing led by Aspect Ventures; with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Internet Security Systems founder Tom Noonan; as well as new investor Blue Cloud Ventures. The financing will enable Evident to broaden its existing, robust technical infrastructure including deepening its investment in AI and machine learning, computer vision, and facial recognition technologies. Evident will also expand its team to meet the explosive demand for identity verification as enterprises increasingly rely on efficient, remote onboarding.

Evident’s 300% YoY customer growth and comprehensive identity verification solution were key drivers for investor participation. Unlike existing solutions, Evident verifies identity holistically, encompassing both online and offline factors such as business licenses, biometrics, insurance, criminal history, and more. The platform allows businesses to easily implement step-up and continuous identity verification techniques, a key consideration given the increasing amount of fraudulent activity online. Evident enables companies to confidently know who they are registering, hiring, onboarding or verifying for a wide variety of applications while leveraging end-to-end cryptography and machine learning to meet increasingly strict privacy requirements.

“Increasing data privacy regulation, data breaches, and online-offline interactions facilitated via the internet require companies to become arbiters of trust. To reliably fulfill that role, they are seeking solutions to verify personal information for their stakeholders without having to handle personal data themselves,” said Lauren Kolodny, Partner at Aspect Ventures. “Evident is helping businesses verify identity and a wide range of credentials with less friction today – and they’re on the way to building the identity platform for the internet.”

“Evident is solving the most complex identification problems for high-volume businesses with sensitive applications by verifying millions of attributes in a secure and efficient way,” said David Thomas, CEO of Evident. “With this new infusion of capital, we can scale to meet the increasing demands of current customers and marketplaces, as well as continue to grow in additional markets and industries including insurance, healthcare and financial services.”

“Identity verification has never been more important, especially as businesses consider the conflict of mitigating fraud while prioritizing growth and streamlined user experiences,” said Vanessa Larco, Partner at NEA. “Evident is solving these crucial challenges while maintaining the highest standards of privacy and security. Their ongoing market penetration combined with the strength and extensibility of their platform addresses key issues that all businesses are trying to solve.”

About Evident
Evident is revolutionizing the way personal data is shared. Evident’s simple, secure Identity Assurance Platform lets businesses confidently know who they are dealing with without handling sensitive personal data. With connections to thousands of authoritative sources through a single API, Evident is the only platform that enables comprehensive, accurate, and up-to-date identity and credential verifications without the risk and liability of holding personal information. For more information, visit www.evidentid.com.

Contacts
Eva Dudzik
eva.dudzik@hotwireglobal.com
908-642-8581


These Women Are the 'Hidden Figures' of Tech—Here's Why You Should Know Their Names

[Read on Parade]

Julian Guthrie is an award-winning journalist and author who finds and tells some of the most remarkable stories of our day. Her book, Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley’s Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime (Currency), shines a light on four women who have made waves in the tech industry yet received little to no recognition for their work. Here, Guthrie shares an essay about why most of us don’t—but should—know these women’s names.

Silicon Valley, the world’s high-tech hub south of San Francisco, has long been a welcome arena for ambitious men, including Steve Jobs (Apple), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Elon Musk (Tesla). We can see signs of that male dominance in the area’s hoodie-wearing tinkerers and its “brogrammer” culture. But there is another, lesser known Silicon Valley story: the extraordinary women who have worked largely behind the scenes to finance and build some of the most important companies of our day. This is the story I tell in my new book, Alpha Girls: The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley’s Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime.

Meet the Alpha Girls

These women, the hidden figures of tech, invested in and built companies that automated how businesses interact with customers. They helped make the Internet safer and faster. They were among the earliest e-commerce engineers and evangelists, and ushered in major social media companies. They are engineers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists. They are Magdalena YesilMJ ElmoreSonja Perkins and Theresia Gouw, to name a few of the female stars of Silicon Valley.

So why are these women not household names, even though they have played such important roles in creating companies that changed our lives? The reasons for their relative anonymity speak to everything from cultural norms and unconscious bias to stereotypes. Women sit on far fewer corporate boards than men. Women are asked to speak at fewer high-profile conferences and industry events. Women are often overlooked or passed over by journalists and storytellers in favor of stories driven by men. In this way, the women of Silicon Valley are like so many women who have been written out of history.

In this way, the women of Silicon Valley are like so many women who have been written out of history.

Yet the reasons for this Silicon Valley history gap go beyond the normal biases: Even the women themselves played a role. They were careful to keep low profiles as they rose through the ranks in an industry that wasn’t always hospitable to women. They wore the uniform of the day and played down their looks. They were team players, joining in intramural football games and participating in downhill ski races (even if they could barely ski). They did what women too often do: Say “we” when referring to work they did alone. As they developed specialties and began to tally successes, they were careful not to overshadow their male peers.

Climbing the Ladder—But Not Too Quickly

Consider one of the alpha girls, Theresia Gouw, the overachieving daughter of Chinese immigrants who grew up in a blue-collar town where her first job was flipping burgers at Burger King. She went on to graduate top of her class from Brown University with an engineering degree, before earning her MBA from Stanford. She joined a startup in Silicon Valley and couch surfed her way through the heady days of the dot com boom. She landed a job as a venture capitalist at Accel Partners in Palo Alto, where she was the only woman investor.

Theresia faced challenges unique to being a woman. When she landed a lucrative deal with a giant cybersecurity firm, Theresia learned that some of her male competitors were spreading ridiculous gossip that she was flirting or sleeping her way to deals. Theresia had spent years ramping up her knowledge of cybersecurity, not to mention that she was married and pregnant at the time of this crucial deal. But Theresia knew that successful women disturbed the natural male hierarchy. She didn’t let the idle chatter slow her down; she would not allow some rumormongers to stop her from doing important deals.

But Theresia knew that successful women disturbed the natural male hierarchy. She didn’t let the idle chatter slow her down.

Theresia was also instrumental in helping jumpstart a monumental meeting between investors at Accel and Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg, 20, who at their first meeting was wearing pajama pants, T-shirt and Adidas slides—and handing out his business cards reading: “I’m CEO, Bitch.” Accel’s $12.5 million investment in Facebook would be worth billions a handful of years later. She was with two male colleagues when they marched six blocks down to the Facebook offices to present the term sheets. There, Theresia took in the fraternity-like office, with edgy graffiti-inspired murals of scantily clad women and a half empty bottle of Popov Vodka.

Much has been written about how Accel landed the Facebook deal, and Theresia’s name has been mentioned maybe once. Theresia has always been careful to downplay her role. To this day, fourteen years later, there are bad feelings between the alpha males at Accel over which one of the guys played a bigger role in the deal. For her part, Theresia intentionally stayed out of the spotlight.

When Forbes magazine recently wanted to do a piece on Theresia and single her out as “America’s top female venture capitalist,” spotlighting her huge financial wins, she wavered on whether to say yes. Success and money are fraught for women. Women who marry someone wealthy are often called gold diggers. Women who like money and want to make a lot of it may be perceived as greedy, while men who pursue money are ambitious. Theresia’s successes and increased visibility also created tensions in her marriage. So, again, she learned to play down the awards and recognition. Theresia eventually agreed to the Forbes piece, in large part to shine a light on the charities and nonprofits she supports.

Rewriting the Rules

Today, the women of Alpha Girls are part of a nascent rebellion in Silicon Valley. They are beginning to rewrite the rules for venture capitalists and startups. They are running their own companies, launching women’s investment groups, and beginning to share their own stories. They are adopting the mantra: It’s not boasting when it’s based on fact. They are great and scrappy American success stories, underdogs who came to California with nothing more than dreams and determination.

It’s not boasting when it’s based on fact.

And Theresia Gouw? After leaving Accel, she cofounded her own firm, Aspect Ventures, with another female star of venture capital, Jennifer Fonstad. Their headquarters in Palo Alto, California, just happen to be in the very same office where Theresia marched with her colleagues to present Mark Zuckerberg with an offer. (The racy murals and Vodka bottles are a thing of the past.) Not bad for a woman most people had never heard of, who started out flipping burgers at Burger King, and who now has a net worth of more than $500 million.


Forbes Midas List 2019: Aspect Ventures' Theresia Gouw named for 8th time

[Read on Forbes]

  • Theresia Gouw cofounded Aspect Ventures, an early stage venture firm that focuses on software and security technology, in 2014.
  • Prior to Aspect, she spent 15 years at Accel, where she was the firm's first female partner. Accel was one of Facebook's first venture investors.
  • Through her investments, she's become America's wealthiest female VC with a net worth of $500 million.
  • In January 2018, Aspect raised a $181 million second fund with the backing of Melinda Gates and Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins.
  • Of its portfolio startup cofounders, 40% are female, half are immigrants or first-generation citizens and about 30% are from a racial minority.

CB Insights and The New York Times name Aspect Ventures co-founder Theresia Gouw to Top 100 Venture Capitalists

[Read on CB Insights]

For a fourth consecutive year, we worked with The New York Times to develop a data-driven ranking of the world's best venture capital partners. Here are the top 100.

The rankings were based on CB Insights data which is gathered via our machine learning technology (dubbed The Cruncher) and complemented by thousands of submissions that we received from VC partners and firms via The Editor.


12 Top Women in Tech right now

[Read on Techopedia]

Look at any list of the top names in tech, and you will invariably notice that women are very much outnumbered, often representing only a third at best. To find the women who have risen through the ranks, you may have to look at the lists that are devoted to women specifically. There are a number of them, and this list cannot take them all into account. Instead, it presents a dozen. Some of the names are very well known, and some are less so.

Whether they have worked their way up the ranks of a well-established business, have developed a completely innovative concept that forms the basis of a new one, or have the vision to realize which new tech company they should be investing in, they all are highly accomplished in their field. So as not to appear to rank them in order of importance, they are simply presented in alphabetical order. (To learn about some historical female tech pioneers, check out The Women of ENIAC: Programming Pioneers.)

3. Theresia Gouw, Co-founder, Aspect Ventures

In 2014 Gouw co-founded Aspect Ventures, an early stage venture firm that usually invests in software and security. Before that she spent 15 years at Accel, one of Facebook’s venture investors, where she was the firm's first female partner. She holds the distinction of America’s wealthiest female VC with a net worth of $500 million, according to Forbes, which includes her among the 100 Most Powerful Women and America’s Richest Self-Made Women, as well as on The Midas List: Top Tech Investors 2018.

 


International Women’s Day 2019: Who Inspires Some Of Today's Top Businesswomen

[Watch on Forbes]

Who inspires the success of today’s greatest changemakers, leaders and entrepreneurs? As each of us navigates our own pathways and pitfalls to the top, the community of role models, collaborators and mentors around us has the power to ignite our passions and place our biggest career aspirations within reach.

In this spirit, I asked seven women who inspire me to share the stories of those who have been an inspiring for force in their own lives. On International Women’s Day, as we celebrate our achievements and the progress of what’s possible together, Tory Burch, Theresia Gouw of Aspect Ventures, Full Picture's Desiree Gruber, Jamie Kern Lima of IT Cosmetics, Acumen's Jacqueline Novogratz, Reshma Saujani of Girls Who Code, and Melanie Whelan of SoulCycle recount the wisdom, motivation and courage they’ve gained from the women they admire most.


Airbnb Acquires HotelTonight to Expand Travel Portfolio

[Read on The New York Times]

SAN FRANCISCO — Airbnb says it plans to acquire HotelTonight, a service for travelers seeking last-minute hotel bookings, in a deal that will expand the lodging-rental company’s portfolio with traditional and boutique hotel listings.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition values HotelTonight in the vicinity of its last private valuation, $465 million, said two people who were briefed on the deal and were not authorized to disclose the price. That would make it Airbnb’s biggest acquisition.

In a statement, Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive, emphasized the company’s desire to expand into all aspects of travel. “A big part of building an end-to-end travel platform is serving every guest, whether they plan their trip a year or a day in advance,” he said.

Airbnb, which is valued by private investors at $31 billion, is preparing to go public, though it has not specified a time frame. Ahead of that, it has expanded beyond home stays to appeal to a broader range of travelers. The company now lists boutique hotels, luxury hotels, activities and a hotel-like service called Airbnb Plus. In February, Airbnb hired Fred Reid, former chief executive of Virgin American, to strike more partnerships in the transportation industry.

The San Francisco company is part of a coterie of highly valued start-ups, often called “unicorns.” Many of these unicorns are now moving toward the public markets, including the ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft. Last week, Lyft unveiled its public offering prospectus, which showed that the company was growing quickly but was also losing money. Airbnb has turned a profit, excluding certain costs, for the past two years, the company said in January

Founded in 2010, HotelTonight has raised $127 million in venture funding, according to Crunchbase. It began as an app that listed discounted rooms to last-minute travelers. But the company put a priority on growth over profits in its first five years of operation, burning as much as $30 million a year, according to a blog post by Sam Shank, HotelTonight’s chief executive and co-founder. In 2015, HotelTonight laid off 37 employees, or 20 percent of its staff.

In 2017, HotelTonight expanded the time frame in which customers can book hotels to 100 days, putting it in direct competition with the likes of Expedia and Booking Holdings, the $80 billion travel behemoth that owns Priceline and Booking.com.

Airbnb is also locked in competition with Booking Holdings. The two companies have taken turns announcing ever-larger numbers of home listings in the last year; Airbnb currently touts six million. Buying HotelTonight gives Airbnb access to even more properties. Airbnb said HotelTonight would continue to operate as a stand-alone business.


Pie Insurance raises $45 million for workers’ compensation policies

[Read on VentureBeat]

Insurance is a moneymaker. That’s the opinion of analysts at Research and Markets, who predict that the global market will reach $1.11 billion by 2023, fueled by growth in verticals like health, property, casualty, and life insurance. Moreover, according to a recent analysis of CB Insights data by XL Innovate, over $1 billion has been invested in commercial insurance startups since 2015. And FinTech Global estimates that deals totaled $2.5 billion in the first three quarters of 2018 — an 89.8 percent increase year-over-year.

Yet another firm riding this wave is Pie Insurance, a Washington, D.C.-based workers’ compensation insurance provider that today announced it has raised $45 million in a series B funding round led by SVB Capital, with participation from Sirius Group, Greycroft, Moxley Holdings, Aspect Ventures, and Elefund. This follows an $11 million series A round in July and brings Pie’s total capital raised to $61 million.

CEO John Swigart, previously a senior executive at Esurance, says the fresh capital will be used to expand Pie’s geographic footprint and add new distribution sources. “I’m so proud of what our team has accomplished in a short period of time. We’re grateful to work with such supportive investors to take Pie to the next level and fundamentally change the way small businesses get workers’ compensation insurance,” he added. “Shopping for insurance should be simple and accessible, just like other products and services we buy online. America’s small businesses deserve a better workers’ comp insurance experience, as well as the ability to find savings in the process.”

Pie — which was founded in 2017 and operates as a managing general agency for Sirius America Insurance company — sold its first insurance policy in March 2018 and claims to have generated nearly $10 million in written premiums from the “thousands” of small businesses among its customers. It saves those customers an average of 30 percent, the company says, thanks to a proprietary analytics backend that identifies risk, prices policies, and eliminates steps from the purchase process.

Pie currently offers A.M. Best A-rated workers’ compensation insurance for up to $25,000 that covers illness or injury, disability, and death for employees of construction, restaurant, manufacturing, cleaning and janitorial, landscaping, auto repair, retail, and health care companies. Is policies are available in 19 markets across the country: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

“In addition to their strong growth, Pie is producing outstanding underwriting results,” Greycroft cofounder and partner Ian Sigalow said of today’s news. “The company is positioned to make a huge impact on the small business market for commercial insurance.”


Online bank Chime now valued at $1.5 billion after new funding round

[Read on CNBC]

  • Financial technology company Chime closes a Series D funding round led by DST Global that more than triples its former valuation.
  • Chime also announces it has 3 million users, triple that of last summer.
  • "There's pent-up demand for more consumer-friendly banking services," says Chime CEO Chris Britt. "We think there's a better way to do this that's actually aligned with best interests of our members."

Digital bank Chime has tripled its valuation, officially passing the $1 billion-mark this week.

The San Francisco-based company announced a $200 million Series D financing round that brings its new valuation to $1.5 billion. Investors were led by DST Global, which also participated in earlier fundraising rounds, and new investors Coatue, General Atlantic, Iconiq Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group, Chime said Tuesday.

"There's pent-up demand for more consumer-friendly banking services," Chime CEO Chris Britt told CNBC. "We think there's a better way to do this that's actually aligned with the best interests of our members."

The online-only bank lets customers deposit and save money on its platform and spend using a no-fee debit card. Chime earns revenue from debit card transaction fees paid by merchants. Accounts are FDIC-insured through a partnership with Bancorp Bank. The partnership model is an increasingly popular setup for financial technology start-ups that don't have their own bank charters.

The digital-first approach and promise of zero fees has helped Chime attract roughly 200,000 users per month, the company said. Chime said it now has more than 3 million bank accounts, up from 1 million last summer.

So-called challenger banks are an increasingly popular option for consumers who don't want traditional branch-based banking options. These upstart banks often cite the competitive advantage of building their companies on modern technology with a lower cost structure than traditional banks. Since they're only online, they also avoid costs associated with maintaining branches.

 

Co-founder and CEO Chris Britt of Chime

Source: Chime
Co-founder and CEO Chris Britt of Chime

Tuesday's announcement marks the highest valuation for a private, venture-backed U.S. challenger bank. Chime's previous $70 million Series C round was led by Menlo Ventures last May, with a $494.73 million valuation, according to data from Pitchbook.

Europe has historically led the challenger banks movement with names like Monzo, Atom Bank, Tandem Bank and Revolut collectively attracting $1 billion in funding and more than 2.5 million customers since 2014, according to CB Insights. U.K.-based digital bank Revolut was most recently valued at $1.5 billion, according to Pitchbook, and it said earlier this year it plans to expand into the United States and Canada.

Chime's new cash injection will allow the company to "aggressively expand" into other areas of financial services like lending and credit, Chime's CEO said. It also plans to expand its 120-person team to 200 by the end of the year. In the past year, it hired Brian Mullins, the former head of risk ops at Square, and Aaron Plante, former business unit leader for student loans at SoFi.