[OurCrowd in CTech] Amid a 400% recruitment boom, only 14% of OurCrowd companies are expecting to return to the office full-time

Companies and employees were surely expecting a shock to the system with Covid-19 upended the way millions of people work each day. Now almost a year later, reports are suggesting that a majority of workers are settling into ‘the new normal’ more comfortably than they thought.

Read more here.

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With investors expecting a Latin American cryptocurrency boom, Mexico’s Bitso raises $62 million

Six years after the launch of the Mexico-based cryptocurrency exchange and financial services platform Bitso, the company revealed it has closed on $ 62 million in financing to capitalize on the cryptocurrency boom investors expect to hit Latin America. 

The three major cryptocurrencies are all trading up in the waning months of 2020, with Bitcoin prices nearing (or exceeding) record highs. The global growth of these digital currencies and their applications in emerging markets have savvy financial services investors like the firm QED Investors (founded by the masterminds behind Capital One) intrigued. Which is why the firm joined the Latin American heavyweight investor Kaszek Ventures in financing Bitso’s $ 62 million round.

Bitso may already be the dominant cryptocurrency platform in Latin America boasting 1 million users (primarily in Mexico and Argentina) and is one of the only platforms to be licensed under the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) license from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC)

A visual representation of digital cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethernum, Dash, Monero and Litecoin. (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Founded by Ben Peters, Daniel Vogel and Pablo Gonzalez, the company has been dominant in the Latin America crypto market, but it has also not been able to avoid some of the controversies that surround the crypto industry.

A report from Reuters flagged Bitso as one of the platforms that criminals like the human trafficker Ignacio Santoyo were using to launder money.

The founders of Bitso and their investors focus on the ability for cryptocurrencies to reduce friction and cost in markets where financial services often ignore the middle class and low-income consumers that often need them the most.

“Crypto as an asset class was not going away and was clearly coming of age,” said Nigel Morris, the QED co-founder who previously led Capital One. “It’s not going away. And with that there are various financial services that are enabled by this asset class. You can lend against it. You can use it to move money cross-border. This thing is now palpable and real and has come of age.”

For all of those reasons, Latin America represented a big opportunity for QED Investors to make its first bet in the cryptocurrency space, and for Bitso to be that initial investment.

This is a terrific business model and a great team and a geography that we know,” said Morris. The firm has invested in startups like Coru and Confio already and is a big believer in the opportunity for financial services startups in Mexico broadly. 

For Bitso, the big opportunities are presenting Latin American investors with an opportunity to invest in foreign currencies like the U.S. dollar through stablecoin offerings alongside a slew of lending and cross-border remittance services — in addition to the peer to peer transaction services the company already offers.

Bitso already employs 200 people and intends to use the capital to expand aggressively across Latin America. The company’s first port of call will be Brazil. The largest market in the region, Brazil represents a huge untapped opportunity for Bitso’s growth, according to co-founder Daniel Vogel.

“We have really good traction building products where the central product is not exposure to bitcoin or crypto but fulfilling this vision of making crypto useful,” Vogel said. “These two investors have a lot of knowledge in the fintech space in the traditional financial services space and we’re excited to continue developing projects. We have been building some of these things out … utilizing technology for things that are useful to the end customer and developing products along those lines.”

For instance, Bitso is already processing $ 1 billion in remittances for customers, enabling transactions for financial services partners like cryptocurrency-enabled money transmitters.

Vogel first met QED and Kaszek when he was just getting Bitso off the ground, living and working in a hacker house that was shared with five other companies. “I had to kick my team out of the meeting from my only room,” Vogel recalled.

Now the company boasts a customer base of 1 million and with the new cash, hopes to add another 1 million Brazilian customers to the platform.

He thinks that access to stablecoins will lead the way. “There was so much uncertainty that people flocked to the dollar as a store of value,” Vogel said. “Access to dollars is something that has grown quite a bit in the last year.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Atlanta-based Startup Builds a Virtual Village For Expecting Mothers with Online Games – hypepotamus.com

Atlanta-based Startup Builds a Virtual Village For Expecting Mothers with Online Games  hypepotamus.com
“startups when:1d” – Google News

Should You Send Kids To School? ‘Expecting Better’Author Emily Oster Launches Free Online Tool With Telehealth Startup Maven – Forbes

Should You Send Kids To School? ‘Expecting Better’Author Emily Oster Launches Free Online Tool With Telehealth Startup Maven  Forbes
“startups when:1d” – Google News

Every Mother is a fitness streaming platform for new and expecting mothers

When Allison Rapaport was pregnant for the first time, in 2013, she struggled to find workout classes that didn’t completely go against the advice her OB-GYN gave her.

Conflicted on whether to trust online workouts or just slow down altogether, Rapaport went to a personal trainer, Leah Keller. The result? A program that was clear, straightforward and, most importantly, safe. Rapaport was back to her original stride just weeks after giving birth.

Turns out Keller’s fitness expertise matched well with Rapaport’s business eye, who had recently graduated business school and was the co-founder of Columbia Business Lab. The duo founded Every Mother, an online fitness streaming company that focuses on pre and post-natal care for childbearing women.

The company announced today that it has closed a $ 1.5 million seed round led by Courtside Ventures, with participation from Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures, Techstars Ventures, The Fund and prominent angels Robin Berzin of Parsley Health and Ilia Papas of Blue Apron.

Every Mother will offer fitness classes to combat one of the most common conditions that affects expecting mothers: diastasis recti, a condition that leads to a protruding waistline, urinary incontinence and back pain. The condition often worsens with traditional exercise, Rapaport said.

The classes range from 10 to 30 minutes and are pre-recorded videos. Customers can sign up for a quarterly or annual subscription and then take a quiz to help Every Mother place them in a corresponding stage. Users can be placed among other women preparing for pregnancy or amid new moms.

Day one starts with educational content and foundational exercises, and users can enter their waist measurements to track progress. As time goes on, educational content regarding how to repair certain conditions becomes less and less, and foundation core exercises get longer. Full body workouts cap every day.

The company claims it is the only clinically proven workout to repair and resolve diastasis recti. Its first study was a retrospective with Weill Cornell published in 2013, and the next study will be a prospective trial done with HSS in NYC.

The company was profitable when it closed the deal in late January. The valuation, per Rapaport, was $ 9 million post-money. While the pandemic was not part of the company’s fundraising process, COVID-19 surely impacted the startup’s growth: new sign-ups grew more than 50% in April, per Rapaport.

When asked about how Every Mother differs from a free Zoom workout class, Rapaport, who is currently 37 weeks pregnant with child number three on the way, responded, “It isn’t just about being accessible, both from a medium and cost standpoint. It’s about giving women something that is safe, that works, and that they can actually follow and stick to.”

Startups – TechCrunch