Sprig adds tips and equity to keep meal deliverers loyal

sprig-tipping Some Sprig customers might be bitter about getting guilt tripped into tipping, but at least the startup is being sweet to its on-demand food servers. TechCrunch spotted that Sprig added a tipping feature to its freshly-made meal delivery app this week. Now Sprig has confirmed this is part of a wide-range of not-yet-announced perks for its servers, including a $1/hour wage increase to $14.50,… Read More

SmartyPans tracks your meal’s nutrition as you cook it

smartypans As you can probably guess from the company’s name, SmartyPans is building a smart frying pan — which it just demonstrated onstage at TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield at CES.
As explained to me by CTO Rahul Baxi (he co-founded the company with his sister Prachi Baxi, a nutritionist), SmartyPans aims to make it easier for users to track nutrition and recipe… Read More

SOSV, “the accelerator VC,” closes third fund at $150 million

SOSV Managing Director and founder Sean O' Sullivan Since the advent of accelerators, venture capitalists have competed to lock in deals with the best startups in a given batch. Entrepreneur turned investor Sean O’ Sullivan thought it would be better to develop a venture firm that owned and ran its own accelerators, instead.
Today that firm, SOSV, has closed its third fund at $150 million to back startups that are admitted to and have… Read More

Amazon patents show flying warehouses that send delivery drones to your door

Amazon's vision for drone delivery includes large airborne fulfillment centers and shuttles. We’ve known about Amazon’s drone delivery ambitions since 2013.  But patent filings from Amazon reveal more details about how the e-commerce titan could make drone deliveries work at scale, namely through “airborne fulfillment centers.” Yes, that’s a warehouse in a zeppelin.
The airborne fulfillment centers, or AFCs, would be stocked with a certain amount of… Read More

Byte Foods raises $5.5 million for smart vending machines that serve local fare

Byte Foods IoT vending machines are like a smart fridge for the whole office. Apple juniper kombucha or a BBQ chopped salad may soon replace the can of soda and bag of chips in a vending machine at your office. A San Rafael-based startup called Byte Foods has raised $5.5 million in seed funding to popularize its smart vending machines and delivery service stocking them with nutritious food and drinks from local vendors. If the idea of the internet-connected vending… Read More

Will technology prevent the next food shortage crisis?

Field of corn growing in Kentucky (Photo: Getty Images/Universal Images Group) According to scientists, the answer to an impending food shortage might be found in a new age of digital technologies that have proven their worth in different fields and have the potential to transform agriculture and food production and meet the consumption needs of the growing human population before we’re driven to eat cockroaches — or worse, each other. Read More

Uber losses expected to hit $3 billion in 2016 despite revenue growth

FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2015 file photo a man leaves the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. Uber and advocates for the blind have reached a lawsuit settlement in which the ride-hailing company agrees to require that existing and new drivers confirm they understand their legal obligations to transport riders with guide dogs or other service animals. The National Federation of the Blind said Saturday, April 30, 2016, that Uber will also remove a driver from the platform after a single complaint if it determines the driver knowingly denied a person with a disability a ride because the person was traveling with a service animal. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File) Uber’s losses are growing from $2.2 billion last year to an expected $3 billion this year, according to multiple reports this week from The Information and others. It’s hard to fathom Uber operating so far from profitability at a time when it feels like an established mainstream brand on the global stage. Hip hop stars like Drake or Wiz Khalifa commonly name check… Read More

Soylent partner cuts supply after shouldering blame for recall

Soylent supplier TerraVia really, really doesn't appreciate being blamed for making people sick. The nutrition company has suspended its ingredient supply out of a "high level of concern" that Soylent is perpetuating a "pattern of behavior" that hur…