Ashton Kutcher, Ann Miura-Ko and Mamoon Hamid are coming to Disrupt! – gpgmail


The Disrupt Battlefield is one of the best parts of the conference. Twenty+ startups step on to the Disrupt Main Stage with a product, a pitch, and a dream. They have six minutes to convey how they’re going to fundamentally disrupt their industry, and six minutes of Q&A with world-renowned judges from the VC world.

Pride. Anxiety. Despair. Glory. Anything could happen on that stage, particularly with judges that are at the top of their game and can smell bull shit from a mile away.

This year, at Disrupt SF 2019, we’ll be joined by Ashton Kutcher, Ann Miura-Ko and Mamoon Hamid in the finals round of the Battlefield. And we couldn’t be more excited!

This won’t be Kutcher’s first time at Disrupt. He’s hung out with us a couple times before to discuss his investment strategy for Sound Ventures, and previously, A-Grade investments. This will be his first time as a Finals Judge for the Battlefield, however, and it’ll be fascinating to see the superstar investor work in real-time on the Main Stage.

Ann Miura-Ko, co-founding partner at Floodgate, will be returning as a Battlefield judge. Miura-Ko is a repeat member of the Forbes Midas List, the New York Times Top 20 Venture Capitalists Worldwide, and has been called the most powerful woman in startups. Her portfolio includes Lyft, which went public this year, as well as Refinery29, Xamarin and Thinkful.

Kleiner Perkins partner Mamoon Hamid will also be judging the Battlefield Finals. Hamid was a cofounder at Social Capital and a partner at US Venture Partners before joining Kleiner Perkins, and has invested in companies like Slack, Yammer, Box, and Figma.

We’re amped to have such amazing VCs join us for the final round of the Startup Battlefield competition. Join us at Disrupt SF, which runs October 2 to 4 at the Moscone Center. Tickets are still available at an early-bird rate, but that ends this week.

See you there!


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Kleiner Perkins bets on a premium email service that’s bringing Slack Groups into Gmail – gpgmail


While Slack is trying to kill email, a new email startup backed by Kleiner Perkins is trying to make corporate email more like Slack.

Consider is an email service for startups that balances some premium individual features with collaboration tools that it hopes will help them bring startups onboard.

The founders of Consider both met at Intercom as the 1st and 10th employees there. While at Intercom, CEO Ben McRedmond met Kleiner Perkins’ Mamood Hamid who was an early investor there. Hamid also wrote the first check for Consider before the founders even had a product to demo. That 2017 check combined with a more recent investment from Bedrock brings the total funding for the startup to $5 million.

As the product emerges from stealth, it’s also signaling a shift in its customer focus from individuals wanting an email experience that’s “calm and focused” to startup teams that are looking to keep more of their team’s collaboration happening inside email.

The central part of this strategy is the addition of a Slack-like Groups feature which allows people to join shared inboxes inside their company that people can forward messages to or cc on emails. The founders started the company with the idea that the inbox was essentially a list of to-dos, with this idea also extending to group-work, allowing engineers to amass bug reports and create a shared repository of emails with relevance to the whole group.

The startup says they aren’t actually trying to kill Slack or other synchronous chat tools but they want people to use email in a more collaborative way and part of that means categorizing the emails you receive and putting them in front of the right eyeballs. The fact is, the bulk of this functionality — though not all — is possible inside of stock Gmail with the right filters, but it’s all pretty messy and people will generally pay for an interface that is built to be effective.

The premium email service space has been gathering attention, most of that attention has been directed towards $30/month Superhuman, which was recently valued at $260 million.

Consider is charging $10 per user per month. They’re not discouraging individual users curious for a new inbox experience either, though without Groups there is less to differentiate the app. On an individual basis the app brings functionality focused on sorting emails and sending you batches of the ones it has deemed non-critical at certain times of the day so you aren’t being inundated with notifications.

The app is out of beta and live for sign-ups of Gmail users on Web, Mac, iOS and Android.


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Birth control delivery startup Nurx approaches $300M valuation – gpgmail


Nurx, citing 200,000 current patients and a monthly growth rate as high as 20%, has raised $32 million in Series C equity funding in a round co-led by existing investors Kleiner Perkins and Union Square Ventures. The company has also secured $20 million in debt, bringing total new capital to $52 million.

The San Francisco-based digital health startup, which seeks to make birth control more accessible and affordable by shipping it direct to consumer, has raised more than $90 million in debt and equity funding to date, with the latest infusion bringing its valuation to nearly $300 million, according to stock authorization filings uncovered by PitchBook. Nurx declined to comment on its valuation.

The goal, Nurx chief executive officer Varsha Rao explains, is to become a telehealth platform focused on all sensitive health needs.

“We see there is a need to help people that may have issues that often carry stigma and judgment by providing a streamlined platform,” Rao tells gpgmail. “What the company is doing in terms of providing more accessibility form a physical and economic perspective to critical health services is very inspiring for me.”

The fresh bout of funding comes four months after a scathing New York Times report highlighted irresponsible practices at the company, including reshipping returned medications and attempting to revise medical policy on birth control for women over the age of 35.

Nurx’s Rao, who joined from Clover Health just one week before the article was published, says she feels good about how the company has scaled: “I want to make it clear, patient safety was never at risk even then; having said that, we are super committed to always investing in compliance and patient safety and all of the things that are important.”

The business plans to use the funding to double its engineering team and launch additional “sensitive” healthcare services of which Rao declined to further outline. In addition to shipping birth control D2C, including the pill, shot, ring and patch, Nurx provides emergency contraception, STI and HPV testing and screening kits, and PrEP medication, the once-daily pill that reduces the risk of getting HIV.

The company added STI testing kits to its line up last month and has since performed tests for 1,000 patients, Nurx says.

Nurx’s service is currently live in 26 states and Washington, D.C. The company plans to be accessible to 90% of the U.S. population by the end of the year, with additional launches, including the state of Nebraska, expected this month.

A graduate of Y Combinator, Nurx investors also include Reproductive Health Investors Alliance, Dreamers VC, Lowercase Capital and debt & equity provider Triple Point Capital.


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