Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: IPO Brokers, Insuring The Home, And Toilet Papering The Sun

Hello and welcome back to Last Week In Venture, the weekly roundup of deals which may have flown under your radar.

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We’re just as excited for the three-day weekend as you are, so we’ll dive right in. There are plenty of companies operating outside the unicorn and public-company spotlight, and their stories are still worth sharing.

Without further ado, let’s dive into some of the deals from the week that was in venture-land!

ClickIPO

Unless you’re a venture capitalist or angel investor, the best way to “get in early” on a fast-growing tech company is to buy its shares when it first goes public. The problem is that it’s not that easy to buy into the actual offering. Typically, you’re stuck with purchasing shares when they first start trading, which is often above the price underwriters paid for those shares in the initial public offering (IPO).

ClickIPO is a Scottsdale-based startup which aims to democratize access to new primary and secondary stock issuances. ClickIPO aggregates demand from retail investors allowing them to subscribe to allocation in new IPOs. The company scores its users across a few behavioral metrics with the goal of maintaining a user base consisting of buy-and-hold investors. ClickIPO closed $2 million in Series A funding. According to reporting by the Phoenix Business Journal, the company did not disclose its investors. An amended SEC filing for the round indicates ClickIPO intends to raise as much as $10 million.

Kin Insurance

Here’s a little follow-up to a story Crunchbase News broke back in February 2018. Based on an SEC filing we found, we reported that Chicago-based Kin Insurance had raised a Series A round led by August Capital. Well, this week, the home insurance company raised $47 million in new venture funding. Kin’s latest round was also led by August Capital; Avanta Ventures, Hudson Structured Capital Management, and the UChicago Startup Investment Program1 participated.

Kin Insurance started as a marketplace. As we reported in February 2018, “Kin provides home insurance and related products through a simple web interface. Using Kin, new insurance customers are able to receive a quote for a new policy quickly, and the company aims to deliver a more seamless and transparent approach to the insurance buying process.“

However, the company plans to launch an insurance carrier of its own, one which caters to homeowners located in disaster-prone regions. “We wanted to be able to control all aspects of the customer experience, and the best way to do that was to launch a carrier,” co-founder and CEO Sean Harper told VentureBeat. The company will launch its Kin Interinsurance Network in Florida and will continue as a managing general agent and brokerage in Alabama, Georgia, and Texas.

Tushy

Look, poop happens. For most of us, it happens every day. Sitting there, though, have you ever thought about the miles upon miles of toilet paper you’ll go through in a lifetime? From what we’re assuming to be an authoritative website on the subject, ToiletPaperHistory.net, us Americans use an “average of 57 sheets of toilet paper a day!” (Exclamation warranted.) If the average sheet is 4.5 inches long, that’s about 21.4 feet per day, or 1.48 miles per year. Per person. Using this average, a large city like Chicago (population = 2.7 million people) uses about four million miles of toilet paper per year: enough to wrap around the sun’s equator one and a half times. And that’s just one city.

There are alternatives to TP, a popular one being the bidet. For the uninitiated: a bidet is kinda like a little shower, but for your butt. They’re popular (poopular?) in Europe and Asia, but never really caught on here. Not yet, anyways. Tushy is a Brooklyn-based venture aiming to take the bidet mainstream in the U.S. market. This week, the company raised $2.1 million from Naples Technology Ventures and from Unorthodox Ventures. The latter is a family office operated by Carey Smith, who previously started and bootstrapped Big Ass Fans. We’ll leave the puns about poop hitting the fan for you to make.

Have fun this weekend!

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Chris Barbalis, via Unsplash.


  1. Go Maroons!!

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