Venture

Last Week In Venture: Luggage Luggers, Supportive Sweepers And $400 College Credits

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

Plenty of ventures are operating outside the unicorn and public company spotlight, but their stories are still worth sharing. In them we find the opportunity to peek around the corner, to see what’s next and to suss out what’s happening close to the economic metal.

Let’s take a look at some deals from the week in venture-land.

Bob.io

Here is a fun fact for you. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon before the first commercially successful rolling luggage was invented. Your wheeled suitcase is literally space-age technology, and it helps you schlep your stuff hither and yon. Of course, you also have to schlep your suitcase around. (Don’t worry, someone is already working on autonomous luggage.)

Imagine the following situation: you’re in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of a fabulous trip. You’ve got an outbound flight in the evening, leaving you most of the day to see the sights after you check out of the hotel. Be honest with yourself here: Do you really want to trundle your roller bag to the museum and then all the way to BCN? Heck no.

For most of us, on travel days our luggage is both our burden to bear and logistical challenge to face. If you’ve ever wished the airport baggage check-in desk could just come to you, and you so happen to be in Barcelona or Madrid, there’s BoB. Bag on Board (aka Bob.io), based in Madrid, picks up luggage, shuttles it to the airport and checks it in. Baggage is picked up from the luggage carousel at the destination airport, as if the travelers checked it in themselves. The service starts at €15 (about $17) for one bag, and €5 for each subsequent bag.

The company has formed partnerships with European airlines like Iberia, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and Vueling. Bob.io also works with online travel agencies, hotels and apartment rental platforms to promote its service.

Bob.io raised €3 million (about $3.33 million USD) in new funding this week. K Fund, TA Ventures, GAA Investments, and Big Sur Ventures invested in the deal, alongside angel investors like Andreas Mihalovits and Carlos Domingo. The company was founded in 2017 and has raised €4.3 million to date, according to Crunchbase data.

Sweepr

We live in the future. We’ve got computers on our desks, in our pockets, in our ears and, more and more often, in our speakers, light switches and everywhere else throughout our homes. Some people know a lot about computers, and others don’t. And that’s fine. When it comes to providing technical support, though, it’s important to meet people where they’re at.

Based in Dublin, Ireland, Sweepr is a startup which aims to help companies offer better technical support for smart home products by analyzing the devices connected to someone’s home network and helping determine where the problem lies. The company swept up €8 million (roughly $8.9 million) in new funding, at least some of which comes from a new strategic investor: Amazon’s Alexa Fund.

Recall that Amazon recently acquired mesh networking company Eero. Sweepr’s tech (or something like it) could be integrated into the Eero platform, letting people just ask Alexa why their smart television isn’t connecting to the internet, or whatever. This will definitely be one to watch.

Outlier.org

There’s a lot to say about college, lately. Its rising cost is among the most salient social and political issues of the day. If seemingly every decent job needs at least some college coursework these days, access to the knowledge, skills and, importantly, credentials is the issue at hand.

Started by Aaron Rasmussen, founder of online learning company MasterClass, Outlier.org is a Brooklyn-based startup which produces online courses, dynamically generated problem sets, and testing tools. Students pay $400 per course and, if they pass, are given fully transferable college credits from the University of Pittsburgh.

Outlier.org raised $11.7 million in Series A funding in a round led by GSV Ventures. Tectonic Capital, Jackson Square Ventures and Harrison Metal also participated in the deal.

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

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