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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Around the country and, indeed, the world, there are countless startups toiling outside the unicorn and public company limelight, building their version of the future. In their stories, we can spot trends and get a glimpse around the corner to see what’s next.
Without further ado, let’s dive into a few of the deals from the week that was in venture-land.
Espresso, cold brew, regular ol’ drip—the Crunchbase News team are equal opportunity coffee consumers. Although the coffee maker in the corner of the office brews a mean cup, there’s still something special about going to a coffee shop.
But what if the coffee shop came to you? For students at Northwestern University, UT Austin, Texas State University, and the University of Miami, it does. BrewBike is what it sounds like: bicycle-wheeled cart turned pop-up shop, that dispenses cold brew coffee to thirsty, sleep-deprived students at centrally located places on campus.
Founded in 2015 by two college students at Northwestern University, the company’s slogan is “In Students We Trust.” To that end, the company employs student baristas who, according to the company, have collectively earned over $150,000 slinging that magical bean water.
To scale to more college campuses, the company raised $2 million in a seed round led by CEAS Investments, a Florida-based family office. Mats Lederhausen, former managing director of the venture investment group of fast food giant McDonald’s, participated in the round.
Imagine, for a moment, the future. What do you see? Whether your vision is bleak or bright, it might feature jetpacks. Well, the future is getting closer, at least for a deep-pocketed few.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, JetPack Aviation is building a suite of futuristic single-passenger flying machines including, yes, jetpacks and what can only be described as flying motorcycles that look like they fell out of the Tron cinematic universe. As is the case with most things, if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it. The company quotes the cost of its two jetpack models only “upon private request.” Its jet-powered Recreational Speeder will cost $380,000 for the personal version. The company is also working on a model of the speeder targeted at defense and heavy industry customers, but the price of that vehicle is still to be announced.
JetPack Aviation raised $2 million in seed funding this week. Draper Associates—a seed stage venture capital fund operated by eccentric billionaire Tim Draper—led the round, which saw participation from Cathexis, Y Combinator, and technologist Jaan Talinn.
Drip. Drip. Dripppp… Each drop of water lost to leaks and careless use is a waste of money and a precious natural resource. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Conservation Labs is a company which develops and delivers a smart water meter which helps people track and manage their water use, and detect leaks.
The company says that there are over 3 trillion gallons of unintended water use each year in the United States alone, collectively costing Americans about $70 billion per year. To help tackle that problem, the company raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by IrishAngels. Participating investors include Serra Ventures, Mountain State Capital, Innovation Works, and the Amazon Alexa Fund.
Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Dan Carlson, via Unsplash.
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