All posts in “Fifth Wall Ventures”

Skincare startup Heyday raises $8M

Heyday, a startup aiming to make facials more affordable and personalized, announced today that it has raised $8 million in Series A funding.

I first wrote about the company a year ago, when it raised its $3 million seed round. At the time, co-founder and CEO Adam Ross said his goal was to offer something that sits between expensive, high-end facials and “random little places that are generally cheap in a bad way.” (Heyday pricing starts at $65 for a 30-minute session.)

The company current operates six brick-and-mortar locations — it started in New York City but recently opened its first Los Angeles store. At the same time, Ross said the website was recently redesigned to offer a more “frictionless” booking experience, and the company also says it can use its “Facial Record” of customers to personalize the treatment and products.

Moving forward, the goal is to both open new physical locations (particularly in LA), but also to continue to investing in the technology.

“It’s not an either/or — we see mutual growth and expansion across both channel,” Ross said. “The physical footprint is always going to be a key pillar of our brand strategy, but to win and service customers’ needs in this space, you need to be online.”

Ross also suggested that Heyday is changing the way customers look at facials. For one thing, 30 percent of its customers say they’ve never had a facial before. In addition, Ross said they’re starting to see facials not as an occasional luxury, but as a regular part of their wellness routine: “Most of our clients think about us like an Equinox membership.” And they should, he argued, especially since “your skin is your largest organ.”

The new funding was led by Fifth Wall Ventures, with participation from Lerer Hippeau, Brainchild Funding, M3 Ventures and CircleUp. Fifth Wall partner Kevin Campos is joining Heyday’s board of directors.

“We are in the midst of a significant shift in the retail industry, where marquee brands are moving from digitally native to an omnichannel model,” Campos said in the funding announcement. “We believe the team at Heyday is offering the best experience across both digital and physical touchpoints, and we are thrilled to partner with them to help navigate this complex process and position them for success.”

David Sacks’s new startup wants to make it safer for old-guard industries to jump into crypto

SEC chairman Jay Clayton made clear today that his agency, along with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, remains acutely concerned about initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency trades. In fact, toward that end, they’d like more expansive powers when it comes to protecting customers on cryptocurrency exchanges from fraud.

“When you have an unregulated exchange, the ability to manipulate prices goes up significantly,”  Clayton told the Senate Banking Committee earlier today.

Clayton’s testimony is pretty convenient timing for Harbor, a new blockchain technology company that just raised $10 million from an interesting group of investors, including Chicago-based Valor Equity Partners; the real estate tech-focused venture firm Fifth Wall Ventures; the Dubai venture firm Vy Capital; and Craft Ventures, a new venture fund created by serial entrepreneur David Sacks — who also helped incubate Harbor.

Broadly speaking, what Harbor claims to do is protect issuers and investors by making it easier for them to operate in accordance with securities, tax and other regulations when issuing and trading crypto-securities.

But Harbor isn’t looking to cater to the types of decentralized file storage startups we’ve seen raise money through token sales. It’s chasing what many see as the next wave of issuers and investors — people  from old-guard institutions like real estate and venture capital and private equity who want in on the game.

Harbor might work, for example, with a company that owns and operates commercial properties and that regularly issues real estate securities like bonds or stock in a building, but which also needs to deal with complex legal stuff, like tax withholdings and minimum investor requirements.

How it all works is a bit complicated, but according to Harbor co-founder and chief product officer Arisa Amano, Harbor’s first project is what it’s calling the Regulated Token (or “R-Token”) Standard, an open-source project that addresses the compliance problem for secondary trading.

It’s built on the token standard ERC-20, which is widely supported by the existing Ethereum ecosystem. And the R-Token Standard ostensibly provides an interface that embeds compliance at the token level and can be implemented in a way that ensures that specified requirements like investor caps and holding periods are met before a trade is approved. (When a trade is requested, the R-Token checks with an on-chain regulator service to make sure that the investor has been verified and the trade meets all the legal requirements.) The token will throw off an error message otherwise and won’t transfer.

Amano says the R-Token Standard can enforce compliance across any trading platform that supports ERC-20 tokens. She adds that it enables tokens to trade everywhere, in centralized and decentralized exchanges, all over the world. For good measure, Amano reminds that “as the number of tokens and exchanges increase, the ability to apply compliance across trading platforms and jurisdictions will become increasingly necessary.”

It’s hard to dispute that last observation. Whether Harbor is the platform to which its target customers turn is another question.

It’s certainly easy to see the appeal of its founding team, which is very much threaded together by Sacks. Amano and co-founder Bob Remeika worked for Sacks at his earlier company, Yammer. They then joined Zenefits as VPs during Sacks’s short stint as CEO of the formerly high-flying HR software company. When Sacks decided to leave Zenefits and hand off the reins to someone else, they both hightailed it out the door behind him.

While Amano has taken the title of chief product officer, Remeika is the company’s chief technology officer. Meanwhile, Sacks’s title is co-founder and chairman. What the nine-person company still lacks, interestingly, is a CEO. One guesses that with its newly raised round  and the founding team’s pedigree, that won’t be the situation for long.

Eden raises $10 million Series A to build out its office management marketplace

Eden, the office management and tech support platform, has today closed $10 million in Series A funding led by Spectrum 28, with participation from Fifth Wall Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, Canvas Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Eniac Ventures and other existing investors.

Eden started out as a tech support service for both businesses and consumers. The original vision centered around helping out your mom or grandpa with their tech support needs in person by sending an on-demand support specialist.

Over time, Eden pivoted into a B2B platform, where businesses could get IT support (as well as cleaning, task management work, handy work, etc.) from a W2 employee. Eden called them Wizards.

Eden has now expanded their business to focus on their own software, building out a marketplace for other third-party vendors to connect with businesses for various services like cleaning, handy work, and more.

Founder and CEO Joe Du Bey says that revenue from their own W2 workers represents around 25 percent of their business, compared to before the introduction of third-party vendors, when it was around 75 percent of revenue.

Eden will be using the funding to expand beyond its current markets, which include San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Austin, as well as hiring more engineers and professionals.

Eden’s current model isn’t all that different from that of Managed By Q. Both companies provide marketplaces for businesses to handle their office management through digital portals that give them access to a host of third-party service providers.

As part of the funding deal, Spectrum 28’s Kent Ho will be joining the board.