Kettlebell Kitchens Makes Eating Healthy Easy

 

For anyone who wants to eat healthy while maintaining a busy lifestyle the problem is always where to find time to prepare healthy meals. For those facing this dilemma, Kettlebell Kitchens is a great solution. Now, the New York City-based startup is providing healthy, pre-portioned meals for thousands of grateful  customers each week.

Kettlebell Kitchens: A Healthy Eating Option for Those with Busy Schedules

Founded in 2013, Kettlebell Kitchens aims to provide healthy nutrition solutions in support of weigh loss, muscle gain, and growth performance goals for those with busy lifestyles.  The pre-packages customizable food options come delivered straight to your door and are microwave-ready in just minutes.

A Simple 3-Step Process to a Healthy Meal Plan

By providing healthy meal plans Kettlebell Kitchens looks to help working professionals maintain their fitness goals. In order to do this, the company uses a simple 3-step process. The first steps is to learn what a customers specific fitness goals are. From there, one of the companies registered dietitians customizes a meal plan option for the customer based on their specific fitness goals. Finally, the company delivers a week’s worth of meals at a time directly to the customer to simply heat and eat.

Healthy Options at Fair Prices

Individuals plans usually start at $8.95 for breakfast and between $11.95 and $13.95 for entrees. All meals are soy-free and dairy-free and all ingredients are naturally gluten-free thought the kitchen is not certified gluten-free. The company also offers meals which are higher in carbohydrates as part of their ‘athlete meals’ and also offers vegetarians meals for those with such dietary restriction needs.

Committed to Giving Back

Founded by two former military members, Kettlebell Kitchens is proud to offer discounts for all members of the military and first-responders. The meal containers themselves are made from plant fibers, and are fully recyclable. Kettlebell Kitchens also makes an effort to donate meals to those in need whenever they can.

Supported by Robust Financing

In October of 2018, Kettlebell Kitchens successfully closed a $26.7 million Series B round of funding led by North Castle Partners. Previous to this, the company had closed a round of $2.6 million in Series A funding, as well as a round of $1.1 million in Seed round funding. To date, the company has raised more than a reported $30.4 million after three rounds of funding.

By offering healthy and convenient food options for working professionals, this New York City-based startups is leading the way in keeping working professional performing at their best.


How Squarespace Built a Great Startup

 

Squarespace is the New York City-based startup that allows clients to easily build their own beautiful websites. Founded in 2003, Squarespace has now grown into one of the hottest startups in NYC.

Squarespace Started in a College Dorm Room

Squarespace was founded by Anthony Casalena in his dorm room at the University of Maryland. The original tool was a way to allow Anthony to easily build his own website. After sharing the tool with his friends and family, Anthony was soon able to raise $30,000 to start the company. For the next four years, Casalena was the only employee at the company. By 2007, the company was generating $1 million in annual revenue. 

From Small Beginnings to a $1.7 Billion Valuation

By 2010, Squarespace had raised $38.5 million in Series A funding and had grown to 30 employees. Four years later, the company closed a second round of Series B funding worth another $40 million. The following year in 2015, the company had reached $100 million in annual revenue and had grown to over 550 employees. Then last year in 2017, Squarespace secured an additional $200 million in secondary market funding in a round that saw the company valued at $1.7 billion.

Simplicity is Key

By simply dragging-and-dropping content into pre-arranged templates, Squarespace allows users to easily make their own beautifully designed websites. For more ambitious users, Squarespeace also allows them to create templates which can then be sold to other users who want to purchase the design. Templates come with tutorials on how to optimize for SEO and even include how-to setup guides for e-commerce. As of 2016, the company was hosting more than 1 million pages.

Expanding and Earning Kudos

Since its founding, Squarespace has grown to over 830 employees. The company has also grown from its NYC-based roots to also having offices in Portland, Oregon and Dublin, Ireland as well. As a vote of confidence, Squarespace also hosts its own website on the platform. Since 2012, the company has been voted one of Crain’s Best Places to Work in NYC and last year was named one of Fortune’s 50 Best Workplaces for Parents.

Furthering the Market Share

As of 2016, the company has also started selling domain names. This put the company on an even more head-on trajectory with rivals like GoDaddy. But Squarespace has fared well. Since then, the company has managed to embrace the e-commerce trend and has also found ways to fully integrate both PayPal and Stripe in order to make online transactions across the platform more seamless.

Today, more-and-more Squarespace is making its presence in the web-hosting industry felt. Few would have guessed the company would ever come so far after starting in that university dorm room all those years ago.


5 Must-Watch YouTube Videos for Business

 

With over 1.5 billion monthly users, YouTube is the seconds largest website in the world. Among those 5 billion videos uploaded are many indispensable lessons in business. Today, Ignitia highlights five of the videos every entrepreneur should watch.

 

Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech
Runtime: 15 minutes, 4 seconds.
Video Description: In what has become one of the most landmark speeches in business leadership, in his address at the 2005 Stanford commencement luminary Steve Jobs lays out his advice on living our best lives. As illustrated in a previous Ignitia article, the speech comes in three parts - Mr. Jobs recounts his reasoning for dropping out of school, Mr Jobs recounts what it was like to be fired from Apple, and Mr. Jobs describes what it was like to face his diagnosis. This video is an absolute must-watch for everyone.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc&t=2s

 

HBS: Developing the CEO Within You
Runtime: 9 minutes, 11 seconds.
Video Description: In this video posted by Harvard Business school, HBS professor Joseph L. Bower explains why in order to become an effective CEO it is necessary to work at companies which foster cultures of employee development. Professor Bower stresses the importance of being able to objectively evaluate the company's effectiveness, and offers approaches to improving these skills as well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6taNjZCzQ1I

 

What Stops Successful People from Breaking Through to the Next Level?
Runtime: 5 minutes, 2 seconds.
Video Description: In this video famed business consultant Greg McKeown examines the question he has obsessed over for fifteen years - 'What is it that holds capable driven people from breaking through to the next level?' According to Mr. McKeown, the answer to this question - to his great surprise - is success. Over the rest of the video, Mr. McKeown examines ways to make sure we never fall into these traps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=T9x6D09AKBU

 

Simon Sinek’s TED Talk
Runtime: 18 minutes, 35 seconds.
Video Description: Simon Sinek is one of the leading motivational speakers working in the field of business leadership today. It what has since become one of the most viewed TED Talks of all-time, Mr. Sinek explains his simple yet powerful model for what it takes to become an inspiring leader. According to Mr. Sinek, if we as leaders can get clear on our 'why', then many other answers will fall into place. The video is an absolute must-watch and was also highlighted in this previous Ignitia article.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4

 

Marc Andreessen on Being a Creative and Courageous Entrepreneur
Runtime: 55 minutes, 24 seconds.
Video Description: In this video recorded live on the campus of Stanford, legendary VC Marc Andreessen sits for a nearly hour-long interview. During the interview, Mr. Andreessen explains the types of ideas his VC firm looks for, and explains how "Big breakthrough ideas often seem nuts the first time you see them."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYYsXzt1VDc

 


The Super Life of Stan Lee

 

On November 12, 2018 legendary comic book creator Stan Lee, who was responsible for so much of the Marvel Universe, passed away at the age of ninety-five. Lee co-created many beloved characters such as Spider-Man, The Hulk, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, The X-Men, Iron Man, and Thor, just to name a few. Today, Ignitia looks back at a true comic book hero.

Stan Lee's Early Life

Stan Lee was born Stanley Martin Leiber on December 28, 1922, in Manhattan, NY. As a child growing during the Great Depression, Lee said he was influenced largely by the books of Errol Flynn, particularly those in which he played a hero. As a teen, Lee dreamed of writing the Great American Novel, and upon graduating joined the WPA Federal Theatre Company.

Creating His First Characters

At the age of seventeen in 1939, Lee joined the new Timely Comics division of The Martin Goodman company. By the 1960’s, Timely Comics had become Marvel Comics. At the time Lee was only an assistant. His duties included getting lunch, filling inkwells, and proofreading. But he moved up fast. Lee’s first real assignment was as a text filler on the third issue of, Captain America. Two issues later, he was given an actual writing assignment: writing for ‘Headline’ Hunter, Foreign Correspondent’. Two years later, Stan Lee co-created his very first original character, The Destroyer. During this same he also co-created Jack Frost, and Father Time, both for the Captain America comic.

How The Justice League Revived Marvel

That same year in 1941, due to departures by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Stan Lee was promoted to editor. Eventually, Stan would be promoted to editor-in-chief, a position he would remain in until 1972. In 1942 however, Stan was called to serve the nation in the second World War. After the war, in the 1950’s Timely had become Atlas Comics, and most of Stan’s time was filled writing romance, Western, sci-fi, and fiction stories. That was, until later in the 1950’s when DC Comics renewed the national interest in super hero comics with the revival of, The Justice League series.

The Birth of the Marvel Universe

In response to DC’s move, Stan Lee was charged with coming up with new superheroes for Atlas Comics. In creating his characters, Lee decided to make them more human, giving them flaws as opposed to the nearly perfect superheroes of the past. By giving these characters complexity, and flaws, such as bad tempers, vanity, and insecurity he made them more relatable. Soon, Stan partnered with Jack Kirby to create the Fantastic Four. The team was a huge success. From there the pair also co-created, The Hulk, Iron Man, The X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and eventually Spider Man. All of these character existed in the same universe, and eventually Lee and Kirby would put them all, as well as Captain America onto one team known as, The Avengers.

A Champion of Justice and Equal Rights

By 1966, The Amazing Spider Man had become the company’s most popular comic. In writing the comic, Stan Lee focused as much on the characters' personal lives as he did on the big action sequences. The characters addressed the current political and social issues of the day such as the Vietnam war. In 1967, when the character of Robbie Robertson was introduced to The Amazing Spider Man, it was first time an African-American character played a major role in the comics. Shortly thereafter, the character of Black Panther created.

Later Years, Accolades, and a Grateful Fanbase

Stan Lee remained with Marvel through the 1970’s and 1980’s creating graphic novels and television shows. In the 1990’s Stan Lee created his own company called, Stan Lee Media. As Marvel Studios took off, Stan Lee remained intimately involved with many of the projects, and made many cameos in the powerhouse movies. In almost every Marvel Movie that’s come out since the 1990’s, Stan Lee is credited as an executive producer. In 2010, the Stan Lee Foundation was launched to promote literacy, education, and the arts. Stan Lee was presented with the Vanguard Award by the Producer’s Guild of America in 2012, and passed away due to natural causes at the age of ninety-five on November 12, 2018. Legions of fans mourn the passing of a true legend who created so many of the character who made their lives so much brighter.

Excelsior!


Google Buys New Property for $1 Billion

 

It was reported recently Google has paid $1 billion for a new office park in Mountain View, California. The purchase brings the total amount spent by the tech giant on property to more than $3 billion over the past two years.

Google Has Spent $3 Billion on Silicon Valley Property Over the Past Two Years

The property is a familiar one for Google. The tech company was already the main tenant of the 12 building, 51.8 acre Shoreline Technology Park, but will now own the property outright. The purchase is part of $2.8 billion spent by the company over the past two years on property in-and-around Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and San Jose. Add to this the parking lots and government-owned parcels in downtown San Jose, and the tech company has purchased more than $3 billion in property over the period.

Bolstering Google's Mountain View Headquarters

The new Mountain View property sits just a blocks from Google’s headquarters. According to Chad Leiker, vice president of the commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews, “This is an opportunity for Google to own more office space very close to their headquarters. That office space is becoming very rare in Mountain View.”

The deal appears to be part of Google’s plans for the future as well. According to Mr. Leiker, “This latest deal in Mountain View could be a case, as they have done in other areas, of Google land-banking properties for higher-density uses later. They have bought a huge tranche of properties.” The location also sits directly across the street from the site where Google plans to build its new iconic ‘dome’ campus as well.

Buying Property Outside of Silicon Valley

Along with the Mountain View site, Google has also been spending outside the area as well. Earlier in November, Google agreed to purchase a new property in San Jose for $110 million. The purchase consists of 10.5 acres of downtown property with the option to purchase another 11 acres at a later date. Earlier this year Google also paid $2.4 billion for a New York City property in the Chelsea Market of Manhattan. All of this buying seems to signal Google plans to further expand in the U.S. for years to come.  


How SoFi's Funded Over $30 Billion In Loans

 

One of the largest obstacles facing Americans today is student loan debt. In 2011, four Stanford Business School classmates set-out to address this issue. Their solution was SoFi: an online personal finance company specializing in student loan refinancing, mortgages, and personal loans.

Beginning at Stanford

In 2011, Stanford Business School classmates Mike Cagney, Dan Macklin, James Finnigan, and Ian Brady set-out to find a solution for the millions of Americans that were taking on crippling student loan debt. Their solution were personal loans made directly to students. In order to fund this pilot program, the group solicited funds from Stanford University recent grads. The group was able to raise $2 million from roughly 40 grads, each of which provided roughly $50,000 to one of 100 Stanford students. The experiment was a success.

SoFi: A Huge Success Right From the Start

Having proven the validity of the program, the following year the team managed to raised over $77 million in Series B funding led by, Baseline Ventures. The year after that, SoFi announced it had raised over $500 million through debt and equity for use in re-financing student loans. By this point the company had already funded more than $200 million in student loans for more than 2,500 borrowers from more than 100 different schools. That same year, SoFi announced it had reached an agreement with Morgan Stanley and Barclays to create a bond, backed by peer-to-peer student lending.

Expanding Beyond Student Lending

In February of 2015, SoFi announced a $200 million round of Series D funding led by, Third Point Ventures. This round would be used by SoFi to offer personal loans. By March of that same year, SoFi had also begun funding mortgages. By the end of the year, SoFi had funded over $4 billion in loans and had closed a $1 billion round of Series E funding led by, SoftBank. By the end of 2016, SoFi had funded more than $12 billion in loans for more than 175,000 lenders. That same year, SoFi also became the first startup lender to receive a triple-A rating by Moody’s.

A Sound Idea

The original model for the company was to connect students with recent recent grads from their specific schools. The program allowed the students to borrow at rates lower than what the federal government offered, and also allowed enders a nominal return on their investment via interest. When moving into mortgages the company examined historical bill repayment, education, and professional work history in order to make an assessment of the borrowers credit worthiness.

A Company on the Rise

According to the company website, to date SoFi has now funded more than $30 billion in loans for more than 600,000 borrowers. Along with lending, the company also offers members free career services, complimentary financial advising, networking events, and additional rate discounts on qualified loans. To date, SoFi has raised more than $2 billion from ten rounds of funding. And it all started less than ten years ago at Stanford.

 


Luckin Coffee's Amazing Road to Its $4 Billion Valuation

 

Chinese-based coffee chain Luckin Coffee announced yesterday it raised $200 million in Series-B funding, giving the company a valuation of $2.2 billion.

Luckin Coffee's Explosive Growth

Luckin Coffee is currently the fastest growing coffee chain in China. Founded in 2017, Luckin Coffee has already expanded to over 1,700 and 21 cities across the country. This is a truly stunning expansion considering China’s largest coffee chain Starbucks has just 3,300 stores despite having entered the market over 20 years ago. The round of funding is also the second large round closed by the company this year. In July, the company raised another $200 million round of Series-A funding, which at the time gave the company a $1 billion valuation. Luckin Coffee is currently the fastest startup to reach unicorn status in China.

The Appeal of Luckin Coffee

One of the main draws of Luckin Coffee has been its focus on very fast door-to-door coffee delivery. This is a feature which appeals to many in the urban work setting who can’t get away from their desk. Along with in-store sit-down cafes, Luckin has concentrated on creating pickup booths and delivery hubs where dedicated take-out workers quickly pickup orders. In China's largest cities of Beijing and Shanghai, the company claims there is a Luckin Coffee within 500-meters of anywhere in the city and says it will deliver coffee to customers within 30 minutes.

How Luckin Coffee is Challenging Starbucks

Luckin's explosive expansion does not look to be letting up any time soon. According to company CEO Qian Zhiya, “We will continue to increase capital investment in product research and development, technological innovation and business development, and continue to optimize product and user experience.” According to Euromonitor, Starbucks still maintains an 80% share of the $3.4 billion Chinese coffee shop business, but this may soon be changing. In response to Luckin’s aggressive delivery tactics, Starbucks has since partnered with Alibaba-owned food delivery giant Ele.me in order to compete to delivery coffee to people’s door.

Whether or not Luckin will be able to eclipse the behemoth in China that is Starbucks remains to be seen, but what is certain is it is off to a great start.


ClassDojo Raises Additional $35 Million in Funding

ClassDojo, the messaging app allowing parents and teachers to contact one another, has raised an additional $35 million in Series C funding. 

Funding for the Future

The latest round was led jointly by GSV and SignalFire and also saw participation from General Catalyst and Uncork Capital. According to reports, the new round of funding will be used in one of two ways: First, to continue the expansion of the popular messaging app; and second, to develop a new subscription service called 'Beyond School', which provides parents with at-home tutoring lessons to bolster their students’ current lessons. 

A Y-Combinator Graduate on the Rise

Founded in 2011, ClassDojo is a platform that allows parents and teachers to remain in communication regarding their students’ schoolwork, projects, and schedule updates. After starting out as part of Y-Combinator, ClassDojo has now expanded to more than 180 countries world-wide. While the company has not revealed an official valuation, reports state the company is now worth more than $400 million; an impressive increase from the $100 million reported valued just back in 2015. To date, ClassDojo has raised more than $65 million after four rounds of funding. 

A Global Success

The reason for the impressive jump in valuation is due in part to the seeming ubiquitousness of the app. According to ClassDojo, the app is now used by 95% of K-to-eighth grade schools in the U.S., and is also said to be used by more than 25% of primary schools in the U.K., Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the UAE. According to company CEO and co-founder Sam Chaudhary, “Learning is so much about having strong relationships,” Chaudhary said. “It’s pretty cool to see the effect this can have not just with parents and teachers, but between parents and kids.” 

For ClassDojo, it truly appears the sky is the limit. 


NYC Startup Funding, Month-end Wrap-up: February 2019

February continued a solid start to the year for NYC-based startup funding. Below are five of the largest rounds of funding closed by NYC-based startups over the course of February 2019.

Aetion - $27M
Date: 2/5/19
Round: Series B
Industry: Healthcare, Enterprise Software
Lead Investor: N/A
Company: Founded in 2013, Aetion is a healthcare technology company that provides analytics and evidence for the improvement of patient care. The company's patented rapid-cycle analytics™ and the Aetion Evidence Platform™ deliver real-world evidence for life sciences companies, payers, and at-risk providers. To date, Aetion has raised over $74.6 million after three rounds of funding.

Chainalysis - $30M
Date: 2/12/19
Round: Series B
Industry: Fintech, Cryptocurrency, Financial Exchange
Lead Investor: Accel
Company: Founded in 2014, Chainalysis is a company designing and developing anti-money laundering software for Bitcoin businesses. According to Chainalysis, its products include, 'REACTOR, an interactive and investigation tool that identifies offenders, visualizes data, and shares results with people and organizations, and API, a transaction based risk scoring solution that contains source and destination of funds to measure risk.' To date, Chainalysis has raised more than $47.6 million after four rounds of funding.

VAST Data - $40M
Date: 2/26/19
Round: Series B
Industry: Data Storage, Software
Lead Investor: N/A
Company: Founded in 2016, VAST Data is an enterprise data storage infrastructure provider. According to VAST Data, their mission is to, 'bring an end to decades of complexity and application bottlenecks that have been caused by mechanical media and by the complex tiering of data across different types of storage systems.' To date, VAST Data has raised more than $80 million after three rounds of funding.  

HiberCell - $60.8M
Date: 2/7/19
Round: Series A
Industry: Biotechnology
Lead Investor: ARCH Venture Partners
Company: Founded in 2016, HiberCell is a biotechnology company specializing in the development of novel therapeutics to prevent relapse and metastasis. According to HiberCell, 'We are the first company exclusively focused on therapeutically modulating the biology and mechanisms of tumor dormancy.' To date, HiberCell has raised $60.8 million after one round of funding.

YieldStreet - $62M
Date: 2/26/19
Round: Series B
Industry: Fintech, Financial Services, Wealth Management
Lead Investor: Edison Partners
Company: Founded in 2015, YieldStreet is an investment platform allowing investors to effortlessly participate in curated investments with low market correlation and high yield, across litigation finance, real estate, and other alternative asset classes. To date, YieldStreet has raised more than $178.5 million after five rounds of funding.


Lalamove Officially Gains Unicorn Status

Hong Kong-based delivery startup Lalamove has reportedly raised a $300 million round of Series D funding at a +$1 billion valuation.

A Huge Southeast Asian Presence

Founded in 2013, Lalamove is a ride-haling delivery and logistics company like similar to Uber, which focusing on business and corporate clientele. The company - which operates out of mainland China - has over 2 million drivers across more than 130 cities, and boasts more than 28 million active users. Outside of China, Lalamove operates in seven other Asian countries, including Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand. The latest round of funding is anticipated to be used to further expansion into southeast Asia and India.

The Latest Large Round of Funding

The latest $300 million round of Series D funding will reportedly be split in to two halves: Hillhouse Capital will lead the ‘D1' portion, and Sequoia China will lead the ‘D2’ tranche. The exact size of each half has not been disclosed. Previous to this, Lalamove closed a $100 million round of Series C funding in 2017. To date, Lalamove has raised more than $460 million after seven rounds of funding.

Firmly in Unicorn Territory

According to reports, the latest round of funding places Lalamove firmly into unicorn status. However, according to company head of international Blake Larson, Lalamove has been, “past the unicorn mark for quite some time [but] we just don’t talk about it.” The company was reportedly just shy of a $1 billion valuation when it closed its $100 million round of Series C funding.

A 21st Century Founder and CEO

Lalamove was founded in 2013 by Stanford graduate, Shing Chow. According to Sequoia China founder and managing partner Neil Shen, “Shing is a role model for Hong Kong’s new generation of innovative entrepreneurs. Raised in Hong Kong and educated at Stanford University, Shing returned and plunged himself in the entrepreneurial wave of ‘Internet Plus,’ becoming a figure of entrepreneurial success.” By all accounts, the future seems very bright for the young CEO.