Tech roundup: Hawking’s parallel universes, a first for fintech investors, and more

by Katie Fustich
March 22, 2018
Y Combinator
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141 unique startups launch as part of Y Combinator’s 2018 class

The 2018 class of Y Combinator, known as one of the most successful accelerators in the tech space, has officially launched. While previous classes have helped launch consumer-facing startups like Airbnb and Stripe, this year’s Y Combinator was distinctly geared toward the development of biotech and hard science technologies. Another exciting development in this year’s class? 27 percent of startups debuting have a female founder at the helm. [TechCrunch]

 

Macy's VR
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Macy’s says it will start selling furniture using virtual reality

Going on a virtual reality roller coaster may be fun and all, but have you ever experienced the splendor of a virtual reality couch? Macy’s is setting its sights on the immersive technology with plans to implement VR headsets into 50 of their furniture departments across the country by summer. According to reports, in-store shoppers will be able to virtually arrange furniture on an iPad before putting on an HTC Vive VR headset and experiencing the room “in person.” [Venture Beat]

 

Parallel Universes
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Stephen Hawking was working on paper about parallel universes days before death

Since his passing on March 14, the world has been mourning the loss of Stephen Hawking, arguably one of the brightest scientific minds in history. Now, news has emerged that Hawking continued his groundbreaking research until mere days before his death. Multiple sources report that he was set to publish a paper on the existence of multiple universes, parallel to ours. Hawking and co-author Thomas Hertog theorize that some parallel universes may actually be observable via interstellar radiation. While the paper is still in the peer-review stage and does not have an official publication date, the world eagerly awaits Hawking’s final opus. [Gizmodo]

 

Booker
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Mindbody acquires NYC-based Booker in $150 million deal

Booker, a cloud-based scheduling platform for small businesses, has been sold to Mindbody for a reported $150 million. Mindbody functions in a similar space, serving as a management tool for fitness studios, salons and spas. Reportedly, the acquisition of Booker will bring 10,000 businesses onto the Mindbody software. It is unclear whether the current Booker team will remain in New York City. [New York Business Journal]

 

CommonBond
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Lending platform CommonBond raises $50 million Series D with two banks investing

On Wednesday, CommonBond announced it had secured a $50 million Series D funding round. The round was led by Fifth Third Bank, with First National Bank also serving as an investor. Notably, this is one of the largest fintech deals that two national banks had jointly participated in. The Series D funding will be used to scale the business and innovate its technology. Founded in 2011, CommonBond helps college students and parents find student loan solutions. [Press Release]

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