Rent the Runway Filed for an IPO, Medley Got $3.7M, and More NYC Tech News

Here’s what you may have missed in the world of NYC tech.
Written by Ellen Glover
October 11, 2021Updated: October 14, 2021
Rent the Runway Filed for an IPO, Medley Got $3.7M and More NYC Tech News
Photo: Rent the Runway

The city’s tech scene was busier than ever last week, with fundings and business expansions and partnerships galore. There’s lots to go over, so let’s get into it. This is the Built In NYC weekly refresh.

Masterworks raised $110MThe members-only platform lets users buy fractional shares of fine art by icons like Banksy and Picasso, democratizing a practice that’s always largely been reserved for the mega-rich. This monster Series A comes after four years of bootstrapping, and brings the young startup’s pre-money valuation to more than $1 billion, signaling the massive growth potential for the burgeoning alternative investment space. Masterworks will use this fresh capital to accelerate this recent growth, with a potential global expansion on the horizon. [Built In NYC]

Medley brought in $3.7MFounded by mother-daughter duo Edith Cooper and Jordan Taylor, Medley hosts personal and professional development sessions for people from all walks of life. The startup launched with a big splash in July of 2020, and has since had members from more than 15 countries and 20 U.S. states participate in its virtual group coaching sessions. This latest seed round was led by VC heavyweight Andreessen Horowitz, with the participation of an impressive list of additional investors including Peloton exec Dara Treseder and Grammy-winning singer Ciara Wilson. The money will be used to scale Medley’s business, enhance its technology, and grow its team. [Built In NYC]

JOKR expands to alcoholThe grocery delivery startup made its American debut in NYC over the summer, promising to deliver whatever food and non-prescription medication a person could need in 15 minutes or less with no added fees. Now, it has expanded that service to include beer, hard seltzer and cider. JOKR is one of a handful of last-mile delivery companies dipping its toes in the alcohol market, joining major players like Uber and DoorDash. [PYMTS]

Rent the Runway filed for its IPOOver the years, Rent the Runway has become a go-to place for people looking to rent designer clothing for a fraction of its retail price. Like a lot of businesses, it was hit hard by the pandemic — revenue plummeted, its subscriber base nosedived. Nevertheless, the startup is positioned for a comeback, and has reported that business is starting to grow again. Now, it is set to make its public debut, and says it is going to launch new categories and expand internationally. [CNBC]

mParticle scored $150MThe customer data company helps businesses manage the mountains of consumer data that constantly moves from their various systems and applications, which ultimately allows for better interaction with those customers. This is especially important amid the pandemic, when positive online customer interactions are essential to a business’ survival. As a result, mParticle has seen a surge in demand, and has grown its business by 100 percent since last year. This fresh funding will be used to accelerate that growth even further. [PR Newswire]

NYC Tech Quote of the Week

“We believe it’s our mission to help build a worldwide community that promotes inclusivity, respect, and acceptance, working toward the end of all hostility.” —Nicholas Vandenberghe, co-founder and CEO of Chili Piper

Chili Piper is taking on the Afghanistan refugee crisisThe Brooklyn-based software startup has launched a new foundation called Citizens of our Planet (COOP) to help support displaced people around the world, starting with Afghan refugees fleeing the recent Taliban takeover. Through a philanthropic partnership with U.K. nonprofit the Techfugees Foundation, Chili Piper will host and hire a cohort of refugees, helping them and their families resettle in their new countries. The company will also create introductions to potential tech partners to drive additional fundraising efforts. [Built In NYC]

Wizard launched with $50MThis “conversational commerce” startup is betting on a future in which mobile commerce is driven by texting. Wizard was spun out of Stylust, which used AI and image recognition to allow users to buy via text, and now offers an end-to-end shopping experience that includes search, payments, shopping and reorders — all done over text. The company was co-founded by Marc Lore, Walmart’s former head of U.S. e-commerce, and has already gotten the support of prominent VC firms like Accel and NEA. [TechCrunch]

Aquant raised $70MBy using natural language processing, artificial intelligence, industry insights and knowledge gathered by longtime experts, Aquant’s proprietary platform aims to provide business leaders, technicians and customer representatives the information they need to do their jobs effectively. This latest funding round was co-led by Qumra, Insight Partners and Pitango, and will be used to bolster product development and grow the startup’s engineering, client services and go-to-market teams at its offices in the U.S., Europe and Israel. [Built In NYC]

Grow Therapy is partnering with ZocdocIn an effort to help people find accessible mental healthcare, the healthcare giant and mental-health startup have decided to team up. Now, through Zocdoc’s marketplace, people can access appointments with in-network mental-health providers and then get matched with one of Grow Therapy’s psychologists or psychiatrists in Florida, Washington, Georgia, D.C., or Massachusetts — with more states coming later this year. This news comes just one week after Grow Therapy closed on a $15 million Series A. [PR Newswire]

Hyperscience got its first CTOThe automation software startup has named Tony Lee, a former engineer at major companies like Dropbox and Zendesk, as its first chief technology officer. As CTO, Lee will oversee several arms of this fast-growing company, including product, machine learning and engineering. [Business Wire]

VideoAmp partners with VizioThe newly formed agreement will support VideoAmp’s cross-screen measurement and currency solution. The two companies have worked together before. VideoAmp relies on Vizio’s smart TV data for planning, measurement and ad sales use cases. The partnership was set to expire at the end of 2021, but will now run through the end of 2025. [VideoAmp]

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