Posts tagged Opportunity
Better Ventures Backs TheTownKitchen to Support Urban Youth Employment

We are thrilled to announce the newest member of the Better Ventures family, TheTownKitchen, an Oakland-based startup delivering healthy lunches for businesses and upward social mobility for at-risk youth. We participated in TheTownKitchen's $1M seed round, which was led by Urban Innovation Fund, giving a boost to TheTownKitchen's meal service capacity and local impact.
 

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Better Ventures Invests in BookNook to Personalize Literacy Education

We’d like to officially welcome the newest addition to the Better Ventures family: BookNook, an Oakland, CA-based edtech startup that provides tablet-based in-person and virtual literacy instruction for K-12 students. We invested $275k in the company’s $1M seed round, alongside Reach Capital, Urban Innovation Fund, and Impact Engine. BookNook is addressing the educational divide in our country by building a robust solution to improve literacy skills, a fundamental building block upon which all other learning is dependent. BookNook is being used by all types of schools around the country (40 schools already signed up, and counting), but is particularly focused on students who are struggling with reading at underperforming Title 1 schools. And it just works: as the chart below demonstrates, 100% of students in a recent pilot demonstrated growth, while 86% of students advanced more than five months in reading after just two months of using BookNook.

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Better Ventures Backs Fluid Financial to Enable the Freelancer Economy

We are thrilled to announce our $400,000 seed investment in Fluid Financial, an Oakland, CA-based fintech startup that helps small businesses and freelancers get paid on time. Our investment was part of Fluid's $1M seed round, which closed late last summer and was led by Santa Monica-based Mucker Capital. Fluid fits nicely within our "future of work" investment theme and solves a big pain point for the freelancer economy, which is getting paid promptly and reliably.
 

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Better Ventures Closes $21M for Fund II and Backs Werk

We are thrilled to announce our pre-seed investment in Werk, a New York-based startup that is building a marketplace of flexible work opportunities for women. The company raised $1M in the round with participation from seed-stage venture firms Precursor Ventures, Montage Ventures, Halogen Ventures, and Social Starts. Werk will use the capital to build out the product offering and grow their pool of job seekers within their membership-based model. The company fits nicely within our Opportunity investment theme (sub-theme: Future of Work), and we are bullish on their ability to unlock the immense latent potential of retaining more women in the workforce.

In other news, we are excited to report that we held a final close on Better Ventures Fund II just before the holidays! We finished up the raise with total commitments of $21M and brought on Prudential as a new institutional investor. TechCrunch covered the closing today. We've been busy putting that capital to work, as Werk represents our 11th investment in the fund, with two more deals on the docket we'll be announcing soon. As we look to augment our capacity to sustain the growth of our portfolio, we're hiring an Operations and Community Manager, and we'd love your help in identifying candidates. You can view the posting here, and please note that we're asking applicants to apply via a referral to one of us.

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Better Ventures Backs NextRequest to Improve Access to Government Records

We are pleased to announce our seed investment in NextRequest, a San Francisco-based "govtech" startup that provides modern, robust, and user-friendly Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and public records processing software to local government agencies around the US. NextRequest is bringing government into the 21st century by streamlining the process of requesting information - saving time and money - and dramatically improving public access to government records. Govtech has been described as a "$400B market hiding in plain sight" and the industry is poised for breakout growth due in part to increased adoption of cloud computing by government agencies and an influx of younger tech-savvy workers into the sector.
 

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Better Ventures Leads Seed Round in Localwise

We are pleased to announce our seed investment in Localwise, a Berkeley-based startup that connects local businesses with local workers. The company is building a technology-driven employment marketplace that is based on trust, which is a missing component in many of the leading jobs platforms including Craiglist. Localwise's DNA is local, and they are combining their local focus with social features such as employee references to build a better jobs platform that is a delight to use and results in better hiring outcomes. The company offers tiered pricing models for employers depending on size and hiring needs. Better Ventures led Localwise's seed round, with participation from Bee Partners and a number of angel investors. 
 

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