On-demand mover Bellhops snags $6.5M in Series A fuel to keep the good times rolling



We live in an on-demand world. Technology is putting ever more functionality and real-world services into the palms of our hands, thanks to the proliferation of always connected, location aware, mobile devices. Another major trend shaking up the way we access services is the peer-to-peer (or sharing) economy, in which consumers offer their time, labor, and goods directly to one another, often with the only intermediary being a digital booking platform.

Sitting right at the intersection of these two trends is Bellhops, a local moving company powered by smartphones and college labor. The company has been growing exponentially over the last year and now has approximately 10,000 movers across 135 US cities.

Today Bellhops announced $ 6.5 million in Series A funding, via a round led by Binary Capital and including participation from Lowercase Capital, Scott Banister, Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Techstars‘ Bullet Time Ventures, Haroon Mokhtarzada, Kal Raman, and the rapper Nas. Bellhops was initially incubated in Chattanooga’s Lamp Post group.

Bellhops is the first investment made out of the Binary’s freshly $ 125 million maiden fund. “It’s rare to find a company that gets talked about with so much love and passion by everyone that touches it.” Binary partner Jonathan Teo says. “Those companies typically do tremendously well.”

Teo’s partner Justin Caldbeck adds to this, saying, “Aside from the extraordinary growth Bellhops has seen since going nationwide, we were immediately struck both by the enormous vision of the team to become a ubiquitous in-home consumer brand as well as the incredible curated network of high-quality, hard working college students that they have built.  This combination of a large mission-driven vision and exceptional early execution is rare and couldn’t more represent the types of founders we set out to partner with when we founded Binary.”

With more than 40 million Americans expected to move this year and roughly 75 percent of those “do-it-yourselfers,” it’s obvious how Bellhops’ low cost and low friction offering becomes a popular option. Crucially, more than 95 percent of Bellhops customers rate its service better than four stars according to co-founder Cameron Doody, which aids in the company’s word of mouth growth.

There’s nothing inherently novel or technically defensible in Bellhops’ model. Where the company will shine is in creating a scalable system for acquiring and training additional laborers – college kids graduate, and get bored, after all – and building a ubiquitous and trusted nationwide brand before other challengers catch up.

The company appears to be off to a good start in this regard. A pile of additional cash should help the company accelerate its assault on this market. Look out for a team of strapping college-aged movers coming to a cul-de-sac near you.



Lytro Snags $40 Million to Expand Beyond Cameras




Lytro, the creator of the world’s first light field camera for consumers, has received a $ 40 million round of funding to apply its technology to new categories

The funding comes after the company laid off some employees over the summer. CEO Jason Rosenthal declined to say how many of its $ 400 cameras it has sold, but claims the figure is 20% more than what it had planned.

Against this backdrop, Lytro welcomed a new investor, North Bridge Ventures, which brings the company’s funding total to date to $ 90 million

Lytro launched its eponymous camera last December. The device applied technology pioneered by Ren Ng, a Stanford University researcher, that takes photos by capturing an entire plane of light. Standard cameras capture a single moment from a point of light. The upshot for consumers is that you can change the focus in a picture after the fact. Read more…

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