Spanx Inventor and Founder Sara Blakely
"Don't be afraid to fail. My dad encouraged us to fail. Growing up, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn't have something, he would be disappointed. It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. "
A new startup is harnessing the power of the crowd to help entrepreneurs and tech companies do their jobs better.
Testbirds, a German crowdtesting company, just raised €2.1 million ($2.9 million) as its first institutional funding, with French venture capital firm Senventure Partners leading this round. It’s also releasing a new product, BirdFlight, which enables customers to distribute and test their apps with their own testers.
Featured Startup Pitch: Brooklyn Workshop’s ‘vulcanized’ Elby shoes are designed for extra durability for longboarders and anyone else with a super-active lifestyle
Elevator Pitch: Brooklyn Workshop has developed the technology and design to produce a longer-lasting vulcanized shoe.
Through countless hours of testing, Brooklyn Workshop has proven its design and technology for a longer-lasting vulcanized sneaker. Vulcanized shoes are the kind that customers are familiar with from brands like Converse and Vans. They are great because of how flexible, comfortable, soft and ‘grippy’ the soles are. The problem is that the softness comes at the price of the shoe wearing out very quickly. Anyone that has worn a pair of Converse is familiar with how quickly they wear out.
We use a special compound that retains all the softness, grip, and comfort of a vulcanized shoe, but with the added benefit of lasting much, much longer. To test the shoe, we gave pairs to a bunch of longboarders. Longboard skaters do things like foot-breaking that is essentially pressing your shoe on the pavement to stop. So, like an eraser on a pencil, this tends to destroy most shoes. When feedback came back from the riders, we were ecstatic! We even had a rider that took our shoes on a long-distance skate from New York to California. He wore them for over 2,000 miles and they outlasted both his Nikes and his Vans that he took along with him. After that, we knew we had the ‘special sauce’ and were ready to put out the next generation of shoes. We figured if it can take the abuse that our riders dish out, than anyone, even non-skaters, would be happy to have a great-looking, durable shoe.
On Thursday, San Francisco startup Gigwalk announced a $10 million Series B round led by Nokia Growth Partners, with participation from Randstad Holdings, August Capital, Harrison Metal and SoftTech.
Gigwalk is a software platform that allows offers on-the-ground, in-store information about products and promotions. According to the company, there are 500,000 independent contractors working for the company, whose customers include Frito Lay, Microsoft and 7Eleven.
CEO Bob Bahramipour says the new round of funding will be used to expand the Gigwalk paltform’s capabilities and build out its team. Currently, Gigwalk has 25 employees on staff, and Bahramipour says he is looking to hire at least 15 more by the end of the year.