Luxury handbag marketplace Rebag raises $25M to expand to 30 more stores

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Rebag, an online resale marketplace for luxury handbags, is getting another infusion of capital as it prepares to expand its offline retail operations. The company this week announced $25 million in Series C funding, in a round led by private equity firm Novator, with participation from existing investors, General Catalyst and FJ Labs.

The round brings Rebag’s total raise to date to $52 million.

Rebag competes with other luxury goods resellers, like TheRealReal, and to some extent with broader resale marketplaces like thredUP or Poshmark, which also attract shoppers looking to buy quality pre-owned items. And it exists in alongside large marketplaces like eBay as well as rental shops like Rent the Runway, which offers an alternative to a site focused only on handbags.

In fact, Rebag founder and CEO Charles Gorra spent a brief period at Rent the Runway, before leaving to start Rebag in 2014. At the time, he said he saw an immediate opportunity to not just rent the items out, but to actually resell them on a secondary market.

Today, Rebag’s shop sells bags from over 50 designer brands, including all the majors like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, and others.

However, in the years following Rebag’s launch, the company has expand its offerings beyond just online resale to include brick-and-mortar retail and, more recently, a service called Rebag Infinity, which allows shoppers to turn in any Rebag handbag purchase within 6 months in exchange to receive a credit of at least 70 percent of the purchase price.

Last year, Rebag made headlines in the fashion world for selling the rare Hermès White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin collectible – typically an over $100,000 bag – for “just” $70,000, to celebrate the opening of its 57th Street and Madison Avenue store, its second Manhattan flagship location.

With the new funding, Rebag will expand its offline footprint, it says. The company currently operates five stores in New York and L.A. but plans to launch 30 more locations in the “medium term.” This will include both standalone storefronts, as well as presences within luxury malls.

It’s common these days for resale marketplaces these days to take their wares to offline shoppers. TheRealReal, Rent the Runway, ThredUP, and others all today offer real world locations, where shoppers can browse in person instead of just online.

Rebag says since it opened its retail stores las year, it moved from being a 100 percent digital operation to 80 percent digital, and 20 percent offline. Its sourcing network also grew to include over 20,000 stylists, partners, shoppers and sales associates.

With the funding, Rebag adds it will also refine its pricing and handbag evaluation tools aimed at standardizing the resale process, something that could represent another business for the brand (or make it attractive to an acquirer.)

“We are a technology company first,” noted founder and CEO Charles Gorra, in a statement. “Our goal is to become the standard for the luxury resale industry, just like Kelley Blue Book is the main resource for the auto industry.”

The company plans also to triple its team of 100, which today includes newer hires CTO Jay Winters (Delivery.com, Goldman Sachs) and CMO Elizabeth Layne (Bonobos, Appear Here).

Rebag doesn’t share its hard numbers about sales, revenues, valuation, customer base or others, but told us it has tripled revenues since its Series B.

 


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To automate bigger stores than Amazon, Standard Cognition buys Explorer.ai

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Standard Cognition helps retail stores stand up to Jeff Bezos’ juggernaut. The $50 million-funded autonomous checkout startup is racing to equip bigger shops with scanless payment technology that lets customers walk out the door without ever stopping at a cashier. While Amazon Go opens its own 2,000 square foot boutiques, Standard Cognition is working on outfitting 20,000 square foot and larger drug stores and grocers. That led Standard Cognition to make its first acquisition, Explorer.ai.

Why would an automated checkout company acquire a self-driving car startup? Because whether you’re tracking shoppers or pedestrians, you need sophisticated maps of the real world. The more accurate the machine vision is, the larger the store you can equip. And since Standard Cognition uses ceiling-based cameras instead of putting them on every shelf like Amazon, it’s much cheaper to keep eyes on a bigger space.

Standard Cognition is only just over a year old, but with the backing of Y Combinator, Alexis Ohanian and Garry Tan’s Initialized Capital, and a fast-moving team of seven co-founders, it believes it can outmaneuver Amazon. That means doing whatever it can to leap forward. Standard Cognition already had in-house mapping technology, but Explorer.ai’s team and tech could accelerate its quest to bring even 100,000 sq ft big box supercenters into the automated checkout age.

“It’s the wild west — applying cutting-edge, state-of-the-art machine learning research that’s hot off the press. We read papers then implement it weeks after it’s published, putting the ideas out into the wild and making them production-worthy — taking it from state-of-the-art to dumb machines you can kick and they won’t fall over.” says Standard Cognition co-founder Jordan Fisher. “It’s no easy task and the exactness we’re going to require will only increase. Having a world-class team of engineers and researchers that can build the next generation version of our mapping is why we’re so excited to have the team joining us.”

From AV To AC

Explorer.ai is was founded in 2017 too, and its acquisition so soon is a testament to how hot the autonomous driving and checkout markets are. Akshay Goel, Nagasrikanth Kallakuri, and Tushar Dadlani noticed self-driving vehicle startups were all trying to generate their own maps. They cobbled together data from several providers, built maps specifically for different purposes, and soon had fellow startups trying to throw money at them. They raised just under $1 million from Story Ventures, early Facebook engineer Nick Heyman and more, growing the team to seven employees.

Explorer.ai’s co-founders

 

But eventually Explorer.ai realized the bigger players were too cautious to rely on outside maps and it could be years before they’d be comfortable with the idea. “Our view is it would take quite a while to become a commercial success in mapping for autonomous vehicles” Goel tells me. “Most of the companies we were working with in partnerships tried to acquire us from an early stage. Should we fundraise more or start looking at the acquisition process?” the team asked itself as its cash dwindled.

Explorer.ai got a few terms sheets for funding, but weren’t sure they’d be able to go to market fast enough. The founders shopped the startup around “to pretty much everyone” Goel says, though they refused to name names when I asked if that included natural acquirers like Uber and Google’s Waymo. But then they took a left turn into retail. “What we saw was that essentially since autonomous checkout has a lot fewer safety issues, [Standard Cognition] could go to market much faster, and mapping had a large impact on autonomous checkout.”

The two companies declined to disclose financial terms of the deal, but Fisher tells me “We can definitely say it was a competitive process and we’re excited that we could win the hearts and minds of the Explorer team.” Goel adds that “the investors, founders, and team are happy”, implying the payout more than returned the money it’d raised.

Explorer.ai made self-driving car maps before joining Standard Cognition

The big question Standard Cognition’s customers are asking are whether autonomous checkout is cost-effective, simple for customers to understand, and won’t let shoplifters destroy their margins. That means minimizing installation fees, perfecting onboarding and instruction, and recognizing the difference between someone putting an item back on the shelf versus into their jacket. The startup believes that done right, human cashiers can be repurposed as concierges that help customers find what they’re looking for and buy more without having to stand in line.

How do you make this a bulletproof, reproducible system that works as well as a till in a grocery store that no one worries about breaking?” is the challenge Fisher and his new compatriots must solve. “Amazon is pursuing what we call as shelf-based approach with sensors every few inches on every shelf. What’s not great is the expense, the complexity of the electrical and compute systems . . . this is why you’re seeing autonomous checkout applied to Amazon Go and not larger Whole Foods stores. Not from a lack of desire from Amazon, but because it’s not technologically tenable with the approach that they’re taking. I’m confident they’ll tackle that challenge in the next few years but today they’re limited by their technology.”

And so Standard Cognition is pushing as fast as it can build a lead and brand by giving independent retail stores and chains the firepower to fight off Amazon. “I wasn’t thinking we’d do any acquisitions a month ago” Fisher reveals. “Our goal is not just to deliver autonomous checkout to the world but to do it phenomenally quickly. We’re at the beginning of a space race. Two to three years from now, I think this will be potentially as crowded as autonomous vehicles. We’re in the lead today but that’s not enough for us. We need to be light-years ahead to capture as much of the market as we want. [With the Explorer.ai acquisition] how many days does this advance us? How much further along on our roadmap for world domination does this bring us? When we sat down, it was tangible, the real progression of the roadmap.”

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Starbucks adding delivery services to more than 2,000 stores via Uber Eats

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Starbucks is expanding its partnership with Uber Eats to more than 2,000 stores in the United States next year, about a quarter of all of the company’s locations in the country.

The relationship bolsters Uber’s mission for its on-demand food delivery service, Eats. Uber has said it plans to cover more than 70 percent of the U.S. population by the end of 2018. The partnership with Starbucks, while it won’t start in earnest until next year, will help the delivery meet or even exceed that goal as it battles Postmates for market share.

Starbucks first launched its program Starbuck Delivers as a pilot in September serving people in Miami and Tokyo. Its coffee delivery roots actually began in China through a partnership with Alibaba and on-demand food delivery service Ele.me. The company also piloted a delivery service through two supermarkets in Shanghai and Hangzhou.

It’s an experiment that appears to have had some success. Starbucks Delivers has reached 2,000 stores across 30 cities in China since launching three months ago, the company said at its investor conference Thursday.

Now it’s taking what it learned in China and applying it to the U.S.



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App Stores to pass $122B in 2019, with gaming and subscriptions driving growth

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Mobile intelligence and data firm App Annie is today releasing its 2019 predictions for the worldwide app economy, including its forecast around consumer spending, gaming, the subscription market, and other highlights. Most notably, it expects the worldwide gross consumer spend in apps – meaning before the app stores take their own cut – to surpass $122 billion next year, which is double the size of the global box office market, for comparison’s sake.

According to the new forecast, the worldwide app store consumer spend will grow 5 times as fast as the overall global economy next year.

But the forecast also notes that “consumer spend” – which refers to the money consumers spend on apps and through in-app purchases – is only one metric to track the apps stores’ growth and revenue potential.

Mobile spending is also expected to continue growing for both in-app advertising and commerce – that is, the transactions that take place outside of the app stores in app like Uber, Amazon, and Starbucks, for example.

Specifically, mobile will account for 62 percent of global digital ad spend in 2019, representing $155 billion, up from 50 percent in 2017. In addition, 60 percent more mobile apps will monetize through in-app ads in 2019.

Mobile gaming to reach 60% market share

As in previous years, mobile gaming is contributing to the bulk of the growth in consumer spending, the report says.

Mobile gaming, which continues to be the fastest growing form of gaming, matured further this year with apps like Fortnite and PUBG, says App Annie . These games “drove multiplayer game mechanics that put them on par with real-time strategy and shooter games on PC/Mac and Consoles in a way that hadn’t been done before,” the firm said.

They also helped push forward a trend towards cross-platform gaming, and App Annie expects that to continue in 2019 with more games becoming less siloed.

However, the gaming market won’t just be growing because of experiences like PUBG and Fortnite. “Hyper-casual” games – that is, those with very simple gameplay – will also drive download growth in 2019.

Over the course of the next year, consumer spend in mobile gaming will reach 60 percent market share across all major platforms, including PC, Mac, console, handheld, and mobile.

China will remain a major contributor to overall app store consumer spend, including mobile gaming, but there may be a slight deceleration of their impact next year due to the game licensing freeze. In August, Bloomberg reported China’s regulators froze approval of game licenses amid a government shake-up. The freeze impacted the entire sector, from large players like internet giant Tencent to smaller developers.

If the freeze continues in 2019, App Annie believes Chinese firms will push towards international expansion and M&A activity could result.

App Annie is also predicting one breakout gaming hit for 2019: Niantic’s Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which it believes will exceed $100 million in consumer spend in its first 30 days. Niantic’s Pokémon Go, by comparison, cleared $100 million in its first two weeks and became the fastest game to reach $1 billion in consumer spend.

But App Annie isn’t going so far as to predict Harry Potter will do better than Pokémon Go, which tapped into consumer nostalgia and was a first-to-market mainstream AR gaming title.

Mobile Video Streaming

Another significant trend ahead for the new year is the growth in video streaming apps, fueled by in-app subscriptions.

Today, the average person consumers over 7.5 hours of media per day, including watching, listening, reading or posting. Next year, 10 minutes of every hour will be spent consuming media across TV and internet will come from streaming video on mobile, the forecast says.

The total time in video streaming apps will increase 110 percent from 2016 to 2019, with consumer spend in entertainment apps up by 520 percent over that same period. Most of those revenues will come from the growth in in-app subscriptions.

Much of the time consumer spend streaming will come from short-form video apps like YouTube, TikTok and social apps like Instagram and Snapchat.

YouTube alone accounts for 4 out of every 5 minutes spent in the top 10 video streaming apps, today. But 2019 will see many changes, including the launch of Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, for example.

App Annie’s full report, which details ad creatives and strategies as well, is available on its blog.

 

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U.S. mobile app stores had their biggest day ever on Black Friday 2018

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Black Friday wasn’t just a boon for e-commerce retailers, it helped the mobile app stores break new records, too. According to a new report from Sensor Tower, the combined consumer spending across the U.S. Apple App Store and Google Play on Black Friday 2018 reached $75.9 million – a record for the most ever spent in a single day on both stores.

The App Store accounted for most of that figure, however, with U.S. consumers spending a record $52 million on Black Friday. That’s a 31.6 percent increase in spending over last year’s shopping event, when consumers then spent $39.5 million.

It’s also notably higher than Christmas 2017, when spending reached $39.8 million – typically a strong day for app purchases and in-app sales, as consumers unwrap new iPhones.

The App Store’s $52 million was more than double the $23.9 million spent on Google Play during the same time.

Sensor Tower attributes the increased spending to a variety of factors, largely driven by mobile gaming. Game makers this year got in on the Black Friday action by offering players discounts on in-app purchases and other special bundles.

On the U.S. App Store, mobile gaming accounted for 68 percent of Black Friday spending, with consumers spending $35.4 million on games. That’s a 63 percent increase from the week prior, the report notes.

Other categories saw a boost, too, including Food & Drink and Sports – both reflective of the leisure time consumers had over the holidays. Food & Drink grew 34 percent while Sports grew 49 percent, Sensor Tower found, with top apps like NYT Cooking and ESPN: Live Sports and Scores benefitting from the surge.

Though the Black Friday shopping holiday is heavily associated with the U.S. because of its ties to Thanksgiving, the sales event is making its way around the world, too.

On the mobile app stores, that meant worldwide consumer spending saw a jump this year, as well.

The firm found that $117.3 million was spent by App Store users outside the United States on Black Friday, bringing the global total to $169.3 million, up 18.4 percent from 2017. The spending outside the U.S. was up 13.9 percent year-over-year, but that’s lower than the U.S.’s year-over-year growth of 31.6 percent between Black Friday 2017 and Black Friday 2018.

Also of note: while Amazon had its biggest day ever on Cyber Monday 2018, Cyber Monday didn’t perform as well on the app stores. In the U.S., app revenue was up about 20 percent versus the previous Cyber Monday to reach an estimated $37 million.

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Facebook opens its first small biz pop-up stores inside Macy’s

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Facebook is bursting out of the ones and zeros into the physical realm with nine brick-and-mortar pop-up stores that will show off goods from 100 small business and online brands. Facebook organized the merchants to be part of The Market @ Macy’s, which first launched earlier this year to create temporary spaces for businesses. The merchants pay a one-time fee and keep all their sales revenue, with Facebook and Macy’s taking no revenue share. The stores feature News Feed post-themed displays complete with like button imagery so it feels like you’re shopping Facebook in real life.

While Facebook doesn’t earn money directly from the stores, it could convince the small businesses and others like them to spend more on Facebook ads. Alongside recent tests of advanced Instagram analytics and instant Promote ads for Stories, Facebook wants to build a deeper relationship with small businesses so this longtail of advertisers sticks with it as sharing and marketing shift from the News Feed towards Stories and private messaging.

“All over the world people are running businesses, big and small, that have inspiring stories and we want to help them succeed. We are thrilled to be partnering with one of the world’s biggest retailers to bring some of those businesses to a physical store this holiday season” writes Facebook’s Director of North America Marketing Michelle Klein. “Macy’s shoppers will have the chance to meet businesses like Love Your Melon that sells hats and apparel to help in the fight against pediatric cancer, or Charleston Gourmet Burger Company that started from a backyard barbecue and has expanded to reach customers in all 50 states.”

The nine pop-ups will open from today until February 2nd in The Market @ Macy’s in NYC, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. The brands come from across apparel, lifestyle, food, beauty, and other verticals, and include Two Blind Brothers, Bespoke Post, Inspiralized, Mented Cosmetics and Link. Facebook seems taken with the idea of having a physical presence in the world, with the pop-ups coming just days before Facebook starts shipping its first hardware product, the Facebook Portal video chat device.

Facebook will also run a big ad campaign of its own in NYC’s Grand Central Station for the next three weeks to promote the pop-ups. Featuring 600 ad units with 36 designs across 115 locations in the public transportation hub. Facebook will also run ads for the stores on its app and Insttagram, and provide the merchants with complementary digital ad design from Facebook’s Creative Shop.

Facebook’s revenue growth has been massively decelerating, dropping from 59 percent year-over-year in Q3 2016 to 49 percent in Q3 2017 to 33 percent in Q3 2018. That’s introduced uncharacteristic share price decelines and volatility for Facebook’s historically stable business. Delighting small businesses with experiences like the pop-up stories could keep them loyal as Facebook’s ad formats shift towards more vivid and interactive formats that can be tough for budget-strapped merchants to adopt.

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Sam’s Club to offer same-day grocery delivery via Instacart at over half its stores by month end

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Fresh off its $600 million round of new funding, grocery delivery service Instacart is expanding its relationship with Walmart, the companies announced this morning. The two first joined up in February to offer same-day grocery delivery at select Sam’s Clubs locations in the U.S. Today, Walmart says it plans to offer Instacart-powered grocery delivery in over half of Sam’s Clubs stores by the end of this month.

That expansion will make Sam’s Club grocery delivery via Instacart available to nearly 1,000 new ZIP codes and more than 100 new stores, including those in markets like New Jersey, Indianapolis, Houston and others, the company says.

In total, customers will be able to order from nearly 350 clubs by the end of October.

The partnership was first piloted in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and St. Louis, then reached San Diego and L.A. in more recent weeks.

The deal also allows consumers to shop Sam’s Clubs stores without a membership, including shopping its sales. However, Sam’s Club members will receive lower, membership-only pricing, Walmart says.

Deliveries are offered in as little as an hour, and may include non-grocery items, the retailer also notes.

“To help the holidays run smooth, we’re offering a wide product assortment available on Instacart so shoppers can now get household goods delivered,” said Sachin Padwal, Sam’s Club’s Vice President of Product Management, in a statement. “We’re excited that last-minute gifts, small appliances, extra pillows and towels – just to name a few things – are just a few clicks and minutes away,” he added.

The partnership between Sam’s Club and Instacart is significant in terms of Walmart’s larger battle with Amazon, which offers grocery pickup and delivery through its Whole Foods division, as well as grocery delivery through AmazonFresh and Prime Now.

Sam’s Club parent Walmart also offers an affordable curbside pickup program for groceries – which, unlike with third-party services, sells items at the same price as they are in stores. In select markets, Walmart offers grocery delivery, too.

In Walmart’s recent fiscal year 2020 guidance, it said that it expects to offer grocery pickup at 3,100 Walmart stores by 2020, and delivery at 1,600 locations. Currently, Walmart’s grocery delivery is on track to reach 100 U.S. metros by year-end.

Same-day delivery for Sam’s Club isn’t the only change Walmart’s warehouse membership club has made in recent months. Also in February, the club began to offer free shipping on orders, with no minimum purchase, and simplified memberships to two tiers, Savings ($45/year) and Plus ($100/year). Both of those options are cheaper than Amazon Prime, now $119/year.

Sam’s Club shoppers can visit samsclub.com/Instacart to see if their local store is supported.

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Sidestepping App Stores, Facebook Lite and Groups get Instant Games

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HTML5 almost ruined Facebook when baking in the mobile web standard to speed up development slowed down the performance of the social network’s main iOS and Android apps. It eventually ditched HTML5, rebuilt the apps natively, and Facebook became one of the most powerful players in mobile.

Now Facebook is giving HTML5 another shot as a way to expand its Instant Games like Pac-Man and Words With Friends to the developing world through Facebook Lite, and to interest communities via Facebook Groups.

Instead of having to download separate apps for each game from the Apple App Store or Google Play, Instant Games launch in a mobile browser. That keeps Facebook Lite’s file size small to the benefit of international users with slow connections or limited data plans. And it lets Instant Games integrate directly into Groups so you can challenge not only friends but like-minded members to compete for high scores.

90 million people each month actively participate in 270,000 Facebook Groups about gaming, and now they’ll see Instant Games in the Groups navigation bar next to the About and Discussion tabs. Facebook is also considering making games an opt-in feature for non-gaming Groups. In Facebook Lite, Instant Games will appear in the More sidebar so they’re not too interruptive.

The expansion demonstrates how serious Facebook is about becoming a gaming company again. Back in its desktop days, the games platform dominated by devleopers like Zynga racked up tons of usage, virality, and in-game payments revenue for Facebook. That revenue declined for years after mobile usage began to dominate in 2014, but recently stabilized at around $190 million per quarter. Apparently someone is still playing FarmVille.

Facebook launched Instant Games in late-2016 to give people something to do while they’re waiting from friends to reply to their messages. Around the same time, Facebook launched Gameroom — a Steam-like desktop software hub for mid-core gamers, though there’s been less news on that product since. Instant Games rolled out worldwide in mid-2017, and opened to all developers in March of this year. It’s since been expanding monetization options for developers to make building Instant Games a sustainable business. That includes making Instant Games compatible with Facebook’s playable ads that let developers lure in users from the News Feed.

Facebook won’t actually be earning money from in-app purchases on Instant Games on iOS where it doesn’t allow IAP due to Apple’s policies, or on Android since it began forgoing its cut last month. It does take 30 percent on desktop though. But the bigger monetization play is in ads where Facebook is a juggernaut.

With Instant Games on Messenger, Facebook’s desktop site via a bookmark, its new Fb.gg standalone gaming community app, and now Facebook Lite and Groups, the company is prioritizing the space again. That seems wise as gaming becomes more mainstream thanks to players livestreaming their commentary and phenomena like Fortnite. And with Facebook’s expansion into hardware with the Portal smart screen and a forthcoming TV set-top box, it will have more places than ever for people to play or watch others duke it out.

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Skydio’s autonomous drone lands in Apple retail stores, now supports Watch controls

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With a few taps, you can now direct Skydio‘s $1,999 autonomous drone from your Apple Watch allowing you to fulfill the geeky dream you never knew you had, directing an expensive autonomous drone with your little wrist computer.

The very cool R1 self-flying drone will also be going up for sale in US Apple Stores, a big win for the young drone startup which has only been taking orders via its own website. Apple doesn’t have a very robust selection of drones either, with most of their selection coming from drone giant DJI, putting Skydio in some pretty elite company.

Now, let’s get back to the real question here. Why on earth would you need to control a drone from your Apple Watch? Well, it’s certainly a valid question. The Apple Watch launched with a ton of third-party apps and one-by-one they kind of seemed to drop off as developers — and Apple — learned that the device is generally at its best when it’s part of a passive experience.

Skydio sort of bills the R1 as a drone built for the GoPro crowd, delivering a very unique type of footage but ultimately one that can be self-controlled. Navigating the Skydio app on your phone always takes you out of action for a bit and makes it so that you staring at your phone is always the first part of every cinematic shot. With Apple Watch support, some use cases make a lot more sense than others. People who use the drone to video themselves while biking will probably find this particularly useful, as the controls are all of a sudden in a much more accessible place on your wrist. Otherwise, the Watch support makes the very niche problem of controlling a drone in the most low-key way possible just a little bit easier.

The Watch app has a very straight-forward UI and really gives you a lot of control over the drone. You can cycle through the list of skills, tapping modes like Lead, Follow and Orbit and putting the drone to work, but you can also interestingly identify people in the R1’s feed for it to follow as well. It all works surprisingly well on the Watch, and feels like an unusually powerful set of features for the device.

For the Skydio user, the Watch is now in your control repertoire. It’s certainly not going to be the most logical piloting mechanism at all times, but if you’ve been looking for more effortless ways to direct the R1, you have some new options.

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With $50M in fresh funding, Allbirds will open new stores in the US, UK and Asia

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The quintessential venture capitalist’s uniform consists of a pair of designer jeans, a Patagonia fleece vest and $95 wool sneakers.

The company behind the shoes, Allbirds, entered the unicorn club this morning with the announcement of a $50 million Series C from late-stage players T. Rowe Price, which led the round, Tiger Global and Fidelity Investments. The 3-year-old startup founded by Joey Zwillinger and Tim Brown has raised $75 million to date, including a $17.5 million Series B last year. Its backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, Scooter Braun, Maveron, Lerer Hippeau and Elephant, the venture capital firm led by Warby Parker founder Andrew Hunt.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the round values Allbirds at $1.4 billion. The company would not confirm that figure to TechCrunch.

Like Warby Parker, San Francisco-based Allbirds began as a direct-to-consumer online retailer but has since expanded to brick-and-mortar, opening stores in San Francisco and New York. It currently ships to locations across the U.S., New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Next week, the company plans to open its first storefront in the U.K. in London’s Covent Garden neighborhood. It will begin shipping throughout the U.K. In 2019.

Using its latest investment, Allbirds will double down on its brick-and-mortar business. In addition to the U.K., the company says it will open even more locations in the U.S., as well as open doors in Asia in the coming months. Tiger Global, which has backed Allbirds since its Series B, may be of help. The firm has offices in Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as partners across Asia.

Allbirds makes eco-friendly wool shoes for men, women and kids via its kid’s line, aptly named Smallbirds. The shoes are made out of sustainable materials, including merino wool, a fabric made from eucalyptus fiber that the company has dubbed “Tree” and “SweetFoam,” a shoe sole made from sugarcane-based, carbon-negative foam rubber.

“Climate change is the problem of our generation and the private sector has a responsibility to combat it,” Zwillinger, Allbirds’ chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This injection of capital will help us bring our sustainable products to more people around the globe, demonstrating that comfort, design and sustainability don’t have to live exclusive of each other.”

It’s been quite the year for venture investment in … shoes. Rothy’s, which makes sustainable ballet flats for women, has raised $7 million and launched a sneaker. Atoms, a maker of minimalist shoes, brought in $560,000 in seed funding from LinkedIn’s ex-head of growth Aatif Awan and Shrug Capital. And GOAT, the operator of an online sneaker marketplace, nabbed a $60 million Series C in February.

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