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Inside Founders (Aug 13th, 2019)

1. On-demand delivery startup Postmates will reportedly make its IPO paperwork public next month. Doing so would set the San Francisco-based business to debut in this year's third fiscal quarter, although Postmates has declined to confirm or comment. Previously, the company had been in merger discussions with food delivery startup DoorDash. While those discussions did not coalesce into a deal, DoorDash recently announced it will acquired Caviar, yet another food delivery service, which is owned by Square. Postmates, founded in 2011 by Bastian Lehmann, currently has a $1.85 billion valuation. Lehmann, also Postmates' CEO, publicly confirmed last month his intention to take the company public. — TECHCRUNCH

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2. An investigation into disaster-response startup One Concern reveals the Silicon-Valley based company inflated its capacity, creating potentially severe risk for users. The New York Times investigation evaluated myriad documentation related to One Concern's business, and also interviewed employees, clients and investors. One Concern's technology, according to the report, has been faulty in using artificial intelligence to help disaster responders know where they were needed during natural disasters such as earthquakes, with cities such as San Francisco and Seattle voicing concern about its reliability. Company co-founder and CEO Ahmad Wani says One Concern's products are not intended to replace first responders' "decision-making judgment or capability," and that he did not think its errors risked lives, as some critics have contended. — NEW YORK TIMES

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3. By the Numbers: Venture Capital in India

Yesterday, ecommerce startup and Y Combinator graduate Meesho, based in Bangalore, announced a $125 million Series D round with funds from Naspers Ventures, Facebook and Sequoia, among other investors. Venture capital investment into India has been on a steady increase for the last 10 years, in part because ecommerce there is expected to rise from $38.5 billion in 2017 to $200 billion by 2026. Other notable deals have included Walmart's $16 billion acquisition of Flipkart last year; South African investor Naspers $1 billion funding round for food delivery startup Swiggy last December; and the New York-based Tiger Global's investments this year in grocery startup Grofers, as well as Ninjacart, which provides a supply chain platform.

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4. Venture capitalist Aileen Lee still believes in unicorns. Lee coined the term "unicorn" in 2013 to describe companies that are fewer than 10 years old but worth more than $1 billion for a Tech Crunch article she was writing on the phenomena. At the time, there were only 39 such companies, and Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures, described them as the Unicorn Club, in order to convey "that it's a very rare, somewhat magical occurrence and something special." These days, less so. Currently, 484 companies can claim unicorn status. Lee stands by the nomenclature, noting that of the thousands of startups launched each year, and "despite the best intentions of founders and team members," very few will become unicorns.— NPR

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5. Chief Technology Officers for funded startups are more likely to have attended technical universities than founders and chief executives of the same companies, according to a new data set analyzing the top 100 schools startup CTOs attended. — CRUNCHBASE

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6. SpaceX founder Elon Musk endorsed presidential candidate and Venture for America founder Andrew Yang this week, on Twitter, natch, prompting the emergence of an #ElonForYang hashtag. — INC.

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7. Officials in Midwest cities such as Columbus, Ohio say they feel pressured to provide tax incentives to startups, and then must grapple with budgetary strains and a lack of payoff when the startups succeed and move their profits elsewhere. — BLOOMBERG

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8. The Santa Fe, NM-based art startup Meow Wolf is facing criticism from investors—and a potential lawsuit—following a forced buyback of shares purchased through a $1.3 million 2017 WeFunder campaign. — DENVER POST

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9. Virgin StartUp announced yesterday that it will equally fund male and female founders through its nonprofit for British entrepreneurs by the end of 2020. — CNBC

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10. The Seattle-based natural beauty products company Herbivore yesterday announced a $15 million funding round; the company reflects the rising impact of influencers on the beauty industry—Herbivore has 450,000 followers on Instagram—and the decline of department store-based beauty lines. — GEEKWIRE

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Julia Goldberg is a journalist and author living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She writes regularly about the intersection of technology and culture, and is the executive director of MIX Santa Fe, a networking organization for entrepreneurs. She writes the Inside Founders newsletter and can be found on Twitter @votergirl.

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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