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Yamo scores €10.1M Series A to offer healthier food choices for young children

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Yamo, a self-described “foodtech” startup that produces and sells healthier food for babies and young children, has raised €10.1 million in Series A funding.

Backing comes from European food and agriculture tech investor Five Seasons Ventures, Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund, Ringier Digital Ventures, Müller Ventures, btov Partners, Polytech Ventures, BackBone Ventures, and Fundament. It brings total funding to €12 million.

Founded in 2016 by CEO Tobias Gunzenhauser, COO José Amado-Blanco, and CMO Luca Michas, yamo is on a mission to give parents healthier and easy food choices for their young children. Its products are available online via direct-to-consumer subscription model, and through grocery stores. The latter includes Coop in Switzerland, and trials in select Edeka and Rewe stores in Germany. With the new funding, yano is expanding to France and will launch new food products for children.

“In October 2015 Luca and I were co-workers in the same company, and we decided to eat vegan for a month,” says Gunzenhauser, when asked about the startup’s inception. “After starting our vegan challenge we had to scan food labels for hidden animal products. That was when we realised how many products in the supermarket contain unnecessary sugar and unhealthy ingredients. Out of curiosity, we checked the baby food aisle, naively assuming they would be the cleanest and healthiest food products available. We were quite wrong”.

Gunzenhauser and Michas observed that baby food products typically contained added sugar and salt, artificial vitamins, and a “scarily long shelf life, [which] seemed rather odd”.

“Everyone was talking about fresh, healthy, sustainable food for grown-ups, but the world was still feeding the youngest members of our families products that were older than the babies who ate them. Something was very wrong and we didn’t understand it.”

That was when Amado-Blanco, an old friend of Gunzenhauser’s and a food scientist, explained that those products are heat-sterilised, a process that also affects the product’s vitamin content, colour, and taste. The trio decided there had to be a better way and yamo was born.

“We talked to many young parents about how they perceived the current supermarket offering, how they feed their kids and what is necessary for them. We saw a clear gap in the market and set ourselves the goal of creating the freshest, tastiest baby purees the world had ever seen,” explains Gunzenhauser.

Image Credits: yamo

Instead of traditional heat-sterilisation, yamo uses high-pressure pasteurisation (HPP), which kills bacteria in minutes and retains the food’s natural nutrients, taste, colour and smell. yamo’s products last between eight to twelve weeks refrigerated. It also recently launched what it claims is the first non-dairy yoghurt in Europe for kids, using oat-milk.

Gunzenhauser cites yamo’s main competitor as homemade baby food, since the vast majority of baby food is still produced at home by parents. “This might be a result of distrust from parents in today’s offering they would find in retail. Our challenge is to show parents how yamo can support them raising their children healthily without any compromises,” he says.

Of course, the young company is also up against baby food incumbents and the yamo CEO concedes that the big challenge is that its products are refrigerated. “Normal baby food isn’t,” he says. “That is why we had to convince retailers to change the way they sell baby food. Coop changed its shelves for us, integrating a fridge in the regular baby food aisle”.

There are other startups entering the space, too. For example, in the U.K., there’s Little Tummy, and Mia & Ben, and in the U.S. there’s Yumi, among others.

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EventGeek relaunches as Circa to help marketers embrace virtual events

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EventGeek was a Y Combinator-backed startup that offered tools to help large enterprises manage the logistics of their events. So with the COVID-19 pandemic essentially eliminating large-scale conferences, at least in-person, it’s not exactly surprising that the company had to reinvent itself.

Today, EventGeek relaunched as Circa, with a new focus on virtual events. founder and CEO Alex Patriquin said that Circa is reusing some pieces of EventGeek’s existing technology, but he estimated that 80% of the platform is new.

While the relaunch was only just became official, the startup says its software has already been used to adapt 40,000 in-person events into virtual conferences and webinars.

The immediate challenge, Patriquin said, is simply figuring out how to throw a virtual event — something that Circa offers a playbook for. But the startup’s goals go beyond virtual event logistics.

“Our new focus is really more at the senior marketing stakeholder level, helping them have a unified view of the customer,” Patriquin said.

He explained that “events have always been kind of disconnected from the marketing stack,” so the shift to virtual presents an opportunity to treat event participation as part of the larger customer journey, and to include events in the broader customer record. To that end, Circa integrates with sales and marketing systems like Salesforce and Marketo, as well as with video conferencing platforms like Zoom and On24.

Circa screenshot

Image Credits: Circa

“We don’t actually deliver [the conference] experience,” Patriquin said. “We put it into that context of the customer journey.”

Liz Kokoska, senior director of demand generation for North America at Circa customer Okta, made a similar point.

“Prior to Circa, we had to manage our physical and virtual events in separate systems, even though we thought of them as parts of the same marketing channel,” Kokoska said in a statement. “With Circa, we now have a single view of all our events in one place — this is helpful in planning and company-wide visibility on marketing activity. Being able to seamlessly adapt to the new world of virtual and hybrid events has given our team a significant advantage.”

And as Patriquin looks ahead to a world where large conferences are possible again, he predicted that there’s still “a really big opportunity for the events industry and for Circa.”

“As the in-person events start to come back, there’s going to be a phase where health and safety going to be paramount,” he continued. “During that health and safety phase, it’s going to be the age of hybrid events — where everything is virtual right now, hybrid will provide the opportunity to bring key [virtual] learnings into the back into the in-person world, to have a lot more data and intelligence and really be able to personalize an attendee’s experience.”

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0% interacción humana; MUY abre restaurante sin contacto en Colombia

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Contxto – La colombiana MUY está dando el siguiente paso para llevar tecnología a la industria de alimentos y bebidas. El miércoles pasado, la startup anunció el lanzamiento de su primer restaurante sin contacto en Bogotá. El local está en pruebas piloto en Colombia, sin embargo, MUY afirma que hasta ahora, la respuesta de los […]
The post 0% interacción humana; MUY abre restaurante sin contacto en Colombia appeared first on Contxto.

Don’t worry, we speak : English (Inglés), too!

Contxto – La colombiana MUY está dando el siguiente paso para llevar tecnología a la industria de alimentos y bebidas.

El miércoles pasado, la startup anunció el lanzamiento de su primer restaurante sin contacto en Bogotá.

El local está en pruebas piloto en Colombia, sin embargo, MUY afirma que hasta ahora, la respuesta de los usuarios excedió sus expectativas. Si los resultados son lo suficientemente favorables, reajustarán más locales bajo este modelo automatizado.

Un proyecto así no es barato. Pero la startup había levantado US$15 millones en una serie B liderada por ALLVP el año pasado y probablemente esos fondos ayudaron.

Actualmente la foodtech opera en México y Colombia, pero espera llevar a cabo pruebas piloto en Brasil.

muy opens contactless restaurant in colombia
MUY abre restaurante sin contacto en Colombia.

MUY y la nueva experiencia sin contacto

Según José Calderón, CEO y cofundador en MUY, es la primera vez que se lanza una tienda con cero interacción humana en América Latina. 

Los clientes solo hacen su pedido y pagan en una pantalla de autoservicio. Por el momento su sistema acepta efectivo, así como tarjetas de débito y crédito. Pero en el futuro, MUY espera implementar transacciones a través de códigos QR.

No cabe duda de que eso es indispensable para una experiencia verdaderamente sin contacto. 

Una vez que su comida está lista, la persona la recoge de un casillero inteligente dentro del establecimiento y a comer se ha dicho.

Si tienen preguntas o inquietudes, hay un timbre de ayuda para recibir asistencia del personal que trabaja en el restaurante. 

Balancear los sabores en un restaurante

El último proyecto de MUY suena eficiente si trabajas en una oficina y quieres comer algo rápido. También es un enfoque innovador para la reducción del riesgo de propagar el coronavirus. MUY asegura que sus pantallas de autoservicio se limpian constantemente. 

Han surgido otros enfoques para transformar a los restaurantes. Por ejemplo, a través de apps y sistemas que automáticamente comparten la contraseña del WiFi u ofrecen un menú digital.

¡Información exclusiva, data y análisis semanales sobre el ecosistema tecnológico de Latam directo a tu correo!

Pero este tipo de experiencia no es atractiva para todos los escenarios. 

Los chatbots y pantallas táctiles no proporcionan el cálido servicio que un ser humano sí, como ofrecer recomendaciones, hacer chistes, incluso una sonrisa sincera. Es decir, asumiendo que el personal fue capacitado adecuadamente para ofrecer un servicio de calidad.

De cualquier forma, las tareas correctivas pueden delegarse a la tecnología sin matar el momento.

Entonces al final, es como los platillos que prepara el restaurante: se trata de equilibrar los sabores entre la innovación y el contacto humano para una experiencia gastronómica placentera.

Artículos relacionados: ¡Tecnología y startups de Colombia! 

-ML

Traducido por Alejandra Rodríguez

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Extra Crunch Live: Join fintech legend Max Levchin for a live Q&A on August 6 at 4pm ET/1pm PT

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We’ve got a great Extra Crunch Live chat coming up on Thursday, August 4, that you won’t want to miss. The one and only Max Levchin, is Silicon Valley icon and entrepreneur extraordinaire, is joining us to talk all things tech and fintech. You might know him as the CEO of Affirm, one of the hottest finance startups around right now, but he’s actually been a significant figure in tech in the Valley — and globally — for decades, making his name back in the first dot-com boom, as one of the co-founders of a little startup that you might have heard of called PayPal. Join us this week as we talk about all the many ways that fintech has evolved, what Levchin thinks about the current state of play, and what he thinks is coming next. ear from the one and only Max Levchin .

The magic happens in our next installment of our Extra Crunch Live series, on Thursday, August 4.

Extra Crunch Live is open exclusively to Extra Crunch subscribers. If you’re not already an Extra Crunch member, you can join here.

The EC Live format is a unique one for us at TC. It’s an hour-long conversation, and that allows us to take a deep dive, covering not only some of the biggest issues in tech, building startups and investing today but getting to the heart of them. At the same time, it’s a lighter format that’s actually fun to watch.

Taking the talk out of the formal, hushed, darkened rooms where you usually sit to listen to people get interviewed, we’re Zooming it and keeping it a little more relaxed, and we’re peppering the conversation with questions from you, the audience, throughout. See past talks with Sequoia’s Roelof Botha and Homebrew’s Hunter Walk for a taste of how this works.  (See the whole schedule of Extra Crunch Live talks here.)

Max’s current company, Affirm, is trying to bring something new to the world of financing payments, inking deals with a wide plethora of e-commerce sites to give shoppers a way to make interest-free payments in installments, based on a schedule that works for them, and signing up for the service in no more steps than it takes to make an ordinary card payment.

But because this is fintech — behind the scenes the real story is much more complex. Of course. Building these services today and building them 20+ years ago gives Levchin some amazing perspective on the challenges and opportunities of working with data. And it also has given him some critical insights into what consumers want and need, versus what they’ll actually use — lessons definitely pertinent to other financial services and e-commerce entrepreneurs, but actually just as important for other categories, too.

The “modern world” is a moveable feast these days: who would have thought in, say, January that the market conditions we face today would have shifted so drastically? All the more reason to continue the conversation and create more context to make better choices for your own business.

Join Max and me this week. We’re looking forward to it.

Extra Crunch Live is open exclusively to Extra Crunch subscribers, and so if you want to watch, join here. You can find the full details of the call below the jump!

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