Latch, a smart lock company, looks to become a platform with the launch of LatchOS

Tech that powers physical spaces is in the midst of a growth spurt. One company in the mix, Latch, is today announcing the next phase of the company with the launch of LatchOS.

Latch was founded back in 2014 with the mission of creating a vertically integrated hardware/software solution for door access in apartment buildings. Unlike some smart home locks that replace the lock on the door, Latch looked at the different locks that exist in apartment buildings and created solutions that work with each.

This allows building managers and apartment renters/owners to manage their doors and who has access, including the maintenance staff, deliveries, etc.

With the launch of LatchOS, the company is getting even deeper into the buildings, giving users the ability to manage more than just the door but integrate the app with other devices in a building. These integrations include Sonos speakers, Honeywell and ecobee thermostats, and Jaso and Leviton light switches all from their Latch app.

This is just the start. LatchOS was built to become the backbone of the platform, allowing more integrations to be implemented or built out based on the needs of the buildings and users.

Though the company has flown somewhat under the radar, it’s raised more than $150 million and says it did more than $100 million in sales in 2019, with one of every ten buildings in the United States being built with Latch products.

Latch makes money by selling hardware to building owners and then charging a monthly software fee, allowing the service to be free to renters and apartment owners. With the launch of LatchOS, the company can now build out integrations to earn revenue off of end users, as well, should they choose to upgrade to new features or purchase services through the platform.

The company, helmed by former Apple employees Luke Schoenfelder and Thomas Meyerhoffer, as well as full stack hardware engineer Brian Jones, has more than 230 employees and declined to share any information around the diversity of its staff.

“People have always seen us as a lock company and they wonder why a lock company is doing this other stuff,” said Schoenfelder. The reality is that we’ve never wanted to be a lock company. We just needed to build the locks to make the rest of the system work. That’s why we built our own hardware. We’ve always been focused on building the system that makes the building better for everybody.”

Check out this never-before-seen clip from HBO’s The Perfect Weapon

At Disrupt 2020, we got a chance to see some never-before-seen footage from HBO’s upcoming documentary The Perfect Weapon.

The documentary, which was executive produced by John Maggio, is based on the book by the same(ish) name written by David Sanger, Washington correspondent for the New York Times.

We got to sit down for an interview with Sanger where we discussed the cybersecurity threats the United States faces, the definition of an appropriate response, and in general, whether or not we should be worried.

You can check out the full interview below, as well as a never-before-seen clip from the upcoming documentary.

The conversation was an excellent lead-in to Zack Whittaker’s interview with the NSA’s Cybersecurity Chief Anne Neuberger, which you can check out here.

Human Capital announces the winners of its Delta fellowship program

Today, in the first interview of Disrupt 2020, Human Capital’s Baris Akis and investor Michael Ovitz announced the winners of its Delta Fellowship program.

Human Capital launched in 2016 with a mission to become a talent agency for engineers in the same way that CAA, founded by Michael Ovitz, was a talent agency for entertainers.

Human Capital helps engineers find great positions at great companies, and fosters their careers well beyond that, including helping them switch jobs, ask for raises and promotions, and more. Human Capital also has an investment arm that seeds these same entrepreneurs with funding when they’re ready to start on their own project.

The fellowship program is an extension of Human Capital’s commitment to people over metrics, explained Michael Ovitz, who invested in the company earlier this year. Sixteen fellows were selected from more than 1,300 applications across 20 countries and more than 200 universities.

Interestingly, the Delta fellowship application process did not include a request for a business proposal, but rather evaluated the people themselves.

“We’re here to partner with founders,” said Akis. “We get to know the people behind the ideas. We consider ideas in the context of the people driving them.”

Delta Fellows include:

● Abu Qader, a Cornell junior who developed a low-cost mammography tumor detection platform after seeing the challenges of healthcare firsthand in Afghanistan as a teenager
● Katie Mishra, a Stanford junior who published three books by the time she was 16 and started a nonprofit to teach middle schoolers the design, logic, and engineering behind computer science
● Eeshan Tripathii, an MIT sophomore who built a prototype for a low-cost ductless air filtration system and reverse engineered a $20,000 prosthetic glove into a $550 working prototype

Ovitz and Akis walked us through the details of the fellowship program in an interview today, which you can watch from start to finish below.

Disrupt 2020 officially kicks off tomorrow at 9 am PT and there’s still plenty of time to register for a pass. Speakers include Dropbox’s Drew Houston, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Doudna, Roelof Botha and Kevin Hart. See you there!

Human Capital announces the winners of its Delta fellowship program

Today, in the first interview of Disrupt 2020, Human Capital’s Baris Akis and investor Michael Ovitz announced the winners of its Delta Fellowship program.

Human Capital launched in 2016 with a mission to become a talent agency for engineers in the same way that CAA, founded by Michael Ovitz, was a talent agency for entertainers.

Human Capital helps engineers find great positions at great companies, and fosters their careers well beyond that, including helping them switch jobs, ask for raises and promotions, and more. Human Capital also has an investment arm that seeds these same entrepreneurs with funding when they’re ready to start on their own project.

The fellowship program is an extension of Human Capital’s commitment to people over metrics, explained Michael Ovitz, who invested in the company earlier this year. Sixteen fellows were selected from more than 1,300 applications across 20 countries and more than 200 universities.

Interestingly, the Delta fellowship application process did not include a request for a business proposal, but rather evaluated the people themselves.

“We’re here to partner with founders,” said Akis. “We get to know the people behind the ideas. We consider ideas in the context of the people driving them.”

Delta Fellows include:

● Abu Qader, a Cornell junior who developed a low-cost mammography tumor detection platform after seeing the challenges of healthcare firsthand in Afghanistan as a teenager
● Katie Mishra, a Stanford junior who published three books by the time she was 16 and started a nonprofit to teach middle schoolers the design, logic, and engineering behind computer science
● Eeshan Tripathii, an MIT sophomore who built a prototype for a low-cost ductless air filtration system and reverse engineered a $20,000 prosthetic glove into a $550 working prototype

Ovitz and Akis walked us through the details of the fellowship program in an interview today, which you can watch from start to finish below.

Disrupt 2020 officially kicks off tomorrow at 9 am PT and there’s still plenty of time to register for a pass. Speakers include Dropbox’s Drew Houston, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Doudna, Roelof Botha and Kevin Hart. See you there!

Disrupt 2020 starts tomorrow… join us for the LIVE pre-show right now!

We simply can’t wait. Disrupt 2020 officially kicks off tomorrow morning at 9am PT, but there are so many exciting features in this show — from the speaker lineup to the Startup Battlefield competition to the wide variety of features included in this new virtual format — that we simply can’t wait to go live.

If you’re so excited about Disrupt that you’re gonna pee yourself (completely understandable, btw) then hang out with us today at 12pm PT to check out everything you can expect from the 10th ever Disrupt conference. And hey! There may even be a few surprises.

You can also check out the full agenda for the show right here. And if you still haven’t gotten a ticket, get yours asap because prices increase tonight at 11:50pm PDT.

FaZe Clan’s Lee Trink, Troy Carter and Nick ‘Nickmercs’ Kolcheff are coming to Disrupt 2020

Esports, an already booming industry, have taken on an even greater significance in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. With traditional sports stalled or… er, different, esports and gaming in general have given folks a fresh way to enjoy competition.

Perhaps no esports organization has more clout or recognition than FaZe Clan. That’s why we’re so pleased to have FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink, investor Troy Carter, and world-famous streamer Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff join us on the Disrupt 2020 stage next week (September 14-18) to talk all things esports.

Trink, cofounder and CEO of FaZe Clan, has a rich history in the media and entertainment industries, serving as General Manager and COO of virgin Records before being promoted to President of EMI’s Capitol Music Group. At the helm of FaZe Clan, he’s helped build out one of the most followed esports organizations in the world.

Troy Carter has had an equally impressive career in media and entertainment. He was instrumental in building the career of Lady Gaga, among other artists, and also served as head of global creator services at Spotify. He’s now the CEO and founder of Atom Factory and an investor in FaZe Clan.

Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff is a professional gamer and streamer who rose to fame as a competitive Fortnite streamer. Uniquely, Nickmercs uses a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, which has further popularized him among other controller players who crowd to his stream each day. He is currently the most-watched Call of Duty streamer across any platform and is consistently among the top five watched channels on all of Twitch.

We’re excited to chat with this illustrious panel of experts about the evolution of esports, what sets FaZe Clan apart, and what entrepreneurs can learn from the viral growth of the organization over the years.

Pick up your pass to join us at Disrupt 2020 happening from September 14-18. You can get access to this session, founder how-to content on the Extra Crunch stage, tons of networking opportunities and access to hundreds of startups in Digital Startup Alley with a Disrupt Digital Pro Pass for just $345 for a limited time. Or for those on tighter purse-strings, you can get access to the Disrupt stage, breakout sessions and the expo for just $45. Join us today!

 

All the ways to meet someone and make connections at Disrupt 2020

No matter how amazing the speaker lineup is at Disrupt 2020 next week — and believe you me, it’s pretty fuckin’ amazing — there is nothing more powerful than the connections people make at our show. Whether it’s an investor, a future cofounder, an interesting startup, or a new friend, networking is a critical aspect of Disrupt.

For the first time ever, Disrupt is going totally virtual. But just because you can’t get 10,000 steps in in the Startup Alley doesn’t mean you can’t make powerful connections at the show. In fact, there are perhaps more ways to meet people at Disrupt 2020 than there has ever been.

If you’ll allow, let me count the ways:

CrunchMatch

CrunchMatch has been a staple of TechCrunch events for a long time now, but it’s gotten smarter! The platform uses machine learning to match you with the right people based on your interests. Not only will you get suggestions for people you should meet with, but you can also search for people at the conference based on topic or the type of person, like a fellow entrepreneur or investor.

Random Matching:

But maybe you’re looking for something more serendipitous. At Disrupt, we’ll have a networking platform that will allow you to jump into video chat with other attendees at the conference at random. After a few minutes, you’ll be thrown into a new conversation with the next attendee in the queue. Contact info for these people will be stored in your account so you can hit them up later.

Chat:

The chat function at the show is flexible. If you’re in the main reception section of the show, you’ll be able to chat to all attendees. When you head into the Disrupt stage section, the chat flexes to show only the chatter from the Disrupt Stage. The same applies to the Extra Crunch Stage, individual breakout sessions, etc.

Take a look:

 

It’s not too late to join in on the action but to take part in all of this fun stuff, you’ll need to grab a Disrupt Digital Pro Pass or a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package (today’s the last day to exhibit!). We hope to see you there!

Orchard real estate platform raises $69 million Series C led by Revolution Growth

Orchard, the tech-forward residential real estate platform, has today announced the close of a $69 million Series C funding led by Revolution Growth. Existing investors FirstMark Capital, Navitas, Accomplice and Juxtapose also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $138 million.

Orchard (formerly Perch) launched in 2017 on a mission to digitize the entire experience of buying or selling a home. They focused initially (and still) on ‘dual trackers’, which essentially means that they are home buyers who are also in the process of selling their existing home.

As you might expect, the process of doing both at the same time can be incredibly tedious and, at times, costly. Orchard makes an offer on the buyers’ home with a price that’s guaranteed for 90 days — the company says the vast majority of those homes sell at market price before that 90-day period is over.

Orchard’s product suite also includes tools for searching for homes, title and mortgage.

The search products, in particular, stand out among a crowded space of property search tools. For example, Orchard users can search homes by the room that’s most important to them, putting the Kitchen or the Backyard as the lead image on their listings. Orchard also uses machine learning to suggest more personalized listings.

Orchard cofounder and CEO Court Cunningham had this to say in a prepared statement:

In the same way Amazon has fundamentally changed retail, and Carvana has innovated the car buying experience, Orchard is putting the customer first and modernizing the home buying and selling transaction. We’re thrilled to have a partner in Revolution Growth who has extensive experience working with transformative growth stage consumer businesses that are upending traditional industries. In the year ahead, we’ll be launching an exciting suite of new products and services that further modernize the home purchase experience, while also offering our services to new markets throughout the country.

In the release, the company said it would be using the investment to further expand the product portfolio and grow the team in markets like New York, Texas, Colorado and Georgia, as well as move into new states.

Orchard real estate platform raises $69 million Series C led by Revolution Growth

Orchard, the tech-forward residential real estate platform, has today announced the close of a $69 million Series C funding led by Revolution Growth. Existing investors FirstMark Capital, Navitas, Accomplice and Juxtapose also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $138 million.

Orchard (formerly Perch) launched in 2017 on a mission to digitize the entire experience of buying or selling a home. They focused initially (and still) on ‘dual trackers’, which essentially means that they are home buyers who are also in the process of selling their existing home.

As you might expect, the process of doing both at the same time can be incredibly tedious and, at times, costly. Orchard makes an offer on the buyers’ home with a price that’s guaranteed for 90 days — the company says the vast majority of those homes sell at market price before that 90-day period is over.

Orchard’s product suite also includes tools for searching for homes, title and mortgage.

The search products, in particular, stand out among a crowded space of property search tools. For example, Orchard users can search homes by the room that’s most important to them, putting the Kitchen or the Backyard as the lead image on their listings. Orchard also uses machine learning to suggest more personalized listings.

Orchard cofounder and CEO Court Cunningham had this to say in a prepared statement:

In the same way Amazon has fundamentally changed retail, and Carvana has innovated the car buying experience, Orchard is putting the customer first and modernizing the home buying and selling transaction. We’re thrilled to have a partner in Revolution Growth who has extensive experience working with transformative growth stage consumer businesses that are upending traditional industries. In the year ahead, we’ll be launching an exciting suite of new products and services that further modernize the home purchase experience, while also offering our services to new markets throughout the country.

In the release, the company said it would be using the investment to further expand the product portfolio and grow the team in markets like New York, Texas, Colorado and Georgia, as well as move into new states.

Fabletics’ Don Ressler and Kevin Hart to talk D2C at Disrupt 2020

The world of retail has been absolutely rocked by the coronavirus pandemic. Stores closed across the country, and at the same time, online sales went through the roof. Direct-to-consumer brands, many of whom are masters of both online and brick-and-mortar channels, experienced unprecedented change in a matter of weeks and months.

To unpack all of this and much more, we’ll be joined by Fabletics co-CEO Don Ressler and actor Kevin Hart, who partnered on Fabletics mens line this year, at Disrupt 2020 this September 14-18.

Fabletics was founded back in 2013 and has taken a truly tech-first approach to D2C activewear, particularly when it comes to in-store sales. The company used heat maps in store to better understand foot traffic and interest in products, and even had iPads stationed in each dressing room to let users browse while they try on, or call an associate over for help.

The company, cofounded by Kate Hudson, has an interesting marketing advantage over some of its competition in the form of the cofounder herself, who posts Fabletics products on social media on a regular basis.

The athliesure space is incredibly hot, particularly in the wake of the coronavirus, which has encouraged people to put their dress clothes in the back of the closet and get cozy at home.

Ressler has a long history in the ecommerce space, selling his business FitnessHeaven.com to MySpace parent company Intermix Media in 1997. He stayed on at Intermix through its sale to News Corp. for more than $670 million. He also cofounded Alena Media and skincare brand Hydroderm, which have collectively raised more than $100 million and generated more than $1 billion in sales.

Kevin Hart, which you may definitely recognize from Jumanji, The Upside, and dozens of stand-up specials, led the launch of Fabletics Males, the menswear line from the company. He said that most mens activewear lines try to intimidate their customers into overpaying for tech they don’t want, and that Fabletics Males takes a different approach.

Alongside his work with Fabletics, Hart has also dabbled in tech investment, writing checks for Hungry (connecting independent chefs with customers for catering) and Run The World (a virtual events startup).

We’ll talk to Ressler and Hart about the upheaval across the D2C space in the wake of the pandemic, how the company thinks about competition, and what’s next for Fabletics. We’ll also chat with Hart about the tech trends he’s most interested in and his general investment thesis.

Disrupt 2020 goes down September 14 to September 18 with an outstanding lineup of speakers and plenty of opportunities to network and make connections. Get your front row seat to see this panel live with a Disrupt Digital Pro Pass or a Digital Startup Alley Exhibitor Package. We’re excited to see you there.