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We're back in LA for a quick pitstop between a great team offsite in Colorado last week and a trip back to San Francisco this coming week. If you'll be in the Bay this coming week, give us a shout!
Welcome to the 2-Minute Drill -- a curated selection of the week's hottest stories from the world of tech, all in 2 minutes.

As always, shoot me a note to learn more or if you just want to say 👋.


📱 650.468.9543
📸 @crossovervc 

On my whistle...

Incredible Health Nabs $80M for Healthcare Provider Marketplace
One of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry today is the nurse shortage crisis, which is currently on track for America to be short by 1 million nurses by the end of 2023. To help combat this problem, San Francisco-based job matching platform for the healthcare industry Incredible Health recently raised a new $80 million Series B round of funding to continue scaling. This brings the 2017-founded startup's total reported funding to just shy of $100 million.

While our nation's population is aging, our supply of healthcare workers has failed to keep pace with demand. For nursing in particular, this challenge has been exacerbated by the strain caused by the pandemic, with a reported one-third of US nurses considering leaving the profession. 

Here is where Incredible Health steps in. With a focus initially on nurses, Incredible Health offers a tech-enabled labor marketplace where health systems can discover and recruit nurses. With humans still serving as the guide rails to ensure quality, the startups use automation and personalization to help match workers and employers. With a focus more on being the platform for all nursing needs, the startup also provides healthcare workers with other services ranging from skill development and relocation services to ongoing education and certification.

With nurses in high demand, Incredible Health is looking to flip the script and make lives easier for healthcare professionals by creating a dynamic where employers compete for their services. While this won't help address the nursing shortage crisis directly, perhaps better nursing experiences will help stem the flow of nurses out of the profession.

(more here)

Albedo Zooms in on $48M for Satellite-Based Earth Observation
This week Austin, Texas-based space technology startup Albedo announced a $48 million Series A round of funding as it looks to scale its satellite-based earth observation platform. This brings the 2020-founded startup's total funding to $58 million.

Satellite based imaging has played an increasingly important role for businesses as more satellites come online and as imagery and resolution continuously improve. In fact, way back in 2008 when I was an early employee at weather data and risk technology startup WeatherBill (which renamed to the Climate Corp and sold to Monsanto in 2013 for ~$1 billion), we were utilizing various data sets from newly online satellite-based imagery systems to try to improve our data quality and accuracy of our predictive models. Today, industries ranging from agriculture to construction to urban planning and defense all rely on satellite-based imagery to help better run their businesses.

Albedo's approach is to develop satellites that capture imagery with a resolution of 10 centimeters per pixel, and that include thermal infrared imagery. Using theses satellites Albedo can provide imagery that includes visuals, moisture levels, temperature differences, energy efficiency and more. As one can imagine, the use-cases for this data can have a meaningful impact on businesses across industry sectors.

With the new funding Albedo looks to complete the development and testing of its first satellite, which will target a low earth orbit. Additionally it will continue to develop the software component for the satellite operation and the imagery distribution.

With the quality of imaging improving and cost to launch satellites declining, expect to see more businesses in the coming years incorporating this kind of data into their core business practices.

(more here)

Disclosure: Crossover is an investor in SNR, which is an investor in Albedo.

Carbyne Dials Up $56M for Emergency Services Software
When there's an emergency, getting the right response--and getting it quickly--can be the difference between life and death. The problem? Much of our country's emergency services are run on outdated legacy platforms. To help bring modern secure communications software to emergency services, this week Israeli-founded (but NYC headquartered) startup Carbyne announced a new $56 million in Series C funding at a $400 million valuation. This brings the 2014-founded startup's total funding to $126 million, and the $400 million valuation is a 3x markup over its $45 million Series B round last year.

Carbyne designs cloud-based systems used by emergency services to help them more efficiently handle calls for urgent needs such as medical, fire, safety, transportation, and more. One of the challenges emergency services face is in ensuring that a call is routed to the right service provider--and quickly. The gap between the person fielding the initial call and where it gets routed too is a critical fail point. Carbyne seeks to use data and technology to both improve responsiveness, but also to help more effectively route the right calls to the right people. And going one step further, Carbyne hopes to augment this routing system with more data and context to help drive better outcomes.

The startup reports 400% growth over last year and that its technology services more than 400 million people making 150 million 911 calls each year. Its goal is to continue that expansion and help ensure our emergency response systems are ready to handle the evolving needs of our populace.

(more here)


Misfits Finds a Foodie Fit, Acquires Imperfect Foods
Last week we covered alternative proteins startup Planted as part of our analysis on innovation and funding directed toward what we eat (alternatives to traditional protein production), how we eat (delivery + virtual kitchens), how we streamline the food supply chain to reduce waste from what we are already producing and distributing, and more. 

This week we're covering the announcement that two of the bigger players in the food waste reduction category intend to join forces: Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods. Both companies are focused on delivering food products that would otherwise be wasted due to cosmetic damage, overstocking by a supplier, or other reasons unrelated to the actual safety of the food. For example, Misfits or Imperfect may take an odd-shaped potato or scuffed cucumber and rescue and redistribute it directly to consumers who don't care if their apples are "pretty". This eliminates food waste, while helping support farmers, consumers, and producers alike. 

We last covered New Jersey-based subscription food delivery service Misfits Market back in April 2021 when the company announced a new $200 million Series C round of funding at a $1.1 billion valuation. It since raised another $225 million in funding at a reported $2 billion valuation. For its part, we last covered Imperfect Foods back in May 2020 when the startup was closing its own $72 million Series C. In total, Misfits Market has raised a reported $526 million in venture funding, while Imperfect Foods had raised a tasty $229 million -- most recently at a $700 million valuation.

The two entities combined--in what is reported to be an all stock deal--will reportedly drive $700 million in annual revenue, while projected to join the three comma club in revenues (aka $1 billion) in the next 12-18 months. This would make them profitable, according to Misfits CEO Abhi Ramesh. 

With an eye on the IPO markets and how related companies like Instacart fare, it will be interesting to see what comes next for Misfits. More acquisitions? More expansion? One thing it does have going for its business model is that it is less susceptible to rising supply chain and food costs, as most of the supply it receives comes from products that traditional grocery stores reject and are otherwise sending to the waste bin. 

(more here)


Talent in Tech: Arena Club
Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter earned the nickname "The Captain" after he was named the 11th captain in the history of the New York Yankees franchise in 2003, and now he is back as co-captain (aka co-founder) of tech-enabled sports card business Arena Club. This week Jeter announced that he has teamed up with serial entrepreneur Brian Lee (of The Honest Company, and LegalZoom fame) and together the duo announced a $9 million round of funding for the new venture.

Now, before you jump straight to the assumption that this is yet another NFT play, let me stop you right there. It's least for now. Arena Club is focused on the booming traditional sports card business and is looking to leverage technology to address some of the biggest pain points and opportunities in the industry: Grading, Storage, Transactions, and "Flexing."

Let's start with grading. Grading is the process by which a card is authenticated and assigned a "grade" for how high quality it is. A small collection of third-party companies (Beckett Grading Services (BGS), Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), etc) are typically used in the industry, with a widely-accepted scale of 10 values ranging from "Poor" to "Gem Mint" used, with each company often applying their own naming values (eg PSA uses PSA-1 to refer to Poor and PSA-10 to refer to gem mint). As can be expected, a PSA-10 card is flawless, while a PSA-6 may have a dinged corner or some wax staining. It's worth noting there's a lot of money in this grading business!

Then there are the companies that securely store the cards in temperature and humidity-controlled environments, digital auctions and collectibles marketplaces for buying and selling, and lastly digital venues where users can show off their collections (aka "Flex"!). In past episodes of the 2-Minute Drill we have covered a number of startups in the booming trading card and collectibles sector, including Alt, StarStock, Goldin Auctions, Dibbs, Rally, etc. -- not to mention broader collectibles platforms like Goat, StockX, Fanatics, NTWRK, Whatnot, and more. Many of these startups combine the ability to buy/sell, store, and display collections. 

One of the most interesting things about Arena Club is that it proposes to use its own grading system, powered by advanced machine learning and computer vision. Collectors can send in a card, get it graded, and receive both a score and a detailed breakdown of the report (and authenticity). Users can then either have it returned or can pay to have it stored in their vault. All cards will then be available to be listed on their marketplace where collectors can display their collections and buy/sell from others.

Arena Club plans to make money by charging $35 to grade a card, or $25 if the user plans to have that graded card stored in their vault. Then there's the transaction fee where the company will charge 5% to the seller based on the value of each transaction.

And while the company is not wading into NFTs (yet) there is some blockchain technology at work. Every card  sold on the Arena Club platform is authenticated and then every transaction is stored on the blockchain for transparency

The grading component is what is most interesting and differentiated in my opinion among the sports card platforms -- though of course, collectors will need to accept these ratings. The one watch out is the that the digital collectibles industry has gotten very crowded lately, with some reports suggesting that while the super high end cards are still generating headlines, the everyday trading and values are declining. Will be a fun one to watch though!

Athletes + Entertainers involved include: MLB Hall of Fame star Derek Jeter.

(more here)

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Disclaimer: The content in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It also does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security.

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