Manufacturing firm Bright Machines raises $132M after unfulfilled SPAC deal

In May of last year, Bright Machines announced plans to embrace the SPAC craze with a merger deal that valued the Bay Area-based manufacturing firm at $1.6 billion. As the temperatures for the phenomenon cooled, however, so too did its plans. The plug was pulled last December, a little over a month before it was planned to go through.

Even without the SPAC slowdown, it hasn’t exactly been the ideal economy for such a large deal.

Today, the company announced that it’s returned to the more tried and true method of fundraising with a combined $132 million raise — that’s $100 million in equity funding (led by founder Lior Susan’s own Eclipse Ventures) and $32 million in debt (co-led by Silicon Valley Bank and Hercules Capital). All told, the latest round brings the firm up to $330 million since its 2018 founding, when it arrived with a $179 million Series A.

The funding comes as the U.S. has taken an aggressive approach toward reinvigorating domestic manufacturing, in part due to economic incentive bills like the CHIPS act. Firms like Intel have been investing billions to help diversify geographic semiconductor production. Bright Machines’ own vision is built around the concept of “micro factories” — software-driven production lines that rely on robotics and automation.

The company says it has deployed some 100 such micro factories across 13 countries since its founding. The latest funding will go toward accelerating its roadmap.

Manufacturing firm Bright Machines raises $132M after unfulfilled SPAC deal by Brian Heater originally published on TechCrunch

Foxglove raises $15M to build dev infrastructure for robots

Foxglove, a startup building an infrastructure stack for robotics, today announced that it raised $15 million in a Series A funding round led by Eclipse with participation from Amplify Partners and angel investors including Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt. The proceeds bring Foxglove’s total raised to $18.7 million, which CEO Adrian Macneil says is being put primarily toward product development and expanding the company’s product engineering and sales teams.

Macneil previously led infrastructure at Cruise, the self-driving car company backed by GM (hence Vogt’s involvement), and was the first director of engineering at Coinbase. While at Cruise, Macneil says that he saw firsthand the lack of off-the-shelf tooling for robotics and autonomous vehicle development; Cruise had to hire entire teams to build tooling in-house, including apps for visualization, data management, AI and machine learning, simulation and more.

That inspired Foxglove, which began in early 2021 as a fork of Webviz, an open source web visualization project released by Cruise three years ago. After rewriting most of the code, adding support for different robotics frameworks and creating complementary tools for data logging and management, Macneil and Foxglove’s second co-founder, Roman Shtylman (also a Cruise and Coinbase veteran), formally launched both the company and platform.

“It’s incredibly inefficient and redundant for all robotics companies to build nearly identical internal tools,” Macneil told TechCrunch via email. “To expand the robotics industry, we need to lower the barrier to success for robotics companies by creating high-quality off-the-shelf solutions and freeing roboticists up to focus on domain-specific challenges.”


Foxglove’s cloud suite. Image Credits: Foxglove

Foxglove creates cloud-based tools and libraries like the open source MCAP, which provides a standardized interface for companies to exchange data. As Macneil explained, robotics data is unique; most file formats aren’t suitable for storing data like point clouds, camera images, machine learning inferences and controls output.

“Prior to MCAP, many of our customers were literally inventing their own file formats for recording data, which had predictable consequences when they tried to bring this data into standardized tools,” Macneil said. “We’ve since had some big names in the industry, such as Anduril, adopt and contribute to this open-source project.”

Recently, Foxglove released a rewritten 3D visualizer, which ships with features such as a viewer that allows users to combine camera images and 3D models in the same scene. Looking ahead to the future, Macneil says that he aims to help customers streamline data uploads from the field or remote facilities and improve Foxglove’s support for simulated data, a major pain point.

“The robotics industry is still in its infancy and not getting as much attention as the broader AI industry — but impressive companies are being built and enormous opportunities. The biggest challenge facing the robotics industry is a lack of awareness,” Macneil said. “Funnily enough, it reminds me of when I first started working in crypto. It was challenging to hire experienced technical folks because it was such a niche industry. Thankfully, we’re seeing awareness accelerate quickly as people realize the importance of the problems being solved.”

Foxglove claims to be “in an excellent position cash-wise” and growing quickly, with an 8x uptick in active users over the past year. The company, which is entirely remote with 19 employees across four countries, has more than 3,000 users on its cloud-based tools and enterprise customers, including Nvidia and 6 River Systems.

Foxglove raises $15M to build dev infrastructure for robots by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

These AI-powered robot overlords are here to keep your warehouse workers safe(r)

Last year, Voxel raised $3 million to make warehouses safer through AI-powered security cameras. It has been busy in the background, working and raising funds to further develop its tech to make warehouses safer and to ramp up operations even further.

The company grew from a headcount of eight to 30 so far this year, and the fundraise will accelerate its investment in talent even further, to double down on its mission to decrease workplace injuries and workplace accidents. The company told me it has grown “at an unprecedented pace,” decreasing on-site injuries by more than 80%. The company claims it has increased operational productivity by over 20% at its initial customer sites. 

The stats caught the eye of insurance companies and health-and-safety-conscious warehouse managers alike. The company’s goal — in addition to fewer hands chopped off in rogue forklift accidents — is to transform risk management and workplace safety. The company aims “to fundamentally change how insurance companies underwrite risk” and told me it is trying to strengthen the relationship between insurers and their customers through “robust data and actionable intelligence.”

By relying on AI and edge computing, the company is trying to stay on the good side of the emerging warehouse unions and privacy concerns. It claims it is committed to privacy and security, designing its algos in a way that means they aren’t tracking personally identifiable information.

Voxel’s incident report screen. Image Credits: Voxel

“Site safety and operations are often a reactive and manual process, where security cameras are reviewed after issues occur,” said Alex Senemar, CEO of Voxel. “Voxel is the first solution to allow companies to proactively identify key behaviors that lead to costly injuries using their existing camera infrastructure.”

A $15 million Series A funding round was led by Eclipse Ventures with participation from MTech and World Innovation Labs.

This latest round of funding brings total equity raised to $18 million.

“We are at an inflection point in terms of rebuilding U.S. manufacturing, logistics and physical operations, which represent over 40% of the U.S. GDP. Voxel’s technology catalyzes tangible results and lasting change in the safety and efficiency of their customer’s operations,” said Aidan Madigan-Curtis, partner at Eclipse Ventures and Voxel board member. “The Eclipse team believes Voxel’s core architecture, which takes a non-intrusive approach by leveraging existing camera infrastructure, and their cutting-edge AI applications will enable Voxel to become a category-leader in software and AI applications across a multitrillion dollar set of physical-industry sectors.”

Dutch raises $20M to scale its telemedicine platform for pets

Virtual veterinarian care platform Dutch has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Forerunner Ventures and Eclipse Ventures. The San Francisco-based company’s latest round comes seven months after its market launch and brings its total funding raised to $25 million. Dutch utilizes licensed veterinarians and provides a digital health platform for pets and their families to make pet care more accessible.

The platform launched in July 2021 and was inspired by Dutch founder and CEO Joe Spector’s personal experience. Spector told TechCrunch that he realized there was an opportunity to create a modern form of accessible veterinary care after seeing that his brother’s anxious dog was being left untreated. He noted that many pet owners wait until their pet is experiencing a much larger issue so that they can make the most of one vet visit and just one fee, but pet owners shouldn’t have to do so anymore.

“Like tens of millions of other Americans, my wife and I got a pandemic puppy,” Spector said. “Even though we’ve been using telemedicine for ourselves and our kids during the lockdowns, I realized that pretty much any interaction I would need for my new pup would require me dragging him to the vet’s office, which is not only expensive but time-consuming. It didn’t make sense that humans and even babies could chat with a doctor online and get medications prescribed, but pet parents could not. I realized there was a much-needed opportunity to create a modern form of accessible, high quality and trustworthy veterinary care for everyday ailments.”

Since its launch, Dutch has served over 25,000 pets through 100 licensed veterinarians. To get started with the platform, pet owners are asked to provide a few details, after which they can set up a time for a video call. Once you’ve completed your first visit, you can reconnect with a vet at any time through the platform. Dutch’s team of vets can help with numerous issues, including itching, tremors or shivering, hair loss, fear of being alone, diet and nutrition, fear of new places or people, red or inflamed skin, vomiting and more.

Image Credits: Dutch

As for the new funding, Spector says Dutch will use it to invest in its intellectual property and grow its electronic medical records database to make it easier for pet owners to collect and share their pets’ data and prescriptions. The funding will also be used to grow its pharmacy network to enable same-day and next-day delivery. In addition, Dutch plans to hire across various divisions and double down on customer acquisition tools while also expanding its veterinary network.

In terms of the future, Spector says Dutch plans to build out its membership perks and also introduce more ways for customers to choose how they want to communicate based on the condition that their pet is in.

“Our north star is to put the power of pet health in the hands of consumers,” Spector said. “With the consumer at the center, we want to focus on bringing as many services as possible to the consumer’s door and on the consumer’s time. We want to make our product offering and pricing transparent, high value and customizable.”

Dutch’s Series A investment follows its Jimmy Fallon-backed $5 million seed round announced last year. The seed round was led by Forerunner Ventures and included participation from Bing Capital and Trust Ventures.

Wayve raises $200M Series B led by Eclipse for its AI for autonomous delivery vehicles

British autonomous vehicle startup Wayve has raised a $200 million Series B funding round from investors to scale its technology and expand its partnerships with commercial fleets. Wayve is aiming to be a major player in the arena of Robo-deliveries and logistics.

It’s now raised a total of $258 million to date, for its technology, which relies largely on commodity video cameras around the vehicle tied to on-vehicle AI-driven software, making it highly responsive to its surroundings as it relies less on being connected to 4 or 5G networks.

Eclipse Ventures, a previous investor, led the round. Other participating investors include D1 Capital Partners, Baillie Gifford, Moore Strategic Ventures and Linse Capital, as well as Microsoft and Virgin, and early-stage investors Compound and Balderton Capital. They join strategic investor Ocado Group and angel investors including Sir Richard Branson, Rosemary Leith, Linda Levinson, David Richter, Pieter Abbeel, and Yann LeCun.

Wayve CEO Alex Kendall says Wayve’s test vehicles have managed to successfully negotiate not only London but also cities its vehicles have never been to previously. Given UK streets are typically medieval in layout, this is no mean feat.

Ocado, the UK online grocery technology company, previously invested $13.6 million in Wayve and entered into an autonomous delivery trial with the startup, as has British supermarket chain Asda.

Arc hooks another $30M in investment as EV interest spills over into electric boats

Arc is not even a year old and the electric boat startup has attracted investment from top VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, entertainment industry big wigs and now a $30 million raise led by an early Tesla executive who led the automaker’s early manufacturing efforts.

The $30 million Series A was led by Greg Reichow, the former Tesla executive who is now a partner at Eclipse Ventures. Existing investors — Andreessen Horowitz, Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital and Ramtin Naimi’s Abstract Ventures also joined. Reichow will also join Arc’s board, the startup said in its Tuesday announcement. To date, Arc has raised $37 million, including earlier investment from the funds of Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Combs Enterprises.

The influx of capital and heavy hitting backers for the young company reflects broadening interest in electrification beyond a vehicle with two or four wheels — a sector that has been flooded with multimillion-dollar private funding raises as well as eye-popping debuts on public exchanges. (Earlier this week, GM announced it had taken a 25% stake in electric boat company Pure Watercraft.)

It’s also, of course, a validation of Arc’s particular business, which is to electrify everything on the water, starting with a limited-edition $300,000 boat.

Mitch Lee, who is CEO, and former SpaceX engineer Ryan Cook co-founded Arc with a plan to develop and sell electric watercraft at various price points and use cases. They started by focusing on the design and development of a purpose-built hull and purpose-built battery packs. Its first boat is the Arc One, a 24-foot aluminum boat that produces 475 horsepower and can run between 3 to 5 hours on a single charge. Arc will produce fewer than 25 Arc One boats.

Arc has plans that expand beyond building and selling a couple of dozen high-priced boats. But at least in the near term, Arc is focused on delivering the Arc One, the company said.

Ex-Apple designer’s ultra-premium audio hardware startup Syng raises $48.75 million

Audio startup Syng has been building on quite a bit more hype than the average fresh hardware startup, largely because of the team behind it. Founder and CEO Chris Stringer was Jony Ive’s first hire at Apple and worked at the company for 21 years. In an interview, Stringer referred to the first time he heard stereo audio was “the most impressive product demo ever,” and that his company is looking to build on that wonder by building “triphonic” audio hardware that can transform the home-listening experience with spatial audio.

“It’s about transforming the stage from that stage/audience static experience that’s essentially just an image on the wall, to actually making the stage the square footage of your home,” Stringer tells TechCrunch.

Syng has closed a $48.75 million “combined” Series A from investors led by Palo Alto-based Eclipse Ventures, the startup tells TechCrunch. Other investors include Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger, Lionel Richie, and Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia. The company has now raised $50 million to date to build out an audio hardware startup with a hefty focus on design and advanced tech.

The company’s hardware relies on computational audio technology similar to tech that consumers have seen in products like the HomePod, which allows speakers to adjust to the spaces that they’re in. But Syng’s products are designed for spatial audio first-and-foremost. The company’s first product — the Syng Cell Alpha — is a high-end $1,799 speaker that looks like it belongs in a mid-century modern spaceship. The Apple design ethos is strong in the product which channels a bit of the Jony Ive-designed Harman Kardon SoundSticks, inside a package that Stringer says is meant to be treated more like a piece of furniture than the brutalistic tower speakers that currently carve out the ultra high-end of audio.

I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to the hardware myself, so I’ll reserve any judgments there, but while $1,799 is certainly quite pricey for a single speaker, it’s also clear that most users will not be getting the most out of the tech by buying just one. The Cell Alpha speakers are meant to interact with each other, taking in feedback while creating a dynamic soundstage for users. A big selling point of this auto-adjustment is less rigid speaker placement and the ability to let your design interests dictate where speakers are placed more than a room’s natural acoustics. This is likely only true up to a certain point, obviously, but Stringer hopes that this leads to fewer audio systems fixated around a giant TV on the wall and more people really enjoying music in their homes.

Image: Syng

The company currently supports up to 4 speakers in a single room. The Cell Alpha only comes in a single variation at the moment, but Stringer hints at future products down the road in different price points and sizes.

Getting an ultra-high-end audio setup in your home has typically meant hiring a contractor and creating a weave of complex speakers, cables, receivers, amps and universal remotes that can be an awful lot for anyone to handle. Syng’s model brings a more Sonos-like approach, treating devices more like home objects than utilitarian objects to be disguised and hidden, into the mix.

Hardware is hard — as they say — and consumer audio can be an especially difficult place to play as a newcomer. Legacy is more important in internet-connected audio than most other realms of hardware, as people can often keep premium home audio products running for decades — or at least much longer than other tech devices. Betting on the reliability of a lifetime of firmware updates for a new startup can be a tricky bet for consumers, especially with a price tag like the Cell Alpha’s. Another challenge for the startup is that most users have scant options for playing spatial audio,  most music streaming services barely support it. As executive Chris Stringer notes, this likely won’t be the case for long as major players like Apple start pushing the technology more aggressively, but hardware startups and market timing have always had a complicated relationship.

Other investors in the startup include Bridford Group, SIP Global Partners, Renegade Partners, Animal Capital, Schusterman Family Investments, Vince Zampella and Alex Rigopolous. Stringer says the funding will be used for R&D around the company’s future hardware and software products.

Eclipse Ventures has $500 million more to digitize old-line industries and bring them up to speed

Two years ago, we talked with Lior Susan, the founder of now six-year-old Eclipse Ventures in Palo Alto, Ca. At the time, the outfit believed that the next big thing wasn’t another social network but instead the remaking of old-line industries through full tech stacks — including hardware, software and data — capable of bring them into the 21st century.

Fast forward, and nothing has changed, not inside of Eclipse anyway. While the world has gone through a dramatic transformation owing to the coronavirus pandemic — never has the U.S.’s crumbling infrastructure been so apparent to so many – Eclipse is backing exactly the same kinds of companies that it always has and with the same size fund. Indeed, after closing its second and third funds with $500 million, the firm quietly closed its fourth vehicle earlier this month with $500 million in capital commitments from predominately endowments.

This morning, we talked with Susan about Eclipse’s focus on revitalizing old industries that remain largely untouched by tech, and why the pitch of Lior and the rest of Eclipse’s team has never been more powerful. Excerpts from that conversation follow, edited lightly for length and clarity.

TC: Because of where Eclipse focuses, you were long aware of the coming supply chain crises that the pandemic brought to the fore. Have your priorities changed at all as an investor? Did you have a to-do list going into 2020 and has that changed?

LS: Not really. We’ve been saying from inception that the infrastructure that we are living in is 50 to 60 years old across the board. We’ve been all of this time in those social software and fintech, new ideas and consumer trends. But we don’t live in the internet, we actually live in the physical world. And the physical world is not [receiving investment] at all. But much of that innovation can be applied to the world in which we are living, and what we want to do is bring that $65 trillion backstage economy into the digital age.

TC: In this go-go market, not a lot of funds are raising the same amounts as they have previously. Why did you choose to do so?

LS: We have a very specific strategy. We only lead early-stage investments in around 22 companies per fund, we [want] 20% to 25% with our initial check, and we double down on companies that we think are breaking out and try to lead two or three rounds in a row. And we know how to run the spreadsheets and we know how to make an assumption [about] what is the enterprise value we need to create in order to deliver alpha returns, and [that math leads us to] $500 million.

TC:  The last time we’d talked, Eclipse had also helped created and funded a company, Bright Machines, which primarily develops software for robotic systems inside of manufacturing companies. Have you launched any other companies in the last couple of years? I remember you don’t like the word ‘incubate.’

LS: We call it venture equity internally, but basically, we are very thesis oriented, so a lot of our investments start with us [circling around] an investment thesis and an area that we believe is getting really interesting. I’m right now working on a thesis around insurance in the manufacturing space [that will cover] working comp, facilities, assets . . . It [always] will start with a one-page thesis and we’ll talk inside the firm about it, and we’ll go hunt. But we don’t find what we like in a lot of cases. This is where we’re like, ‘Okay, we come from operating backgrounds. Why not roll up our sleeves and figure out how we can go and build these companies?’

You’re right that we did Bright Machines. We’ve also done Bright Insight (an IoT platform for biopharma and medtech that just raised $101 million in Series C funding led by General Catalyst), Chord (a commerce-as-a-service software for direct-to-consumer brands that just raised $18 million in Series A funding), and Metrolink (a new company that helps organizations design and manage their data flows). We’ve done [this model] a [few] times where we didn’t just invest in the company but we’re part of the founding team or we’re carving out assets. We’re trying to keep it very flexible.

TC: Interesting that you couldn’t find an insurance company focused on the manufacturing industry that you like.

LS: We have a lot of theses like that. We see a lot of horizontal business models and tech that [could work well] in the verticals where we’re playing and that we know need solutions. So, can you do a Slack for construction, or can you find the right people to build a Lemonade for manufacturing, or can you find the Shopify for industrial assets or spare parts?

TC: What size checks are you writing?

LS: I’d say $3 million to $4 million initial checks and up to $20 million or $25 million in a Series B, but you will find a lot of our companies where we invested $150 million plus over the lifetime of the company.

TC: Which company has attracted the most from Eclipse?

LS: I’d guess Cerebras [Systems, which reportedly makes the world’s largest computer chip].

TC: What do you make of what we’re hearing from the new administration in the U.S. on the infrastructure front. Do you think it’s talking about pouring money into the right verticals?

LS:  I was on a call with the manufacturing task force on Monday, and I will tell you — without getting into politics at all, because that’s above my pay grade — that the current administration is going to pour hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars, into upgrading the infrastructure of this country. And it’s going to be semiconductors, batteries, manufacturing, industrial infrastructure as a whole . . .

[I think last year’s ventilator shortage made clear] that we’d lost 100% of the manufacturing capabilities of this country and Western countries as a whole. And I think everyone now understands that you’re going to see a massive swing of investment in infrastructure and the only way to do it is through technology, because we actually don’t have a million people here that want to [work on an assembly line].  We actually need automation lines and software and computer vision and machine learning and everything that Silicon Valley is really good at.

TC: You have insight into what’s happening on the semiconductor front through Cerebras and other bets. There’s obviously a huge chip shortage that’s impacting everyone, including the auto industry. How long will it take for supply to catch up to demand?

LS: I think we’re going to see some big changes, but it’s  going to take many, many, many years. This is not software, we cannot bring everything up [to speed overnight] as you actually need fabs and cleaning rooms and assets. It’s pretty complicated.

It’s going to get worse in the next couple of quarters. It’s good for some of our companies that are working on the problem, but overall, as an economy, it’s pretty bad news.

Eye surgery robotics startup ForSight raises $10M

Israel-based ForSight Robotics announced today that it has raised $10 million for what it has deemed a “mega-seed round.” Led by Eclipse Ventures and Mithril Capital, the round will go toward expanding the company’s headcount and global reach, as it looks to bring its offerings to international markets, pending the sorts of regulatory approvals that go into launching a robotic surgery platform.

The company’s surgical platform is designed specifically for ophthalmological (eye) surgeries — a category requiring a great deal of precision. It’s also one in great demand. The company cites a recent study from the British Journal of Ophthalmology, putting the number of qualified eye surgeons at around 72 per million people in developed nations and a mere 3.7 surgeons per million in developed countries.

“It’s a proprietary technology that we developed. It includes robotics, visualization and machine learning,” co-founder and CEO Daniel Glozman tells TechCrunch. “Together, this will allow physicians to democratize surgeries. All physicians around the world will be able to perfect this procedure and perform ophthalmic procedures in a more uniform way.”

ForSight has an impressive pedigree for an early-stage startup. Notably, Intuitive Surgical and Auris Health co-founder Dr. Fred Moll sits on the company’s board, along with Mako Surgical’s Rony Abovitz and Mithril’s Ajay Royan. Joining them are a half-dozen ophthalmic surgeons rounding out the clinical advisory board.

As we noted last year, medical and surgical startups have been a hot category for VCs — particularly in the seed stage, which accounts for about a quarter of total funding. Some 600-700 companies received funding in 2019. ForSight seems to have the pedigree and interest to match. The company’s goal is to offer its technology to a variety of different markets, in order to level the playing field for access to quality eye surgery.

Weber acquires smart cooking startup June

Outdoor cooking industry leader and famed Kettle grill-maker Weber has acquired June, the smart cooking startup founded in 2013 by Matt Van Horn and Nikhil Bhogal. While financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Weber has confirmed that June will continue to operate as its own branded wholly owned by Weber-Stephen Products, and will continue to both sell and develop the June Oven and related products. Meanwhile, June co-founder Nikhil Bhogal will take on a role as SVP of Technology and Connected Devices across the Weber lineup.

Weber had already teamed up with June, with the startup providing the technology and expertise behind its Weber Connect smart grilling platform. That includes both the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub, which adds connected smart grill features to any grill, and the built-in smart cooking features on its SmokeFire line of wood pellet grills. That partnership began with a cold email Van Horn received in 2018 from then-Weber CEO and current Executive Chairman Jim Stephen, the son of the company’s original founder.

“He said he was a fan, he was a customer, and he couldn’t imagine a future without June technology powering every product in the Weber collection,” Van Horn told me in an interview. “I said, ‘Slow down –what are you talking about? Yeah, who are you?’ And he said ‘I’m flying out, I’ll be there Monday.'” I normally have my nice demo setup that I do, I’ll do like chocolate lava cake and a steak [in the June Oven]. So I got there about 15 minutes early to do that, and [Jim] was already sitting in the front steps of the office, ready to open the door for me – he’s like, ‘I don’t need a demo, I own this.'”

“His energy and, and ability to see things often before other people, it blew my mind,” Van Horn continued. “Soon after I met Chris [Scherzinger, Weber’s current chief executive], who was was joining as CEO, and was able to experience firsthand this, honestly very surprising and wonderful culture of this historic Weber brand.”

As mentioned, June became a partner to Weber and powered the connected cooking platform it debuted at CES last year. Weber also led June’s Series C funding round, a previously undisclosed final round of financing that Weber led in 2018 prior to this exit.

Van Horn will act as President of June under the terms of the new arrangement, and will continue to lead development of its current and future products. He said that Weber’s ability to help them with international scale and distribution, via their existing global footprint, was a big motivating factor in why June chose to join the now 63-year old company. But another key ingredient was just how much Weber proved to be a place where the company’s culture was still centered on customer focus and a love of food.

“Obviously why Nikhil and I started June was that we love food, and we love cooking,” Van Horn said. “And a lot of the principles of how we think about how products get made are a lot of Apple’s principles – a large percentage of the June team comes from Apple. We’ve obviously kind of brought that to a microscale with our small 60 person startup. But being able to work with this very eager Weber team, that’s just been really excited from the start has been pretty incredible.”

As for Weber, the company gains a software and technology team that was born out of the idea of approaching cooking from a tech-first perspective – and they intend to infuse that expertise throughout their product lineup, with an eye towards building on their legacy of quality and customer enthusiasm.

“Once you infuse the the software engineering, and the connected product design, and the machine intelligence expertise that you have, you get these core competencies or capabilities, but that really undersells it,” Scherzinger told me. “Matt put together a team of superstars, and and we just got a first-round draft pick [in June] that takes the Weber game to another level. That allows us to accelerate a significant number of initiatives, and you can, you can expect to see an expansion of what Weber Connect can become in terms of new experiences for consumers, new services, and new products, for sure, starting as early as 2021, and 2022.”

While Weber and June are not sharing specifics around the deal, as mentioned, Scherzinger did mentions that “Matt and his team and his investors all did handsomely.” June’s prior investors include Amazon Alexa Fund, Lerer Hippeau, First Round Capital, Promus Ventures, Industry Ventures, Eclipse Ventures and more.