This Week In Under 30
For a sense of how fans feel about Jack Harlow, consider Annie Rodgers’ preparations for the rapper’s November 5 concert in Eugene, Oregon. At around 2 a.m. that day, she drove to a 24-hour Walmart and headed to the intimates’ section to slingshot underwear across the store. After buying the pair that propelled furthest, Rodgers, 21, went home to emblazon “Mrs. Harlow” on the panties and tape a note inside, inviting him to join her the next day for a milkshake.
By 10 a.m. she was camped outside The McDonald Theatre, ticket and panties in hand, ready to wait 12 hours just to up her odds of being front and center when Harlow came on stage. (She was able to hand the panties to her idol, who jokingly sniffed them but didn’t show up for the shake.) Why such effort? “It’s just his overall demeanor; he’s got this cool guy demeanor,” says Rodgers. “He’s the guy that most guys in their 20s want to be, and most girls in their 20s want to be with.”
In just 12 months, Jack Harlow has gone from industry baby to 2 billion streams, 3 Grammy nominations and $5 million in 2021 earnings. In this week’s must-read story, take a peek inside Harlow’s meteoric rise.
This Week’s Money Moves
Softbank-backed mental health unicorn Cerebral has reneged on salaries and health insurance for hundreds of therapists. The company, which raised $300 million at a $4.8 billion valuation this month, changed the status of more than 200 employees from salaried to hourly workers in August and made their health insurance contingent on quotas in 2022.
Women-led Anthemis has raised $700 million of fresh funds for embedded finance startups. The fintech-focused firm looks to use the funds in a barbell strategy to back early and late-stage companies and is also announcing a new CEO.
With its legal fight with Apple expected to rumble on through 2022 and possibly beyond, cybersecurity startup Corellium is getting on with business. The firm has raised $25 million in funding to build android and iPhone cyber research juggernaut.
Munich-based HR startup Personio has joined a growing number of startups like Twilio, Atlassian and Canva that have pledged to donate 1% of the company’s equity to charity. That stake is currently worth $66 million after the company that supplies people management tools for small European businesses raised a $270 million round at a $6.3 billion valuation in October.
The Inside Scoop: Exclusive Under 30 News
Manufacturing Quality Assurance Startup Elementary Raises $30 Million Series B Led By Tiger Global
With manufacturing and supply chain inefficiencies plaguing gift shopping, car buying and everyday life, this week Elementary has raised $30 million to automate quality assurance processes on production lines. Traditionally, QA has been the job of a human inspector–the final job before a product is packaged–and the step that ensures the product functions as promised by marketing. With Elementary, an AI-enabled robot inspects every product, eliminating human error and inefficiencies.
Now with over $47 million in funding, Arye Barnehama, Elementary’s 31-year-old cofounder and CEO is doubling his company’s workforce and hoping to expand the technology’s use cases to other parts of the factory. “Companies need to manufacture faster and keep products at higher quality than ever before,” says Barnehama. “We find quality is the fundamental data set to help them reach their goal.”
This is not Barnehama’s first supply chain rodeo. After studying cognitive science at Pomona College, Barnehama dropped out and started Melon, a headband that monitored brain activity in 2012. Before the company was acquired by AR helmet maker Daqri, Barnehama lived in Shenzhen, China to oversee the wearable technology’s production. From there, he came to dedicate his life to automating machine learning on factory floors.
Elementary’s Series B was led by Tiger Global with participation from existing investors Threshold Ventures, Fika Ventures, Fathom Capital, Riot VC and Toyota Ventures. Though Barnehama cannot disclose many of his customers, the roster ranges from automotive to food manufacturing. “We’ve been cloud and machine learning native from day one. That’s really the breaking change in the industry that we see propelling new possibilities.”
Fintech Zoom Under 30 Nominations Are Now Open
Ten years ago, Fintech Zoom set out to create the inaugural 30 Under 30 list. One decade later, it’s now the definitive list of young people changing the world. Do you know someone creating the next Instagram, Stripe or Spotify? Nominate them (or yourself!) today.
Note: North America nominations have closed already. All other regions are open.