Armed With A Push-Bike And $25 Million, Europe Beckons For Premium Take-Out Service Deliveroo

“I was actually the first delivery driver, I still do deliveries for 4 hours a week,” Deliveroo CEO and co-founder William Shu tells me during a call. “I don’t do it on the scooter anymore, I do it on the bicycle. It’s actually really good exercise so I don’t mind.”

I can’t help wondering if this will soon change. His London-based startup, which offers food delivery from premium restaurants that don’t traditionally offer a take-out service, has just closed a $25 million Series B round led by Accel Partners. However, despite my suggesting otherwise, Shu insists that remaining so hands-on isn’t a PR gimmick, but enables him to gain a much better understanding of Deliveroo’s business.

Specifically, the problem that Shu and his co-founder and childhood friend Greg Orlowski have set out to solve is that a lot of take-out food, not least in the UK, is of poor quality, and yet most premium or higher-end restaurants don’t deliver.

To tackle the latter, Deliveroo has built its own online ordering and logistics platform, including recruiting a fleet of drivers and cyclists who, along with London, now service restaurants and customers in the UK cities of Brighton, and Manchester, with Oxford launching next week.

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7 Silicon Valley CEOs weigh in on Microsoft and the HoloLens

Satya

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella seems bent on making his company more relevant. 

Microsoft gave the public a compelling glimpse of the future when it trotted out the HoloLens, an augmented-reality headset along with the Windows Holographic platform, at its Windows 10 launch event on Wednesday.

But the event made headlines for other reasons, too. As part of its vision of having “universal apps,” Microsoft unveiled versions of Office and Outlook now coded to run similarly across different devices. It’s also bringing Cortana, the voice-controlled digital assistant, to the desktop via Windows 10. And Microsoft is finally on the road to replacing its heavily criticized Internet Explorer for a slick, new web browser codenamed Project Spartan.

With Microsoft’s latest announcements, CEO Satya Nadella seems bent on making his company hip and relevant again. But has he pulled it off? For a perspective from Silicon Valley, Mashable asked seven CEOs to weigh in, in their own words.

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Twitter’s password-killing tool is now available on the web

Twitter
Twitter rolled out the web version of Digits, the company’s tool to help kill the password, to developers Wednesday.

Digits is one element of Twitter Fabric, the new suite of tools for developers the social network rolled out last year during its Flight Developer Conference. Digits replaces passwords with mobile phone numbers with the goal of making it easier to sign up for new apps.

The thinking is that reducing friction at signup will make it easier for developers to keep users on their service as some users are put off when they need to make a new account and password for each service. During Flight, Twitter said this would be particularly useful in emerging markets where many users with smartphones don’t have access to a PC.

“Passwords or other extra steps in the login process may reduce your website’s conversion rate,” Twitter explains on its blog.

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Pillow Raises $2.65 Million To Take The Friction Out Of Airbnb Rentals

Airbnb has grown quickly over the last several years, but there are still parts of its marketplace that are difficult to navigate.

Due to the nature of peer-to-peer rentals, guests never really know what to expect before stepping into a space that they’re renting. Meanwhile hosts have to worry about stuff like key handoff, cleaning, and the like, and many aren’t sure how they should price their listings.

A startup called Pillow (formerly Airenvy) thinks that it can help hosts address common issues, while also standardizing the experience for guests. To do so, the company has raised $2.65 million in funding to expand.

Currently available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Napa, Pillow seeks to reduce the friction that comes in hosting and in renting out a space on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway. On the host side, the company does a lot of the hard work related to things like cleaning, changing sheets, key handoff, and other ‘concierge’-type services that hosts might not be around to do.

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7 Productivity Lessons From the Big Bads of Buffy

Whether or not you’ve watched the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, you probably have a sense of the premise: A superpowered Sarah Michelle Gellar battles vampires to save the world (a lot). And if you have watched it, you already know that it contains at least one metaphor for every single moment you might encounter in life.

Feeling powerless at work? Watch how Buffy handles losing her superstrength in “Helpless” (Season 3). Frustrated by how draining your day job is, when you have vampires to slay–or a side business to start? Buffy knows just how you feel, per “Doublemeat Palace” (Season 6). Wishing the people around you were better communicators? You’ll relate to the challenges our heroes faced in “Hush” (Season 4).

My colleague Leigh has written about some of the valuable lessons from the Slayer herself. But it’s not just the powers of good that have useful things to teach; the “Big Bads” are some of the most alarmingly productive characters ever on television. After all, you don’t get to be a leader of demons without some serious entrepreneurial chops.

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Ousted Founder Gurbaksh Chahal Raises His Offer To Acquire RadiumOne

Founder Gurbaksh Chahal isn’t giving up on his efforts to acquire RadiumOne, the ad-tech company that fired him last year.

Back in April, Chahal was ousted from his role as CEO after he pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of battery and domestic violence battery, leading to intense criticism of the company. RadiumOne and Chahal later issued a joint statement saying that they had resolved their differences.

Then, last month, Chahal made an offer to buy the company for an undisclosed price, and while RadiumOne said it would take the offer to its board of directors, it also responded that “RadiumOne is not for sale” and described the offered price as one that “fails to reflect the value that has been built in the company.”

But as I said, Chahal isn’t giving up. I’ve obtained a copy of a subsequent letter in which he raises his offer by 25 percent. My copy doesn’t include the price, but the source who gave it to me said it’s in the nine figures. (Re/code heard that the initial offer was for just over $400 million. If that’s true, the subsequent offer would add $100 million.)

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As It Seeks New Regulations In NY, Airbnb Estimates It Would Collect $65 Million In Taxes There

Airbnb has been trying to win over regulators and lawmakers in New York by pledging to crack down on illegal hotel operations and collect taxes from rentals that happen on its platform. In an effort to get new regulations passed to legitimize its service in NY, the company put an estimate of just how much the city and state is missing out on by not allowing it to collect taxes there.

In a letter to the NY State Legislature and NY City Council today, Airbnb global policy chief David Hantman estimated that Airbnb could collect as much as $65 million in hotel occupancy taxes this year, and that number would only increase over time.

In fact, that number has already grown rapidly — from $21 million that Airbnb had estimated it would contribute in taxes to New York just nine months ago.

There’s just one catch: Before Airbnb can begin collecting and remitting those taxes, the state and local governments in New York would first need to create a new legal framework for it to do so. Airbnb is hoping New York lawmakers will follow those in San Francisco and Portland in that regard by creating regulations that make renting out your home legal in that market.

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