eSports Learning Platform, ProGuides Secures $5M Seed Round to Accelerate Growth and Expand Content Capabilities

In 2019, ProGuides Registered 1 Million+ Gamers, Conducted 20,000 Coaching Sessions and Expanded to 55 Courses Across Eight of Gaming’s Most Competitive Titles(PRWeb January 24, 2020)Read the full story at

Climate Focused Startup Nori Completes Pre-Seed Round and Launches Carbon Marketplace

The Nori Team at TechStars Accelerator

The market for products and services powered by captured carbon is huge, $1 trillion in the U.S. alone. Globally, that number rises to $6 trillion.

SEATTLE (PRWEB) January 22, 2020
Using its own marketplace and cryptocurrency token, Nori incentivizes farmers to practice regenerative farming, a set of principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services. Beyond carbon storage, regenerative farming increases the soil’s water-holding capacity, stops soil erosion, protects the purity of groundwater and sets up the conditions for crops to become more disease and pest resilient. 
According to a 2014 Scientific American article, topsoil depletion could starve the world in 60 years. In a catch 22, farmers would need to change the way they do business, but that change comes at a steep price most cannot afford.
Now, with Nori’s token incentives, farmers will no longer have to face the daunting prospect of lower incomes when implementing regenerative farming because Nori’s marketplace will set the price of carbon removal at a fair price and remove the seven or eight layers of middlemen in the traditional carbon offset markets.
2020 is already shaping up to be big for Nori. The company is onboarding nine new farm projects and has another dozen waiting in line. These projects represent over 100,000 new tonnes of CO2 removed for sale. And with the close of the pre-seed round, the company is staffing up to handle the intense interest they are getting from both sides of the market.
In the second half of 2019 Nori launched its marketplace and completed the Techstars Sustainability program. As well as delivering on their milestones, the company closed (and oversubscribed) their $1.3M pre-seed round in December. And it’s no wonder investors are flocking to Nori.
The tokenomics of the project are simple: According to the Nori White Paper, one token equals one tonne of carbon removed. Once a carbon removal claim is verified by an accredited independent third-party, Nori issues a Nori Carbon Removal Tonne (NRT).
With the current system muddied by politics and middleman, prices are all over the map. The New York Times reported that in the 9 Northeastern states, the cost is $5, yet in California, the price is $15. In the EU, the price is $25 and British Columbia enacted a tax on oil and gas that will raise the price to $38 by 2022. The market for products and services powered by captured carbon is huge, $1 trillion in the U.S. alone. Globally, that number rises to $6 trillion.
While the enterprise side of the business would appear to be the most profitable, Lucas Joppa of Microsoft is quoted in Marketplace that he has seen, “incredible customer demand all around the world for digital solutions to help them better understand, monitor and optimize for their own carbon footprints.“
By implementing a simple token, Nori is able to scale to accommodate both major enterprise clients, as well as individual customers. From offsetting a factory or a taxi ride, a simple token is all it takes.
Companies like Black Rock Ventures have openly shared their mandate that all of their portfolio companies have a carbon policy. And the world’s largest companies, like Microsoft, are committing $1 Billion toward reversing climate change. Elizabeth Willmott, Carbon Program Manager at Microsoft discussed what they look for in a project, “We need to invest in carbon removal solutions that are immediately available and environmentally verifiable, and those for us could include natural climate solutions such as soil carbon sequestration.”
On the back of their recent traction and funding, Nori is fielding a lot of investor interest and will be raising a $5 million seed round in 2020 to expand its 10-person team.

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Kindred Closes an Additional $5.2 Million Seed Round for Events That Will Accelerate Sustainable, Purpose-Led Business Transformation

Primary Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau, and NextView among investors in Kindred’s seed round, in advance of its inaugural event, Kindred 2020.
Press Release – updated: Jan 21, 2020 09:00 EST

NEW YORK, January 21, 2020 ( – ​​​​​​​​Kindred, an events startup focused on accelerating sustainable, purpose-led business transformation, co-founded by Deep Focus founder Ian Schafer and Shoptalk founder Anil Aggarwal, announced today that it has secured an additional $5.2 million in funding in a seed round led by Primary Venture Partners. They are joined by notable investors such as Lerer Hippeau, NextView Ventures, Human Ventures, Able Partners, the founders of Warby Parker, Harry’s, and Allbirds, the founders of Casper (Neil Parikh and Philip Krim), and NFL player Ndamukong Suh. 
Kindred’s inaugural flagship event will be Kindred 2020, held at the San Diego Convention Center on May 11–14, 2020. The event will gather more than 2,000 business, nonprofit, and cultural leaders to take action, transform, and grow their businesses and relationships for a world that is demanding more responsibility and accountability.
Kindred 2020 will boast a lineup of over 150 prominent speakers from companies including Acorns, Andreesen Horowitz, B-Labs, Ben & Jerry’s, Bombas, Bravely, Diane von Furstenberg, Dole, eBay, Good Money, HBO, Procter & Gamble, Publicis Groupe, TOMS, WarnerMedia, and WW. Featured nonprofits will include Comic Relief, St. Jude, and UNICEF. Attendees will also hear from cultural leaders including Chance the Rapper.
Ian Schafer, co-founder and chief executive officer of Kindred, stated, “as business leaders continue to emphasize their commitments to their stakeholders (employees, customers, and communities), the time is right for what we are building. We couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated, more strategic group of investors to be with us on this journey. Each of them brings a commitment to social impact and to doing business with purpose. With their help, we’ll be able to bring communities of leaders together in productive environments that move all of us forward, in even bigger, bolder ways.”
“Kindred is well-positioned and perfectly timed to help businesses and brands meet a new bar for consumer expectations around purpose and impact,” said Ben Lerer, managing partner at Lerer Hippeau. “We’re confident that, with Kindred, Ian and Anil will add momentum to this movement through community, events, tools, and resources that empower stakeholders to work together and build more responsible and accountable businesses in the years to come.”
“We have seen the rise of corporate functions in fields such as Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion, Social Impact and Philanthropy,” added Ben Sun, general partner at Primary Venture Partners. “We are beyond pleased to support Ian and Anil as they build an impactful way for these leaders to learn, collaborate and transform their companies to be more purpose-led.”
“At Human Ventures we know that investing in people and placing humans at the center of innovation will unlock the greatest value in the years to come. What Ian and the team at Kindred are building will drive business forward from a human perspective,” said Heather Hartnett, chief executive officer and founding partner of Human Ventures. “We invest in people who see the world as it will be in five to 10 years. They don’t look at what is in front of them this quarter or next, but rather skate where the puck is going. That is where you can find the Kindred team.”
NFL star Ndamukong Suh added, “Throughout my career, I’ve made it a priority to be an active business leader who not only helps others be more successful but also helps them make a greater impact in their communities. As I learned more about Kindred, I realized that this community and event could truly change the world by changing the way the world does business—and I knew that was something I needed to be a part of.”
About Kindred
Kindred builds communities and events that enable brands, nonprofits, and cultural leaders to accelerate sustainable, purpose-led business transformation. Kindred’s inaugural event, Kindred 2020, will happen May 11-14 at the San Diego Convention Center.
To learn more, visit, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Natasha Mulla​ 
Source: Kindred

Loliware closes $6MM venture round with top impact investors

BEACON, N.Y. (PRWEB) January 19, 2020
LOLIWARE, the world’s leading seaweed-based material technology company replacing plastics, announced the close of a $6MM financing round, led by prominent NY venture firm Hatzimemos / Libby. As part of this announcement the company added new leadership, a new board member and announced that demand for billions of LOLIWARE’s Straw of the Future — seaweed-based, biodegradable straws — spans 68 countries across six continents. LOLIWARE will use the proceeds to meet global demand from Fortune 500 companies, scaling its first straws into the billions in 2020.
LOLIWARE, co-founded by Chelsea Fawn Briganti, is focused on changing the way people think about single-use plastic. LOLIWARE’s technology platform combines seaweed intelligence with cutting edge manufacturing techniques to create the plastic-free materials of the future. The LOLIWARE straw looks, feels and acts like plastic, but is made from 100% plant-based food-grade materials and is designed to disappear either through composting or natural processes. With a feel similar to plastic straws, the LOLIWARE Straw introduces an environmentally friendly solution to the global plastics problem without compromising the user experience or requiring a shift in consumer behavior. Unlike paper-based plastic-straw replacements, the LOLIWARE Straw can withstand over 18 hours of continuous use.
“The status quo – that single-use products should be ‘built to last’ – is destroying our planet. Seaweed is a miracle replacement waiting for us,” said Chelsea Fawn Briganti, LOLIWARE CEO. “All across our blue planet, there is an incredible collection of massive aquatic forests, in some cases dwarfing land-based resources. They efficiently capture CO2, forming tremendous carbon sinks while growing up to three meters per day depending on the species, which is why a seaweed-based product has an environmental advantage vs. petroleum, corn, or tree-based products.” Prior to starting LOLIWARE, Briganti contributed to breakthrough innovation teams for brands such as Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle, focused on industrial design and engineering, sustainable innovation, and smart materials.
“There’s an inherent belief that there are always trade-offs with sustainable products when in actuality they can simply be better for people and better for the planet,” said Oliver Libby, Managing Partner, Hatzimemos / Libby. “LOLIWARE proves that aiming for high returns from high impact, socially responsible companies is not concessionary. We’re investing in and co-building companies that we believe are good for people, the planet, and investors alike.”
Nishan Degnarain, an award-winning International Development Economist who chairs the LSE’s Ocean Finance Initiative and was the former Chair of WEF’s Global Ocean Agenda Council joins the LOLIWARE board said, “I joined the board because LOLIWARE is dedicated to leading the blue carbon economy with the proliferation of seaweed kelp forests to support a post-plastic world.” Degnarain advised Mauritius on its new Ministry of Ocean Economy, brokered the UN Declaration on Tuna Traceability, and was formerly at the UK’s Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. He is the author of the book Soul of the Sea in the Age of the Algorithm.
LOLIWARE has pioneered the world’s leading seaweed technology to replace single-use plastics. LOLIWARE’s products harness LIST (LOLIWARE Intelligent Seaweed Technologies) to create single-use items designed to disappear. The company’s headquarters are in New York.
In 2019, the company launched LOLIWARE’s Straw – The Straw of the Future – to replace the 360 billion plastic straws used annually worldwide that contaminate our oceans and harm marine life. The company is venture-backed by Closed Loop Ventures, Hatzimemos/Libby, Mark Cuban, and NY State Venture Fund.
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