By Silicon Valley standards, Munchery is already a success. The startup, which hand-delivers cold meals for customers to reheat, has tens of millions in funding. One of its investors likes to call it "the largest restaurant in the world." To get to that level, however, Munchery has been illegally storing Silicon Valley's dinner on the street.
The first and only time I was permitted to gaze (through a Skype window) at the glittering visage of Tyra Banks, the tech-curious TV personality told me she would "love to have invested in Uber." Banks, who launched her own photo app and claimed to spend "a lot of time in Silicon Valley," may have better deal flow now that she's dating Shervin Pishevar, an early investor in the $3.5 billion e-hailing company.
Blackjet, the Uber for private jets backed by Jay-Z, Ashton Kutcher, Will Smith, and Shervin Pishevar, has laid off most of its employees after additional funding did not come through, reports Boston.com. Last month, we reported that Blackjet was "basically over" and "fucked" and it's hard to see how the company could recover from these revelations from a former employee.
When the White House invite list for "top tech executives" got out yesterday, a few names stood out for the wrong reason. What would former Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, who stepped down in July after layoffs, a stock price free fall, shuttered games and a exodus of executives add to a discussion Healthcare.gov and NSA surveillance?
Of all the "Uber for __" propositions, the splashiest by far was Blackjet, the app that purports to help wealthy users book seats on private jets (for a $2,500 annual membership fee). When it launched last October, the company touted A-list Hollywood investors like Ashton Kutcher, Jay Z, and Will Smith, not to mention connections to successful—or successful-seeming—companies like Uber. But sources tell Valleywag that Blackjet is in a tailspin—out of cash, unable to raise funds, and "basically over." Another source said: "They are fucked."
Last week, Lenovo, a Chinese multinational corporation that sells personal computers and other electronic devices, hired actor-capitalist Ashton Kutcher as a "product engineer." Not a celebrity spokesperson, venture capitalist, or even the more laissez-faire "creative director" (à la Alicia Keys and BlackBerry, but a product engineer. Today, Fortune reports that Justin Bieber is the "lead investor" in a "new teen-focused social network" called Shots of Me.
Both Airbnb and Uber—shining stars of the sharing economy or efficient middlemen, depending on how you look at it—have chosen to use New York as a model city for making sure lawmakers rule in their favor. And what better way to tip the scales than by backing the man most likely to be our next Mayor?