News + Research

Latest news and relevant research on direct-to-consumer trends, scaling technology and business acceleration.

Some of our latest news + research.

Goldman Sachs leads $45M investment into auto fintech startup MotoRefi

MotoRefi has raised another $45 million in a round led by Goldman Sachs just five months after investors poured $10 million into the fintech startup to help turbocharge its auto refinancing business.

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Creatively raises $5M to help creative professionals showcase and find work

Creatively — a startup that helps designers, photographers, illustrators and other creative professionals showcase their work and find their next job — is announcing that it has raised in $5 million.

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Cambridge Data Gurus Join Hollywood Execs to Lead New Funding for Creatively, the Job Platform for Creatives

Creatively, the job platform for creatives, today announced a $5 million seed round led by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Link Ventures, joining Michael Eisner's Tornante Company and Shari Redstone's Advancit Capital as investors. Creatively will use the new round of financing primarily to expand its product and engineering team as well as its data capabilities.

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How to Create a Startup that Develops a New Industry

Carlos Cashman is an MIT grad with a visionary mind, a huge personality, and an even bigger heart. Carlos has an extensive background in strategic marketing, branding and positioning, advertising, high tech software and hardware, and design, and is typically driving multiple innovative projects forward at any point in time. Over the past twenty years, Carlos has worked with numerous successful startups as an executive, founder, investor, and advisor in the US and abroad. He has been a part of several venture-backed and non-venture backed startups and has founded a dozen companies himself including Thrasio, Asset Performance Technologies (sold 2018), OrionCKB (sold 2017), CourseAdvisor (sold 2007), and Opus360 (IPO in 2000).

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Attention Is All You Need

The NIPS 2017 paper that laid the groundwork for the language modeling revolution. The dominant sequence transduction models are based on complex recurrent or convolutional neural networks in an encoder-decoder configuration. The best performing models also connect the encoder and decoder through an attention mechanism. We propose a new simple network architecture, the Transformer, based solely on attention mechanisms, dispensing with recurrence and convolutions entirely.

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Language Models are Few-Shot Learners

Recent work has demonstrated substantial gains on many NLP tasks and benchmarks by pre-training on a large corpus of text followed by fine-tuning on a specific task. While typically task-agnostic in architecture, this method still requires task-specific fine-tuning datasets of thousands or tens of thousands of examples. By contrast, humans can generally perform a new language task from only a few examples or from simple instructions – something which current NLP systems still largely struggle to do.

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Tips for Refinancing Your Car - Kevin Bennett

Kevin Bennett is the CEO of MotoRefi, a mission-driven fintech startup revolutionizing consumers' financial relationships with their cars. An experienced CEO, Kevin has spent over 10 years launching and leading startups from early to late stage.

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Gratitude in 2020

This year’s business challenges have certainly changed the way the world thinks about processes. What was “par for the course” in January of 2020 may never again be viewed as our “normal” (new or otherwise); and what we considered as “thinking outside of the box” back in March is now table stakes.

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Link Ventures Invests in Trust & Will

Link Ventures is pleased to announce its newest investment, modern estate planning startup Trust & Will. We are leading the round with participation from existing investors including Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, WTI, Halogen Ventures, Luma Launch, and Techstars Ventures.

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A Legend Lost

From his company’s statement: “Seth was a genuine, dynamic leader whose remarkable passion, vision and tenacity attracted the world-class team we have in place today, which serves as the foundation for EverQuote’s success. We will be forever grateful for his entrepreneurial spirit and the welcoming and caring environment he cultivated.”

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Cogo Labs starts 2021 with another Best Place to Work award

During a year when everything we thought we knew about workplaces changed, we’re extremely proud to share that Cogo Labs has been awarded “Best Place to Work” honors by Built in Boston. In any year, at any time, it’s a thrill to win a “Best Place to Work’’ award. Coming after one of the most challenging years in modern history, it feels like a particular cause for celebration.

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What could your startup do with 10,000 more employees?

That was one of the questions posed by Dr. Alex Wissner-Gross at our annual Friends of Link Ventures event last month. He spoke about getting to the point of artificial general intelligence — AI that is so advanced that language models can teach us new language models. We’re very close to that point, according to Dr. Wissner-Gross, because of the availability of large data sets.

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Jobcase Raises New Funding, Aligning Capital and Partnerships with Mission to Empower Workers

Jobcase, Inc., provider of a social platform dedicated to empowering and advocating for workers, has announced a significant new capital investment, with Providence Strategic Growth (PSG) acquiring a majority stake and Workday Ventures participating as a strategic investment partner. The investment includes $30 million of primary capital to accelerate Jobcase’s product development, member services, and employer partnerships. In addition, Jobcase is joining the Workday Software Partner Program.

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This Mental Health Startup Is Open 24/7 To Refill Your Medications

Minded, a telehealth startup that renews and delivers mental health medications, announced its launch today for patients in the New York City area with $5 million in venture funding.

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MotoRefi Soars On Auto Loan Refinancing Rush

A rite of homeownership is the search for a better mortgage interest rate and refinancing to lock in. What many vehicle owners don’t realize is you can do the same thing with auto financing, which led to the creation of a fast-growing startup called MotoRefi.

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Boston Episode 34 – Patrick Boyaggi – CEO of Own Up

Patrick Boyaggi is co-founder and CEO of Own Up, a technology company changing the way people shop for and secure a mortgage. Prior to co-founding Own Up, Patrick was a Senior Vice President at Leader Bank, where he led a team that closed over $11B in residential mortgages. Patrick also served as a Management Consultant in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.

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Why Link Ventures invested in Creatively

Based in New York City, Creatively is a professional network for creatives. Think of it as “LinkedIn for the creative world.” LinkedIn and other job platforms are not built for creatives. They don’t showcase portfolios, an essential element for promoting creatives’ professional experience and connecting them to the right job opportunities.

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Building Human Trust In A Digital World

How can you provide a great digital product or service, while still providing the human contact that consumers want? The mortgage company Own Up originally got that balance wrong... and fixing it transformed their business.

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The Boston Globe Names EverQuote, Inc. a Top Place to Work for 2020

EverQuote, Inc. (Nasdaq: EVER), has been named one of the Top Places to Work in Massachusetts in the 13th annual employee-based survey project from The Boston Globe. EverQuote was ranked #23 in the category of large employers.

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Trust & Will raises $15M as digital estate planning hits mainstream

Let’s get something morbid out of the way right up front: estate planning is a growth business in 2020. Whether you need to create or update a will, build a family trust, or sign over power of attorney for end-of-life decision-making, it’s been a heck of a year for many families, and even more people are starting to think about these instruments if anything worse happens this year (and there are still six weeks left!)

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The Top 50 Financial Technology CEOs Of 2020

The Financial Technology Report is pleased to announce the Top 50 Financial Technology CEOs of 2020. These exceptional executives lead some of the most prominent financial technology companies across the globe and have helped define many of the wide scale advancements the industry has undergone over recent years.

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This local startup wants to revamp auto loan refinancing. It just raised a big round.

Auto refinance platform MotoRefi has raised $8.6 million in funding, the company announced Friday. Investors in the round included Motley Fool Ventures, CMFG Ventures, Accomplice, Link Ventures, Gaingels and others. Former Uber Technologies Inc. executive and Construct Capital co-founder Rachel Holt will join the board, as well as Rob Chaplinsky, managing director of Link Ventures.

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Jobcase announces $100 million growth round to empower the world’s workers

Cutting-edge competitive intelligence, mathematical modeling and behavioral analysis are what it takes to succeed in the ever-competitive startup scene. Link Ventures has quickly become the model for identifying the next “it” companies in the Cambridge, Mass. ecosystem.

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8 Takeaways From The Davos Day Of Innovation And Solutions

While Donald Trump and Greta Thunberg dominated the news coverage, the biggest conversations this week at the World Economic Forum at Davos focused on “stakeholder capitalism,” and both the opportunities and necessities for business to align with the public and nonprofit sectors to solve the world’s most intractable problems.

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In 3D: Davos, Dave, and Data

At this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Link Ventures Managing Partner and Cogo Labs Chairman Dave Blundin gave a presentation on Democratizing Big Data. Hosted in the iconic TCS Dome, Dave’s talk was part of the Blockchain in Action event which brought together global leaders from business, government, academia, and media.

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World Economic Forum: Blockchain in Action with Link Ventures and Cogo Labs

Each year, the World Economic Forum brings together an international array of prominent leaders from business, government, academia, media and civil society, to deepen relationships and work more collaboratively towards improving the state of our world.

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EverQuote Founders Talk IPO Fever, Journey from Biotech to Insurance

When I got on the phone Thursday with the leaders of EverQuote, Boston’s newest publicly traded tech company, I expected them to grumble about how I cast their venture as a “company you’ve never heard of” in yesterday’s story about its IPO.

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