Greylock Partners

HelloSign raises $16 million for its e-signature business

HelloSign dashboard

Whether you’re leasing an apartment, buying a car, or filing your taxes, you’ll need to sign an official document at some point in your life. HelloSign wants to bypass faxes and snail mail by digitalizing the process with its e-signature service and today announced funding of $16 million, led by Foundry Group and Zach Coelius, former founder and CEO of Triggit. Other existing investors that joined the round include Greylock Partners and Keith Rabois.

“There are certain laws and regulations that still deem a ‘wet’ signature on paper is required,” wrote HelloSign cofounder and CEO Joseph Walla, in an email to VentureBeat. “But these rulings were written before the advent of e-signature, and most agree that they need to change to allow for the easier, safer, and more secure e-signature options.”

The San Francisco-based startup claims to have 53,000 customers worldwide — including Lyft, Instacart, Samsung, and Time Inc. — which use…

Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig will design the politics in online game Seed

Above: Klang’s game Seed will have a political framework created by law professor Lawrence Lessig.

has spent his career studying constitutional law, and he has been helping new democracies to form the legal frameworks for governance. Now he is lending his expertise to Berlin-based independent game developer Klang to build the political framework for the upcoming massively multiplayer online game Seed.

While many games pay special attention to in-game economics, the politics, or a system that enables players and developers to govern the virtual world, have often been ignored. Klang hopes to differentiate its game through the political system, and that’s why it tapped a top legal mind to design the game’s political framework.

Seed is an online multiplayer world that will also have a lot of artificial intelligence, and it uses the SpatialOS for cloud games from Improbable, an online games infrastructure company that recently raised $502 million from Japan’s SoftBank. Klang itself has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Greylock Partners, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, and Unity founder David Helgason.

Above: Lawrence Lessig

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Lessig happened to meet Mundi Vondi, CEO of Klang, and start talking about games.

“After talking for a while, we moved on to how they were going to govern these places, the structure for governing,” Lessig said in an interview with GamesBeat. “It was clear that no one had really thought through that much. That’s what began our conversation about whether there was something fun to experiment with here.”

Seed is a continuous, persistent simulation where players are tasked with colonizing an exoplanet through collaboration, conflict, and other player-to-player interaction. Using unique gameplay based on managing multiple characters in real-time, communities are built even when players are logged off, allowing the world of Seed to be a living, breathing entity.

“We’re building a virtual world filled with vast, player-created communities where every player-action has a repercussion in the game world,” Vondi said in a statement. “For example,…

With $25 Million From Sequoia, Greylock, Crew Wants To Be The Slack For Truly Mobile Workers

Following Qualcomm, Intel Announces 5G Modem For Phones And Self-Driving Cars

Crew CEO Daniel Leffel (left) and CTO Broc Miramontes


Crew CEO Daniel Leffel (left) and CTO Broc Miramontes.

The story of Crew, a mobile communications platform for truly mobile workers that officially launches on Thursday, began more than two years ago over a Mexican lunch in a gritty restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission district.

That was long before Crew scored a previously-unannounced $8 million financing round led by Sequoia Capital and before it nabbed an additional $15 million in a round led by Greylock Partners (also unannounced). It was before Crew spread organically, and somewhat stealthily, to more than 10,000 organizations, whose members send about 10 million work-related communications weekly. It was before Crew, started by CEO Daniel Leffel, a serial entrepreneur and veteran of eBay, and CTO Broc Miramontes, a fellow entrepreneur who worked with Leffel previously, grew to 25 employees and moved into airy offices above Market Street.

And it was before Crew, which was originally conceived with retail and restaurant workers in mind, began spreading to the most unexpected corners of the U.S. workforce: NICU nurses, landscapers, volunteer fire departments, schools, emergency workers, hotels – and an 800-strong crew of baggage handlers at a major U.S. airport.

Today Crew is being used in at least five locations at 24 of the top 25 restaurant chains; at 46 of the top 50 retail chains, it is used in at least one location. The early traction gives Crew a serious shot at becoming a mainstay in a category of workplaces that employ around 70% of U.S. workers.

“I was looking for some type of application that we could use for our employees to communicate effectively,” says Paul Penna, a sales manager at a Staples store in Florida who brought Crew into his store, and before that, to a Staples location in New York State. “It made a big difference.”

So what exactly is Crew?

Think of it as a Slack-like app but designed for workers who are always on the go, who aren’t typically given a corporate email and who often work in shifts – bartenders and baristas, waiters, cooks, retail sales associates, and as it turns out, a whole lot of other workers.

“It’s a different user and one that no one is focused on,” says Leffel, who is 37. “There is no enterprise solution for this kind of communication right now.”

Leffel and Miramontes set out to fill that gap, designing an app that to streamline communications and operations at scores of businesses. The ultimate goal, Leffel says, “ is to enable people to have a more successful day at work.”.

The Crew app has a series of tabs for announcements, schedules, co-workers and a user’s own profile. Most time is spent on the chat tab, which like Slack, allows users to communicate individually or in groups. Senders can see when a recipient views a message – a handy tool for managers who want to ensure their employees don’t miss important communications.

Crew allows users to manage notifications, so they’re only alerted about routine matters during their shifts – not when they’re at home. And messages can be geo-fenced, so only employees who are in the store when they are sent will receive them. Managers can assign tasks – mop the floors, bring out the signs for the weekend sales – to individuals or groups, and see when they are completed.

One of Crew’s marquee features is its scheduling tab, which focuses on a staple of shift work. It began with a simple feature that allowed employees to take a picture of a paper schedule and post it for all to see. The feature proved popular and still exists, but there is now an additional digital schedule that can be edited on the fly. Workers can use the app to swap shifts with each other and notify co-workers when they’re on vacation.

The Crew app can be used to assign tasks, geofence notifications and schedule shifts


The Crew app can be used to assign tasks, geofence notifications and schedule shifts.

“It’s enabling everyday businesses to run better,” says Miramontes.