CoPeace announces its first strategic investment in Uncharted Power
Innovative impact holding company CoPeace (Companies of Peace) is the latest company to back Uncharted Power. The company founded by CEO Jessica O. Matthews provides renewable-energy infrastructure to underserved communities.
CoPeace founder and CEO, Craig Jonas said in a statement, “After evaluating over 100 companies, we determined Uncharted Power presented an incredible opportunity as our first strategic partner in our new portfolio. Jessica O. Matthews and the team at Uncharted Power have a brilliant system of solutions for our country’s growing infrastructural needs,” We are impressed with their technology’s innovative and unique approach to providing power and data to under-served communities in a way that is proactively combating the climate crisis.”
Disney became an investor in the company last fall after Matthews completed the 2018 Disney Accelerator.
Amazon is rolling out new machines at its fulfillment centers.
According to Reuters, Amazon will place two machines in 55 U.S. warehouses which leaves 1,300 people out of a job. The machine is called the CartonWrap and can create custom boxes and package orders automatically producing between 600-700 per hour, four to five times faster than the speed of a human packer. (Amazon warehouse workers have complained of poor working conditions, injuries, low wages.)
“We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement. “We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.”
Amazon isn’t the first to implement this kind of tech. Walmart announced plans last year to automate its warehouses and recently shared details about its 1,500 “autonomous floor cleaners” aka robots. A Mckinsey report reveals future automation will cause the most harm to Black workers.
Dorm Room Fund backs Harlem Capital for its first investment into another VC firm
Venture capital firm, Dorm Room Fund announced it will back Harlem Capital Partners. The deal is the firm’s first investment into another venture firm. Dorm Room Fund has backed over 300 founders from 40 universities including scholarship search engine, Scholly founded by Chris Gray.
Kickstarter says it will not voluntarily recognize Kickstarter United.
CEO Aziz Hasan says an employee union would hurt the company and “significantly change the way we operate and work together.”
According to The Verge, Hasan wrote in a staff email, “I know this position is disappointing to some of you who were hoping the company would voice support for this effort.” He went on to say, “I recognize the need for better communication, definition around roles and responsibilities, clarity around compensation, and processes that allow for perspectives to be shared and captured across the organization.” The Verge also reports that the company wants a National Labor Relations Board as an alternative to an employee union.
The staffers announced plans to unionize in March, the same month that its former CEO Perry Chen stepped down and Hasan filled the role. The staff is organizing with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 153. OPEIU’s director of communications told Gizmodo, this morning, “Kickstarter United is continuing to build their workplace union by ensuring democratic and inclusive participation and they’re not ready to discuss publicly at this time.”
Kickstarter publishes an annual Benefit Statement reporting company progress and demographics. The platform hasn’t released an update from 2018. According to the 2017 report, “60 team members identified as white/Caucasian; 13 as Asian; 7 as Hispanic or Latino; 4 as Black or African American; 9 as two or more races. (No data available for 29 employees.)” Kickstarter’s senior and executive teams had members that identified as two or more races but not Black or Latinx.
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-Tyler Young | @sheistyler
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New Intellectual Property Granted at HBCUs Experienced an Uptick Since 2010
It’s unsurprising that the universities and colleges with the highest endowments tend to be at the forefront of intellectual property development. Schools with smaller endowments tend to have less than 20 patents to their name while schools like Howard University, holding the largest endowment of any HBCU, has a total of 53 patents. Despite the overall trend, there are a few exceptions that are under or overperforming.