Posts tagged with "Affordable"

Seeing stars: Cameo, a Chicago startup that sells video shoutouts from celebrities, raises $50M for expansion

June 26, 2019

Want a shoutout from Brett Favre ($500), Gilbert Gottfried ($150), Stormy Daniels ($250), Tommy Lee ($350), Teresa Giudice ($200), or Dr. Pimple Popper ($100)?

Cameo, the Chicago-based startup that lets users buy personalized video messages from celebrities, has raised $50 million to help fuel an international expansion and further develop its app, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Most of Cameo’s shoutouts are booked through its website, CEO and Co-Founder Steven Galanis told the news outlet. The startup has been building its product development team and working toward relaunching an improved app.

 “We want to make it something super engaging, that when you’re on the ‘L’ going to work, you’re opening Cameo instead of Instagram,” he told the Tribune in an interview.

Since Cameo launched more than two years ago, the startup has drawn attention for its quick and affordable access to celebrities. Last year, it joined tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, and Airbnb on Time’s list of 50 “Genius Companies.”

But the company has not made it this far without running into some problems: In late 2018, it was reported that an account associated with an anti-Semitic group had tricked several celebrities into making Cameo videos using coded anti-Semitic language. Galanis quickly responded, calling the videos a “wake-up call.”

Cameo employs about 100 people, more than 65 of whom work out of its Windy City headquarters. Galanis said he plans to bolster the company’s international employee ranks, and wants to add European soccer players, Bollywood actors, and K-Pop artists to its celebrity roster.

Currently, the site offers video greetings from thousands of athletes and B-, C- and D-list celebrities. Consumers can pay as much as $350 to receive a greeting from rapper and TV star Ice-T, or $200 for former Chicago Bears player Mike Singletary.

This month’s round of funding brings the total amount Cameo has raised to $65 million. Galanis declined to disclose the valuation to the Tribune-however

Menlo Park, California-based investor Kleiner Perkins led the round of funding. Other investors included media and tech investor The Chernin Group, venture capital firm Spark Ventures, Bain Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Walmart offers your pet medications—no fetching required

May 9, 2019

Animal, vegetable, or mineral? In its all-out competition with Amazon—as well as every other online and brick-and-mortar low-cost retailer—Walmart is offering more to those who shop in most consumer categories, including pet products.

On May 7, WalmartPetRx.com announced that it is offering economical pet prescriptions “for dogs, cats, horses, and livestock from over 300 trusted brands to treat conditions like flea and tick, heartworm, allergy, arthritis, and more.”

Customers now can purchase prescription pet medications at the stores or online, and have them delivered right to their (doggie) doors.

By working directly with veterinarians to receive and fill prescriptions, we’re able to save busy pet parents time, which could mean another walk around the block for Cooper,” said Kieran Shanahan, SVP of Retail–Food, Consumables, Health & Wellness, Walmart U.S. eCommerce, in a company press release.

He noted, “For those who prefer to fill their pet prescriptions in Walmart stores, later this month we’ll stock our 4,500+ pharmacies with the top-30 most-requested pet meds, which means getting your pet’s prescription same-day.”

What’s more, the discount chain said it is stocking a more wholesome assortment of pet foods and expanding its in-store veterinary clinics. Indeed, the discount chain has expanded its pet assortment online with more than 100 new brands over the past year, including Blue Buffalo, Greenies, and Hill’s Science Diet. It also is marketing premium and “free-from” options for its private-label brands, Pure Balance, Golden Rewards, and Vibrant Life, at three-fourths the price.

And, with 68% of US households owning a pet and 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a Walmart store, the chain is expanding its in-store retail veterinary clinics, starting with nine new clinics in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in late May and June.

“With plans to reach 100 veterinary clinics over the next 12 months, these clinics offer affordable, high quality and convenient services to save customers as much as 40% to 60% on vaccines and minor illness packages and exams,” Shanahan said.

Research contact: @Walmart

CVS Health and SmileDirectClub team up to provide in-store ‘SmileShops’ nationwide

April 26, 2019

Now, you can give more than “lip service” to dental health—even if you cannot afford expensive orthodontics. CVS Health and SmileDirectClub announced plans on April 25 to expand access to affordable, convenient orthodontic clear aligner therapy through the addition of in-store SmileShops to hundreds of CVS locations nationwide this year.

After a successful pilot, CVS Pharmacy is more than doubling the SmileShops’ current physical footprint and consumer access to this teledentistry innovation. The two companies say that the collaboration reinforces SmileDirectClub’s mission to democratize access to a straighter smile through an affordable and convenient direct-to-consumer platform.

Additionally, by early summer, SmileDirectClub will be added as an in-network health care option for Aetna Dental members.

“CVS Health and SmileDirectClub are aligned in the mission to put the customer at the center of their care by providing easier access to more affordable, more convenient health solutions with proven outcomes,” said Kevin Hourican, president of CVS Pharmacy and executive vice president of CVS Health. “SmileShops at CVS Pharmacy support our dedication to enhancing the customer experience with innovative and convenient health and beauty solutions.”

Today SmileDirectClub SmileShops already are open in 13 CVS Pharmacy locations in eight states, with planned expansion to over a thousand locations over the next several years. SmileDirectClub SmileShops at CVS Pharmacy feature SmileGuides to assist with getting customers started on their new smile journey, including a free 3D digital image of their teeth, teeth whitening kits, and information on the convenience and affordability of clear aligner therapy.

A member of SmileDirectClub’s digital network of 240+ state licensed dentists and orthodontists will approve and manage a custom clear aligner treatment plan. Upon the treating doctor’s and the customer’s approval of the treatment plan, aligners are sent directly to the customer’s door. Through SmileDirectClub’s proprietary teledentistry platform, customers are able to check in with their doctor every 90 days and more frequently if necessary.

SmileDirectClub’s clear aligner therapy works best for people 12 or older with all adult teeth and mild to moderate crowding or spacing issues. Customers can simply walk-in to a SmileDirectClub SmileShop at CVS Pharmacy or they can schedule a visit at https://retail.smiledirectclub.com/cvs.

Research contact: @CVSHealth