Before the pandemic, the fitness industry was booming. Then coronavirus forced the closure of gyms and boutique studios, and Struct Club took advantage of the moment to allow instructors to reach consumers directly.

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Outer, the direct-to-consumer outdoor furniture brand that uses backyards as showrooms, raised $4.3 million in a seed round led by Mucker Capital. The two-year-old Santa Monica based company has seen business boom during the pandemic as retail stores shut down and online orders surged. Suburbanites looking for a stay-cation plucked up their eco-friendly sectionals as consumers spent more time at home.

"We went from tens of thousands of dollars in monthly revenue to millions of dollars in monthly revenue," said co-founder Jiake Liu. "In April we hit profitability."

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A then-tech executive at Oracle in 2015, Steven Wolfe Pereira was a new father and wanted to do some more meaningful work. So with his wife, who had run Twitter's multicultural market strategy, and their two good friends, they began pitching an idea of a bilingual children's book series to publishers.

"I was aghast at the responses I was getting," he said. "They were like, 'Latinos really don't read'. It was really insulting."

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