StrictlyVC: May 8, 2018

Hi, happy Tuesday, all!  

We know this is arriving a bit late (okay, insanely late). Before you start zooming through the newsletter: we recently mentioned that we have a couple of things coming up. We’re excited to announce the first, and that’s summer drinks with StrictlyVC, which we’re co-hosting with our longtime friend Semil Shah at the beautiful restaurant/ bar Trou Normand in San Francisco, on June 20th, a Wednesday night. We’ll be there from 4 pm. to 7 p.m. and we’d love to see your mugs.:) 

Lightspeed Venture Partners has very generously offered to host all of us. (Thank you, Lightspeed!) We’re also asking those of you who come to chip in $35 that we’ll donate to the nonprofit organization Girls Who Code because we all of us appreciate its mission of getting more women into computer science. 

We can’t be super flexible with our head count, so if you can come — and we hope you will! — register soon
Top News
Facebook just named new leaders, including in its core social network, WhatsApp, and Messenger divisions, in the biggest management reshuffling since the company’s founding. 

One of those execs, Messenger’s longtime head David Marcus, will now lead a small group of Facebook employees to explore what blockchain technologies can do for the social media giant. 

Google‘s annual developer conference, Google I/O, kicked off today in Mountain View, Ca., and a whole lot was announced, including better recommendations by Google Maps, the renaming of its research division, and new features that are coming to Google Assistant. If you’re still curious, here’s everything else that happened.
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$10 Million Later, Elon Musk’s Ownership Stake in Tesla is Reportedly Approaching 20 Percent
Last Thursday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk  managed to freak out investors by acting dismissively toward analysts during an earnings call, calling a question about the company’s capital requirements “boring” and “bone-headed” and “not cool,” a strange performance that seemed tied to a slide in the shares’ performance afterward. 

More bravura was on display the following day, with Musk warning the growing number of short sellers who are betting against the automaker. Specifically, he tweeted that a “short burn of the century” is “coming soon.” He also retweeted a Barron’s article that highlighted that there’s now more demand for short positions than supply. (Barron’s compared the conundrum to the same one facing Tesla’s customers.)  

Perhaps to make certain that Tesla bears feel some pain, Musk himself shelled out roughly $10 million to acquire more Tesla stock yesterday, a purchase that pushes his stake in the company to nearly 20 percent, according to Bloomberg’s analysis

Whether or not directly correlated, Tesla’s shares rose 3 percent yesterday, boosting Tesla’s market cap to $51.4 billion. It has slipped again slightly, as of this writing, to $49.7 billion. 

Tesla’s shares seem to recover almost no matter what Musk does or says, but it’s worth asking why Musk still talks with analysts at all.

More here.
New Fundings
BorderX Lab, a four-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based cross-border e-commerce company that connects global brands with Chinese customers, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Kleiner Perkins, with participation from Hillhouse Capital GroupCBCWelight Capital and iFly Venture Capital. More here, a nine-year-old, Rotterdam, Netherlands-based accommodation marketplace for international students, has raised $7.1 million in Series B funding led by Vostok New Ventures, with participation from earlier investors Real Web and henQMore here

Miovision, a 12-year-old, Kitchener, Ontario-based maker of smart traffic intersection technology, has raised $15 million from MacKinnonBennett & Co.,McRock CapitalBDC Capital and HarbourVest Partners. The Globe and Mail has more here

mPulse Mobile, a four-year-old, Encino, Ca.-based mobile health engagement platform, has raised $11 million in Series B funding led by SJF Ventures, with participation from HLM Venture PartnersEchoHealth VenturesOCA Ventures and Bonfire Ventures. MobiHealth News has more here.  

Owlet Baby Care, a five-year-old, Lehi, Ut.-based maker of health tracking devices for babies, has raised $24 million in Series B funding led by Trilogy Equity Partners, with participation from Eclipse VenturesBroadway AngelsEnfield Ventures, and Pelion Venture Partners. Silicon Slopes has more here

Peltarion, a 12-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based deep learning AI startup, has raised raised $13 million from FAM — a holding company owned by Sweden’s most powerful industrial family — and EQT Ventures. Bloomberg has more here

SafeBreach, a four-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based startup whose platform simulates hacker breach methods, has raised $15 million in fresh funding led by Draper Nexus, with participation from PayPal and earlier backers Sequoia CapitalDeutsche Telekom Capital Partners and HPE PathfinderMore here

Solv, a 2.5-year-old, Bay Area-based startup that wants its app to become the go-to way for people to book same-day health appointments and pay their medical bills, has raised $16.8 million in fresh funding led by Greylock Partners, with participation from Aspect Ventures. Forbes has more here

VenueNext, a four-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based venue management startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Intel Capital. Roughly a dozen other companies recently raised money from Intel, too, it announced today. Here’s the full rundown

Yobe, a four-year-old, Boston-based AI-powered signal processing startup, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding from Clique Capital PartnersMore here.
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New Funds
The French space agency CNES is creating an investment fund of 80 to 100 million euros ($95 to $119 million) to spur innovation in the space sector. CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall announced the fund during an interview with French publication Les Echos that was posted yesterday, though few details were released about the fund. Space News has more here.
iZettle, the Sweden-based “Square of Europe,” says it’s going public this year and listing on Nasdaq’s Stockholm exchange. The company plans to raise 2 billion Swedish kronor ($227 million at current rates), giving it an estimated valuation of about SEK10 billion ($1.1 billion). TechCrunch has more here

Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker that’s gearing up for an IPO, just cut its IPO valuation target from $100 billion to between $70 billion and $80 billion, says the WSJ. More here.
Alibaba has expanded its e-commerce empire into South Asia, acquiring the five-year-old, online retail unit of Rocket Internet, Daraz, for undisclosed terms. The deal is the second time Alibaba has bought a Rocket company, the first being Lazada in Southeast Asia two years ago. TechCrunch has more here.
Eric Friedman, formerly the head of Expa Labs in New York, has joined BlockTower Capital, a cryptocurrency hedge fund, according to Axios. He’s now a partner with the year-old outfit. More here. 

Early bitcoin investor Tyler Winklevoss tweeted at Bill Gates yesterday to explain how to bet against the cryptocurrency, after the Microsoft co-founder said he would short it if he could. 

Sally Yates has launched an investigations practice at the Atlanta, Ga.-based  law firm King & Spalding, where she started her legal career almost 30 years ago. The former DOJ official and hero to Trump critics said she’s ready to return to practicing law. “I know other people sort of have political ambitions for me—but for me, I’m a lawyer,” Yates tells the National Law Journal. More here.
Essential Reads
Inside the ecosystem that fuels Amazon‘s fake review problem. 

Speaking of Amazon, employees are upset over its reported opposition to adding more diversity to its board. 

Apple may be assembling its own editorial machine.
The best, worst, and most sacrilegious looks at this year’s Met Gala. 

Navigating the complicated world of credit card points

These aren’t your regular-season Cavs.
Retail Therapy
Channel your inner Picasso.

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