August 8, 2019

Thursday! Hope you’re enjoying yours, wherever you are.

Top News

Uber today reported its largest-ever loss — $5.2 billion — and its slowest-ever revenue growth. Both are raising questions anew about whether the company can ever make money. To put its second quarter losses into perspective, they were larger than the total 2018 losses for all but three S&P 500 companies. The company says the losses are tied to the stock-based compensation it paid its employees after its May IPO. 

Chipmaker Broadcom formally announced its acquisition of Symantec’s enterprise business after the closing bell today, revealing in a statement that it’s paying $10.7 billion in cash. Broadcom has been on an “acquisition run” for years, notes CNBC. It tried and ultimately failed to buy fellow chipmaker Qualcomm for more than $100 billion after Donald Trump blocked the deal, citing national security concerns. Broadcom then acquired the mainframe software company CA last year for nearly $19 billion. More here.

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This Startup is Helping Weary Food Delivery Workers Start Their Own Delivery Businesses 

Following many months of pressure, DoorDash, one of the most frequently used food delivery apps in the U.S., said late last month that it was finally changing its tipping policy to pass along to workers 100% of tips, rather than employ some of that money toward defraying its own costs. 

The move was a step in the right direction, but as a New York Times piece recently underscored, there are many remaining challenges for food delivery couriers, including not knowing where a delivery is going until a worker picks it up (Uber Eats), having just seconds to decide whether or not to accept an order (Postmates) and not being guaranteed a minimum wage (Deliveroo) — not to mention the threat of delivery robots taking their jobs. 

It’s a big enough problem that a young, nine-person startup called Dumpling has decided to tackle it directly. Its big idea: turn today’s delivery workers into “solopreneurs” who build their own book of clients and keep much more of the money. 

It newly has $3 million in backing from two venture firms that know the gig economy well, too: Floodgate, an early investor in Lyft (firm co-founder Ann Miura-Ko sits on Lyft’s board), and Fuel Capital,  where TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque is now a general partner. 

More here.

Massive Fundings  

ScaleFactor, a five-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based maker of online financial software that automates back-office tasks for small and medium-size businesses like bookkeeping and payroll, has raised $60 million in Series C funding. Coatue led the round (which is ScaleFactor’s second financing this year). Other participants in the round include VulcanStripes Group, and NextPlay Capital, as well as earlier investors Bessemer Venture PartnersCanaanBroadhaven Ventures, and Firebrand Ventures. Forbes has more here

Viva Republica, an eight-year-old, South Korea-based company behind the mobile financial service platform Toss, says it has raised $64 million at a valuation of $2.2 billion in recent fundraising led by the Hong Kong-based equity investment firm Aspex Management. The company has now raised roughly $250 million to date, including from Kleiner PerkinsAltos VenturesGoodwater CapitalGICSequoia Capital China and Bessemer Venture Partners. Viva Republic launched Toss four years ago as a P2P money transfer service and it has since introduced numerous other financial services, including banking, money transfer, dashboard and credit score management. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Toss has been downloaded more than 30 million times since, and has more than 13 million registered users, or more than one-fifth of South Korea’s population. More here

Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

Pathstream, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that partners with software companies to build branded digital skills career programs, has raised $12 million in Series A funding. Investors include TDM PartnersHereditas Capital ManagementBisk VenturesNew Ground Ventures, and Rethink EducationMore here, a year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based developer building a platform designed to automate cybersecurity and compliance processes. has raised $31 million in funding led by Mayfield, with participation from General Catalyst. VentureBeat has more here

Sunverge, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose energy management systems enable utilities to combine distributed renewable resources into virtual power plants, has raised $11 million in funding. Ecosystem Integrity Fund led the round, joined by Equinor Energy Ventures and Evergy VenturesMore here

WSC Sports, an eight-year-old, Israel-based sports video content startup, has raised $23 million in Series C funding. O.G. Tech Ventures led the round, joined by NTT DoCoMo VenturesHBSE VenturesMaor InvestmentsISF, and Go4it Capital. Globes has more here

Smaller Fundings  

BEynd, a 1.5-year-old, Draper, Ut.-based startup that wants to provide its customers with a more automated onboarding workflow, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Peak Ventures, with participation from Prelude Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Capsule8, a three-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup that offers cybersecurity protection for Linux production environments, has raised an estimated $6.5 million in funding from Intel Capital. The company has now raised roughly $30 million altogether. VentureBeat has more here

Dadi, a year-old, New York-based male fertility testing and sperm storage startup, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by The Chernin Group, with participation from earlier backers Firstminute Capital and Third Kind Venture Capital. The company had closed on $2 million in seed funding earlier this year. TechCrunch has more here

Glow, a nine-month-old, Seattle-based company that provides tools to podcasters to help them monetize their broadcasts, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding. Greycroft led the round; it was joined by Norwest Venture PartnersPSL VenturesWndrCo and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. TechCrunch has more here

Opsani, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.–based maker of tools for the continuous optimization of cloud applications, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with participation from earlier investors Zetta Ventures and Bain CapitalMore here.

PurpleLab, a 1.5-year-old, Furlong, Pa.-based healthcare data and analytics platform, has raised $3 million from Edison PartnersMore here

Ramp Financial, a new startup, New York-based company that, like Brex, is expected to offer credit to other startups, has raised $7 million, TechCrunch has learned. Investors include Founders FundBoxGroup and Coatue Management. Ramp was founded by the same team that created Paribus, a startup that was acquired by Capital One. More here

Statespace, a two-year-old, New York-based performance assessment and training platform for esports athletes based on neuroscience, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from ExpaLux Capital  and WndrCo. The company has now raised $4 million to date. TechCrunch has more here

Voxel51, a 2.5-year-old, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based startup whose video dataset application aims to help its customers quickly analyze and search through their video data, has raised $2 million in seed funding from eLab Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings  

FlixMobility, an eight-year-old, Munich, Germany-based long-distance bus operator that operates in Europe and parts of the U.S., has extended a Series F round that originally closed with $531 million co-led by Permira and TCV at a valuation north of $2 billion. The founder tells TechCrunch the round isn’t “double” the amount previously raised but “substantial.” New investors include Baillie GiffordLuxor Capital Group and Odyssey 44, with additional investment provided through funds managed by BlackRockMore here.

New Funds 

Silicon Valley investor Ronny Conway is raising his third early-stage fund, shows a new SEC filing that states the fund’s target is $140 million. A. Capital, which is now six years old, is currently run by Conway, Ramu Arunachalam (formerly of Andreessen Horowitz) and Kartik Talwar, who worked previously with Conway’s brother, Topher, and his famed father, Ron, at their separate venture firm, SV Angel. TechCrunch has more here.

Essential Reads 

A federal appeals court today rejected Facebook‘s effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent. The 3-0 decision exposes the company to billions of dollars in potential damages to the Illinois users who brought the case, says Reuters. Facebook plans to appeal. 

Apple is under investigation in Russia following a complaint from cybersecurity company Kaspersky Labs, whose parental control app was declined by the App Store soon after Apple rolled out its own Screen Time feature. Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog said it’s investing whether Apple is abusing its dominant position, says TechCrunch

Email management company Unroll.Me has agreed to destroy data about some consumers’ online purchases to settle allegations that it duped people about privacy, the Federal Trade Commission said today. Unroll.Me, owned by Slice Technologies, promises to automatically unsubscribe users from from email lists, but Slice also sells “anonymized” information about people’s emails, including their receipts for online purchases, that can be used for profiling and targeting. MediaPost has more here

The lonely work of moderating Hacker News.


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Retail Therapy 

A color-shifting jacket made out of two billion microscopic glass spheres. (Also waterproof.)

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