August 20, 2019

Tuesday! We’re short on time today (our youngest and also shortest intern just entered into double-digit territory so we’re off to celebrate his birthday). More tomorrow.:)

Top News

From today’s Washington Post: The U.S. government is moving forward with its review of online platforms for potential antitrust violations, coordinating with state attorneys general while signaling it could send demands for documents to Silicon Valley companies and their critics, the chief of the Justice Department’s antitrust division said today. He reportedly added that there are growing questions about large tech giants’ purchase of “nascent competitors” and the “intention of the incumbent” when making acquisitions. More here.

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Massive Fundings  

Graybug Vision, an eight-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based  eye diseases drug developer, has raised $80 million in Series C funding led by CBC Group. Earlier backers also joined the round, including Deerfield ManagementOrbiMed AdvisorsHatteras Venture Partners, and a fund managed by Blackstone Life SciencesMore here, a seven-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that says it wants to democratize AI through tools that free companies from relying on teams of data scientists, has closed on $72.5 million in Series D funding. Goldman Sachs and Ping An Global Voyager Fund co-led the round. Earlier backers Wells FargoNvidia and Nexus Venture Partners also participated. The company has now raised $147 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

Homeis, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based company that the founders describe as a “culture network” for foreign-born nationals and expats, has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Canaan and Spark Capital. Other investors in the company, which has now raised $16 million altogether, include Abstract VC, the Chernin GroupSamsung Next, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and Taboola CEO Adam Singolda. VentureBeat has more here, a 13-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based online reputation management platform for companies, has raised $30 million in new funding led by Ascension Ventures, with participation from Akkadian VenturesIndustry VenturesRiver City Ventures and earlier backers Kleiner PerkinsAugust CapitalBessemer Venture PartnersHeritage Group, and Icon Ventures. TechCrunch has much more here

Starship Technologies, a San Francisco-based maker of last-mile delivery robots, just raised $40 million in new Series A funding, bringing the company’s total funding to date to $85 million. Morpheus Ventures led the newest tranche, joined by earlier backers TDK VenturesQu VenturesShasta VenturesMatrix Partners, and MetaPlanet Holdings. TechCrunch has more here

WeTransfer, a 10-year-old, Amsterdam-based file sharing company, has raised $40 million in Series B funding led by HPE GrowthMore here

Smaller Fundings  

BDS Analytics, a four-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based cannabis market intelligence startup, has raised $7 million from Key Investment PartnersAltitude Investment Management, and 7thirty. Green Market Report has more here

Idein, a four-year-old, Tokyo, Japan-based developer of an IoT platform, has raised $7.8 million in funding led by Global BrainMore here

Podcorn, a six-month-old, L.A.-based podcasting monetization platform, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding from Bessemer Venture PartnersAlumni Ventures500 Startups, and Global Founders CapitalMore here

PTO Exchange, a six-year-old, Seattle-based startup that allows employees to monetize their unused paid vacation days, has raised $3 million in seed funding from WestRiver Group, a collective of investment funds based in Kirkland, Wa. GeekWire has more here

Ride Jakarta, an Indonesia-based micro fitness studio operator, has raised $1.25 million in seed funding from Intudo VenturesAgaeti Ventures and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures. DealStreetAsia has more here

SpotQA, a two-year-old, Lisbon, Portugal-based automated software testing platform, has raised $3.25 million in seed funding led by Crane Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here

Syzygy Plasmonics, a two-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based photocatalyst startup, has raised $5.8 million in Series A funding co-led by The Engine and The GOOSE Society of TexasMore here

Tandem, a nearly two-year-old, Bay Area-based company that’s developing communication software for remote teams after pivoting from crypto, is raising a $7.5 million seed financing at a valuation north of $30 million, sources tell TechCrunch’s Kate Clark. Slack investor Andreessen Horowitz is leading the round. More here

Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings  

Business of Fashion, the 12-year-old, London-based blog turned online platform for the global fashion industry, offering content and tools to industry professionals, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by the Financial Times, Earlier backers Index Ventures and Felix Capital also joined the round. More here.

New Funds 

The Fearless Fund, a new, Atlanta-based seed-stage venture fund that plans to write checks to women of color who are founders, has has launched a $5 million fund, it says. (It isn’t clear from a release whether the capital has already been fully committed.) One of the firm’s two cofounders is Keshia Knight Pulliam, a former child actor who played the role of Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” Her fellow cofounder is Arian Simone, a founder and author. More here

Novalis LifeSciences, a Hampton, N.H.-based investment and advisory firm for the life science industry, says it has raised $85 million in capital commitments for its debut fund. The firm was founded by Marijn Dekkers, who was the CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific (from 2002 through 2009), then the German conglomerate Bayer AG from 2010 through 2016. He also sits on the boards of General Electric and Unilever. More here

Streamlined Ventures, a 6.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based venture firm led by Ulas Naik, a founder and former general partner with Cota Capital, is raising $75 million for its third fund, shows a new SEC filing that states the first sale has yet to occur. More here.


Bayer AG is selling its veterinary drugs business to Elanco, a publicly traded, Greenville, In.-based pharmaceutical company that spun out of Eli Lilly and is focused on animal health. The price: $7.6 billion in cash and stock. FierceBiotech has more here

DoorDash, which just acquired Cavier in a deal worth $140 million, has acquired again. This time, it’s Scotty Labs, a 2.5-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based startup that’s working on tech to enable people to remotely control self-driving cars. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. The startup has raised $6 million in seed funding from Gradient Ventures, Horizon Ventures and Hemi Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Microsoft has acquired jClarity, a seven-year-old, London-based maker of tools for Java software developers. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

Sony acquired Insomniac Games, a Burbank, Ca.- and Tallinn, Estonia-based console gaming studio responsible for the Playstation 4 game “Spider Man.” Venturebeat has more here


10x Genomics, a seven-year-old, Pleasanton, Ca.-based genomics company, just filed for a $100 million IPO. The company has raised $320 million in venture funding; its biggest outside shareholders include Foresite Capital (which owns 18.1 percent of the company, headed into the offering), Venrock (16.3 percent), Paladin Capital (11.5 percent), and Fidelity (11.3 percent). Nasdaq has a bit more here

IGM Biosciences, a 26-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that’s been developing antibody therapies for cancer, has filed for a $100 million IPO. The company has raised roughly $120 million from VCs over the years, including, Baker Brothers, Vivo Capital, and Haldor Topsøe Holding. Nasdaq has a bit more here

Satsuma Pharmaceuticals, a three-year-old, South San Francisco-based clinical-stage biotech that’s developing a therapy for migraines, filed to raise $86 million in an IPO. The company has raised roughly $75 million, shows Crunchbase. Its investors include RA CapitalTPG Biotechnology Partners, and Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “STSA.” Nasdaq has more here.


Boris Nikolic, a physician who previously served as chief advisor for science and technology to Bill Gates, and who more recently cofounded a venture fund, was apparently named a “successor executor” by convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in the days before he hanged himself. Nikolic, who, in this role, would take control of Epstein’s estate if its named executors could not, said through a spokesperson that he’s part of a broad network that overlapped with Epstein’s but that he was “shocked” to learn he was included in Epstein’s will. Added Nikolic in a statement provided to Bloomberg: “I was not consulted in these matters and I have no intent to fulfill these duties, whatsoever.” 


Yikes. Walmart said in a lawsuit today that Tesla fell short of industry standards in the installation of solar panels on top of hundreds of stores, resulting in multiple fires across the U.S. More specifically, Walmart says it had leased or licensed roof space on top of more than 240 stores to Tesla’s energy operations unit, formerly known as SolarCity, for the installation and operation of solar systems, but by late last year, fires had broken out at at least seven stores. Bloomberg has the story here

Essential Reads 

To satisfy regulators, YouTube officials are reportedly finalizing plans to end targeted advertisements on videos that kids are likely to watch. Bloomberg notes that the move could immediately dent ad sales for the video giant, as well as that plans could still change, according to its sources

look at the 82 startups that launched today, day two of Y Combinator’s exhaustive Demo Day event. 

A rare argument for why the WeWork IPO might not be disaster

DoorDash is reportedly still pocketing workers’ tips, almost one month after it promised to stop the practice.


Next-level belly flops. Matrix 4 is happening. (Never mind, apparently, that the last two were terrible.) The best athleisure dupes, according to fitness pros.

Retail Therapy 

Apple Cards for everyone! (In the U.S.)

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