August 29, 2019

Thursday! Also known to some of us in this part of the world as “back to school night.”

Top News

Stocks jumped today after China said it wished to resolve its protracted trade dispute with the world’s largest economy with a “calm” attitude.

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Massive Fundings  

The Long-Term Stock Exchange, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based financial services startup that aims to reimagine what it means to be a publicly traded company, has raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Founders Fund, with new investors joining existing ones like Andreessen HorowitzObvious Ventures, and Initialized Capital, says Axios. (Looks like Founders Fund already owned 14 percent of the company, leading into this new round, too.) More here

Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

Credijusto, a five-year-old, Mexico-based online lender, has raised $42 million in Series B funding co-led by Point72 Ventures and Goldman Sachs’ Principal Strategic Investment Group. Reuters has more here

HOMEE, a three-year-old, Tampa, Fla.-based home-services-on-demand startup, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Forte Ventures led the round, joined by Liberty Mutual Strategic VenturesThe HartfordState Farm VenturesFerguson VenturesActivate Capital PartnersFlorida FundersDeepwork Capital, and Engage. VentureBeat has more here

Inkitt, a five-year-old, Berlin-based crowdsourced publishing platform, has raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins, with participation from Xploration CapitalRedalpine CapitalSpeedinvest, and Earlybird. TechCrunch has more here

Mews Systems, a seven-year-old, London-based software startup that’s developing property management software for hotels and hostels, has raised $33 million in funding led by Battery Ventures, bringing its total funding to more than $40 million. TechCrunch has more here

Swissto12, an eight-year-old, Lausanne, Switzerland-based European telecommunications component company, has raised $18.44 million in Series B funding led by Swisscom Ventures and Swisscanto Invest, a venture capital and growth fund. Constantia New Business, the investment arm of Austrian industrial conglomerate Constantia Industries that led Swissto12’s Series A round, also provided some of the Series B funding. Space News has more here.

Vedantu, an eight-year-old, Bengaluru, India-based live online tutoring platform, just raised $42 million in Series C funding co-led by Tiger Global and WestBridge Capital, with participation from earlier backers AccelOmidyar India, and TAL Education. TechCrunch has more here

Smaller Fundings  

Alto, a four-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based technology platform that simplifies and streamlines the process for investors to add alternative assets to their IRAs, has raised $3 million in new seed funding from the family office for Blackstone Executive Vice Chairman Tony James and from the early-stage venture firm Moment Ventures. The company had earlier this year closed on $3 million in seed funding, including from Foundation Capital and Sequoia Capital. Business Insider has more here

Cerberus Interactive, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based game development studio, raised $1.75 million in funding. Investors include MobilityWare and Reddit CEO Steve HuffmanMore here

Esusu, a three-year-old, New York-based fintech platform that says it can help individuals save money and build credit, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding led by Acumen Fund, with participation from Sinai VenturesKleiner PerkinsKatapult AcceleratorPlug and Play Tech CenterGlobal Good Fund, and Temerity Capital PartnersMore here

Knock Knock, a year-old, San Francisco-based mobile game developer, has raised $4 million in funding led by March Capital, with participation from earlier backers, including London Venture PartnersRaine Ventures, and Ludlow Ventures. The company has now raised $6 million altogether. More here

Koru Kids, a two-year-old, London-based after-school service that matches parents with student nannies, raised £10 million in Series A funding led by Atomico, with participation from AlbionVCForward PartnersSamosJamJarGlobal Founders Capital, and 7Percent. TechCrunch has more here

Residently, a two-year-old, London-based property rental startup, raised £7 million in seed funding from Felix CapitalLocalGlobe, and A/O PropTech. TechCrunch has more here

TUSHY, a four-year-old, New York-based maker of contemporary bidet attachments, raised $2.1 million in seed funding, including from Unorthodox Ventures and Naples Ventures GroupMore here

Worximity Technology, an eight-year-old, Montreal-based startup that’s looking to create smart factories through machine learning, artificial intelligence, and IoT, has raised a $6.25 million in Series A funding. Marel, a multinational food processing company based in Europe, led the round, contributing $5 million. Other participants in the round include Fonds de solidarité FTQ and W Investments. BetaKit has more here.

New Funds 

Counterpart Ventures, a year-old, San Francisco-based venture firm, is hoping to raise $100 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing. One of the firm’s cofounders, Patrick Eggen, was formerly a managing director with Qualcomm Ventures. The other, Joe Saijo, was a managing director with the corporate venture firm Recruit Strategic Partners. More here

Kaszek Ventures, an eight-year-old, Latin America-focused investment firm, has closed on $600 million in capital commitments across two new funds that bring the firm’s total assets under management to roughly $1 billion. TechCrunch has much more here

XYZ Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture outfit focused on early-stage fintech and enterprise startups, is hoping to raise up to $75 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing. Axios relatedly reports that XYZ founder Ross Fubini (he’s also the sole general partner) is stepping back from his role as general partner at a second firm he cofounded, Village Global


Forever 21, the 35-year-old, L.A.-based apparel retailer for teenagers and people who wish they were still teenagers, is reportedly considering a bankruptcy filing as efforts to restructure its debt flounder. CNBC has more here

Hudson’s Bay Co., the Canadian retail business group, is selling the operations of its Lord & Taylor department store chain to the seven-year-old, San Francisco-based clothing rental subscription startup Le Tote in an intriguing deal that at least partly underscores the inroads that startups are making that sell or rent lightly used clothing. The game plan, per the New York Times: Hudson’s Bay will continue to own Lord & Taylor’s real estate and cover Le Tote’s rent at those properties for three years. Le Tote will pay $100 million in cash for Lord & Taylor’s brand and inventory and take control of 38 stores and the chain’s digital presence … Lord & Taylor will continue to make regular sales, but the acquisition will add ‘millions of pieces of inventory to our selection,’ Rakesh Tondon, a co-founder and the chief executive of Le Tote, said in an interview.” 


Former Google Cloud executive Baris Aksoy has named a general partner with AV8 Ventures, an early-stage venture firm backed by the insurance giant Allianz. More here

Alphabet’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, today responded to an unflattering characterization of him made public yesterday by a former Google colleague with whom he shares a child. More here

Ravi Gupta, a former KKR director who joined Instacart in 2015 as its CFO and COO, is leaving to join Instacart investor Sequoia Capital as a partner on its growth equity team. TechCrunch has more here

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma sparred against each other tonight in Shanghai on subjects ranging from the need to explore Mars, to future of education and the dangers of artificial intelligence (Musk again voiced fears that doomsday is coming, while Ma is betting that humans will maintain the upper hand over machines).

Essential Reads 

A bill in California’s Legislature could soon companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash to treat their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors. Now the three companies say they’ll spend $90 million on a ballot initiative that would essentially exempt them from the proposed law. 

Apple is expected to unveil the next iPhone on September 10

Speaking of which: malicious websites were used to secretly hack into iPhones for years, says Google.


Cooler, farther, and less crowded; the rise of undertourism

A glimpse inside San Francisco’s glitzy new $1.4 billion Chase Center arena, new home to the Golden State Warriors. 

On Martha’s Vineyard, real estate agents hope for another “Obama bounce,” as the former first family reportedly plans to buy a home from Boston Celtics owner (and venture capitalist) Wyc Grousbeck.

Retail Therapy 

Stand-out dress watches for men priced under $10,000

Bag trends that you will shearling see this fall

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