September 3, 2019

Tuesday! Hope you enjoyed the weekend, everyone.:)

Top News

Both Uber and Lyft closed today at record lows, an investors grow increasingly concerned about the companies’ business models. 

In an open letter to Walmart employees, CEO Doug McMillon said today that the company will stop selling ammunition used for handguns and military-style weapons, completely end the sale of handguns, and discourage anyone from carrying weapons in his stores, even in “open carry” states. It could prove to be a watershed, notes Dealbook

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Massive Fundings  

Culture Amp, an eight-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-based startup that helps employers collect and act on anonymous employee feedback, has raised $82 million in Series E funding led by Sequoia Capital China. Other investors in the round include Sapphire VenturesFelicis VenturesIndex VenturesBlackbird VenturesHostplusSkip CapitalGrok VenturesGlobal Founders Capital and TDM Growth Partners. The company has now raised $158 million to date. TechCrunch has more here

OpenGov, a seven-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based maker of government performance management software, has raised $51 million in Series D funding co-led by Weatherford Capital and 8VC, with participation from earlier investor Andreessen Horowitz. TechCrunch has more here

Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

Cazoo, a nine-month-old, London-based online car-buying platform, has raised £25 million from DMG VenturesStride.VC, Octopus Ventures and Entrée Capital, bringing its total (pre-launch) funding to more than €60 million. More here

Elliptic, a six-year-old, Tokyo-based startup that’s focused on selling anti-money laundering compliance, crypto forensics, and cryptocurrency investigation services to the private sector and sometimes law enforcement agencies, has raised $23 million in Series B funding. The financial services and asset management firm SBI Group led the round, joined by AlbionVC and earlier backers SignalFireOctopus Ventures and Santander Innoventures. TechCrunch has more here

GNA Biosolutions, a nine-year-old, Munich, Germany-based developer of point-of-care molecular diagnostic devices, has raised $13.5 million in funding led by GreyBird Ventures, with participation from Wachtumsfonds BayernSHS CapitalRobert Bosch VCUVC PartnersMey Capital MatrixKfW, and btov Partners. FierceBiotech has more here.

Joblift, a four-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based job search and employment platform, has raised €15 million in Series B funding from RedLineTruVenturoDN CapitalCherry VenturesBtov, and PicusMore here

Kasisto, a six-year-old, New York-based startup behind a conversational AI platform designed for the financial services industry, just raised $15 million in additional Series B funding led by Rho Capital Partners, with participation from earlier investors Oak HC/FTPropel Venture PartnersTwo Sigma VenturesCommerce Ventures, and the Partnership Fund for New York City. The company had initially raised $17 million for its Series B back in December. More here

Smaller Fundings  

Lengoo, a five-year-old, Germany-based online translation platform, has raised €6 million in Series A funding led by Redalpine, with participation from seed backers Creathor Ventures and Piton Capital. More here

Parkable, a four-year-old, Auckland, New Zealand-based parking app, has raised NZ$4.6 million ($2.9 million) in Series A funding led by the regional telco Spark, with numerous individual investors joining the round. Startup Daily has more here

Robocath, a 10-year-old, Normandy, France-based developer of robotic systems for treating vascular diseases, has raised €5 million from Go CapitalNCINormandie ParticipationsM CapitalSupernova InvestNormandie InnovationCrédit Agricole, and Unexo. EU Startups has more here

Spotawheel, a four-year-old, Athens, Greece-based online used car dealer, has raised €5 million in equity and debt funding from VentureFriends and Velocity Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds 

Accion Venture Lab, the seed-stage investment arm of non-profit Accion, has raised $23 million for a new startup fund called the Accion Venture Lab Limited Partnership. According to the outfit, it will make will make seed-stage investments in inclusive fintech startups, which it defines as ventures that “that leverage technology to increase the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the under-served at scale.” The new fund was raised with capital contributions from Ford Foundation, Visa, and Proparco, which is the development finance institution of the French government, among others. TechCrunch has more here

DSG Consumer Partners, a seven-year-old, Mauritius-based early-stage, consumer focused investment firm, has closed its third venture capital fund with $65 million in capital commitments. The outfit’s prior two funds closed with $24 million and $50 million, respectively. As LiveMint notes, DSG is best known for making early bets on hotel chain Oyo; the point-of-sale services provider MSwipe; and Raw Pressery, a cold-pressed juice startup. The third fund will invest in seed and Series A rounds of $500,000 to $2 million and will invest a maximum of 15 percent of the fund in a single company. More here

A Beijing, China-based venture capital firm called Xiang He Capital that’s focused on high‐growth internet and tech‐enabled businesses, has closed its second USD‐denominated fund with $425 million in capital commitments, the firm announced today. DealStreetAsia has more here.


Kabbage, a fintech startup backed by SoftBank that has built a business around lending up to $250,000 to small and mid-size businesses using AI-based algorithms, has acquired the seven-year-old, San Francisco-based marketing technology company Radius Intelligence. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but Radius had raised $107.6 million over the years, shows Crunchbase. Its backers include Founders Fund, Formation 8, and American Express Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Oyo, the largest hotel chain in India, says it has acquired the three-year-old, Copenhagen-based data science firm Danamica as it works to expand its business in Europe. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here

Smartbear, a ten-year-old, Boston-based application performance monitoring company that’s backed by Francisco Partners, has acquired Bitbar, a Finland-based maker of cloud-based mobile app testing software. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Bitbar had raised approximately $3 million in venture funding from investors, including Inventure, Qualcomm Ventures, Draper Esprit, Creathor Ventures, Nordic Venture Partners, and Avera Pharmaceutical. More here

Publicly traded Vertex Pharmaceuticals has agreed to acquire privately held Semma Therapeutics, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based developer of stem cell-derived human islets for the potential cure of Type 1 diabetes, for $950 million in cash. According to Crunchbase, Semma had raised $163 million from investors, including MPM Capital. The Boston Globe has more here.


WeWork is planning to kick off its IPO as soon as next week, reports Bloomberg. More here

In the spring, fashion resale marketplace Poshmark was said to be preparing to file for an IPO that could come as soon as this fall, after hiring Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to manage the offering. Now, the plan is to go out in 2020, says Bloomberg. It needs to focus on improving its execution and boosting its sales first, according to the outlet’s sources. 

10x Genomics, a Pleasanton, Ca.-based developer of single-cell analysis tech platforms, has revealed plans to sell 9 million shares at between $31 and $35 each at its up coming IPO, which would give it an initial market cap of $3 billion in the midrange. The company has raised roughly $320 million over the years, including from a handful of firms that now own most of the company, including Foresite Capital, Venrock, Paladin Capital, Fidelity, Meritech Capital Partners, and SoftBank. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News has more here

Cloudflare, the nine-year-old, San Francisco-based seller of content delivery network services, has revealed plans to sell 35 million shares in its upcoming IPO at between $10 and $12 each, which would give it an initial market cap of $3.23 billion at the midrange. According to Crunchbase, Cloudflare has raised at least $332 million in private funding, including from Fidelity, Pelion Ventures, NEA, Venrock, Union Square Ventures, and Franklin Templeton. Business Insider has more here.

SmileDirectClub, a five-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based company that sells at-home teeth straightening systems, has set its IPO terms; it plans to sell 58.54 million shares at $19 and $22 each, which would give it a market cap of $7.9 billion in the midrange. According to Crunchbase, it has raised $380 million from investors, including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice; Spark Capital; and Kleiner Perkins. In an aside, Forbes notes that when the company makes its public debut in New York this month, the company’s 30-year-old founders are set to become two of the youngest entrepreneurs in the nation to crack into the billionaire ranks. More here

SpringWorks Therapeutics, a two-year-old, Stamford, Cn.-based developer of treatments for rare diseases and cancers, plans to sell 7.35 million shares at between $16 and $18 each in an upcoming IPO that would value the company at $684 million at the midrange. The young company has already raised $228 million in venture funding, including from Perceptive Advisors, Tavistock Group, and HBM Healthcare Investments. Nasdaq has a tiny bit more here.


Scott Frederick has joined Sands Capital Management as a managing director. He spent the past four years with NEA as a partner in Chevy Chase, Md. and before that (in 2002), Frederick co-founded Valhalla Partners. 

Just days after denying that he has started a relationship with anyone working at Google or Alphabet other than a former colleague with whom he shares a child, emphasizing that “any suggestion otherwise is simply untrue,” Alphabet’s legal chief, David Drummond, married a Google employee

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Essential Reads 

More than half the nation’s state attorneys general have now reportedly signed on to and are preparing an antitrust investigation into Google

Now Facebook could soon remove “like” counts, too. 

Amazon is working on a new technology that would allow customers at its Whole Foods stores to check out by just waving their hands, according to the New York Post. [Note: You should really wave them as if you were a magician.]


Between Two Ferns: The Movie (trailer). 

Red carpet looks at the 76th Venice Film Festival. 

America’s stormy affair with their AirPods

Thirteen ways to screw your internet provider.

Retail Therapy 

The Pingjiang Homey Wild Luxury Hotel. Rivers and mountains and forests, oh my.

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