September 10, 2019

Tuesday! Hope yours went well. 🙂

Top News

California legislators just approved a landmark bill that requires companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers as employees. The bill — which passed in a 29 to 11 vote in the State Senate and will apply to app-based companies — is expected to be signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who endorsed it earlier this month. As reports the New York Times, it may well reshape the gig economy. Now to see if the widely expected development is already priced into the companies’ public shares. More here.

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These Brothers Just Raised $18 Million for Their Startup, Dutchie, a Kind of Shopify for Cannabis Dispensaries 

Ross Lipson comes from an entrepreneurial family, so perhaps it’s no wonder that as a college student, he dropped out of school to jump into the online food space, including co-founding, then selling, one of Canada’s first online food ordering service startups. 

It’s even less surprising that having gone through that experience, Lipson would use what he learned in the service of another startup: Dutchie, a two-year-old, 36-person, Bend, Ore.-based startup whose software is used by a growing number of cannabis dispensaries that pay the startup a monthly subscription fee to create and maintain their websites, as well as to accept orders and track what needs to be ready for pickup. 

The decision is looking like a smart one right now. Dutchie  says it’s now being used by 450 dispensaries across 18 states and that it’s seeing $140 million in gross merchandise volume. The company also just locked down $15 million in Series A funding led by Gron Ventures, a new cannabis-focused venture fund with at least $117 million to invest. Other participants in the round include earlier backers Casa Verde Capital, Thirty Five Ventures (founded by NBA star Kevin Durant and sports agent Rich Kleiman), Sinai Ventures and individual investors, including Shutterstock founder and CEO Jon Oringer. 

Altogether, Dutchie (named after the song), has now raised $18 million. We talked earlier today with Lipson about the company, its challenges and working with his big brother Zach, himself a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Dutchie and today serves as its chief product officer while Ross serves as CEO. 

It’s so interesting when siblings team up. Did you always get along with your brother? We complement each other strongly. I’m energy, I’m sales and business development. I’m fast-moving by nature and the guy who wants to drive the car as fast as possible. Zach is the one who wants to make sure that we’re doing everything right. He’s the methodical one. We really do understand each other quite well and appreciate each other’s strengths and weaknesses, which enables us to meet in the middle on a lot of things. 

It’s also interesting that you’ve both been founders beginning around the time you were in college. Were your parents entrepreneurs? Our father is a founder and has run his own business for the last 35 years. Our parents also always pitched us that anything is possible and encouraged us to go for it. He was the dreamer and our mom was the cheerleader, which is a pretty nice combination. 

You started Dutchie a couple of years ago. Is running this startup more or less challenging than your experience in the food delivery business? It’s our second year in business, and we’ve seen some explosive, unprecedented growth.  More here.

Massive Fundings  

Snyk, a four-year-old, London-based developer of cybersecurity analysis tools, has raised $70 million in funding led by Accel, with participation from earlier backers GV and Boldstart Ventures. Globes has more here

Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

Canndescent, a four-year-old, Santa Barbara, Ca-based cannabis company that grows and sells weed, has raised $27.5 million in Series C funding. Green Acre Capital led the round, joined by Carnegie Arch CapitalSenterraAltitude Investment ManagementJW Asset Management and an unnamed multinational beer company from Asia. More here

Drivetime, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that makes voice-based trivia quizzes, games and interactive stories that people can play while driving, has raised $11 million in funding led by Makers Fund, with participation from Amazon‘s Alexa Fund and Google. TechCrunch has more here

Glance, a year-old, India-based subsidiary of Indian mobile ad business firm InMobi, just raised $45 million from Mithril Capital, the growth-stage investment firm co-founded by investors Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. Glance operates a service that shows media content in local languages on the lock screen of Android-powered smartphones. TechCrunch has more here.

IceKredit, a four-year-old, Shanghai, China-based credit risk and credit management platform with offices in L.A., has raised $47 million in new funding co-led by Guohe Capital and Yunqi Partners. KrASIA has more here

Keranova, a four-year-old, Saint-Etienne, France-based maker of surgical ophthalmology tools, has raised €24 million from Financière ArbevelTourrette Investissement and earlier backers Mérieux Equity Partners and Supernova Invest. Mass Device has more here.

Nextdoor, the now 11-year-old, San Francisco-based social network for neighborhoods, has raised $47 million in new funding from Bond, the new firm founded by former Internet analyst-turned-venture capitalist Mary Meeker. The capital is part of a previously announced Series F round and brings the round’s new total to $170 million. VentureBeat has more here.

ProGlove, a five-year-old, Munich, Germany-based industrial wearables startup that’s developing wireless gloves with built-in barcode scanners and gesture-sensing features, has raised $40 million from Summit Partners. VentureBeat has more here

Q-CTRL, a two-year-old, Sydney, Australia-based quantum computing control startup, has raised $15 million in funding led by Square Peg Capital; other participants in the round include Sierra Ventures and earlier backers Sequoia CapitalMain Sequence Ventures, and Horizons Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

SGI-DNA, a six-year-old, La Jolla, Ca.-based synthetic genomics and DNA storage startup, has raised $25 million in Series A funding led by Northpond Ventures, with participation from Oxford Finance and BroadOak Capital PartnersMore here

Strong Roots, a four-year-old, U.K.-based vegetarian frozen food company, has raised $18.3 million in funding from the private equity firm Goode Partners as it looks to expand its U.S. presence. TechCrunch has more here, including a picture provided by the company that made us wince, if we’re being honest. 

Yasa, a nearly eight-year-old, Oxford, England-based company that makes electric motors and motor controllers for hybrid and electric vehicles, has raised £18 million from Oxford Science InnovationsInovia Capital and earlier backers Parkwalk Advisors and Universal PartnersMore here

Smaller Fundings 

Adarga, a four-year-old, London-based AI services startup, has raised £5 million in Series A funding led by Allectus Capital. TechCrunch has more here

Brave Care, a two-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based operator of pediatric urgent care clinics, has raised $5.2 million in seed funding from Sesame StreetGreycroftRefactorFifty YearsIndicator Ventures, and Founder’s Co-op. GeekWire has more here

ClearAccessIP, a 6.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based IP management startup, just raised $3.7 million in seed equity and debt funding from Alpana VenturesPlug & Play VenturesFoundersX Ventures, and longtime investor Bill TaiMore here

Fitplan, a three-year-old, L.A.-based personal training app, has raised $4.5 million from Corazon Capital, Former Yankee Alex Rodriguez, and 24 Hour Fitness CEO Mark Mastrov. TechCrunch has more here.

Kovrr, a three-year-old, Tel Aviv-Israel-based predictive cyber-risk modeling startup, has raised $5.5 million in funding co-led by StageOne Ventures and Mundi VenturesMore here.

Pento, a three-year-old, Copenhagen-based payroll SaaS startup, has raised $2.8 million in seed funding co-led by Point Nine CapitalSeedcamp, and numerous individual investors, including departing Atomico partner Mattias Ljungman. TechCrunch has more here

PrimaryBid, a seven-year-old, London-based startup whose goal is to give retail investors across the Eurozone access to discounted share issuances for any European public company, has raised £7 million co-led by Pentech and Outward VC. EU Startups has more here

Voxpopme, a six-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based video feedback and analytics company, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Origin VenturesMore here.

Zestful, a three-year-old, Denver, Co.-based developer of employee perk programs, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Thrive Capital. It was joined in the round by Box GroupY CombinatorMatchstick VenturesThird Kind Capital, and Shrug Capital. Crunchbase News has more here.

New Funds

Link Ventures, a 13-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based venture capital firm focused on consumer internet startups, says it has raised more than $100 million in capital commitments for its second fund. More here.


The billionaire former New York City mayor and founder of Bloomberg, Michael Bloomberg, is committing $160 million to combat vaping, he announced today in a statement. 

Uber has laid off 435 employees across its product and engineering teams, it announced today. Combined, the layoffs represent about 8 percent of the organization. In a separate cost-cutting measure, Uber had separately laid off 400 employees from its marketing department in July.

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Essential Reads 

Apple today unveiled a batch of iPhones that didn’t exactly surprise, owing to the many detailed leaks throughout the year. It wasn’t just the phones, either. Tweeted Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, who has long covered the company: “Nothing shown today really qualifies as meeting high ‘innovation only’ expectations: Apple delivered the smallest Watch update ever, an iPad with a slightly bigger screen and nothing more, and iPhones with cameras equal to or less than many other devices. Apple needs a big 2020.” (The iPhone Pro’s camera display in particular got roasted following its introduction.) If you’d rather see for yourself, here’s everything Apple announced today at its iPhone 11 event. 

Peloton, the New York-based the developer of at-home, internet-connected stationary bikes and treadmills, is looking to raise as much as $1.2 billion in an IPO priced between $26 and $29 a share, the company said this afternoon in an SEC filing. TechCrunch has more here.


Clean out your closet the right way

“We are not saying that there isn’t a primate on the loose, in fact, there probably is one,” say Santa Fe police.

Retail Therapy 

Polaroid Lab, an instant camera that turns digital photos into analog shots.

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