September 25, 2019


Top News 

The connected fitness company Peloton priced its IPO tonight at $29 per share. The seven-year-old outfit, which is headquartered in New York, is offering 40 million shares of Class A common stock to the public and looking to raise $1.16 billion at a valuation of more than $8 billion. TechCrunch has more here

According to the Financial Times, SoftBank is talking with WeWork about increasing the the amount of capital it had agreed to provide the office leasing company next year. The plan was to fork over $1.5 billion; now, says the FT, SoftBank could potentially throw in an additional $1 billion in order to change the terms of a warrant agreement it struck this year with WeWork. The new deal would also reduce the price per share at which it acquires WeWork stock. Less clear: how SoftBank would value its investment in the company after striking a new arrangement with it. More here.

Sponsored By …

In 1994, the average U.S. tech company went public four years after founding – recently, that number has grown to over 10 years! Fear not startup employees: EquityZen lets you take some chips off the table now by giving you the liquidity you deserve. Discover how much your employee equity is worth by listing your shares today.

Newly Minted Vested Aims to Tell Startup Employees Exactly When to Exercise Their Options 

Research when to sell shares in a privately held company, and the results may have you laughing — not because they’re funny but they’re because there’s an almost comical amount of information available out there. From blog posts to advertisements to advertorials to calculators, the data is overwhelming to the point of being useless. 

It’s a problem that Matt Venables and Tom Hennessy — both former execs at the peer-to-peer payments company Circle —  experienced first-hand across numerous startup jobs. The more they looked to understand what their equity was worth and how to sell it without making a massive financial misstep, the more frustrated they felt. 

Enter Vested, their three-month-old, Boston-based startup, one that is already backed already with $1.2 million from UnderscoreVC and Boston Seed Capital, and which — if they’re exceedingly lucky — will become the first stop for many thousands of startup employees who are in the same boat that the two once were. 

What these individuals will find, promises Vested: access to secondary outfits that offer employees liquidity and to loan providers, but as crucially, they say, plainly explained information around taxes, along with competitive data about different industries and other recent stock sale information. More specifically, Vested will make available on its platform a lot of data that’s right now tricky to find but that VCs and data analysts tend to use, including public records filings, salary information, and 409a valuations. 

Hennessey explains the pitch this way: “Matt and I have both some sold shares on the secondary market, and the process was non-transparent and not a fair process. But we realized the problem is much bigger than that — that the bigger issue is really around private equity compensation. The misunderstanding starts from day one. We’d love to capture employees before they ever sign an offer letter, then keep them along the way, so they understand at what points it makes sense to exercise their options and why.” 

Ultimately, the goal is guide more employees to exercise responsibly and to convert option holders into shareholders, because the popular alternative, apparently, is for employees to do nothing at all. 

More here.

Massive Fundings 

AllinMD, a six-year-old, Beijing, China-based orthopaedic hospital platform that automatically matches doctors with registered patients based on their particular case, has raised $100 million in funding co-led by Tencent and Sheares Healthcare Group, with participation from Trustbridge Partners and WeDo Capital. South China Morning Post has more here

Amphivena Therapeutics, a six-year-old, South San Francisco-based developer of T-cell engager therapeutics for cancer, has raised $62 million in Series C funding. NanoDimension and Qiming Venture Partners co-led the round, joined by Clough CapitalAju IBKorys MerieuxKaitai CapitalIndustrial InvestorsNawton Ltd.MPM CapitalTekla Capital Management, and Franklin Berger. FierceBiotech has more here

Klar, a 1.5-year-old, Mexico City, Mexico-based online-only bank, has raised $57.5 million in equity and debt funding (though mostly debt funding; the equity portion represents just $7.5 million). Quona Capital led the equity round, with participation from Santander InnoventuresaCrewFJ LabsArc Labs, and Western Technology InvestmentMore here

Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings, a 1.5-year-old, cybersecurity startup, has raised  $37 million in funding co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Founders Fund, with participation from CRV and UL Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Darwinbox, a four-year-old, Hyderabad-based startup that operates a cloud-based human resource management platform, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Sequoia India, with participation from earlier backers Lightspeed India PartnersEndiya Partners, and 3one4 Capital. The company has now raised $19.7 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

Deliverr, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based fulfillment company that caters to retailers wanting to offer fast and cost-effective deliveries (to compete with Amazon), just raised $23 million in Series B funding led by GLP, with participation from 8VC. The WSJ has more hereDuda, a nearly 10-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based website-building platform for developers, has raised $25 million from Susquehanna Growth Equity. TechCrunch has more here

Eko, a six-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based developer of an electronic stethoscope, just raised $20 million in Series B funding. Artis Ventures led the round, joined by DigiTx PartnersNTT VC3M VenturesMayo ClinicSeraph Group, and XTX Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Fidel, a six-year-old, London-based platform for building functionality on top of card payment networks, has raised $18 million in Series A funding. Nyca Partners and QED Investors co-led the round, joined by Citi VenturesCommerce VCElefundHorizons VenturesRBC, and 500 Startups. TechCrunch has more here

Kapwing, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based online image and video editing platform, has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by CRVMore here.

Kreditech, a seven-year-old, Hamburg, Germany-based online lender to near-prime borrowers, has raised €20 million in funding. Runa Capital led the round, joined by earlier backers HPE Growth and Amadeus Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here

TigerGraph, an eight-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based software developer that makes a suite of enterprise graph database tools, has raised $32 million in Series B funding led by the private equity firm SIG in a round that brings the startup’s total funding to $60 million. VentureBeat has more here

Smaller Fundings

 Elma, a two-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based startup that’s building a digital-first insurance business, has raised $3.2 million in Series A funding led by Mangrove Capital. TechCrunch has more here

Okapi, a two-year-old, New York-based startup that uses machine learning to help property managers understand their data, just raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Marius Nacht, the co-founder and chairman of Check Point Software Technologies. The company has now raised $8.4 million altogether. The Commercial Observer has more here

PayMongo, a months-old, Manilla-based startup that helps small merchants set up online payments, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding from Founders FundStripeYCGlobal Founders Capital, and Soma Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Shopmonkey, a two-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based maker of auto repair shop management software, just raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures, with participation from and 12BFMore here

Tastewise, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based AI-powered food trends prediction and intelligence startup that works with CPG companies, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by PeakBridge, an investment firm specializing in food tech. The Spoon has more here

Videahealth, a 1.5-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based startup whose software automatically detects pathologies in dental imaging, helping dentists avoid missing disease, has raised $5.4 million in seed funding. Backers include Zetta Venture Partners,  Pillar and MIT’s delta v accelerator. TechCrunch has more here

Zen Educate, a two-year-old, London-based digital staffing platform for schools and teachers, has raised £5.6 million in funding led by Brighteye Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Adjuvo and Nick Hungerford, the founder of online investment platform Nutmeg. More here

ZenBusiness, a four-year-old,  Austin, Tex.-based software platform for launching new businesses (it recommends services like banking, lending, tax preparation, website building, and more) has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by earlier backer Greycroft. Other investors include Lerer HippeauRise of the RestRosecliff Venture PartnersInterlock Partners, and Recruit Strategic Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds 

Blue Delta Capital Partners, a McLean, Va.-based venture capital firm, has raised $150 million in capital commitments for its new fund. It says it plans to use the money to fund roughly 10 companies in the Washington, D.C. area. More here.


Amazon has acquired INTL, a young L.A.-based startup that makes software for sellers to manage the costs and customs clearance of cross-border shipments. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but INTL should help merchants on Amazon’s marketplace more easily import goods, speculates Reuters. INTL had raised at least $1 million in seed funding, according to Crunchbase. More here

The shedding begins. According to The Information, WeWork has already put three companies on the block that it had acquired in recent years: Managed by Q, which WeWork bought in May; Meetup, which WeWork bought in late 2017; and Conductor, which WeWork bought in the spring. (The last deal came together after Neumann ran into Conductor founder Seth Besmertnik, a former classmate, at a bank, a former employee tells us.) 


Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns will step down as the e-cig giant faces a growing public backlash. K.C. Crosthwaite, formerly chief growth officer at Marlboro maker Altria Group, which took a $13 billion stake in Juul last year, will take his place. More here

Today eBay announced that Devin Wenig has stepped down from the role of CEO. Wenig, a former Reuters executive, joined the company eight years ago as president of its global marketplace division and made CEO in July 2015. eBay’s chairman Thomas Tierney said in a release tied to the news that “eBay is stronger today than it was four years ago. Notwithstanding this progress, given a number of considerations, both Devin and the board believe that a new CEO is best for the company at this time.” But Wenig didn’t sound so sanguine on Twitter afterward, writing, “In the past few weeks it became clear that I was not on the same page as my new Board. Whenever that happens, it’s best for everyone to turn that page over.”  More here.

Sponsored By …

Hi, we’re Wizeline. We’re a development and design services company with nearshore operations in Mexico (and in 6 countries and 10 cities around the globe). We work with sophisticated tech companies to build rapid prototypes, accelerate their roadmap, and scale engineering operations. We’d like to share a story. It’s about a non-technical team that needed to build an app with several integrations and features. However, the team didn’t have the bandwidth or budget to get it done in-house. Sound familiar? Read on to see how we enabled Fitz Frames to revolutionize the kids’ eyewear market.

Essential Reads 

Here’s everything Amazon announced at its Alexa event today

TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned social network, instructs its moderators to censor videos that mention Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, or the banned religious group Falun Gong, according to leaked documents reported on today by The Guardian. The revelations come amid growing belief that talk of the Hong Kong protests on TikTok is being censored. Facebook today announced Horizon, a giant virtual reality playground where users can build their own worlds, create and play games, or socialize with friends who are represented by avatars. More here


Why Mattel is releasing the first gender-neutral doll. 

Millennials continue to leave big cities

Your cat might care that you exist after all.

Retail Therapy 

Shooting Star, in Jackson, Wyoming.

Filed Under:

Don’t Miss Out!

Sign up today to receive a free daily email with everything you need to start your day. Plus, keep track of the companies and personalities that will shape the industry in the months and years to come. Let StrictlyVC be your very own venture capital concierge.

StrictlyVC on Twitter