September 27, 2019

Friday! We’ve been a little distracted by this, happening next week, where we’re very excited to be sitting down with GV CEO David Krane (in his first public interview since becoming top boss in 2016), as well as with top VCs Ann Miura-Ko and Theresia Gouw (so much to talk about) and with cannabis operators Keith McCarty and Bharat Vasan (who is suddenly no longer the CEO of the vaporizer company Pax, something we will definitely discuss!). Last but not least, we’re sitting down withmedia mavens Cindy Gallop and Brooke Hammerling, who do very different things very well. 

Let’s also not forget that we have this wonderfulness coming up Wednesday, November 13th for those of you in the Bay Area, thanks to the generous support of both NextWorld Capital, a specialist in enterprise startups, and KCPR public relations, which works with and advises both startups and VCs. It’s sure to be a fun evening, and will feature some of this and some of this, along with some great and timely guest speakers. 

More on all soon — hope you have a wonderful weekend and, for those of you celebrating the upcoming Jewish holiday, Shanah tovah. (We thought this tweet was very funny.)

Top News 

According to Bloomberg, Trump administration officials are discussing ways to limit U.S. investors’ portfolio flows into China, including delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges and limiting Americans’ exposure to the Chinese market through government pension funds. Exact mechanisms for how to do so have not yet been worked out, it adds. 

Tesla committed a series of violations of the National Labor Relations Act in 2017 and last year, a judge ruled today. Among her findings: that the carmaker illegally threatened and retaliated against employees, including in a tweet that CEO Elon Musk sent in May 2018, which suggested employees who chose to join a union would give up company-paid stock options. TechCrunch has more here.

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Massive Fundings  

Traveloka, a seven-year-old, Southeast Asia-based online travel-booking site that counts Expedia Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant, and Sequoia Capital among its investors, is looking to raise $500 million in its latest funding round, says the WSJ. The post-money valuation its targeting: $4.5 billion. More here

Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

Booksy, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based booking platform for beauty companies, has raised $28.5 million in Series B-2 funding. Investors include Industry Ventures,  XG VenturesPiton Capital, and Enern, along with numerous individual backers. More here

ECOR, a 13-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based company that makes a line of green building materials, has raised $40 million in funding, according to Fortune. The investors were not named. More here

Honeycomb, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup whose product promises developer teams that they can see production more clearly, so they can resolve issues more quickly, has raised $11.4 million in funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Storm VentureseVenturesNextWorld Capital and Merian Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Meissa Vaccines, a five-year-old, South San Francisco-based developer of vaccines to prevent viral respiratory infections, has raised $30 million in Series A funding from Morningside Ventures. FierceBiotech has more here.

Moneyfarm, an eight-year-old, London-based digital wealth management startup, has raised £36 million in Series C funding led by Poste Italiane, with participation from Allianz Asset ManagementMore here

Primary, a five-year-old, New York-based e-commerce children’s apparel brand, has raised $20 million in Series C funding, including from USVPMighty Capital and Homebrew Ventures. Built in NYC has more here

Zylo, a three-year-old, Indianapolis-based enterprise SaaS management platform, just raised $22.5 million in Series B funding. Menlo Ventures led the round, joined by Bessemer Venture PartnersHigh AlphaRevolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed FundSalesforce Ventures and the Slack Fund. Crunchbase News has more here

Smaller Fundings  

DeadHappy, a six-year-old, U.K.-based pay-as-you-go life insurance provider, has raised £4 million ($4.9 million) in Series A funding, including from and Octopus Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Evernym, a 6.5-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based identity startup, raised $8 million from Barclays Ventures and Medici Ventures (the blockchain arm of Ledger Insights has more here.  

Fetch, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based package delivery startup that focuses on apartment communities, has raised $10.5 million in Series A funding. Signal Peak Ventures led the round, joined by Silverton Partners and Capital Factory. Austin American-Statesman has more here

Kyoku, a year-old, L.A.-based personalized, plant-based active nutrition brand, has raised $1.2 million in funding led by Science Inc, with participation from individual investors. More here

Modulz, a year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based startup that helps teams code without writing code, has raised $4.2 million seed funding, including from LocalGlobe, Product Hunt cofounder Ryan Hoover, Weekend Fund’s Vedika Jain and Frontline VenturesMore here

Neuromod Devices, an eight-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based developer of non-invasive neuromodulation technologies, just raised €8 million in equity and venture debt funding. Fountain Healthcare Partners and Moffett Investment Holdings co-led the equity piece, with Kreos Capital and Silicon Valley Bank providing the debt. More here

Package Free, a two-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based online marketplace that sells retailers’ products to those looking to live a zero or low-waste lifestyle, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding. Primary Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by TQ VenturesDay One Ventures, and several individual investors. TechCrunch has more here

Ribometrix, a five-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based biotechnology company developing small molecule therapeutics that directly target RNA to treat human diseases, has raised $7.8 million in funding from earlier investors the Dementia Discovery Fund and Illumina Ventures. More here.

New Funds 

Capital Factory, a 10-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based accelerator and investment firm, is looking to raise $20 million for its sixth venture fund, shows an SEC filingMore here.

Silverton Partners, the Austin, Tex.-based early-stage venture firm founded in 2005 by Bill Wood, a founder of Austin Ventures, is looking to raise up to $120 million for its sixth fund, suggests an SEC filing.  The firm closed its fifth fund with $108 million early last year. More here.


KidPass, a three-year-old, New York-based online marketplace for booking kids activities, has acquired Mommy Nearest, a six-year-old media company for millennial parents. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. KidPass has raised at least $6.3 million from VCs, shows Crunchbase; Mommy Nearest, also based in New York, had apparently raised $4.4 million from backers. More here.

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Essential Reads 

In the WSJ: “WeWork’s parent went on a buying spree before its planned initial public offering, using its highly valued private shares to finance purchases of other venture-backed startups. Now, these startups and their investors are left holding shares that are likely worth a lot less than they bargained for.” Among them, it says, the marketing software company Conductor. We paid $113.6 million for New York-based company Conductor in March 2018, but just $15.8 million of that was in cash, with the rest in the form of preferred stock. The startup had raised $58 million. 

Docker, a one-time highflier in business software that reached a $1 billion valuation in 2015, is struggling to raise some much-needed capital, reports CNBC. It says  Rob Bearden, who was named CEO in May, wrote an email to employees this week thanking them for “persevering in spite of the lack of clarity we’ve had these past few weeks.” In the note, he told his staff that more cash is hopefully on the way. 

In the worst-kept secret in Silicon Valley, Wag, a dog-walking service that raised a whopping $300 million from the WeWork investor SoftBank at the start of last year, isn’t faring so well, either. CNBC has a really great, detailed report here.


The mystery of the outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses is still not solved, but investigators have found some clues

How Linda Rondstadt ruled the ’70s

What brain scans can tell us about sex.

Retail Therapy 

Hermes takes ugly dad sneakers to new extremes.

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