• August 20, 2019

    Tuesday! We’re short on time today (our youngest and also shortest intern just entered into double-digit territory so we’re off to celebrate his birthday). More tomorrow.:)

    Top News

    From today’s Washington Post: The U.S. government is moving forward with its review of online platforms for potential antitrust violations, coordinating with state attorneys general while signaling it could send demands for documents to Silicon Valley companies and their critics, the chief of the Justice Department’s antitrust division said today. He reportedly added that there are growing questions about large tech giants’ purchase of “nascent competitors” and the “intention of the incumbent” when making acquisitions. More here.

    Sponsored By …

    Forge is a premier trading, settlement and custody partner for a wide range of investors in the private markets. Established in 2014 as Equidate, the company empowers investors and shareholders by enabling liquidity in the private markets and has completed nearly $2 billion in transaction volume since inception. Forge was founded by Y Combinator alumni and backed by top investors including Tim Draper, FT Partners, Munich Re, and BNP Paribas. Forge’s platform allows employees and investors in privately held innovation firms to liquidate a portion of their shares, and provides private and institutional investors access to top companies like Spotify and Lyft before their IPOs. Learn more.

    Massive Fundings  

    Graybug Vision, an eight-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based  eye diseases drug developer, has raised $80 million in Series C funding led by CBC Group. Earlier backers also joined the round, including Deerfield ManagementOrbiMed AdvisorsHatteras Venture Partners, and a fund managed by Blackstone Life SciencesMore here

    H2O.ai, a seven-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that says it wants to democratize AI through tools that free companies from relying on teams of data scientists, has closed on $72.5 million in Series D funding. Goldman Sachs and Ping An Global Voyager Fund co-led the round. Earlier backers Wells FargoNvidia and Nexus Venture Partners also participated. The company has now raised $147 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Homeis, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based company that the founders describe as a “culture network” for foreign-born nationals and expats, has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Canaan and Spark Capital. Other investors in the company, which has now raised $16 million altogether, include Abstract VC, the Chernin GroupSamsung Next, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and Taboola CEO Adam Singolda. VentureBeat has more here

    Reputation.com, a 13-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based online reputation management platform for companies, has raised $30 million in new funding led by Ascension Ventures, with participation from Akkadian VenturesIndustry VenturesRiver City Ventures and earlier backers Kleiner PerkinsAugust CapitalBessemer Venture PartnersHeritage Group, and Icon Ventures. TechCrunch has much more here

    Starship Technologies, a San Francisco-based maker of last-mile delivery robots, just raised $40 million in new Series A funding, bringing the company’s total funding to date to $85 million. Morpheus Ventures led the newest tranche, joined by earlier backers TDK VenturesQu VenturesShasta VenturesMatrix Partners, and MetaPlanet Holdings. TechCrunch has more here

    WeTransfer, a 10-year-old, Amsterdam-based file sharing company, has raised $40 million in Series B funding led by HPE GrowthMore here

    Smaller Fundings  

    BDS Analytics, a four-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based cannabis market intelligence startup, has raised $7 million from Key Investment PartnersAltitude Investment Management, and 7thirty. Green Market Report has more here

    Idein, a four-year-old, Tokyo, Japan-based developer of an IoT platform, has raised $7.8 million in funding led by Global BrainMore here

    Podcorn, a six-month-old, L.A.-based podcasting monetization platform, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding from Bessemer Venture PartnersAlumni Ventures500 Startups, and Global Founders CapitalMore here

    PTO Exchange, a six-year-old, Seattle-based startup that allows employees to monetize their unused paid vacation days, has raised $3 million in seed funding from WestRiver Group, a collective of investment funds based in Kirkland, Wa. GeekWire has more here

    Ride Jakarta, an Indonesia-based micro fitness studio operator, has raised $1.25 million in seed funding from Intudo VenturesAgaeti Ventures and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures. DealStreetAsia has more here

    SpotQA, a two-year-old, Lisbon, Portugal-based automated software testing platform, has raised $3.25 million in seed funding led by Crane Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here

    Syzygy Plasmonics, a two-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based photocatalyst startup, has raised $5.8 million in Series A funding co-led by The Engine and The GOOSE Society of TexasMore here

    Tandem, a nearly two-year-old, Bay Area-based company that’s developing communication software for remote teams after pivoting from crypto, is raising a $7.5 million seed financing at a valuation north of $30 million, sources tell TechCrunch’s Kate Clark. Slack investor Andreessen Horowitz is leading the round. More here

    Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings  

    Business of Fashion, the 12-year-old, London-based blog turned online platform for the global fashion industry, offering content and tools to industry professionals, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by the Financial Times, Earlier backers Index Ventures and Felix Capital also joined the round. More here.

    New Funds 

    The Fearless Fund, a new, Atlanta-based seed-stage venture fund that plans to write checks to women of color who are founders, has has launched a $5 million fund, it says. (It isn’t clear from a release whether the capital has already been fully committed.) One of the firm’s two cofounders is Keshia Knight Pulliam, a former child actor who played the role of Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.” Her fellow cofounder is Arian Simone, a founder and author. More here

    Novalis LifeSciences, a Hampton, N.H.-based investment and advisory firm for the life science industry, says it has raised $85 million in capital commitments for its debut fund. The firm was founded by Marijn Dekkers, who was the CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific (from 2002 through 2009), then the German conglomerate Bayer AG from 2010 through 2016. He also sits on the boards of General Electric and Unilever. More here

    Streamlined Ventures, a 6.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based venture firm led by Ulas Naik, a founder and former general partner with Cota Capital, is raising $75 million for its third fund, shows a new SEC filing that states the first sale has yet to occur. More here.


    Bayer AG is selling its veterinary drugs business to Elanco, a publicly traded, Greenville, In.-based pharmaceutical company that spun out of Eli Lilly and is focused on animal health. The price: $7.6 billion in cash and stock. FierceBiotech has more here

    DoorDash, which just acquired Cavier in a deal worth $140 million, has acquired again. This time, it’s Scotty Labs, a 2.5-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based startup that’s working on tech to enable people to remotely control self-driving cars. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. The startup has raised $6 million in seed funding from Gradient Ventures, Horizon Ventures and Hemi Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

    Microsoft has acquired jClarity, a seven-year-old, London-based maker of tools for Java software developers. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

    Sony acquired Insomniac Games, a Burbank, Ca.- and Tallinn, Estonia-based console gaming studio responsible for the Playstation 4 game “Spider Man.” Venturebeat has more here


    10x Genomics, a seven-year-old, Pleasanton, Ca.-based genomics company, just filed for a $100 million IPO. The company has raised $320 million in venture funding; its biggest outside shareholders include Foresite Capital (which owns 18.1 percent of the company, headed into the offering), Venrock (16.3 percent), Paladin Capital (11.5 percent), and Fidelity (11.3 percent). Nasdaq has a bit more here

    IGM Biosciences, a 26-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that’s been developing antibody therapies for cancer, has filed for a $100 million IPO. The company has raised roughly $120 million from VCs over the years, including, Baker Brothers, Vivo Capital, and Haldor Topsøe Holding. Nasdaq has a bit more here

    Satsuma Pharmaceuticals, a three-year-old, South San Francisco-based clinical-stage biotech that’s developing a therapy for migraines, filed to raise $86 million in an IPO. The company has raised roughly $75 million, shows Crunchbase. Its investors include RA CapitalTPG Biotechnology Partners, and Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “STSA.” Nasdaq has more here.


    Boris Nikolic, a physician who previously served as chief advisor for science and technology to Bill Gates, and who more recently cofounded a venture fund, was apparently named a “successor executor” by convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in the days before he hanged himself. Nikolic, who, in this role, would take control of Epstein’s estate if its named executors could not, said through a spokesperson that he’s part of a broad network that overlapped with Epstein’s but that he was “shocked” to learn he was included in Epstein’s will. Added Nikolic in a statement provided to Bloomberg: “I was not consulted in these matters and I have no intent to fulfill these duties, whatsoever.” 


    Yikes. Walmart said in a lawsuit today that Tesla fell short of industry standards in the installation of solar panels on top of hundreds of stores, resulting in multiple fires across the U.S. More specifically, Walmart says it had leased or licensed roof space on top of more than 240 stores to Tesla’s energy operations unit, formerly known as SolarCity, for the installation and operation of solar systems, but by late last year, fires had broken out at at least seven stores. Bloomberg has the story here

    Essential Reads 

    To satisfy regulators, YouTube officials are reportedly finalizing plans to end targeted advertisements on videos that kids are likely to watch. Bloomberg notes that the move could immediately dent ad sales for the video giant, as well as that plans could still change, according to its sources

    look at the 82 startups that launched today, day two of Y Combinator’s exhaustive Demo Day event. 

    A rare argument for why the WeWork IPO might not be disaster

    DoorDash is reportedly still pocketing workers’ tips, almost one month after it promised to stop the practice.


    Next-level belly flops. Matrix 4 is happening. (Never mind, apparently, that the last two were terrible.) The best athleisure dupes, according to fitness pros.

    Retail Therapy 

    Apple Cards for everyone! (In the U.S.)

  • August 19, 2019

    Monday! Where did it go?!

    Top News

    A group of states is preparing to move forward with a joint antitrust investigation of big technology companies, according to the WSJ. The decision, which could involve up to 20 states, adds another layer of scrutiny to an industry already under a federal spotlight, notes the outlet

    Lyft announced two weeks ago that share lockups would expire today, which is about a month earlier than expected. Investors had worried that an earlier expiration would flood the market and depress the ride-hail company’s shares, but that didn’t happen, observes CNBC. 

    Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency, Libra, already has competition.

    Sponsored By … 

    Forge is a premier trading, settlement and custody partner for a wide range of investors in the private markets. Established in 2014 as Equidate, the company empowers investors and shareholders by enabling liquidity in the private markets and has completed nearly $2 billion in transaction volume since inception. Forge was founded by Y Combinator alumni and backed by top investors including Tim Draper, FT Partners, Munich Re, and BNP Paribas. Forge’s platform allows employees and investors in privately held innovation firms to liquidate a portion of their shares, and provides private and institutional investors access to top companies like Spotify and Lyft before their IPOs. Learn more.

    Uncork Capital Cracks Open Two New Funds 

    Uncork Capital, the now 15-year-old, early-stage venture firm formerly known as SoftTech VC, has closed up two new pools of committed capital totaling $200 million: $100 million for its sixth early-stage fund, and $100 million for an “opportunity” fund so it can stuff a little more capital into those of its portfolio companies that start to break away from the pack. 

    The firm had closed its first opportunity fund with $50 million in mid 2016. It closed its fifth early-stage fund at the same time with $100 million. 

    We talked on Friday with Uncork founder Jeff Clavier about the firm, which is currently writing first checks that range from $750,000 to $2 million. He told us that as with Uncork’s most recent set of funds, the idea is to invest in roughly 35 companies across three years, taking 10 percent ownership on average, and up to 12 percent of a portfolio company when it is the lead investor. 

    More here.

    Massive Fundings  

    Better.com, a 5.5-year-old, New York-based online mortgage lender, has closed its Series C round with $160 million in funding, after first securing $75 million, then another $20 million, earlier this year. Activant Capital led the newest capital infusion. Other investors in the round include Ping An InsuranceAlly FinancialCitigroupAmerican Express VenturesGoldman SachsKCKPine BrookHOOPP and Kleiner Perkins. The company has now raised $254 million altogether. Fortune has more here

    Juvenescence, a three-year-old, U.K.-based company that’s creating what it calls a longevity ecosystem — a network of interlinked companies co-ordinated by a group of around 20 scientists, drug developers, AI specialists and financial experts — has raised $100 million in Series B funding at a $500 million post-money valuation. Investors in the round include NEX Group founder Michael Spencer and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes. So far, says the Financial Times, Juvenescence has invested in 15 companies working on longevity, including AgeX Therapeutics, a California company developing stem cells to regenerate tissues that fail in old age. More here

    RedDoorz, a four-year-old, Singapore-based budget hotel booking site that just announced $45 million in Series B funding at July’s end, says it has now raised $70 million in Series C funding. Asia Partners led the new round, joined by Rakuten CapitalMirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Fund. Apparently, RedDoorz’s Series B round closed earlier this year, even if it let it slip more recently. TechCrunch has more here

    Root Insurance, a four-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based auto insurance upstart that says it uses smartphone data to measure driving behavior and evaluate who’s a safe driver and who isn’t, is raising a $350 million in fresh funding at a $3.5 billion valuation, says the WSJ. According to the report, Coatue Management and DST Global are co-leading the round. More here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Blokable, a nearly four-year-old, Seattle-based multi-story modular housing startup, has raised $23 million in Series A funding. Vulcan Capital led the round, joined by Building VenturesLaunchKapor CapitalMarc BenioffMotley Fool VenturesTen Eighty Capital, and Dennis Joyce, who is the founder of an executive search firm. GeekWire has more here

    Simon Data, a five-year-old, New York-based data science company that tries to provide insights that enable its customers to get more out of their marketing, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Polaris Partners led the round, joined by earlier backers .406 Ventures and F-Prime Capital. The company has now raised $59 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

    Smaller Fundings  

    Ally, a two-year-old, Seattle-based startup that wants to help companies stay on track and hit their goals in an era of rapid change for businesses and markets, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Accel Partners. Other participants in the round include Vulcan CapitalFounders Co-op and Lee Fixelformerly of Tiger Global Management. TechCrunch has more here

    Brainbase, a three-year-old, L.A.-based startup that aims to help companies manage and monetize their intellectual property, has raised $3 million led by Struck Capital, with participation from Tectonic CapitalBonfire VenturesSterling Road and Watertower Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

    Cere Network, a months-year-old, San Francisco-based blockchain-based customer relations manager, has raised $1 million in seed funding. The company’s investors include Binance LabsNeo Global Capital, and Arrington XRP Capital, among multiple others. Coindesk has more here

    Huron, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based maker of personal care products for men, has raised $1 million in seed funding from RXBAR founders Peter Rahal and Jared SmithCXT Investments, and Lean Luxe founder M. Paul Munford. TechCrunch has more here

    Internal, a months-old, San Francisco-based startup that wants to help companies better manage their internal consoles so they can ensure that not everyone on staff has access to sensitive data, has raised $5 million in seed funding. Craft Ventures led the round, with participation from Founders Fund and unnamed angel investors. We have more here

    MoA Technology, a two-year-old, U.K.-based plant genetics company spun out from the University of Oxford, has raised £6.3 million in Series A funding co-led by Parkwalk and Oxford Sciences Innovation. EU Startups has more here.

    New Funds 

    Cleo Capital, a year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based seed-stage venture firm, has closed with $3.5 million in capital commitments for its debut fund. Its plan is to invest through female founders who scout out other interesting startups led by women on Cleo’s behalf. Axios has more here

    Coefficient Capital, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based venture firm that looks to fund high-growth consumer brands that “align the physical world with the digital universe,” has locked down at least $63.5 million in capital commitments from a total of 16 investors, shows a new SEC filingMore here.


    Nio co-founder Jack Cheng has left his position as executive vice president and will transition to the role of adviser after four years of helping build the company. The development is the latest in a series of blows for the Chinese electric vehicle maker after rapid downsizing, massive recalls, and huge losses, notes DealStreetAsia

    Harry Markopolos raised the first alarms over Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Now, Markopolos has published a 170-page report claiming that accounting fraud “bigger than Enron and WorldCom combined” lurks within G.E. 

    Bill Stasior, the longtime former Apple executive overseeing its Siri digital assistant, has joined Microsoft, continuing a “reshuffling of artificial intelligence leadership at big tech companies,” as reports The Information. 

    Essential Reads 

    All 84 startups from Y Combinator’s from Demo Day so far. (Good lord, there are more coming tomorrow.) 

    RV shipments are slipping in the U.S. in what could be an economic warning sign.  

    Time to get those solar panels

    We’re still puzzling over this WSJ report that SoftBank plans to lend up to $20 billion to employees to buy stakes in its second Vision Fund. If you work for SoftBank or are an otherwise smart person with an opinion or insight on this one, let us know, would you? We’d love to talk.


    Saving a Mercedes. 

    playlist of Billie Holiday’s greatest songs. 

    Inside the “Friends” writing room.

    Retail Therapy 

    The top five private colleges that pay off the most.

  • August 16, 2019

    Friday! [Gallops through burbling brook.] Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.:)

    Top News

    Stocks rallied today as a rebound in bond yields eased fears of a recession that sent stocks tumbling earlier in the week. The Dow, however, still lost 1.5 percent on the week.

    Sponsored By … 

    Is the hustle and bustle of work life spreading you thin? Going nuts trying to find free time to catch up with global news? The Daily Pnut is the perfect weekday spread that provides all the relevant facts (with just a hint of nuttiness) in a succinct four minute read. Sign up for The Daily Pnut to get your world in a nutshell.

    Upfront Ventures Beefs Up, Adding Two More General Partners to Its Roster of Now Eight GPs 

    Upfront Ventures, the 23-year-old, LA-based venture capital firm, is gearing up for far more deal-making. In addition to filing paperwork with the SEC this summer to raise its third growth-stage investment fund (it is also investing a $400 million early-stage fund and probably announcing another soon), the firm just added two new general partners to its lineup of investors. 

    One of them, Michael Carney, joined Upfront as a principal in 2015 after working as an editor at the news site PandoDaily, and, before that, working as an investor and analyst at a boutique merchant bank called Worldvest. 

    The firm’s second new general partner is Aditi Maliwal,  who has also circled in and out of investing before, including stints as an associate with Crosslink Capital and, more recently, spending several years with Google, where Maliwal worked in corporate development before becoming a product manager. 

    We talked with both this week to learn more about what they’ll be shopping for — and from where.

    Massive Fundings  

    RD Station, an eight-year-old, Brazil-based digital marketing startup that’s focused on small and medium-size businesses, has raised $50 million in Series D funding by Riverwood Capital. Other investors in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to roughy $90 million, include TPG GrowthDGF InvestimentosRedPoint EventuresAstella Investimentos, and Endeavor Catalyst. Crunchbase News has more here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Motif FoodWorks, a seven-month-old, Boston-based spinoff company of another venture-backed startup, Ginko Bioworks (Motif is developing ingredients to replace animal protein), just raised $27.5 million in funding led by General Atlantic led, with participation from CPT Capital. The company had raised a separate $90 million when it launched by in February. The Spoon has more here

    Sorted, a nine-year-old, Manchester, England-based company whose delivery management platform helps physical and digital retailers more effectively manage their deliveries and returns, has raised €16.5 million in Series B funding. Merian Chrysalis led the round, joined by Praetura Ventures and NVM Private Equity. EU Startups has more here

    ZenLayer, a five-year-old, L.A- and Shanghai-based software-defined network and cloud services startup, just raised $30 million in Series B funding. Forebright Capital led, the round, joined by Volcanics Venture and F&G VentureMore here.

    Smaller Fundings  

    Coinmine, a 16-month-old, L.A.-based that’s making crypto mining hardware and software, announced a $2.5 million seed round of financing from M13 VenturesRepublic LabsGumi Crypto and early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar. CoinDesk has more here

    Nudge Rewards, a seven-year-old, Toronto-based startup that connects restaurant, retail and hospitality companies to front-line employees through an employee engagement app, has raised roughly $8.3 million (U.S. dollars) in new funding led by Jump Capital. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Brightspark VenturesGeneration VenturesStandUp Ventures and the Business Development Bank of Canada. The Globe and Mail has more here.


    SmileDirectClub, a Nashville, Tn.-based maker of at-home teeth straightening systems, has filed for a $100 million IPO after raising roughly $400 million in private funding, most recently at a $3.2 billion post-money valuation. The American Association of Orthodontists, which has concerns with the company’s product and processes, cannot be pleased by this development. In fact, SmileDirectClub cites as a risk factor that orthodontists have warned against using tele-dentistry platforms. More here.


    Oracle yesterday asked a federal court to order CryptoOracle, a New York blockchain-focused venture capital startup, to get another name. Oracle filed a lawsuit against Crypto Oracle LLC and Lou Kerner, its owner and managing partner, alleging trademark infringement and cybersquatting in the Northern District of California. Kerner is a name many will recognize; he was formerly an analyst with Wedbush Securities, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs. The complaint claims his New York City-based startup, founded in December 2017, intentionally chose the brand name CryptoOracle “to trade on Oracle’s reputation as an innovator and leader within the technology industry, and to evoke among consumers the goodwill that Oracle has built in its own famous brand.” The Next Web has more here.


    Asana, the 11-year-old work management platform cofounded by Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, is looking for someone to head up its business development efforts. The job is in San Francisco.


    If you don’t already have a “voice assistant in your home that’s spying on you (and also assisting you!), you’re in dwindling company. According to eMarketer, nearly 40 percent of U.S. internet users will have one in their home by the end of this year. In related news, Google’s assistant is apparently still the smartest, but Amazon Alexa is getting better faster.

    Essential Reads 

    Google has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet-and-greet sessions and other online paid events

    Thrifting is gaining traction, thanks to more budget — and environmentally conscious — customers, and big retailers are taking notice, with Macy’s, J.C. Penney Co., and Patagonia beginning to sell pre-owned goods

    Facebook Marketplace is so popular that one in three people in the U.S. use it monthly, says the company. But users say it has become fertile ground for scams and misconduct


    Wait, miniature horses are among the most commonly used service animals?  

    “Silicon Valley” heads to Washington in its final season (trailer). 

    We would also wait for gasoline that costs 30 cents per gallon.

    Retail Therapy 

    Deep thoughts T-shirts.

  • August 15, 2019


    Top News

    Cloudflare, one of the companies that ensure that websites run smoothly on the internet, has filed to go public. It’s still unclear how it will price it shares or how much it plans to raise in the offering.

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    Cloudflare, in Its IPO Filing, Thanks a Little-Known Cofounder 

    Not every cofounder is acknowledged at the companies that they help to launch. Sometimes, they quit or they’re elbowed out. Often, they’re conveniently written out the company’s history. 

    In the case of Cloudflare, a third cofounder who began the company with its higher-profile CEO, Matthew Prince, and its COO, Michelle Zatlyn, is little known outside the company for a very different reason. As Cloudflare states in an S-1 filing IPO filing that it made public today, “Tragically, Lee stepped down from Cloudflare in 2015, suffering the debilitating effects of Frontotemporal Dementia, a rare neurological disease.” 

    Frontotemporal dementia impacts between 50,000 and 60,000 Americans, according to a rough estimate cited by the Alzheimer’s Association, and it tends to impact younger people, often beginning in their 40s. 

    Though the cause isn’t known, a person’s risk for developing frontotemporal dementia — wherein the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain shrink — is higher if there’s a family history of dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

    Cloudflare did not respond today to questions about Holloway, but Prince and Zatlyn, in a section of the filing addressed to potential shareholders, credit Holloway as the “genius who architected our platform and recruited and led our early technical team.” In fact, they write, when picking a code name for the company’s IPO, they chose “Project Holloway” to honor his contribution because the “technical decisions Lee made, and the engineering team he built, are fundamental to the business we have become.” 

    Holloway’s beneficiaries will be rewarded for that work. 

    More here.

    Massive Fundings  

    D&D Pharmatech, a five-year-old, Maryland and Korea-based developer of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and fibrosis, has raised $137 million in Series B funding. Octave Life Sciences and Smilegate Investment co-led the round, joined by earlier investors InterVest, Magna Investment, and LB Investment. FierceBiotech has more here

    ShareChat, a four-year-old, India-based social network that serves tens of million of people in regional languages, has raised $100 million in Series D funding led by Twitter. Other investors in the round include TrustBridge Partners and earlier backers Shunwei CapitalLightspeed Venture PartnersSAIF CapitalIndia Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital. The company has now raised $224 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Buoy Health, a five-year-old, Boston-based personalized digital health tool for checking symptoms, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by famed former investment banker Bill Hambrecht. with participation from earlier backers F-Prime and Optum Ventures. BuiltinBoston has more here

    Commsignia, a seven-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based company focused on creating cooperative intelligent transport systems that improves road safety by using remote sensor data from other vehicles, infrastructure cameras, and other sources, has raised $11 million in funding. Karma Ventures led the round, with participation from Samsung Catalyst FundPartechInventure, and earlier backers Credo Ventures and Day One Capital. EU Startups has more here

    FlyHomes, a four-year-old, Seattle-based home buying-and-selling platform, just raised $21 million in Series B funding, along with $120 million in new debt financing. Canvas Ventures led the equity piece, with participation from earlier investor Andreessen Horowitz. Fortune has more here.

    Incorta, a six-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based real-time business analytics startup, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Sorenson Capital led the round, joined by earlier investors GVKleiner PerkinsM12Telstra Ventures, and former Oracle EVP Ron Wohl. The company has now raised $75 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

    Klang, a six-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based game studio that’s making a large-scale persistent virtual world, has raised $22.33 million in funding led by Novator Partners. Other participants in the round include Lego Ventures, the investment entity of the Lego brand, and earlier backers NorthzoneNeotenyFirstminute CapitalMakers Fund, and New Life Ventures. To date, the company has raised $37.42 million. VentureBeat has more here.  

    Nurx, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based birth control delivery startup, has raised $32 million in Series C funding co-led by earlier investors Kleiner Perkins and Union Square Ventures. It also secured $20 million in debt funding. The company has now raised roughly $90 million altogether in equity and debt funding. TechCrunch has more here

    Renovacor, a young, Philadelphia, Pa.-based developer of gene therapy treatments for cardiovascular disase, raised $11 million in Series A funding form NovartisBroadview VenturesBioAdvanceNew Leaf Venture Partners, and Innogest Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.  

    Two Chairs, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based mental health therapy platform, has raised $21 million in Series B funding led by Amplo, with participation from Maveron and GoldcrestMore here.

    Vuori, a four-year-old, Encinitas, Ca.-based athletic clothing brand, has raised $45 million in growth equity Norwest Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here

    Smaller Fundings  

    CoachHub, a year-old, Berlin-based platform for connecting employees with business coaches, raised €6 million from HV Holtzbrinck VenturesPartech, and Speedinvest. EU Startups has more here

    Fitz Frames, a 3.5-year-old, L.A-based company that’s selling affordable, custom-made glasses for families, and children in particular, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The company isn’t disclosing its backers. TechCrunch has more here

    Miko, a four-year-old, Chennai, India-based robotics company that makes a learning robot that educates and entertains kids, has raised $7.5 million in series A funding from Chiratae VenturesYourNest Venture Capital, a family office connected to Chiratae, and a group of angel investors. The Times of India has more here

    Talview, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based talent assessment and hiring platform, has raised $6.75 million in Series A funding from Storm VenturesInventus CapitalEileses Capital, and Emergent VenturesMore here

    VeriSIM Life, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of digital animal and human simulations as drug testing alternatives, has raised $5.2 million co-led by Susa VenturesIntel Capital, and OCA. VentureBeat has more here

    Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings  

    TuSimple, a four-year-old, Tucson, Az.-based company working on commercial-ready self-driving trucks, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from UPS. The world’s largest package delivery company has been testing the startup’s trucks since May on a busy freight route in Arizona, reports Reuters.

    New Funds 

    Croatia is about to get a shot in the arm with the arrival of a home-grown dedicated venture outfit, Fil Rouge Capital. The firm has closed on commitments of more than $46 million for its debut fund, reports TechCrunch, and it plans to invest the capital in Croatian entrepreneurs, startups and scale-up companies. More on what it’s shopping for here.  

    Pear, the six-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based, seed- and early-stage venture firm formerly known as Pejman Mar (its founders and general partners are Pejman Nozad and Mar Hershenson), is looking to raise up to $155 million for its third fund, shows a new SEC filing. Pear closed its second fund with $75 million in 2016 so this is a big jump, though the outfit has notably made some smart, early bets on companies. Among them is the highly valued delivery service DoorDash and the cancer diagnostics company Guardant Health, which went public last year. More here.


    Luckin Coffee, China’s fast-growing Starbuck’s competitor, appears to be cooling off. The company’s shares plunged dramatically yesterday after it issued earnings for the first time as a public company. It blamed its disappointing numbers on trade tensions and the slowing Chinese economy. Bloomberg has more here

    Samoyed, a Chinese online lending platform for credit card balance transfers, withdrew registration for an $80 million IPO in the U.S., citing unfavorable market conditions. DealStreetAsia has more here.


    Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange, has acquired the institutional business of Xapo, a six-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca., company that has built a network of underground vaults on five continents in order for its wealthy customers to more safely store their bitcoin. Coinbase is paying $55 million. Meanwhile, Xapo will reportedly hang onto its exchange business, which lets ordinary consumers buy and sell Bitcoin. Fortune has more here.


    Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne was romantically involved with Maria Butina, the young woman serving 18 months in prison after being accused by federal prosecutors of trying to infiltrate powerful U.S. political circles in service to the Russian government. What’s crazier about this revelation is that came from Byrne himself, in the form of a news release. More here

    Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio think there’s a 40 percent chance of a US recession before the 2020 election. 

    Joseph Tsai, the billionaire co-founder of Alibaba, is close to signing a deal to buy the 51 percent of the Brooklyn Nets he does not already own from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, sources tell the NY Post. The Nets signed three big stars over the summer: Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, and Kyrie Irving. The $2.35 billion transaction would mark the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise. 

    Essential Reads 

    Amazon uses a Twitter army of employees to fight criticism of warehouses. They love working there. It’s great. They love it. It’s great. They love it.  

    Apple  is suing virtualization software company Corellium, says TechCrunch. Corellium allows customers to create and interact with virtual iOS devices — a software iPhone, for example, running actual iOS firmware, all within the browser. Apple says this is copyright infringement, and is demanding Corellium stops “all uses” of its iOS virtualization products and that it pays Apple unspecified “damages and lost profits.” 

    According to The Information, the venture-backed digital media publisher Axios is planning to begin selling software, including to help companies create newsletters for their employees, including within communications and HR. As it notes, Vox Media and The Washington Post already sell software they use to publish their publications to others.


    Here’s what could happen to Jeffrey Epstein’s fortune

    summer camp for the next generation of NSA agents. 

    How to listen to every minute of the original Woodstock festival.

    Retail Therapy 

    giant cone you can sleep in, made of space-grade technologies.

  • August 14, 2019

    And it is Wednesday!

    Top News

    WeWork filed its financial paperwork today and Bloomberg sums it up best, describing everything about the company as “over the top: its growth, losses, potential conflicts of interest, and financial gymnastics.” In one brow-raising tidbit flagged by reporter Ellen Huet, the paperwork reveals that when WeWork rebranded as The We Company back in January, it bought trademarks for “we” from none other than We Holdings, an entity controlled by WeWork CEO Adam Neumann. The price paid “based on a valuation determined by a third-party appraisal” was $5.9 million(!). Danny Crichton at TechCrunch also asks some smart questions about key points the paperwork doesn’t answer.  The global economy had a very bad day, as fears grow that the U.S. and other countries are headed for a financial reckoning.

    Sponsored By …

    Ten years ago, a Harvard engineer named Chad Laurans saw the home security industry was broken and out set out to fix it. How? By getting rid of everything that makes home security a pain. There’s no contracts, no middlemen, and no fine print. You get 24/7 protection—for less than half of what traditional companies charge. Get protected here.

    Massive Fundings  

    EnergyVault, a two-year-old, Lugano, Switzerland-based modular energy storage company that has massive storage capacity and is a spin-out of the Pasadena, Ca.-based incubator Idealab, has raised $110 million in funding. SoftBank Vision Fund led the round; others of its backers include Neotribe Ventures and Cemex Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

    Landos Biopharma, a two-year-old, Blacksburg, Va.-based biotech focused on autoimmune diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, has raised $60 million in Series B funding from RTW InvestmentsOsage University PartnersPBM Capital, and Perceptive Advisors. FierceBiotech has more here

    Scoop, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based enterprise carpooling company, has raised $60 million in funding. Activate Capital led the round, joined by NGP CapitalBNP ParibasTotal VenturesIndex VenturesSignia Venture PartnersWorkday Ventures, and G2VP. The company has now raised $106 million altogether; TechCrunch has more here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Flatfair, a three-year-old, London-based fintech arranges for tenants to pay a membership fee instead of a deposit on a property (in exchange, landlords get up to double the protection they would with a deposit), has raised $11 million in Series A funding. Index Ventures led the round, with participation from Revolt VenturesAdevinta, and numerous individual investors, including TransferWise cofounder Taavet Hinrikus. TechCrunch has more here

    GNA Biosolutions, a nine-year-old, Munich, Germany-based molecular diagnostics company, has raised $13.5 million in Series C funding. Investors in the deal include GreyBird VenturesOccidentWachtumsfonds BayernSHS Gesellschaft für BeteiligungsmanagementRobert Bosch Venture CapitalUVC PartnersMey Capital MatrixKfW and btov PartnersMore here

    Kasten, a 2.5-year-old, Los Altos, Ca.-based cloud-native data management startup, has raised $14 million in Series A funding led by Insight Partners. VentureBeat has more here.

    Kobo360, a 3.5-year-old, Lagos, Nigeria-based freight logistics startup, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Goldman Sachs. It separately has secured $10 million in working capital financing from Nigerian commercial banks. TechCrunch has more here

    Mason, a nearly four-year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based startup that uses smartphones and tablets to connect traditional products to the internet, has raised $25 million in Series A funding led by Coatue Management, with participation from GGV Capital and Base10More here

    Museum of Ice Cream, a three-year-old, New York-based company that’s trying to build a next-generation Walt Disney Co. (it currently builds what it  calls “experiums,” for experience museums, along with a line of ice cream), has raised $40 million in funding at a post-money valuation of $200 million. Elizabeth Street Ventures and Maywic Select Investment co-led the round, joined by OCV Partners. The WSJ has the story here

    Mux, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based video tech and analytics startup, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Evolution Media (the early-stage arm of TPG Growth), with participation from Accel and Y Combinator. The company has now raised a little more than $30 million altogether, says VentureBeat

    Schedulicity, a 15-year-old, Bozeman, Mt.-based online platform for consumers to schedule appointments, classes and workshops, has raised $22 million in funding from unnamed investors. More here

    Systum, a four-year-old, Plano, Tx.-based maker of wholesale inventory management software for small and mid-size businesses, just raised $10.7 million led by Octopus Ventures. The Dallas Morning News has more here

    Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings  

    Secretlab, a five-year-old, Singapore-based maker of chairs for e-gamers, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a unit of Temasek. Bloomberg has more here.

    New Funds 

    Energy Impact Partners, a five-year-old, New York-based growth equity firm focused on companies that are “shaping the energy landscape of the future,” has so far closed on $405 million in capital commitments for its second fund, though it’s targeting up to $750 million, according to an SEC filingMore here.


    VMware today confirmed that it is in talks to acquire software development platform Pivotal Software, the service best known for commercializing the open-source Cloud Foundry platform. The proposed transaction would see VMware acquire all outstanding Pivotal Class A stock for $15 per share, a significant markup over the current price of Pivotal’s shares, which have struggled since the company’s April 2018 IPO. TechCrunch has more here.


    Years after serving jail time, Jeffrey Epstein found a way to meet in New York with Microsoft’s Bill Gates to discuss philanthropy, reports CNBC. The outlet notes that there were other philanthropic leaders in attendance at the same meeting, but the story is one of many that underscore Epstein’s baffling ability to permeate wealthy and influential circles.  

    Villi Iltchev has joined Two Sigma Ventures as a partner. Iltchev was most recently a general partner with August Capital and an SVP with Box before that. August, founded back in 1995, “imploded” earlier this year after irritating some of its limited partners, Axios reported back in January. More on Two Sigma here

    BuzzFeed Chief Marketing Officer and commerce leader Ben Kaufman is stepping down from his position at the end of the year, a move that “comes at a delicate time for the digital media company as it seeks to boost revenue and return to profit,” reports The Information. Kaufman has his own “family experience” store in New York called Camp, and with Camp expected to open four more stores in the U.S., including in Dallas, he has decided to spend more time on that business, says the outlet. 

    Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg talks Tumblr, which his company just acquired (though he’s not confirming for how much): “One of the things that really surprised me is I thought — as probably many do — that Tumblr had kind of died under its variety of corporate parents. And then actually being able to see some of the numbers, including some the numbers post-when they changed the adult content policy. I was like, ‘Wow, this has still got a ton going on.’” The Verge talked with him here.

    Essential Reads 

    Uber is looking for ways to cut more costs, including awarding employees stickers instead of helium balloons on their work anniversaries.  

    Amazon wants its third-party sellers to make better use of their unsold or unwanted products that often get dumped — by giving them away to charity. Until now, Amazon has routinely discarded and destroyed unsold inventory.  

    Because AI technology is complex and loosely defined, nonexperts are finding it hard to discern when it is being deployed, and some startups are getting away with exaggerated claims as a result.


    What was lost when humans moved to cities

    Harvard streamlines admission process by directly growing new students from DNA of top donors.

    Retail Therapy 

    When you really want to leave an impression.

  • August 13, 2019

    Happy Tuesday!

    Top News

    Reunited and it feels so good . . . to Shari Redstone.

    Sponsored By … 

    Zendesk was built to make customer service software that’s easy to use and accessible for everyone. Get the flexibility to move quickly, focus on innovation, and scale your organization. Try it for free.

    Darren Bechtel (Yes, of Those Bechtels), Just Closed on Roughly $100 Million for a Construction-Focused VC Fund 

    Brick & Mortar Ventures, a young, San Francisco-based venture firm that’s focused on startups innovating in or around architecture, engineering, construction, and facilities management, has closed with $97.2 million in capital commitments. 

    The fund is one in a sea or debut funds that have swung open their doors in recent years, though it’s also interesting for numerous reasons, beginning with its founder, Darren Bechtel,  who knows a thing or two about the building industry. He’s a scion of the family that built the 120-year-old, privately held company Bechtel into one of the largest construction and engineering firms in the world. In fact, his brother, Brendan, who was named CEO in 2016, represents the fifth generation of Bechtels to lead the company. (Their sister, Katherine, is a project controls manager with the powerhouse outfit.) 

    Brick & Mortar’s investors are just as notable. They aren’t the typical pension funds and university endowments that many VCs try hard to lock down. Instead, they comprise a long list of companies that are part of the “construction value chain” and so have an interest in the latest and greatest developments in their respective industries. Among the firm’s backers, for example, is the special materials maker Ardex; the software giant Autodesk;  the building materials company CEMEX; Ferguson Ventures, which is the venture arm of a huge U.S distributor of plumbing supplies; FMI, a management consulting company to the engineering and construction industry; Obayashi, a major Japanese construction company; Sidewalk Labs, which is Alphabet’s urban innovation organization; and United Rentals, one of the world’s largest equipment rental companies. 

    Brick & Mortar isn’t the first venture firm to focus on the so-called built world. Other firms that focus largely, if not exclusively, around the same themes include Fifth Wall Ventures, Navitas Capital, Corigin Ventures, Camber Creek, Metaprop, Starwood Capital, and Tamarisc Ventures. 

    In fact, Darren Bechtel has ties to and is an individual investor in Fifth Wall, an L.A.-based firm that stormed onto the scene in 2017 with an equally impressive, and very different, roster of limited partners in the real estate industry from which it has already amassed more than $700 million in capital commitments across two funds. 

    As Bechtel told us on a call late last week, he was going to go into business with Fifth Wall’s founders initially, but they wanted to raise a lot of money, and Bechtel was thinking more conservatively — for a reason.  

    More here.

    Massive Fundings  

    Clumio, a two-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based company that wants to modernize enterprise data protection by eliminating on-premise hardware in favor of flexible, cloud-based, software as a service, says it has quietly raised $51 million to date across an A and B round. Among the backers in those two rounds are Sutter Hill VenturesIndex Ventures, Veritas Technologies founder Mark Leslie, and Microsoft Chairman John Thompson. TechCrunch has more here

    Uniphore, an 11-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based conversational AI startup for call centers, has raised $51 million in Series C funding, including from March Capital Partners and Chiratae Ventures. Bloomberg has more here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Cinq Music, a seven-year-old, L.A.-based tech-driven record label, distributor and rights management company, has raised $40 million in Series C funding from its parent company, GoDigital Media Group, a media and tech investor focused on intellectual property rights management. Billboard has more here

    Dostavista, a seven-year-old, Moscow, Russia-based same-day crowdsourced delivery service (it’s powered by its network of “trusted couriers”), has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Vostok New Ventures led the round, joined by earlier investors Flashpoint and Addventure. TechCrunch has more here

    GNA Biosolutions, a nine-year-old, Munich, Germany-based developer of point-of-care molecular diagnostics, has raised $13.5 million in Series C funding. GreyBird Ventures led the round, joined by Occident and Wachtumsfonds Bayern. FierceBiotech has more here

    OpenSpace, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based AI-powered construction tech company, raised $14 million in Series A funding led by Lux Capital, with participation from JLL SparkNavitas CapitalSuffolk ConstructionTishman SpeyerWeWork and Zigg Capital. VentureBeat has more here.

    QFPay, a seven-year-old, Beijing, China-based digital payments startup, has raised $20 million co-led by insiders Sequoia Capital China and Matrix Partners. Other participants in the round include MDI VenturesRakuten Capital, and VentureSouq. TechCrunch has more here

    Pavilion Data Systems, a five-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based storage technology company, has raised $25 million in Series C funding, including from Taiwania Capital and RPS Ventures. Earlier backers also joined the round, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & ByersKorea Investment PartnersDAG VenturesArtiman VenturesSK Telecom, and Tyche Partners. VentureBeat has more here

    Properly, a 1.5-year-old, Toronto-based startup  that helps homeowners determine what their home would sell for on the open market, with the option to sell directly to Properly, has raised $22 million in Series A funding. Prudence Holdings and FJ Labs co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Golden Ventures. BetaKit has more here

    Singularity 6, a year-old, L.A.-based online game developer whose current venture is focused around a “virtual society,” has raised $16.5 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from LVP and FunPlus Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

    Smaller Fundings  

    Baze, a five-year-old, Boston-based at-home nutritional testing kit, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Nature’s Way. MobiHealth News has more here

    Rimeto, a three-year-old San Francisco startup whose web and mobile applications connect employees across teams and locations, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from USVPBow CapitalFloodgate and Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio. TechCrunch has more here

    Springlane, a seven-year-old, Düsseldorf, Germany-based direct-to-consumer company focused on cooking and barbecue products, has raised €10 million from Apeiron Investment Group and S-UBGMore here

    Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings  

    Perceptyx, a 16-year-old, Temecula, Ca.-based employee survey platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from TCVMore here.

    (Other) New Funds 

    From Fortune’s Polina Marinova: Brian Jacobs, the co-founder of Emergence Capital, has launched a new, seed-stage, focused venture firm with $10 million of his personal wealth. Called Moai Capital, the reported idea is to focus on consumer, IoT, cloud and impact investing opportunities. Jacobs is managing out his investments at Emergence but he isn’t a general partner with the firm’s fifth fund.


    Caterwings, a four-year-old, London-based corporate catering marketplace founded by Rocket Internet, has acquired German rival Lemoncat in an all-stock deal. Lemoncat had raised nearly $10 million from Target Global, Point 9 Capital, Northzone Ventures, and notably, Rocket Internet itself. TechCrunch has more here.


    Recharge, a startup that tried convincing hotels to let its customers rent their rooms by the hour and even minute, has revamped and rebranded. Now Globe, the company is hoping to convince guests to sign up for short stays instead in people’s homes so that they can kick back between other commitments, and, if the host allows it, to shower and nap. It’s at once crazy sounding and intriguing, which is perhaps why the popular accelerator program Y Combinator  accepted the company into its most recent class of companies. We have more here.


    Financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was meeting with Silicon Valley reporters before his arrest and “rambling” about the people he knew in tech in an apparent attempt to raise his profile in the industry. A New York Times writer who Epstein invited to his home last summer writes that when he tried to find the place, he “initially walked past the building, on East 71st Street, because it looked more like an embassy or museum than a private home.” 

    Oculus cofounder Nate Mitchell is leaving Facebook, he announced earlier today, calling it “bittersweet news.” Mitchell said that he would take some time off to spend with his family. He also cautioned that while he’s committed to still being involved in VR, he would have “a much smaller role to play.” 

    Aaron Rasmussen, co-founder and former creative director of MasterClass, has a new startup called Outlier.org. Like MasterClass, Outlier is bringing education online, but with a key difference — these are college classes offering real college credit

    Tech gazillionaires continue to prop up the L.A. tech market. Last month, it was Uber cofounder Garret Camp dropping a record-breaking $72.5 million on a Beverly Hills mansion. WeWork vice chairman Michael Gross also spent a bundle last month, spending $28 million on a Brentwood estate. Now, reports variety, it looks like Peter Szulczewski, the CEO of the highly valued mobile shopping app Wish, has also splashed out for swanky new pad. Specifically, says the outlet, he spent $15.3 million for a brand-new “ultra-contemporary” Bel Air mansion in an all-cash deal. More here.

    Essential Reads 

    Three years of misery inside Google, the happiest company in tech.

    Snap is still betting its Spectacles will enable it to build a new computing platform centered on the face.

    Et tu, Facebook?


    A French fiasco

    learning moment for A-Rod (we’re at peak smash-and-grab around here). 

    Hidden Europe: the top 20 sights you’ll see traveling with your teen.

    Retail Therapy 

    Ten great places to eat and sleep in London.

  • August 12, 2019

    Monday! We were busy (busier?) today, so no column but we did want to share the agenda for TechCrunch’s giant Disrupt show, coming up in October. We’re really excited to help out with this one, as we’ll be chatting with David Krane, in his first public appearance since becoming CEO of GV three years ago; big-wheel VCs Theresia Gouw and Ann Miura-Ko, who’ve agreed to come and share what they’re seeing on the frontlines; and two of the best-known people in the fast-growing cannabis industry, Pax CEO Bharat Vasan and Eaze founder Keith McCarty, whose newest company, Wayv, has been called a B2B version of Eaze

    Other guest speakers in the mix include Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, and Travis VanderZanden of Bird. Tickets are here if you want to join all of us live at the event, where there’s always a *lot* going on. (You won’t be bored!)

    Top News

    French regulators gave the green light today to plans by the country’s biggest broadcasters to launch a joint streaming service, Salto, to fight Amazon and Netflix. Variety has more here

    Shares of Uber continued to sink today, posting their lowest close ever, after the company reported disappointing second-quarter results last week. The stock dropped 7.6 percent to $37, falling below its previous low of $37.10 in May. Since its spring IPO, Uber shares have shed about 18 percent of their value from the company’s IPO price of $45 per share, notes CNBC.

    Sponsored By …

    Sallie Krawcheck was CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Smith Barney. She founded Ellevest because investing your money isn’t some game to be won. What matters are your goals — and a modern investing strategy to get you there. Find a team of experienced financial advisors who get it when it comes to women, families, and money at Ellevest Private Wealth.

    Massive Fundings  

    LucidWorks, a 12-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose AI-based search engine aims to help individual organizations provide personalized search services for their own users, has raised $100 million in funding. The private equity firm Francisco Partners​ led the round with TPG Sixth Street Partners. Earlier backers Top Tier Capital PartnersShasta VenturesGranite Ventures, and Allegis Cyber also joined the round. TechCrunch has more here

    Meesho, a four-year-old, Bangalore-based social commerce company, has raised $125 million in Series D funding. Naspers led the round and was joined by Facebook (interestingly) and earlier backers SAIFSequoia CapitalShunwei CapitalRPS, and Venture Highway. TechCrunch has more here

    Zhihu, an eight-year-old, Beijing, China-based rival to the U.S. online Q&A service Quora, has raised $434 million from investors, including some of the country’s largest social media companies. The deal was led by Kuaishou, one of the biggest live-streaming platforms, with participation from Baidu and earlier investors Tencent Holdings and Capital Today. Bloomberg has more here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Attentive, a three-year-old, New York-based startup that’s helping retailers personalize their mobile messages (and was founded by the founders of TapCommerce, which sold to Twitter), has raised $40 million in Series B funding. Sequoia Capital led the round, joined by IVPHigh Alpha, and earlier backers Bain Capital VenturesEniac Ventures and NextView Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

    Hazel Technologies, a four-year-old, Chicago-based startup whose packaging products promise to extend the quality shelf life of perishable goods, has raised $13 million in Series B funding. Pangaea Ventures led the round; other investors in the round include S2G VenturesThe Grantham FoundationAsahi Kasei VenturesRhapsody Venture PartnersSerra VenturesValley Oak InvestmentsClimate Impact Capital, and ImpactAssets. Crain’s Chicago Business has more here

    Herbivore, an eight-year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based skincare brand, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Silas Capital led the round, joined by S1 Fund. Geekwire has more here

    Light Field Lab, a three-year-old, Morgan Hill, Ca.-based company that’s developing holographic display technologies, has raised $28 million in Series A funding. Bosch Venture Capital and Taiwania Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Samsung VenturesVerizon VenturesComcastLiberty Global VenturesNTT Docomo Ventures,  HELLA VenturesKhosla VenturesAlumni Ventures GroupR7 Partners, and Acme Capital. TechCrunch has more here

    Smaller Fundings  

    Blade, a year-old, Bay Area-based a new cryptocurrency derivatives exchange that’s launching in three weeks, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding from CoinbaseSV AngelA.CapitalSlow Ventures, serial entrepreneur Justin Kan and Quora cofounder Adam D’Angelo. TechCrunch has more here

    Joust Labs, a nearly two-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based financial services platform for freelancers and entrepreneurs, has raised $2.6 million in seed funding led by PTB Ventures, with participation from Accion Venture LabFinancial Venture Studio, and Techstars. CrowdFund Insider has more here

    Polarity, a seven-year-old, Plainville, Ct.-based startup whose technology analyzes everything on your PC screen — all the time — and highlights text onscreen for which you could use a little bit more context, has raised $8.1 million in Series “AA” funding led by TechOperators, with Shasta VenturesStrategic Cyber VenturesGula Tech Adventures and Kaiser Permanente Ventures also participating. The startup had closed its $3.5 million Series A in early 2017. TechCrunch has the story here.


    Postmates, which confidentially filed to go public in February, plans to make its IPO paperwork public in September, reports TechCrunch, whose sources say the San Francisco-based delivery company is expected to make its debut as a public company by year end. More here.


    Verizon, which became the owner of the blogging site Tumblr when it acquired Yahoo is 2017, is offloading the property. According to the WSJ, it is selling the business for a “nominal,” undisclosed sum to WordPress parent company Automattic, which is also taking on roughly 200 Tumblr employees. Inc. In 2013, Yahoo acquired acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Verizon subsequently bought Yahoo in 2017. More here

    Bayer, the German multinational pharmaceutical and life sciences giant, said today that it’s  buying BlueRock Therapeutics in a deal that values the three-year-old company — formed in 2016 in a joint venture with Bayer and Versant Ventures — at up to $1 billion inclusive of the 40.8 percent stake currently held by Bayer. As part of the acquisition agreement, BlueRock — whose stem cells therapies aim to regenerate heart muscles in patients who’ve had heart attacks or suffer from chronic heart failure — will continue to operate as an independent company. BlueRock is based in Cambridge, Ma. More here.


    Ian Chiang was brought aboard as a principal at Flare Capital Partners, a Boston-based firm that closed its second fund last month with $255 million in capital commitments. Chang was previously SVP of product at a Cigna spin-off called CareAllies.


    The fortune of the Waltons, the clan behind Walmart, gets $4 million richer every hour (!). (And here’s how the world’s other billionaires are faring.)

    Essential Reads 

    Softbank has quietly assembled a group of 60-plus veteran executives, including from outside the tech industry, to work inside at its portfolio companies to help advise on growth strategies, hiring, international expansion, and to help find synergies with its other portfolio companies, reports the Financial Times. The team is tasked with bringing battle-hardened experience to the companies, many of which have taken on huge sums of capital far earlier in their trajectory than might have been the case were it not for SoftBank and its massive checkbook.  

    How Facebook is changing to deal with the scrutiny of its power

    Et tuMicrosoft?


    Why Netflix keeps canceling shows after three seasons

    A musical about Princess Diana is coming to Broadway

    Guy who makes videos of himself popping balloons explains his creative process.

    Retail Therapy 

    Aura House.

  • August 9, 2019

    Friday! [Shoots the lights out.] Hope you have a wonderful, sunny weekend, everyone. 🙂

    Top News

    A draft executive order from the White House could put the Federal Communications Commission in charge of shaping how Facebook, Twitter and other large tech companies curate what appears on their websites, according to CNN sources. Politico reported on the draft earlier this week. 

    In related news, during a meeting today with Facebook, Google, and Twitter, Trump administration officials expressed interest in tools that might anticipate mass shootings or predict attackers by scanning social media posts, photos and videos. The White House proposed that the tech could serve as an early-warning system for potential attacks, though the tech leaders reportedly voiced doubt that such technology is feasible. They also expressed fear over privacy risks that such a system might create for all users.

    Sponsored By …

    Want to learn why top VCs and business leaders leverage Affinity? Using patent-pending technology, Affinity helps teams manage and grow their networks by unlocking introductions to decision makers and auto-populating pipelines to increase deal flow. In industries where success is contingent upon maintaining high-touch relationships, Affinity allows you to get deeper insights into your network and finally eliminate manual data entry.

    Massive Fundings  

    Proterra, the 15-year-old, Burlingame, Ca.-based maker of zero-emissions, heavy-duty electric vehicles, has authorized up to $75 million in share sales in a new round of funding that would push its valuation to a little more than $1 billion. The fundraising effort comes as the company is reportedly exploring an IPO. TechCrunch has more here

    Wheels Up, a six-year-old, New York-based private aviation start-up that counts Tom Brady and Serena Williams as members, has raised $128 million in Series D funding that values the company $1.1 billion. Franklin Templeton co-led the round with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research. CNBC has more here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Lendingkart, a five-year-old, Gujarat, India-based lender for small businesses, has raised $30 million as part of a Series D round from Fullerton Financial HoldingsBertelsmann India Investments, and India Quotient. The company has now raised $143 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

    Smaller Fundings  

    Cambridge Crops, a year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based startup that’s using silk-based proteins to extend the shelf life of perishable foods, has raised $4 million in funding by The Engine, the venture capital firm launched by MIT in 2016. Other backers include Refactor CapitalClosed Loop VenturesBluestein & AssociatesSOSV and Supply Chain VenturesMore here

    Curbio, a two-year-old, Potomac, Md.-based real estate technology startup that orchestrates turnkey renovations for home sellers, then gets paid back once the home is sold, has raised $7 million in Series A funding. Camber Creek and Brick & Mortar Ventures co-led the round. More here.


    WeWork is planning to make public its prospectus for its IPO as early as next week, says Bloomberg. WeWork is reportedly looking to raise more than $3.5 billion, which would make it the second-largest U.S. IPO this year.


    Cybersecurity firm McAfee is acquiring NanoSec, a four-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based cloud-native security platform that promises it can protect any app, on any cloud, at any scale. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. NanoSec has never revealed much about its funding situation. Fortune has more here

    Vector, a three-year-old, Tucson, Az.-based microsatellite launch company that has raised roughly $100 million from investors and is comprised of space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, has run into trouble. According to Space News, founding CEO Jim Cantrell is no longer with the company, though Vector isn’t sharing why. Space News sources also say one of Vector’s largest backers, Sequoia Capital, has also withdrawn funding for the company. Vector had closed on $70 million in Series B funding last October. More here.


    Jeff Bezos let’s it all hang out in Saint-Tropez

    In a profile of Jack Dorsey, former Twitter staffers describe their old boss as quirky and, sometimes, exhausting, with one saying that he “speaks in riddles,” while another says Dorsey’s pronouncements can be so long on metaphor and short on specifics that “it was like listening to a fortune-cookie talk.” 

    Uber has reportedly been canceling scheduled on-site interviews for tech roles, with job applicants being told positions are on hold due to a hiring freeze in engineering teams in the U.S. and Canada. Uber didn’t respond to repeated requests for comments from Yahoo Finance.

    Essential Reads 

    Schoolchildren as young as 16 years old in China are working grueling and illegal hours to produce Amazon Alexa devices. They’re reportedly classified as “interns,” and their teachers are paid to encourage and accompany them

    SoftBank Group is reportedly in advanced talks to invest in Mexican used car platform Kavak and the financial technology firm Konfio, Reuters says. The talks underscore SoftBank’s interest in Mexico as it pours money into Latin America through its $5 billion Innovation Fund focused on Latin America. 

    There’s talk today of Goldman Sachs dipping into subprime lending for its new credit card with Apple, but Goldman has been lending to subprime consumers for some time. We talked with top Goldman executive Marty Chavez about the practice last year; his response as to why Goldman would embrace it was, “You always want to be testing in the lower FICO scores because you can see things coming.” (We think that by “things,” he meant an economic crash.)


    “Today” show, does your cruelty know no bounds

    How social media shapes our identity

    Why we keep falling for phishing emails.

    Retail Therapy 


    Bluetooth speakers from Sonos, coming soon maybe.

  • August 8, 2019

    Thursday! Hope you’re enjoying yours, wherever you are.

    Top News

    Uber today reported its largest-ever loss — $5.2 billion — and its slowest-ever revenue growth. Both are raising questions anew about whether the company can ever make money. To put its second quarter losses into perspective, they were larger than the total 2018 losses for all but three S&P 500 companies. The company says the losses are tied to the stock-based compensation it paid its employees after its May IPO. 

    Chipmaker Broadcom formally announced its acquisition of Symantec’s enterprise business after the closing bell today, revealing in a statement that it’s paying $10.7 billion in cash. Broadcom has been on an “acquisition run” for years, notes CNBC. It tried and ultimately failed to buy fellow chipmaker Qualcomm for more than $100 billion after Donald Trump blocked the deal, citing national security concerns. Broadcom then acquired the mainframe software company CA last year for nearly $19 billion. More here.

    Sponsored By …

    Want to learn why top VCs and business leaders leverage Affinity? Using patent-pending technology, Affinity helps teams manage and grow their networks by unlocking introductions to decision makers and auto-populating pipelines to increase deal flow. In industries where success is contingent upon maintaining high-touch relationships, Affinity allows you to get deeper insights into your network and finally eliminate manual data entry.

    This Startup is Helping Weary Food Delivery Workers Start Their Own Delivery Businesses 

    Following many months of pressure, DoorDash, one of the most frequently used food delivery apps in the U.S., said late last month that it was finally changing its tipping policy to pass along to workers 100% of tips, rather than employ some of that money toward defraying its own costs. 

    The move was a step in the right direction, but as a New York Times piece recently underscored, there are many remaining challenges for food delivery couriers, including not knowing where a delivery is going until a worker picks it up (Uber Eats), having just seconds to decide whether or not to accept an order (Postmates) and not being guaranteed a minimum wage (Deliveroo) — not to mention the threat of delivery robots taking their jobs. 

    It’s a big enough problem that a young, nine-person startup called Dumpling has decided to tackle it directly. Its big idea: turn today’s delivery workers into “solopreneurs” who build their own book of clients and keep much more of the money. 

    It newly has $3 million in backing from two venture firms that know the gig economy well, too: Floodgate, an early investor in Lyft (firm co-founder Ann Miura-Ko sits on Lyft’s board), and Fuel Capital,  where TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque is now a general partner. 

    More here.

    Massive Fundings  

    ScaleFactor, a five-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based maker of online financial software that automates back-office tasks for small and medium-size businesses like bookkeeping and payroll, has raised $60 million in Series C funding. Coatue led the round (which is ScaleFactor’s second financing this year). Other participants in the round include VulcanStripes Group, and NextPlay Capital, as well as earlier investors Bessemer Venture PartnersCanaanBroadhaven Ventures, and Firebrand Ventures. Forbes has more here

    Viva Republica, an eight-year-old, South Korea-based company behind the mobile financial service platform Toss, says it has raised $64 million at a valuation of $2.2 billion in recent fundraising led by the Hong Kong-based equity investment firm Aspex Management. The company has now raised roughly $250 million to date, including from Kleiner PerkinsAltos VenturesGoodwater CapitalGICSequoia Capital China and Bessemer Venture Partners. Viva Republic launched Toss four years ago as a P2P money transfer service and it has since introduced numerous other financial services, including banking, money transfer, dashboard and credit score management. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Toss has been downloaded more than 30 million times since, and has more than 13 million registered users, or more than one-fifth of South Korea’s population. More here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Pathstream, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that partners with software companies to build branded digital skills career programs, has raised $12 million in Series A funding. Investors include TDM PartnersHereditas Capital ManagementBisk VenturesNew Ground Ventures, and Rethink EducationMore here

    Securiti.ai, a year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based developer building a platform designed to automate cybersecurity and compliance processes. has raised $31 million in funding led by Mayfield, with participation from General Catalyst. VentureBeat has more here

    Sunverge, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose energy management systems enable utilities to combine distributed renewable resources into virtual power plants, has raised $11 million in funding. Ecosystem Integrity Fund led the round, joined by Equinor Energy Ventures and Evergy VenturesMore here

    WSC Sports, an eight-year-old, Israel-based sports video content startup, has raised $23 million in Series C funding. O.G. Tech Ventures led the round, joined by NTT DoCoMo VenturesHBSE VenturesMaor InvestmentsISF, and Go4it Capital. Globes has more here

    Smaller Fundings  

    BEynd, a 1.5-year-old, Draper, Ut.-based startup that wants to provide its customers with a more automated onboarding workflow, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Peak Ventures, with participation from Prelude Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

    Capsule8, a three-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup that offers cybersecurity protection for Linux production environments, has raised an estimated $6.5 million in funding from Intel Capital. The company has now raised roughly $30 million altogether. VentureBeat has more here

    Dadi, a year-old, New York-based male fertility testing and sperm storage startup, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by The Chernin Group, with participation from earlier backers Firstminute Capital and Third Kind Venture Capital. The company had closed on $2 million in seed funding earlier this year. TechCrunch has more here

    Glow, a nine-month-old, Seattle-based company that provides tools to podcasters to help them monetize their broadcasts, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding. Greycroft led the round; it was joined by Norwest Venture PartnersPSL VenturesWndrCo and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. TechCrunch has more here

    Opsani, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.–based maker of tools for the continuous optimization of cloud applications, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with participation from earlier investors Zetta Ventures and Bain CapitalMore here.

    PurpleLab, a 1.5-year-old, Furlong, Pa.-based healthcare data and analytics platform, has raised $3 million from Edison PartnersMore here

    Ramp Financial, a new startup, New York-based company that, like Brex, is expected to offer credit to other startups, has raised $7 million, TechCrunch has learned. Investors include Founders FundBoxGroup and Coatue Management. Ramp was founded by the same team that created Paribus, a startup that was acquired by Capital One. More here

    Statespace, a two-year-old, New York-based performance assessment and training platform for esports athletes based on neuroscience, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from ExpaLux Capital  and WndrCo. The company has now raised $4 million to date. TechCrunch has more here

    Voxel51, a 2.5-year-old, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based startup whose video dataset application aims to help its customers quickly analyze and search through their video data, has raised $2 million in seed funding from eLab Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

    Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings  

    FlixMobility, an eight-year-old, Munich, Germany-based long-distance bus operator that operates in Europe and parts of the U.S., has extended a Series F round that originally closed with $531 million co-led by Permira and TCV at a valuation north of $2 billion. The founder tells TechCrunch the round isn’t “double” the amount previously raised but “substantial.” New investors include Baillie GiffordLuxor Capital Group and Odyssey 44, with additional investment provided through funds managed by BlackRockMore here.

    New Funds 

    Silicon Valley investor Ronny Conway is raising his third early-stage fund, shows a new SEC filing that states the fund’s target is $140 million. A. Capital, which is now six years old, is currently run by Conway, Ramu Arunachalam (formerly of Andreessen Horowitz) and Kartik Talwar, who worked previously with Conway’s brother, Topher, and his famed father, Ron, at their separate venture firm, SV Angel. TechCrunch has more here.

    Essential Reads 

    A federal appeals court today rejected Facebook‘s effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent. The 3-0 decision exposes the company to billions of dollars in potential damages to the Illinois users who brought the case, says Reuters. Facebook plans to appeal. 

    Apple is under investigation in Russia following a complaint from cybersecurity company Kaspersky Labs, whose parental control app was declined by the App Store soon after Apple rolled out its own Screen Time feature. Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog said it’s investing whether Apple is abusing its dominant position, says TechCrunch

    Email management company Unroll.Me has agreed to destroy data about some consumers’ online purchases to settle allegations that it duped people about privacy, the Federal Trade Commission said today. Unroll.Me, owned by Slice Technologies, promises to automatically unsubscribe users from from email lists, but Slice also sells “anonymized” information about people’s emails, including their receipts for online purchases, that can be used for profiling and targeting. MediaPost has more here

    The lonely work of moderating Hacker News.


    Why the Bruce Lee fight in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has become divisive

    What does cocktail attire mean these days? Experts weigh in

    How much does your name matter?

    Retail Therapy 

    A color-shifting jacket made out of two billion microscopic glass spheres. (Also waterproof.)

  • August 7, 2019

    Wednesday! No column today — we were pulled in one too many directions — but more tomorrow. 🙂

    Top News

    Chip maker Broadcom is nearing a deal to buy the enterprise business of security software giant Symantec after its attempted purchase of the entire company fell apart. A deal could be announced as early as tomorrow. The WSJ has more here

    WeWork has turned to a complex and increasingly popular corporate structure for its IPO, one that would give tax benefits to co-founder Adam Neumann and the company’s early investors, according to documents seen by the Financial Times. A tax attorney tells the outlet that the structure, called an “Up-C,” is a way for “owners and pre-IPO investors to create tax savings in a public company that aren’t fully shared with the public shareholders.” More here.

    Sponsored By …

    Want to learn why top VCs and business leaders leverage Affinity? Using patent-pending technology, Affinity helps teams manage and grow their networks by unlocking introductions to decision makers and auto-populating pipelines to increase deal flow. In industries where success is contingent upon maintaining high-touch relationships, Affinity allows you to get deeper insights into your network and finally eliminate manual data entry.

    Massive Fundings  

    C2FO, an 11-year-old, Leawood, Ks.-based online business-to-business marketplace for working capital, just raised $200 million in funding led by the SoftBank Vision Fund, with participation from Temasek and Union Square Ventures. The company aims to creates a seamless match between accounts receivable and accounts payable and dynamically price the value for early payment in real time. It says it has more than 300,000 business using its technology at this point, too. More here

    Jollychic, a seven-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based, Middle-East-focused e-commerce company that plans to branch out into digital payments, on-demand food delivery, transportation booking, and other services, has raised $65 million in Series C funding from G42 Group. South China Morning Post has more here

    Webflow, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based no-code website building company, has raised a whopping $72 million in Series A funding led by Accel. Other investors in the round include Silversmith Capital (a seed investor in the company), Rainfall CapitalDraper Associates, and FundersClub. Forbes has more here

    Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

    Cleave Therapeutics, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company focused on protein homeostasis and stress pathways in cancer and neurodegeneration, has raised $12 million in funding. Investors include 5AM VenturesCelgene CorporationOrbimedU.S. Venture PartnersArcus VenturesAstellas Venture Management, and Osage University PartnersMore here

    Cloudleaf, a five-year-old, Milpitas, Ca.-based company that sells a mesh of IoT sensors, endpoints, gateways, and cloud technologies to generate a unique digital fingerprint with location and contextual metadata for physical assets, has raised $26 million in Series B funding. Intel Capital and WRVI Capital led the round, with participation from BluePointe VenturesBold Capital PartnersMahindra Partners and Tandem Capital. The company has now raised $39 million altogether. Tech Startups has more here

    Ezoic, a nine-year-old, Carlsbad, Ca.-based maker of ad revenue optimization software for digital publishers, has raised $33 million from Sageview Capital. The company has now raised nearly $40 million altogether. VentureBeat has more here

    RoosterBio, a seven-year-old, Frederick, Md.-based company that has developed technology to simplify the biomanufacturing of specific kinds of stem cells used in regenerative medicine, has raised more than $15 million in funding. Dynamk Capital led the round. Technical.ly Baltimore has more here

    SignalWire, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based advanced programmable communications company, has raised $11.5 million in Series A funding. Storm Ventures led the round, joined by Samsung NEXTSequoia Capital (via its Scouts program), and numerous individual investors. More here

    XOi Technologies, a nine-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based field service tech firm, has raised $11 million in Series C funding led by PeakSpan Capital, with participation from Grotech Ventures and earlier backers Vocap Investment Partners and Nashville Capital Network. The Nashville Post has more here

    Smaller Fundings  

    Crosschq, a year-old, San Francisco-based company focused on eliminating the problem of bad hires through a SaaS product it says can minimize bias and protect privacy, has raised $4.1 million in seed funding. GGV Capital led the round. Other participants include Bessemer Venture Partners, Eventbrite cofounder Kevin Hartz, and the Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson. Business Insider has more here

    Eager Alpha, a seven-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based analytics company focused on helping asset managers obtain alpha from alternative data, has raised $2.4 million in funding, including from Enterprise IrelandMore here

    EnjoyHQ, a three-year-old, London-based customer feedback and user research startup, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Point Nine Capital, with participation from The Venture CityLocalGlobeFaber VenturesKibo VenturesTechstars and Social CapitalMore here

    FinMkt, an eight-year-old, New York-based financial and marketplace tech provider to retailers, associations, financial institutions, and alternative finance companies, has raised $5 million in Series B funding. FINTOP Capital led the round, joined by ManchesterStory Group and West Loop VenturesMore here

    LUCA Biologics, a months-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotechnology company developing live biotherapeutics for medical needs in women’s health, including urinary tract infections and infertility, has raised $2.8 million in funding from Seed HealthMore here

    Remarkably, a months-old, Seattle-based startup that’s selling marketing and analytics software products to developers, owners, and managers of residential buildings with multiple apartments or condominiums, has raised $4.1 million in seed funding led by Wildcat Venture Partners, with participation from PSL Ventures. Xconomy has more here

    Rookout, a two-year-old, San Francisco- and Tel Aviv-based startup that provides debugging across a variety of environments, including serverless and containers, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Cisco Investments. Other participants include earlier backers TLV Partners and Emerge, along with GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, LaunchDarkly CTO John Kodumal, and other individual investors. TechCrunch has more here

    Sunday, a year-old, Boulder, Co.-based direct-to-consumer lawn care company that delivers nontoxic products that it says are tailored to consumers’ climate and soil, has raised $6 million in Series A funding. Tusk Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Forerunner Ventures and Bullish. The company has now raised $9 million altogether. More here

    Tripalink, a three-year-old, L.A.-based real estate startup providing co-living space for students and  young professionals, just raised a $10 million Series B round at a $100 million valuation from earlier backers Calin SJG Fund, China-based K2VC, and Tekton Ventures, as well as new investor Oriza Ventures. The company has now raised $20 million altogether. Crunchbase News has more here.

    New Funds

     Corigin Ventures, a nine-year-old, New York-based seed-stage venture firm, has raised $32.5 million for a second fund that’s targeting up to $50 million, shows a new SEC filingMore here.


    Cisco is acquiring Voicea, a three-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based voice-focused AI startup whose tech is used to take notes and identify action items in meetings. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Voicea had previously raised roughly $20 million in funding from GVe.venturesCisco InvestmentsM12Battery VenturesMindset VenturesSalesforce Ventures, and GGV Capital. Computerworld has more here

    NAVEX Global, a 20-year-old, compliance management software company, has acquired Lockpath, a nine-year-old, Overland Park, Ks.-based maker of corporate governance, risk management, regulatory compliance, and information security software. Terms of the deal disclosed. Lockpath had raised approximately $8 million in venture funding from El Dorado VenturesSV AngelVesbridge Partners, and Webb Investment NetworkMore here

    Nike acquired Celect, a seven-year-old, Boston-based cloud-based predictive analytics SaaS platform that was founded by two former MIT professors. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Celect had raised more than $30 million from investors, including August CapitalNGP Capital and Activant Capital. The company most recently closed a $15 million Series C in December of last year. TechCrunch has more here

    One week after closing its $15.7 billion deal for Tableau Software, Salesforce is out shopping again, announcing today it has bought field service software company ClickSoftware for $1.35 billion. ClickSoftware, once publicly traded, has been owned in more recent years by the private equity firm Francisco Partners. TechCrunch has more here

    TopFunnel, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based recruiting platform backed by Felicis Ventures and Greylock (among others), has acquired Clara Labs, a San Francisco-based scheduling platform. Clara Labs had raised approximately $7.2 million in funding, including from Basis Set VenturesSequoia Capital, and First Round Capital. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TopFunnel has not publicly disclosed how much venture funding it has raised. More here.


    Hold onto your hats. On August 19th, roughly $15 billion worth of Lyft shares will be released from any post-IPO lockup restrictions. The company announced the news in a security filing earlier today that coincided with its quarterly results, wherein Lyft topped consensus expectations and guided toward narrower losses for the year than had previously been expected. Yahoo Finance has more here.


    Jean-Paul Sanday has joined Menlo Ventures as a partner. He previously spent three years as a vice president with Summit Partners. 

    Essential Reads 

    FedEx is cutting another tie with Amazon as it becomes more competitor than partner; this time, FedEx not renewing its ground-delivery contract with with Amazon when it expires at the end of this month, reports Bloomberg

    Tesla’s claims about the safety of its Model 3 electric vehicle has prompted U.S. regulators to send a cease-and-desist letter and escalate the matter by asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate, reports TechCrunch

    Buzzy San Francisco startup HYP3R has reportedly been secretly saving what appears to be millions of Instagram users’ stories and tracking their locations. Presented with evidence of the abuse, Instagram kicked the company off the platform today

    The headphone jack dies not with a bang, but with a (Samsung GalaxyNote.


    Nicolas Cage on acting, philosophy and searching for the — literal — Holy Grail

    Robot tails

    I am a barn, and I don’t want to host your wedding.

    Retail Therapy 

    The Audi E-Tron scooter. It’s pricey, but you do get four wheels.  

    Just sitting here, on a subway train, in my fishing vest. 

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