October 22, 2020
 
Thursday! It's been a busy one, and we were busy hate-watching the last debate tonight, so no column, but more tomorrow.:)
Top News
 
Following a far-reaching investigation, the Federal Trade Commission is moving closer to a decision about filing an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook for its market power in social networking, according to the New York Times. 
 
A California appeals court today unanimously ruled against ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, saying they must reclassify their drivers in the state as employees
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Massive Fundings
 
AavantiBio, a newly formed, Cambridge, Ma.-based gene therapy startup launched by Sarepta Therapeutics with plans to focus on rare genetic diseases, has raised $107 million in Series A funding from Perceptive Advisors, Bain Capital Life Sciences, RA Capital, and Sarepta Therapeutics. More here.
 
ACV Auctions, a six-year-old, Buffalo, N.Y.-based dealer-to-dealer, online wholesale automotive marketplace, has raised $55 million in new funding nearly two years after announcing its last round (a $93 million Series D). Durable Partners led the round, joined by earlier backers. ACV also took on a $50 million bank line of credit. The WSJ has more here
 
Arctic Wolf, an 8.5-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based managed security company, has raised $200 million in Series E funding in a deal that assigns the company a $1.3 billion post-money valuation, it says. Viking Global Investors led the round. SiliconAngle has more here.
 
Be Biopharma, a new, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that plans to engineer B cells to treat a range of diseases and was founded by Longwood Fund, along with MDs David Rawlings and Richard James at the Seattle Children's Research Institute -- has raised $52 million in Series A funding. Atlas Venture and RA Capital Management led the round, joined by Alta Partners, Longwood and Takeda Ventures. More here.
 
Bind Benefits, a four-year-old, Minneapolis, Mn.-based on-demand insurance company, has raised a $105 million Series B round, including from Ascension Ventures. The Star Tribune has more here.
 
Rokt, an eight-year-old, New York-based e-commerce marketing software provider, has raised $80 million in Series D funding led by its biggest backer, TDM Growth Partners. The WSJ has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Anyscale, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup application development platform for developers to build distributed applications, has raised $40 million in Series B funding. Earlier backer NEA led the round, joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital, and Foundation Capital. The company has now raised $60.6 million altogether. VentureBeat has more here.
 
Azura Ophthalmics, a six-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based clinical-stage company that's developing therapies for Meibomian gland dysfunction and related eye diseases, has raised $20 million, including from OrbiMed, TPG Biotech, Brandon Capital, and Ganot Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.
 
Dance, a months-old, Berlin, Germany-based company selling a monthly subscription for access to its electric bikes, has raised €15 million in Series A funding led by HV Holtzbrinck Ventures. Tech.eu has more here.
 
Lili, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based banking app designed for freelance workers, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Group 11, with major participation from Foundation CapitalAltaIR CapitalPrimary Venture PartnersTorch Capital, and Zeev Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Loyal, a five-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based conversation and data intelligence platform that enables health care providers to connect with patients and guide them throughout their digital experience, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding led by Concord Health Partners. More here.
 
OpenLogi, a nearly seven-year-old, Tokyo, Japan-based logistics fulfillment platform, has raised more than 1.7 billion yen ($16.7 million) in Series C funding, including from Signifiant, Shinsei Corporate Investment, Sumitomo Corporation, Seino Holdings, Sojitz Corporation, and Chiba Dojo. An undisclosed mount of the round came in the form of debt financing. Tech in Asia has more here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
DataChat, a 3.5-year-old, Madison, Wi.-based data analytics platform, has raised $4 million in seed funding co-led by WRVI Capital and Nepenthe Capital. More here.
 
EveryoneSocial, a 10-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based SaaS company focused on employee advocacy, has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding led by Next Frontier Capital, with additional participation from Crane Group and Epic Ventures. More here.
 
Here.fm, a seven-month-old, New York-based web-based communication platform that aims to help users create personal, shareable and flexible video chat rooms, has raised $2.9 million in seed funding from FirstMark Capital, with added participation by Y Combinator and a group of angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Pillar, a two-year-old, New York-based company that invites families to organize online and store all their family's most important information, like medical records, legal documents, and financial accounts so members have access to everything they need if the unexpected happens, has raised $1.5 million in extended seed funding. Kleiner Perkins led the round. More here.
 
Render, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based managed cloud platform, has raised $4.5 million in new seed funding, bringing its total funding to $6.75 million. General Catalyst led the round, joined by earlier backers South Park Commons Fund and a group of angels that includes Lee Fixel, Elad Gil and GitHub CTO Jason Warner. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Textel, a six-year-old, St. Louis-based cloud-based texting platform for contact centers, has raised $4 million in Series A funding. Cultivation Capital led the round, joined by Stout Street Capital and Capital Midwest Fund III. MarTech Cube has more here.
 
WoHo, a four-month-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based modular construction startup, raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by The Engine. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
 
Boston Seed Capital, a 10-year-old, Boston-based seed-stage venture firm, is raising $55 million for its fourth fund, shows an SEC filing. More here.
 
Samaipata, a four-year-old, Spain-based venture firm, is launching a new €100 million fund to invest in digital platforms across Europe. Founded by Jose del Barrio and Eduardo Diez-Hochleitner, the firm invests in pre-seed and seed platforms. Diez-Hochleitner is a former partner with Apax Partners and the former CEO of Grupo Prisa, a Spanish media conglomerate; del Barrio previously founded and sold the Spanish food delivery company La Nevera Roja. The firm invested its €30 million debut fund across 17 companies. Sifted has more here.
 
T-Mobile has announced the formation of T-Mobile Ventures, an investment fund focused on early and growth-stage companies that are developing 5G products and services for the T-Mobile network. GeekWire has more here.
Exits
 
Flipkart is acquiring a 7.8% stake in Aditya Birla Fashion as the Walmart-owned Indian e-commerce firm makes further push into the fashion category in one of the world’s largest retail markets. TechCrunch has more here.
 
If you’re "looking to blast through all 25 episodes of the 'Reno 911' revival series before Quibi calls its quits,' you have until December 1, give or take a day, notes TechCrunch. More here.
Going Public
 
ThredUp, the 11-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based online retailer for second-hand clothing, filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO that will commence after regulator’s review process, the firm said in a statement yesterday. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised $305 million over the years, including from Trinity Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Redpoint, and NextView Ventures, among others. Bloomberg has more here.
People
 
David Barrett, the founder and CEO of Expensify, today emailed all of the company's users, saying they don't have to agree with him but encouraging them to vote Donald Trump out of office, writing that "anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy."
 
Arpit Beri has joined the Singapore-headquartered venture firm Jungle Ventures to spearhead its India-focused fund. Beri joins from Beijing-based Shunwei Capital where as a VP, he had much the same role (overseeing Shunwei's India-based investments)
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Essential Reads
 
PayPal is exploring purchases of cryptocurrency companies including bitcoin custodian BitGo, Bloomberg reported earlier today, citing people familiar with the matter. The news comes a day after the payments giant announced that it's entering the cryptocurrency market. More here.
 
Lawyers who went after Microsoft in its antitrust case say the DOJ will have a hard time succeeding against Google, says CNBC.
 
Two gig workers and two workers' rights organizations in California today filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber today, alleging the company has violated drivers' employment rights with coercive in-app messaging urging them to support the company’s position on a November ballot measure. More in TechCrunch.
 
Top investors like Sequoia Capital India, Verlinvest and Elevation Capital are doubling down on direct-to-consumer brands in India, where sectors like fashion, beauty and personal care, food and beverages and electronics are expected to become a $100 billion business in the next four to five years. The Times of India has more here.
Detours
 
How a secretive phone company helped the crime world go dark.
 
The newest thing in fashion: old clothes.
 
Photos of the week.
Retail Therapy
 
Party Squasher. For Airbnb hosts and also parents.
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