October 23, 2020
Friday! Hope you have a stellar weekend, everyone.
If you're looking for a new podcast over the next few days, we just shipped out this baby, featuring Tim Kendall, the executive originally tasked with figuring out how to make money for Facebook, then Pinterest, and who is today growing Moment, an app that wants you to put away your phone (and the social media apps on it).
We talked with Kendall about everything from his appearance in the Netflix documentary "The Social Dilemma," to the federal government's growing interest in breaking up Big Tech, including his former employer. We really liked talking with him; hope you also enjoy it.
Thanks very much to the relationship intelligence platform Affinity for sponsoring the episode. More Monday.:)
Top News
State and federal investigators are reportedly expected to file antitrust charges against Facebook as soon as November, embarking on a massive legal challenge against the tech giant and its perceived ironclad grip over social media. The Washington Post has more here.
In separate news, Facebook is reportedly demanding that a New York University research project stop collecting data about its political-ad-targeting practices.The dispute involves the NYU Ad Observatory, a project launched last month by the university’s engineering school that has recruited more than 6,500 volunteers to use a specially designed browser extension to collect data about the political ads Facebook shows them. The WSJ has more here.
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Yale May Have Just Turned Institutional Investing On Its Head with a New Diversity Edict
It could be the long-awaited turning point in the world of venture capital and beyond. Yale, whose $32 billion endowment has been led since 1985 by the legendary investor David Swensen, just let its 70 U.S. money managers across a variety of asset classes know that for the school, diversity has now moved front and center.
According to the WSJ, Swensen has told the firms that from here on out, they will be measured annually on their progress in increasing the diversity of their investment staff, from hiring to training to mentoring to their retention of women and minorities.
Those that show little improvement may see the prestigious university pull its money, Swensen tells the outlet.
It’s hard to overstate the move’s significance. Though Yale’s endowment saw atypically poor performance last year, Swensen, at 66, is among the most highly regarded money managers in the world, growing Yale’s endowment from $1 billion when he joined as a 31-year-old former grad student of the school, to the second-largest school endowment in the country.
Massive Fundings
Applied Intuition, a three-year-old, Bay Area-based startup that develops software to test autonomous vehicles, has raised $125 million in Series C funding at a post-money valuation of $1.25 billion from earlier backers Lux Capital, General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz. One of its cofounders is Qasar Younis, cofounder of a startup acquired by Google and later the chief operating officer of startup accelerator Y Combinator. Forbes has more here.
Talaris Therapeutics, an 18-year-old, Boston- and Louisville, Ky.-based biotechnology company that was formerly known as Regenerex and whose mission it is to make organ transplants safer, has $115 million in Series B funding. Surveyor Capital, a fund of Chicago-based Citadel, and Viking Global Investors led the round. They were joined by earlier backers that provided the company with $100 million in funding last year, including Blackstone Life Sciences, Longitude Capital and Qiming Venture Partners, among others. Endpoints News has more here.
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
Allonnia, a newly launched, Boston-based venture working to engineer microbes to get rid of pollutants in waste water and soil, has raised $40 million in Series A funding from Ginkgo Bioworks, Battelle, General Atlantic, Cascade Investment, and Viking Global Investors. According to Bloomberg, the outfit is first tackling PFAS, a class of chemicals that are widespread in U.S. drinking water and have proved resistant to breaking down. More here.

Lunar, a five-year-old, Aarhus, Denmark-based challenger bank that started out life as a personal finance manager app but acquired a full banking license last year, has raised €40 million in Series C funding from existing investors. In total, Lunar has now raised €104 million, including from Seed Capital, Greyhound Capital, Socii Capital and Chr. Augustinus Fabrikker, which is the investment company of the Augustinus Foundation. TechCrunch has more here.
Smaller Fundings
Cohere Health, a year-old, Boston-based medical collaboration platform, raised $10 million co-led by Flare Capital Partners and Define Ventures. More here.
Ware, a 17-month-old, San Francisco-based developer of autonomous drones for warehouse inventory counting, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by UP Partners, with added participation from Bloomberg Beta, 2048 Ventures and individual investors. More here
New Funds
Hutt Capital, a two-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based blockchain venture capital fund of funds that was founded by a former senior associate with Greenspring Associates, Brooke Pollack, is raising $25 million for its debut fund, shows an SEC filing. More here.
Lavrock Ventures, a five-year-old, McLean, Va.-based venture firm that's exclusively B2B focused and invests nationally but has penchant for regional startups, is looking to raise $75 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing. More here.
RA Capital Management,  raised $461 million for a new biotech-focused venture fund. http://axios.link/BmTw

Rainfall Ventures, a nine-year-old venture firm with an office in New York and L.A. (and that was previously called Vaizra Investments), is looking to raise $60 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing. Cofounder Ron Rofe is the only general partner listed. More here.
Petsmart and Chewy are getting split up.
Going Public
Ant Group set the price of its record initial public offering in Shanghai on Friday evening, founder Jack Ma said, without disclosing the price. He was speaking at the Second Bund Summit in Shanghai, an event that Chinese news outlets describe as bringing together government officials, financial industry insiders, and academics from around the world to discuss topics concerning global economic transformation, among other things. Bloomberg has more here.
Sotera Health, a 74-year-old, Broadview Heights, Oh.-based company that provides lab services to the medical device and pharma industries, filed on Friday with the SEC to raise up to $100 million in an IPO. It's likely a placeholder amount for a deal that Renaissance Capital estimates could raise up to $750 million for the company. More here.
Katelin Holloway, former head of people and culture at Reddit and briefly an investor at Initialized Capital, has joined Alexis Ohanian's new venture firm Seven Seven Six as a partner with full check-writing ability. Business Insider has more here.
Susie Yang, the cofounder of online platform teaching people how to code, is publishing her first novel ("White Ivy") on November 3 -- and it's already set to be adapted to the screen by Shonda Rhimes. The WSJ talks with her here.
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Essential Reads
DoorDash is investing in a restaurant for the first time, saying the investment will help it build a more permanent delivery model. The restaurant is Oakland's Burma Bites, a spin-off of the well-known Bay Area-based restaurant group Burma Superstar that will open next week for takeout and delivery service. Georgie Thomas, head of regional merchant partnerships at DoorDash, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that COVID-19 “has accelerated the need for merchants” to establish their online presence. 
The e-cigarette company Juul just won a ruling that knocked out racketeering claims from a group of hundreds of lawsuits accusing the e-cigarette maker of deliberately targeting teenagers. U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco said today the claims brought by consumers, local governments, and school districts under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act didn’t pass legal muster but that the plaintiffs can amend their court filings. Bloomberg has more here.
When you order an $18 Pinot Noir at Balthazar and you're served by accident a Mouton Rothschild 1989 instead.
Inside the fall of one-time bangle billionaire Carolyn Rafaelian.
Retail Therapy
This Octopus is still for sale.


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