October 29, 2020
Top News
Alphabet, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon reported mostly positive performances in their respective quarterly calls today, but it wasn't enough for markets that are right now jittery about the coronavirus surge and the U.S. presidential election. Here's a look at what Alphabet had to say, what Apple had to say, what Facebook said, and what Amazon said
Twitter, which also reported third-quarter earnings today, had an especially tough go of it. Its stock dropped as much as 14% after it reported user growth that fell short of Wall Street expectations.
New cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. topped 89,000 today, setting a daily record. Global infections surpassed 45 million.
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AOL Founder Steve Case, Involved Early in Section 230, Says It's Time to Change It
AOL founder Steve Case was there in Dulles, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., when in 1996 the Communications Decency Act was passed as part of a major overhaul of U.S. telecommunications laws that President Bill Clinton signed into law. Soon after, in its first test, a provision of that act which states that, “[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider," would famously save AOL's bacon, too.
That wasn't coincidental. In a wide-ranging call earlier today with Case -- who has become an influential investor over the last 15 years through his Washington, D.C.-based firm Revolution and its early-stage, growth-stage, and seed-stage funds -- he talked about his involvement in Section 230's creation, and why the thinks it's time to change it.
We'll have more from our interview with Case tomorrow in StrictlyVC Download. In the meantime, here he talks about the related legal protections for online platforms that took center stage yesterday or, at least, were supposed to during the Senate's latest Big Tech hearing.
Massive Fundings
Benson Hill, an eight-year-old, St. Louis, Mo.-based company that combines biotech and data science to enhance the nutritional qualities and sustainability of crops (much of its work centers on commodities like soybeans, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), has raised $150 million in Series D funding. Wheatsheaf Group and GV led the round. More here.
DoubleVerify, a 12-year-old, New York-based software platform for digital media measurement and analytics, has raised $350 million in funding led by Tiger Global Management, with added participation from Fidelity Management & Research Company; funds and accounts managed by BlackRock; and funds advised by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers, among others. Providence Equity Partners, which invested in DoubleVerify in 2017, remains the majority investor. More here.
GetYourGuide, the 11-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based travel booking platform, raised €114 million ($134 million) in convertible note financing led by Searchlight Capital. Investors also included the SoftBank Vision Fund, KKR, Battery Ventures, Highland Europe, Spark Capital, Lakestar, Heartcore Capital and NGP Capital. More here.
Q32 Bio, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotechnology company developing biologic therapeutics to restore healthy immune regulation, has raised $60 million in Series B funding. OrbiMed Advisors and Acorn Bioventures led the round. FierceBiotech has more here.
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
Celona, a 1.5-year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based company that says it's about to debut new 5G tech for companies let’s them build private cellular networks using wireless spectrum that the FCC recently made available, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. NTTVC and Qualcomm Ventures led the round, joined by Celona's earlier investors: Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Cervin Ventures. The company has now raised $40 million altogether. More here.
Donut, a four-year-old, New York-based maker of a Slack app for connecting remote teams, has raised $12 million in funding led by Accel, with participation from Bloomberg Beta, FirstMark, and Slack Fund. TechCrunch has more here.
Hermeus, a 2.5-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based company attempting to build a Mach 5 aircraft that would be capable of making the trip from New York to London in just 90 minutes, has raised a $16 million Series A round led by Canaan Partners. Other participants in the round include Khosla Ventures, Bling Capital and the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. TechCrunch has more here.
Jiko, a four-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based challenger bank founded by a former Goldman Sachs trader, raised $40 million in funding led by Upfront Ventures and investment firm Wafra. Then it sat on the money while it worked -- successfully -- to acquire an existing bank, putting it "ahead of some rivals in the race to satisfy financial regulators but far behind in luring customers," notes Fortune. More here.
LightDeck Diagnostics, a Boulder, Co.-based company formed earlier this year from the merger of startups mBio and Brava Diagnostics, has raised $11 million in funding for a new high-speed COVID-19 test. The Series B round comes from Incubic, Entrada and Boulder Ventures, among others. TechCrunch has more here.
r2c, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based software security company, has raised $13 million in Series A funding from Redpoint and Sequoia Capital, which also backed the company in an earlier, unannounced seed round. TechCrunch has more here.
The Wanderlust Group, a six-year-old, Rhode Island-based startup focused on building software for the boating world, has raised  $14.2 million in Series B funding from Allen & Company and the Alaris family office. TechCrunch has more here.
Wise, a nearly two-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based embedded banking product  for companies that touch on financial services but can’t offer those services because it’s such a big investment, has raised $12 million in Series A funding. The round was led by e.ventures; other participants in the round include Grishin Robotics, Base10 Partners, and Techstars. TechCrunch has more here.
Smaller Fundings
Atmos, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that invites users to input the location for a new home and a floor plan for the site, then says it will find builders that best match the plan and coordinate the rest of the tasks to get the home built, has raised $4 million in new funding four months after raising $2 million in initial funding. Khosla Ventures, JLL Spark and Lennar are among its new backers. TechCrunch has more here.
CoreCare, a year-old, Fort Worth, Tex.-based maker of revenue management software for healthcare companies dealing with public health benefit providers, has raised $3 million in seed funding from Primetime Partners, Goat Capital, Funders Club and Liquid 2 Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Enso Security, a months-old, Tel Aviv Israel-based cybersecurity startup cofounded by the former head of application security at Wix.com, has raised $6 million in seed funding. YL Ventures led the round, joined by Jump Capital, among others. More here.
Goodcover, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based insurtech startup that's focused on renters and uses a cooperative model where members’ premiums are pooled to pay claims, and the unused portion is returned to members as an annual dividend, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Goodwater Capital led the round, joined by Fuel Capital, Broadhaven Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures and TransRe. TechCrunch has more here.
Hip eCommerce, a five-year-old, Raleigh, N.C.-based startup that builds marketplaces for specific collectibles like comic books and stamps, has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding led by Next Coast Ventures. More here.
The Naked Market, a year-old, San Francisco-based omnichannel healthy food market that's "for millennials, by millennials," has raised $6 million in seed funding. Investors included Holtzbrinck Ventures, BEB Capital, and Sequoia Capital, among others. More here.
Nutrium, a five-year-old, Braga, Portugal-based digital health startup that links dietitians and their patients via an app, has raised a €4.25 million seed round led by Indico Capital Partners, alongside the Social Innovation Fund and previous investors. TechCrunch has more here.
PORTL, a 1.5-year-old, Beverly Hills, Ca.-based hologram startup whose users can "beam" themselves anywhere in real time (as long as both parties have one of its $60,000 devices), has raised $3 million in funding from longtime VC Tim Draper, former Electronic Arts executive Doug Barry and longtime awards-show producer Joe Lewis. TechCrunch has more here.
Raycast, a 10-month-old, London-based startup behind a developer-focused productivity tool that aims to be the quickest way to get common tasks done, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by Accel,  with participation from Y Combinator, Chapter One fund, and numerous angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Slingshot Aerospace, a four-year-old, Austin, Tex.- and El Segundo, Ca.-based situational intelligence platform that navigates, analyzes, and leverages data from earth and space, has raised $8 million in Series A funding that brings the company's total funding to $17.1 million. ATX Venture Partners led the round, joined by the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Techstars, Okapi Venture Capital, and angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Steadily, a three-month-old, Austin, Tex.-based insurer for landlords using IoT devices for preventative maintenance, has raised $3.8 million in seed funding in a round led by Matrix Partners. More here.
Suma Wealth, a months-old, L.A.-based platform that's intended to help Latinos better manage their money, has raised more than $1 million in seed funding led by Chingona Ventures. Founder Beatríz Acevedo's previous venture was Mitú, which creates content relevant to young Latinos both in the U.S. and elsewhere. The company raised $53 million from investors being being acquired in February by GoDigital Media Group.The WSJ has more here.
WareIQ, a year-old, Bangalore, India-based startup that operates a management system for warehouses across the country for customers with little prior e-commerce experience, has raised a $1.65 million in seed funding  from Y Combinator, FundersClub, Pioneer Fund, Soma Capital, Emles Venture Advisors and the founders of Flexport. TechCrunch has more here.
Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings
Cann, a nearly two-year-old, Venice, Ca.-based THC-infused drink company founded by two former Bain consultants, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a string of celebrity investors, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Darren Criss, and Baron Davis. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
Steve Rosenblatt, a former direct of advertising at Apple ho helped lead Foursquare's transformation from a consumer app company into an enterprise location-data business, has raised $11 million for a seed fund called Oceans Ventures. The firm is made up of five partners. Business Insider has more here.
Marvell, a company that primarily makes chips used in data storage and networking and which enjoys a market value of $26 billion, said today it will acquire rival semiconductor company Inphi Corp. in a $10 billion cash-and-stock deal. The move is expected to help Marvell expand its reach in networking. More here.
LVMH is getting a deal on Tiffany. The New York jeweler has agreed to accept a lower purchase price from the French conglomerate, ending a dramatic spat that had threatened to derail its $16 billion takeover. CNN Business has more here.
Intel says it acquire SigOpt, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based startup developing a platform to optimize AI software models. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed, but Intel says it plans to use SigOpt’s technologies across its hardware products to accelerate and scale AI software tools for developers. SigOpt had raised  $8.7 million in venture capital, including from Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel, In-Q-Tel and Blumberg Capital. VentureBeat has more here.
Jackie DiMonte has been promoted to principal at Hyde Park Ventures. DiMonte joined the firm more than four years ago as a vice president. More here.
Chris Gardner has joined Underscore VC as an investing partner. Gardner more recently spent nearly five years with PayPal, leaving as its VP of in-store and P2P products. More here.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a former venture capitalist with deep ties to Wall Street. is reportedly in the running for U.S. Treasury Secretary, should former VP Joe Biden win the election next week.
Brandon Reeves has been promoted to partner and Alex Nguyen to principal at Lux Capital. Reeves joined Lux in 2017 from Capricorn Investment Group; Nguyen joined in 2017 from Mercury Capital Advisors. More here.
Sydney Thomas, who was the first hire at Precursor Ventures,  has been promoted from senior associate to principal. TechCrunch has more here.
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Essential Reads
Scientists using the Crispr gene-editing technology in human embryos to try to repair a gene that causes hereditary blindness found it made unintended and unwanted changes, frequently eliminating an entire chromosome or large sections of it. The WSJ has more here.
The group of foreign investors poised to see an $8 billion gain in the Ant IPO.
'On accident' versus 'by accident.'
The reason some memories seem like movies.
How not to announce bad news.
Retail Therapy
Steve McQueen's Heuer Monaco watch is coming up for auction.


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A $40 million seed round, a Senate hearing gone haywire, and Ryan Smith buys his home team

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