The Darkside gang gives up, finding Biden's Venmo account, and we hope you saved your topsiders

May 14, 2021
 
Running out the door and missing a section or two, but more on Monday; hope you have a terrific weekend, everyone.:)
Top News
 
A day after U.S. President Joe Biden said the country plans to disrupt the hackers behind the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, the operator of the Darkside ransomware said the group lost control of its web servers and some of the funds it received as ransom payments and that it's quitting.
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Solana, a Blockchain Platform Followed by Top Crypto Investors, Says It's a Lot Faster than Ethereum
 
Solana isn't widely known yet outside of the crypto community. But insiders think the blockchain platform is interesting for a wide variety of reasons, beginning with its amiable founder, Anatoly Yakovenko, who spent more than a dozen years as an engineer working on wireless protocols at Qualcomm and who says he had a lightbulb moment at a San Francisco cafe several years ago following two coffees and a beer.
 
His big idea centered on creating an historical record to speed along “consensus,” which is how decisions are made on blockchains, which are themselves peer-to-peer systems.
 
Right now, consensus is reached on various blockchains when members solve a mathematical puzzle, a mechanism that’s called “proof of work.” These miners are rewarded for their efforts with cryptocurrency, but the process takes an hour in Bitcoin’s case and a minute in the case of Ethereum, and it’s insanely energy intensive, which is why neither Bitcoin nor Ethereum has proved very scalable. (Bitcoin’s heavy reliance on fossil fuel is the reason Elon Musk cited earlier this week to explain why Tesla is no longer accepting Bitcoin as payment for the company’s electric cars.)
 
Massive Fundings
 
Interline Therapeutics, a year-old, San Francisco-based biotech focused on protein communities, raised $92 million co-led by Arch Venture Partners and founding investor Foresite Capital. Crunchbase News has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Liquid Death, a  four-year-old, LA-based canned mountain water startup, just raised $15 million in Series C funding led by Live Nation, the giant concert promoter, which will only sell Liquid Death across its venues and festivals across the United States for a period of time as a part of the deal. The company has now raised $50 million altogether. We have more here.
 
Omnio, a three-year-old, London-based banking-as-a-service startup, has raised $36.5 million (€30 million) in funding led by GrayBella Capital. IBS Intelligence has more here.
 
Upsie, a six-year-old, St. Paul, Mn.-based platform for buying product warranties, raised $18.2 million led by True Ventures. The company has now raised $25 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here
 
Waybridge, a two-year-old, New York-based supply chain platform for raw materials, raised $30 million in Series B funding co-led by Rucker Park Capital and Craft Ventures. The company has now raised $40 million altogether. Crunchbase News has more here
 
Smaller Fundings
 
Cartwheel, a 1.5-year-old, L.A.-based startup that helps restaurants launch in-house delivery or upgrade their third-party delivery infrastructure, has raised $1 million in seed funding led by TenOneTen Ventures, with participation from Act One Ventures and Portillo’s Hot Dogs. More here. More here.
 
Clinch, an eight-year-old,  New York-based developer of personalization and consumer intelligence software for advertisers, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by D Squared Capital. More here.
 
Go, a two-year-old, Auckland, New Zealand-based social app for planning real-world outings, recently raised $6.7 million in seed funding led by CAV Angels. It's working on its Series A round now. More here.

Legionfarm, a five-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based gaming platform that lets amateur gamers play with pro gamers, raised $6 million from SVBYCScrum VC and individuals. TechCrunch has more here.
 
SpecTrust, a year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based startup that aims to “fix the economics of fighting fraud” with a no-code platform that it says cuts 90% of a business’ risk infrastructure spend, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding. Cyber Mentor Fund led, and was joined by Rally VenturesSignalFireDreamit Ventures and Legion Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
 
Framework Ventures has raised $100 million for a new fund to back decentralized finance startups, a demonstration of institutional interest in this fast-growing corner of the crypto world, notes the WSJ. Accolade Partners, which recently set up a blockchain-focused fund of funds, as well as Hall Capital Partners, a family-owned private investment company that manages more than $40 billion, are among the outfits investors. More here.
 
Semble Ventures, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based venture capital firm that backs technical founders and was previously known as Amaranthine, is looking to raise up to $50 million for its second fund, shows a new SEC filing. The firm -- led by David Kelly, a Web Summit cofounder and Patrick Murphy, a former investor with Universal Music Group -- counts the buzzy events platform Hopin and the autonomous checkout startup Standard Cognition as portfolio companies, among others. More here.
Exits
 
PayPal says it's buying Happy Returns, a six-year-old, L.A.-based maker of e-commerce returns software that had raised $25 million from PayPal Ventures, Upfront Ventures and USVP. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Payments giant Stripe has acquired Bouncer, a firm that mitigates fraud during online transactions. Bouncer's team and technology will join Stripe and will work on Radar, Stripe's machine-learning payment fraud reduction tool. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed, but TechCrunch notes that like Stripe itself, Bouncer was incubated at Y Combinator, in 2019. In addition to YC, it had raised funding from Commerce Ventures and the Pioneer Fund; it never disclosed how much it funding it garnered. TechCrunch has more here.
People
 
Lauren Kang, a former investment associate at Overton VC, has joined the firm Frontline Ventures as a senior associate. More here.
 
Antonio García Martínez, the Chaos Monkeys author who was hired, then fired, by Apple, suggested today on Twitter that he's planning to fight his abrupt termination this week.
 
Leslie Moonves, who led CBS as chief executive for 15 years before he was ousted in 2018, will receive nothing from the $120 million the company had set aside in a potential severance package, according to a federal filing today.
 
Confluent, a data analytics startup founded by former LinkedIn engineers, has hired Larry Shurtz, a top sales executive from Salesforce as it prepares for an IPO, reports The Information.
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Essential Reads
 
BuzzFeed found Joe Biden’s secret Venmo account after less than 10 minutes of looking for it, along with nearly a dozen Biden family members, senior White House officials, and all of their contacts. The development is a privacy nightmare for everyone, underscores the outlet.
 
Amazon’s explosive growth is flooding highways with semitrucks carrying cargo for the internet retailer. But a five-month investigation by The Information reveals that those trucks were involved in more than 50 serious crashes over the last three years. And Amazon says it bears no responsibility.
 
San Francisco tech companies are sitting on record amounts of empty office space they can't fill.
Detours
 
"Yuppie scum" style is back.
 
The untold story of the NFT boom.
Retail Therapy
 
A "cleanstation" for your phone.
 
Royal Tenenbaum's house.
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