The rise of Shein, a sidewalk "surgeon," and the great crypto crash (of this week)

May 18, 2021
Top News
 
Everything that Google announced at I/O today, in TechCrunch.
 
Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies slumped after the People’s Bank of China conveyed a statement reiterating that digital tokens can’t be used as a form of payment. Bitcoin fell below $40,000 for the first time since early February, dropping as much as 10% to $38,973 on Wednesday and continuing a weeklong slide. Ether, Dogecoin and last week’s sensation, Internet Computer, also retreated, notes Bloomberg.
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A New Book Aims to Blow Up Assumptions About the Best Founding Teams
 
There’s a lot of how-to guidance out there when it comes to starting a company, and much of it has reinforced certain beliefs, including that solo founders don’t get very far on their own, that the most successful founders attend a small circle of top schools and that the best companies are created by people who launched them to solve a personal problem into which they had a particular insight.
 
Ali Tamaseb — who studied biomedical engineering at Imperial College London, attended business school at Stanford and founded a wearable tech startup before joining the venture firm DCVC as an investor in 2018 — says that lot of that guidance is, well, misguided. Tamaseb says he knows this because over the past four years, to improve his own decision-making, he amassed more than 30,000 data points about so-called “super founders,” from their age when their breakout company was founded to how many competitors they faced from the outset; in doing so, he says, he wound up discovering that much of what is espoused in startup circles is off the mark.
 
Massive Fundings
 
Beta Technologies, a four-year-old, Burlington, Vt.-based developer of a fully integrated electric aviation ecosystem, has raised $368 million in new funding led by Fidelity, with participation from Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund. The round values the company at $1.4 billion. CNBC has more here.
 
Betterworks, an eight-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based New York City-based maker of strategy execution software for enterprise companies, has raised $61 million from current investors, some of which include Emergence Capital and Kleiner Perkins. The company has now raised $126 million to date. More here
 
Copper, a three-year-old, London-based cryptocurrency custody firm, has raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Dawn Capital and Target Global, with participation from Illuminate Financial Management, LocalGlobe, and MMC Ventures. Coindesk has more here.
 
DailyPay, a five-year-old, New York-based company whose software enables enterprises to provide on-demand pay to employees, has raised $175 million in Series D funding. Carrick Capital Partners led the round; the company says it also secured $325 million of credit capital from "various sources." More here.

Explorium, a four-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based data science company, has raised $75 million in Series C funding led by Insight Partners, with participation from Fort Ross Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners, Zeev Ventures, Emerge, F2 Venture Capital, 01 Advisors, and Dynamic Loop Capital. The company has now raised $127 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Extend, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup whose API allows merchants to offer extended warranties and protection plans on the products they sell, has raised $260 million in Series C funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Meritech Capital Partners, PayPal Ventures, GreatPoint Ventures, Nationwide, Tomales Bay Capital, Launchpad Capital, 10X Capital and 40North also participating. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Hummingbird Biosciences, a seven-year-old, South San Francisco- and Singapore-based precision medicine company, has raised $125 million in Series C funding led by Novo Holdings, with participation from 14 other investment firms. More here

Klaviyo, a nine-year-old, Boston-based customer data and marketing automation company, has raised $320 million in Series D funding led by Sands Capital, with participation from Counterpoint Global, Whale Rock Capital Management, ClearBridge Investments, Lone Pine Capital, Owl Rock Capital, Glynn Capital, former Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block, Accel, and Summit Partners. Following the company's $200 million Series C financing in November, this new round values the company at $9.15 billion on a pre-money basis and bring its total funding to date to more than $675 million. More here.
 
Piano, a five-year-old, Philadelphia, Pa.-based startup whose software platform provides analytics and subscription services to publishers, has raised $88 million in Series B funding led by Updata Partners, with participation from LinkedIn and Rittenhouse Ventures. The company has now raised $241 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Thunes, a five-year-old, Singapore-based B2B cross-border payments network for emerging markets, has raised $60 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners. GGV Capital and Checkout.com also participated in the round. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Vise, a five-year-old, New York-based startup that uses an AI-powered platform to give independent financial advisors the same level of data as advisories with their own analyst departments, has raised $65 million in Series C funding led by Ribbit Capital, with participation from earlier backers, including Sequoia Capital. The company, now valued at $1 billion, has raised $125 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Funding
 
Causaly, a three-year-old, London-based platform for biomedical research, has raised $17 million. Index Ventures led the round, joined by Marathon, Pentech and EBRD. More here.
 
Coiled, a year-old, L.A.-based DataOps and AIOps platform that aims to increase access to scalable computing, has raised $21 million in funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, joined by IA Ventures and FirstMark. The company, which earlier raised $5 million in seed funding led by Costanoa Ventures, has now raised $26 million altogether. VentureBeat has more here.
 
Homzmart, a two-year-old, Cairo, Egypt-based furniture and home goods marketplace, raised $15 million in Series A funding co-led by MSA Capital and Nuwa Capital. Other participating investors include EQ2 Ventures, Impact46, Outliers Capital and Rise Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Informed.IQ, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of document verification and analysis tools used by lenders, has raised $20 million in Series A funding co-led by Nyca Partners and US Venture Partners.  FinLedger has more here.
 
Picnic, a five-year-old, Seattle-based maker of a pizza-making robot, has raised $16.3 million in Series A funding led by Thursday Ventures, with participation from Creative Ventures, Flying Fish Partners and Vulcan Capital. Restaurant Business has .

Rally, a five-year-old, New York-based platform that lets retail investors buy into collectible assets and is reportedly opening up brick-and-mortar outposts soon, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Accel, with participation from earlier backers Upfront Ventures and Social Leverage. WWD has more here.
 
Unmind, five-year-old, London-based workplace mental health platform, has raised $47 million in Series B funding led by EQT Ventures. Other participants in the round include Sapphire Ventures, as well as earlier investors Project A, Felix Capital, and True (the European firm). More here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
Adalo, a three-year-old, St. Louis, Mo.-based no-code app builder platform, has raised $8 million in Series A funding. Tiger Global Management led the round, joined by Oceans Ventures, OldSlip Group and individual investors. Crunchbase News has more here.
 
Cortex, a 20-month-old, San Francisco-based startup that's helping engineers create a catalog of services automatically (so they needn't track them manually through spreadsheets), has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital. The round also includes Y Combinator; Scott Belsky, CPO at Adobe; Gokul Rajaram, board member of Pinterest and Coinbase; Sam Lambert, CPO of PlanetScale; Manik Gupta, former CPO of Uber; and Mathilde Collin, CEO and founder of Front. TechCrunch has more here.
 
DeltaTrainer, a three-year-old, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based one-on-one remote personal training company, has raised $3.3 million in seed funding led by TenOneTen Ventures, with participation from Alpha Edison, Maven, and angel investors. More here.
 
Houm, a three-year-old, Santiago, Chile-based all-in-one platform for homeowners to rent and sell their properties, has raised $8 million in seed funding. Investors included Y Combinator, Goodwater Ventures, OneVC, Vast VC, Liquid2, and Myelin. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Lance, a three-year-old, New York-based startup focused around a business banking account for the self-employed (among other things, it automatically identifies deductibles and manages tax withholdings), has raised $2.8 million in seed funding. Participants in the round include Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars and DFJ Frontier, along with numerous angel investors. More here.
 
Payslip, a five-year-old, Westport, Ireland-based automation and integration tech company for global payroll management, has just raised $10 million in extended Series A funding led by Middlegame Ventures, with participation from Mouro Capital and earlier backers Frontline Ventures and Tribal.vc, among others. The capital brings the round to $14.5 million altogether. More here.
 
Rhithm, a two-year-old, Dallas, Tex.-based edtech startup focused on mental health and social-emotional wellbeing, has raised $4 million in seed funding. Reach Capital led the round, joined by SJF Ventures, Red House Education and Edovate Capital. More here.
 
Roofr, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based sales platform for roofing contractors, has raised $4.25 million in post-seed funding led by Bullpen Capital, with participation from Avidbank and previous backer Crosslink Capital. The company has now raised $8.25 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
SoftLedger, a five-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based business management platform, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding. Naples Technology Ventures led the round, joined by Mucker Capital, Newark Venture Partners, and Acceleprise. More here.
Exits
 
Ginkgo Bioworks, the Boston-based biotech company, says it's acquiring the Netherlands-based, six-year-old company Dutch DNA Biotech for an undisclosed cash and stock deal that will see Gingko acquire 100% of Dutch DNA's shares and provide earn-out payments on the achievement of one or more technical and commercialization milestones. Dutch DNA was created in 2015 as a management buyout from the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research. The company develops and supplies fungal biotechnology processes for the industrial production of enzymes, proteins, and organic acids and has created a platform technology for the development of fungal strains and fermentation processes for protein and organic acid production, Ginkgo said. GenomeWeb has more here.
 
Siemens has agreed to buy Supplyframe, an 18-year-old, Pasadena, C.-based vertical search engine for electronic components, for $700 million. Supplyframe backers include Clearstone Venture Partners and USVP. Reuters has more here.
Going Public
 
1stDibs is going public. The online luxury resale giant announced yesterday that it filed paperwork with the SEC for its stock to be sold on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “DIBS.” A date and a suggested price for the listing were not given. The company, which has raised more than $250 million from VCs and whose biggest shareholders include Benchmark, with a 23% stake and Insight Partners, which owns 16% -- managed to thrive during the pandemic, as people spent more time shopping online and funneling more dollars into high-priced collectibles. Still, the company, which has pared its losses, remains unprofitable. In 2019, it lost $29.9 million. Last year, it lost $12.5 million. The Business of Home has more here.
 
Catalyst Partners Acquisition, a software-focused SPAC formed by General Catalyst targeting disruptive enterprise software, raised $300 million by offering 30 million units at $10. Each unit consists of one share of common stock and one-fifth of a warrant, exercisable at $11.50. The blank-check company is the firm's fourth. More here.
 
Flywire Corp, the 10-year-old, Boston-based payments firm, yesterday made its paperwork for a U.S. listing public and revealed a 38% surge in revenue in the latest quarter as it benefits from strong remote working trends due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Flywire had confidentially filed to go public in March and could seek a valuation as high as $3 billion when it sets terms for the offering, Reuters reported in January. More here.
 
Europe’s most valuable startup, Klarna, says its decision on whether to move ahead with a blockbuster listing in London hinges on the U.K. government’s post-Brexit financial services regulation.  The Swedish payments company’s CEO, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, hopes the British government “follows the lead of Singapore” in easing the burden of red tape on the industry. He wants rules that allow customers to “shift banks in the click of a button.” Bloomberg has more here.
 
Paymentus, a 17-year-old, Redmond, Wa.-based electronic billing and payments company, has registered plans with the SEC to raise up to to $210 million at a valuation of up to $2.4 billion through a U.S. IPO. The filing shows that Paymentus, which is based in Washington, is offering 10 million shares priced between $19 and $21 for the public offering. Reuters has more here.
 
WalkMe, a maker of software that helps website owners and software developers create interactive on-screen guidance for users to complete complex tasks, says it has filed a preliminary prospectus with the SEC for a proposed IPO on the Nasdaq. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined; the company has raised around $300 million from investors, according to Crunchbase. Times of Israel has more here.
People
 
Facebook’s Hugo Barra, VP of the company’s Reality Labs Partnerships is leaving the company, he announced on Facebook yesterday. The Verge has more here
 
MetaProp, a New York City-based proptech, named Monica O’Neill as a partner. O'Neill joins from London-based Tristan Capital Partners, a real estate investment manager where she was a senior partner. More here.
 
The California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation has hired a veteran consumer advocate to lead a newly created Office of Financial Technology and Innovation based in San Francisco, and that's Christina Tetreault, who most recently had been a manager of financial policy at Consumer Reports and was a former senior staff attorney at Consumers Union. American Banker has more here.
Data
 
Shein, dubbed the "TikTok for e-commerce" overtook Amazon(!) as the most installed shopping app in U.S. yesterday for the first time. More here.
 
A new study of diversity in the tech industry found companies that made statements of solidarity had 20% fewer Black employees on average than those that didn’t. 🤦  Bloomberg has more here.
 
Last year, more people in San Francisco died of overdoses than of COVID-19, many of them from synthetic opioids, says the Economist.
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Essential Reads
 
How Roblox sparked a chaotic music scene.
Detours
 
Famous last words.:(
 
 
The "sidewalk surgeon" who beautifies the damaged streets of Paris.
 
Goop responds to “frivolous” lawsuit claiming that its vagina candles explode after lighting.
Retail Therapy
 
The most expensive new car in the world (for now).
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