A crypto crackdown, a $900 million Series C(!), and Reed Hastings comes to Newsom's defense

May 20, 2021
Top News
The U.S. Treasury Department announced today that it is taking steps to crack down on cryptocurrency markets and transactions, and said it will require any transfer worth $10,000 or more to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. “Cryptocurrency already poses a significant detection problem by facilitating illegal activity broadly including tax evasion,” the Treasury Department said in a release. More here.
Meanwhile, new SEC chief Gary Gensler said today that federal financial regulators should “be ready to bring cases” against bad actors in crypto and other emerging technologies. “As we continue to stay abreast of those developments, the SEC and FINRA [the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority] should be ready to bring cases involving issues such as crypto, cyber and fintech,” Gensler told FINRA conference attendees. Coindesk has more here.
Here's what the biggest crypto influencers are saying about the attendant slump in crypto prices and about Bitcoin in particular.
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Bain Capital Ventures Just Closed on $1.3 Billion to Fund Young Startups -- and Young Venture Firms, Too
Bain Capital Ventures (BCV), the venture arm of the 37-year-old private equity firm Bain Capital, announced this morning that it has $1.3 billion more smackers to invest across two funds, a $950 million fund for seed and Series A deals and a $350 million fund for growth-stage opportunities. That amount is up slightly from late 2018, when the outfit announced $1 billion across two funds.
While the outfit is backed by all the usual suspects, including endowments and pension funds, it’s worth noting that around $130 million of that capital comes from investors and other employees inside of Bain, whose contributions typically make up 10% of a fund. (Investors at other firms like Sequoia are big investors in their funds, too.)
More important, of course, is where the capital will be spent. According to partners Sarah Smith and Aaref Hilaly, the focus remains very much on enterprise startups, where the team likes to jump in early and build up a big position. (Some of its biggest bets in terms of dollars invested right now include the text message marketing company Attentive, currently valued at $2.2 billion, and the in-memory database company Redis Labs, valued at $2 billion.)
Interestingly, BCV is also investing directly in a lot of emerging managers, 50 of whom BCV has already backed.
Massive Fundings
Altruist, a three-year-old, L.A.-based digital platform for registered investment advisors, has raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners, with participation from earlier backer Venrock and the financial service giant Vanguard. FinancialPlanning has more here.
Dooly, a five-year-old, Vancouver, British Columbia-based startup that AI-based tools automate the busywork that goes into updating data in sales software, has raised $80 million in funding led by Spark Capital, with participation from Greenspring Associates, Tiger Global Management, investor Lachy Groom, Boldstart Ventures, BoxGroup and Addition. TechCrunch has more here.
Factory14, a three-year-old, Luxembourg-based startup that, like so many others, is looking to roll up smaller businesses on Amazon and help them grow through economies of scale, has raised $200 million in funding equity and debt funding. (It characterizes this as a "seed" round.) DMG Ventures, the venture arm of the Daily Mail Group, and DN Capital co-led the equity-based piece, which the company is not breaking out. It meanwhile lined up its credit facility from Victory Park Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
Knixwear, a nine-year-old, Toronto, Ontario-based online seller of intimate apparel, has raised $43.9 million led by TZP Group, with participation from Acton Capital and Ashley Graham. BetaKit has more here.
Loom, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based video messaging platform for work, has raised $130 million in Series C funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, joined by KPCB, Sequoia Capital, Coatue, General Catalyst, and ICONIQ. The round values the company at $1.53 billion. Bloomberg has more here.
Numab Therapeutics, a 10-year-old, Wädenswil, Switzerland-based developer of immunotherapies for cancer and inflammation, has raised around $110 million in Series C funding. Novo Holdings and HBM Partners co-led the round, joined by Forbion, Cormorant, BVF Partners, RTW Investments, BlackRock and Octagon Capital Advisors. More here.
Passport, an 11-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based maker of transportation and payment software designed to help cities manage mobile pay parking, parking enforcement, and digital permitting, has raised $90 million in growth capital from Sixth Street Growth, bringing the total capital raised by the company to more than $200 million. More here.
Pitch, a 3.5-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based maker of presentation collaboration software, has raised $85 million in Series B funding from Lakestar and Tiger Global Management. Earlier backers in the company include Index Ventures, the Slack Fund, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, and Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, among others. VentureBeat has more here.
Sunbit, a six-year-old, L.A.-based buy-now-pay-later tech startup, has raised $130 million in Series D funding led by Group 11, with participation from Zeev Ventures, Migdal Insurance, Harel Group, AltaIR Capital and More Investment House. Crowdfund Insider has more here.
Trade Republic, a six-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based startup that invites people to buy and sell shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), derivatives and cryptocurrency, all free of commissions (mostly), has raised a whopping $900 million in Series C funding at a $5.3 billion post-money valuation. Sequoia Capital led the round, joined by TCV, Thrive Capital, and previous backers Accel, Founders Fund, Creandum and Project A. TechCrunch has more here.
Uncapped, a two-year-old, London-based outfit that provides upfront revenue to digital companies (both SaaS and e-commerce), has raised $80 million in equity and debt funding. Lakestar led the round, joined by All Iron Ventures, White Star Capital, Global Founders Capital and Mouro Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
Virtuo, a six-year-old, Paris-based car rental startup with a streamlined approach (right now you can rent just one of two models through its app), has raised $96 million in Series C funding. AXA Venture Partners led the round, joined by Bpifrance, Alpha Intelligence Capital, H14 and earlier backers Balderton Capital, Iris Capital and Raise Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Workrise, a seven-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that has built a workforce management platform for the skilled trades, just raised $300 million in Series E round led by Baillie Gifford that values the company at $2.9 billion. New investor Franklin Templeton also joined the round, along with earlier backers Founders Fund, Bedrock Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Moore Strategic Ventures, 137 Ventures and Brookfield Growth Partners. The company, formerly known as Rig Up, has now raised over $750 million. TechCrunch has more here.
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
Boost Insurance, a four-year-old, New York-based B2B digital insurance platform (that's currently being sued by another digital insurance platform; we told you about this beef back in February), has raised $20 million in Series B funding. RRE Ventures led the round, joined by Fin VC, Gaingels, Hack VC and earlier investors Greycroft, Coatue, and Conversion Capital. More here.
Cervest, a six-year-old, London-based climate risk platform that says it provides commercial and government entities access to current, historic, and predictive views about how combined risks such as droughts, temperature changes, and mass flooding can impact the assets they own, has raised $30 million in Series A funding. Draper Esprit led the round, joined by Astanor Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Future Positive Capital, Magnus Rausing and TIME Ventures. Tech.eu has more here
Esper, a three-year-old, Bay Area-based startup that builds the tools to enable developers and engineers to deploy and manage fleets of Android-based edge devices, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Scale Venture Partners led the round, joined by Madrona Venture Group, Root Ventures, Ubiquity Ventures and Haystack. TechCrunch has more here.
Great Deals, a seven-year-old, Quezon City, Philippines-based startup that offers end-to-end e-commerce services, including digital content help, web design, analytics and chat support, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Fast Group led the round, joined by CVC Capital Partners and earlier investor Navegar. TechCrunch has more here.
Heru, a three-year-old, Miami, Fla.-based developer of wearable vision diagnostics and augmentation software as part of a larger eye diagnostic and vision correction technology platform, has raised $30 million in Series A funding. D1 Capital Partners led the round, joined by SoftBank Ventures Opportunity Fund, Krillion Ventures and individuals. More here.
Lithic, a seven-year-old, New York-based company that originally developed and issued virtual and disposable payment cards directly and now empowers its corporate customers to do the same for for their own customers, has raised $43 million in fresh funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, joined by Index Ventures, Tusk Venture Partners, Rainfall Ventures, Teamworthy Ventures and Walkabout Ventures; the company, known until now as Privacy.com, has now raised $61 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Maven, a nine-month-old, Austin, Tex.-based startup that helps professionals teach cohort-based classes and was cofounded led by serial founder Gagan Biyani (of Sprig and Udemy), has raised $20 million in a Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The company raised $4.3 million in seed funding seven months ago led by First Round Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
OneNav, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based maker of a next-gen positioning system for smartphones, wearables and IOT tracking devices, has raised $21 million in funding led by GV, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners and GSR Ventures. TechCrunch has more here
Portside, a three-year-old, Bay Area-based aviation startup that is building a platform for managing the backend of a corporate flight department, charter operation, government fleet and fractional ownership operation, has raised $17 million in funding led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from earlier backers I2BF Global Ventures and SOMA Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
ProducePay, a 6.5-year-old, L.A.-based startup that provides financing and analytics to farmers and other growers or fresh produce, has raised $43 million in Series C funding. G2VP co-led the round with International Finance Corp and IDB Invest. Other participants in the round include Anterra Capital, Coventure, Astanor Ventures, IGNIA, and Finistere. More here.
Salto, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based business app configuration platform, has raised $42 million in Series B funding co-led by Accel and Salesforce Ventures, with participation from earlier investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Crunchbase News has more here.
SightCall, a 13-year-old, San Francisco-based visual assistance platform combining live video, AR and AI to help enterprises fix issues remotely, has raised $42 million in Series B funding led by InfraVia Capital Partners, with participation from Bpifrance. FierceBiotech has more here.
Superconductive, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company behind Great Expectations, an open source project for data quality, has raised $21 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures, with CRV and Root Ventures participating. ZDNet has more here.
Wasabi, a four-year-old, Boston-based cloud storage startup, has raised $25 million in extended Series C funding, bring the round total to $137 million. Aramco Ventures led the newest tranche, joined by Western Digital Capital. The company has now raised $244 million altogether, it says. More here.
WeaveGrid, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of electrification software designed to connect electric vehicles to the grid and to do it in a way that makes it cheaper and safer for utilities to support their use, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Coatue led the round, joined by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, The Westly Group and Grok Ventures. More here.
Smaller Fundings
&Open, a four-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based corporate gifting platform, has raised $7.2 million in funding co-led by First Round Capital and LocalGlobal. TechCrunch has more here.
Maven, a nine-month-old, Austin, Tex.-based startup that helps professionals teach cohort-based classes and was cofounded led by serial founder Gagan Biyani (Sprig, Udemy), has raised $20 million in a Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The company raised $4.3 million in seed funding seven months ago led by First Round Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
Spot Meetings, a five-month-old, Chicago-based still-stealth startup that wants to rebuild the meeting from the ground up for an audio-only environment (so participants can walk and talk), has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Kleiner Perkins. TechCrunch has more here.
VlyFoods, a three-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based maker of pea milk, has raised €6.1 million in funding led by Five Seasons Ventures, with participation from Global Founders Capital and Good Seed Ventures. More here.
(Other) New Funds
Eminence Ventures, a four-year-old, Ningbo, China-based venture firm that was founded by veteran operator Peter Cheng (Oracle, eBay, Tencent Holdings) and focused on regional tech startups, has raised $120 million in capital commitments for its second fund. Emergence Capital and Hong Kong’s Unicorn Capital Partners are among the outfit's new limited partners. Eminence had closed its first fund with $37 million from individual investors in 2017. Bloomberg has the story here.
Synchrony, the 18-year-old, Stamford, Ct.-based publicly traded consumer financial services company, today announced it will commit $15 million to venture capital funds led by Black, Latinx, and female investing partners. The first funds selected to receive money include Chingona Ventures, Seae Ventures, and  Zeal Capital Partners. More here.
White Star Capital, a 13-year-old, New York-based venture firm, has launched a $50 million digital asset fund with capital commitments from Bpifrance and Ubisoft. TechCrunch has more here.
Just a few months after raising its seed round, Unfolded.ai announced today that it is being acquired by Foursquare. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The startup had raised a total of about $6 million. TechCrunch takes a look here.
Netflix cofounder and CEO Reed Hastings is spending $3 million to shield Governor Gavin Newsom from a recall vote, according to a new state filing. Politico has more here.
Danny Schultz, co-founder and managing director of the 21-year-old venture firm Gotham Ventures, has joined the London-based, sustainability-focused growth equity firm Planet First Partners as a venture partner, per his LinkedIn profile. (H/T: Axios.) 
U.S. companies are lobbying South Korea to release Samsung’s chair, Lee Jae-yong, from prison so he can help ramp up Samsung’s chip-making efforts, reports the Financial Times. More here. (H/T: The Information).
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