WhatsApp is suing the Indian government, Washington is suing Amazon, and cicada soup, anyone?

May 25, 2021
Top News
 
WhatsApp just sued the Indian government to stop what it says are oppressive new internet rules that would require it to make people’s messages “traceable” to outside parties for the first time. The rules are set to go into effect right now, essentially. The New York Times has more here.
 
Amazon has been slapped with an antitrust suit by the District of Columbia, which alleges that the company blocks sellers on its marketplace from offering better deals elsewhere, leading to higher prices for consumers. The lawsuit targets contracts between Amazon and its sellers, which D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said prevent the sellers from offering lower prices on other sites, including their own. The lawsuit cites violations of Washington, D.C., law rather than federal law. The WSJ has more here.
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A New Book Encourages Founders To Get Their 'Weekly Nietzsche'
 
In all likelihood, you do not currently associate Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, essayist and cultural critic, with entrepreneurship.
 
Serial entrepreneurs Brad Feld and Dave Jilk — whose friendship dates back to their college days at MIT — think that you should. Indeed, in the foreword of their new book, The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche: A Book for Disruptors, another renowned entrepreneur (and former philosophy student), Reid Hoffman, explains how Nietzsche has inspired him to think differently throughout his own career, noting that, like disruptive entrepreneurs, Nietzsche “wanted to destroy the old mindsets that locked people into the past” and arguing why his “fierce allegiance to the new” is as relevant today as it was 150 years ago.
 
If setting aside precious time to study Nietzsche sounds daunting, don’t worry; Feld and Jilk clearly get it.
 
Massive Fundings
 
Bowery Farming, a seven-year-old, New York-based vertical farming company, has raised $300 million in Series C funding at a $2.3 billion valuation. Fidelity led the round, joined by Amplo, Gaingels and earlier investors GV, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, Temasek, and Groupe Artémis. (A sprinkling of celebs also joined the round, including Justin Timberlake.) TechCrunch has more here
 
Contentsquare, a nine-year-old, Paris-based analytics platform meant to help businesses improve conversion, revenue, and customer engagement, has raised $500 million in Series D funding at a $2.8 billion post-money valuation led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Earlier backers also joined the round, including Eurazeo Growth, Bpifrance, KKR, Canaan Partners, and Highland Europe. The company has now raised $810 million altogether. Crunchbase News has more here.
 
Forter, an eight-year-old, New York-based company that sell e-commerce fraud prevention software, has raised $300 million in Series F funding at a post-money valuation of $3 billion led by Tiger Global Management. Other backers in the round include Third Point Ventures, Adage Capital Management and earlier investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, March Capital, NewView Capital, Salesforce Ventures and Scale Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Eliem Therapeutics, a three-year-old, Redmond, Wa.-based biotech focused on developing therapies for pain and depression, has raised $60 million in Series C funding co-led by Intermediate Capital Group and RA Capital Management. Other participants in the round include Access Biotechnology, Samlyn Capital, Acorn Bioventures and LifeArc. GeekWire has more here.

FarEye, an eight-year-old, Noida, India-based supply chain and logistics operation optimization startup, has raised $100 million in Series E funding co-led by TCV and Dragoneer. Other investors in the round include earlier backers Eight Roads Ventures, Fundamentum and Honeywell. The company has now raised $153 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Noom, a 13-year-old, New York-based weight loss app, has made it official; it just closed on $540 million in Series F funding led by Silver Lake, with participation from Oak HC/FT, Temasek, Novo Holdings, Sequoia Capital, RRE and Samsung Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
OneOf, a three-month-old, Miami, Fla.-based music-focused non-fungible token (NFT) platform, has raised $63 million in what it says is seed funding, including from longtime VC Bill Tai, Nima Capital, Sangha Capital, tech investor Jack Herrick and the Tezos Foundation. Coindesk has more here.
 
Printful, an eight-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based on-demand service that prints T-shirts and hundreds of other products for online e-commerce stores and drop ships them to end customers, has raised $130 million from Bregal Sagemount at a post-money valuation of more than $1 billion. The WSJ has more here
 
Qualio, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based quality management software platform for the life sciences sector, just raised $50 million in Series B funding. Tiger Global Management led the round, joined by Menlo Ventures and earlier insiders Frontline Ventures, MHS Capital, Operator Partners, Sorenson Ventures and Storm Ventures. More here.
 
Snapdocs, a 7.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that's used by some real estate professionals to digitally manage the mortgage process and other paperwork involved with buying a home, just closed a $150 million Series D funding round at a post-money valuation of more than $1.5 billion. Tiger Global Management led the round; the company has now raised $260 million altogether. Business Insider has more here.

Tessian, an eight-year-old, London-based email security company, has raised $65 million in Series C funding from March Capital, Sequoia Capital and Accel. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Whatnot, a two-year-old, L.A.-based marketplace for collectibles like Pokémon cards and sports cards, has raised $50 million in Series B funding led by the Y Combinator Continuity fund, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Animal Capital and a number of angels. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Xanadu, a five-year-old, Toronto-based quantum computing startup, has raised $100 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Georgian Partners, OMERS and Tim Draper. More here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Airbyte, a year-old, Bay Area-based startup that's building an open-source data integration platform, has raised $26 million in Series A funding. Benchmark led the round, joined by 8VC, Accel, SV Angel, Y Combinator and numerous individual investors. The startup had announced $5.2 million in seed funding just a couple of months ago. TechCrunch has more here.

AnyClip, a 13-year-old, Israel-based company that combines artificial intelligence with more standard search tools to provide what it says are better video analytics for content providers, has raised $47 million in funding led by JVP, with participation from La Maison and Bank Mizrahi. The outfit has now raised $70 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Atlan, a two-year-old, Singapore and U.S.-based SaaS data collaboration platform, has raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Insight Partners. Earlier backers Sequoia Surge and Waterbridge Ventures also joined the round, along with numerous prominent individual investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Clearing, a year-old, New York-based digital healthcare platform for chronic pain, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Bessemer Venture Partners and Founders Fund co-led the round, joined by Breyer Capital, Threshold and individual investors. Crunchbase News has more here.
 
Curebase, a four-year-old, Walnut, Ca.-based maker of decentralized clinical trial software, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by GGV Capital, with participation from Xfund and Bold Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.
 
Interactio, a seven-year-old, Vilnius, Lithuania-based startup that offers digital tools to connect meetings with certified interpreters who carry out real-time interpretation to bridge language divides between participants, has raised $30 million in Series A funding. Eight Roads Ventures and Storm Ventures co-led the round, joined by Notion Capital and Practica Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Koo, a 15-month-old, Bengaluru, India-based alternative to Twitter, has raised $30 million in funding led by Tiger Global Management. Other participants in the round include Mirae Asset, IIFL’s venture capital fund and earlier investors 3one4 Capital, Blume Ventures, and Accel. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Sentieo, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based financial and corporate research platform, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Ten Coves Capital, with participation from earlier investors Centana Growth Partners and Studio Management. More here.

Gridware, a year-old, Sacramento, Ca.-based startup focused on protecting electric grids from climate change (and a recently minted alum of the Y Combinator accelerator program), has raised $5.3 million in seed funding co-led by True Ventures and 50 Years. TechCrunch has more here.

Lydus Medical, a four-year-old, Ra'anana, Israel-based startup developing automated surgical tools, raised $2.7 million in seed funding from Sanara Ventures, Mor Research Applications, Glenrock and Technion. FierceBiotech has more here.
 
Novisto, a two-year-old, Montreal-based software platform for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data, management, and reporting, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by White Star Capital, with participation from Diagram Ventures. Forbes has more here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
Resolve, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based buy-now-pay-later company that spun out of the lending company Affirm and is focused around B2B transactions, just raised $60 million in its first round of funding. Initialized Capital led the round, joined by KSD Capital, Haystack VC, Commerce Ventures, Clocktower Ventures and others. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Turntable.fm, a New York-based company that had an earlier life and was shut down in 2014 (founder Billy Chasen also cofounded Chartbeat), has raised $7.5 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Not-Yet-Known-H0w-Much Fundings
 
Popmenu, a five-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based startup that provides website design services and online ordering software to restaurants, is reportedly raising a new funding round led by Tiger Global Management that will value it at $525 million, including the investment. That’s six times its valuation in October, when the startup raised a $17 million Series B round at an $87 million valuation, according to The Information. It has more here.
Exits
 
Smart Eye, the publicly traded Swedish company that supplies driver monitoring systems for a dozen automakers, has acquired the 11-year-old, Boston-based emotion-detection software startup Affectiva for $73.5 million in a cash-and-stock deal. Affectiva, which spun out of the MIT Media Lab, has developed software that can detect and understand human emotion, which Smart Eye is keen to combine with its own AI-based eye-tracking technology, says TechCrunch. The company had raised roughly $63 million across numerous rounds, according to Crunchbase. More here.
 
Private-equity advisory firm Cebile Capital has agreed to be acquired by Raymond James Financial in a deal that would give the investment bank access to alternative investments and the market for secondhand deals in private funds and companies. Cebile provides placement services for PE firms trying to raise new funds and acts as an adviser on secondary transactions involving private market assets. The WSJ has more here.
Going Public
 
ZipRecruiter was assigned a reference price of $18 a share for what will be the fourth major direct listing of the year on a U.S. exchange. The job search and recruiting company’s shares are set to begin trading tomorrow without the company raising any capital. If the company does trade near its reference price, it will have a fully diluted valuation of about $2.4 billion based on the shares listed in a statement. Bloomberg has more here.
People
 
Kyle Davies and Su Zhu started Three Arrows Capital at the kitchen table of their apartment in 2012. Now they’re among the world’s biggest crypto holders with a portfolio worth billions of dollars.
 
While numerous tech billionaires mobilized behind a plan to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom this year, California's rebound from the Covid-19 crisis is complicating that drive, reports Politico.
 
At a virtual conference today hosted by JPMorgan, Twitter CFO Ned Segal said e-commerce will be an important lever for the company as it continues to build out direct response advertising products. “You should be able to click and buy something on Twitter,” Segal said.
Data
 
A chill has fallen over China’s new generation of tech giants, with stock in former market darlings such as Meituan, Pinduoduo and Kuaishou dropping by more than one-third from highs reached earlier this year.
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Essential Reads
 
Traders taking excessive risk in the bitcoin market being forced to sell when the price goes down were the bigger culprits for last week’s 30% drop in bitcoin prices, according to analysts.
 
Germany has adopted legislation that will allow driverless vehicles on public roads next year, laying out a path for companies to deploy robotaxis and delivery services in the country at scale.
Detours
 
The musical performances of this season's "SNL," ranked.
 
The evolution of "The Simpsons."
 
Our memory is even better than experts thought.
 
No, thank you, not ready.
Retail Therapy
 
The Maldives government is auctioning 50-year leases to 16 islands, and island clusters, scattered throughout its atolls. The catch: winner bidders have to build resorts on the land.
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