Everything Apple announced, a CLEAR path to an IPO, and the latest adventures in ransomware

June 7, 2021
 
Hi, welcome back.:)
Top News
 
Here’s everything Apple announced at its WWDC 2021 keynote.
 
The amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere reached 419 parts per million in May, its highest level in more than four million years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today. (Yikes.)
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Tired of Dogecoin and meme stocks? Give art a shot. Over the last 25 years, contemporary art prices returned 14% per year - crushing S&P 500 returns by 174%, according to Citi. So it's no surprise that over two-thirds of billionaires allocate more than 20% of their overall portfolio to art. Thanks to Masterworks, you, too, can invest in multi-million dollar works by artists like Warhol, Banksy and Basquiat at a fraction of the entry cost. Skip the 17,500 person waitlist with this special link. (See disclaimer.)
Are We Overestimating the Ransomware Threat?
On Monday afternoon, the U.S. Justice Department said it has seized much of the cryptocurrency ransom that  U.S. pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline paid last month to a Russian hacking collective called DarkSide by tracking the payment as it moved through different accounts belonging to the hacking group and finally breaking into one of those accounts with the blessing of a federal judge.
 
It's a feel-good twist to a saga that began with a cyberattack on Colonial and resulted in a fuel shortage made worse by the panic-purchasing of gasoline last month after the company shut down one of its major pipelines (and later suffered a second pipeline shutdown owing to what it described as an overworked internal server).
 
But Christopher Alhberg, a successful serial entrepreneur and the founder of Recorded Future, a security intelligence company that tracks threats to the government and corporations and runs its own media arm, suggests that Americans have overestimated DarkSide all along. He explained a lot about the way its operations work in an interview on Friday that you can hear here. Shorter excerpts from that conversation follow, edited lightly for length.
 
Massive Fundings
 
CureFit, a five-year-old, Bangalore, India-based fitness startup that offers a range of programs on its platform, is raising up to $75 million in funding from Tata Digital, a subsidiary of Indian conglomerate Tata Sons, the company said earlier today. CureFit has previously raised about $418 million and was last valued at $815 million. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Helix, a six-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based maker of DNA sequencing tests that was originally spun off from Illumina, raised $50 million in Series C funding from earlier investors Warburg Pincus, DFJ Growth, Kleiner Perkins, Mayo Clinic and Temasek. FierceBiotech has more here.
 
Hesai, a six-year-old, Shanghai-based lidar maker, has raised more than $300 million in Series D funding led by GL Ventures, the venture capital arm of Hillhouse Capital; smartphone maker Xiaomi; on-demand services giant Meituan; and CPE, the private equity platform of Citic. TechCrunch has more here.
 
LetsGetChecked, a six-year-old, New York-based virtual health-care startup that promises consumers direct access to a wide range of testing options and clinical services from home, has raised $150 million in new funding led by Casdin Capital, at a post-money valuation of $1 billion. Other investors in the round include CommonFund Capital, Illumina Ventures, Optum Ventures, and professional golfer Rory McIlroy through his investment firm Symphony Ventures. Bloomberg has more here
 
Oda, an 8-year-old, Oslo, Norway-based online grocer that is the country's largest, has raised $271 million in funding in a round that included SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and that values the company at $1.2 billion, says Bloomberg. More here.
 
Trulioo, a 10-year-old, Vancouver-based online identity verification platform, has raised $394 million in funding led by TCV, with participation from earlier backers Citi Ventures and Blumberg Capital. The company is now valued by its investors at $1.75 billion valuation. VentureBeat has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
99minutos, an eight-year-old Mexico City-based last-mile e-commerce delivery platform in Latin America, has closed a $40 million Series B round that was co-led by Prosus Ventures and Kaszek. TechCrunch has more here
 
Briq, 3.5-year-old, Carpinteria, Ca.-based maker of performance management software for the construction industry, has raised $30 million dollars in Series B funding led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from earlier backers Eniac Ventures and Blackhorn Ventures. The company has now raised $43 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Grabango, a five-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based developer of checkout-free tech for large-scale grocery chains and convenience stores, has raised $39 million in Series B funding. Commerce Ventures led the round,  joined by Founders Fund, Unilever Ventures, Honeywell Ventures and WIND Ventures. More here.

Hungryroot, a six-year-old, New York-based grocery delivery startup that delivers food along with recipes and meal-prep directions, has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by the consumer-focused PE firm L Catterton. The company has now raised $75 million altogether. Bloomberg has more here.
 
Iksuda Therapeutics, a seven-year-old, British developer of antibody drug conjugates, has raised $47 million led by Mirae Asset Capital and its subsidiaries, Celltrion and Premier Partners. More here.
 
Mendel, a 5.5-year-old, Bay Area-based startup whose clinical AI platform aims to understand the unstructured, natural language content within medical documents, has raised $18 million in Series A funding led by DCM, with participation from Olive Tree Capital and MTVLP. The company has now raised $20 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
OpenSooq.com, a 13-year-old, Amman, Jordan-based classifieds marketplace, has raised $24 million in funding led by Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund, with participation from FJ Labs and iMENA Group. Wamda has more here.
 
Overhaul, a five-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based maker of real-time supply-chain visibility and risk management software for brands, has raised $35 million in Series B funding led by Macquarie Capital, with participation from Edison Partners and Avanta Ventures. More here.

Poka, a seven-year-old, Quebec City-based connected worker platform for manufacturers, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by North Ventures, with participation from McRock Capital and earlier investors SE Ventures, CDPQ, Robert Bosch Venture Capital and Leclerc. www.poka.io
 
WhereIsMyTransport, a six-year-old, London-based data startup that helps people understand mobility in emerging-market megacities, has raised $14.5 million in extended Series A funding from Naspers Foundry, Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund, and SBI Investment, bringing the total round to $22 million. Earlier backers include Google and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. More here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
Rae Wellness, a two-year-old, Minneapolis, Mn.-based developer of women’s health supplements, has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding led by PowerPlant Ventures, with participation from M13, Able Partners and Victress Capital. Twin Cities Business has more here.
 
Red Sea Farms, a three-year-old, Saudi Arabia-based agtech startup that grows tomatoes in an environment-controlled, enclosed farm that primarily uses saltwater to cool greenhouses and irrigate crops, has raised $10 million in funding led by a group that includes Saudi Aramco’s entrepreneur arm Wa’ed. Reuters has more here.

Trellis, a year-old, San Francisco-based car and home insurance startup, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by QED Investors, with participation from NYCA Partners and General Catalyst. Coverager has more here.

Vault Platform, a 3.5-year-old, London-based reporting platform focused on workplace misconduct, has raised $8.2 million in Series A funding. Gradient Ventures led the round,  joined by Illuminate Financial, Kindred Capital and Angular Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Veri, an 18-month-old, Helsinki, Finland-based maker of glucose sensors that monitor users' blood sugar levels, has raised $4 million in funding from Lifeline Ventures, Accel, and several angel investors. VentureBeat has more here.
 
Ziina, a year-old,  UAE-based peer-to-peer payments startup, raised $7.5 million in seed funding. Avenir Growth and Class 5 Global co-led the round, joined by Wamda Capital, FJ Labs, Graph Ventures, Goodwater Capital and Jabbar Internet. The startup was part of YC's winter 2021 batch. Wamda has more here.
New Funds
 
Susa Ventures, an 8.5-year-old, Bay Area-based seed-stage venture firm, is looking to raise up to $125 million for its fourth seed-stage fund and up to $250 million for its second opportunity fund used to back breakout winners, show new federal filings. The firm closed its previous seed-stage fund with $90 million and raised $50 million for an opportunity fund at the same time, in 2019. The latter was open to all of the firm's founders, who were invited to become limited partners in the vehicle with no fees and no carry. More here.
 
Trucks VC, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based transportation-focused venture firm, has closed its second fund with $52 million in capital commitments and raised and an undisclosed amount for its first growth fund, according to Axios. We talked with cofounder Reilly Brennan for the StrictlyVC Download podcast earlier this yearMore here.
Exits
 
One Medical (which is technically operated by 1Life Healthcare), announced today it agreed to acquire Iora Health, a 10-year-old, Boston-based primary care group focused on Medicare populations, in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $2.1 billion. Iora had raised $349.3 million from investors, according to Crunchbase. The deal, says STAT, brings together "two longtime players in the virtual care space" while adding to One Medical’s "already-growing physical footprint by taking on Iora’s 47 in-person medical offices, now serving about 38,000 Medicare patients." More here.
 
Lightspeed, a 16-year-old, Montreal, Canada-based point-of-sale software company, has acquired two more companies in what is shaping up to be an acquisition spree for the outfit. The company today announced that it would acquire e-commerce platform San Diego-based Ecwid for $500 million, and NuOrder, an L.A.-based B2B ordering platform that services wholesalers, brands and retailers, for $425 million. Lightspeed will pay $175 million in cash and $325 million in shares for Ecwid, and $212.5 million in cash and $212.5 million in shares for NuOrder, the company said. Ecwid looks to have raised $48.5 million altogether, while NuORDER appears to have raised $81.9 million, according to Crunchbase data. TechCrunch has the story here.
Going Public
 
CLEAR, the 11-year-old company best known for helping travelers zip through airport security lines, filed its IPO prospectus today, and indicated that business is picking up as vaccinations increase. CNBC has more here.
 
A special-purpose acquisition company sponsored by Victory Park Capital has agreed to merge with banking app Dave, allowing the four-year-old, L.A.-based financial startup to begin operating as a public company. The combination is expected to value Dave, which was previously provided a $100 million debt facility by Victory Park, at $4 billion, reports the WSJ. More here.
People
 
Jeff Bezos is going to be one of the passengers on his spaceflight company Blue Origin’s first-ever human space launch on July 20, he announced this morning, adding that his brother Mark is joining him. The two will join the winner of an online auction that Blue Origin is hosting, which currently stands at $2.8 million as the highest bid for that seat. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Jerome Guillen, a critical executive at Tesla who was working on the development and eventual production of the Tesla Semi -- and who had led Tesla’s entire automotive business from September 2018 until this March -- has left the company, the automaker said today in an SEC filing. TechCrunch has more here.
(More) Data
 
Consumers reported losing nearly $82 million to crypto scams during the fourth quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021, more than 10 times the amount from the same six-month period a year earlier, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The WSJ has more here.
 
Since the Food and Drug Administration approved the first AI algorithm for medical imaging in 2016, the number of radiologists working in the U.S. has gone up, not down, increasing by about 7% between 2015 and 2019, reports Quartz. In fact, there is now a shortage of radiologists that is predicted to increase over the next decade, it adds. More here. (This is also interesting.)
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SPACs have been grabbing headlines and facing security from regulators with the unprecedented volume of companies going public via SPAC in the past 12 months. But how should SPACs approach risk management and insurance in 2021? And what do late-stage companies need to consider if going public via SPAC vs IPO? Find out in Founder Shield’s SPAC Risk Management Guide. Download your free copy here
Essential Reads
 
FaceTime is coming to Android and Windows via the web.
 
The cost of being an "interchangeable Asian."
Detours
 
Why L.A. County is going to war with peacocks.
 
Cursed volcano or not, we're buying this house sight unseen!
Retail Therapy
 
Gorilla slippers.
 
A cheery (fully restored) '74 Fiat Cinquecento.
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Shareworks by Morgan Stanley. Looking for effective cap table management? Join us for our Startup Equity 101 event on June, 10 at 1:00 p.m. EST to hear from industry leaders on their experiences with fundraising, managing the cap table and building a culture of ownership in your company. Visit the ‘Events’ page in the ‘Resources’ section of Shareworks by Morgan Stanley website to learn more and register.  
 
Shareworks by Morgan Stanley services are provided by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, member SIPC, and its affiliates, all wholly owned subsidiaries of Morgan Stanley. CRC 3591771 05/2021
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