A new round for BlockFi, a new lawsuit for Google, and Americans locked in *lots* of Bitcoin profits last year

June 8, 2021
 
Hello; hope you had a fine Tuesday.:)
Top News
 
The Senate today overwhelmingly passed legislation  that would pour nearly a quarter-trillion dollars over the next five years into scientific research and development to bolster competitiveness against China. The New York Times has more here.
 
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has filed a lawsuit asking a court to declare Google a public utility that should be regulated as such. "Google uses its dominance of internet search to steer Ohioans to Google’s own products – that's discriminatory and anti-competitive," Yost said in a statement. "When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access." The Columbus Dispatch has more here.
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A Men's Brand Called Faculty is Starting with Nail Polish --  and Seed Funding from Estee Lauder
“It’s not a nail polish company.” It's almost the first thing out of the mouth of Fenton Jagdeo of Faculty, the startup he cofounded in 2019 with Umar ElBably. Though their Toronto-based company currently sells just three shades of nail polish along with some nail stickers — that’s it — the products are a wedge to something much larger, says Jagdeo.
 
There will be merchandise, according to the former business management consultant. There will be men’s foundation, and eye shadow, and very possibly hair dye, all of which is focused around a “new wave of masculinity,” Jagdeo explains.
 
These items aren't like to appear in the aisles of Sephora or CVS, suggests Jagdeo. Faculty is instead “going to be very selective about who we have conversations with. We’re imagining the the Essences of the world, the StockXs, the Kiths. That’s where our clientele is.”
 
More, he says that in the same way that the prominent culture publication Hypebeast created a “desire for new product and newness,” Faculty has “mastered the drop model,” meaning that Faculty has and will continue to advertise a limited supply of a product before invariably selling out of that item. (Those three nail polish shades and the sticker set? They’re long gone.)
 
Massive Fundings
 
Airbase, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based spend management platform for small and mid-size businesses, has raised $60 million in Series B funding at a post-money valuation of $600 million valuation. Menlo Ventures led the round, joined by Craft Ventures and earlier backers Bain Capital Ventures, First Round Capital, Quiet Capital, Webb Investment Network and BoxGroup. The company has now raised roughly $90 million, according to Crunchbase data. TechCrunch has more here
 
BlockFi, a four-year-old, New York-based wealth management and trading firm for cryptocurrency holders, is reported raising several hundred million dollars at a valuation near $5 billion just months after raising its last round. According to The Information, New York–based hedge fund Third Point Management, run by activist investor Daniel Loeb, and London-based venture firm Hedosophia are leading the new financing, with participation from existing investors. More here.
 
Nubank, the eight-year-old,  São Paulo, Brazil-based challenger bank, has raised $750 million in extended Series G funding that brings the round total to $1.15 billion. (It raised $400 million back in January.) Berkshire Hathaway led the newest tranche, investing $500 million; the company, which has raised at least $2.3 billion from investors, including from Dragoneer Investment Group, Ribbit Capital, Tencent Holdings, Tiger Global, and Founders Fund, is now being valued by its backers at $30 billion. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Relativity Space, a five-year-old, Long Beach, Ca.-based 3D-printed rocket startup, has raised $650 million in Series E funding led by Fidelity, with participation from BlackRock, Centricus, Coatue, Soroban Capital and earlier backers Baillie Gifford, K5 Global, Tiger Global, Tribe Capital and XN. The company is now reportedly valued at $4.2 billion. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Scalable Capital, a seven-year-old, Munich, Germany-based digital wealth management firm, has raised $180 million in Series E funding  led by Tencent Holdings at a post-money valuation of $1.4 billion valuation. Earlier backers BlackRock, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and Tengelmann Ventures also joined the round, which brings the company's total funding to date to more than $320 million. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Simulate, a three-New York-based nutrition tech startup whose first product, Nuggs, resembles a chicken nugget but is plant-based, has raised $50 million in Series B funding. Seven Seven Six led the round, joined by NOMO Ventures, McCain Foods, Imaginary Ventures, Day One Ventures and Chris and Crystal Sacca. The company has now raised $61 million altogether. Crunchbase News has more here.
 
Verbit, a four-year-old, New York-based AI-based transcription startup, has raised $157 million in Series D funding led by Sapphire Ventures, with participation from Third Point, More Capital, Lion Investment Partners, and ICON fund, as well as earlier investors. The company has now raised more than $250 million, says VentureBeat, and is valued at more than $1 billion. More here
 
Waabi, a new, Toronto-based startup taking what it calls an "AI-first approach" to speeding up the commercial deployment of autonomous long-haul trucks (it was founded by Raquel Urtasun, who was formerly the chief scientist at Uber ATG), has raised $83.5 million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures. Other participants in the large early round include Uber, 8VC, Radical Ventures, OMERS Ventures, BDC, Aurora Innovation, and AI researchers Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li, Pieter Abbeel, Sanja Fidler, among others. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Whatfix, an eight-year-old, Chennai, India- and San Jose, Ca.-based digital adoption platform that helps teach employees to use different enterprise software and applications while using them, has raised $90 million in Series D funding. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round, joined by Eight Roads Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, Dragoneer, F-Prime Capital and Cisco. Times of India has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Liteboxer, a five-year-old, Boston-based Peloton for boxing, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Nimble VenturesB. Riley Venture Capital also participated, joined by earlier backers Raptor Group and Will Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Refyne, a year-old, Bangalore, India-based startup that works with employers to let their workers access their earned wages in real time, has raised $16 million in Series A funding from partners of DST Global and RTP Global. The company previously raised $4.1 million in seed funding from Jigsaw VC, QED Investors, XYZ Capital, all of which also participated in the new round. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Terraformation, a four-year-old, Bay Area-based startup that provide tools, training, financing and business support to scale forest restoration projects, has held a first close on $30 million in Series A funding led by brothers Sam and Max Altman, along with nearly 100 angel investors, including Sahil Lavingia and Joe Lonsdale. Terraformation was founded by Yishan Wong, a former Reddit CEO and former engineer at both Facebook and PayPal. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Smaller Fundings

Airfocus, a four-year-old, Hamburg, Germany-based product management platform, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Xange, with participation from Nauta Capital. Tech.eu has more here.

Certifical, a nearly two-year-old, Jersey City, N.J.-based company that sells certificate of insurance and compliance management software, has raised $5.8 million in Series a funding. IA Capital led the round, joined by Nationwide, Cofounders Capital, Fin VC and Cameron Ventures. More here.
 
Extracker, a five-year-old, Lafayette, Ca.-based construction project management startup that helps track change orders, has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding led by Jackson Square Ventures. Crunchbase News has more here.
 
Liteboxer, a five-year-old, Boston-based Peloton for boxing, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Nimble Ventures. B. Riley Venture Capital also participated, joined by earlier backers Raptor Group and Will Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

YourBase, a three-year-old, Redmond, Wa.-based startup whose software helps developers run tests on their codebase, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Unusual Ventures and Fathom Capital. GeekWire has more here.
New Funds
 
Version One Ventures, founded 14 years ago in Vancouver, has raised $70 million for its fourth early-stage fund and $30 million for its second opportunities fund. TechCrunch has more here.
Exits
 
Private equity firms Bain Capital and Crosspoint Capital will acquire the 13-year-old cybersecurity startup ExtraHop for $900 million, the outfits announced today. It’s one of the largest acquisitions of a Seattle-area tech startup to date and comes amid heightened cybersecurity concerns across industries. ExtraHop had raised $61.6 million in funding over the years, says GeekWire. More here.
Going Public
 
The Israeli work operating system Monday.com, a nine-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that sells to enterprises a kind of work operating system, is aiming for a valuation of more than $6 billion in its U.S. IPO, according to new regulatory filing. Backed by Sapphire Ventures and Hamilton Lane, the company revealed plans to sell 3.7 million shares for $125 to $140 apiece, raising up to about $518 million. Monday.com was valued at $2.7 billion after its last funding round, Bloomberg News reported in May last year. Calcalist has more here.
People
 
Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing, according to cache of IRS information obtained by ProPublica. More here.
Data
 
Americans pocketed $4 billion in Bitcoin profits last year, according to the outfit Chainalysis. Bloomberg has more here.
Sponsored By ...
 
SPACs have been grabbing headlines and facing scrutiny 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
 
According to The Information, some of the companies in China that supply Apple with parts for its devices are willing to use workers from the predominantly Muslim group known as Uyghurs, as part of government-sponsored labor programs widely criticized as coercive. But Uyghurs and other marginalized Chinese minorities need not apply for jobs on the open market to many of those same suppliers. (Enjoy your Apple products!)
 
Mark Zuckerberg wants Instagram and Facebook to be “the best platform” for creators to make money, he said today unveiling new monetization tools and programs — including a way for Instagram influencers to earn commissions from online sales they facilitate. Variety has more here.
 
Farewell, Millennial Lifestyle Subsidy😢
Detours
 
Scrutinizing Rafa's third shot.
 
Working it out with Bill Hader.
Retail Therapy
 
A Swatch collab that's out of this world.
 
A "Sky Mansion" in Miami. (It just sold for $30 million but you can still look.)
Sponsored By ...
 
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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