LinkedIn gets another chance, Lordstown gets the Hindenburg treatment, and Bob Redford's horse ranch (one of them) is up for grabs

June 14, 2021
Hello! Just a quick fyi that we won't be running columns this week (we're on semi-vacation at the moment). More tomorrow.:)
Top News
 
Investors are clamoring for a bigger piece of Stripe, says the WSJ. Apparently, the payments company recently invited its investors to sell their stakes if they wanted, but while Stripe saw $4 billion in demand, only $1 billion worth of shares traded hands as most backers are hanging on for the ride. Those who snapped up the shares that did come loose include Sequoia Capital, for which Stripe is already among its biggest investments. More here.
 
The Supreme Court today gave LinkedIn another chance to stop a rival company from scraping personal information from users’ public profiles, a practice LinkedIn says should be illegal but one that could have broad ramifications for internet researchers and archivists. TechCrunch has more here.
 
In news that isn't going to help SPACs burnish their reputation: Lordstown Motors said today that CEO Steve Burns and CFO Julio Rodriguez have resigned. The announcement came days after the electric truck maker warned that it had “substantial doubt” about its ability to continue as a going concern in the next year. The resignations come amid an internal investigation of the company’s operations into claims by short-seller Hindenburg Research that Lordstown misled investors. CNBC has more here.
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Massive Fundings
 
Arctic Wolf Networks, a nine-year-old, Eden Prairie, Mn.-based security startup, is reportedly in talks to raise a new round financing at a valuation of more than $4 billion led by Viking Global Investors, which is already an existing investor in the startup. Other (previous) investors in the company include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Unusual Ventures. The company was valued at $1.3 billion last year. Bloomberg has the story here.
 
Immersive Labs, a five-year-old, Bristol, England-based cybersecurity skills platform, has raised $75 million Series C funding round led by Insight Partners, with participation from Menlo Ventures, Citi Ventures and existing investor Goldman Sachs Asset Management. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Kepler Communications, a six-year-old, Toronto-based start-up that is building a satellite internet network for service outside of the Earth, raised $60 million in new funding led by Tribe Capital, which has previously invested in space companies Relativity and Momentus. Addition Capital and Canaan Partners also participated in the round, which brings the company's total funding to $90 million. CNBC has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Hello Alice, a four-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based platform that's connecting small business owners to capital, networks and business services, has raised $21 million in Series B funding led by QED Investors, with participation from Backstage Capital, Green Book Ventures, Harbert Growth Partners and How Women Invest. The Houston Chronicle has more here.
 
Motorway, is five-year-old, London-based used car marketplace, has raised £48 million ($67.7 million) in Series B funding led by Index Ventures, along with new investors BMW i Ventures and Unbound. Earlier investors Latitude and Marchmont Ventures also joined the round. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Phase Four, a six-year-old, El Segundo, Ca.-based company that has developed a plasma propulsion system called Maxwell for use on small satellites, just raised $26 million in Series B funding led by New Science Ventures. The company had raised about $20 million in earlier funding rounds. Space News has more here.
 
The Pill Club, a five-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based startup offering online birth control prescriptions and delivery service, has raised $41.9 million Series B extension round led by Base 10 Partners. Earlier investors also joined the round, including ACME, GV, Shasta Ventures and VMG Partners, participated in the round, along with numerous others. The extension round comes over two years after the company announced its initial Series B investment, a $51 million financing led by VMG. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
Anrock, a 10-month-old, Bay Area-based maker of sales tax software for SaaS businesses, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures (where founder Michelle Valentine worked for two years, ending in 2019). TechCrunch has more here.
 
Dishpatch, a year-old, London-based meal kit startup, has raised £10 million in seed funding co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and LocalGlobe. EU Startups has more here.
 
Framework, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based platform for wellness businesses to set up virtual communities, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by True Ventures, with participation from Uprising, Clay Point Investors and Looking Glass. Crunchbase News has more here.
 
nSure AI, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based fraud protection startup has raised $6.8 million in seed funding led by DisruptiveAI, Phoenix Insurance, Kamet, Moneta Seeds and private investors. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Specto, a two-year-old, Bay Area-based mobile application performance monitoring platform, has rasised $3.25 million in seed funding, with participation from Susa Ventures, Fuel Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, SV Angel, Mike Vernal and Mary Pimenova. Crunchbase News has more here.
New Funds
 
Brightstone Venture Capital, an early-stage investment firm in Minneapolis, is targeting $50 million for its third fund, one that will be used to invest in technology and life science-based companies in Minnesota and across the U.S. The firm has raised an initial $24.5 million for the latest fund, which includes backing from its largest limited partners. The firm raised about $20 million and roughly $30 million, respectively, for its two previous funds. The Star Tribune has more here.
 
Flagship Pioneering, the 21-year-old Cambridge, Ma.-based biotech-focused venture firm that has created a number of now-publicly traded companies, including Moderna, has raised $3.4 billion in capital commitments for its seventh fund. Financial Times has more here.
 
Rev1 Ventures, a 16-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based venture capital fund, has received a $20 million infusion from some of central Ohio's largest companies. The money will be used to create Rev1 Fund II, to provide startup companies with capital and strategic advice. The Columbus Dispatch has more here.
Exits
 
Automattic is expanding its lineup of online writing platforms with its acquisition of Day One, a popular journaling app for Mac and Apple mobile devices. The app has been downloaded more than 15 million times since its March 2011 launch on the Mac and iTunes App Store, offering users a private place to share their thoughts. Deal terms were not disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.
Going Public
 
Atai Life Sciences, a three-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based biotch that's exploring the use of psychedelic treatments for mental health disorders and is backed by billionaire investor Peter Thiel, said on Friday it is looking to raise as much as $214.3 million through a U.S. IPO and targeting a valuation of about $2.3 billion. Reuters has more here.
 
Boxed, an eight-year-old, New York-based bulk-buying site for food and household items, is going public through a merger with the blank-check company Seven Oaks Acquisition at an $887 million equity valuation. The venture-backed company, which has raised around $240 million over the years and declined a $500 million takeover offer in 2018 from Kroger, tells the WSJ it isn't profitable but that its software, advertising and delivery businesses will help it turn a profit within several years. More here.
 
Thrasio, a three-year-old, Walpole, Mass.-based acquirer of Amazon third-party private-label businesses, is reportedly in talks to go public via Churchill Capital V, a blank-check company led by former Citi executive Michael Klein. Bloomberg, which has the scoop, says the company's valuation could be well over $2 billion and even reach more than $10 billion (that's quite a range!). More here.
 
Vertical Aerospace, a five-year-old, Bristol, England-based eVTOL developer, has agreed to go public by merging with the blank-check company Broadstone Acquisition Corp. at an implied valuation of $2.2 billion valuation. Aircraft companies Avolon, Virgin Atlantic, and American Airlines and others have already made investments in Vertical Aerospace, altogether totaling up to $4 billion, says Yahoo Finance. More here.
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People
 
An auction winner paid more than $28 million for an 11-minute ride into space alongside Jeff Bezos, on a reusable rocket launched by his space company, Blue Origin. Nearly 7,600 people from 159 countries registered to bid on the flight aboard the New Shepard — its first with passengers — which is expected to launch on July 20 from West Texas. In addition to the winning bidder, who was not identified, and Bezos, passengers will include Bezos’ brother, Mark Bezos, and a fourth still-unnamed astronaut. The New York Times has more here.
 
Elon Musk tweeted early this morning that he has decided to sell his last remaining house, a Bay Area spot that is currently rented out for events and that "just needs to go to a large family who will live there," adding, "It's a special place."
 
Bloomberg profiles "cerebral, swearyTed Pick, who was promoted to co-president of Morgan Stanley, last month. 
Data
 
The average age of vehicles on U.S. roadways rose to a record 12.1 years last year, as lofty prices and improved quality prompt owners to hold on to their cars longer. Many households aren't foregoing new vehicle purchases, but rather hanging on to that hunk of junk as a third for the family, says the research firm IHS Markit. More here.
 
The CDC just announced a one-year ban on importing dogs from 113 countries over rabies concerns.
Essential Reads
 
According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on new Apple Watch models and health features, spanning display and speed upgrades, an extreme sports edition and body temperature and blood sugar sensors. It's expected to refresh the line this year.
 
Netflix is investing in toys, podcasts, live events and video games (where it may see the biggest potential new business). Bloomberg has more here.
 
Having Bitcoin on the balance sheet is becoming an accounting headache for Tesla and others that often must record impairment charges when its value falls. More here in the WSJ.
Detours
 
The rise of Black homeschooling
 
The big ambition of Lil Dicky.
 
NFT mania hits Hollywood.
 
The best places Americans can travel in Europe right now.
Retail Therapy
 
Robert Redford's 30-acre Utah horse ranch just hit the market for $4.9 million.
Sponsored By ...
 
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