Tencent's scare, Lyft's earnings, and more crypto oversight is coming, says the SEC

August 3, 2021
We have news! Though under less than ideal circumstances, we are *very* excited to tell you that we're hosting a limited number of you on November 11, a Thursday evening, at the beautiful, sky-high offices of the commercial real estate services firm CBRE in the Salesforce Tower in downtown San Francisco. CBRE hosted a StrictlyVC event in 2019, featuring the ever-interesting Sam Altman, and we're incredibly thankful to the outfit for welcoming us back to its space.
 
We are also exceedingly thankful to our exclusive partner in the evening, Eclipse Ventures, a venture firm whose team is very much in demand right now given its collective expertise in industrial manufacturing. (Among its partners is Greg Reichow, whose last gig was as executive leader of global manufacturing, factory/automation engineering, supply chain, and product excellence at Tesla.)
 
We've talked numerous times over the years with Eclipse founder Lior Susan to get a better handle on some of the startups that are modernizing the biggest and oldest industries, and we greatly appreciate the firm's support and involvement in the evening. 
 
As for the line-up, we're thrilled to announce our first guest in the event: Jack Abraham, the founder of the venture firm and startup shop Atomic, whose hits include Hims (now publicly traded) and the residential real estate company Bungalow. Abraham, who sold his first company, Milo, to eBay in 2010, will be flying back from his new home in Miami to talk about Atomic's model, what founders underestimate about distribution, and all that's brewing in Florida.
 
And that's just the beginning. As longtime readers know, we'll have more speaker announcements for you in the coming months.
 
Again, we can't allow in nearly as many guests as we'd like this time around. This is going to very much be a socially distanced affair. All attendees must be vaccinated and, depending on how the next three months shape up, masks may well be on the agenda, too. Either way, for those of you who don't live in the Bay Area and/or would prefer to watch online, we're also making a live-stream of the event available for ticket holders. You can learn more about both types of tickets here (the in-person seats are likely to go fast, just fwiw).
 
We're greatly looking forward to seeing some of you at long last.:)
Top News
 
The SEC will regulate cryptocurrency markets to the maximum extent possible using its existing authority, Chairman Gary Gensler said today, while also calling on Congress to grant the agency more scope and resources to oversee the sector. Calling the asset class rife with “fraud, scams and abuse,” Gensler signaled the SEC is likely to become more active in policing crypto trading and lending platforms, as well as so-called stablecoins. The WSJ has the story here.
 
Shares of Tencent and its rivals fell today after a state-owned Chinese newspaper criticized online gaming as “opium for the mind,” fueling investor concerns that the companies’ games could be swept up into a broader regulatory crackdown. More in the WSJ.
 
Lyft said today it has achieved profitability, at least on the basis of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Sponsored By ...
 
Punk's not dead. Has the NFT bubble burst? Data might say otherwise. CryptoPunks daily volume surged 1,270% in the last week—quite the flex. But digital art is still small potatoes compared to the real life art market, estimated to be worth a gargantuan $6 trillion. What’s more, contemporary art has appreciated at 14% on average per year from 1995 to 2020. This art investing platform has fractionalized $1 million to $30 million artworks so everyone can afford to invest. Skip the waitlist. *See disclosures.
Massive Fundings
 
Coralogix, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based company that aims to help prevent software companies from getting lost in their log data by automatically figuring out their production problems, has raised $55 million in Series C funding. New investor Greenfield Partners led the round, joined by Red Dot Capital Partners, StageOne Ventures, O.G. Tech, Janvest Capital Partners, Maor ventures, and 2B Angels. The company has now raised $96 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Nuvemshop, a 10-year-old, São Paulo–based e-commerce startup similar to Shopify, is raising a new round of funding led by Tiger Global Management that could value the company at $2 billion including the new capital, according to The Information. The Series E round would add to the $90 million the company raised in March, when the company received backing from Accel. More here.
 
Palta, a five-year-old, Cyprus-based "co-founding company" that builds companies from scratch, says it has raised $100 million in Series B funding led by VNV Global, with participation of Target Global and other earlier and new investors. More here.
 
Rapyd, a five-year-old, London-based fintech that provides a range of financial services like payments, mobile wallets, money transfers, card issuing, fraud protection, and more by way of an API for third parties, has raised $300 million in Series E funding at a post-money valuation of $8.75 billion. Target Global is leading this round, joined by Fidelity Ventures, Altimeter Capital, Whale Rock Capital, BlackRock, Dragoneer, and a long list of earlier investors. TechCrunch has more here.
 
TaxBit, a three-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based startup that develops tax software for traders of cryptocurrency, is raising over $100 million at a $1.5 billion valuation in a new funding round, says The Information. Insight Partners is reportedly one of the lead investors, and the new round is expected to more than triple TaxBit’s valuation from its last round, raised just five months ago. More here.
 
T-knife Therapeutics, a three-year-old, Berlin-based, pre-clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing tumor-specific T cell receptor therapies, just raised $110 million in Series B funding. Fidelity Management led the round, joined by LSP, Qatar Investment Authority and Casdin Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Ahana, a year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based startup that offers cloud data lake services, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Third Point Ventures, with participation from GV, Leslie Ventures, and Lux Capital. VentureBeat has more here.
 
Finite State, a four-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based startup providing product and supply chain security for connected devices and critical infrastructure, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Energize Ventures, Schneider Electric Ventures, and Merlin Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Global66, an eight-year-old, Santiago, Chile-based B2B and B2C cross-border payments platform focused on making money transfer easier in underserved corridors of Latin America, has raised $12 million in its Series A led by Quona Capital. Other investors include Magma Partners, Clocktower Technology Ventures (US), and Venrex Investment Management (UK). More in Bloomberg Linea.
 
Onsurity, a one-year old, Bangalore, India-based employee healthcare platform that makes employee benefits available by monthly subscription to small businesses and startups, has raised $16 million in Series A funding. Quona Capital led the round, joined by Nexus Venture Partners, Whiteboard Capital, and Clover Healthcare founder and CEO Vivek Garipalli. More in the Economic Times
 
Voiceflow, a 2.5-year-old, Toronto, Canada-based startup building conversational assistants, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Felicis Ventures, with participation from Craft Ventures, True Ventures, Figma's Dylan Field, and numerous other investors. Forbes has more here.
 
WorkJam, a seven-year-old, Montreal-based maker of software for frontline workers, has raised $35 million in new funding from Silver Lake Waterman. VentureBeat has more here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
Bina, a 1.5-year-old, Berlin-based elementary school platform focused on educating 4- to 12-year-olds in small online class sizes of six students or less, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding led by Japanese billionaire Taizo Son. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Creoate, a year-old, London-based startup that helps independent retailers buy sustainable and unique products from brands and wholesalers on a centralized platform, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Fuel Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Moises, a two-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based music software startup, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding led by Kickstart Fund, with participation from Valutia and Verve Capital, among others. More here
 
Wapi Pay, a two-year-old, Singapore-based B2B payments platform, has raised $2.2 million in pre-seed funding from EchoVC and MSA Capital. More here.
 
ZenLedger, a four-year-old, Seattle-based cryptocurrency tax software and blockchain analytics startup, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Bloccelerate VC, with participation from Radical Ventures, G1 VC, Borderless Capital, 4RC, and a long list of other investors. The Block has more here.
New Funds
 
Moderne Ventures, a six-year-old, Chicago-based early-stage venture firm investing in startups that operate in and around real estate, finance, insurance and home services, has closed its second fund with $200 million in capital commitments. The outfit's new and returning backers include AvalonBay Communities, Camden Property Trust, Greystar, JBG SMITH, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, and Realogy. Led by founder and managing partner Constance Freedman and partner Liza Benson, Moderne Ventures now has $350 million in assets under management. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Early-stage venture capital fund Newtopia VC launched yesterday with $50 million to invest in tech startups based in Latin America. The fund will invest $100,000 in pre-seed startups and then between $250,000 and $1 million in startups at the seed stage to help them achieve the milestones needed on the path to raising a Series A. Reuters has more here.
 
Root Ventures, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based venture firm that has historically invested in “deeply technical founders” in the fields of robotics, machine learning and software for physical industries, is raising $150 million for its third fund, per an SEC filing first flagged by Axios. More here.
Going Public
 
Roivant, a holding company that acquires overlooked drugs and tries to advance their development and which planned to go public itself through a SPAC whose proceeds it would then use to buy back an affiliate that it took public using another SPAC [deep breath], is now unwinding those plans. Bloomberg has more here.
Exits
 
Deel, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that helps companies hire internationally, has acquired six-year-old, Berlin-based software startup Zeitgold. The deal comes just months after Deel raised $156 million in Series C funding. Zeitgold makes software that automates payroll, booking and other business functions. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed, says Axios.
 
Hootsuite, the Vancouver, B.C.-based social media management platform, announced today that it is acquiring Heyday, a conversational AI platform, for about $48 million. Founded in 2017, Montreal-based Heyday had raised about $6.7 million USD to date. Heyday’s 78 employees will join the more than 1,000 who work for Hootsuite. GeekWire has more here.
 
The publicly traded computer chip firm Marvell announced this morning it has reached an agreement to acquire Innovium for $1.1 billion in an all-stock deal. The seven-year-old startup, which makes networking ethernet switches optimized for the cloud, had raised more than $400 million from investors, according to Crunchbase data. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Sanofi, the French drugmaker, will buy its mRNA development partner Translate Bio for $3.2 billion. Sanofi will pay $38 per share in cash, 30% above yesterday's closing price. Bloomberg has more here.
People
 
Ben Fu has joined NewView Capital as a partner. Fu was previously a general partner with NextWorld Capital, which he joined in 2012. More here.
 
Bessemer Venture Partners has promoted two investors on its team to VP roles:  Naama Schlamm and Hansae Catlett. Both are based in San Francisco. More here and here.
 
VC Tripp Jones has fully left August Capital, after more than 10 years with the firm. The firm has been winding down for years. Before joining August, Jones was a senior associate with Spectrum Equity Investors.
Sponsored By ...
 
SaaStr, the world's largest non-vendor B2B software community, is back - in person! Don't miss this year's Annual on Sept 27-29 at the San Mateo County Event Center. The three-day conference will bring together more than 10,000 global SaaS founders, executives, and venture capitalists for a series of high-quality content sessions and networking opportunities. Across five stages more than 300 SaaS leaders will share their hard-earned learnings and actionable insights to help you scale up and grow your company faster. Readers can grab 20% off tickets with code StrictlyVC.  
Data
 
Two states accounted for one in three Covid cases in the U.S. last week: Florida and Texas. NPR has more here.
 
​Americans are willing to take pay cuts to never go to the office again. In Bloomberg.
Essential Reads
 
Advanced Technology Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm with more than $1.8 billion in assets under its management, was hit by a ransomware attack in July that saw cybercriminals steal personal information on the company’s LPs, including phone numbers and Social Security numbers. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Activision Blizzard, the video game maker, said today that the president of its Blizzard Entertainment studio is stepping down immediately as the company grapples with the fallout from allegations of workplace harassment and discrimination. The New York Times has more here.
 
As SPAC creators get rich, how incentives are shared remains murky. (Psst, we're talking with Chamath Palihapitiya about this next month if you're interested in tuning in.)
Detours
 
The best summer songs of this year.
 
What Amazon did to my hair.
 
With God as my witness, I will not pick the restaurant.
Retail Therapy
 
A Texas billionaire's art collection is coming up for auction.
Sponsored By . . .
 
Short social videos have transformed the way businesses market and sell products and services, but businesses are struggling to keep up using traditional linear-editing tools. Capsule, the collaborative video platform that helps automate professional content fast, with no expertise, allowing companies to collaborate with anyone to create high-quality, brand-approved videos. Capsule’s customers include Google, Samsung, Salesforce, Deloitte, and The Wall Street Journal, plus hundreds of small and medium-size businesses. Check out Capsule today!
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