The rise of Cathie Wood, the resignation of Brian Brooks, and Travis Kalanick again takes on Europe

August 6, 2021
 
Friday! Hope you have a terrific weekend, everyone!
 
We're wringing the last moments out of our too-fleeting summer break, so no podcast this week, but we'll be back fully from our vacation on Monday. More then.:)
Top News
 
The SEC today approved Nasdaq’s push to require race and gender disclosures in its listing rules. The move marks the conclusion of a months-long debate at the SEC on whether to approve or reject Nasdaq’s first-of-its-kind proposal that will force companies listed on the Nasdaq to meet certain minimum targets for gender and racial diversity of their boards -- or explain in writing why they have failed to do so. CNBC has more here.
 
China’s antitrust regulator is preparing to impose a roughly $1 billion fine on food-delivery giant Meituan for allegedly abusing its dominant market position to the detriment of merchants and rivals, according to the WSJ. The penalty could be announced in the coming weeks, and Meituan would be required to revamp its operations, says the outlet. More here.
 
That was fast: Binance.US CEO Brian Brooks is stepping down just months into his tenure amid a slew of compliance setbacks and regulatory scrutiny tied to the crypto exchange’s sister company, reports Bloomberg. Brooks announced his resignation in a tweet today, saying he wishes his colleagues success despite “differences over strategic direction.” An acting Comptroller of the Currency for roughly six months during the Trump administration (and a chief legal officer at Coinbase before that), Brooks joined Binance.US in May. More here.
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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
 
Bluecore, an eight-year-old, New York-based startup focused on marketing tech for retailers (to "connect casual shoppers to the products that transform them into lifetime customers"), has raised $125 million in Series E funding valuing it at $1 billion. Georgian Partners led the round, joined by FirstMark, Norwest, and Silver Lake Waterman. More here.
 
V2food, a nearly three-year-old, Sydney, Australia- based plant-based meat company, has raised$63 million in extended Series B funding led by Astanor Ventures. It was back in October of last year that it raised $54.3 million in Series B funding from Goldman Sachs, Temasek, Esenagro, Huaxing Growth Capital, ABC World Asia, Altitude Partners, and Novel Investments. More here.
 
Vera Whole Health, a 13-year-old, Seattle-based start-up that is pioneering a new, subscription-type model for employee healthcare, has raised $50 million in funding from JPMorgan, which will begin offering Vera’s services to its employees during benefits enrollment season this fall. CNBC has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Jupiter, a two-year-old, Mumbai, India-based maker of a digital banking app, has raised $45 million in Series B funding. Nubank, Global Founders Capital, Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners India led the round, joined by Mirae Assets Venture, Addition, Tanglin VC, 3one4 Capital, Greyhound, and Beenext. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Polywork, a year-old, New York-based professional social network (its LinkedIn profile reads, "Oh, the irony of having a page here,"), has raised $13 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, joined by Caffeinated Capital, Goldcrest Capital, Bungalow Capital, 20VC, Elad Gil, Nat Friedman, Anthony Pompliano, and Ari Emanuel. Sifted.eu has more here.
 
Sirona Medical, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based cloud-based radiology operating system that aims to unify existing applications and simplify workflows, has raised $22.5 million in Series A funding led by 8VC. HIT Consultant has more here.
 
Verifiable, a 1.5-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based API platform that automates primary source verifications to streamline healthcare provider credentialing, has raised $17 million in Series A funding led by the Altman brothers (Sam, Jack, Max), with participation from Craft Ventures and a group of individual investors, including Flexport’s Ryan Petersen, Rippling’s Parker Conrad, and Front’s Mathilde Collin, among others. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Voi, a 2.5-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-headquartered micro mobility company known for its e-scooter rentals, has raised $45 million in new fund led by earlier backer The Raine Group, with participation from unnamed new backers and other earlier backers like VNV Global. This round brings Voi’s total funding to $205 million (it raised $160 million back in December led by the Raine Group). TechCrunch has more here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
Comma, a two-year-old, London-based startup that says it enables small and micro businesses to bulk pay bills, salaries, and taxes, saving them time and money in their administration, has raised £4.34 million ($6 million) in seed funding led by Octopus Ventures and Connect Ventures. They were joined by Village Global and numerous individual investors. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Statsig, a seven-month-old, Seattle-based testing platform founded by eight former Facebook colleagues, raised $10.4 million in Series A funding. Sequoia Capital led the round, joined by Madrona Venture Group, among others. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Zeroheight, a six-year-old, London-based startup that says it's providing a central place to document and manage UX components so that design teams can speed up the UX delivery process, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Tribe Capital, with participation from Adobe, Y Combinator, FundersClub and Expa, as well numerous notable individual investors like GitHub cofounder Tom Preston-Werner. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings
 
Raise, a three-year-old, Nairobi, Kenya-based startup that's trying to build a kind of Carta for startups, VCs, and attorneys in Africa, has an undisclosed amount of backing from 500 Startups to scale its technology. TechCrunch has more here
New Funds
 
Boeing said yesterday that it plans to spin off its venture capital arm, HorizonX, to forge a broader external investment fund, in a deal said Reuters to value the unit at several hundred million dollars. Under the deal, AE Industrial Partners, a specialist private equity firm, will add fresh capital to the portfolio born out of Boeing's decision to set up its own venture fund in 2017. More here.
 
Craft Ventures, the Bay Area-based venture firm founded in 2017 by David Sacks and Bill Lee, has raised $612 million for its third flagship fund and $510 million for its first growth fund. More on both here.
 
Energy Capital Ventures, a 1.5-year-old, Chicago-based venture fund purpose-built for driving the transformation of the natural gas distribution industry, has raised $45 million in capital commitments from five publicly traded natural gas utility and multi-line utility companies. The idea is to concentrate on sustainability, reliability and resilience imperatives for the natural gas utility sector. More here.
 
Stage 2 Capital, a Boston based firm formed in 2018 by Jay Po, a former investor at Bessemer Venture Partners, and Mark Roberge, former chief revenue officer at HubSpot, started Stage 2 Capital in 2018, is raising (and deploying) a second fund that's targeting $80 million in capital commitments. Their debut fund, which closed with $15 million, wound up funding 11 companies at the late-seed stage to Series A stage across the U.S. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Trimble, a publicly traded, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based software company, says it has created a venture arm, Trimble Ventures, to invest in in early and growth-stage startups that align with the company's mission of transforming work in the agriculture, construction, geospatial and transportation industries. It has $200 million off the ol' balance sheet to start. More here.
Exits
 
Coinbase, the publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange, says it has started the process of acquiring Zabo, a three-year-old, Dallas-based cryptocurrency startup that provides data integration services with major crypto exchanges and wallets, including Coinbase’s rival Kraken. A spokesperson for Zabo tells Cointelegraph that the firm is not disclosing terms of the deal, but expects to close later this month. More here.
 
A $3.8 billion sale of Swedish automotive tech company Veoneer to Magna International hit a roadblock yesterday after chipmaker Qualcomm submitted a bid for the company for $800 million more. Qualcomm’s $4.6 billion bid, which comes in at $37 per share, has already received approval from the company’s board and would not need a stockholder vote, the chipmaker said in a statement yesterday. Veoneer and Magna had said in July that both companies’ boards approved the acquisition. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Zynga has agreed to acquire StarLark, a Chinese game developer, and the mobile golf title "Golf Rival" from Betta Games for $525 million in cash and stock. Golf Rival is the second-largest mobile golf game behind Playdemic’s Golf Clash, and Electronic Arts is in the process of buying that studio for $1.4 billion, says VentureBeat. More here.
People
 
Eric Anderson has been promoted to partner at Scale Ventures Partners, the enterprise-focused venture firm. Before joining Scale in 2017, Anderson was a product manager at both Google and Amazon. More here.
 
Travis Kalanick is quietly building an expansive dark kitchen network in Europe, too. Sifted has more here.
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
 
Virgin Galactic said today it plans to charge consumers at least $450,000 for a seat on its space flights, setting a new price marker in the nascent space-tourism industry. The WSJ has more here.
Essential Reads
 
President Biden’s major bipartisan infrastructure plan has struck a rare chord of cooperation between Republicans and Democrats, but changes it proposes to cryptocurrency regulation are tripping up the bill.
 
The ascent of Cathie Wood.
Detours
 
The best Olympics photos by New York Times photographers. 
 
The last cigar factory in Tampa.
 
Retail Therapy
 
A Mykonos jewelry store designed to resemble a 1960s swimming pool.
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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