Companies hoard cash, China preps a national privacy law, and that feeling when you've been likened to the Delta variant

August 17, 2021
Top News
 
China’s top legislative body is expected this week to pass a privacy law that resembles the world’s most robust framework for online privacy protections, Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation. But unlike European governments, Beijing is expected to maintain broad access to data under the new Personal Information Protection Law, which will be China's first national privacy law. The WSJ has more here.
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Massive Fundings
 
Apollo GraphQL, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based provider of open source and commercial GraphQL technologies, raised $130 million in Series D funding led by Insight Partners, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Matrix Partners and Trinity Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.

Automattic, the 16-year-old, fully decentralized parent company of WordPress.com and Tumblr, is disclosing now that back in February, it raised $288 million in new primary funding from BlackRock, Wellington Management, Schonfeld, Alta Park and earlier backers Iconiq and Aglaé. It more recently (last week) closed a $250 million secondary share buyback at a $7.5 billion valuation, says founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg. More here.
 
Bitpanda, a seven-year-old, Vienna-based crypto exchange, has raised $263 million in Series C funding at a $4.1 billion valuation. (The company has now raised around $550 million altogether, per Crunchbase data.) Valar Ventures led the round, joined by Alan Howard, REDO Ventures and earlier investors LeadBlock Partners and Jump Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Beckley Psytech, a two-year-old, Oxford, England-based developer of psychedelic treatments for depression, has raised £58 million ($80 million) in Series B funding from Prime Movers Lab, Adage Capital Management, Palo Santo, Delphi VC, Leafy Tunnel, Negev Capital and Bicycle Day. FierceBiotech has more here.
 
Branch, a six-year-old, Minneapolis, Mn.-based startup that says it offers a zero-fee bank account, free instant access to earned wages, and personal finance tools to help workers manage their cash flow between paychecks, has raised $48 million in Series B funding. Addition led the round, joined by Drive Capital, Crosscut Ventures, Bonfire Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, and HR Tech Investments, a subsidiary of Recruit Holdings Co., Ltd., among other investors. The company has also secured $500 million in purchased assets from funds managed by Neuberger Berman. TechCrunch has more here.

Carrot Fertility, a six-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based fertility benefits provider for employers, has raised $75 million in Series C funding led by Tiger Global, with participation from OrbiMed, F-Prime, CRV, U.S. Venture Partners and Silicon Valley Bank. Forbes has more here.
 
Danggeun Market, the six-year-old publisher of South Korea’s hyperlocal community app Karrot, has raised $162 million in  Series D  funding at a post-money valuation of $2.7 billion. DST Global led the round, joined by Aspex Management, Reverent Partners and earlier investors Goodwater Capital, Altos Ventures, SoftBank Ventures Asia, Kakao Ventures, Strong Ventures and Capstone Partners. The company has now raised $205 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Hopper, a 14-year-old, Montreal-based travel booking app, has raised $175 million in Series G funding at post-money valuation of more than $3.5 billion. GPI Capital led the round, joined by Glade Brook Capital, WestCap, Goldman Sachs Growth and Accomplice. The company has now raised nearly $600 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here
 
InfoSum, a five-year-old, New York- and Basingstoke, U.K.-based based data collaboration platform, raised $65 million in Series B funding that came entirely from Chrysalis Investments. The WSJ has more here.
 
Moloco, an eight-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based programmatic ad platform, raised $150 million in Series C funding led by Tiger Global at a $1.5 billion valuation. The company has raised $185 million to date, per Crunchbase data. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Monte Carlo, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based data observability platform, has raised $60 million in Series C funding led by Iconiq, with participation from Salesforce Ventures and earlier backers GGV Capital and Redpoint Ventures. The company has raised $101 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Nuvemshop, a 10-year-old, São Paulo-based company that some say is Latin America’s answer to Shopify, has raised $500 million in new funding co-led by Insight Partners and Tiger Global Management. The financing values Nuvemshop at $3.1 billion and brings its total funding in the last 10 months to more than $620 million. Other investors in the latest round include Sunley House Capital, VMG Partners, Alkeon and Owl Rock, along with existing backers Accel, Kaszek, Kevin Efrusy, Qualcomm Ventures and ThornTree Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
 
PatPat, a seven-year-old, Mountain View, Ca-based e-commerce site that sells baby and matching family outfits, has raised $160 million in Series D2 funding from Softbank Vision Fund 2 roughly one month after closing its Series D round with $510 million in funding, led by DST Global. The cross-border outfit - it has offices in California, as well as in Shenzhen, Hangzhou and other Chinese cities --  also counts Sequoia Capital China, GGV Capital, and Tiger Global among its various investors. DealSteetAsia has more here.
 
Seismic, an 11-year-old, San Diego-based company whose software aims to help salespeople engage more effectively with buyers, has raised $170 million in Series G funding at a $3 billion valuation. Permira led the round, joined by JMI Equity, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Jackson Square Ventures, Ameriprise and T. Rowe Price. Reuters has more here.
 
Split.io, a nearly six-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based feature flag platform, has raised $50 million in Series D funding. Owl Rock led the round, joined by Northgate Capital and earlier investors Accel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Harmony Partners, M12, Atlassian Ventures and ServiceNow. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
ClosedLoop.ai, a four-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based healthcare data science platform, has raised $34 million in Series B funding. Telstra Ventures led the round, joined by Breyer Capital, Greycroft Ventures, .406 Ventures and Healthfirst. HIT Consultant has more here.

Element5, a two-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based intelligent process automation company focused on post-acute care, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Insight Partners led the round, joined by Maxwell Investment Partners. More here.
 
Motion2AI, a three-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based maker of fleet management software for industrial spaces, has raised $12.6 million in Series A funding. Mir Ventures led the round; other participants in the financing include Smilegate Investment, Mirae Asset, IMM, Intervest, Future Play, Shinhan Capital, Nest Company, and Amantani Partners. More here.
 
Pngme, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based financial data infrastructure startup that caters to fintechs and other financial institutions across sub-Saharan Africa, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from earlier and new investors Lateral Capital, EchoVC, Raptor Group, Unshackled Ventures, Future Africa and Two Small Fish Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Regrow, a recently formed, Durham, N.H.-based agricultural software maker that sells monitoring, reporting, and verification tools for carbon sequestration, has just closed its $17 million oversubscribed Series A funding round with new investors Ajax Strategies, Tenacious Ventures and Cargill. AgFunder News has more here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
EnTribe, a four-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based software service that connects advertisers with people already posting on social media about their brand, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding from investors including Michael Marks, the founding managing partner at Celesta Capital. More here.
 
RaRa Delivery, a two-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based last-mile delivery service for e-commerce companies in Southeast Asia, has raised $3.25 million in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge program and East Ventures. Other participants include 500 Startups, Angel Central, GK Plug and Play and angel investors Royston Tay and Yang Bin Kwok. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Starday, a nearly year-old, New York-based healthy and sustainable food products company whose first product is a low-sugar chocolate hazelnut spread that's made without dairy or palm oil, has raised $4 million in seed funding. Equal Ventures and Slow Ventures co-led the round, joined by Haystack, Great Oaks Venture Capital, XFactor Ventures, ABV and a group of angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
 
FirstMile Ventures, an 11-year-old, Colorado Springs, Co.-based seed-stage venture capital firm that invests nationally but primarily in Colorado, says it has closed a second fund with $21 million in committed capital. FirstMile plans to make 30 initial investments between $150,000 and $600,000 into pre-seed and seed-stage technology companies over the next three years. Since an initial close last summer, the new fund has already backed 12 companies. More here.
Exits
 
Politico, the Washington news site, is seeking as much as $1 billion in a potential deal with the German publishing giant Axel Springer, says the New York Times. A $1 billion deal would amount to five times Politico’s yearly sales, says the outlet. More here.
Going Public
 
Small satellite builder and data specialist Spire Global began trading on the New York Stock Exchange today, becoming the latest space company to close a SPAC merger and go public. Its stock slipped 5.2% in trading to close at $9.41 a share. The company is the fourth pure-play space company to go public via a SPAC this year — following AST SpaceMobile, Astra, and Momentus. CNBC has more here.
 
Sportradar Group AG, a St. Gallen, Switzerland-based  sports data provider, has filed for U.S. IPO after merger talks with a special purpose acquisition company collapsed. Expect more of the same, suggests Bloomberg. As it notes: "SPAC transactions have become increasingly difficult to complete as investors have grown more selective about the private investments in public equity, or PIPEs, that are typically part of the deals. . . Investor fatigue has thrown up challenges to the IPO market as a whole, delaying several listings planned for this month." More here.
People
 
Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann is seemingly shrinking his New York residential portfolio, after reportedly snapping up two adjacent properties at Miami Beach’s Bal Harbour Yacht Club marina
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Data
 
Revolut has turned at least 70 employees into millionaires and at least a dozen of them into decamillionaires, says Sifted. More here.
 
SoftBank Group reportedly sold roughly $14 billion worth of listed stocks last quarter, nearly triple the amount in the previous period, as the company increases pace of investment in technology startups. The company probably raised over $6 billion liquidating its holdings in Facebook, Microsoft, Alphabet, Salesforce and Netflix in the three months ended June 30, according to Bloomberg calculations. More here.
Essential Reads
 
Argh. The Taliban have seized U.S. military biometrics devices that could aid in the identification of Afghans who assisted coalition forces, current and former military officials tell The Intercept“I don’t think anyone ever thought about data privacy or what to do in the event the [detection equipment] system fell into the wrong hands,” Welton Chang, CTO for Human Rights First and a former Army intelligence officer, tells the outlet. 
 
Companies are hoarding cash as the Delta variant takes over the globe. While some companies such as Tesla are diversifying into bitcoin, data analytics software company Palantir is betting on gold, buying $50 million in gold bars this month, according to its latest earnings statement. CNBC has more here.
Detours
 
The rise of "virtual idol" influencers in China.
 
 
So you've been cast as the Delta variant.
 
New York beaches to visit before you die.
Retail Therapy
 
A Harley-Davidson for the staunchest Batman fan.
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