Robinhood's revelation, Apple's double agent, and for Tesla customers, frustration grows along with delivery times

August 18, 2021
Top News
The Biden administration took steps today to crack down on rising Covid-19 cases, including a call for a third shot starting this fall for adults who were fully vaccinated with the two-shot regimen.
Robinhood warned investors today that a second-quarter revenue surge might not last.  In its first earnings report as a publicly traded company, the brokerage said revenue more than doubled to $565 million, but that a significant portion of that was fueled by virtual currencies, primarily Dogecoin, a token that originated as a joke.
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Felicis Grows Along with Its Returns, as It Gathers Up $900 Million Across Two New Funds
Fifteen years ago, Aydin Senkut, a former Google exec, was an outsider in venture circles that didn’t take seriously his ambitions to become a top VC. Now, his firm, Felicis Ventures, is announcing $900 million in capital commitments across two new funds — a $600 million early-stage fund and a $300 million opportunities-type fund to back its fastest-growing winners — and its limited partners would have preferred that the firm raise even more.
Yes, a part of that is the current go-go market. Much more, however, ties to Felicis’s performance, which has been strong from nearly its outset and goes a long way in explaining how a firm that initially launched with $4 million from Senkut’s own pocket has, in recent years, been roughly doubling how much it invests with every new fund. (Its seventh and last flagship fund closed with $510 million in March of last year. According to Felicis, across all funds, including losses, it has now produced 6x cash-on-cash returns for its investors.)
Massive Fundings
Airlift, a year-old, Pakistan-based startup that operates a quick commerce service in eight of the country's cities, setting up fulfillment centers in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, for example, has raised $85 million in Series B funding. Harry Stebbings of 20VC and Josh Buckley of Buckley Ventures co-led the financing round, which is by far the largest for a Pakistani startup, says TechCrunch. Other backers in the round include Sam Altman, former president of Y Combinator; Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter and Medium; Steve Pagliuca, co-chairman of Bain Capital; Jeffrey Katzenberg, ex-chief executive of Disney and Quibi; and Taavet Hinrikus, founder and chief executive of TransferWise. The company has now raised $110 million altogether and is valued by $275 million. More here.
Apeel, a nine-year-old, Santa Barbara, Ca.-based maker of a casing for fruits and vegetables that keeps moisture in and oxygen out to preserve them longer, has raised $250 million in Series E funding. Temasek led the round. The company, which has raised $635 million altogether, is now valued at $2 billion by its investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Canada Drives, an 11-year-old, Canada-based online shopping and delivery platform centered around used cars, has raised $79.4 million in Series B funding led by former SoftBank Vision Fund exec Jeff Housenbold’s Honor Ventures, with participation from KAR Global and other strategic investors. The company has now raised $159 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
CloudPay, a 25-year-old, U.K.-based global employee pay platform, has raised $58 million in funding led by The Olayan Group, with participation from Pinnacle Investment Partners and Rho Capital Partners. Pymnts has more here.
Immunitas Therapeutics, a two-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based cell genomics-based therapeutics company, has raised $58 million in Series B funding led by Agent Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.
MobileCoin, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency startup that counts founder Moxie Marlinspike of the encrypted messaging app Signal as its earliest technical advisor, has raised $66 million in Series B funding from a long list of investors. Among them is Alameda Research, Berggruen Holdings, BlockTower Capital, Coinbase Ventures, Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures, Vy Capital and earlier backers General Catalyst and Future Ventures. The company has now raised $107 million altogether and is valued at a little more than $1 billion. We talked with the outfit here.
Postman, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based collaboration platform for API development, has raised $225 million in Series D funding led by Insight Partners, with participation from Coatue, Battery Ventures, BondCRV, and Nexus Venture Partners. The company has now raised $430 million altogether and is valued by its backers at $5.6 billion. TechCrunch has more here.
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
Browzwear, a nine-year-old, Singapore-based company whose software allows fashion brands like Lululemon, Nike and Adidas to create virtual 3D renderings of designs, has raised $35 million in funding led by Radian Capital. Business of Fashion has more here.

Imubit, a five-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based maker of optimization software for refiners and chemical operators, has raised $30 million in funding led by Zeev Ventures, with participation from Insight Partners, Spider Capital, and UpWest. The company has now raised $50 million altogether. More here.
Kairos Aerospace, a seven-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company whose instruments identify oilfield methane leaks and emissions, has raised $26 million in Series C-1 funding. DCVC led the round, joined by OGCI Climate Investments, John Crane, and Energy Innovation Capital. More here.
One, a two-year-old, Northern California-based startup that aims to bring “all-in-one banking” to the middle class, has raised $40 million in Series B funding. Progressive Investment Company (the insurance giant’s investment arm) led the round, joined by Obvious Ventures, Foundation Capital, Core Innovation Capital and others. The outfit has now raised $66 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Rapid Robotics, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based robotic machine operator, has raised $36.7 million in Series B funding co-led by Kleiner Perkins and Tiger Global . Other participants in the round include NEA, Greycroft, Bee Partners, and 468 Capital. The company has now raised $54.2 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

TrustLayer, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based risk management platform, raised $15.1 million in Series A funding. Craft Ventures led the round, joined by Abstract Ventures, Box Group, Propel Venture Partners, NFP Ventures, Sure Ventures, and PruVen Capital. VentureBeat has more here.
Uizard, a four-year-old, Copenhagen, Denmark-based maker of a collaborative design tool for non-designers, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Insight Partners. VentureBeat has more here.
Virtually Human Studio a three-year-old, Sydney, Australia-based startup behind digital horse racing service Zed Run, last month raised $20 million in Series A funding (that we are just now including because we were on vacation when it happened and it's pretty interesting!). As the WSJ describes it, Zed Run "enables users to buy, sell and breed virtual horses and race them in a videogame style setting against other horses. The horses are purchased with digital currency and act as NFTs," or digital collectibles. The round was led by Peter Chernin's TCG, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and Red Beard VenturesMore here.
Smaller Fundings
Beta Hatch, a six-year-old, Seattle-based mealworm farming company, has raised $10 million in funding Today the St. Louis-based firm announced $10 million in funding in a round led by Lewis & Clark AgriFood, with participation from earlier backers Cavallo Ventures and Innova Memphis. TechCrunch has more here.
Blumira, a three-year-old, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based cybersecurity provider, raised $10.3 million in Series A funding. Mercury led the round, joined by Ten Eleven VenturesDuo Security and Zendesk executives Zack Urlocker and Jim Cyb. TechCrunch has more here.
Circles, a two-yea-old, Tel Aviv-based therapy startup that invites users to form online support groups, has raised $8 million in seed funding led by NFX and Flint Capital. Calcalist has more here.

ForeVR Games, a year-old, L.A.-based VR gaming company, has raised $7 million in additional seed funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Other investors in the round include Galaxy Interactive, All Star Capital, and entrepreneurs Mark Pincus and Emmett Shear. More here.
Hashnode, a five-year-old, Dover, Del.-based blogging platform for the software development community, has raised $6.7 million in Series A funding. Salesforce Ventures led the round, joined by Sierra Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, and Accel Partners. More here.
LitPic, a two-year-old, Seattle-based social network for creators, has raised $1.5 million in funding from a Arrington Capital, Tribe Capital, and numerous founders and startup executives, including ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman and BrightRoll founder Tod Sacerdoti. GeekWire has more here.
Parallax, a two-year-old, Edina, Mn.-based startup that makes business analytics software, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Grotech Ventures led the round, joined by Matchstick Ventures and Rally Ventures. More here.
PayEngine, an Los Angeles-based white-label payments platform, rhas aised $1.6 million in seed funding. Mucker Capital, where founder Spartak Buniatyan was previously an entrepreneur-in-residence, led the round. Other participants include BAM Ventures, I2BF Global Ventures, and HIVE Ventures. More here.
TrovaTrip, a four-year-old, Portland, Or.-based platform for planning group trips that are hosted by 'topic experts' who generate income from organizing such outings, has raised $5 million. PSL Ventures led the round, joined by Elevate Capital and Oregon Venture Fund. GeekWire has more here.
TurnoverBnB, a A four-year-old, Honolulu, Hawaii-based online platform that connects Airbnb hosts and cleaning services, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. RET Ventures led the round, joined by Blue Startups. More here.
Webiny, a three-year-old, London-based open-source platform that provides users with developer tools, libraries, ready-made apps and processes specifically created for serverless development, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding to continue developing both pieces. M12 led the round, joined by Samsung NextEpisode 1Cota Capital and other unnamed investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Going Public
Aspiration, an eight-year-old, Marina Del Rey, Ca.-based bank that bills itself as financial business for eco-conscious consumers -- it offers programs to offset the effects of every gallon of gas a customer pays for --  is going public via a special purpose acquisition company in a deal valued at about $2.3 billion, it announced today. The blank-check company into which it is merging is Interprivate III Financial Partners. Fast Company has more here.
Chipmaker GlobalFoundries has filed confidentially with U.S regulators for an IPO in New York that could value the company at around $25 billion, says Reuters, calling the move the "clearest sign yet that GlobalFoundries, which is owned by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co, is not eager to accept a potential tie-up with Intel Corp, which the Wall Street Journal reported last month was in talks to acquire" the company. More here.
Three former Netflix software engineers and two associates were charged with insider trading, the SEC announced today. Those involved made over $3 million by sharing confidential information about the streaming giant’s subscriber growth.
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A look at the long and growing wait for a Tesla.
Essential Reads
Today's Taliban has become expert at wielding the West’s advanced communication technologies.
The battle over the “metaverse”— where people exist in shared virtual spaces through avatars—is heating up.
Apple's double agent.
Robot parkour.
Theater in quarantine.
The search for SF's best burrito. (We stand with Benioff on this important issue.)
Retail Therapy
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