'Chief heat officers,' a steamy French thriller, and tech's top brass head to Washington

August 23, 2021
Top News
 
Apple’s Tim Cook, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Amazon’s Andy Jassy reportedly plan to attend a White House meeting on Wednesday with President Joe Biden to discuss efforts by private companies to improve cybersecurity following a dramatic uptick in ransomware and online attacks over the past year.
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Pilot, a San Francisco-based startup, recently raised $100 million in funding led by Bezos Expeditions, Sequoia Capital, and Whale Rock to help founders get their finances right. Get the financial expertise to grow with Pilot bookkeeping, tax, and CFO services. StrictlyVC readers get 20% off their first 6 months of bookkeeping.
Massive Fundings
 
CADDi, a nearly four-year-old, Tokyo-based B2B ordering and supply platform in the manufacturing and procurement industry that rebalances supply and demand via its automated system, has raised $73 million Series B round co-led by Globis Capital Partners and World Innovation Lab, with participation from earlier investors DCM and Global Brain. Six new investors also have joined the round, including Arena Holdings, DST Global, Minerva Growth Partners, Tybourne Capital Management, JAFCO Group and SBI Investment. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Deepexi, a three-year-old, Beijing, China-based business intelligence company, has raised $100 million led by Guotai Junan Securities and China Industrial International Trust Asset Management. DealStreetAsia has more here.
 
Khatabook, a 2.5-year-old, Bangalore, India-based startup that is helping merchants in India digitize their bookkeeping and accept online payments, has raised $100 million in Series C funding led by Tribe Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures. The company will use the capital to launch financial services, says TechCrunch. More here.

OPay, a three-year-old, Lagos, Nigeria-based digital payment startup founded by the Chinese tech billionaire who once owned Grindr (Yahui Zhou), has raised $400 million at a post-money valuation of $2 billion. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round in what is reportedly its first investment in an Africa-based startup; it was joined by Sequoia Capital China, DragonBall Capital, Redpoint China, Source Code Capital, SoftBank Ventures Asia, and 3W Capital. The company has raised at least $570 million to date, says TechCrunch. More here.
 
Shelf.io, a six-year-old, New York-based maker of software that aims to help customer service agents provide the right answer at the right time, has raised $52.5 million in Series B funding. Tiger Global and Insight Partners led the round. TechCrunch has more here.

Zepz, an 11-year-old, London-based cross-border digital payments company formerly known as WorldRemit, has raised $292 million in fresh funding, including from Farallon Capital and earlier investors Leapfrog, TCV, and Accel The company has now raised at least $700 million, judging by Crunchbase data, and it's now valued at $5 billion by its backers. The Zepz brand was created after WorldRemit bought Africa-focused remittance app Sendwave in a $500 million deal announced last August. Bloomberg has more here.

Zetwerk, a four-year-old, Bangalore, India-based marketplace for manufacturing items, has raised $150 million in Series E funding. D1 Capital Partners led the round, joined by Avenir, IIFL, and earlier backers Greenoaks Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, and Accel Partners. The Economic Times has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Bazaar, a year-old, Karachi, Pakistan-based B2B e-commerce platform and digital ledger product that aim to help the five million micro, small and medium-size business in the country procure inventory, manage their bookkeeping, and access financial services, has raised $30 million in Series A round. The funding, which, for the moment, represents the largest Series A in Pakistan, was led by Silicon Valley-based early stage VC Defy Partners and Singapore-based Wavemaker Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Elixiron Immunotherapeutics, a four-year-old, Taipei, Taiwan-based therapeutics company whose lead asset aims to test the oral inhibitor in patients with Alzheimer's (but also focusing on other disorders, including vitiligo), has raised $27 million in Series A-1 funding co-led by Pangu Capital and Taiwania Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.
 
Pocket FM, a three-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based social audio platform, is in talks to raise up to $25 million in a new funding round led by earlier backer Tencent, says TechCrunch. More here.
 
XREX, a two-year-old, Taipei, Taiwan-based blockchain startup focused on cross-border services, has raised $17 million in pre-Series A funding. CDIB Capital Group led the round, joined by SBI Investment, Global Founders Capital, ThreeD Capital, E.Sun Venture Capital, Systex Corporation, and half a dozen other outfits. The company had previously raised $9 million in seed funding in 2019. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
BoardClic, a three-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based board and executive team evaluation platform, has raised €1.6 million ($1.9 million) in seed funding. Subvenio Invest led the round, joined by Curitas Ventures and Brofund. More here.
 
Givz, a four-year-old, New York-based startup behind an API-powered platform that gives brands a way to convert discounts into donations, has raised $3 million in seed funding. Eniac and Accomplice co-led the round, joined by Supernode Ventures, Claude Wasserstein of Fine Day, Phoenix Club and brand marketer Dylan Whitman. TechCrunch has more here.  
 
Moesif, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that helps B2B companies understand their customer API usage, has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Craft Ventures, with participation from earlier investor Merus Capital. The company has now raised $15.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here
 
Monolith AI, five-year-old, London-based Imperial College London spin-off that says it's building machine learning software that utilizes the latest in machine learning to help engineers to significantly improve the product development process, has raised £8.5 million ($11.7 million) in Series A funding. Insight Partners led the round, joined by Pentech and Touchstone. EU Startups has more here.
 
Odiggo, a nearly two-year-old, Cairo, Egypt- and Dubai-based auto parts marketplace startup, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding. Investors include Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Plug and Play Ventures, Seedra Ventures, LoftyInc Capital, and Volta Trucks CEO Essa Al-Saleh. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Plentywaka, a two-year-old, Lagos and Toronto-based mobility startup, has raised a $1.2 million in seed funding led by The Xchange, with participation from SOSV, Shock Ventures, Techstars Toronto, Argentil Capital Partners and ODBA & Co Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Prospr at Work, a three-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based platform for deskless workforce management, raised $3.2 million in seed funding. The round was led by Bonfire Ventures, with participation from Quiet Capital and ANIMO Ventures. VentureBeat has more here
 
Pry Financials, a months-old, San Francisco-based financial planning platform for small businesses (the idea is for the entire team to use it and not just the people in charge of its accounting spreadsheets), has raised $4.2 million in seed funding. Backers in the round include Global Founders Capital, Pioneer Fund, NOMO VC, Liquid2 and Hyphen Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
 
4F Ventures, a months-old, Newport Beach, Ca.-based seed stage outfit, has raised $8 million for its debut fund, according to founder Ryan Negri. Negri's focus is on "overlooked" founders in e-commerce and fintech and says he's investing up to $250,000 in each startup he's backing. More here.
 
FinTech Collective, a nine-year-old, New York-based venture firm focused on financial services, says it has gathered $200 million in capital commitments for an early-stage fund and $50 million for a DeFi-focused fund. More here.
Exits
 
Less than a year after raising its $6 million seed funding round, Tel Aviv- and Sunnyvale-based startup Build.security is being acquired by Elastic. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Build.security has been focused on security policy management for applications. Elastic is known for its Elastic Stack, which provides Elasticsearch search capability, Logstash log monitoring and Kibana data visualization. TechCrunch has more here.
Going Public
 
Reduced demand for COVID-19 screening have led test maker LumiraDx to dramatically cut back its plans for going public, slashing $2 billion off the value of a planned reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company that was first announced in April and was expected to value the combined company at $5 billion. The company said in a statement that the market environment for publicly traded diagnostic companies has changed, and that it is following feedback from the SPAC’s advisors and shareholders. FierceBiotech has the story here.
 
Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit said it will go public via a $3.2 billion SPAC listing later this year by merging with NextGen Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company run by former Goldman Sachs banker George Mattson and Greg Summe, a former senior executive at the Carlyle Group. According to the WSJ, plane maker Boeing is investing in the deal, via a private investment in public equity, or PIPE. Bransons's space tourism company Virgin Galactic kicked off the SPAC frenzy when the company went public in October 2019 via a blank-check company organized by investor Chamath Palihapitiya. The WSJ has more here.
People
 
Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of New York at the stroke of midnight Tuesday.
 
Female entrepreneurs in life sciences say they are constantly compared to Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of Theranos.
 
Elon Musk says Tesla’s latest beta self-driving software is "actually not great."
 
Scott Rosecrans, a top dealmaker at Amazon Web Services, has left to join the online payments company Stripe as its "head of global strategic pursuits," says his LinkedIn profile. The Information reported earlier today that Rosecrans made the jump to Stripe.
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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. 
Essential Reads
 
The Swedish government has to return about $1.6 million worth of bitcoin to a convicted drug dealer after the value of his illegally earned crypto soared while he sat in prison.
 
Invisible Universe is aiming to build the Pixar of the internet, one TikTok at a time.
 
Following the viral popularity of "NBA Top Shot "earlier this year, Dapper Labs recently signed a deal with LaLiga to create a similar experience for soccer fans, according to the site Sportico. The LaLiga platform is set to launch in June 2022.
 
U.S. sanctions have pummeled Huawei’s smartphone business and Chinese rival Xiaomi is reaping the benefits.
Detours
 
Miami, Athens, and other are hiring 'Chief Heat Officers' to help businesses and residents survive extreme heat.
 
The legal battle at the heart of the fight over reclining airline seats.
 
A "steamy French thriller" is a smash in New York, 50 summers later.
Retail Therapy
 
Face masks for Westie fans. 
 
Plan a visit to the largest astronomy museum in the world.
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