A big win for Apple, a newly banned viral challenge, and how to plan a "pop-up" wedding

August 26, 2021
 
Thursday! Hope you enjoyed yours . . .
Top News
Apple today announced changes to its App Store regulations that will allow software developers to tell customers how to pay for services outside of Apple’s ecosystem, part of a proposed $100 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit. The shift will make it easier for some apps to steer customers toward other forms of payment, rather than using the App Store, where Apple charges a commission of up to 30%. The "settlement appears to be a small price to pay for the world’s richest company to avoid another extended legal fight that could have posed major risks to its business by targeting the iPhone App Store," observes the New York Times (and many industry observers agree).
 
The world’s largest contract chip maker is raising prices by as much as 20%, according to the WSJ, a move that could result in consumers paying more for electronics. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. reportedly plans to increase the prices of its most advanced chips by roughly 10%, while less advanced chips used by customers like auto makers will cost about 20% more. 
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Massive Fundings
 
Atheneum, a 10-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based outfit that provides a platform for companies to conduct and analyze research sourced through virtual interviews and surveys, has raised $150 million. Guidepost Growth Equity led the round, joined by Crossatlantic Capital, Michael Brehm and Vogel Communications. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Aumni, a 3.5-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based investment analytics platform for private markets, has raised $50 million in Series B funding. JPMorgan led the round, joined by Pelion Venture Partners, WndrCo, Citadel Securities, Invesco Private Capital, Vanderbilt University, Kera Capital and earlier investors SVB Financial, DLA Piper, Next Frontier Capital, Kickstart Fund, First Trust Capital Partners and Mercato Partners. The WSJ has more here.
 
Cardior Pharmaceuticals, a five-year-old, Hanover, Germany-based biotech that's focused on cardiac diseases, has raised €64 million ($76 million) in Series B funding led by Inkef Capital, with participation from Fund+, Sunstone, Hadean Ventures, and Coparion.

DealerPolicy, a six-year-old, Colchester, Vt.-based digital insurance marketplace for auto retail, has raised $110 million in Series C funding. Goldman Sachs Asset Management led the round, joined by 3L Capital and Hudson Structured Capital Management. Bloomberg has more here.
 
Leapwork, a six-year-old, Copenhagen-based  automation platform that leverages robotic process automation to build, maintain, and scale workflows, has raised $62 million. KKR and Salesforce Ventures co-led the round, joined by DN Capital and Headline. VentureBeat has more here.
 
Neurogastrx, a four-year-old, Woburn, Ma.-based biotech that has developed a  late-stage acid reflux drug and another mid-stage gastrointestinal treatment, just raised $60 million in Series B funding. Vivo Capital led the round, joined by Samsara, Marshall Wace, RTW and earlier backers 5AM Ventures, venBio and OrbiMed Advisors. FierceBiotech has more here.
 
Picsart, a decade-old, San Francisco-based popular design and editing app, has raised $130 million in Series C funding led by Softbank Vision Fund 2. Other participants in the round include a mix of new and earlier backers, including GSquared, Tribe Capital, Sequoia Capital, DCM, Graph, and Siguler Guff. Forbes says the deal values the company at more than $1 billion. It looks from Crunchbase data like the company has raised roughly $200 million altogether.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Elopage, a 6.5-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based payment SaaS payment tool made for entrepreneurs to set up and manage their digital products, online courses, memberships, and tickets, has raised €32 million co-led by Target Global, Partech Ventures and Avid VenturesMore here.
 
involve.ai, a year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based customer analysis platform, has raised $16 million in Series A funding. Sapphire Ventures led the round, joined by Bonfire Ventures, Greycroft, Launch Capital, BDMI, GTMfund, Fenwick, operator-investor Gokul Rajaram, Stanford University, and Michael Whitmire. More here.
 
MaxAB, a three-year-old, Cairo, Egypt-based B2B e-commerce platform that connects food and grocery retailers to suppliers, has raised $15 million in extended Series A funding one month after closing the round with $40 million. The capital comes from earlier investors RMBV, IFC, Flourish Ventures, Crystal Stream Capital, Rise Capital, Endeavour Catalyst, Beco Capital, and 4DX Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Oomnitza, a nine-year-old,. San Francisco-based company whose software helps enterprises manage their other software, raised $20 million. C5 Capital led the round, joined by Aspenwood Ventures (formerly known as Hummer Winblad), Gula Tech Adventures, Riverside Acceleration Capital, and earlier backer Shasta Ventures. More here.
 
#Paid, a nearly eight-year-old, Toronto-based creator marketing platform that connects brands with content creators, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Sands Capital led the round with a $9 million investment. Ascential (which own Cannes Lions), Vanedge, and BDC Capital also participated, along with numerous creators and celebrities. Betakit has more here.
 
Recuro Health, a months-old, Richardson, Tex.-based digital holistic health platform, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Arch Venture Partners led the round, joined by earlier backers OLSF Ventures, Cortado Ventures, 1843 Capital and Sage Venture Partners. More here.
 
Smaller Fundings

BreachQuest, a months-old, Dallas, Tex.-based startup that says it's building a modern incident response platform, has raised $4.4 million in seed funding, including from Slow Ventures, Lookout founder Kevin Mahaffey, and Tinder co-founders Sean Rad and Justin Mateen. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Compa, a year-old, L.A.-based offer management platform that enables recruiters to create intelligent offers, has raised $3.9 million in seed funding led by Base10 Partners. The round includes participation from Crosscut Ventures and Acadian Ventures, and numerous individual investors. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Fig, a year-old, San Francisco-based startup that adds visual apps, shortcuts, and autocomplete to "supercharge" the command line terminal that developers use ever day, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding. General Catalyst led the round, joined by YC and SV Angel. TechCrunch has more here.

Forward Kitchens, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based restaurant tech startup that invites restaurants to create different digital storefronts that they can still service from their physical space, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Investors include Y Combinator, Floodgate, Slow Ventures, and SV Angel. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Intellect, a two-year-old, Singapore-based startup that wants to make mental health care more accessible in Asia, has raised $2.2 million in pre-Series A funding led by returning investor Insignia Venture Partners, with participation from Y Combinator, XA Network and angel investors. According to TechCrunch, the startup is taking part in Y Combinator’s current batch, which will hold its demo day at the end of this month. More here.
 
PawaPay, a year-old, London-based, Africa-focused mobile payments startup, has raised $9 million in seed funding. MSA and 88mph co-led the round, joined by Vunani Capital, Kepple Ventures and Zagadat Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Sugar, a 1.5-year-old, L.A.-based startup that aims to turn apartment buildings into “interactive communities,” has closed on $2.5 million in seed funding. The slew of investors participating in the financing include MetaProp, Agya Ventures, Concrete Rose, Debut Capital, and The Community Fund, among others. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
 
Supermoon Capital, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based sleep-focused venture firm, raised $36 million for its debut fund, it tells Forbes. More here.
Exits
 
Billionaire Xiaomi co-founder Lei Jun and Joyy Chairman David Li plan to take Joyy private in a deal that could value the live-streaming giant at up to $8 billion, Reuters reported earlier today. Joyy’s shares surged more than 15% in pre-market trading in New York on the news. More here.
 
Axel Springer will acquire Politico, the politics news site, for more than $1 billion, says the New York Times. Springer will take control of Politico and its sister site, Politico Europe, as well as Politico’s tech news site, Protocol, a relatively new venture, the companies said. More here.
 
Global investment firm KKR has plans to acquire Ritchies Transport, a New Zealand bus and coach company with an 86-year heritage. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but sources familiar with the circumstances say the deal values Ritchies at over $347 million ($500 million NZD). New Zealand is still largely an ICE-fueled nation, but the country has plans to electrify and KKR says it sees a "highly visible opportunity to encourage the adoption of zero-emissions technology” as New Zealand continues to see “demand for high quality, greener public transport solutions.” TechCrunch has more here.
 
Roofstock, a venture-backed home that makes it easier to buy a home as an investment property, just acquired Great Jones, a property management platform, for undisclosed terms. Founded in 2017, Great Jones had raised $30 million in total equity funding, including from Crosslink Capital, AlleyCorp, Jason Finger, Juxtapose, Kevin Ryan, Dave Eisenberg, David Rosenblatt, and Lerner Enterprises. More here.
Going Public
 
Forbes Global Media, the business information brand that started with a 104-year-old magazine, is going public by merging with a SPAC — or special purpose acquisition company — in a deal that values the company at $630 million. Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media acquired a 95% stake in Forbes in 2014. The Forbes family owns the rest. Deadline has more here.
 
Getaround, a 11-year-old, San Francisco-based car-sharing startup that has raised more than $800 million in previous fundraising rounds from investors, including SoftBank and Menlo Ventures, is in talks to go public via merger with Altitude Acquisition, says Reuters. More here.
 
Chinese fruit tea chain ChaBaiDao is considering a Hong Kong IPO that could raise about $500 million, says Bloomberg. The Chengdu-based beverage retailer has reportedly asked investment banks for proposals on the potential listing. Bloomberg notes that several Chinese tea chains are considering listing in Hong Kong after the successful market debut of bubble tea chain Nayuki Holdings, which raised $656 million in June. More here.
 
Brazil's Nubank is seeking a valuation in its planned U.S. IPO that would push the eight-year-old fintech past the $55.4 billion value of the country's top traditional lender, says Reuters. More here.
People
 
Burak Cendek has been promoted to partner at Autotech Ventures. Cendek joined the Menlo Park, Ca.-based firm in 2019 as a principal; previously he was a partner with Revo Capital. More here.
 
Shahed Khan, a cofounder of the work-focused video messaging company Loom, has joined Hyper as a cofounder and general partner. Hyper is a $60 million seed-stage fund that TechCrunch wrote about last month.
 
Mike Matteo just joined Oak HC/FT as a healthcare-focused venture partner. He’s the former president of a nine-year-old, privately held healthcare company called Grand Rounds Health. More here.
 
Yale University has named Matt Mendelsohn as the next chief investment officer of its endowment, following the death in May of his legendary boss, David Swensen. Mendelsohn joined the Yale Investments Office in 2007 and went on to run its venture capital investments. The WSJ has more here.
 
Nextdoor cofounder Nirav Tolia will be one of four new "guest sharks" when ABC's "Shark Tank" returns for its 13th season in October. Deadline has more here.
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Data
 
Ten thousand women die in car crashes each year because of bad design.
 
Apple Watch's user base has passed the 100 million mark.
Essential Reads
 
Apple was the most secretive company in tech. Then it developed a Slack habit.
Detours
 
How to plan a surprise wedding.
 
TikTok just banned the "milk crate challenge," the newest of a long string of viral challenges to gain traction on the platform. "It's perhaps even worse than falling from a ladder," according to one orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine.
Retail Therapy
 
Mission-driven puzzles worth framing.
 
An office pod with (smart!) privacy glass.
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