Good Tuesday morning, everyone, it is Apple time! The company’s big launch event kicks off at 10 a.m., and it will be streaming live video right here.
Also, if you missed our interview yesterday with globetrotting investor Nazar Yasin of Rise Capital (and formerly of Tiger Global), here’s the link.
Top News in the A.M.
Apple, Apple and more Apple. There’s even a newly published piece on the structure of the Apple keynote.
A Billionaire Brawl in Silicon Valley
It’s no secret that Uber and Lyft don’t like each other much. In just one recent kerfuffle, Lyft told CNN that over a recent 10-month period, Uber employees had requested, then canceled, more than 5,000 rides from Lyft drivers. Uber quickly punched back, claiming that Lyft’s employees had canceled more than twice as many trips on Uber.
Investors in the rival ride-sharing services have mostly stayed above the fray through such public scuffles. But now, they’re starting to sling mud, too.
The trouble started yesterday morning, when at a TechCrunch conferencein San Francisco, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington interviewed Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in what appeared to be an effort to publicly rehabilitate Kalanick, who the press has begun to portray as something of a bully.
Arrington asked, for example, if it wasn’t true that Lyft is a copycat, partly because Uber and Lyft announced carpool options within a day of each other in early August. Kalanick, who typically seizes opportunities to trash competitors, humbly offered: “Here’s maybe a little bit of a hat tip: I don’t think Lyft copied this particular feature; companies are often working on similar things.” (According to New York magazine, Lyft began work on its program in April, but “before the Lyft news had landed,” Uber published a blog post announcing a “virtually identical service.”)
Arrington also uniformly dismissed Uber’s competitors as “ankle biters” and called Lyft “annoying because you have to sit in the front and talk, and they have those mustaches.” Said Arrington to Kalanick: “They seem to be constantly whining that [Uber is] beating them. Would you consider buying Lyft to shut them up?” (The audience laughed as Kalanick told him that Uber isn’t acquiring companies right now.)
Initially, the interview seemed a coup for Uber. Noting Kalanick’s gentler demeanor — Kalanick repeatedly called himself “scrappy” and misunderstood — TechCrunch reported that if “Uber can buck its perception as a ruthless, greedy company trying to put cabbies out of work and instead show the softer side of on-demand services, it could succeed far beyond taxis.” Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle reported onKalanick’s “pains to exhibit his kinder, gentler side” during the on-stage interview.
But the cozy interview almost immediately drew criticism on Twitter, with comments from people like Wall Street Journal reporter Doug MacMillan and Founders Fund partner Geoff Lewis, both of whom noted that Arrington is an investor in Uber through his investment firm CrunchFund, an affiliation that was never raised during his interview with Kalanick. Lewis, whose firm has invested in Lyft, was particularly pointed in his tweets, calling Arrington’s interview “shameful,” given its absence of any relevant disclosures.
Things only grew more heated several hours later, when during an on-stage interview with TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis, Peter Thiel of Founders Fund described Uber as “without question, the most ethically challenged company in Silicon Valley.”
(As Twitter lit up over Thiel’s remark, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, whose firm also owns a stake in Lyft, joyfully jumped into the fray,tweeting: “A big thank you to @arrington for all the unsolicited free publicity for Lyft this morning at Disrupt!” He also published a discount code for Lyft — DISRUPT — and in Andreessen fashion, punctuated his tweet with a disarming smiley face.)
Arrington seemingly tried to stifle the conversation by tweeting to Lewis, “Let’s just cut to the ‘and the horse your rode in on’ and go our separate ways, you worthless d__k.” Perhaps realizing the tweet would only garner more attention, Arrington then tweeted that Thiel is an investor in Uber through Arrington’s fund, CrunchFund, and that Arrington is himself an investor in Lyft through Andreessen Horowitz, where he is a limited partner.
By then, though, Valleywag had caught the flavor of the story, calling out Arrington and Thiel for fighting over Uber “like boys with toys.” And Arrington’s efforts to help alter Kalanick’s public reputation as a brawler were largely forgotten.
Be-Bound, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose technology makes it possible to access and to stay connected to the Internet on any existing network, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. Backers include the Global Corporate Investment Holding and Gonzague de Blignières, a former chairman of Barclays Private Equity France.
Blinq Networks, a four-year-old, Ottawa, Ontario-based company that’s developing wireless backhaul products that help wireless carriers address the growth in demand for capacity, has raised $15.1 million in Series B funding led by WIN Fund. Kensington Global Private Equity Fund also participated in the round, alongside earlier investors BDC Capital, New Venture Partners and Summerhill Venture Partners. The company has raised $32.5 million altogether.
Conservis, a five-year-old, Minneapolis, Mn.-based maker of compliance, tracking, traceability and performance management software for farmers, has raised $10 million in new funding from Chicago-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures and prior investors Middleland Capital and Heartland Farms.
Delhivery, a three-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based e-commerce logistics firm, has raised $35 million in Series C funding led by the private equity firm Multiples Alternate Asset Management, reports VCCircle. Earlier investors Nexus Venture Partners and Times Internet also participated in the round. The company had previously raised $5 million in Series B funding and an undisclosed amount of Series A funding.
Edge Therapeutics, a five-year-old, Berkeley Heights, N.J.-based clinical-stage biotechnology company that develops therapies to treat acute, life-threatening neurological conditions, has raised $10 million in venture debt financing from Hercules Technology Growth Capital. The company has previously at least $18 million in equity, shows Crunchbase, including from Maxim Group.
GlassPoint Solar, a six-year-old, Fremont, Ca.-based maker of solar steam generators for the oil and gas industry, has raised $53 million in new funding led by Oman’s largest sovereign wealth fund and Royal Dutch Shell, with earlier investors RockPort Capital, Nth Power and Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital also participating. Bloomberg has more here. The company has raised at least $86.7 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
GlobalTranz, a 11-year-old, Phoenix-based logistics management firm that specializes in carrier, supply chain and warehouse management, has raised $40 million in Series C funding from Providence Equity Partners and Susquehanna Capital. The company has raised at least $50 million altogether, including from Volition Capital.
Good Eggs, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based organic food delivery service, has raised $21 million in Series B funding led by Index Ventures. Other company backers include earlier backers Sequoia Capital, Correlation Ventures, Baseline Ventures, Kapor Capital, Harrison Metal Capital and The Westly Group. The company has raised at least $31.5 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
Jawbone, the 15-year-old, San Francisco-based consumer electronics company, is in the midst of completing a $100 million piece of funding, part of a $250 million round that it had said it was raising this year, reports Recode. New investors include Rizvi Traverse Management; earlier investors expected to participate in the round include Andreessen Horowitz, J.P. Morgan, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Khosla Ventures and Sequoia Capital.
Parkmobile, a six-year-old, Atlanta-based mobile payment technology company that lets motorists pay for parking through a mobile app, as well as creates digital parking permits, has raised a “substantial” amount of funding from the BMW Group, says the company. Parkmobile had earlier raised at least $6.3 million in funding from Bluefield Investments, BCD Holdings, and Fontinalis Partners, shows Crunchbase.
Property Partner, a months-old, London-based company that combines residential real estate crowdfunding with a secondary exchange to enable investors to trade their holdings, has raised a £1.25m seed round ($2 million) led by Octopus Investments, with participation from the European accelerator Seedcamp; Betfair co-founder Ed Wray; Better Capital founder Jon Moulton; BskyB CFO Andrew Griffith, among others.
Skyword, a four-year-old, Boston content product platform that helps brands produce online content, has raised $11 million in new funding from earlier investor Cox Media Group. Skyword has raised about $25.5 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.
Talklocal, a two-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based startup that helps consumers connect quickly with up to three local service providers over the phone, has raised $2.6 million in Series A funding led by Crystal Tech Fund, Privateer Capital, Fortify VC, and Launch Angels’ Where Fund. Other participants in the round include K Street Capital and Bazaarvoice founder Brett Hurt. Talklocal was previously called Seva Call. Tech Cocktail DC has more here.
Tryton Medical, an 11-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based developer of stents designed to treat coronary bifurcation lesions, has raised $20 million in new funding from Canepa Advanced Healthcare Fund and earlier investors RiverVest Venture Partners and 3×5 Special Opportunity Fund. The company has raised at least $86.3 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
CDH Venture, an arm of one of China’s biggest asset managers, CDH Investments, has recently closed a third venture capital fund with just more than $100 million in commitments, reports Venture Capital Dispatch, which notes that the fund had originally targeted $150 million. Its predecessor was far larger, at $500 million. Venture Wire attributes “muted fundraising” to the departure of general partner Hui Wang, who left to launch his own firm, HighLight Capital. Highlight recently closed its debut fund with roughly $300 million.
Fenox Venture Capital, a three-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based outfit that invests across stages and facilitates partnerships between the startups it backs and multinational corporations, has launched a $20 million fund in partnership with Infocom Group, one of Japan’s largest information technology providers, reports FinSMEs. Fenox Infocom Venture Fund V, which will be managed by Fenox, will make investments in North American and Southeast Asian startups, with an emphasis on wearable technologies, healthcare, and other consumer Internet opportunities.
Innova Memphis, a seven-year-old, Memphis, Tn.-based early-stage firm that primarily backs early-stage, Tennessee-based companies that focus on health care or biotechnology to develop or improve new farming or food technologies, has raised $20 million for its third fund, says the firm. The Memphis Business Journal has more here.
LeapFrog Investments, a 7.5-year-old, London-based investment firm that focuses on socially responsible investments in Asia and Africa, has raised $400 million for its second fund. Among the firm’s investments is Bima, a 3.5-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based company providing mobile-delivered insurance to emerging markets. Reuters has much morehere.
OrbiMed Advisors, the 25-year-old, New York-based investment firm, has raised a new, $325 million fund to back health care companies in Asian nations, where “rising affluence is fueling increased demand for medical products and services,” reports VentureWire. OribMed’s debut Asia fund closed in 2008 with $182 million, says the report.
Peak Ventures, a Provo, Ut.-based seed-stage fund that focuses on startup in Utah and the Mountain West, has closed on a $23 million venture capital fund, the firm announced yesterday. The firm, which writes initial checks of between $100,000 to $1 million, has already already backed seven startups, including Owlet, a maker of a “smart sock” that tracks babies’ movements and measures their vitals. Peak Ventures is a subsidiary of Peak Capital Partners, which owns and manages 70 student apartment communities in 15 states.
It’s official. Ebates Shopping.com has been acquired by Rakuten, the owner of Japan’s largest online mall, for $1 billion, roughly the same amount that Rakuten paid for the mobile messaging company Viber earlier this year. TechCrunch has more here.
Hong Kong billionaire Gerald Chan has given Harvard $350 million, its biggest single donation ever, reports the Harvard Gazette. The money is being donated by the Morningside Foundation, run by Chan and his brother, Ronnie. Their family operates several businesses, including Chinese real estate giant Hang Lung Group and the Morningside Group, a private equity and venture capital firm.
Nest Labs cofounder Tony Fadell is on the mend with an injured hamstring after it became detached from his hip bone during a water skiing accident. “I could hear it and feel it go pop,” he told Fortune in a call last week.
Lou Forster has joined the new, San Francisco-based financial services venture firm Green Visor Capital as a general partner. Forster was most recently a senior managing director of Cerberus Capital Management, where he built and led Cerberus’s Japan office and was the senior ranking executive in Asia.
Mark MacGann, the former head of government affairs and public advocacy for NYSE Euronext in Brussels, has joined Uber as a senior financial and public policy lobbyist in Europe, reports the WSJ. MacGann, a 20-year lobbying veteran, has been appointed head of public policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Graham Pingree has joined the San Francisco-based Cendana Capital, which invests in seed-stage venture firms, as a principal. Pingree was most recently a manager at Project Frog, which develops component buildings that assemble easily onsite. He has also worked as an associate at both Cambridge Associates and Horsley Bridge Partners.
Tinder and parent company IAC have settled a major sexual harassment lawsuit with cofounder Whitney Wolfe, reports Buzzfeed. The suit was “resolved (without admission of wrongdoing),” John Mullan, an attorney representing Wolfe, said in an email to BuzzFeed News. Wolfe’s complaint, filed in late June, alleged that Tinder co-founder and CEO Sean Rad and co-founder Justin Mateen subjected her to “horrendously sexist, racist, and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails, and text messages,” before ultimately firing her. Mateen is no longer with the company.
Hewlett-Packard is hiring a corporate development associate in Palo Alto, Ca.
India’s most active tech venture firms, according to CB Insights.
TechCrunch Disrupt rolls into day two. Here‘s the agenda.
Things aren’t looking so great for Amazon’s Fire phone, reports the New York Times. Among other things, it cut its price from $200 to 99 cents yesterday.
Bike lanes have actually sped up car traffic in New York City.
It’s bad for business. Your children will grow up looking like mountain people who’ve never seen the sun. But 4,000 hours of HD recordings is compelling.