Happy Wednesday! (Though it kind of feels like it should be Thursday, doesn’t it? No? Just us?)
Top News in the A.M.
Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s biggest rival in China, confirmed that it has raised $2 billion in funding — the largest private equity raise in the world and an amount that takes its cash reserves to $3.5 billion, it says. TechCrunch sources say the round values Didi Kuaidi at $15 billion.
Yikes. Microsoft plans to cut as many as 7,800 jobs and write down roughly $7.6 billion on its Nokia phone-handset unit, wiping out nearly all of the value of a business it acquired just 14 months ago, reports Bloomberg.
NYSE trading was halted a bit earlier owing to a technical issue. More here.
Speaking of delays: United Airlines flights are no longer grounded this morning after its computer system malfunctioned, but press reports say to expect heavy delays throughout major airports. About 3,500 flights were affected and delays could reach 235 domestic and 138 international destinations.
Longtime VC Paul Lee is Back — With a Startup Factory
Over the last decade of so, Paul Lee had enjoyed a nice career as a venture capitalist. Last year, an idea began to nag at him, though, and in November, he left his job of several years, as an investor at Lightbank in Chicago, to pursue it with two other former Lightbank colleagues, Ryan Jeffery and Kathryn Saluke, and their friend Arman Ghosh.
The fruit of their labor: nine-month-oldRoniin, a Chicago-based startup that spins off other startups — with a few twists that we haven’t seen before.
Axtria, a six-year-old, Berkeley Heights, N.J.-based big data analytics company, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Helion Ventures, with participation from individual investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Babbel, an eight-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based language learning service, has raised $22 million in funding led by Scottish Equity Partners, with participation from Reed Elsevier Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, and VC Fonds Technology Berlin. More here.
Chakratec, a two-year-old, Lod, Israel-based maker of an energy storage system based on kinetic batteries, has raised $2 million in Series B funding led by ZZRunner, a China-based firm. More here.
Confluent, a 10-month-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based real-time data platform built around Apache Kafka, has raised $24 million in Series B funding led byIndex Ventures, with participation from Benchmark, which had led the company’s $7 million Series A. Fortune has more here.
Core Informatics, a nine-year-old, Branford, Ct.-based maker of data management software for scientists, has raised $17.5 million in Series B funding led by Oak HC/FT, with participation from earlier investors. More here.
GoodWorld, a 1.5-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based “company whose technology enables nonprofits to raise money more easily from their followers on social media networks, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by Nyca Partners. Camp One Ventures, Fenway Summer Ventures and others also joined the round. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.
IrisVR, a year-old, New York City-based startup aiming to create a suite of products that help edit, share and visualize 3D models in virtual reality, has raised $1.6 million in funding led by Indicator Ventures and Valar Ventures. More here.
KnowledgeHound, a year-old, Chicago, Il.-based enterprise market research data-retrieval and visualization platform, has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from numerous angel investors, including Listen Ventures’s Jeff Cantalupo and Mitten Group founder Mark Mitten. More here.
Leesa, a year-old, Virginia Beach, Va.-based online luxury mattress company, has raised $9 million in Series A funding at a post-money valuation of $45 million led by TitleCard Capital. More here.
Mei.com, a China-based flash sales site, has received more than $100 million in fresh funding from Alibaba, reports TechCrunch.
PipelineRx, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based medication management services and platform company focused on clinical telepharmacy, has raised $9.1 million in funding led by Mitsui & Co., with participation from McKesson Ventures and earlier backer AMN Healthcare. More here.
Procept BioRobotics, a six-year-old, Redwood Shores, Ca.-based medical device company whose tool centers on a minimally invasive therapy to remove tissue in the the treatment of lower urinary tract conditions, has raised $42 million in funding led by Novo A/S, with participation from CPMG and others. More here.
Salviol, a six-year-old, London-based anti-fraud and fintech startup, has raised €6.5 million ($7.2 million) in Series A funding led by Orange Growth Capital. More here.
Singapore Post Limited (SingPost), the national postal service provider, has received $206.85 million in fresh funding from Alibaba Holdings, which has increased its stake in the company to 14.5 percent in the process, reports TechCrunch. Alibaba will also invest $67.85 million for a 34 percent stake in SingPost subsidiary Quantium Solutions International, which provides logistics and warehousing solutions to more than 10 countries across Asia Pacific. Forbes has more here.
VideoStitch, a three-year-old, Paris, France-based maker of video editing software, has $2.25 million from Alven Capital. More here.
Wozlla, two-year-old, Beijing, China-based game developer, has raised $2 million investment from Greenwoods Asset Management. More here.
Xiaozhu.com, a Shanghai, China-based home-rental company that competes with Airbnb, has raised $60 million from four private-equity firms: Morningside Venture Capital, Citic Capital Venture Partners, Joy Capital and Magic Stone Alternative. The round values the firm at more than $300 million, it tells the WSJ.
ZeroTurnaround, an eight-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based maker of developer tools for creating software, has raised $5 million in Series B funding led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from Western Technology Investment. Both had backed the company previously. The company has raised $15 million altogether. More here.
Zoomcar, a three-year-old, Bangalore-based self-drive car rental platform, has raised $11 million in fresh funding from Sequoia Capital, Empire Angels, and NGP. The new capital brings its total funding to $22 million. More here.
Investors in Burrill Life Sciences Capital Fund III LP have tapped executives at San Francisco health-care firm Kearny Venture Partners to take on the role of general partner, reports Venture Capital Dispatch. The move comes after they dismantled the fund management team formed under the leadership of G. Steven Burrill. Burill was removed from the fund more than a year ago over unauthorized payments.
Innovation Works, founded by Google China head Kai-Fu Lee, is looking to raise up to $300 million for a new fund, according to an SEC filing first flagged by Venture Capital Dispatch.
Capital One has acquired Oakland, Ca.-based Monsoon, a design studio, development shop, marketing house and strategic consultancy for an undisclosed terms. More here.
GoPro is getting more serious about content, seemingly. It just hired Charlotte Koh, who formerly led Hulu’s original content initiatives, in the newly created role of head of features and series. Variety has the story here.
Bill Veghte, incoming CEO of SurveyMonkey, spoke with Bloomberg Television yesterday about his relationship with former CEO Dave Goldberg, saying Goldberg was going to name him to the company’s board the week that he died: “Yes, I had agreed to join the board and was looking forward to helping him and the rest of the board members build out what is I think a really remarkable opportunity.” Said Veghte of Goldberg: “I remember when he first discovered SurveyMonkey, and he said, Bill, I found this great company that has — it’s a beautiful business that has so much potential in front of it.”
The 22 most important people in Silicon Valley’s enterprise tech scene, per Business Insider.
Visa is looking to add an associate to its corporate development and M&A team. The job is in San Francisco.
U.S. venture capital firms continue to rake in new capital, according to a new report out this morning from Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association. According to its data, VCs raised $10.3 billion for 74 funds during the second quarter — an increase of 10 percent over the first quarter and a 39 percent increase by dollar commitments. More here.
Apple has asked its suppliers to make a record-breaking number of new iPhones by year end. (Meanwhile, it looks like Apple Watch sales are tanking.)
What Uber can learn from Airbnb‘s global expansion.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rejected Intellectual Ventures‘s appeal in its case against Capital One, citing “unpatentable abstract ideas.”
A man crawled onto a Broadway stage to charge his phone.
Get out the popcorn; the San Francisco version of “Million Dollar Listing” kicks off today on Bravo.
Star Wars cookie cutters.
The Hot Tub Hammock. Eat your heart out, Chris Sacca.