Hi, everyone, it is March! Hope it’s off to a good start.:)
We haven’t boiled the ocean for you today (too busy; running out the door), but we do think you hope you’ll enjoy today’s central story. We learned a lot during the featured interview.
Top News in the A.M.
Yikes. Facebook’s vice president for Latin America was arrested on his way to work in São Paulo, Brazil. The reason: Facebook disobeyed a court order to help investigators in a drug case that involves a WhatsApp user. Much more here.
The Fascinating Rise of Wish
Last week, toward the end of a StrictlyVC event in San Francisco, GGV Capital managing director Hans Tung took the stage to interview one of his portfolio CEOs, Peter Szulczewski of Wish. With an increasingly boisterous crowd as their background, Tung managed to ferret out lots of fascinating information from the highly personable Szulczewski, who looked very much the part of busy founder. (Blood-shot eyes, rumpled clothing.)
We’d been eager to learn more about Wish — a fast-growing e-commerce mobile app that has raised roughly $600 million from investors — particularly because Szulczewski hasn’t talked often with the press or shared much hard information about the company. He did last week, though, including telling the crowd that Wish now has “hundreds of millions of users,” that it saw “single-digit billions of dollars” in gross merchandise volume, and seemingly confirming rumors that the company has seen interest (if not concrete acquisition offers) from Alibaba and Amazon.
If you’re interested in e-commerce or want to understand merchants in China particularly, this is a must-read.
Chromis Therapeutics, a year-old, San Diego-based company developing treatments for chronic hepatitis B infection, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Torrey Pines Investment. FinSMEs has more here.
CornerJob, a year-old, Barcelona-based mobile app that lets employers advertise blue-collars jobs via its location-based technology, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Antai Business Angels, Mediaset España (through its subsidiary Ad4Ventures), venture funds from Banc Sabadell Capital, Bonsai Venture Capital, Cube Investments, Ithaca Investment, Samaipata Ventures, La Caixa Capital Risc and Media Digital Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Hungryroot, a year-old, New York-based meal kit startup that focuses on vegetable-based natural foods that can be prepared in under seven minutes, has raised $3.7 million in new funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Crosslink Capital and others. The company has now raised $6 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Rocksbox, a nearly four-year-old, membership-based platform that sends monthly subscription boxes of jewelry to consumers, has raised $8.7 million in Series A funds co-led KEC Venture and Matrix Partners. More here.
YourMechanic, a five-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based on‐demand auto mechanic service, has raised $24 million from SoftBank Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Data Point Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, SAIC, Verizon Ventures, American Family Insurance, PG Ventures, Promus Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. The company has now raised $32 million altogether. More here.
Cisco has acquired CliQr, a provider of application management solutions for hybrid cloud environments, for $260 million. CliQr was already working with Cisco, with the company’s solutions integrated across several of Cisco’s data center switching and cloud solutions, the company said. CliQr had raised just over $38 million from investors that include Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, InstantScale Ventures, Polaris Partners and Translink Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
GoPro yesterday announced the acquisition of two startups to address one of the company’s sore spots: Video editing. Stupeflix and Vemory are the companies behind the mobile apps Replay and Splice, respectively. GoProspent $105 million on the two companies combined. TechCrunch has more here.
Mobile Action, a San Francisco, Ca.-based provider of an app store intelligence and optimization platform, has acquired Appmind, a provider of an App Store optimization tool. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. FinSMES has more here.
NativeX, a seven-year-old, Sartell, Mn.-based startup that makes advertising for mobile games and apps, is being acquired by Chinese mobile ad platform Mobvista. The companies say the all-cash deal is valued at 160 million RMB (about $24.5 million). TechCrunch has more here.
Anshu Jain, Deutsche Bank’s former co-CEO, is joining American finance company SoFi as a senior advisor. More here.
Carl Eshenbach, the COO and number two at VMware, the software company controlled by EMC, is stepping down in an executive shakeup ahead of its effective acquisition by Dell later this year.
At a private dinner in Beverly Hills last week, Elon Musk agreed to audit pay at his rocket company, SpaceX, to ensure that men and women are paid fairly. If he sticks to his promise, Musk will be following the lead of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who said that Salesforce spent $3 million in 2015 to bring the salaries of female employees up to the level of their male counterparts.
Tech workers are increasingly looking to leave Silicon Valley.
Facebook is changing its news feed to favor ongoing broadcasts.
Owing to a decades-old tax provision, employees have to exercise their options within 90 days of leaving or else lose them to the company.Triplebyte, with the support of Y Combinator, is joining the battle against such restrictive stock option plan schemes.
A recent poll suggested that the majority of Americans support the FBI and its order to open the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. But Apple has the backing of the husband of one of the survivors of the terrorist attack. More here.
This year’s Best Picture nominees, recreated in LEGOs.
The world’s most powerful passports.
Aquarium backpack. (This would kill at show-and-tell.)
A next-generation bike bell.