Aaaand we’re back in SF! Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you have a stellar weekend.
(We were offline most of yesterday, so no column today.)
Top News in the A.M.
Big deal. Didi Chuxing (formerly called Didi Kuaidi), China’s top-ride hailing app, has raised $1 billion in strategic funding from a little company called Apple. CEO Tim Cook says Apple is making the investment for a “number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market. Of course, we believe it will deliver a strong return for our invested capital as well.” More here.
Accion Systems, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that’s developing miniature space propulsion systems using penny-size ion engines, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Shasta Ventures. RRE Ventures, Founder Collective, and Slow Ventures also participated in the round. The company had previously raised $2 million from seed funding and $6.5 million from partnerships with the Department of Defense. TechCrunch has more here.
Astrobotic Technology, a nine-year-old, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based company that plans to deliver payloads to the moon (it originally spun out of Carnegie Mellon University), has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Space Angels Network. TechCrunch has more here.
Bigcommerce, a seven-year-old, Austin- and Australia-based start-up whose software-as-a-service helps more than 55,000 companies create and manage their online stores has raised $30 million financing round led by GGV Capital. DealStreetAsia has more here.
Capital Float, a three-year-old, Bangalore, India-based online lending platform for small businesses, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Creation Investments, with participation from returning investors SAIF Partners, Sequoia Capital and Aspada. TechCrunch has more here.
EnBiotix, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based bioengineering startup focused on combatting drug-resistant and drug-tolerant bacterial infections, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Wired Holdings Investment Corp. and Apeiron Holdings. More here.
EndoStim, a seven-year-old, St. Louis, Mo.-based company that makes a neurostimulation therapy device for gastroesophageal reflux disease, has raised $25 million in Series D funding led by Endeavour Vision, with participation from Wellington Partners, GIMV and return backer Santé Ventures. Mass Device has more here.
Evaneos, a seven-year-old, Paris-based European travel marketplace, has raised $21 million in its third round of funding, from Serena Capital, Fonds Ambition Numérique (managed by Bpifrance), ISAI and XAnge. The company has now raised around $28 million. TechCrunch has more here.
Medal, a year-old, San Francisco-based online platform for unifying medical records, has raised $3.78 million in new funding, shows an SEC filing first flagged by Fortune. Investors aren’t disclosed on the form. According to CrunchBase, the company had raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding roughly a year ago, including from Lee Linden, who heads up Facebook’s emerging initiatives in commerce. More here.
Viridity Energy, a seven-year-old, Philadelphia, Pa.-based company that makes battery storage and demand response products, has raised $8.5 million in new funding from AltEnergy. More here.
In a bid to make South Korea’s tech industry more diverse, the government has created an accelerator for startups from around the world. Called the K-Startup Grand Challenge, the program is being organized by South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), in partnership with Seoul-based accelerators SparkLabs, DEV Korea, ActnerLab, and Shift. It will accept applications through June 14. More here.
VSL Partners, a two-year-old, San Fransisco-based investment firm that make loans to stockholders of pre-IPO companies, has raised $17.7 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing that shows a $50 million target. The firm began its fundraising last fall. VSL was cofounded by David Crowder, a co-founder and longtime general partner Thomas Weisel Venture Partners, which was a $250 million early-stage venture fund.
Acacia Communications, a Maynard, Ma.-based fiber optics component maker, went public this morning and its shares are soaring. The biggest shareholders heading into the IPO included Matrix Partners, which owned 39.2 percent of the company, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, which owned 19.7 percent, and Summit Partners, which owned 9.4 percent. Barron’s has more here.
China Online Education Group filed an F-1 form with the SEC for an IPO. No pricing details were given in the filing, but the offering was valued up to $100 million. The company has yet to decide on which exchange to list its American depositary shares. The outlet 24/7 Wall St. has the story here.
Sunny Balwani, the president and chief operating officer of Theranos, the beleaguered medical diagnostics startup, is stepping down as the company reorganizes its structure. More here.
In an interview yesterday, billionaire investor Mark Cuban likened Trump to a drunk and a womanizer and said his campaign is “like a Seinfeld episode,” meaning that it’s about nothing. Apparently, despite these views, he’s supporting Trump for president.
Magic Johnson, the Hall of Fame basketball player and businessman, has left Square’s board, saying he decided to resign owing to time constraints with other projects on which he is working.
Evan Spiegel wants everyone to use his messaging app, Snapchat. He meanwhile “tries to stay off the grid,” reports Recode, which says Spiegel “shares very little with very few, a practice that has come to define his role at Snapchat and the company’s underlying culture.”
Elizabeth Weil, who started Twitter’s corporate development team in 2009 and spent the last three years at Andreessen Horowitz, introducing its portfolio companies to key contacts at Fortune 500 companies, has joined 137 Ventures as a managing partner. Fortune has the story here.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he wants to invite “leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum” to discuss recent reports that its “Trending Topics” feature is biased against conservatives.
How the 1 percent parties, in pictures.
New crowdfunding rules taking effect Monday will allow anyone to invest in startups—not just wealthy people.
Google is moving beyond Cardboard and introducing a standalone Android VR headset next week.
The amazing pancakes of Dr. Dancakes.
Where in the U.S. the middle class is shrinking and the upper class is growing.
Living in the fast lane apparently will kill you.
Fender — now owned by TPG Growth and Servco Pacific — just released headphones that double as in-ear monitors for performers. More here.
Bad Affleck is coming back, this November.