Hi, all, welcome back!
Top News in the A.M.
The clearest look yet at the iPhone 7.
Checking the Market’s Temperature with Bain’s Ajay Agarwal
Ajay Agarwal leads the West Coast team for Bain Capital Ventures, which he joined 13 years ago. Because he he has seen some market zigs and zags, we met him for coffee last week to talk about what he’s seeing in the market right now. Our chat has been edited for length.
Bain Capital Ventures opened its first office in the Bay Area five years ago. Now you have an office in Palo Alto, and you’re moving into a bigger office soon in San Francisco. How many of your partners are here now, and how many of your startups are in SF versus south of the city?
It used to be that 90 percent of our team was on the East Coast, in Boston and New York, and 10 percent was here, but it’s about 50/50 at this point. And I’d say 40 percent of our [Bay Area] startups are south. There are a lot of machine learning companies in Sunnyvale and Mountain View and Los Altos, and that’s a big area of interest for us right now.
What’s one new, related investment that might interest readers?
Trooly, whose team comes from LinkedIn. If you think about it, we have all these peer-to-peer marketplaces bringing together strangers, whether they are drivers or babysitters. But the state of the art — background checks — is a flawed process. A lot of information has been digitized, but there are still plenty of counties where, if you’ve committed a crime, they’ll have a physical record alone. So you’d have to send a courier to all of the places where someone has lived to get the information you need, which is expensive.
Meanwhile, Trooly can figure out much more about someone and do it quickly using data science and machine learning. It can figure out any content that has been written by you or about you and whether it’s in any way objectionable. It can verify if the information you send someone is accurate and distinguish between a typo and whether you’re trying to fool someone [on an application]. For every person who fails a background check, we find a person who passed a background check and should not have.
CloudMinds, a Beijing and Shenzhen, China-based maker of so-called intelligent cloud robots, has raised $30 million in venture funding fromSoftBank Group, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Walden International, and Kaixuan Capital. DealStreetAsia has more here.
Metadata, a year-old, San Francisco-based ad-targeting startup, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Hillsven Capital, with participation from Greycroft Partners, 500 Startups, Right Side Capital Partners and various angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Rock Pamper Scissors, a year-old, London-based online marketplace that lets users browse and book appointments with local hairdressers, has raised £1.2 million ($1.7 million) from 500 Startups and the European pre-seed and seed investor Seedcamp, along with various angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Saguna Networks, a 7.5-year-old, Yokneam, Israel-based mobile edge computing platform, has raised $5 million in funding led by CE Ventures, with participation from existing shareholders. More here.
SeamlessDocs, a five-year-old, New York startup that helps governments move all their forms online, has raised $7 million in Series B funding led by Motorola Solutions. Other participants in the round include the New York State Innovation Fund, 1776 and previous investor Govtech Fund. TechCrunch has more here.
Sun Basket, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based healthy cooking service, has raised $11.6 million in Series A funding led by Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, PivotNorth, Robertson Stephens Partners, Baseline Ventures, The Tyler Florence Group, Rembrandt Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Relevance Capital, Roth Capital, Filter14, and other(!) unnamed venture capital firms and angel investors. More here.
Take the Interview, a four-old, New York-based online interviewing platform, has raised $5 million in Series B funding led by 3TS Capital Partners, with participation from earlier backers StarVest Partners and Rittenhouse Ventures. More here.
Weidai, a five-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based peer-to-peer lending platform, has raised $153 million in Series C funding led by Vision Knight Capital. China Money Network has more here.
Harmony Partners, a five-year-old, New York and San Francisco-based expansion stage venture firm, has closed a third fund with $105 million. The company has made 32 investments to date, including the molecular diagnostics company Natera, which went public last year, and the device management startup Divide, acquired by Google in 2014. Its current portfolio includes the cloud-software maker Anaplan, the delivery company Postmates, and the streaming media company Spotify. More here.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital firm that last year defended itself against an explosive sexual discrimination lawsuit, is raising two funds totaling close to $1.3 billion, according to CNBC sources. More here.
OrbiMed, the 27-year-old, global investment firm focused on the healthcare sector, has closed its second Israel-focused venture capital fund with approximately $307 million. Orbimed opened its Israel office in 2010. More here.
Runa Capital, a nearly six-year-old, Moscow and San Francisco-based venture capital firm, has closed its second fund with $135 million. The focuses on Series A and B round investments in both the U.S. and in Europe. The firm now has roughly $270 million under management. More here.
Facebook has acquired Two Big Ears, a three-year-old, Scottland-based spatial audio technology company, for an undisclosed sum. VentureBeat has more here.
TinyOwl, a India-based restaurant delivery service that has raised more than $27 million from investors including Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners, has reportedly stopped service in all cities except for Mumbai. TechCrunch has more here. (We’d written here about some craziness at the company late last year.)
Investor Chris Sacca reportedly had a temper tantrum after he was denied entry into the Broadway musical “Hamilton” as part of his planned birthday celebration. (He’d apparently purchased counterfeit tickets on StubHub.)
Here’s the commencement address Peter Thiel just gave to graduating seniors at Hamilton College.
Four houses surrounding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s home in Palo Alto will be demolished and replaced by smaller ones, according to an application filed with city planners last week. Zuckerberg bought the homes after he learned of a developer’s plan to build a house next door tall enough to have a view into his master bedroom. The San Jose Mercury News has the story here.
Deloitte has published a new report on the state of the M&A market. You can check it out here.
Chinese’s Tencent Holdings, owner of the popular messaging service WeChat, is in talks with SoftBank Group to buy its majority stake in Supercell Oy, the Finland-based maker of some of the world’s most popular mobile games. The WSJ has more here.
Uh oh. Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker and second highest-valued startup in the world at $45 billion, barely grew sales at all last year. Fortune has more here.
Brad Feld’s Foundry Group is now also a registered investment advisory. More about why is coming, says Feld.
A controversial theory that may explain the real reason we have allergies.
Sounds like there’s nothing magical about breakfast after all.
An “artist” who turned his dead cat into drone is now building a helicopter out of a cow.
How to own a piece of “Mad Men.”