Happy Thursday, everyone! We greatly enjoy TechCrunch Disrupt events but we also love wrapping them up.:) It’s been a fun but exhausting few days, capped off with an interview with ambitious founder-investor Shervin Pishevar, whose latest company, Hyperloop One, aims to move people and freight at the speed of sound. We talked on stage about the moonshot idea and some of the various challenges it’s facing.
Top News in the A.M.
Apple Music just shut down rumors about a Tidal deal.
Luma Tacks on $7 Million in Funding from AH and GV
Luma, an Atlanta-based company that makes a sleek router with a wide variety of bells and whistles, has tacked on $7 million in funding to its coffers from Andreessen Horowitz and GV. The funding comes fast on the heels of a $12.5 million Series A round that was co-led in April by Accel Partners and Amazon and included participation from Felicis Ventures.
Seemingly, investors are trying to get a stake in the company before the router wars begin to heat up further. “Unlike a smart thermostat, a wireless router isn’t option; it’s something that everyone needs,” notes Luma cofounder Paul Judge.
Customers want something that’s more sophisticated than the routers of yesteryear, too, given how much more advanced tech has grown in other aspects of their lives. “The consumer network and IT at home has just been broken, and there isn’t a device or product that people are excited about to be the backbone of the connected home,” Judge says.
Established companies like Asus, D-Link, and Netgear definitely get it. In recent years, they’ve begun layering in features like parental controls and the ability to prioritize traffic based on network and device. But they face fresh entrants that are going after a piece of the market with their own next-generation features. And no wonder: Roughly 170 million wireless routers are purchased each year.
BitSight, a five-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that has built a security rating platform that analyzes external data and helps organizations manage third party risk, just raised $40 million in Series C funding by GGV Capital, with participation from Comcast Ventures, Liberty Global Ventures, Singtel Innov8 and previous investors Flybridge Capital Partners, Globespan Capital Partners, Menlo Ventures, and Shaun McConnon. More here.
Canva, a four-year-old, Sydney, Australia-based company that tries to make graphic design easily accessible and simple for everyone, has raised an additional $15 million for its online design platform from earlier backers Blackbird Ventures and Felicis Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.
Carbon 3D, a three-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company known for its rapid, 3D printing technologies, has added $81 million in funding to its Series C round from strategic investors including BMW Group, GE, Nikon and JSR Corp., and earlier venture backers including GV and Sequoia Capital, among others. TechCrunch has more here.
Ellevest, a year-old, New York-based digital investment platform for women, has raised $9 million in fresh funding from Khosla Ventures, Aspect Ventures, tennis superstar Venus Williams; Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson; and investor Sonja Perkins, among others. Fortune has more here.
FastPay, a seven-year-old, L.A.-based company that makes lending and financial workflow software, has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Citi Ventures. More here.
Klara, a three-year-old, New York-based healthcare messaging company, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by New York’s Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Project A Ventures from Berlin, with participation from earlier backers Atlantic Labs and Groupe Arnault. More here.
Lucid Software, a seven-year-old, Draper, Ut.-based company whose web-based tool enables people to create diagrams of complex procedures and designs (like company workflows), has raised $36 million in funding led by the growth firm Spectrum Equity. Earlier backers Kickstart Seed Fund and Grayhawk Capital also joined the round. Bloomberg has more here.
Optimove, a seven-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based maker of retention automation software, has raised $20 million in growth funding from Israel Growth Partners, a private equity investment firm. The round marks Optimove’s first outside investment. More here.
Ripple, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based provider of blockchain-based cross-border payments technology for banks, has raised $55 million in fresh funding from new investors including Standard Chartered, Accenture, SCB Digital Ventures, the venture arm of Siam Commercial Bank, and SBI Holdings. The company has now raised $93 million altogether. Reuters has more here.
Tipalti, a six-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company whose tech streamlines and automates the way companies make payments to their suppliers, partners, and others, has raised $14 million in new funding led by the Israeli venture firm SGVC. More here.
ViSenze, a four-year-old, Singapore-based developer of AI-based visual technology for ecommerce and other digital businesses, has raised $10.5 million in Series B funding co-led by Rakuten Ventures and eSpire Capital, with participation from SPH Media Fund, FengHe Fund Management, Raffles Venture Partners, Phillip Private Equity and UOB Venture Management. More here.
Sapphire Ventures, a Palo Alto, Ca.-based venture firm funded solely by the German software giant SAP, has secured a whopping $1 billion to invest across two new funds: a $700 million growth fund, and a $300 million early-stage tech fund. TechCrunch has more here.
China-based Sinovation Ventures, co-founded by former Google and Microsoft exec Kai-Fu Lee, has raised 4.5 billion yuan ($674 million) in commitments across two funds: a dollar-denominated fund of $300 million—in which Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group is the anchor investor—and a yuan-denominated fund totaling the equivalent of $374 million. Sinovation plans to invest the funds raised in startup companies involved in artificial intelligence, building enterprise software, and creating entertainment content. The WSJ has more here.
GE will pay $495 million for Meridium, a 23-year-old, Roanoke, Va.-based company that sells technology for tracking the performance of heavy-duty machinery. The Roanoke Times has more here.
PayU, an online payments company with a focus on developing markets that’s owned by South Africa’s Naspers, has acquired India’s Citrus Pay for $130 million in cash, in what the companies say is the largest cash exit for a payments company in India to date. TechCrunch has more here.
Ranku, a three-year-old, Seattle, Wa-based startup that helps universities scale online degree enrollment, has been acquired by the publicly traded education conglomerate John Wiley & Sons for around $25 million, says TechCrunch. The company had raised just $650,000 in funding, including from billionaire Mark Cuban, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Microsoft Accelerator, Archangel, and investor Deborah Quazzo. More here.
Armaan Ali has joined the late-stage venture firm IVP as an associate. He worked previously at Qatalyst Partners, the tech-focused investment bank.
Former GV CEO Bill Maris has “preliminary plans” to raise between $350 million and $500 million for his very own venture fund, says CNBC.
Zhou Yahui, a Chinese billionaire who owns a controlling stake in the gay dating app Grindr, will have to transfer nearly 300 million shares of his company — valued at $1.14 billion — to his wife, Li Qiong, as the two move toward a divorce (according to Chinese outlets). The equity transfer would make the settlement one of the most expense in China to date, says Dealbook.
Shippo, a three-year-old, S.F.-based startup that makes shipping easier for businesses and just raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Union Square Ventures, is looking for a VP of business development.
The Economist on why the rise of the corporate colossus threatens both competition and the legitimacy of business.
How to become an investment banking summer analyst at Goldman Sachs.
The National Book Awards long list for fiction.
A look at the top 10 museums in the world (plus the best tours to book at each one).
Trumped Up Cards, a multiplayer card game created by founder-investor Reid Hoffman. He’s calling the product the “world’s biggest deck” (wink, wink).