Tuesday! Hope you’re having a fine day, everyone.:)
Top News in the A.M.
The Obama administration is about to roll out new policies governing autonomous vehicles that give the federal government a lead role in developing safety, testing and road-ready rules for the fast-growing industry. More here.
Google is expected to offer more details on Google Home, its answer to Amazon’s Echo, at an Oct. 4 event in San Francisco. More here.
True Ventures Just Led a $12 Million Investment in Still-Stealth Brava
If you’re curious to learn about the latest investment out of San Francisco-based True Ventures, you’ll have to be patient. Though the firm is disclosing that it has led a whopping $12 million Series A round in new startup Brava, details about the startup are scarce.
What we do know: Brava is a new IoT company that plans to create a suite of domestic hardware and software products, beginning with a kitchen appliance that aims to make cooking easier. It also just brought aboard John Pleasants as CEO.
If that name is familiar, it’s because Pleasants has led a number of digital media companies over the last couple of decades, including as co-president of Disney Interactive Media Group, COO of Electronic Arts, CEO of Ticketmaster, and most recently as an EVP at Samsung.
Pleasants also spent a year as the CEO of Playdom, a social gaming company that was acquired for $563 million by Disney in 2010 (thus Pleasants’s role there). It was at Playdom where he met Brava cofounder Dan Yue, who went to high school with Brava’s other cofounder, Thomas Cheng.
Yue was Playdom’s chief product officer and headed to Disney with Pleasants after the sale, logging a couple of years with the entertainment giant as an SVP of product. Cheng meanwhile cofounded the smart parking company Streetline and recently spent a year as the head of hardware at August, the smart lock company.
Oh, and if you’re wondering where True Ventures fits into all of this, the firm sold an earlier portfolio company, social gaming startup Hive7, to Playdom back in 2010 and got to know Pleasants then.
We had the chance to talk with Pleasants yesterday about Brava, which quietly came together about a year ago.
Fauna, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company that has developed an adaptive operational database, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by CRV, with participation from Data Collective, Quest Venture Partners, theWebb Investment Network, Ulu Ventures and individual investors, including Scott McNealy. FinSMES has more here.
FoodChéri, a year-old, Paris-based virtual restaurant that delivers meals to its customers through its mobile app, has raised €6 million ($6.7 million) in Series A funding led by 360 Capital Partners and Breega Capital, with participation from Samaipata Ventures and Ambrosia Investments. TechCrunch has more here.
Grab, a five-year-old, Singapore-based company that has become Uber’s largest rival in Southeast Asia, has raised $750 million in Series F funding led by earlier investor SoftBank, with participation from undisclosed existing and new backers. TechCrunch has more here.
Hostmaker, a year-old London-based startup that makes hospitality management software for Airbnb hosts, has raised $1.1 million in funding led by Initial Capital, with participation from DN Capital and DSG Consumer Partners. Startups has more here.
Insider, a four-year-old, Turkey-based unified online marketing platform, has raised $2.2 million in Series A funding led by 212, with participation by Wamda Capital, among others. The company has now raised $3.3 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
LeEco, a 12-year-old, Beijing, China-based web video company that now dabbles in everything from televisions to transportation and is taking on Tesla with its own electric sports car plans, has raised $1.08 billion in fresh funding from Legend Holdings Corp., Yingda Capital Management, and China Minsheng Trust. TechCrunch has more here.
Progressly, a two-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based business process platform, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by 8VC, with participation from Bill Malloy and Brian Nugent, general partners of Accelerate-IT Ventures (AITV) and David Beirne. TechCrunch has more here.
StarOfService, a four-year-old, Paris-based marketplace connecting consumers to service professionals (a la Thumbtack), has raised $10 million in fresh funding from Andrea Piccioni and Silvio Pagliani, ENERN Investments and Point Nine Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
TenNor Therapeutics, a three-year-old, Suzhou, China-based company that’s developing dual-acting antibiotics, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Northern Light Venture Capital, with participation from earlier backers Frontline BioVentures, WuXi PharmaTech Healthcare Fund I, Oriza Venture Capital and Relativity Healthcare Fund. FierceBiotech has more here.
Vlocity, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes cloud software for specific industries like insurance and telecommunications, has raised $50 million in new funding led by Sutter Hill Ventures, with participation from Salesforce Ventures, New York Life Insurance and return backer Accenture. Fortune has more here.
Vroom, a three-year-old, New York-based pre-owned car marketplace, has raised $50 million in Series E funding led by T. Rowe Price, with participation from Altimeter Capital, Foxhaven Asset Management, and earlier backers L. Catterton, General Catalyst Partners and Allen & Co. The company has now raised $218 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Dundee Venture Capital, an Omaha, Neb.-based venture firm, has raised $20 million toward a $30 million third fund as venture capital activity in the Midwest continues to grow. The firm is also partnering with Lakewest Venture Partners in Chicago and in time will take over Lakewest, according to Dundee founder Mark Hasebroock. The WSJ has more here.
Spectrum 28, a 15-month-old, Hong Kong and Silicon Valley-based venture firm, has closed its debut fund with $170 million, it announced today. Spectrum 28 was founded by Kent Ho and Lyon Wong and has backed a half dozen companies already, including the online lending company Ernest and the revenue management software startup Duetto. Ho previously served as co-founder and managing partner for Harbor Pacific Capital, a firm he co-founded out of Stanford GSB. Wong has worked at a variety of venture firms, including SV Angel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Meritech Capital Partners. The firm invests in fintech, real estate and digital health. More here.
The Oakland, Ca.-based cosmetics company e.l.f. Beauty has set the terms for its IPO, planning to raise up to $153 million, according to a new SEC filing. The company will offer up to 9.58 million shares at a price range between $14 and $16 a share, commanding a fully diluted market value of $737 million at the midpoint of the proposed range. TPG owns 56.8 percent of the company.
Tabula Rasa HealthCare, a Moorestown, N.J.-based company that makes patient-specific medication management technology, has set the terms for its IPO, saying it will offer 4.3 million shares at between $13 and $15 per share, giving it a fully diluted market value $217 million at the midpoint of that range.
Etsy has acquired Blackbird Technologies, a Menlo Park, Ca.-based AI and machine learning startup focused on search. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.
Facebook has acquired Nascent Objects, a San Carlos, Ca.-based modular electronics platform, for an undisclosed amount. Recode has more here. (Fast Company wrote more about the company earlier this year.)
Jack Ma swung by Fortune’s offices in New York yesterday where among other things, he told those gathered that he thinks Alibaba’s business outside of China will grow from 5 percent today to 40 percent by 2026. He also believes that in 20 years, the value of the merchandise handled by Alibaba will reach $1 trillion. More here.
In a new interview, investor Chamath Palihapitiya tells the Times of India, “I think we are 12 to 18 months away from a reckoning of sorts in India. The reckoning will be about the quality of capital, the amount of the capital, and the quality of the resulting businesses. Too much money came in too early and the resulting businesses that got built can’t independently exist and they can’t go public.”
Facebook is looking to add a corporate development manager. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.
PayPal is hiring a corporate development associate. The job is in San Jose, Ca.
Unilever just bought a “green” product company, but it wasn’t The Honest Company. More here.
The music industry is finally making money on streaming.
Bill Murray, Brooklyn bartender.
All the rumors about why Angelina and Brad are splitsville (sniffle).
How not to act in front of a bear.
Montblanc augmented paper.
Sony’s new flagship camera (Wired thinks it may be its best ever).
If you’re really feeling spendy: Lasata, the 11-acre East Hampton, N.Y. estate where Jackie Kennedy spent her summers as a child, is on the market.