Happy Wednesday, everyone! We’re running here and there this a.m., so no column today.
Top News in the A.M.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers today that the U.S. will continue to add jobs at a solid rate, though the recent average pace is probably higher than what’s sustainable over the long term and could eventually cause the economy to overheat. If that happens, she said, “We could be faced with having to raise interest rates more rapidly than we would want.” Bloomberg has more here.
Apple has revealed plans to opening a swanky new London headquarters at Battersea Power Station by 2021. The Evening Standard has the story.
A.I. Nemo, a two-year-old, Beijing-based smart hardware and robotics start-up, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sinovation Ventures and Chengwei Capital. The company says it had raised nearly $30 million in Series A and B funding prior to the new round, but isn’t disclosing from whom. China Money Network has more here.
AppNexus, the nine-year-old, New York-based ad tech company, has raised a $31 million funding round that includes a $10 million investment from News Corp, involvement from Yahoo Japan, and participation from its existing investors. The company has now raised more than $300 million altogether, shows CrunchBase. Business Insider has more here.
AquaSecurity, a year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based platform for securing virtual container applications, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Microsoft Ventures. Return backers TLV Partners and Shlomo Kramer also participated in the round. Globes has more here.
b8ta, a year-old, Palo Alto-based showroom for trendy tech gadgets, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by TriplePoint Capital, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Fifth Wall Ventures, Macerich and Eniac Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
BigchainDB, a two-year-old, Berlin-based blockchain database provider for developers and businesses, has raised roughly $3.4 million in Series A funding from Earlybird Venture Capital, Anthemis Group, Digital Currency Group and Innogy SE. Coindesk has more here.
Contrast Security, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company focused on the security of software applications, has raised $16 million in Series B funding led by General Catalyst Partners, with participation from Acero Capital, Tenable Network Security founder Ron Gula, former Akamai Technologies CEO Paul Sagan, and Microsoft board chairman John Thompson.Technical.ly Baltimore has more here.
Druva, an eight-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based unified data protection platform, has raised $51 million in fresh funding from earlier investor Sequoia India, along with NTT Finance, Nexus Venture Partners and Tenaya Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
Kustomer, a year-old, New York-based customer relationship platform, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Canaan Partners, with participation from other investors, including Boldstart Ventures and Social Leverage. TechCrunch has more here.
MicuRx Pharmaceuticals, a nine-year-old, Hayward, Ca. and Shanghai, China-based company that’s developing antibiotics to prevent and treat drug-resistant bacterial infections, has raised $55 million in Series C funding. GP Healthcare Capital led the round, with participation from new investors GP TMT Capital, 3E Bioventures Capital, and Delian Capital. More here.
OpenSesame, a 14-year-old, Portland, Or.-based company on on-demand e-learning courses for the enterprise, has raised $9 million in Series B funding led by Altos Ventures, with participation from earlier backer Partech Ventures. More here.
Paddle, a four-year-old, London-based company that makes checkout-focused software tools for ecommerce companies, has raised $3.2 billion in Series A funding led by BGF Ventures, with participation from Spring Partners. More here.
Think Labs, a four-year-old, Hong Kong-based company whose flagship device is Handy — a smartphone for hotel guests that allows travelers to make calls and send messages and includes details of services available at the hotel and nearby — has raised a whopping $125 million. The funding was providing by earlier backer and manufacturing giant Foxconn; with participation from Sinovation Ventures, the investment firm from ex-Google China head Kaifu Lee; and Cai Wensheng, a prolific angel investor who is chairman of the popular Chinese photo service Meitu. TechCrunch has more here.
Razor’s Edge Ventures, a 5.5-year-old, Reston, Va.-based venture capital firm that’s focused largely on cyber security, is looking to raise up to $250 million for its second fund, shows a new SEC filing. It’s a huge step up from the $55 million the team raised for its debut fund. We profiled the firm back in 2014 if you’re interested in learning more.
Europe’s biggest software maker, SAP, just earmarked 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) for investments in products that help companies to connect everything from washing machines to cars to the Internet. Reuters has more here.
Tyra Banks sat down with TechCrunch to talk startup investing and her new, startup competition show on NBC, “Funded.”
Melinda Gates is returning to her roots to tackle gender inequality in computer science. BackChannel has more here.
Elon Musk has a plan to colonize Mars, but he’s not rushing it, he said yesterday in a conference call from the International Astronautical Conference.
Bain Capital Ventures is looking to add two associates to its West Coast team. One associate will work with its infrastructure software team; the other will work with its application software team. To apply, seek out a “warm intro,” says the firm (and not from us, please). More here.
We’re also hearing that Menlo Ventures is seeking a principal, an associate, and a partner for its San Francisco-based consumer group. These new hires will work closely with managing director Shawn Carolan, who recently rejoined the firm in a full-time capacity. Again, we don’t have contact information for you, but work your connections!
Oops. “Good guy” loan startup LendUp was just fined $6.3 million by state and federal agencies for overcharging its customers.
Twitter wants you to take make a moment.
Defending against hackers took a back seat at Yahoo, insiders tell the New York Times.
Meanwhile, Verizon is dodging questions about whether that breach of 500 million Yahoo user accounts will impact its takeover plans.
The fat-fueled brain: unnatural or advantageous?
Smashing two cars together in mid-air.
The amazing, transforming coffee table!