The Tribe won last night; the Cavs won, too. All this winning is starting to trigger an identity crisis for us!
We have to race out the door this morning for a field trip with four second-grade classrooms. If you see a flare go up near the San Francisco Public Library, it is us. We’ll get you back tomorrow if we miss anything.:)
Top News in the A.M.
Apple reported its first annual revenue decline in 15 years and its shares are sliding as a result.
Microsoft is expected to launch a “Slack killer” next week.
Lending Club Zooms Into Car Refinancings as Part of Turnaround Effort
Many Americans learned through Lending Club that they can refinance their credit card debt online; now, the lending marketplace is hoping they’ll start refinancing their automotive loans using its platform, too.
Indeed, though automotive lending is a massive market, car refinance is far smaller owing to a lack of awareness, suggests Lending Club CEO Scott Sanborn, with whom we spoke by phone earlier today. “People know they can refinance their home. But after their home, their car is their second-largest purchase, yet the car refinance market in the U.S. was about $40 billion last year.”
In comparison, the overall U.S. auto loan debt market had grown to $1.103 trillion by this past June, according to the research firm Experian Automotive.
For Lending Club, it’s a prime opportunity (no pun intended), though it carries plenty of risk, as well.
The publicly traded, San Francisco-based company has struggled throughout 2016, following the forced resignation of its founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche in May over alleged conflicts of interest and a mishandled sale of loans to Jefferies Group.
Laplanche’s departure shook investors’ faith that the platform was among the strongest in the world of online lending. It also prompted more investors to examine whether the platform had become overly reliant on Wall Street banks that were looking for yield but are notoriously fickle customers.
Scott Sanborn, who took over as CEO and who’d served as the company’s chief operating officer prior, has taken drastic steps to get the company back on course, but none has had a meaningful impact just yet.
For example, in addition to hiring a new CFO, a new COO, a new general counsel and a new chief capital officer, Bloomberg reports that a separate new initiative hasn’t gone as well as hoped: providing loans to small businesses via partnerships with Alibaba and Alphabet.
Asked about that earlier today, Sanborn says that what “gives us confidence when I think about auto is that it’s not just leveraging our technical skills and learnings but also takes advantage of our marketing acquisition skills,” which he suggests Lending Club has been less able to do with its small loans program, given that it’s depending on partners for their distribution.
Sanborn also argues that though Lending Club has plenty of competition, the large auto lenders aren’t among its worries.
Brickwork, a three-year-old, New York City-based SaaS platform for retailers that creates a path between online browsing and in-store purchasing, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Safeguard Scientifics, with participation from Recruit Strategic Partners, Advancit Capital, Beanstalk Ventures, Cowboy Ventures and Forerunner Ventures. More here.
Culture Trip, a four-year-old, London-based content platform that serves us personalized content and recommendations based on where its users are based, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by PPF Group, the fund managed by entrepreneur Petr Kellner. TechCrunch has more here.
Daqri, a six-year-old, L.A.-based augmented reality company whose flagship product is a smart helmet for construction workers, is trying to raise up to $200 million in funding, says Bloomberg. The company had earlier raised $15 million from Tarsadia Investments, shows CrunchBase. More here.
Genomics Medicine Ireland, a year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based human genome startup, has raised $40 million in Series A funding from ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Partners, the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, and GV. Silicon Republic has more here.
Habit, a new, San Francisco-based personalized nutrition and wellness company that will launch next year, has raised $32 million in funding from Campbell’s Soup Company. (The company’s founder and CEO, Neil Grimmer, previously led Plum Organics, a baby food firm acquired by Campbell Soup in 2013.) The Courier-Post has more here.
Hyperloop One, a two-year-old, L.A.-based transporation company that eventually hopes to shuttle people and cargo in train-like pods at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour, is looking to raise $250 million in its next funding round early next year and is already seeking tens of millions in new financing, according to Forbes. The company raised a $50 million convertible note from DP World Group earlier this month; to date, it has raised $141.1 million. More here.
Imzy, a year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based social platform aiming to create positive online communities, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Lendio, a 10.5-year-old, South Jordan, Utah-based loan company for small businesses, has raised $20 million in funding co-led by Comcast Ventures and Stereo Capital, with participation from Napier Park, Blumberg Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners, and North Hill Ventures. FinSMEs has more here.
Perkbox, a two-year-old, London-based startup whose engagement platform aims to help companies retain both employees and customers, has raised £2.5 million ($2.7 million) in backing from the publicly listed European venture firm Draper Esprit. TechCrunch has more here.
Selency, a two-year-old, Paris-based platform that features second-hand furniture and decor items, has raised €3 million ($3.3 million) in Series A funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from Kima Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
TVision Insights, a nearly two-year-old, Boston-based machine-learning startup that tracks who is watching what on TV and how they are reacting to it (then provides that data broadcasters and advertisers), has raised $6.8 million from Accomplice, Golden Venture Partners, Jump Capital, and ITOCHU Technology Ventures. The company has now raised $9.8 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Wavefront, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based cloud analytics company, has raised $52 million in Series B funding led by Tenaya Capital, with participation from Sequoia Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures. The WSJ is characterizing the deal as a down round. More here.
Winnie, a year-old, San Francisco-based online director of family friendly places, has raised $2.5 million in funding from Homebrew, BBG Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, Flight Ventures, Deep Fork Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and #Angels. TechCrunch has more here.
Javelin Venture Partners, a San Francisco-based, early-stage venture firm founded in 2008, has closed its fourth fund with $125 million, which is the same size as its third fund, closed exactly three years ago.The firm has also promoted principal-turned-partner Alex Gurevich to managing director. We have more here over at TechCrunch.
SJF Ventures, a Durham, N.C.-based venture capital firm, has raised roughly $74 million for a fourth fund that’s targeting $125 million, according to two different SEC filings.
Underscore.VC, a Boston-based early-stage firm cofounded by former North Bridge VC Michael Skok, has closed its first fund at $85 million. BostInno has much more about its new model here.
At Mail.ru, the Russian Internet giant that owns the country’s most popular email service; Russia’s Facebook equivalent Vkontakte; messaging service ICQ and a number of other properties, cofounder Dmitry Grishin is stepping down as CEO. Boris Dobrodeev, the current CEO of Vkontakte, will replace him. More here.
The head of Google’s fiber business, Craig Barratt, is leaving (and layoffs are coming). Recode has more here.
Somewhat amazingly, Amazon is about to become the biggest clothing retailer in the U.S.
The psychological case for dressing way up (or down) for work.
Inside elevator door mural.