Friday! Hope you have a terrific weekend, everyone!
Top News in the A.M
Google yesterday formally rejected European Union antitrust charges of unfairly promoting its shopping service and blocking rivals in online search advertising. Reuters has more here.
GoPro‘s stock took a 22 percent nosedive after the company reported dismal earnings. TechCrunch has more here.
Cannabis Investor Privateer Holdings Adds Another $40M in Funding
In just five days, nine states will vote on marijuana legalization measures, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that the five-year-old, Seattle-based marijuana private equity investor Privateer Holdings just raised $40 million in convertible debt from undisclosed investors.
Cowen and Co. is predicting that within 10 years, legal pot sales will hit $50 billion in the U.S., up from $6 billion today.
In an interview yesterday with Reuters, Privateer CEO Brendan Kennedy said he’s hoping his firm’s newest round of funding will reach $100 million but that many interested investors are waiting to see what happens this Tuesday. Those who provided the company with that $40 million will receive a 15 percent discount when they get equity in Privateer, he added.
Privateer has so far raised $122 million altogether. Earlier investors include Founders Fund, which led the company’s $75 million Series B round in March 2015, and Subversive Capital.
The company, which primarily invests in U.S. companies, owns or has stakes in at least three companies, including Leafly, a cannabis website and mobile application centered around user-generated reviews of cannabis strains, products and dispensaries. Another bet is Tilray, a startup that provides pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products to patients, researchers, pharmacies and governments around the world from a $25 million, federally licensed facility in British Columbia. The company is also a major stakeholder in Marley Natural, a cannabis lifestyle brand that makes, among other things, body oil infused with cold-pressed hemp seed oil and Jamaican botanicals. (In 2014, Privateer signed a 30-year licensing deal with the late musician Bob Marley’s family to launch the brand.)
Privateer Holdings isn’t the only cannabis-focused fund, but it’s among few (so far).
Apartment List, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based apartment rental marketplace that claims to feature five percent of listings in the U.S. on its site, is raising $30 million in new funding led by Canaan Partners, with participation from Matrix Partners, Tenaya Capital, Glynn Capital and Thumbtack co-founder Jonathan Swanson. TechCrunch has more here.
Arex, a two-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based startup that’s taking a marketplace approach to invoice financing for small and mid-size businesses, has raised €3 million ($3.3 million) in funding led by Finland’s Lifeline Ventures, alongside London’s LocalGlobe and unnamed angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Borrowed & Blue, a five-year-old, Charlottesville, Va.-based wedding vendor marketplace, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Foundry Group, with participation from Foxhaven Asset Management, Accomplice, Galvanize Ventures and Service Provider Capital. More here.
Droit Financial Technologies, a four-year-old, New York-based fintech company whose real-time decision-making engine provides point-of-execution compliance for sales and trading systems at financial institutions, has raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Goldman Sachs, Pivot Investment Partners and Wells Fargo, with participation from DRW. More here.
Gfresh, a two-year-old, Shanghai-based mobile marketplace and logistics service that helps industry players buy, sell and transport live seafood as efficiently as possible throughout and beyond China, has raised $20 million in Series A funding from Alibaba affiliated Riverhill Fund and Legend Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
iOmx Therapeutics, an eight-month-old, Martinsried, Germany-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing cancer therapeutics, has raised €40 million ($44.5 million) in Series A financing funding co-led by MPM Capital and Sofinnova Partners, with participation from Wellington Partners and Merck Ventures. More here.
Planetary Resources, a six-year-old, Seattle-based asteroid mining startup, has “struck pay dirt” in Luxembourg, reports TechCrunch. The tiny European country is directly investing €12 million in the company, with another €13 million coming from public investment bank SNCI. That comes to $27.7 million, American readers. TechCrunch has more here
StyleTribute, a three-year-old, Singapore-based consumer-to-consumer marketplace focused on luxury clothing and accessories, has raised $1.1 million in Series A funding from an unnamed European family office and private individuals. Tech in Asia has more here.
Sunflower Labs, a seven-month-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup that wants to build a “home awareness” system that monitors homes beyond the doorway through smart lights and a camera-equipped quadcopter that flies to where the action is(!), has raised $2.1 million led by General Catalyst Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
Wish, the five-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile shopping app that’s become wildly popular by selling goods for next to nothing, is raising $500 million in new funding, including from Temasek, reports Recode. The company should be valued at more than $3.5 billion but less than $5 billion at the end of this process, the report adds. More here.
KEEN Venture Partners, a new venture capital firm co-founded by former Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen, has closed a €90 million ($100 million) debut fund to focus on companies with “breakaway momentum” in Europe, with a particular focus on the U.K., the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. The firm, which will operate from London and Amsterdam, looks to make fairly concentrated bets despite its size. It says it’ll be investing between €5 million to €10 million per company. More here.
Steve Ballmer says smartphones strained his relationship with Bill Gates.
Hedge fund manager Stevie Cohen is rehabilitating his tarnished image by focusing on aiding veterans.
Elon Musk: It’s only a matter of time before AI takes down the internet.
Chamath Palihapitiya on the opportunity in India.
Route 66 Ventures is looking to add an analyst to its venture capital team. The job is in Old Town Alexandria, just outside of Washington.
Instacart workers are earning a lot less money after changes to the company’s pay structure — changes CEO Apoorva Mehta told BuzzFeed News are necessary for the company’s continued growth, but that hundreds of vocal Instacart shoppers say are threatening their livelihoods. More here.
Good news for WeWork: Microsoft is moving 30 percent of its workforce in New York to co-working spaces to help it better connect with startups, and its doing it through WeWork memberships.
And ICYMI: Confessions of a tech entrepreneur who lied to his investors.
Interview scenarios at famous companies.
The unlikely new refuge of the megarich.
Put that in your vaporizer pipe and smoke it.