Wednesday! Busy day over here; hope yours is going well.:)
Top News in the A.M.
Now Germany’s spy chief is warning that Russian hackers who are pelting his country with disinformation could undermine their democratic process, too. Reuters has more here.
More companies are getting in to the auto lending biz, but regulators warned this morning about an “increased level of distress” among millions of Americans who are falling behind on their loan payments.
Is Europe is Poised to Give the U.S. a Run for Its Money?
You might think Europe is treading water these days, with one of its biggest financial centers, London, hamstrung by Brexit and the uncertainty it has fostered.
You’d be wrong. So suggests a new survey by the venture firm Atomico that persuasively argues that Europe’s tech scene is instead being fast propelled forward by three new trends: a well of so-called “deep tech;” a growing number of tech hubs across the continent; and expanding interest by corporate investors, non-tech companies, and foreign giants in European tech startups.
The numbers Atomico cites are eye-opening. With the help of companies like LinkedIn, Meetup, Stack Overflow, Dealroom.co, and the London Stock Exchange, as well as survey responses from roughly 1,500 founders, investors and tech employees, Atomico says that deep tech companies have attracted $2.3 billion in investment over the last 22 months, and that nearly 1,000 related startups have been founded over the same period.
Deep tech, per Atomico’s definition, means startups that employ artificial intelligence; are focused around virtual reality or augmented reality; fall into the “frontier tech” bucket, meaning they make drones or robots or nanosatellites or similar; or have sprung up around the Internet of things, from wearables to smart home startups.
Some of these companies are in Zurich, including Teralytics, a big data company backed by Horizons Ventures and Lakestar; Climeworks, which has figured out how to suck carbon dioxide out of the air and aims to remove 1,000 metric tons a year of the greenhouse gas with its first commercial plant just outside of Zurich; and the computer vision company Dacuda.
But a growing number are spread across a number of other hubs, as well. Over the last five years, there’ve been 582 investments in deep tech companies in France alone, for example. In Germany, that number is 480. In Finland, it’s 137. In the Netherlands, it’s 332, by Atomic’s accounting.
Indeed, there have been been 282 related deals in such companies in 2016 alone, up from five years ago, when that number was 55. Are those Silicon Valley-type numbers? No, but there’s reason to think that gap in funding — there’s a fivefold difference between the U.S. and Europe — will start to narrow.
For one thing, as Atomico notes, a growing number of U.S. tech companies have set up shop in Europe, and those European employees are just as likely as their U.S. counterparts to start their own companies eventually. Alphabet is now in Zurich and London. Facebook is in Paris; London; and Somerset, England. Apple is in Cambridge; Berlin; Lund, Sweden, and Grenoble, France. Conglomerates headquartered in Asia are also planting flags in Europe, including Japan’s Rakuten, which now has an artificial intelligence center in Paris.
Civis Analytics, a three-year-old, Chicago-based data intelligence company founded by the chief analytics officer of Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, has raised $22 million in Series A funding. Drive Capital led the round, with participation from Alphabet’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Verizon Ventures, and the ad holding company WPP. TechCrunch has more here.
Clue, a three-year-old, Berlin-based app built on machine learning to track a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Nokia Growth Partners. Other participants in the round include Giving Wings, Fabrice Grinda, and earlier backers Union Square Ventures, Mosaic Ventures, and Brigitte Mohn and Christophe Maire. TechCrunch has more here.
Dubsmash, a two-year-old, Berlin-based lip-syncing video app, has raised €9 million ($9.6 million) in Series B funding from earlier investors. The deal was led by Sunstone Capital; other participants include Index Ventures, Balderton Capital, Eniac Venture, and Lowercase Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
Gett, a six-year-old, New York-based on-demand ride service, has secured a $100 million, seven-year loan facility from Russia’s Sberbank. Gett has now raised $622 million to date and was reportedly looking for funding at a valuation of at least $2 billion earlier this year. TechCrunch has more here.
Grokker, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based expert-led on-demand fitness, yoga, meditation, and cooking video service, has closed its Series B round with $22.5 million in funding. Investors include SV Angel, First Round Capital, Khosla Ventures, Aspect Ventures, Interwest Partners, Comcast, and Correlation Ventures. More here.
Hyphenate, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based cloud platform that helps mobile app developers acquire and retain users by enabling them to connect and chat, has raised $13.5 million round of funding, led by Matrix Partners China. More here.
Inagora, a two-year-old, Tokyo-based e-commerce mobile platform that sells high-quality Japanese products to consumers, particularly those in China, has raised $26 million in Series B funding led by the cross-border venture firm World Innovation Lab. Other participants in the round include Japan’s ITOCHU Corporation and Ventech China. China Money Network has more here.
LovePop, a 2.5-year-old, Boston-based greeting card company, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Accomplice Ventures, with participation from Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary, Wayfair co-founder Niraj Shah, Wayne Chang of Crashlytics and Twitter, and Bob White of Bain Capital. More here.
Nohla Therapeutics, a 1.5-year-old, Seattle-based biotechnology company that’s developing universal donor cellular therapies for patients with blood disorders and cancers, has raised $43.5 million in Series A funding led by ARCH Venture Partners, with participation from 5AM Ventures and the Jagen Group. MedCity News has more here.
Novogene Technology, a five-year-old, Beijing-based next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics company, has raised $75 million in Series B funding from China Merchants Bank Co., CMB International, SDIC Innovation, and Sigma Square Capital. More here.
Ōura Ring, a three-year-old, Finnish company that makes smart, health-monitoring jewelry, has raised €5 million ($5.3 million) in Series A funding, including from MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito and Jaan Tallinn, who was Skype’s founding engineer and a cofounder of Kazaa. TechCrunch has more here.
Phil, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based prescription medication delivery service, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding, according to Fortune. Crosslink led the round and was joined by Eniac Ventures. More here.
ServiceAide, a six-month-old, San Jose, Ca.-based provider of IT and cloud services for small and medium businesses, has raised $12 million in new funding led by Arrowroot Capital. More here.
SonarSource, an eight-year-old, Geneva, Switzerland-based maker of quality assurance tools for software code, has raised $45 million in funding from Insight Venture Partners. Tech.eu has more here.
Sudden Coffee, a year-old, San Francisco-based maker of instant coffee vials, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by CRV, with participation from Founder Collective, Lifeline Ventures, and several angel investors. More here.
TicketSauce, a three-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based company that makes event management software, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding led by Draper Frontier Opp & Tech Fund. More here.
TraceLink, a seven-year-old, North Reading, Ma.-based SaaS platform for tracking and tracing pharmaceuticals, has raised $51.5 million in Series C funding led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. Earlier backers FirstMark Capital, Volition Capital, and F-Prime Capital also participated in the round. TechCrunch has more here.
Accel India has closed its fifth fund with $450 million, roughly two years after closing its fourth fund with $325 million. Whether it’s another sign of froth in the country or underscores a very real opportunity remains open to argument. In the meantime, Shekhar Kirani, a Bangalore-based partner who joined Accel in 2011, answered some of our related questions via email last night. More here.
Singapore’s Jungle Ventures today confirmed the final close of its newest $100 million fund for investments in Southeast Asia. The firm announced plans for the fund — its second — in September 2015, when it completed a first close. More here.
Another non-tech company picking up a tech startup: this time it’s Dick’s Sporting Goods, which is expanding its digital tools with the acquisition of GameChanger Media, maker of a mobile scorekeeping app. According to CrunchBase, GameChanger had raised roughly $10 million from investors, including BoxGroup, Trilogy Equity Partners, and Costanoa Venture Capital. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.
GetInsured, an 11-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based platform that helps users find health coverage, has acquired Array Health, a 10-year-old, Seattle-based provider of group health insurance e-commerce technolog. Terms aren’t being disclosed. CrunchBase doesn’t turn up any funding data for GetInsured, but it shows that Array Health had raised roughly $13 millionfrom investors, including Founders Co-op, Noro-Moseley Partners, and Vocap Investment Partners. GeekWire has more here.
Politico founders Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei kind of, partly reveal their new plan for media domination.
GoPro is cutting 200 jobs, about 15 percent of its global workforce.
Famed hacker George Hotz is resurrecting the DIY autonomous car project he canceled in October, but this time, he’s giving the code away.
Power VC Vinod Khosla has refused to sell a six-acre public right of way to a California beach alongside one of his properties, the State Lands Commission disclosed today. The agency will now have to vote on whether to pursue eminent domain against him. More here.
Five young CEOs who had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad 2016.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Ventures is looking to hire an associate. The job is in Palo Alto, Ca.
And it taketh away: Facebook has cut off live video access to Prisma, an increasingly popular company whose apps turn photos and videos into “artworks” using the styles of famous artists.
How Google is challenging AWS.
The hack that scared Apple straight.
Confessions of an Instagram influencer.
Build instant rapport in an interview.
How to hide $400 million.
The “Elder Statesman.” (Never actually buy this, please.)