Hi, everyone! We’re in London for one more full day for Disrupt, where we’re having a great time, despite freezing our buns (there’s not so much heat here at the venue). If you’re curious about investors’ hopes and fears for 2017, you might check out our sit-down with LP Beezer Clarkson, entrepreneur-investor Fabrice Grinda, and TCV’s John Doran here. And if you want to check out the rest of TC’s coverage (there’ve been a lot of interesting discussions happening), you can watch them out here.
Top News in the A.M.
Tim Cook says the Apple Watch just broke a sales record.
Google says it will run its entire operations on renewable energy next year.
Longtime VC Michael Goguen Slapped with an Even Stranger Lawsuit
Michael Goguen — a longtime venture capitalist whose career at Sequoia Capital ended earlier this year after he was sued in a salacious breach of contract suit that accused him of sexually mistreating a woman named Amber Baptiste and then refusing to honor a financial arrangement they made afterward — has been hit with yet another strange lawsuit. But this one has a surprise twist
Filed Friday in San Mateo County Court, Goguen is this time being accused of breaching a contract with a former acquaintance named Bryan Nash, who says in his lawsuit that Goguen agreed to pay him a whopping $19 million for public relations and asset management services, then didn’t
Sounds strange, right? Keep reading.
According to Nash’s suit, he first met Goguen in 1994 and they became “friends.” As Nash and Goguen’s “friendship developed,” they enjoyed “joint family gatherings,” took “vacations together,” went “mountain biking together,” and also exercised together.
Fast forward to April of this year (and the suit basically does precisely that), and Nash “stated to [Goguen] that he was going to consult with an attorney to see what legal rights he had that would addressing the wrongs he felt had been done to him by Goguen.” (The suit does not outline these alleged wrongs.) It goes on to read that “Goguen stated that he did not think that was necessary, but rather they could just come to an agreement to address these wrongs, and other issues, and suggested that they work together
What the two settled on, says Nash, were “services” that Nash would provide for Goguen, including “unrelated professional and personal assistance to Goguen for the payment of $19 million
Goguen, according to the suit, then agreed to wire an initial payment of $15 million.” Yet “before the funds were deposited through the wire transfer, Goguen withheld, or revoked it,” it states
Now, Nash is suiting for “damages due to this breach” to the tune of $15 million.
If this lawsuit doesn’t seem to add up, it’s for good reason, say multiple sources.
Abyrx, a three-year-old, Irvington, N.Y.-based specialty bio-surgical products company, has raised $10 million in funding from members of its executive team, along with Canaan Partners, MedEdge, and BB Biotech Ventures. More here.
Accompany, a three-year-old, Los Altos, Ca.-based platform that integrates users’ email, contacts, and social feeds to keep them better informed about their professional connections, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Ignition Partners led the round, with participation from earlier backer CRV. TechCrunch has more here.
Hubba, a four-year-old, Toronto-based whose software allows retailers to access marketing and product information, has raised an undisclosed amount in a new round of new venture-capital financing led by Goldman Sachs Group. The WSJ says the round is expected to be close to $45 million. More here.
Metabolon, a 16-year-old, Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based precision medicine company, has raised $15 million in new funding from Essex Woodlands, a healthcare growth equity firm. The funding follows an initial $15 million investment from Essex that closed in August. More here.
MoneyLion, a three-year-old, New York-based mobile personal finance platform, has raised $22.5 million in Series A funding led by Edison Partners, with participation from earlier backers FinTech Collective, Citizen.VC, Clocktower Ventures, Broadhaven Capital Partners, Montage Ventures, and other unnamed investors. More here.
R3, a four-year-old, New York-based blockchain startup, says it plans to close on $150 million in funding in the first quarter of next year. Investors include at least 42 banks that are part of a 70-plus member consortium of financial institutions that are helping R3 developing its products. More here.
StrongDM, a four-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company that helps is customers detect and prevent internal data leaks, has raised $3 million in funding from True Ventures, with participation from existing investors Bloomberg Beta, Laconia Capital Group, Social Starts, and Jerry Neumann, among others. More here.
Visbit, a 1.5-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based virtual reality and 360-degree video streaming company, has raised $3.2 million in seed funding, with participation from Presence Capital, ZhenFund, Colopl Next, Amino Capital, and Eversunny Ltd. More here.
China’s Huiyin Group, a multibillion-dollar investment company, has announced it is setting aside $100 million for a blockchain-focused fund called Huiyin Blockchain Venture. According to one report, the outfit plans to commit at least $20 million over the next 6 to 12 months. More here.
More details on the new fund of Bill Maris, the founder and longtime CEO of GV (formerly Google Ventures). According to Recode, Maris has named his new outfit Section 32 (a “Star Trek” reference, apparently) and is raising around $230 million to focus largely on health care invesments. Recode says Section 32’s operations will be based largely in San Diego rather than San Francisco. More here.
French venture capital firm Partech Ventures, the French venture capital firm, has closed a new seed fund with €100 million in commitments ($107 million) from 90 individual investors. The fund aims to back about 80 startups, averaging three new investments per month, with two-thirds of the companies it backs based in Europe. More here.
Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest makers and marketers of meat products, has formed a $150 million venture capital fund to back food and agriculture startups. A Tyson EVP tells TechCrunch that the fund will seek to invest in startups solving problems around food production, distribution, nutrition, food waste and safety. More here.
German hotel booking site Trivago updated its plans for a U.S. IPO in a filing yesterday. The company expects to price its shares between $13 to $15, or a $428 million offering at the top end of the range. TechCrunch has more here.
The e-commerce company Shopify has acquired the digital product studio Tiny Hearts, a seven-year-old, Toronto-based maker of numerous mobile apps, games and bots. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but Tiny Hearts’s six-person production team will join Shopify. Tiny Hearts appears to have been bootstrapped. More here.
WP Curve, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based, self-funded WordPress services startup, has been acquired by GoDaddy for undisclosed terms. More here.
Doug Landis has joined Emergence Capital as a growth partner. Landis has been at Box since 2012, most recently with the title of “Chief Storyteller.” Before that, he was Box’s VP of sales productivity, and for nearly five years prior to that he held a similar role at Salesforce. Fortune has more here.
Michael Lynch, who co-founded and later sold the company, Autonomy, said yesterday that its acquirer, Hewlett-Packard, which is suing Lynch for allegedly misrepresenting the health of Autonomy, has been employing “a lot of spin” and called its lawsuit “bullshit.” Lynch today runs an investment firm called Invoke Capital. More here.
Pritzker Group Venture Capital is hiring a senior associate for its Chicago team. This role is a post-MBA position. To apply, email associate Eric Duboe, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Supreme Court just ruled for Samsung in its smartphone fight with Apple. Reuters has more here.
Amazon‘s new grocery store will let you walk in, pick up items, and leave without having to pay to cashier or scan anything. Star tech reporter Amir Efrati thinks the tech involved — machine learning, deep-learning algorithms and sensor fusion, “much like you’d find in self-driving cars,” says an Amazon — confirms that Amazon is also working on self-driving cars.
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube are partnering to help curb the spread of terrorist content on their platforms. The WSJ has more here.
Lapo Elkann, Fiat heir, goes from playboy to bad boy again.
Virtual reality just helped get this GS alum’s house sold for $57 million.
How “quidditch” became a thing.
A (very) cool hotel in Sweden that melts away each spring.