Hi, everyone! Happy Wednesday.:) Hope yours is going well.
Top News in the A.M.
The price of bitcoin is soaring to new heights today.
Donald Trump said today that he plans to nominate Jay Clayton, a partner with the prominent New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, to lead the SEC. As an advisor to Goldman Sachs, Clayton is the latest appointment with strong ties to Wall Street, notes Dealbook. More here.
Rockets of Awesome, a New Kids’ Clothing Brand, Just Raised $12.5M
Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, and other subscription e-commerce businesses have made it easier for adults to discover clothing they like without having to trundle through department stores. Users sign up for the services, which survey them about their likes, dislikes, preferred brands and price points, then they begin receiving pre-scheduled or on-demand deliveries of clothes that they can either keep or return.
The services ostensibly grow smarter the longer the consumer uses the service. They also appeal to parents, who want the same easy shopping experience when it comes to outfitting their kids. So suggests $12.5 million in new funding for Rockets of Awesome, a year-old, New York-based subscription service that sends 12 pieces of clothing per child to its customers at the start of each season and that charges parents only for what they keep. (Returns are free and the company says it learns from them to improve its customers’ experience.)
The new round was led by August Capital, with participation from earlier backers General Catalyst Partners and Forerunner Ventures, which had previously provided the company with $7 million in seed funding, along with Female Founders Fund and Launch Incubator.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who recently wrote a check to another newish retail brand backed by General Catalyst called Outdoor Voices, also joined the round.
Rockets of Awesome isn’t an exact replica of its adult-centric predecessors. Most significantly, it isn’t acting as a personal shopper. Instead of sending brands to parents that they (or their kids) like, the company makes it own apparel.
Ascletis, a five-year-old, Chapel Hill, N.C.-based specialty therapeutics company that’s developing treatments for cancer and infectious diseases, has raised $100 million in Series B funding led by C-Bridge Capital, with participation from QianHai Equity Investment, Focus Media Jiangnanchun Foundation, WTT Investment, Goldman Sachs, and Tasly, a China-based pharmaceutical company. FierceBiotech has more here.
Audio Analytic, an eight-year-old, Cambridge, U.K.-based company whose sound recognition software is used by security and home automation companies so their devices can detect sounds like smoke alarms and glass breaking, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Cambridge Innovation Capital. Other participants in the round include IQ Capital, Rockspring, Cambridge Angels and Martlet.
Mobibike, a 1.5-year-old, Shanghai, China-based bike share service, has raised a whopping $215 million in Series D funding led by internet giant Tencent (which is an earlier investor in the company) and Warburg Pincus. Other participants in the round include the online travel giant Ctrip, Huazhu Hotels Group, and earlier backers Sequoia China and Hillhouse Capital. The company did not disclose its valuation. TechCrunch has more here.
Ripio, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based bitcoin and digital payments startup formerly known as BitPagos, has raised $1.9 million in Series A funding led by Huiyin Blockchain Venture, with participation from Digital Currency Group, Boost VC and Draper VC. TechCrunch has more here.
Sarcos Robotics, a two-year-old, Bellevue, Wa.- based company that makes dexterous industrial robots for use in unstructured environments, has raised $15.6 million in Series A funding led by Schlumberger, with participation from Microsoft, GE Ventures, and Caterpillar. More here.
Satchel, a London-based company whose onlin platform, Show My Homework, allows teachers to set, grade and monitor homework while keeping parents informed of their child’s progress, has raised £2.4 million (roughly $3 million) in seed funding led by LocalGlobe. More here.
scPharmaceuticals, a two-year-old, Lexington, Ma.-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing drugs for subcutaneous delivery, has raised $45.6 million in Series B funding co-led by OrbiMed and a Sun Pharma subsidiary, with participation from return backers 5AM Ventures and Lundbeckfond Ventures. More here.
Synthego, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based genetic engineering startup whose products currently focus on helping scientists in their Crispr research by providing important genetic material used in the process, has raised $41 million in Series B funding. The firm 8VC led the round, with participation from top biochemist Jennifer Doudna, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, and previous investors Founders Fund and Menlo Ventures. Dealbook has more here.
Digitalis, a year-old, New York-based seed- and early-stage venture fund aiming to fund startups that focus on human health, is looking to raise $100 million for its debut fund. Digitalis was founded by longtime VC Geoffrey Smith, who previously spent 14 years as a general partner with Ascent Biomedical Ventures and more recently worked as a managing director at Mars Ventures. More here.
SoftBank Group has lined up San Diego-based chip maker Qualcomm as an investor in its new technology fund, helping the portfolio reach its $100 billion goal. Meanwhile, Apple has today confirmed that it plans to invest $1 billion in the same fund. More here and here.
SOSV Investments, a Cork, Ireland-based accelerator and venture capital firm, has raised $150 million for its third fund — and SOSV’s first fund open to be open to outside investors. Its LPs include International Finance Corp., the Lemelson Foundation, the Russell Family Foundation, and Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopolous. More here.
Versant Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm focusing on healthcare investments, has raised $400 million for its sixth fund. According to the firm, it plans to invest in up to 25 companies from the fund; 20 percent of them are expected to be medical device companies, with the rest going into biotech ventures. More here.
China’s third-biggest search engine — Sougou — expects to hold a U.S. IPO at a valuation of as much as $5 billion as it races to catch leader Baidu in the mobile market. Its CEO tells Bloomberg that it plans to sell about 10 percent of its shares in an offering that will probably happen this year.
Floored, a 4.5-year-old, New York-based commercial real estate software company, is being acquired by the real estate services firm CBRE Group for undisclosed terms. CBRE says Floored’s 39 employees will join its ranks as part of the agreement. Floored had raised roughly $7.4 million from investors, shows CrunchBase. Its backers include RRE Ventures, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Accel Partners, Greycroft Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Two Sigma Ventures. More here.
PureWow, a six-year-old, New York-based digital media company focused on “upper” millennial and Gen-X women, has been acquired by The Gallery, a new company that will house PureWow and seek to build out or acquire other media properties to target readers in different demographic groups. PureWow is technically being acquired by investor Gary Vaynerchuk, along with RSE Ventures, a venture firm led by real estate developer and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Vanyer/RSE, a fund founded by Vaynerchuk and Ross, were also among PureWow’s investors. The WSJ has more here.
Freskdesk, a six-year-old, San Bruno, Ca.-baesd venture-backed cloud customer service platform, has acquired the two-year-old, Banglaore-based startup Pipemonk for an undisclosed amount. Pipemonk helps companies move data between cloud platforms. TechCrunch has more here.
Novartis’s former pharmaceuticals head, David Epstein, has joined a biotech-focused venture-capital firm, in what is becoming a well-trodden path for drug-industry bosses. More here.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has given more weight to the idea that he could move into politics with the announcement of his personal challenge for 2017. This year he wants to have visited and met people in every state in the U.S. He wouldn’t be limited to just two years working in the government while still controlling Facebook, as has been widely reported, either. A closer examination of SEC by TechCrunch documents reveals he need only own enough Facebook stock or have the (fairly small, insular) board’s approval to be allowed to serve in government indefinitely.
Where are they now: a look at where the first class of Thiel Fellows has landed, five years after dropping out of school to join the program.
Blumberg Capital, an early-stage venture firm, is looking to bring aboard an associate. The job is in San Francisco.
Cota Capital, an early-stage venture firm, is looking to hire an associate. The job is in San Francisco.
Fenox Venture Capital, an early-stage venture firm, is looking to hire a senior associate. The job is in San Jose, Ca.
What Silicon Valley sees in Enterprise Rent-a Car.
Amazon now plans to sell its own line of workout clothes.
Five years in, Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project isn’t much closer to becoming a real city.
Americans eat 554 million Jack in the Box tacos a year, and no one knows why.
A two-year experiment in Sweden that involved cutting working hours while maintaining pay levels is coming to an end; here’s what happened.
Stuck in Vegas for CES? Here are the five restaurant reservations you apparently be making right now.
The Frauscher 1414; it’s a lil’ devil.