Hi, happy Wednesday, everyone! No column today but we do have some great news: After a very busy May, with our most recent StrictlyVC event followed by TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in New York, we’re starting to plan out our next StrictlyVC event in earnest. We’re still at the outset, but we’re very happy to announce our first guests: Michael Kim of Cendana Capital and Beezer Clarkson of Sapphire Ventures.
Both are limited partners — meaning they invest in the venture firms that invest in the startups — and we’re going to be talking with them about a host of things, including the role that LPs do and perhaps should be playing in determining whether bad actors get bounced from the venture industry sooner. It’s especially topical in light of the news that Legacy Venture, a limited partner in Binary Capital, was aware of the questionable reputation of cofounder Justin Caldbeck but decided to invest anyway. (In a comment to the New York Times last week, Legacy said of its decision: “We failed to follow up on information about Mr. Caldbeck’s personal behavior. We regret this oversight and are determined to do better.”)
We don’t have an event page just yet, but you can nab a seat here. The date is Wednesday, September 27. The location: the contemporary Autodesk Gallery in downtown San Francisco. Longtime readers know these seats go fairly quickly so don’t wait too long to grab yours.
In the meantime, much thanks to our friends at both the international public relations firm Ballou PR and the hardware-focused venture firm Bolt, two longtime SVC supporters that have already offered to help us in putting the evening together. If you’d also like to talk with us about partnering on this next event, we’d love to talk with you, too.
Top News in the A.M.
Omise, a four-year-old, Bangkok, Thailand-based fintech startup, has raised $25 million in new financing via a token sale — more commonly know as ICO — that closed today. The deal is notable for several reasons, including that Omise, which has already raised roughly $20 million from venture investors, is now the most established tech company to date to take this financing route. The offering also represents the first “controlled” sale that we’ve seen, with Omise capping its sale at $25 million rather than potentially raising tens of millions of dollars more based on interest. TechCrunch has more here.
Tesla shares are sinking today after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock based on what it thinks is plateauing demand. Business Insider has more here.
Bmaestro, a nine-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based startup aiming to help enterprises bring “devops” principles and practices into their organizations, has raised $4.5 million in funding led by Vertex Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Stage 1, Lool Ventures and iAngels. More here.
Diasome Pharmaceuticals, a five-year-old, Cleveland, Oh.-based life sciences company focused on treating diabetes and other metabolic conditions, has raised $30 million in funding led by Medicxi, with participation from the JDRF T1D Fund, Black Beret Life Sciences, and an investor group led by McDonald Partners. More here.
Headspace, a seven-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based maker of a meditation app, has raised $36.7 million in Series B funding from Spectrum Equity. Headspace would not comment on its valuation to Fortune, but said it has increased from the reported $250 million valuation from its prior round. More here.
InstaRem, a three-year-old, Singapore-based cross-border payment startup, has raised $13 million in new financing as it looks to expand its business into Europe. China’s GSR Ventures led the round, with participation from the Japan/Netherlands SBI-FMO Emerging Asia Financial Sector Fund. Earlier backers Vertex Ventures, Fullerton Financial Holdings, and Global Founders Capital also joined the round. More here.
Ohpen, a seven-year-old, Netherlands-based company that has built cloud-based core banking software, has raised €15 million ($17 million) in Series B funding, at a reported valuation of €100 million ($113 million). The private equity firm Amerborgh led the round. TechCrunch has more here.
Push Doctor, a four-year-old, U.K.-based startup that lets users book a video consultation with a doctor and manage other aspects of their health digitally, has raised $26.1 million in Series B funding. Accelerated Digital Venturesand Draper Esprit are co-leads, with participation from Oxford Capital, Partech Ventures, and Seventure Partners. The company has now raised roughly $37.5 million altogether. More here.
Terminus Technologies, a two-year-old, China-based IoT company that aims to help cities better manage electricity usage, traffic flow and improve public security, has raised $73 million in Series A funding from China Everbright, IDG Capital, CITIC Private Equity and other investors. China Money Network has more here.
Tide, a year-old, U.K.-based, mobile-first banking service targeting small and medium enterprise customers, has raised $14 million in Series A funding led by Anthemis and Creandum, with participation from earlier backers Passion Capital and LocalGlobe. TechCrunch has more here.
URWork, a two-year-old, Beijing-based co-working business in China modeled largely after the U.S. company WeWork, has raised $30 million in fresh funding from Beijing’s Aikang Group. The outfit has now raised $175 million altogether. More here.
UVeye, a year-old, Israel-based startup that’s building computer vision and machine learning technology that helps detect security threats by scanning the underside of passing vehicles, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding. The round was led by Ahaka Capital, with participation from angel network SeedIL. TechCrunch has more here.
Breega Capital, a four-year-old, Paris-based venture firm, just closed its second fund with €100 million ($113 million) in capital commitments. The firm, which invests primarily in seed- and Series A stage startups across Europe, closed its debut fund with $57 million. It has since backed more than 25 startups, including Exotec, GoJob, and FretLink. More here.
Cathay Innovation, a new global venture firm that plans to invest in early-stage tech companies in North America, Europe, and China, has closed its inaugural fund with $320 million in capital commitments. Its investors include Bpifrance, CDB Capital, BNP Paribas Cardif, Groupe ADP, Groupe Artemis, Groupe SEB, Joyoung, Michelin, Total, and Valeo. More here.
Cipio Partners, a 13-year-old, Munich, Germany and Luxembourg-based secondary direct and growth capital investment firm, has closed its latest fund with €174 million ($197 million) in commitments. The firm’s LPs include the European Investment Fund and UBS Asset Management. More here.
Israel and India just launched a tech fund, The Israel India Innovation Initiative Fund, or I4F, fund, to grow the countries’ business relationship. The fund was announced during an unprecedented visit to Israel by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is looking for military and other technologies as he seeks to move his country aggressively into the digital age. Bloomberg has more here.
Hong Kong has secured its second high-profile tech IPO inside a week. Following on from gaming firm Razer, which filed its prospectus on Friday, Tencent’s online publishing business — a Kindle-like service called China Literature — has followed suit with plans for a Hong Kong IPO. More here.
Baidu has acquired Kitt.ai, a three-year-old, Seattle-based startup that has developed a framework to build and power chatbots and voice-based applications across multiple platforms and devices. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed; Kitt.ai had raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Amazon’s Alexa Fund and the Seattle-based Founders Co-op. TechCrunch has more here.
Worldpay, a 26-year-old, London-based payments processing company that competes with the likes of Stripe and trades publicly on the London Stock Exchange, is being acquired by the U.S. payments company Vantiv for just less than $10 billion. TechCrunch has more here.
Serial founder Alex Bard has joined Redpoint Ventures as a partner. Some readers may recall that Bard sold his last company, Assistly, to Salesforce in 2011. He more recently spent two years as CEO of the email marketing platform Campaign Monitor. More here.
A court in Shanghai has frozen $182 million in assets tied to the LeEco’s chairman, Jia Yueting, after an affiliate of the beleaguered Chinese tech company missed its loan payments.
A female engineer who came forward with claims of harassment at Tesla says she was fired in retaliation. Now other women are voicing similar concerns.
The Information has a report this morning on simmering conflicts between Uber‘s various board members. Interestingly, one director reportedly told “someone close to Uber’s board” that without Travis Kalanick as CEO, a sale to Alphabet is now within the realm of possibility.
According to data from comScore, cord cutters are watching more Netflix each month than YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Video combined. More here.
Samsung is working on its own voice-activated smart speaker device to compete with Amazon’s Echo and others. The WSJ has more here.
Alibaba is working on its own voice-activated smart speaker device to compete with Amazon’s Echo (and, now, evidently, Samsung). Bloomberg has more here.
Apple is reportedly working on a feature that will let you unlock your iPhone using your face instead of a fingerprint. Bloomberg has more here.
Now the question: Can 500 Startups survive?
How high school popularity follows you into adulthood.
Six great wines hurt by bad art.
“Trainspotting” author Irvine Welsh really loves rooting for fellow Scotsman Andy Murray, judging by his colorful Twitter account.
The Shanghai-based bike sharing company Mobike just launched a trial to make some money off its network of five million bikes around 100 cities globally. Step one: selling raincoats to riders.