Hi, all, hope you’re having a terrific Thursday.
Thanks to the many of you who picked up tickets for our September event yesterday; we’ll have more info about the event for you soon.:)
Top News in the A.M.
Starting today, Uber’s new in-app tipping option is being rolled out in 100 cities in the US and Canada, including major markets like New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
It was a good run, but three months in, Tesla has lost its spot as America’s most valuable automaker.
The ‘Uber of Garbage’ Picks up Steam, and $11.7 Million in Series A Funding
Sometimes, it seems like every possible on-demand service that could be created has already come along — and, in some cases, gone away. But Recycle Track Systems (RTS), a two-year-old, New York-based waste and recycling management technology company, serves to remind that there remain plenty of opportunities for startups looking to turn our smartphones into lucrative businesses.
Indeed, while companies have sprung up around everything from on-demand family care to shipping, the waste industry — valued at anywhere from $45 billion to $65 billion when accounting for collection services, treatment and disposal — has largely been left untouched by tech founders.
That’s changing. Already, one company, nine-year-old Rubicon Global in Atlanta, has raised more than $145 million from investors — including private equity king Henry Kravis — to steal away market share from incumbents like Waste Management and Republic Services. Now, RTS is aiming to do the same by making it simple for customers to schedule on-demand pick-ups through its phone app.
A high-tech garbage service may sound ridiculous to the uninitiated. But it’s no joke to customers like WeWork, Whole Foods and SoulCycle that have signed multi-year contracts in exchange for RTS’s flexible pricing options, along with notifications about when a truck has arrived and reports about exactly where their waste is being sent.
Investors are taking the company seriously, too. For starters, RTS is an asset-light business. Instead of purchasing its own trucks, RTS is partnering with a growing number of mid-size, independent haulers that it provides with feature-rich tablets to make their work more efficient — even when they aren’t being used in service to RTS.
Another apparent part of RTS’s appeal is that it’s profitable, though that might change, now that the 17-person company has raised $11.7 million in Series A funding from the Boston-based growth equity firm Volition Capital — money it plans to use to hit the gas. (Notably, Volition was the first outside money into Chewy, a pet supplies company that sold to PetSmart earlier this year in the biggest e-commerce sale to date, ever.)
To learn more, we talked yesterday with RTS co-founder and CEO Gregory Lettieri about the company and the opportunity it’s chasing. Our chat has been edited for length.
AxiomSL, a 26-year-old, New York-based maker of risk data management and regulatory reporting software for the financial services industry, has received an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from TCV. The investment represents the company’s first institutional funding; it already has a dozen offices around the globe. More here.
Clark, a year-old, New York-based startup whose app makes it easier for educators to start and manage a tutoring business, has closed a second seed funding round with $2.5 million led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company has now raised $3.5 million altogether. More here.
Go-Jek, a seven-year-old, Indonesia-based ride-hailing company, has raised between $100 million and $150 million in funding from Tencent, says Reuters. More here.
Jumbotail, a 1.5-year-old, Bangalore-based online marketplace for food and groceries, has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding from Kalaari Capital and Nexus Venture Partners. YourStory has more here.
Miso Robotics, a year-old, Pasadena, Ca.-based robotics and artificial intelligence company whose first product is a robotic kitchen assistant called Flippy, just raised $3.1 million in funding from Acacia Research Corporation, Match Robotics VC, and undisclosed strategic investors. More here.
Moglix, a two-year-old, Noida, India-based company that once sold construction supplies online and now sells enterprise software to help manufacturers become complaint with the country’s new tax codes, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. International Finance Corporation and Rocketship.vc co-led the round. Ratan Tata, the former chairman of Tata Sons, also joined the round, alongside earlier backers Accel Partners, Jungle Ventures, Shailesh Rao, and Venture Highway. The company has now raised $18 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Nightstar, a four-year-old, London-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing therapies for retinal dystrophies, has raised $45 million in Series C funding from Syncona, New Enterprise Associates, Wellington Management Company, and Redmile Group. More here.
OnboardIQ, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that aims to help companies quickly screen and hire independent workforces, just raised $9.1 million in fresh funding led by Origin Ventures, with participation by SoftTech VC, Crosslink Capital and Y Combinator. The company has now raised $10.75 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
PayFit, a two-year-old, Paris-based startup whose software helps SMEs manage the pay and leave of their employees, has raised $15.9 million in Series B funding. Accel Partners led the round, with Xavier Niel and Otium Venturealso participating. TechCrunch has more here.
Spotinst, a nearly three-year-old, San Francisco-based cloud cost management company, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from Vertex Venture Capital. Globes has more here.
Theranica Bio-Electronics, a year-old, Netanya, Israel-based biomedical technology company developing advanced electroceuticals to treat migraines, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Other participants in the round include LionBird and Corundum Open Innovation. More here.
THEVA, a 21-year-old, Bayern, Germany-based superconductor manufacturer, has raised €7 million ($7.9 million) in funding, including from Target Partnersand EnBW New Ventures. More here.
Tonsser, a four-year-old, Copenhagen-based vertical social network aimed at youth soccer players, has raised €2.5 million ($2.85 million) in new funding from earlier investors. These include Wellington Partners, SEED Capital, Booking.com cofounder Arthur Kosten, and unnamed professional soccer players. TechCrunch has more here.
Atlas Venture, the 37-year-old venture firm, has closed on $350 million for its eleventh fund. The capital will be devoted exclusively to biotechnology startups. FierceBiotech has more here.
Felix Capital, a two-year-old, London-based early-stage venture firm, has closed its second fund with $150 million in commitments. (Its debut fund closed with $120 million). Founded by longtime VC Frederic Court, Felix invests largely in fashion and lifestyle businesses that are based on digital platforms. Among its bets: Goop, the online media and e-commerce business of Gwyneth Paltrow, and the fashion news site Business of Fashion. TechCrunch has more here.
IDG Capital, a Beijing-based private equity and venture capital firm, is closing on $589 million for its fifth Chinese venture capital fund, IDG China Venture Capital Fund V, judging by this SEC filing.
LEAP Global Partners, a year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based early-stage venture firm, has held a first close on a debut fund that’s targeting $15 million in capital to invest primarily in U.S- based Latino and Mexico-based founders. The firm’s current limited partners include several prominent family-owned enterprises in Mexico, as well as unnamed U.S. investors. It has already backed two financial companies: Listo and Paystand. More here.
Canadian sushi company Bento has scrapped plans for an IPO after failing to attract enough interest from institutional investors, according to Bloomberg.
Blue Apron is getting crushed a week after its IPO.
QVC and the Home Shopping Network agreed tidat to merge in an all-stock transaction valued at about $2.1 billion, as they look to combat the rise of online shopping. QVC, which is controlled by Liberty Interactive Corp., already owns 38 percent of HSN. The WSJ has more here.
Terrafugia, the Boston-area company that has been working on flying cars since 2006, is being acquired by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, an automotive manufacturer in Hangzhou, China. Geely owns numerous other brands, including Volvo. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. Xconomy has more here.
Biotech investor Darren Blanton, who prosecutors claim was defrauded by Martin Shkreli, refused to disclose his estimated net worth under cross-examination at the Shkreli’s federal securities fraud trial. The refusal came even though Blanton has bragged previously about owning frozen bodily fluids worth $20 million alone from just one of his horses, notes CNBC. More here.
SoundCloud is cutting 40 percent of its staff (173 jobs of 420) and closing its offices in San Francisco and London. The company’s operations will be consolidated to its headquarters in Berlin and another office in New York. Bloomberg has the story here.
Some of the tech industry’s most prominent critics of President Donald Trump, including Elon Musk and Eric Schmidt, are opening their checkbooks and donating to Republican lawmakers as Silicon Valley sets its sights on the 2018 midterm election. Recode has more here.
Frontline Ventures, a five-year-old, seed-stage firm, is looking to hire a new Head of Platform. The job is in London or Dublin.
Holy, Ofo, one of China’s two bike-sharing “unicorns,” has raised $700 million in Series E funding led by e-commerce giant Alibaba, with participation from Hony Capital and CITIC Private Equity. The three-year-old company has now raised a stunning $1.3 billion altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Real-life locations that belong in Wes Anderson movies.
Envy-inducing payouts for celebrity Instagram posts.
Live like Pablo Escobar for a few days.