Top News in the A.M.
Kalanick versus Benchmark heads today to a courtroom in Delaware, where the lawsuit ocould either be placed on a fast track or thrown out entirely.
In a rare partnership, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos just announced a tie-up that will enable users of the latter’s Alexa voice assistant to summon Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant and vice versa.
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Galvanize Lays Off 11% of Employees, as Bootcamps See Broader Correction
After years of explosive growth, coding boot camps are starting to scale back, if not shut down altogether. Two schools have announced plans to close this year: Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco and Iron Yard of Greenville, South Carolina. They have deep-pocketed parent companies, too, having been acquired by Kaplan and the Apollo Education Group, respectively.
Now, Galvanize is revealing that it, too, may have overstretched, saying in a statement obtained by Reuters that it plans to lay off 11 percent of staffers — totaling 37 employees — at its headquarters in Denver. It currently employs 350 people.
“In order to adjust to evolving market demands we made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce today,” said Galvanize, which looks to have raised $85 million from investors in its five-year history. “These actions are consistent with our overall strategy to build a more product-focused platform that enables a continuous learning environment.”
The move won’t surprise many who’ve been following the business of coding schools. “You can imagine this becoming a big industry, but not for 90 companies,” Michael Horn, a principal consultant at Entangled Solutions, an education research and consulting firm, told the New York Times in a recent story about what looks to be an early shakeout of the field.
As of 2014, there were at least 43 U.S.-based programming bootcamps that offered full-time in-person instruction or 40 or more hours of classroom time per week and were not affiliated with an accredited college or university. This according to Course Report, an outfit that tracks the industry.
By earlier this year, says the outfit, that number had reached 95 bootcamps.
Adwerx, a four-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based advertising and re-targeting network for real estate agents, has raised $4.3 million in fresh funding led by Grotech Ventures, with participation from Bull City Venture Partners and Alerion Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
ALICE, a five-year-old, New York-based startup whose platform connects every department of a hotel for all staff communications and guest requests, has raised $26 million in Series B funding. Expedia led the deal (under the leadership of Dara Khosrowshahi, who is now joining Uber as CEO.) The round brings the startup’s total funding to $39 million. TechCrunch has more here.
Appier, a five-year-old, Taiwanese startup that helps companies harness artificial intelligence to make marketing decisions, has raised $33 million in Series C funding from SoftBank, Line Corp., Naver Corp., EDBI and the Hong Kong-based financial services firm AMTD Group. The company has now raised $82 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
ARMO BioSciences, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based late-stage immuno-oncology company, has raised $67 million in Series C funding led by new investor Qiming Venture Partners, with participation from Decheng Capital, Sequoia Capital, Quan Capital and RTW Investments. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Kleiner Perkins, OrbiMed, DAG Ventures, GV and others. More here.
Convey, a four-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company aiming to give shippers better visibility in to how to reduce costs while also providing them tools to take action, has raised $8.25 million in Series B funding. Investors include Techstars and RPM Ventures. Built in Austin has more here.
Domuso, a three-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based property management system and payment portal that lets tenants in sticky situations pay late rent over time, has raised $3.1 million in funding. Investors include owner/operators of rental properties, including David Kim, founder of Bascom Group. The company has now raised $5.8 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Dwelo, a nearly three-year-old, Provo, Utah-based smart apartment platform that allows building owners to integrate smart lights, thermostats and the like while providing renters and app to control them, has raised $4.9 million in funding. Peterson Ventures led the round. The company has now raised $9.7 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.
FlowAccount, a three-year-old, Bangkok, Thailand-based cloud-based platform for business accounting, has raised $1.15 million in seed funding from Kasikorn Bank, with participation from SBI Group and earlier investors 500 Startupsand Golden Gate Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Grab, the five-year-old, Singapore-based ride-sharing company competing with Uber for dominance in Southeast Asia, has confirmed that Toyota is among investors participating in a new, $2.5 billion round of funding that it’s targeting — $2 billion of which is coming from Didi and Softbank. The financing will reportedly value Grab at more than $6 billion. TechCrunch has more here.
Homelike, a two-year-old, Cologne, Germany-based startup that helps business travelers rent furnished apartments for a month or longer, has raised €4 million (about $4.8 million) in Series A funding led by Cherry Ventures, with participation from earlier backer Coparion. TechCrunch has more here.
Ideal, a three-year-old, Toronto-based startup that builds AI-driven recruiting software, has raised $3 million in funding, including from MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. More here.
PriorAuthNow, a three-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based software company that connects directly with all insurance carriers, making it faster for hospitals to submit, monitor and complete prior authorizations, has raised $3.6 million in funding. NCT Ventures led the round, with participation from Detroit Venture Partners. More here.
Shuidi, a year-old, China-based company that runs operates three crowdfunding platforms — a crowdfunding platform a la Kickstarter called Shuidichou, an online medical community called Shuidichou, and a medical insurance platform called Shuidibao — has raised $24 million in Series A funding. Tencent and BlueRun Ventures co-led the round, with participation from Sinovation Ventures, Banyan Capital, IDG Capital, Meituan-Dianping and Tongcheng Foundation. Shiudi was founded by Shen Peng, who previously cofounded the food delivery platform Meituan Waimai. China Money Network has more here.
Treebo Hotels, a two-year-old, Bengaluru, India-based budget hotel chain, has raised $34 million in Series C funding led by the Hong Kong-based investment firms Ward Ferry Management and Karst Peak Capital. Earlier backers SAIF Partners, Matrix Partners India, and Bertelsmann India Investments also joined the round. The outlet Inc42 has more here.
Qingsong Fund, a five-year-old, China-based venture capital firm founded by Alvin Liu, a co-founder of Tencent Holdings, has closed its third fund with $129 million in committed capital from roughly 30 limited partners. The firm, which focuses on everything from education to artificial intelligence, is now managing $200 million altogether, says China Money Network. More here.
Best, a 10-year-old logistic service company that was founded by the former co-president of Google China (Johnny Chou) and is backed by Alibaba Group, is now looking to raise up to $1 billion via a U.S. IPO, up from an earlier target of $750 million. China Money Network has more here.
RedOwl, a nearly six-year-old, Baltimore-based cybersecurity analytics startup, has been acquired by a Raytheon-owned company. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but according to the Baltimore Sun, RedOwl’s 60 employees will be absorbed into the Austin, Tex.-based company, Forcepoint, which specializes in content security and data protection. According to Crunchbase, RedOwl had raised roughly $24 million, including fromBlackstone. More here.
Kathryn Hume has joined the venture firm ffVC as a venture partner. Hume is also VP of product and strategy at integrate.ai, a Toronto-based SaaS platform company that helps its customers apply AI to social media, behavioral, and first-party transaction data.
While Dara Khosrowshahi (now officially Uber’s new CEO) is at an all-hands in San Francisco today (where this selfie suggests things are going well), Expedia is planning to name its new CEO. Stay tuned.
Magic Leap, which has so far raised $1.4 billion from investors, has settled a bitter legal battle with executives who started its Silicon Valley office.
Early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar just can’t stop weighing in on Benchmark’s lawsuit with his friend and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The latest: a somewhat strange letter he wrote last week to inspire Kalanick’s attorneys that was today made public.
Fitbit is looking to hire a senior manager to its corporate development team. The job is in San Francisco.
The SEC is worried about you getting sucked into an ICO scam.
PayPal just launched its first physical credit card.
What it was like to attend SpaceX‘s Hyperloop Pod competition last weekend.
Would you like to sit down with me on my bed and check Twitter?
Organic Doritos. They’re real, and they may be heading to Whole Foods.
Lightheaded beds, for nighttime reading.