Hi, happy Tuesday, everyone! We’re getting very excited to see a bunch of you on the 27th.:) We’re also happy to announce that our friend and former colleague Lora Kolodny of CNBC has joined the program.
In the meantime, a quick reminder for those of you in San Francisco that TechCrunch’s Disrupt show is coming up even faster — two weeks from now, in fact. We’ll be sitting down for chats with top investors Sam Altman, Kirsten Greene, and Steve Jurvetson as part of the program and we’ll share what they say with you (natch).
Top News in the A.M.
Bloop! Credit reporting firm Equifax says a data breach could potentially affect 143 million of U.S. consumers.
Amazon said earlier today that it plans to open a second headquarters in North America to house up to 50,000 employees. Bids are due by October 19 for a location for the structure, which Amazon says could cost up to $5 billion to build. More here.
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CNN. TechCrunch. WSJ. Forbes. Bloomberg. Business Insider. These are a fraction of the outlets where our clients have appeared — and they’ve paid us a fraction of the price most PR firms charge them for our efforts. We’re Rosebud Communications. Find out just how scrappy we are, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annie’s Longtime CEO is Working on a “Stealth” Food Startup
John Foraker, who led the well-known organic food brand Annie’s for 17 years, is working on a new organic food startup in Berkeley, according to both his LinkedIn account and a recent report in the Star Tribune of Minnesota.
General Mills bought Annie’s for $820 million in 2014. Foraker was supposed to stay for one year. He stayed on for three but told the Star last month that he isn’t cut out for corporate life and instead wants to pour his time into his new startup, which he expects will grow “big and fast into a highly disruptive force in the organic food space.”
Foraker has also been somewhat active as an angel investor. In 2015, for example, he participated in a $22 million funding round for CircleUp, the crowdfunding platform for consumer brands to raise money from accredited investors. According to a new SEC filing, Foraker also contributed recently to a $5.3 million round for Bkhati Chai, an iced tea line based in Boulder, Colorado. And he lists Quinn, a new, snacks brand that makes pretzels and microwaveable popcorn, among his investments on the platform AngelList.
Foraker remains a special advisor to General Mills. He has said he’ll be taking the wraps off his new startup this fall.
If General Mills is an investor, don’t be surprised.
Airobotics, a three-year-old Israel-based building autonomous drones for the enterprise sector and, increasingly, for defense and homeland security, just raised $32.5 million in funding led by BlueRun Ventures China, with participation from Microsoft Ventures and OurCrowd.com. TechCrunch has more here.
Excision BioTherapeutics, a two-year-old, Philadelphia-based startup that is working on a CRISPER-based HIV treatment, has raised $10 million in seed funding led by Artis Ventures, the low-flying firm that led Stemcentrx’s Series A round. More on Excision here.
Favor, a four-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based on-demand delivery service that’s focused on its home state for now, has raised $22 million in Series B funding led by its earlier backer, S3 Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Gritstone Oncology, a two-year-old, Emeryville, Ca.-based personalized cancer immunotherapy startup, has raised $93 million in Series B funding led by Lilly Asia Ventures, with participation from GV, Trinitas Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments and earlier backers Versant Ventures, The Column Group, Clarus Funds and Frazier Healthcare Partners. Business Insider has more here.
Guru, a four-year-old, Philadelphia-based startup whose Chrome extension has been likened to a “tricked-out internal wiki” that provides information to staffers that they can use to close a deal or respond to a customer complaint, has raised $9.3 million in Series A funding led by Emergence Capital. Earlier backers FirstMark Capital and MSD Capital also joined the round. More here.
Innoviz Technologies, a 1.5-year-old Israel-based company at work on developing LiDAR remote sensing solutions, has raised $65 million in Series B funding from Delphi Automotive, Magna International, 360 Capital Partners, Naver and Glory Ventures. Earlier backers Zohar Zisapel, Vertex Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Amiti Ventures and Delek Motors also participated. TechCrunch has more here.
MapR Technologies, an eight-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based data management platform, has raised $56 million from earlier investors, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Forbes has more here.
Movandi, a 1.5-year-old, Newport Beach, Ca.-based startup that was launched by a brother-and-sister team from Broadcom and has build a millimeter-wave module for 5G networks, has raised $9 million in funding, including from Cota Capital, shows an SEC filing. More on the company in EETimes.
NOW Money, a two-year-old, Dubai-based fintech startup focused on improving the lives of regional, low-income migrant workers, raised $1.46 million in bridge funding, including from Myrisoph Capital and WAIN. More here.
NS1, a four-year-old, New York-based intelligent DNS and traffic management provider, has raised $20 million in funding led by GGV Capital. Other participants in the round include Salesforce Ventures, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, Sigma Prime Ventures, Telstra Ventures and Two Sigma Ventures. More here.
OncoStem Diagnostics, a six-year-old, Bengaluru, India-based personalized cancer treatment start-up, has raised $6 million from Sequoia Capital India. LiveMint has more here.
OYO, a four-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based budget hotel network, has raised $250 million in funding led by SoftBank‘s Vision Fund. Other participants in the round include Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Greenoaks Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
Roobo, a three-year-old, Beijing, China-based AI-startup that’s building home service robots, has raised $53 million in Series B funding led by Seven Seas Partners. China Money Network has more here.
Shunwei, a three-year-old, China-based company that provides indoor positioning services for mobile Internet platforms and smartphone manufacturers, has raised $7.7 million in Series A funding led by Fosun RZ Capital. China Money Network has more here.
Weave Communications, a nine-year-old, Lehi, Ut.-based unified patient communication technology platform, has raised $17 million in Series B-1 funding. Catalyst Investors led the round, and was joined by earlier investors Crosslink Capital and Pelion Venture Partners. More here.
Wuxi NextCode, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based contract genomics company, has raised $165 million in additional Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital China. The round, which now stands at $240 altogether, also includes Temasek, Yunfeng Capital and 3W Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
Aristos Ventures, a 5.5-year-old, Dallas-based micro VC fund that writes checks of between $300,000 and $2 million, is looking to raise a $15 million fund, per an SEC filing that shows it has raised $4.2 million toward that end. Aristos was founded by Felipe Mendoza, a former engineering manager at Flextronics who later served as an associate and the CFO of Silver Creek Ventures in Dallas. More here.
Tempus Partners, a five-year-old, Syndey, Australia-based venture firm, is launching a $40 million fund to invest in local B2B startups. The firm closed its debut fund with $15 million in 2014. More here.
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“Work like there’s someone trying to take it away from you 24 hours a day,” says Dave.com investor Mark Cuban. So Dave co-founder Jason Wilk keeps some insane hours. Email him at 2:01am? You might hear from him by 2:05. He’s intensely reliable, kind of like Dave.com, which looks out for you and keeps you from overdrafting before it happens. And yes, they’re a FinLab company (one of today’s sponsors). Here’s a little more about them.
Alice, a New York startup that sells operations software to hotels, has acquired a competitor, GoConcierge, for undisclosed terms. If Alice sounds familiar, it’s because last week, Expedia became a majority investor in the company as part of a $26 million round. The outlet Skift wonders if Expedia is thinking about thinking about selling more software to hoteliers. More here.
Agricultural equipment giant Deere and Company says it’s spending $305 million to acquire the six-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based ag-tech startup Blue River Technology, which develops machine learning technology for precision farming. According to Crunchbase, Blue River had raised $30.35 million from investors, including, notably, Monsanto’s venture capital arm, Monsanto Growth Ventures. Other backers include Data Collective, Pontifax AgTech, Innovation Endeavors and Khosla Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Nestle is buying Sweet Earth, a six-year-old, Moss Landing, Ca.-based company that makes frozen meals and chilled, plant-based burgers. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Sweet Earth raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding from Renewal Funds. Fortune has more here.
Unilever has acquired Pukka, a British organic tea company that makes flavors such as turmeric gold and mint matcha. Terms weren’t disclosed. Bloomberg has more here.
VizEat, the European “social eating platform” that connects travelers and local hosts around authentic food experiences, has acquired EatWith, a similar startup headquartered in San Francisco. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. EatWith is thought to have raised more than $8 million from backers, including Greylock Partners. TechCrunch has the story here.
Battery Ventures promoted seven team members: Zack Smotherman was promoted to principal. Roland Anderson, Sabrina Chiasson and Satoshi Harris-Koizumi were promoted to vice president. Three other team members were promoted associate: Brandon Gleklen, Dominic Kallas, and Adi Dangot Zukovsky. (Click through to see their LinkedIn profiles.)
Former Binary Capital partner Justin Caldbeck, who resigned in June after multiple women alleged he had sexually harassed them, sent a cease-and-desist letter to entrepreneur Niniane Wang to prevent her from repeating allegations that he attempted to silence reporters and other accusers. The letter calls out comments that Wang made at a Fortune conference in July. Buzzfeed has more here.
A Massachusetts judge has sided with Techdirt, dismissing a $15 million lawsuit against the media company, its founder Mike Masnick and writer Leigh Beadon. The suit centered on Techdirt’s coverage of Shiva Ayyadurai’s claim that he is the inventor of email and Masnick’s article, “Here’s The Truth: Shiva Ayyadurai Didn’t Invent Email.” Ayyadurai had sued Techdirt for defamation. TechCrunch has more here.
Nate Williams has joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as an entrepreneur-in-residence. He was previously chief revenue officer and head of business for August Home. (H/T: Axios.)
Learn Capital is looking for a part-time investment team fellow this fall. The job is in San Mateo, Ca.
A record $800 million poured into ICOs in the second quarter.
Apple‘s new iPhone, expected to be unveiled this coming Tuesday, was plagued by production glitches this summer, according to WSJ sources; they suggest that, as a result, the company could face supply shortfalls when customers start ordering the device later this month.
Atlassian just built a Slack competitor.
Graydon Carter is ending his 25-year run as Vanity Fair’s editor.
The best and worst countries to live and work in, according to expats.
How to decline a job offer respectfully.
Toy blocks that make coding so easy, a monkey kids could do it.