StrictlyVC: November 27, 2017

November 27, 2017

 

Happy Monday! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, everyone. We so loved seeing our own out-of-town guests, as did Brodie the Wonder Dog (when he wasn’t trying to tunnel to the center of the earth via our our backyard).

 

We’re off to Berlin later this week for TechCrunch’s newest Disrupt event, by the way. If you’re thinking of going and haven’t bought a ticket yet, it’s a good day to do that.

 

 

Top News

 

The White House’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, arrived at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with donuts this morning to assume the job of acting director after agency official Leandra English sued to block the Trump administration from taking control of the agency —  which Mulvaney has characterized as a “sad, sick joke” and reportedly aims to dismantle. (English also showed up at the agency this morning.)

 

We wrote this weekend why this drama may not impact venture-backed online lenders so much much as a separate move to reduce the CFPB’s power last month.(Funny aside: an employee for the agency told the Times as he approached the bureau today, “I knew on Friday who my boss was. But thanks to this idiot, I don’t know.” He did not clarify which idiot.)

 

Last night, a sale agreement was struck that puts Time Inc., publisher of once-prestigious magazine titles like Time, Sports Illustrated and People, into the hands of The Meredith Corporation, owner of Family Circle and AllRecipes, for $3 billion in cash — $650 million of which is coming from the ultraconservative billionaire Koch brothers. As notes the New York Times, the deal could well “represent the beginning of the end for one of the country’s most celebrated magazine publishers.”

 

 

Sponsored By …

 

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New Fundings

 

Biolinq, a five-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based digital health company with a wirelessly enabled biosensor patch capable of continuously monitoring multiple biomarkers, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by M Ventures. Other participants in the round include Hikma VenturesGrey Sky Venture Partners,Three Leaf VenturesLifeSci Venture Partners, and numerous individuals. More here.

 

ClimaCell, a two-year-old, Boston-based weather forecasting technology that uses wireless networks to create granular predictions, has raised $15 million in funding led by Canaan Partners, with participation from Fontinalis Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

 

LabGenius, a five-year-old, London-based synthetic biology startup, has raised $3.66 million in seed funding co-led by Kindred Capital and Acequia Capital, with participation from Backed VCBeast VenturesBerggruen Holdings andSystem.OneMore here.

 

Libra, a nearly four-year-old, New York-based startup that sells financial software for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, has raised $7.8 million in Series A funding. The round was led by an unnamed “multibillion dollar European family office,” with participation from Liberty City VenturesXBTOBoost VC, and angel investor Lee LindenMore here.

 

Lyft, the five-year-old, San Francisco-based ride-share company, is raising up to $500 million in new funding, as an extension to the $1 billion round recently led byCapitalG. Axios has more here.

 

Medeor Therapeutics, a three-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based clinical-stage biotechnology company working on personalized cellular immunotherapies that help reduce transplant rejections, has raised $57 million in Series B funding led by RA Capital Management. Other participants in the round include Sofinnova Ventures and 6 Dimensions Capital, as well as earlier backers Vivo Capital andWuXi Healthcare VenturesMore here.

 

Niantic, the six-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile AR game-maker behind Pokémon Go, has raised $200 million in Series B funding. Spark Capital led the round, and was joined by Founders FundMeritech Capital PartnersJavelin Venture Partners and NeatEase. The WSJ has more here.

 

Victoria Beckham Ltd., a nine-year-old, London-based luxury fashion retailer and e-commerce company, has raised £30 million (roughly $40 million) in new funding from NEO Investment Partners, according to Business of Fashion. The deal reportedly values the company at £100 million ($133 million). More here.

 

 

New Funds

 

Balderton Capital, the London-based early-stage venture firm, has closed its sixth fund with $375 million in commitments, says TechCrunch, which reports the capital has already been used to make ten investments. More here.

 

Adam Jackson, the former CEO of telemedicine startup Doctor on Demand, has co-founded a cryptocurrency hedge fund called Cambrian Asset Management, says Axios. His co-founders are Martin Green, formerly the president of Meebo, and Jay Posner, formerly of Blue Cub Capital.

 

Techstars Ventures, a Boulder, Colo.-based venture capital firm, is raising $400 million for a new venture capital fund, shows an SEC filing processed earlier this month.

 

 

IPOs

 

WeLab, a four-year-old, Hong Kong-based online mobile lending start-up that’s backed by Credit Suisse Group, local tycoon Li Ka-Shing, and Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, is planning an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where it aims to raise as much as $500 million. China Money Network has more here.

 

 

Exits

 

Barracuda Networks, a cloud computing and data security company, said today that it has agreed to be taken private in a $1.6 billion deal. Private equity firmThoma Bravo will pay all cash. Barracuda shareholders will receive $27.55 per share, which represents a 17 percent premium from its last closing price. Forbes hasmore here.

 

McAfee, one of the world’s best-known independent cybersecurity companies, says it’s acquiring Skyhigh Networks, a six-year-old, Campbell, Ca.-based cloud-service protection platform that had raised a whopping $106.5 million, including fromSequoia PartnersGreylock Partners, and ThomVest Ventures. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Mingbike, a Chinese bike-share company, appears to have gone bust, according to the South China Post. It has laid off 99 percent of its staff, according to reports, and some of those employees say they haven’t received their salary in several months.  Mingbike is the third dockless bike-share company in China to shut down in recent months, following Bluegogo and Coolqi. China’s bike-sharing market, overcrowded with more than 40 platforms, has attracted $2 billion in funding over the last 18 months, notes the Post.

 

 

People

 

Bhaskar Ghosh is joining the venture firm 8VC as a partner and chief technology officer. Ghosh has been an investor and member of outfit’s advisory board since 2015. He was previously the VP of engineering, operations and security at the startup NerdWallet.

 

David Karp, founder of Tumblr, is resigning finally from the company (which was famously acquired by Yahoo for $1.1 billion in cash, which itself was more recently acquired by AOL, before it became Oath). Here’s the letter Karp sent to his team.

 

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel is still very much a billionaire, despite the long slide in Snap’s share price since the company’s March IPO. Why mention this? Because we’d written a widely read piece yesterday, reporting that he was “clinging to billionaire status by his fingernails.” Alas, we’d wrongly overlooked Spiegel’s series B and series C shares. We couldn’t learn the strike price of these, but combined with his series A shares, now valued at $1.07 billion, Spiegel is still worth “well north of $1 billion,” a source close to the company tells us.

 

In other billionaire news, Peter Thiel may be trying to buy Gawker so he can destroy its archived stories.

 

 

Essential Reads

 

Amazon just announced Amazon Sumerian, a new platform for developers to build and host VR, AR and 3D apps quickly and with minimal coding, for smartphones and tablets, head-based displays, digital signage and web browsers. TechCrunch has thestory here.

 

 

Detours

 

Engaged! (More here, for royal watchers.)

 

Laptops are great, but not during lectures or meetings.

 

The White House may ban its employees from using personal mobile phones while at work.

 

The “only good thing left in this world.”

 

 

Retail Therapy

 

secret shoe for Ian Fleming fans.

 

must-see movie, according to Rotten Tomatoes. (It might be the best-reviewed movie of all time, it says.)

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