StrictlyVC: January 15, 2018

Hi, all, hope you’re having a happy Monday.:)

 

Speaking of which: according to a new Bloomberg survey, Americans are more likely to get a day off to honor Dr. King than they are for holidays remembering Christopher Columbus or George Washington. (Yay for that, employers.) NBA star LeBron James separately had some words about MLK Jr. Day, which reminds us to remind you: the Cavs are playing the Warriors today at 5 pm. PST. [Squeal!]

 

Top News

 

Researchers have found that one person likely drove Bitcoin from $150 to $1,000, says TechCrunch

 

Meawhile, China is escalating its clampdown on cryptocurrency trading, targeting online platforms and mobile apps that offer exchange-like services, according to Bloomberg.

 

Sponsored By …

 

Today’s StrictlyVC is sponsored by Siftery Track. As a reader, get free early accessto track and easily optimize your team’s software expenditures. Simply sync your credit card or accounting system, and Siftery Track will automatically create beautiful visualizations of your historic and forecasted spend. You’ll also get alerts for new products, duplicate charges, unexpected increases in spend, and more.

 

New Fundings

 

Auto1, a five-year-old, Berlin-based online car dealer, has raised €460 million ($565 million) from Softbank‘s Vision Fund, which gets a 20 percent stake in the business for its money. TechCrunch has more here.

 

CalmCar Vehicle Vision, a nearly two-year-old, China-based intelligent driving vision system startup, has raised $4.6 million from China’s National SME Development Fund. DealStreetAsia has more here.

 

Ellevation, a six-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based startup whose software tools are designed specifically for professionals serving English language learners, has raised more than $10 million in Series B funding led by Reach Capital, with participation from Chan Zuckerberg InitiativeOmidyar Network, and earlier investors. More here.

 

Hupu Sports Media, a 10-year-old, Shanghai, China-based sports-focused website, has raised $95 million in fresh funding led by China International Capital Corp in a deal that reportedly values the company at north of $1 billion. DealStreetAsia has more here.

 

Liking Fit, a 1.5-year-old, China-based company that develops smart devices to connect users and franchisees to its gyms, has raised $54 million in Series B and Series C funding, according to its investors. Its Series C round was led byGuangkong Zhongying Capital, a new technology, media and telecommunications fund. Its Series B round was led by Sigma Square Capital. Other investors in the company include Lightspeed China PartnersFocus Media Information Technology Co.Terminus TechnologiesCowin Capital, and Zhonglu Capital. China Money Network has more here.

 

MLog Tianqijia, a China-based commercial weather service company that provides its customers with customized meteorological services to reduce losses caused by the weather and climate, has raised $18 million in Series B funding co-led byDongfang Hongdao Capital and Lan Fund, with participation from PICC Capital,Zhencheng Capital, and Weiran Investment Consulting. DealStreetAsia has more here.

 

NA-KD, a two-year-old, Gothenburg, Sweden-based e-commerce company that sells women’s clothes direct to consumers, has raised $45 million in Series B funding led by Partech, with the participation from FJ Labs and earlier backers, including Northzone and eEquity. Techcunch has more here.

 

Pony.ai, a 16-month-old, Freemont, Ca.-based company working on autonomous driving vehicles, has raised $112 million in Series A funding co-led by Morningside Venture Capital and Legend Capital, with participation from earlier backerSequoia China. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Razorpay, a 3.5-year-old, Bangalore, India-based company whose payments gateway for businesses aims to help them quickly integrate payments services into their websites and apps, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by earlier investors Tiger Global Management and Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund, with participation from another earlier backer, Matrix Partners. The company has now raised $31.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Rivigo Services, a three-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based transportation and logistics company,  has raised $50 million in Series D funding led by earlier backersWarburg Pincus and SAIF Partners. The Economic Times has more here.

 

SuperMeat, a two-year-old, Israel-based biotech and food-tech startup that’s on a mission to produce lab-grown “clean meat” for the masses, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by New Crop Capital and Stray Dog Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Suzhou Zelgen Biosciences Co., a nine-year-old, China-based biopharmaceutical company, has raised $62 million in Series B funding co-led  by Shenzhen Capital GroupMinsheng Life Insurance and Share CapitalNorthern Light Venture Capital and China Youth Finance Network also participated in the round. China Money Network has more here.

 

True Fit, a seven-year-old, Boston-based personalization platform for apparel and footwear that helps online shoppers find goods that fit and are to their liking, has raised $55 million in Series C funding. Leading the round is Georgian Partners, with participation from Cross Creek Captial and earlier backers Jump Capital,Signal Peak Ventures, and Intel Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Vaccitech, an Oxford University spin-out that’s developing a universal flu vaccine, has raised $27.1 million in Series A funding co-led by GV and Sequoia China, with participation from earlier backer Oxford Sciences Innovation and Neptune Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Yida Media, a Shaanxi, China-based film production company, has reportedly raised $15 million in Series A funding round led by China Merchants Securities Zhiyuan CapitalBeijing Hualian Group and Shenzhen Fuersitai Investment Partners also participated in the round. DealStreetAsia has more here.

 

Sponsored By . . .

 

StrictlyVC is sponsored this week by Meld Valuation, a premiere independent valuation firm. We care about understanding the unique risk profile of your situation and most importantly making the quantitative reflect the qualitative story. Contact us today to learn about our services and how we can help you with everything from cap table management to complex valuation engagements.

 

IPOs

 

Huami, the four-year-old, smart wearable device partner of Xiaomi, has filed to raise up to $150 million in a IPO on Nasdaq. The Hefei, China-based startup is the sole partner of Xiaomi for design and manufacture of its wearable products such as smart bands, watches (excluding children watches and quartz watches), scales and associated accessories. TechNode has more here.

 

Xiaomi has chosen Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group among international banks for its planned IPO, according to a Bloomberg source. More here.

 

People

People who’ve known Amazon founder Jeff Bezos for a long time say they see a concerted effort by him and Amazon to show more of his personality.

 

Vitalik Buterin, the high-profile co-founder of Ethereum, has quietly left China-based investment firm Fenbushi Capital, telling TechCrunch that he plans to spend more time ensuring that Ethereum fulfills its potential as a platform. (Buterin had tweeted last month: “So total cryptocoin market cap just hit $0.5T today. But have we *earned* it?”)

 

TMZ followed Elon Musk into an L.A. dance club Saturday night, where not a lot happened, but such is the life now of Elon Musk. In more relevant news, Musk tweeted this weekend that the Tesla 3 will have more features controlled by voice command.

 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are stepping down from Walt Disney’s board as the increasing competition between media and technology companies creates new conflicts.

 

Data

 

Forty-five young companies are building processors just for artificial intelligence. At least five have raised more than $100 million from investors. Dealbook has more here.

 

Here are the U.S. states that attracted the most venture capital in the fourth quarter (chart courtesy of GeekWire).

 

Sponsored By . . . 

 

Say “I love you” with a better card. No matter who you love this Valentine’s Day we have the perfect Lovepop to help you express yourself. Dozens of pop-up card designs mean you can find the perfectly appropriate Lovepop to make Valentine’s Day special. Explore Valentine’s Day cards.

 

Essential Reads

 

Everyone is getting hilariously rich off cryptocurrencies (except us, and maybe you, too).

 

How Facebook’s media divorce could backfire.

 

Alibaba Group Holding has reportedly paid $3 billion for shares of the high-flying dockless bike company Ofo, buying the stake from GSR Ventures. Another of Ofo’s shareholders is ride-share giant Didi, which recently announced plans to launch its own bike-sharing services.

 

Detours

 

A first look at “The Handmaid’s Tale,” season two.

 

How to use that Google app to find what piece of art you look like.

 

What is the perfect age? It’s complicated.

 

Retail Therapy

 

Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. Book now before prices go ^.

 



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