|Hi! Hope you’re having a terrific Thursday, everyone. We happen to be very tired. StrictlyVC’s beloved mascot was up all night after snarfing something he shouldn’t have eaten. Oh, Brodie! (He’s completely fine now, by the way.)|
|Top News Tesla is still fighting with the NTSB over its probe into a recent, fatal accident involving one of its cars. Tesla suggested the driver was to blame. The NTSB viewed Tesla’s public statements as a violation of its protocols. Now, the NTSB is saying it booted Tesla from its investigation, while Tesla is saying it withdrew itself. More here.|
|Background Checks Pay for Checkr; It Just Raised $100 Million from Investors|
|Criminal records, driving records, employment verifications. Companies that use on-demand employees need to know that all the boxes have been checked before they send workers into the world on their behalf, and they often need those boxes checked quickly. |
A growing number of them use Checkr, a San Francisco-based company that says it currently runs one million background checks per month for more than 10,000 customers, including, most newly, the car-share company Lyft, the services marketplace Thumbtack, and eyewear seller Warby Parker.
Investors are betting many more customers will come aboard, too. This morning, Checkr is announcing $100 million in Series C funding led by T. Rowe Price, which was joined by earlier backers Accel and Y Combinator.
The round brings the company’s total funding to roughly $150 million altogether, which is a lot of capital in not a lot of time. Yet Checkr is very well-positioned considering the changing nature of work. The company was born when software engineers Daniel Yanisse and Jonathan Perichon worked together at same-day delivery service startup Deliv and together eyed the chance to build a faster, more efficient background check. The number of flexible workers has only exploded in the four years since.
So-called alternative employment arrangements, in the parlance of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including gig economy jobs, have grown from representing 10.1 percent of U.S. employees in 2005 to 15.8 percent of employees in 2015. And that percentage looks to rise further still as more digital platforms provide direct connections between people needing a service and workers willing to provide it.
Meanwhile, Checkr, which has been capitalizing on this race for talent, has its sights on much more than the on-demand workforce, says Yanisse, who is Checkr’s CEO. While the 180-person company counts Uber, Instacart, and GrubHub among its base of customers, Checkr is also actively expanding outside of the tech and gig economy, he says. It recently began working with the staffing giant Adecco, for example, as well as the major insurer Allstate.
At present, all of these customers pay Checkr per background check. That may change over time, however.
|Aetion, a six-year-old, New York-based company whose software analyzes how drugs are performing in the real world, has raised $36 million in Series B funding led by New Enterprise Associates and Amgen Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Flare Capital Partners, Lakestar, and Oxeon Ventures. The company has now raised $50 million altogether. The WSJ has more here. |
Billie, a six-month-old, New York-based women’s razor subscription startup, has raised $6 million in seed funding led by Silverton Partners, with participation from earlier investors Female Founders Fund and Lakehouse Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Cluno, a year-old, Munich, Germany-based startup offering what it calls a “car subscription” service, has raised €7 million ($8.6 million) in Series A funding. The round was led by Acton Capital Partners, with participation from previous investor Atlantic Labs. TechCrunch has more here.
East Meet East, a three-year-old, New York-based matchmaking service focused on connecting Asian people in the U.S., has raised $4 million in Series A funding, including from 500 Startups and new investors Asahi Medialab Ventures, DG Lab Fund, Mobile Internet Capital, and the ad tech firm Septeni. The startup previously raised $1 million in November 2016. TechCrunch has more here.
Livongo Health, a four-year-old, Mountain View, CA-based company behind a chronic disease management platform, has raised a whopping $105 million in new funding led by earlier backers General Catalyst and Kinnevik, with participation from other earlier investors that include DFJ, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Microsoft Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Zaffre Investments, and 7wire Ventures. Echo Health Ventures, a new investor, also joined the round. Modern Healthcare has more here.
Punchh, a seven-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based marketing platform that serves more than 115 restaurant chains, has raised $20 million in Series B funding.Sapphire Ventures led the round, with participation from earlier investor Cervin Ventures. The company has now raised $31 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Revolut, a three-year-old, London-based international payments startup that functions like a digital bank, allowing users to transfer money across different currencies without transaction fees, is being valued at $1.4 billion in a new fundraising round that DST Global is expected to lead, says Recode. More here.
ServiceTitan, a nearly six-year-old, Glendale. Ca.-based software app for service professionals, has raised $62 million in Series C funding led by Battery Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Bessemer Venture Partners and ICONIQ Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
TravelPerk, a three-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based SaaS startup with an end-to-end business travel platform, has raised $21 million in Series B funding co-led by Target Global and Felix Capital. Earlier backers Spark Capital and Sunstonealso participated in the round, alongside new investor Amplo. TechCrunch has more here.
Xeeva, a four-year-old, Madison Heights, Mi..-based company that sells procurement and sourcing software, has raised more than $40 million in funding led by PeakEquity Partners. More here.
Zaius, a six-year-old, Boston-based customer data company that works with consumer brands like Tea Forte and Burt’s Bees Baby, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Insight Venture Partners. Other participants in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $50.8 million, include Matrix Partners,Underscore VC and Leaders Fund. TechCrunch has more here.
|Subscription management software company Zuora raised $154 million today in an IPO that both topped its price goals and sold more shares than expected. The San Mateo-based company began trading on the NYSE this morning at $20 — 43 percent above the $14 price it set for the offering. It also sold 11 million shares in the IPO, giving it an implied valuation of about $1.44 billion. It was expected to sell 10 million shares for between $11 and $13 a share, reports Silicon Valley Business Journal.|
|Spotify announced this morning it has acquired the five-year-old, music licensing platform Loudr, which offers products and services that allow content creators, aggregators, and digital music services to identify, track and pay royalties to music publishers. Loudr had raised less than a million dollars from investors, according to Crunchbase. TechCrunch has more here. |
WeWork is buying up one of its largest competitors in China: Naked Hub. The deal was widely reported by Chinese media yesterday, but WeWork has now confirmed it through a blog post from its CEO Adam Neumann. Terms of the transaction aren’t being disclosed but Bloomberg reports that it’s worth around $400 million. TechCrunch has more here.
|Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gets the Jim Carrey sketch treatment. |
The FDA has launched a criminal investigation into research by a Southern Illinois University professor who injected people with his unauthorized herpes vaccine. According to the Daily Beast, the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations is also looking into the professor’s former company, Rational Vaccines, backed in part by billionaire Peter Thiel, who is considered a proponent of rolling back FDA regulations to speed up medical innovation.
|Essential Reads A comprehensive list of the 43 things that Mark Zuckerberg said that he will follow up on during his two days of congressional hearings this week. The HomePod isn’t the hot seller Apple had wanted. Google is redesigning Gmail, and here’s what it will look like. Nintendo is looking to startups to develop new ways to play or use its hit gaming console, and the company has teamed up with San Francisco-based Scrum Ventures toward that end.|
|What it’s like to make a million dollars a year. Cheap red wine that’s delicioso. Mother and Child: Portraits of prominent women and their children.|
|Perfect ice balls for your whiskey. |
The Impossible Foods burger is now at White Castle.
The Sobro side table. Warning: it will make your other furniture look stupid.