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|Careem, the Middle East rival to Uber, had the data of its 14 million customers and drivers stolen in a cyberattack, the company said today. The cyberattack apparently took place in January. More here.|
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|Orchid Labs is Raising Tons of Money for Its Surveillance-Free Layer Atop the Internet|
|Orchid Labs, a San Francisco-based startup that’s developing a a surveillance-free layer on top of the internet, has raised a bunch of funding, according to a newly processed SEC filing that shows the year-old startup has closed on $36.1 million. The money comes just five months after Orchid closed on a separate, $4.5 million in funding from investors, including Yes VC, cofounded by serial entrepreneurs Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström. |
Others of its earliest backers include Andreessen Horowitz, DFJ, MetaStable, Compound, Box Group, Blockchain Capital, and Sequoia Capital, according to its site.
The stated goal of the Orchid is to provide anonymized internet access to people across the globe, particularly individuals who live in countries with excessive government oversight of their browsing and shopping. Part of the point also seems to be to insulate users from the many companies that now harvest and sell their data, including walled gardens like Facebook and other giants like AT&T.
In a world where one assumes the Cambridge Analytica scandal is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data abuse, it’s easy to see the project’s appeal. So far, says the filing, the company has raised that $36.1 million via a SAFT agreement, an investment contract offered by cryptocurrency developers to accredited investors (42 of them in this case).
But the filing shows a target of $125,595,882 million, and based how hot particular blockchain ideas are getting, and how aggressively they’re being funded (see the Basis deal of last week), you can imagine more money will flow to the company if it hasn’t already.
|Bluedot Innovation, a 5.5-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-based location services tech company, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Transurban, a giant urban toll road manager and developer. TechCrunch has more here. |
Capital Float, a five-year-old fintech startup that says it is India’s largest online lender, says it just raised $22 million in new funding from Amazon. TechCrunch has more here.
Formlabs, a seven-year-old, Somerville, Ma.-based maker of 3D printers, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Tyche Partners. The financing puts the company’s total funding at north of $85 million. TechCrunch has more here.
LeEco, the 14-year-old, Beijing, China-based company, may be in the middle of a le comeback. According to the Financial Times, Tencent and JD.com are part of a consortium of 10 private investors that have agreed to buy a $437 million stake in a LeEco’s ailing smart television unit. Separately, Faraday Future, the U.S. electric vehicle startup run by LeEco founder and former chairman Jia Yueting, has received a $2 billion in fresh funding from an unnamed Hong Kong-based businessman in return for a 45 percent stake, says the Chinese outlet Caixin. More here.
Manbang Group, a China-based truck hailing company that was created by merger of major players in the sharing economy, is raising $2 billion in funding fromSoftBank Group and Google’s late-stage venture investment fund, CapitalG, among others, says the WSJ. Manbang, whose mobile app platform matches truck drivers with shippers looking to transport cargo, is raising more money than it originally set out to fetch, according to the Journal, which previously reported that the company was looking to raise between $500 million and $1 billion. The WSJ also notes that this deal marks CapitalG’s first investment in China in roughly four years. More here.
Pear Video, a two-year-old, Shanghai, China-based online short video platform, has raised a whopping $98.2 million in Series A funding led by Tencent Holdingsand Baidu. South China Morning Post has more here.
RapChat, a five-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based app that enables users to make and share raps, has raised $1.6 million in funding from unnamed investors out of Oakland, Ca., and the Midwest. TechCrunch has more here.
Slite, a two-year-old, Paris, France-based maker of collaborative documents that passed through Y Combinator’s accelerator program earlier this year, has raised $4.4 million in a round led by Index Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.
|8VC, the venture firm founded by entrepreneur-investor Joe Lonsdale, has closed its second flagship fund with $640 million, says Axios. The firm had registered the fund with the SEC back in February. It closed its debut fund with $425 million in 2016. More here. |
Data Collective, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, is raising a $250 million biotech fund, according to an SEC filing. Largely overseeing it are two investors formerly of Monsanto Growth Ventures: John Hamer and Kiersten Stead. More here.
NIO Capital, a private equity fund established by Chinese electric car company NIO, is reportedly close to completing a first close of $500 million in capital commitments for an offshore fund that will invest in new automotive technologies. China Money Network has more here.
|China streaming giant Tencent Music is getting ready for what would be one of the largest tech IPOs ever, according to the WSJ, which says the company plans to interview underwriters next month and that the offering could value the business at more than $25 billion. More here.|
|Flickr, which was owned by Verizon, has been acquired by photo sharing and image hosting site SmugMug, a family-owned online photography firm. SmugMug does not have any plans to lay off any employees nor fold Flickr into SmugMug. The price of the deal has not been disclosed. Business Insider has more here. |
Gaming hardware maker Razer, which went public in a big IPO in Hong Kong last year, is doubling down on payments after it announced a deal to acquire MOL, a company that offers online and offline payments in Southeast Asia. Razer had made an initial $20 million investment in MOL last June to supercharge its zGold virtual credit program for gamers. TechCrunch has more here.
The ink is barely dry on SoftBank Vision Fund’s purchase of a stake in Flipkart — it invested $2.5 billion in August, and already it’s about to sell a substantial part of the fund’s 20-percent-plus stake to Walmart, allowing the U.S. retail giant to take a majority interest, says Bloomberg. Should the deal go through, say Bloomberg’s sources, Flipkart would be valued at around $20 billion, up from $12 billion last year.
|Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic whose app has set off the firestorm about online user data, says he’s considering suing Facebook. BuzzFeed has more here. |
San Francisco venture capitalist Jillian Manus throws the most outrageous parties in Silicon Valley; Business Insider takes a look here.
Goldman Sachs has brought on a former crypto trader, Justin Schmidt, to explore creating a bitcoin trading desk. More here.
|Despite a volatile market and regulatory uncertainty, investors and consumers will continue to buy more cryptocurrencies this year, according to a new SharesPost cryptocurrency and blockchain survey. More here. |
Streaming music revenue was up 39 percent year-over-year to reach $7.4 billion, or 43 percent of all global recorded music revenue last year, according to a new industry report from MIDiA Research. More here.
Some 20 percent of Americans believe Amazon is having the most positive impact on society out of any other major tech company, according to a joint SurveyMonkey/Recode poll. More here.
Assets under management for sovereign wealth funds now totals $7.45 trillion(!), up 13 percent from last year, according to a new report from Preqin. (H/T: Axios.)
|The many ways that Google harvests your personal data. |
Amazon is reportedly working on a domestic robot codenamed Vesta that can navigate inside homes like a driverless car.
Uber will go head-to-head with Didi again — this time in Mexico.
How China is buying its way into Europe.
|Donald Trump’s approval rating is basically fixed, no matter how crazy the news cycle feels on a daily basis. |
What happened to Matthew Mellon?
Driving through a waterfall.
Why Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty” is quietly revolutionary.
|A kitchen island, by . . . Bentley?|