|Hi, happy Monday, everyone! |
Quicklike: we have more great news on the event front. As many of you know, we are hosting drinks in San Francisco with investor Semil Shah next month, thanks to the very generous support of Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Now, we can also announce the date of our next StrictlyVC event, which is happening (also in San Francisco) at the stylish South Park offices of Norwest Venture Partners, which very nicely offered to host all of us after our last event in February. Date is September 25th, a Tuesday night.
You can nab a seat here if you know you’ll be in town. If you’re interested in partnering with us as a sponsor, we’re happy to tell you more.
|In a victory for the state of New Jersey and a setback for professional sports leagues, the Supreme Court today struck down a law that bars states from allowing wagers on games.|
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|Walmart’s Deal to Buy Flipkart Featured an Interesting Caveat|
|Retail giant Walmart, which earlier this week announced that it’s paying $16 billion for a 77 percent stake in the Indian e-commerce company, Flipkart Group, could have to take Flipkart public within four years, shows a public filing that was reported on earlier by Reuters. |
Specifically, the filing states that, “acting together,” holders of 60 percent of the Flipkart shares held by the company’s minority shareholders, may require Flipkart to stage an IPO following the fourth anniversary of the deal’s official close — and at a valuation that’s “no less” than that paid by Walmart under its current agreement, which is $20.8 billion.
The caveat is a highly unusual one as far as we can tell — an apparent insurance policy for earlier investors who were concerned about giving away too much upside by selling so many of their shares now to Walmart.
Some of the company’s minority shareholders following Flipkart’s tie-up with Walmart include Tencent Holdings, Tiger Global Management, Microsoft, and company cofounder Binny Bansal, who, according to the Economic Times, sold $104 million in shares but held on to a 4.2 percent stake. (Bansal is staying on with the company as a group CEO while his cofounder, Sachin Bansal, is leaving with at least$1 billion, according to regional outlets. Some are more newly suggesting he didn’t have much choice in the matter.)
Another of Walmart’s minority shareholders, very notably, is SoftBank, whose CEO, Masayoshi Son, preempted Walmart itself by announcing the deal to reporters and analysts last Monday while discussing SoftBank’s quarterly results.
At the time, Son suggested that SoftBank, which invested through its Vision Fund, would see a sizable return on its initial investment of $2.5 billion. (Told while still discussing SoftBank’s earnings that no announcement had been made by Walmart, he uttered the equivalent of: “Oops. I already said it.”)
Now the Economic Times is reporting that SoftBank might not be selling those shares.
|Acousia Therapeutics, an 18-month-old. Tübingen, Germany-based drug startup focused on inner ear-related diseases and pathologies, has raised €10 million in Series B funding led by LBBW Venture Capital, with participation from Creathor Ventures, Bregua Corp. and return backers BIVF and KfW. More here.|
Beam Therapeutics, a year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based developer of precision genetic medicines, has launched with $87 million in Series A funding co-led by F-Prime Capital Partners and ARCH Venture Partners. The company was cofounded by CRISPR trailblazers Feng Zhang and David Liu. FierceBiotech has more here.
Carousell, a nearly six-year-old, Singapore-based company behind a mobile classifieds app, has raised $85 million in Series C funding co-led by earlier backers Rakuten Ventures and EDBI. TechCrunch has more here.
Carro, a three-year-old, Singapore-based automotive classifieds service and car financing startup, has raised $60 million in Series B funding to scale its business in Southeast Asia. The deal was co-led by SoftBank Ventures Korea, Insignia Ventures, and B Capital Group. Other participants include IDG Ventures India founder Manik Arora and earlier investors Venturra, Singtel Innov8, Golden Gate Ventures and Alpha JWC. TechCrunch has more here.
Cellulant, a 14-year-old, Kenya, Nairobi-based digital payments company that operates in 11 African markets, just raised $47.5 million in new funding led by TPG’s The Rise Fund, with participation from Endeavour Catalyst and Satya Capital. Reuters has more here.
Rubicon Global, a 10-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based technology platform for waste and recycling, has raised $65 million in fresh funding from NZ Super Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of New Zealand. Recode has more here.
Qventus, a six-year-old, Los Altos, Ca.-based real-time decision-making platform for hospital operations, has raised $30 million in Series B funding, including from Bessemer Venture Partners, New York Presbyterian Ventures, Mayfield Fund and Norwest Venture Partners. More here.
SeqOnce Biosciences, a four-year-old, Pasadena, Ca.-based company that describes itself as a next-gen sequencing sample preparation startup has raised $1 million in seed funding led by Mount Wilson Ventures. More here.
TruValue Labs, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based data analytics company, has raised $13.6 million in Series A funding led by Katalyst Ventures, with participation from Hearst Financial Venture Fund, The Entrepreneurs’ Fund, and Sun Hung Kai Strategic Capital Limited. More here.
VidMob, a three-year-old, New York-based online platform that connects marketers with a global network of video editors, animators, and motion graphics designers, has raised an additional $6.4 million extension to a previously announced $7.5 million Series A round. Investors include Manifest Growth, Interlock Partners, Acadia Woods, Macanta Investments, and You & Mr Jones. More here.
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|Silverton Partners, a 12-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based venture firm, has closed its fifth fund with $108 million in commitments. Apparently, the firm is having a pretty amazing year; it says it has realized “five exits representing an aggregate of more than $1.1 billion in market capitalization” since the beginning of 2018 alone. More here. |
Trail Post Ventures, a new venture capital firm focused on consumer brands, has been cofounded by Nick Mendel, a former banker with Piper Jaffray, and Will Schmitt, formerly a principal with Beechwood Capital, a Boston-based investment group that invests in low-middle market growth and venture-stage companies. Mendel is based in San Francisco; Schmitt is based in Chicago. Axios first noted the firm’s existence; it isn’t clear how much the firm has to invest. (No SEC forms yet.) More here.
|GreenSky, a 12-year-old, fintech firm that facilitates loans for businesses and other customers, expects its shares to price between $21 and $23 in its initial public offering. Based on the midpoint of that range, the Atlanta company expects to raise about $701.4 million, it said today in a securities filing. GreenSky is offering about 34.1 million shares, or 39.2 million if underwriters fully exercise options. The WSJ has more here.|
|Yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the commencement address at his alma mater, Duke University, and he didn’t resist the opportunity to take a shot at Facebook, even while he didn’t name the company. |
About a dozen Google employees are resigning in protest over the company’s continued involvement in a controversial military pilot program.
|A little more than three years ago, Apple announced a new MacBook with a “butterfly” keyboard that was 40 percent thinner and ostensibly four times more stable than the previous “scissor” mechanism that MacBooks employed. The promise was to more evenly distribute pressure on each key. Not everyone loved this “reinvention,” however, and now, Apple is facing a class action lawsuit over it.|
|Visa is looking for a director of corporate development in San Francisco. |
Intuit is also looking for a director of corporate development. This one is in Mountain View, Ca.
|Tencent‘s bitterly expensive rivalry with Alibaba could be hampering the company’s health. Specifically, notes Bloomberg, it has shed $78 billion in value since January, and it’s facing its worst margins ever. |
Crypto company Ripple is going after startups to build an ecosystem around the XRP cryptocurrency. TechCrunch has much more here.
Google just rolled out a new, cheaper tier of storage for consumers and their family members.
Long before the fatal crash of a Tesla car in March, some developers of the vehicle’s Autopilot system expressed concern there aren’t enough safeguards to ensure drivers remain attentive.
Let’s see how long it takes Tinder to roll back this fresh and also terrible idea.
|United passengers will put up with a lot, but this is one step too far. |
Ryan Reynolds went on a South Korean singing show disguised as a unicorn.
One very deep lotus.
|A classic returns. Again.|