|Hi, everyone! We have to keep things short and sweet today. (A graduation ceremony.) Much more tomorrow.|
|Apple is finally overhauling Siri.|
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|Norwest Just Scored an Interesting New Partner in Google and Facebook Alum Priti Yousseff Chokski|
|A lot of people who’ve been working in the venture industry — even for many years — haven’t seen a true down cycle. Somewhat ironically, Priti Youssef Choksi, a newly minted VC, knows very well what one looks like. The newest partner of the multi-stage investment firm Norwest Venture Partners has been working in tech since before the last boom and bust — and she has lessons to share about both good times and bad. |
It all started in her native Mumbai (“Bombay to me!” she says). Choksi didn’t tell her parents when, as a teenager, she applied to the University of Pennsylvania to study architecture and business. “I couldn’t study both back home,” she says, somewhat sheepishly from Norwest’s glass-lined new offices in San Francisco’s South Park neighborhood.
Instead of wind up at an architecture firm, she landed at Broadview Associates, an investment bank that was based in the Bay Area and advised dozens of tech companies during the go-go dot.com days — before nosediving along with the market. (In 2003, it was acquired by bigger rival Jefferies.)
By then, Choksi had already joined one of the bank’s clients, an internet marketing company called USWeb whose CEO asked her to work for him despite having no discrete job description. Looking back now, Choksi remembers the experience fondly, saying she ran strategy projects and competitive analysis of what others in the industry were doing as USWeb grew from a 200- to an 8,000-person operation. This being the dot com era, however, USWeb, which was renowned for its roll-up strategy at the time, merged with another company, which promptly went bankrupt.
Choksi again left before her employer’s demise to join an early streaming media company, but alas, it wasn’t meant to last long either. If at this point, Choksi felt ready to throw in the towel, she doesn’t seem to recall it. Instead, she entered into a one-year program at the Kellogg School to burnish her “soft skills and negotiating skills and things you don’t have time to practice” at a startup. Then she headed right back to Silicon Valley.
Her return would begin a second chapter of sorts. In fact, like a lot of people who came to the Bay Area in the ’90s and who have stayed, Choksi’s fortunes began to turn after the detritus of the bubble’s burst began to blow away.
|MoloFinance, a year-old, London-based fintech that is developing a fully digital mortgage offering, has closed £3.7 million in seed funding. The round was led by Ubon Partners, a Nordic fund specializing in financial services. TechCrunch has more here. |
Ritual, a nearly four-year-old, Toronto-based meal-ordering app, has raised $70 million in funding led by Georgian Partners, with existing investors Greylock Partners, Insight Ventures, and Mistral Venture Partners all participating. TechCrunch has more here.
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|March Capital, a two-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based venture capital firm that was cofounded by longtime investment banker Jamie Montgomery, has so far raised more than $108 million in capital commitments for its second fund, according to an SEC filing that shows a $150 million target.. The fund’s target is $150 million. |
Target Global, a Berlin, Germany-based venture capital fund, is launching a dedicated fund to invest in next-generation mobility and transportation. The firm says the evergreen fund will be able to invest up to $300 million in capital and that target investments will be in European and Israeli startups that focus on automotive, private and public transportation, logistics and delivery and related services. VentureBeat has more here.
|This one is interesting, with venture firm giant New Enterprise Associates acting like a buyout shop. Specifically, it announced it has acquired Paladina Health, a company with a chain of primary care clinics, for $100 million. Paladina had been a wholly owned subsidiary of the healthcare services corporation DaVita Inc. CNBC has more here.|
|Tesla’s three board members whose fate with the company was unclear remain in place following yesterday’s annual shareholder meeting. Shareholders also voted to maintain Elon Musk’s role as chairman of Tesla’s board. According to the Washington Post, Musk appeared emotional immediately after the vote, saying the company has experienced “the most excruciating hellish several months that we’ve ever had.” “But I think we’re getting there,” he’d added.|
|Amazon‘s Echo Look camera, which analyzes a user’s clothing style and makes fashion recommendations through machine learning, can now be purchased by customers in the United States. Until now, the $200 device had been available only through invites. More here.|
|Think you aren’t FBI material? The FBI disagrees.|
|Honestly, we’d probably rather just die in the earthquake.|