|Wednesday! We’re excited to see some of you a little later this afternoon in San Francisco for drinks with investor Semil Shah and our generous partner in the endeavor, Lightspeed Venture Partners. Wish we could do this more often (and in more cities). We *are* hosting a separate event in September; more on that one soon.:)|
|Not tech news, but big news: Donald Trump just signed an executive order to end family separations at the U.S. border. More here and here and here.|
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|Grove Just Raised $8 Million to Make Traditional Financial Planning Available to Pretty Much Everyone|
|Financial advisors aren’t cheap to use. They aren’t always seen as trustworthy, either, with many advisors receiving — or perceived as receiving — incentives for recommending certain products over others. |
Grove, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup, is taking on both of these issues through software that makes it easier for its own financial advisors — who are paid a straight salary — to help greater numbers of people, and more cost-effectively.
Specifically, for $600 a year, a customer can talk with or email his or her financial advisor about all kinds of decisions, from which index funds are worth considering, to whether a particular house is within reach given that person’s retirement goals.
So far, the company has just 12 employees, half of whom are financial advisors and the other half of whom are working on the product itself.
Co-founder and CEO Chris Hutchins won’t reveal how many people each financial advisor is working with currently out of fear that it might give away too much about the young company’s revenue. But generally speaking, the number of clients with whom advisors work can vary widely, from tens to many hundreds. (In a 2016, Barron’s article of the “best” 1,200 financial advisors in the U.S., the advisors worked on average with a stunning 520 families.)
|Other New Fundings|
|Beamery, a four-year-old, London-based that makes recruitment marketing software, has raised $28 million in Series B funding led by EQT Ventures. Other participants in the round include M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) and earlier investors Index Ventures, Edenred Capital Partners and Angelpad Fund. Beamery last raised $5 million in Series A funding last year. TechCrunch has more here. |
Blinkist, a six-year-old, Berlin-based startup that presents condensed versions of non-fiction literature (each title can be read or listened to in about 15 minutes), has raised $18.8 million in funding led by Insight Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
Calm, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based startup behind a popular mental fitness app, has raised $27 million in new funding at a $250 million pre-money led by Insight Venture Partners, with Sound Ventures also participating. Calm had previously raised roughly $1.5 million in seed funding. TechCrunch has more here.
Finless Foods, a year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based startup that’s using cellular biology to make lab-grown seafood, just raised $3.5 million in funding led by Draper Associates. Other investors in the round include Softmatter VC, Starlight, U-Start Club, Blue Horizon, Hemisphere Ventures, Babel Ventures, Yakumi Investment, Olive Tree Capital and Harrison Blue Ventures. (We’d invest based solely on the company’s tagline: “Sustainable seafood without the catch.”) More here.
Hired, the six-year-old, San Francisco-based jobs recruiting platform, has raised $30 million in new funding led by the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario. TechCrunch has more here.
Nginx, the seven-year-old, San Francisco-based commercial company behind the open source web server, has raised $43 million in Series C funding led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. TechCrunch has more here.
Seal Software, an eight-year-old, Walnut Creek, Ca.-based company that claims its advanced applications of AI makes it possible for companies to find contracts and other unstructured data in any type of file across their networks, has raised $30 million from earlier backer Toba Capital. More here.
Stensul, a four-year-old, New York-based email marketing startup, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Javelin Venture Partners, with participation from Arthur Ventures, First Round Capital, Uncork Capital, Lowercase Capital and former ExactTarget president Scott McCorkle. TechCrunch has more here.
Universe, a two-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based iOS app that allows users to build modular, simplistic websites in a minute or two, has raised $4 million in Series A funding. Backers include Javelin Venture Partners, General Catalyst, Y Combinator, Box Group, Eniac Ventures, Paul Buchheit, Yuri Sagalov, Louis Beryl and others. Universe has now raised $7.2 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
|Canaan Partners, the 31-year-old, early-stage venture capital firm, has a new investment strategy called Canaan Beta that will see it set aside $20 million of its current, $800 million fund for its two youngest employees to allocate to startups as they see fit. TechCrunch has more here. |
Jerusalem Venture Partners, the 25-year-old, early-stage venture capital firm, is looking to raise up to $200 million for its eighth fund and it has locked down at least $168.4 million in capital commitments, shows a new SEC filing. Calcalist has more here.
Long Hill Capital, a Shanghai-based venture firm that invests in both health-care and consumer tech startups in China, is raising up to $200 million for a second venture fund, shows an SEC filing. The outfit had closed its debut fund with $125 million in late 2016. More here.
Osage University Partners, the nine-year-old, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based venture firm that invests in startups which commercialize university research, is raising up to $250 million for its third fund, shows an SEC filing. The outfit had closed its debut fund with $100 million back in 2011. More here.
|So far this year, 27 IPOs totaling $32.5 billion have been launched in Europe, eclipsing the 57 listings worth $8.28 billion last year, according to dealroom.co. CNBC takes a look at why Europe’s IPO market is heating up here. |
Jiguang, a Shenzhen, China-based data aggregation company, is planning an initial public offering in New York in the second half of this year, according to the WSJ. The company is reportedly looking to raise $300 million, at a post-money valuation of between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. More here.
One of the world’s largest commercial real estate companies, Cushman & Wakefield, just filed to go public. Business Insider has more details here.
Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi has shelved a plan to sell shares in China in conjunction with its imminent Hong Kong IPO. The company will instead go public in Hong Kong first and consider the potential for a Chinese offering at a later date. TechCrunch has more here.
|Everyone’s favorite surgeon-who-also-happens-to-be-one-of-the-New Yorker’s-best-writers, Atul Gawande, will lead the joint health-care venture between Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway, the three companies announced today. TechCrunch has more here. |
Tesla is suing a former employee Martin Tripp for $1 million, alleging Tripp hacked the company’s confidential and trade secret information and transferred that information to third parties, according to court documents. The lawsuit also claims Tripp leaked false information to the media, and he’s not alone, Elon Musk said today, tweeting, “there is more,” meaning more employees trying to sabotage the company. TechCrunch has more here.
|New findings underscore what you already know. People don’t trust traditional media as they once did. They trust social media even less. And certain groups in particular, including Republicans and people with a high school education or less, are the most suspicious that what they read isn’t accurate. The Gallup/Knight Foundation breaks it down in a fresh survey of 1,440 American recruited randomly to assess how pervasive U.S. adults believe misinformation is.|
|Instagram is ready to compete head on with YouTube. |
Union Square Ventures, the New York-based venture capital firm, is betting on yet another cryptocurrency hedge fund startup, Multicoin Capital. It’s the sixth cryptocurrency fund the firm has backed over the last 18 months. Fortune has more here.
Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and Square are both on the verge of doubling in market value this year.
|What the L.A. stand-up scene actually pays. |
How the carmakers trumped themselves.
What it means to be loved by a dog.
|Hush, little babies, with these Bose SleepBuds.|