Quick note: We’ll be helping out with TechCrunch’s giant Disrupt conference, taking place in San Francisco September 5th through 7th. TC has doubled the programming this year, and it’s a pretty superb line-up, with Uber’sDara Khosrowshahi coming, along with “Silicon Valley” creator Mike Judge, Whitney Wolfe Herde of Bumble, and many others.
We’re especially excited about it as we get to jump on stage with Goldman Sachs CFO Marty Chavez, Sequoia’s global managing partner Doug Leone, longtime SEC director Jina Choi, and top VCs Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures, Megan Quinn of Spark Capital and Sarah Tavel of Benchmark, all of whom will be talking with us about the trends impacting — and, in some cases, roiling — the business of startup investing.
TC just posted the full line-up this morning; you can check it out here.
|Twitter’s stock had its worst day in months yesterday on the fallout over its fake account purge. The stock reaction followed a Washington Post article that reported the company suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June — a clean-up of the platform that may affect user growth.|
|Sponsored By . . .|
|Two MIT grads walk into a VC firm (no, not a bar) and the result is a venture-backed wine company that is fueled by—you guessed it—data science. Take Bright Cellars’ wine-matching quiz to see your top wine matches and get 50% off your first month.|
|With Lime Teaming Up With Uber, Can Its Rival, Bird, Afford to Go It Alone?|
|Yesterday, we learned that 18-month-old, Bay Area-based electric scooter rental company Lime is joining forces with the ride-hailing giant Uber, which is both investing in the company as part of a $335 million round and planning to promote Lime in its mobile app. According to Bloomberg, Uber also plans to plaster its logo on Lime’s scooters. |
Lime isn’t being acquired outright, in short, but it looks like it will be. At least, Uber struck a similar arrangement with the electric bike company JUMP bikes before spending $200 million to acquire the company in spring.
There are as many questions raised by this kind of tie-up as answered, but the biggest may be what the impact means for Lime’s fiercest rival in the e-scooter wars, 15-month-old L.A.-based Bird, which several sources tell us also discussed a potential partnership with Uber.
Despite recently raising $300 million in fresh capital at a somewhat stunning $2 billion valuation, could its goose be, ahem, cooked?
At first glance, it would appear so. Uber’s travel app is the most downloaded in the U.S. by a wide margin, despite gains made last year by its closest U.S. competitor, Lyft, as Uber battled one scandal after another. It’s easy to imagine that Lime’s integration with Uber will give it the kind of immediate brand reach that most founders can only dream about.
A related issue for Bird is its relationship with Lyft, which . . . isn’t great. Bird’s founder and CEO, Travis VanderZanden, burned that bridge when, not so long after Lyft acqui-hired VanderZanden from a small startup he’d launched and made him its COO, he left to join rival Uber.
Lyft, which sued VanderZanden for allegedly breaking a confidentiality agreement when he joined Uber, later settled with him for undisclosed terms. But given their history, it’s hard to imagine Lyft — which also has a much smaller checkbook than Uber — paying top dollar to acquire his company.
Where that leaves Bird is an open question, but people familiar with both Bird and Lime suggest the e-scooter war is far from over.
|Convene, a 5.5-year-old, New York-based meeting room booking startup that pitches itself as a WeWork competitor, has $152 million in Series D funding led by ArrowMark Partners, with participation from several real estate-related organizations, including Brookfield Property Partners and the Durst Organization, and from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth. The company has now raised $260 million altogether. TechCrunch has a bit more here. |
Elixirgen Therapeutics, a 1.5-year-old, Baltimore, Md.-based stem cell therapies maker that’s developing treatments for Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s, has raised $4 million in Series A funding. The Baltimore Business Journal has more here.
EndoGastric Solutions, a 15-year-old, Redmond, Wa.-based company centered around an incisionless therapy for gastro-esophageal reflux disease, has raised $30.5 million in new funding. Earlier backers Advanced Technology Ventures, Canaan Partners, Canepa Healthcare, Chicago Growth Partners, CRG,Radius Ventures, and Sightline Partners all joined the round, with participation from several new investors. More here.
Lodgify, a six-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based maker of subscription software for property owners to manage vacation rentals, has secured $5 million in Series A funding. Earlier backers Nauta Capital, Howzat Partners, and a number of angels participated, in addition to new investor Intermedia Vermögensverwaltung. The round brings total funding for the startup to $7.3 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.
Nurx, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based reproductive health services platform that integrates an owned-and-operated pharmacy, a network of partner physicians, and a mobile telehealth app, just raised $36 million in Series B funding. Kleiner Perkins led the round, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Y Combinator, and Lowercase Capital. Also worth noting: Chelsea Clinton just joined the company’s board. More here.
Toast, a seven-year-old, Boston-based point-of-sale and restaurant management platform, has raised $115 million in fresh funding at a whopping $1.4 billion valuation led by T. Rowe Price Associates, with participation from Tiger Global Management and other, earlier investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Virtudent, a four-year-old, Newton, Ma.-based company that aims to improve access to oral healthcare via pop-up dental clinics, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Boston-based .406 Ventures, with participation from SpringRock Ventures and earlier investor the Sparta Group. More here.
|Lightspeed Venture Partners, the 18-year-old venture firm, says it has officially closed on $1.8 billion in capital commitments, including for a $750 million early-stage fund and a $1.05 billion “select” fund that will be used to back some of its breakout companies as they mature. In related news, the firm has brought aboard Brad Twohig as a partner focused on growth-stage deals. Twohig was previously a managing director at Insight Venture Partners, where he’d spent the last dozen years. |
Scale Venture Partners, an 18-year-old, early-stage venture firm that focuses on software companies, has closed its sixth fund with $400 million, up slightly from the $335 million the firm had raised in early 2016. Among its biggest hits: the e-signature company Docusign and the marketing software company Hubspot, which went public in 2014. We talked with firm cofounder Rory O’Driscoll to learn more about where it will invest the capital.
Unicorn Capital Partners, a three-year-old, Hong Kong-based venture capital fund-of-funds manager, has closed its second fund with $250 million in capital commitments. The outfit had closed its debut fund with $210 million in 2016. Slightly more here.
|Biodesix, a Boulder, Co.-based company that specializes in molecular diagnostics and liquid biopsy tests, has acquired Seattle-based Integrated Diagnostics, which is developing a test designed to determine whether nodules in patients’ lungs are cancerous. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. MedCity News has the story here. |
Box, the publicly traded online data storage company, said today that it has acquired Butter.ai, a startup that helps customers search for content intelligently in the cloud. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but Butter.ai had raised $3.3 million over two seed rounds, including from Slack and General Catalyst. TechCrunch has more here.
|Makers of electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices often tout their products as smoking cessation aids. But new research suggests that the devices haven’t helped many U.S. smokers quit. From the WSJ.|
|Netflix is automating downloads of series so you can binge-watch shows off-linewithout even pressing a button. Facebook is testing augmented reality ads in its News Feed. The Seasteading Institute aims to launch a floating “nation-stage” that’s independent from any land-based country (and its laws) by in 2022 in the Pacific, and the group, backed by investor Peter Thiel, just launched a cryptocurrency called Vayron to finance the launch.|
|How an expert in 18th-century French furniture ripped off the rich. |
The astounding story of triplets separated a birth.
The best, weirdest running workout you haven’t tried yet.
|A stationary bike “so beautiful” that it “becomes an object of desire.” (You have to love Italian marketing.)|