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|Apple’s most expensive MacBook Pro now costs, gulp, $6,700. Here’s what elsewent on sale today at an Apple store near you.|
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|‘Airbnb Mafia’ Fund Wave Capital Closes Its Debut Fund with $55 Million|
|A couple of weeks ago, Airbnb announced some major changes to the ways it compensates employees before it goes public. |
At least two former Airbnb employees and a longtime VC will be ready to fund those who leave when it does. They’ve been waiting on this moment since last summer, in fact. That’s when former Airbnb data scientist Riley Newman left the firm to start work on a venture firm, quickly enlisting the help of his colleague of several years, Sara Adler (Airbnb’s former head of corporate development) and former Madrona Venture Group principal David Rosenthal. What they set out to do with that fund, Wave Capital, is invest in marketplace startups, including — especially, even — those founded by other former employees of the home-rental giant.
It’s an idea that has resonated with investors. Wave just closed its debut fund with $55 million in capital commitments, slightly more than the three were targeting. They’ve already begun putting it to work, too.
To find out more about those bets, and where the three expect to shop next, we asked them for a few more details in a chat that has been edited for length.
How exactly did this firm come to pass?
DR: Riley is really the hub for all of us; his wife and mine grew up together in Marin and have remained best friends since early childhood. As Riley’s career at Airbnb progressed and my career in VC progressed, we talked about doing something together at some point in time.
RN: Meanwhile, Sara and I sat beside each other and together reported to the person who was effectively Airbnb’s CTO and we were part of a number of working groups together. David and I started talking about doing something together and we quickly drew Sara into our plans.
Why pursue “marketplaces” alone?
DR: For me, when I was at Madrona, we incubated the [dog services company] Rover.com and I saw the power of marketplaces and the importance of helping them get off the ground. And Riley and I talked a lot over the years about how he watched Greg McAdoo [formerly of Sequoia Capital and now of the venture firm Bolt] work with Airbnb in the early days, and the importance of a true lead board member. And we thought that between our three collective experiences, we could play that role.
SA: As a member of the corp dev team at Airbnb and at Dropbox and Facebook before that, I could also see the impact of investors even on the final stages of companies’ journeys.
You’ve now fully closed the fund from institutional investors, including the fund-of-funds Cendana Capital. How many companies do you expect to support with it?
DR: We think roughly 18 to 20 companies. We intend to lead every round and to take board seats. We want to play the same role as Greg did at Airbnb.
SA: We expect for each partner to do one to two deals per year.
You haven’t invested together in the past, and establishing an investing history together is usually really important to institutions that invest in venture funds. How did you persuade them that this wasn’t an issue?
RN: It was definitely a process. [Laughs.] We were told no multiple times. We had not invested together and it did come up quite a bit and was a disqualifying thing for people who care a lot about that.
|CapLinked, an eight-year-old, Redondo Beach, Ca.-based secure information-sharing company that’s currently creating a product to tokenize equity, just raised $2.5 million in fresh funding from Alphabit Fund, Translunar One, Kenetic Capital, NextProtocol Ventures and BKCM were the investors. Crowdfund Insider has more here. |
Cosential, a 19-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based maker of CRM and proposal automation software for architecture, engineering and construction firms, has raised $34 million in funding led by JMI Equity. More here.
Dirt Protocol, an eight-month-old, Bay Area-based pre-launch startup that intends to use blockchain technology to create a new approach to verify information, has raised $3 million in seed funding. Investors include General Catalyst, Greylock,Lightspeed Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Digital Currency Group, SV Angel, Avichal Garg, Elad Gil, Fred Ehrsam, Linda Xi and others. TechCrunch has more here.
Goodwall, a four-year-old, Geneva, Switzerland-based, U.S.-focused student and graduate professional network that aims to connect young people with college and employment opportunities, has closed $10.8 million in Series A funding. Randstad Innovation Fund, a strategic corporate VC fund that focuses on recruitment, led the round with and the Swiss private equity firm Manixer. Additional investors include Francis Clivaz, Zurich Cantonal Bank and Verve Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
Greenhouse Software, a six-year-old, New York-based recruiting optimization platform that counts Benchmark, Thrive Capital, and Social Capital among its investors, just raised $50 million more from Riverwood Capital. The company has now raised $110 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Higi, a six-year-old, Chicago-based company that invites consumers to measure and track their health numbers at its self-screening health stations across more than 11,000 retail locations, has raised $21.3 million in Series C funding. Investors include Flare Capital Partners and 7wireVentures. More here.
Journera, a two-year-old, Chicago-based startup whose software platform connects travel-related companies, so if an individual’s flight is delayed, car, hotel, and dinner reservations will adjust to the new flight, has raised $9 million in Series A funding. B Capital Group led the round; other participants in the deal include Andreessen Horowitz, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and The Boston Consulting Group. Chicago Inno has more here.
Luckin Coffee, a nine-month-old, Beijing-based on-demand coffee delivery startup that’s aiming to take on Starbucks, has raised $200 million in Series A funding at a $1 billion(!) post-money valuation. Investors in the deal include GIC, Legend Capital, Joy Capital and Centurium Capital. Quartz has more here.
Lumiata, a five-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based software company whose predictive analytics tech is used to manage healthcare costs, has raised $11 million in funding co-led by Khosla Ventures and BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, with participation from Sandbox Industries, Intel Capital and others. MobiHealthNews has more here.
MediaMath, an 11-year-old, New York-based ad tech company whose platform lets advertisers and their agencies buy online ads using automated systems, has raised $225 million in funding from the investment firm Searchlight Capital Partners. The money is partly being used to buy out one of MediaMath’s earlier investors, Safeguard Scientifics; still, it’s a lot of $ for an ad tech company, considering the sector has been hammered over the last few years. The WSJ has more here.
Meero, a three-year-old, Paris-based company that uses AI imaging to quickly provide photos, videos and virtual tours in the service of helping its customers reach their sales targets, has raised $45 million in funding led by Alven Capital and Idinvest. TechCrunch has more here.
Octi, a 1.5-year-old, L.A.based augmented video company, has raised $7.5 million in seed funding from Shasta Ventures, I2BF Ventures, Bold Capital Partners,Day One Ventures, Human Ventures, Live Nation, and InBev, among others. The company also relatedly entered into a strategic investment and partnership with the NFL Players Association that will enable fans to create videos wherein they interact with NFL player avatars. More here.
Paidy, a 10-year-old, Tokyo-based fintech startup that enables Japanese consumers to shop online without using a credit card, has closed on $55 million in Series C funding led by Japanese trade conglomerate Itochu Corporation, with participation from Goldman Sachs. The company has now raised $80 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Perceptive Automata, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that hopes to teach autonomous vehicles to learn to interpret the world like humans, has raised $3 million in seed funding, including from First Round Capital. Wired takes a look at the company here.
Pointy, a four-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based startup whose tech helps offline retailers make their stock discoverable online via search engines, has raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Polaris Partners and Vulcan Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
Seatfrog, a four-year-old, London-based firm for live bidding of airline and rail seats, raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Octopus Ventures. UKTN has more here.
Spring Health, a two-year-old, New York-based platform for smaller companies to use to help their employees access to mental health treatment, has raised $6 million in fresh funding led by Rethink Impact, with Work-Bench, BBG Ventures, RRE Ventures, the William K. Warren Foundation, and The Partnership Fund for New York City joining the round. TechCrunch has more here.
|(Other) New Funds|
|Cayuga Venture Fund, a 10-year-old, Ithaca, N.Y.-based early-stage venture firm firm with ties to neighboring Cornell University, plans to raise $100 million for its sixth fund. Ithaca Journal has more here. |
Glasswing Ventures, a two-year-old, Boston-based venture outfit investing in early-stage startups that apply artificial intelligence to various industries, has closed its debut fund with $112 million. TechCrunch has more here.
Trail Mix Ventures, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based seed-stage fund that’s investing in startups to which wellness-obsessed millennials are gravitating, has closed its debut fund with $11 million. We talked with the firm’s founders here.
|Netskope, a company that focuses on security in the cloud, announced today it has acquired Sift Security, a four-year-old startup that helps secure cloud infrastructure services like Amazon, Microsoft and Google using machine learning. Terms of the deal aren’t known, but Sift’s 10 technical employees will become part of Netskope’s 500+ person team. TechCrunch has more here. |
Univision, a media giant serving Latinos in the U.S., said it’s pulling back from its expansion into English-language digital content by exploring a sale of its Gizmodo Media Group assets and its stake in Onion Inc. The move places 13 popular sites on the block: Gizmodo, Jezebel, Deadspin, Lifehacker, Splinter, The Root, Kotaku, Earther and Jalopnik. Univision’s stake in Onion Inc also gives it partial ownership of The Onion, Clickhole, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Fortune has more here.
|Days after trying to help a Thai soccer team escape from their cave dungeon, Elon Musk is now vowing to fix the water in any house in Flint, Michigan that has water contamination above FDA levels. “No kidding,” he tweets. (To which the mayor of Flint has tweeted to him, “Mr. Musk, I am the Mayor of Flint. I would like to have a conversation with you about Flint’s specific needs.”) |
In very separate but related news, Martin Tripp, the fired Tesla technician fighting a corporate legal battle and a war of words with Musk, has formally filed a tip with the SEC alleging the automaker lied to investors and used dangerous batteries in its electric cars.
|Tiger Global Management has poured more than $1 billion into SoftBank Group, says the Financial Times. According to the outlet, Tiger told its investors that SoftBank’s shares are “meaningfully undervalued.” Tiger and SoftBank share several investments in common, including Alibaba, Flipkart and Uber. TechCrunch has more here. |
New Zealand scientists have performed the first-ever 3-D, color X-ray on a human, using a technique that promises to improve the field of medical diagnostics. Agence France-Presse has more here.
Facebook Watch is the social media giant’s year-old bid to dethrone YouTube. Problem is, few are watching it, says The Information.
|The extinction of the middle child. |
The Alt-Ivies: 15 top U.S. colleges with blue-chip reputations.
An oral history of “Step Brothers.”
|Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House.|