Tech Weekly Newsletter: July 24, 2016

Last week, today

  • 7/14 – Pretty detailed breakdown of the new battle that Amazon may begin to undertake – at the application layer (Diginomica)
  • 7/15 – Google reportedly had an Oculus competitor in the works, but ultimately shut it down according to Re/Code (Re/Code) or not really according to Engadget  (Engadget)
  • 7/16 – Kabam lays off 25 people at its San Francisco mobile game studio (VentureBeat)
  • 7/16 – WeWork is suing a former employee for unauthorized disclosure of its finances according to Bloomberg News (Business Insider)
  • 7/17 – Rocket Internet, a Germany-based copycat-like business conglomerate that monitors other businesses that are getting traction and launches competitors in different continents, is now struggling as its portfolio of companies like HelloFresh and Delivery Hero are struggling to adjust to the new start-up environment (WSJ $)
  • 7/17 – Tesla is re-thinking its radar system to prevent accidents like the one that led to the May 7th death of Joshua Brown (Fortune)
  • 7/17 – SoftBank is buying ARM Holdings, a chip design + IP licensing company that has technology powering nearly all mobile devices, for $32B (Re/Code). Investors on the SoftBank side did not react too favorably to the news (Business Insider)
  • 7/17 – Rise Capital is said to be raising a $50M fund according to an SEC filing (SEC)
  • 7/18 – Thrive Capital has announced its fifth fund (Thrive V), a $700M fund focused on software and consumer investing (Medium)
  • 7/18 – Opera announced the termination of its deal to be acquired by $1.2B by a Chinese consortium. The Company renegotiated the sale down to $600M for certain parts of the business that include its mobile and desktop browser and its performance and privacy apps (among others) after it failed to get regulatory approval (TechCrunch)
  • 7/19 – Bloomberg Beta raises its second $75M fund and gives an interview to TechCrunch that highlights how the NPS given to them by their entrepreneurs is really the metric they benchmark themselves against (TechCrunch)
  • 7/19 – You can now apply to receive a Twitter verified blue check (Fortune)
  • 7/19 – I’m struggling to care about this Hyperloop One story but in a counterclaim for $250M to the original claim by CTO Brogan BamBrogan, Hyperloop alleges that BamBrogan was in breach of a number of agreements including non-solicit, non-compete etc. (TechCrunch)
  • 7/19 – Industry Ventures raises $400M across two funds (PE Hub)
  • 7/19 – Snapchat introduced the functionality around Bitmojis, which it acquired for $100M a few months back (Business Insider) and it was so popular it crashed its servers (Business Insider)
  • 7/19 – For the third time in a year, WhatsApp was shut down in Brazil, only to be re-opened (Re/Code)
  • 7/19 – Unilever has acquired Dollar Shave Club for $1B. DSC was projecting revenue of $200M this year (Re/Code). Here is a great analysis by Ben Thompson and here is a blog post by Venrock investor David Pakman, who led the A and B
  • 7/19 – Google has found an application for its DeepMind artificial intelligence platform – using it to save power around its data center – reducing consumption of things like cooling systems, which translates into a 15% improvement in power usage efficiency (Bloomberg)
  • 7/19 – EMC shareholders have voted to approve the multi-billion dollar merger with Dell (Fortune)
  • 7/19 – Carbon Black has acquired Confer in a $100M deal. Confer had raised $25M and its most recent valuation was $58.8M according to Pitchbook (WSJ $)
  • 7/20 – Spotify is planning to go public in the second half of next year, according to a report by Bloomberg citing people familiar with the plan (Bloomberg)
  • 7/20 – Facebook Messenger has reached 1B users according to a press release by the Company (Facebook)
  • 7/20 – Airbnb has hired former Attorney General, Eric Holder, to help “craft a world-class anti-discrimination policy” (Business Insider)
  • 7/20 – True Ventures is seeking to raise $150M (SEC)
  • 7/20 – Uber investors are reportedly pushing for the Company and Didi to come to a truce in China, although the two companies are not in active dialogue according to a person familiar to the matter (Bloomberg)
  • 7/20 – Symphony, the communication platform that is backed by a number of financial services firms and Google to take on Bloomberg, is shifting its underlying infrastructure from AWS to Google’s cloud (The Information $)
  • 7/20 – Elon Musk released the second part of his master plan, which calls for solar panel-powered, self-driving cars that will allow your car to make money for you (Re/Code). Here is the full post
  • 7/21 – Olapic, a start-up that helps manage user generated content and had raised $21M from Felix Capital and Fung Capital, is being acquired by Monotype, a public font design and technology company (?), for $130M + $19M in stock that vests over time(TechCrunch)
  • 7/21 – Liberty Media (Sirius XM’s parent company) has reportedly floated an offer to purchase Pandora for $3.4B ($15 a share, above its current price of $12). The Company rejected the offer (WSJ $)
  • 7/21 – Tinder is launching “Tinder Social,” which is designed to help you and your friends group match with other friend groups (Business Insider)
  • 7/21 – PagerDuty, the IT alerting platform backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Bessemer among others, has named Jennifer Tejada (formerly CEO of Keynote prior to its sale to Dynatrace in June 2015) as its CEO. Founder Alex Solomon is staying on as CTO to focus on long-term product strategy (Forbes)
  • 7/21 – Workday acquired Platfora*, a start-up focused on analyzing data from Apache Spark and Hadoop, for $200M (WSJ $)
  • 7/21 – Salesforce plans to acquire Coolan, the developer of a platform for data center hardware analysis and optimization (Computer World)
  • 7/21 – PayPal and Visa, who have been in a fairly public (albeit boring) spat, have formed a partnership to open up Visa’s payment processing service and Venmo to more users (VentureBeat)
  • 7/21 – A long journey to get there, but Impinj, an RFID company in Seattle, went public and raised $67M (TechCrunch)
  • 7/21 – SurveyMonkey has named former HomeAway COO Tom Hale as its President (VentureBeat)
  • 7/21 – Interesting account by Kara Swisher about her relationship with Peter Thiel before he took the stage to give a speech at the RNC Convention in Cleveland, where he endorsed Donald Trump (Re/Code)
  • 7/21 – Apollo is considering an IPO for its IT services company Presidio, which could value the Company at more than $2B (WSJ $)
  • 7/22 – General Assembly has laid off 50 people (7% of its employee base) (INC)
  • 7/22 –  A national nightmare is close to being over (unfortunately.. not that one), Verizon is apparently buying Yahoo for $5B (Re/Code)
  • 7/22 – AIG is beginning to sell cybersecurity insurance policies (Bloomberg)
  • 7/22 – In a regulatory filing it was revealed that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff sent an email to LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman after the previous regulatory filing was released on July 1, saying that he would have bid “much higher” for LinkedIn had he been allowed to continue discussion (WSJ $)
  • 7/22 – A judge finds that Gravity4 CEO Gurbaksh “G” Chahal violated his probation for domestic assault by committing another domestic assault (TechCrunch)

Earnings

  • 7/18 – Netflix falls 15% in after-hours due to missed subscriber growth numbers – adding just 1.7M new users, below the 2.5M it had forecasted (and the 3.3M it added last year during the same period) (TechCrunch). Re/Code has details into the subscriber growth (Re/Code)
  • 7/18 – IBM traded up 3.3% in after-hours as cloud revenue comes in ahead of expectations with 30% year-over-year growth (TechCrunch)
  • 7/18 – In what is likely its last earnings announcement as a public company, Yahoo missed expectations and once again wrote down its acquisition of Tumblr (TechCrunch)
  • 7/18 – VMware traded up 8% after beating earnings expectations (Seeking Alpha)
  • 7/19 – SAP beat both top-line and bottom-lines with software licenses growing 10% and the cloud business growing 41%. The Company traded up 5% on the news (Bloomberg)
  • 7/19 – Microsoft beat Wall Street earnings expectations with Azure up 102% ($12.1B run-rate now) and O365 revenue up 54% y/y. The Company traded up 3% on the news (Re/Code)
  • 7/20 – eBay trades up 5% after beating earnings expectations (TechCrunch), which was largely driven by the success of StubHub as its core business is mostly flat (Fortune)
  • 7/20 – Intel released mixed second quarter earnings as it takes the restructuring charge of $1.2B that it previously announced in April (TechCrunch)
  • 7/20 – athenahealth released its earnings and missed badly with the stock trading down over 12%
  • 7/21 – Dassault Systems was mostly flat on earnings announcement (Seeking Alpha)
  • 7/22 – Paypal released its earnings and traded up slightly (2%) with news of a partnership with Visa (mentioned above) (TechCrunch)
  • 7/22 – 8×8 traded up 3% on earnings beat (The Street)

Financings

  • 7/20 – Sprinklr*, a New York-based provider of enterprise social technology solutions, has raised $105 million in Series F funding at a $1.8 billion valuation. Temasek led the round
  • 7/20 – Sift Science, a San Francisco-based provider of real-time machine learning fraud prevention for online businesses, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round
  • 7/19 – ZenReach, a San Francisco-based provider of wifi hardware to coffee shops and other restaurants, has raised $30 million in Series B funding
  • 7/20 – Pantheon, a WordPress and Drupal hosting service, has raised $29 million in Series C funding. Industry Ventures led the round
  • 7/20 – Doppler Labs, a New York-based maker of an all-in-one wireless listening system, has raised $24 million in new VC funding. The Chernin Group led the round
  • 7/20 – GuardiCore*, an Israeli provider of data center security and breach detection solutions, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Existing backers Battery Ventures and 83North were joined by new investors Cisco Investments.
  • 7/19 – Skycure, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of mobile threat defense solutions, has raised $16.5 million in Series B funding. Foundation Capital led the round
  • 7/21 – Deposit Solutions GmbH, a German fintech startup focused on the European retail deposit market, has raised €15 million in VC funding at a €110 million valuation. Backers include Valar Ventures, FinLab and Greycroft Partners
  • 7/21 – Redis Labs, an open-source data structure store, has raised $14 million in Series C funding. Bain Capital Ventures and Carmel Ventures co-led the round
  • 7/20 – Brandcast, a San Francisco-based code-free website platform for brands, has raised $13.9 million in Series A funding. Shasta Ventures led the round
  • 7/19 – Kiip, a San Francisco-based mobile rewards network, has raised $12 million in Series C funding. North Atlantic Capital led the round
  • 7/22 – AristaMD, a San Diego-based provider of specialist referral support tools, has raised $11 million in Series A funding. Avalon Ventures led the round
  • 7/18 – Azalea Health, an Atlanta-based provider of revenue cycle enhancement software for healthcare practices, has raised $10.5 million in Series B funding. Kayne Partners led the round
  • 7/21 – CargoX, a Brazil-based provider of on-demand trucking services, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. Goldman Sachs led the round
  • 7/18 – Lifesum, a Stockholm-based health and nutrition tracking startup, has raised $10 million in new VC funding. Nokia Growth Partners led the round,
  • 7/18 – Modo Labs., a Stamford, Conn.-based mobile engagement platform for creating campus and enterprise apps, has raised $10 million in Series B funding
  • 7/18 – MarketInvoice, a UK-based P2P lending platform that transacts around outstanding invoices, has raised £7.2 million in new VC funding. MCI Capital led the round
  • 7/19 – Guideline, a New York-based online retirement planning startup, has raised $7 million in Series A funding. Propel Venture Partners led the round
  • 7/18 – Civil Maps, an Albany, Calif.-based provider of 3D mapping technology for fully autonomous vehicles, has raised $6.6 million in seed funding. Motus Ventures led the round
  • 7/19 – Eastwind Networks, a Salt Lake City-based provider of a hybrid network breach detection system, has raised $5.5 million in new seed funding. Signal Peak Ventures led the round
  • 7/22 – Kazan Networks, an Auburn, Calif.-based data storage performance startup, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. Samsung Ventures led the round
  • 7/21 – ReviewTrackers, a Chicago-based customer feedback platform, has raised $4 million in growth equity funding led by American Family Ventures
  • 7/18 – Magnetic Insight, an Alameda, Calif.-based diagnostic imaging startup, has raised $3 million in seed funding. Sand Hill Angeles led the round
  • 7/20 – BestMile, a Swiss developer of cloud intelligence for driverless vehicles, has raised $2.5 million in new VC funding led by Forticap
  • 7/21 – Stardog, a Washington, D.C.-based enterprise data unification platform, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding led by Core Capital and Boulder Ventures
  • 7/20 – Trim, a personal finance chatbot, has raised $2.2 million in new VC funding. Eniac Ventures led the round
  • 7/18 – Scope AR, a San Francisco-based provider of augmented reality smart instructions and live support video calling solutions, has raised $2 million in seed funding from Susa Ventures, Presence Capital Fund and New Stack Ventures
  • 7/20 – ZipBooks, an accounting software startup, has raised $2 million in seed funding. Peak Ventures led the round
  • 7/18 – Darktrace, a London-based provider of enterprise cybersecurity software, has raised an undisclosed amount of new VC funding from Samsung SDS
  • 7/18 – ZestFinance, a Los Angeles-based big data company focused on credit scoring, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Baidu.com
  • 7/20 – Mist, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of mobile experiences for business, has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Cisco Investments

Random, long reads
Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All (The New Yorker) – The co-writer of Donald Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal” goes in on the Donald, apologizing for his part in creating the spectacle that we have running for President today. There are obvious conflicts of interest in the author now coming out and addressing his impressions of the person he painted in a favorable light 20ish years ago, but Schwartz acknowledges this, explains his motives and also kept a detailed journal of his interactions (not to mention the New Yorker cross-referencing accounts).  The whole thing is worth the read, but the quote that has made the rounds (for good reason) was: “I put lipstick on a pig. I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is. I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

Great!

The Encyclopedia of Matt Damon (GQ) – By all accounts one of the most likeable people in Hollywood, GQ does a profile on Matt Damon simply by interviewing him and those famous people closest to him (Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Martin Scorsese, Tina Fey, Jimmy Kimmel, Julia Roberts, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Simmons etc. etc.). The output is a great read that paints a picture of a fairly normal guy that happens to be one of the best actors of his generation.  Few funny quotes:

  • Matt Damon: Casey (Affleck) moved in with us [when he was 19]. He would walk in the room, and I’m like, “Is that my shirt?” It got so bad with the Affleck brothers that I was at the point where I wanted to label all of my stuff, ’cause it would just fucking show up in Casey’s drawer. And if it’s there long enough, then it’s like some version of squatters’ rights, where suddenly he’s like, “No, dude, this is mine. You saw me. I’ve been wearing this since December.” Like, that doesn’t mean it’s yours! Just because you washed it doesn’t mean it’s yours.
  • John Krasinski (co-writer, ‘Promised Land’): The day I met him was the scene in The Adjustment Bureau where he kisses my wife [Emily Blunt] in a very big way. And so when I went up to him, he turned to me, and the first thing he ever said to me was, “Hey, man. I was just totally tonguing your girl.” And I went, “Oh, okay. Cool.” And he saw my face and he just cratered. He said, “Oh, my God. I am so sorry. I am so sorry.”
  • Ben Affleck (co-writer, ‘Good Will Hunting’; best friend): The quality that has allowed Matt to maintain the illusion that he is Mr. Nice Guy is that he found a young TV actor who was just a pretty face and made friends with him so he would always look good by comparison. Matt is very media-savvy and manipulative in that way. He’s like a mix of [O. J. Simpson defense-team members] Bob Shapiro and Alan Dershowitz.

How America’s Favorite Sports Betting Expert Turned A Sucker’s Game Into An Industry (Deadspin) – If sports betting were legal, it’d be something that I’d definitely enjoy taking part in. This investigative piece by Deadspin looks at RJ Bell, the owner of Pregame.com, a site that is focused on “touts,” who will push you content and “expertise” on various upcoming sporting events for you to wager on. The catch here is that almost all these experts on Bell’s site according to Deadspin are horrible and that the way the site really makes money is through affiliate fees and other referral arrangements to offshore gambling websites where they get a percentage of money lost by gamblers. Really interesting piece if you have even a passing interest in the world of sports gambling.
*Battery portfolio company. For a list of all Battery portfolio companies, please click here.