Fundings & Exits

China is funding the future of American biotech

Silicon Valley is in the midst of a health craze, and it is being driven by “Eastern” medicine. It’s been a record year for US medical investing, but investors in Beijing and Shanghai are now increasingly leading the largest deals for US life science and biotech companies. In fact, Chinese venture firms have invested more this year into life science and biotech in the US than they have back home, providing financing for over 300 US-based companies, per Pitchbook. That’s the story at Viela Bio, a Maryland-based company exploring treatments for inflammation and autoimmune diseases, which raised a $250 million Series A led by three Chinese firms. Chinese capital’s newfound appetite also flows into the mainland. Business is booming for Chinese medical startups, who are also seeing the stronges...

Funderbeam CEO to talk about disrupting startup funding at Disrupt Berlin

Startup funding hasn’t changed much in the past decade. Funderbeam is an interesting company trying to turn everything upside down using a marketplace approach, a modern syndication system and a blockchain-based platform. I’m excited to announce that Funderbeam founder and CEO Kaidi Ruusalepp will come to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin. The first boom of venture capital of the 1980s changed everything in the tech industry. Countless of tech startups managed to get funding, grow and make money down the road. Without venture capital firms, some of the biggest tech firms out there just wouldn’t be around. Arguably, convertible notes and accelerators turned startups into a mainstream phenomenon. It became much easier to get seed funding and some sort of mentorship. But it hasn’t changed much since ...

Cryptocurrency wallet startup Cobo raises $13M Series A to enter the U.S. and Southeast Asia

Cobo, a cryptocurrency wallet startup headquartered in Beijing, has raised a $13 million Series A to enter new international markets. The round was led by DHVC and Wu Capital, a family office based in China. Cobo plans to expand in the United States and Southeast Asia, in particular Vietnam and Indonesia. Cobo is also now taking pre-orders for Cobo Vault, a hardware wallet (pictured above) that it claims is military grade. Cobo’s Series A brings its total funding to $20 million so far. Cobo Wallet allows users to store both proof-of-stake and proof-of-work coins. One incentive for people to pick the app over its competitors is the ability to pool proof-of-stake assets with other users so they can increase their chances of mining and validating new blocks on the blockchain. Since launching ...

Memory raises $5M to bring AI to time tracking

Memory, a startup out of Norway and maker of time tracking app Timely, has raised $5 million in further funding. Leading the round is Concentric, and Investinor, with participation from existing investor SNÖ Ventures. The company had previously raised $1 million in 2016 from 500 Startups, and SNÖ. Founded by Mathias Mikkelsen, a designer by background and who I understand turned down a job offer at Facebook to try his hand at startup life, Memory is applying what it describes as AI and digital technology to create various tools to help solve “the abuses of time” that workers typically face in the modern workplace. The first of those abuses being tackled is the monotonous and time-consuming task of time tracking and filing time sheets — a meta problem if there ever was one. “The problem we’...

Samsung acquires network analytics startup Zhilabs to help its transition to 5G

Samsung Electronics is betting that acquiring Zhilabs, a real-time networks analytics startup based in Barcelona, will ease its transition from 4G to 5G technologies. Financial details of the deal, which was announced today, have not been disclosed. Zhilabs will be fully owned by Samsung, but it will continue to operate independently under its own management. The acquisition of Zhilabs is part of Samsung’s initiative, announced in August, to invest 25 trillion won (about $22 billion) in businesses working on AI, 5G, components for self-driving vehicles, and biopharmaceutical technologies. In a statement, Youngky Kim, Samsung Electronic’s president and head of networks business, said “5G will enable unprecedented services attributed to the generation of exponential data traffic, for which a...

Syncron, a SaaS to help manufacturers move to a service model, raises $67M

Syncron, a Stockholm-headquartered company that offers a SaaS to help equipment and other product manufacturers move to a service model, has raised $67 million, its first ever funding round despite being over 15 years old. Leading the round is growth equity firm Summit Partners, while a source close to Syncron pegs the post-money valuation at $175 million. Tapping into the growing “servitization” trend — that is, offering a product as a service or a subscription — Syncron’s SaaS grew out of the company’s original consultancy offering and is designed to solve issues around post-sales support offered by equipment manufacturers targeting various heavy industry. For example, when heavy equipment breaks down –- think tractors, bulldozers and dump trucks -– it can stall a multimillion-dollar pro...

Anaplan hits the ground running with strong stock market debut up over 42 percent

You might think that Anaplan CEO, Frank Calderoni would have had a few sleepless nights this week. His company picked a bad week to go public as market instability rocked tech stocks. Still he wasn’t worried, and today the company had by any measure a successful debut with the stock soaring up over 42 percent. As of 4 pm ET, it hit $24.18, up from the IPO price of $17. Not a bad way to launch your company. Stock Chart: Yahoo Finance “I feel good because it really shows the quality of the company, the business model that we have and how we’ve been able to build a growing successful business, and I think it provides us with a tremendous amount of opportunity going forward,” Calderoni told TechCrunch. Calderoni joined the company a couple of years ago, and seemed to emerge from Silicon Valley...

Walmart continues M&A spree with acquisition of lingerie retailer Bare Necessities

Walmart continues to beef up its portfolio of digital brands, announcing on Friday that it had acquired Bare Necessities, an online retailer of lingerie, swimwear, hosiery and other intimates. Walmart declined to disclose the terms of the deal. The lingerie company, founded in 1998, will operate independently of Walmart. Over time, the e-commerce giant says it will make Bare Necessities’ products available on Walmart.com, as well as on Jet.com, which Walmart acquired for more than $3 billion in 2016 to bolster its e-commerce business. Walmart has long been one of the most active acquirers of startups and hasn’t slowed down in 2018. Just last week, the company announced it would purchase women’s plus-sized clothing brand ELOQUII. Before that, it paid $225 million for a grocery delivery serv...

Gogoprint raises $7.7M to expand its online printing business in Asia Pacific

Gogoprint, a startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional printing industry in Southeast Asia, has pulled in a $7.7 million investment as it prepares to expand its business in Asia Pacific. We first profiled Gogoprint in 2016 soon after its launch the previous year, and since then the Bangkok-based company has expanded beyond Thailand and into Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Now, the company is looking to go beyond Southeast Asia and enter Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and other markets over the coming 12 months. Those moves will be funded by this Series A round, which is led by existing Gogoprint backer OPG (Online Printing Group), an investment firm from Kai Hagenbuch who was an early backer of Brazil-based Printi. Printi previously sold a chunk of its business to printing ...

Indonesian co-working startup GoWork lands $10 million

Co-working today is a global game that’s played by many more than just WeWork, despite the company’s valuation surging to $20 billion. But, as WeWork increasingly globalizes its focus, the U.S. firm is coming into contact with smaller players who are highly localized in markets with the potential to grow significantly. One such market is Indonesia, the largest economy in the growing region of Southeast Asia. Indonesia’s capital alone has a population of 10 million and it is tipped to overtake Tokyo as the world’s most populous city by 2020. WeWork is prioritizing Indonesia as one of the keys markets in Asia but already there are strong local competitors. EV Hive, now known as Cocowork, raised $20 million earlier this year, and now Gowork, a startup formed from a merger between Rework and G...

Netlify just got $30 million to change the way developers build websites

Netlify wants to revolutionize the way developers build websites, abstracting away the web server and breaking web sites into microservices, making the process more like building a mobile application than a traditional website. Today, the company announced a $30M Series B investment to help continue to build on that vision. Kleiner Perkins led the round. Andreessen Horowitz and the founders of Slack (Stewart Butterfield), Yelp (Jeremy Stoppelman) and Figma (Dylan Field) all participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to over $44 million, according to Crunchbase data. Chris Bach, co-founder and president and Matt Biilmann, co-founder and CEO see the change they are trying to make as part of the larger shift to an API economy. They want to take the same ease of development APIs ...

Mapify, the Berlin-based ‘social travel network’, locates $1M seed round

Mapify, the Berlin startup that offers what it describes as a “social travel network,” has raised $1 million in seed funding from a mixture of U.S. and Europe-based funds and angel investors. The include Switzerland’s Ennea VC (led by Jan Valentin, who served as Senior Vice President at Kayak in Europe), Roland Grenke (co-founder of Dubsmash), Navid Hadzaad Javaherian (former founder and CEO at GoButler ​and ​Product Leader at Amazon Alexa), L.A.-based LayJax Ventures​ (the investment vehicle of Pheed co-founder Phil Haus​ and actor Zach Avery), Niv Dror​ (previously of Product Hunt ​and AngelList​), and Lucas von Cranach​ (CEO of OneFootball). The company had previously received investment from MIT’s Sandbox Innovation Fund​, Gunnar Froh (who launched Airbnb’s international expansion), Fr...