YL Ventures, a specialist in Israeli cybersecurity startups, has closed its fourth fund with $120 million


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YL Ventures, a 12-year-old, Mill Valley, Ca-based, seed-stage venture firm that invests narrowly in Israeli cybersecurity startups, just closed its fourth fund with $120 million in capital commitments, bringing the total capital it now manages to $260 million.

It’s an interesting firm in numerous ways that set it apart from many of its similar-size peers. Most meaningfully, though it backs founders at the earliest stages, it doesn’t spread its bets as do many seed-stage outfits, instead funding just two to three teams each year. That means it will spread its newest fund across an estimated 10 companies.

It’s a concentrated approach, and one that seems very much to be working. YL Ventures was the biggest shareholder in the container security startup Twistlock, for example, which sold to Palo Alto Networks last month for $410 million. Twistlock had raised $63 million altogether. YL Ventures wrote the company a $2 million

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VC-turned-renowned executive coach Jerry Colonna on the unsorted baggage of CEOs


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Jerry Colonna was a good venture capitalist. Still, when he became engulfed in a dangerous depression after the dot.com bubble’s burst — owing to the economic crash, to the terrorist attack in New York, to the approach of middle age — he saved himself by leaving VC, a kind of accidental if lucrative profession, and learning how to coach others.

What he tells them from the outset — as he learned about himself firsthand — is that many executives hobble themselves unwittingly out of fear or some other driving force that they have no idea even exists, a driver that has be to identified to be conquered. Colonna learned, for example, that he might like that he associated money with safety, after growing up in a chaotic environment with an alcoholic father, a mother with mental illness, and six siblings who were at times separated and cared for by

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e.Ventures, the global early-stage venture fund, has raised $400 million more from investors


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e.ventures, a 20-year-old, early-stage venture firm that has historically invested out of dedicated funds in numerous geographies, including the U.S., Russia, Germany, Asia, and Brazil, has raised $400 million in fresh capital across two new funds: a $225 million U.S.-focused fund that’s based in San Francisco, and a $175 million fund that’s focused on Europe and based in Berlin.

The firm says the funds will invest between $1.5 million and $10 million in tech startups, from those at the seed stage to those looking to land Series B funding. The outfit generally looks for consumer, SaaS, and fintech startups with global aspirations.

Some of e.ventures’s highest-profile bets to date include FarFetch, The RealReal, Shipt, Groupon, and Sonos.

Some of its newest bets include Zippia, a nearly four-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based site for job-seekers that raised $8.5 million in Series

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Susa Ventures, a young VC firm with some high-flying bets, just closed on $140 million in new capital


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Susa Ventures, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based, seed-stage venture firm, has closed on two new funds, a $90 million early-stage fund — its third flagship fund — along with its first opportunity fund, to which investors committed $50 million.

Though young, Susa has some very fast-growing companies in its portfolio, which surely smoothed the fundraising process. (It also explains why the firm has already raised a separate to vehicle that will support its breakout portfolio companies.)

It has participated across all five funding rounds to date of the six-year-old, freight logistics company Flexport, which was last valued by its backers at a $3.2 valuation.

Susa was also there at the start for the commission-free trading company Robinhood, backing the company at its seed, Series A, and Series B rounds. Robinhood has subsequently raised two more rounds of funding and was valued by investors during its most recent round,

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Venture-backed telemedicine startup Call9 is shutting down


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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More than three years ago, we told you about Call9, a young, Palo Alto, Ca.-based telemedicine startup that wanted to reduce unnecessary visits to emergency rooms by those who call 911 most frequently, which is people in nursing homes.

The company’s cofounders — Celina Tenev, a radiology postdoctoral fellow from Stanford, and Timothy Peck, who worked previously as an emergency medicine physician and faculty at Harvard Medical School — met while working part-time for a now-defunct startup and shared a disbelief that the patient experience still typically includes spending several hours in an emergency room.

Unfortunately, for Tenev and Peck and investors who wound up plugging $34 million into the startup —  including Index Ventures, YC, the YC Continuity Fund, Index Ventures, 8VC, and 23andMe cofounder Anne Wojcicki — Call9 is shutting down after failing to raise further funding. About 100 people are losing their jobs as a

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A rare glimpse into the sweeping — and potentially troubling — cloud kitchens trend


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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Independent restaurant owners may be doomed, and perhaps grocery stores, too.

Such is the conclusion of a growing chorus of observers who’ve been closely watching a new and powerful trend gain strength: that of cloud kitchens, or fully equipped shared spaces for restaurant owners, most of them quick-serve operations.

While viewed peripherally as an interesting and, for some companies, lucrative development, the movement may well transform our lives in ways that enrich a small set of companies while zapping jobs and otherwise taking a toll on our neighborhoods. Renowned VC Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital seemed to warn about this very thing in a Financial Times column that appeared last month, titled “The cloud kitchen brews a storm for local restaurants.”

Moritz begins by pointing to the runaway success of Deliveroo, the London-based delivery service that relies on low-paid, self-employed delivery riders who delivery local restaurant food to

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SV Academy just landed $9.5 million to offer tuition-free training that puts people in tech jobs


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When you live in Silicon Valley, it feels like nearly everyone works in tech and that entry into the industry is wide open. Of course, the reality is very different. Even as software eats the world, not everyone has the training or connections to land a high-paying job in either the traditional tech industry or with a company that’s actively embracing its digital future.

In fact, it would be challenging to interest an executive recruiter in someone who doesn’t have a tech background and didn’t go to college, yet a company called SV Academy is doing just that. In fact, according to cofounder and CEO Rahim Fazel, the nearly two-and-a-half-year-old, Bay Area company is currently helping 100 people every 30 days — or 1,200 per year — land jobs at companies like SurveyMonkey, Palo Alto Networks, and PayPal.

Did we mention that it costs these job candidates nothing, that

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Report: SoftBank-backed Brandless gets a new CEO amid turmoil at the company


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Brandless, a direct-to-consumer purveyor of food, beauty, and personal care products, says that every item it makes is non-genetically modified, kosher, fair-trade, gluten-free, often organic and, in the case of cleaning supplies, EPA “Safer Choice” certified. Beginning with its 2012 launch, items were also priced at $3 across the board.

That changed in January, when the company added baby and pet products to its stable of offerings, some of them at a $9 price point. But according to a new report in The Information, that’s far from the only change afoot at the company. Instead, the outlet paints a picture of a company that sold 40 percent of its business to SoftBank for a stunning $240 million before it had found its footing,  and where things have been sliding downhill since.

Indeed, while cofounder and longtime CEO Tina Sharkey suggested to Bloomberg at the time that SoftBank loved

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Forerunner just led a $3.5 million round for Homeroom, a software platform for after-school enrichment programs


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures is best known for its long string of bets on successful and fast-growing consumer companies. Now, its newest partner, Brian O’Malley, who has a knack for finding startups that straddle both the consumer and enterprise worlds, has written his first check on behalf of the firm, and it’s largely in that same vein.

The company: Homeroom, a two-year-old, 12-person, San Francisco-based marketplace business focused around after-school enrichment programs. In the simplest terms, the company makes free software for program organizers that provides them with a clearer way to schedule classes; organize sign-ups; and accept, process, and track payment.

It makes money from the growing number of class vendors that want to extend their reach into new school districts and which provide Homeroom with a cut every time a parent signs up his or her child for one of their after-school programs.

It’s easy to see

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Forerunner just led a $3.5 million round for Homeroom, a software platform for after-school enrichment programs


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures is best known for its long string of bets on successful and fast-growing consumer companies. Now, its newest partner, Brian O’Malley, who has a knack for finding startups that straddle both the consumer and enterprise worlds, has written his first check on behalf of the firm, and it’s largely in that same vein.

The company: Homeroom, a two-year-old, 12-person, San Francisco-based marketplace business focused around after-school enrichment programs. In the simplest terms, the company makes free software for program organizers that provides them with a clearer way to schedule classes; organize sign-ups; and accept, process, and track payment.

It makes money from the growing number of class vendors that want to extend their reach into new school districts and which provide Homeroom with a cut every time a parent signs up his or her child for one of their after-school programs.

It’s easy to see

Continue reading “Forerunner just led a $3.5 million round for Homeroom, a software platform for after-school enrichment programs”

While people puzzle over WeWork, niche co-working spaces continue gaining traction


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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This week, a young, New York-based startup called Alma raised $8 million in funding to expand its “co-practicing community of therapists, coaches, and wellness professionals,” which it first launched from a space on Madison Avenue last fall.

As CNN was first to report, the company is charging charging psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers and acupuncturists $165 per month to become Alma members, which comes with services like billing and scheduling and even a matchmaking service that purports to connect professionals with patients. They also pay an hourly rate to book identically outfitted rooms that can be used interchangeably.

CNN called the company a WeWork for therapists, but Alma and its venture backers are hardly alone in seeing promise in more specialized co-working spaces, which have proliferated as their best-known predecessor in the co-working craze, WeWork, has itself set up all over the globe. According to one estimate, the

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Bill Gates on making “one of the greatest mistakes of all time”


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At a recent event hosted for founders by the venture firm Village Global, one of its most prominent investors, Bill Gates, sat down with Eventbrite cofounder and CEO Julia Hartz to discuss founding a company and the tough decisions necessary at nearly every turn in order to create and sustain a thriving enterprise.

As part of that conversation, Hartz asked Gates about his views on work-life balance, and whether they have evolved from an earlier point in Gates’s life, when he has said that he “didn’t really believe in vacations.” His reply, in short: no, not in a company’s earliest years and especially not if that company is building a software platform. As Gates told Hartz, “I have a fairly hardcore view that there should be a very large sacrifice made during those early years, particularly if you’re trying to do some engineering things that you have to

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Slack and Zoom are flying high; they’re also being chased already by upstarts


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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Two of the highest-flying now-public enterprise companies of the year — Slack and Zoom — are different in many ways, besides the fact that one is focused on workplace messaging, while the other is centered around video conferencing.

Slack began life as a very different startup; Zoom founder Eric Yuan knew from the outset that he wanted to take on his former employer, Webex. Slack raised a lot of money from many sources before hitting the public market — roughly $1.4 billion over ten rounds; Zoom raised $160 million across five rounds, including a $100 million Series D round funded entirely by Sequoia. The two also approached their public offerings differently. Slack chose a direct listing that didn’t raise new money for the company; Zoom chose a traditional IPO, raising half a billion dollars in funding for its coffers just ahead of its first day of trading.

Still,

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People familiar with Slack’s upcoming public offering share what to expect


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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Slack, the popular workplace messaging company, is expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday in the second major direct listing in the U.S. after Spotify introduced the concept to investors in April of last year.

At this point, plenty of industry observers think it makes sound sense for Slack to embrace the direct listing approach, wherein a company places its stock on a public exchange without raising any money or using underwriters. Though the company warned last week that its operating losses are widening as it chases new customers, it has $800 million on its balance sheet, meaning it doesn’t need to raise more right now.

Slack also doesn’t need underwriters who typically discount a company’s shares in order to ensure that they appreciate in value when they begin trading. It’s a known brand in the tech world, and that universe is broadening by

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VC Lior Susan has a big idea that seems to be working: building next-generation industrial companies


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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Many investors in Silicon Valley are waiting the next big platform. That’s fine with Lior Susan, a former Flex exec who in 2015 cofounded Eclipse Ventures with the legendary venture capitalist Pierre Lamond, long of Sequoia Capital.

The duo, along with a team that has now grown to 13 people — happen to think the Next Big Thing is not whatever comes after social networks and flying cars; they think the biggest opportunities that too few VCs recognize is the chance to augment or else build from scratch the next Honeywell or GE Johnson & Johnson through full tech stacks that enable speed and efficiencies that are hard for incumbents to rival. 

As Susan likes to note, pointing to the runaway success of companies like Apple and Amazon that do it all, “Software is not enough.” He’s also quick to point out that the average tenure of the

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Chewy founder Ryan Cohen on its fast-approaching IPO: “It’s like seeing my baby graduate”


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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Ask any venture capitalist about the most important ingredient to success in startups, and they’ll tell you it centers on founders who can persuade not only investors to part with some of their capital but, more important, who can convince people to leave what are often more stable jobs in order to build a company from scratch.

Ryan Cohen certainly fits the description. It goes a long way in explaining why Chewy, the online retailer of pet food and supplies that he cofounded in 2011, sold to PetSmart for a reported $3.35 billion in 2017 — and why it’s also expected to stage a successful IPO this Friday, when PetSmart spins it off (though PetSmart will continue to hold a majority stake in the company).

Just today, the expected IPO price range, originally planned at between $17 and $19 per share, was raised to $19 to $21 per

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London’s LocalGlobe just closed on two funds totaling $295 million


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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Seven months ago, TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear reported that LocalGlobe had begun the fundraising process for two separate funds. The London-based seed-stage venture firm was raising yet another seed-stage venture fund, O’Hear said at the time; he also noted that LocalGlobe was also expect to raise its first opportunities fund.

Fast forward and today, the firm, founded by father and son duo Robin and Saul Klein, says it has closed both, having secured $115 million in capital commitments for its seed fund and $180 million in capital commitments for the second fund, dubbed “Latitude,” which it says it will use to support its “winners” at the Series B and later stages.

As we’d written earlier, it’s no surprise that LocalGlobe decided to institutionalize some of its later-stage investments. It’s become a trend in recent years for early-stage firms to raise separate funds to capture more of the upside when their portfolio

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Modern Fertility raises $15 million to sell its hormone tests — and gather more fertility data from its users


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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Modern Fertility is a San Francisco-based company that sells fertility tests directly to consumers, but increasingly, those customers will be educating the company, too. Indeed, the two-year-old startup now plans to develop a database of anonymized data about its largely younger demographic.

A fresh $15 million in funding led by Forerunner Ventures should help. Forerunner founder Kirsten Green, who takes a board seat as part of the round, is known for countless savvy bets on a wide number of consumer brands that have taken off with users, from Dollar Shave Club to Bonobos to Glossier. With Forerunner’s help, Modern Fertility may well become a breakout hit, too, though potential customers should also understand its limitations before they click the “buy” button.

First, let’s back up. We’d originally written about Modern Fertility last year, when it began selling a kit from its website that’s sent to women’s doorsteps and allows them

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A peek inside Sequoia Capital’s low-flying, wide-reaching scout program


This post is by Connie Loizos from TechCrunch


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Ten years ago, Sequoia Capital began quietly encouraging founders of its portfolio companies to consider which of their founder friends they might like to get behind financially. Sequoia would let them write checks to those companies, and it would share with them any later rewards.

It was a brilliant idea. It allowed Sequoia to keep tabs on entrepreneurs — and nascent technologies — not yet in its universe. It cemented the firm’s ties to the founders who were already in its family. Not last, it grew Sequoia’s already considerable influence in Silicon Valley.

Fast forward, and the ripple effects of the highly successful program have not only been wide-reaching, but they’ve quietly reshaped the industry in ways that only those closest to Sequoia have been able to fully appreciate — until now.

To learn more on the tenth anniversary of Sequoia’s “scouts” initiative — which has since been widely copied

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A Google Walkout organizer just left the company, saying ‘if they won’t lead, we will’


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Claire Stapleton, a longtime Google employee who helped organize a 20,000-person walkout of Google employees last November over the company’s handling of sexual harassment allegations, announced today on Medium that she has left the outfit.

She cites her health, saying she is having another child this fall. But she also says the move ties to retaliation she has alleged she faced after helping stage the walkout, writing: “I made the choice after the heads of my department branded me with a kind of scarlet letter that makes it difficult to do my job or find another one. If I stayed, I didn’t just worry that there’d be more public flogging, shunning, and stress, I expected it.”

Stapleton — who joined Google in 2007 to work in global communications, later joining the Google Creative Writing Lab for just shy of two years before moving on YouTube, where she has spent

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