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NBCUniversal is doubling its bet on BuzzFeed by investing another $200 million

A year after making a major investment in BuzzFeed, NBCUniversal is doing it again. Sources say Comcast’s TV and movie arm is finalizing a deal that will put around $200 million into the digital publisher, at a valuation of around $1.7 billion. Those are roughly the same numbers NBCUniversal used last year, when it first invested in BuzzFeed— except that deal gave BuzzFeed a post-money valuation of $1.5 billion. NBCUniversal made the first BuzzFeed deal at the same time it also invested $200 million into Vox Media, which owns this site. [ Recode ]

How Trumpism Threatens Silicon Valley

Tech companies should worry less about Peter Thiel and much, much more about Trump’s base. Peter Thiel’s $1.25 million contribution to Donald Trump — Silicon Valley’s most conspicuous political act in this campaign — is a high-profile glitch; an aberration that emits a distorted signal about the tech industry’s true place and ambition in political America. Trump, with his penchant for ignorance and instincts that lean authoritarian, has been easy for Silicon Valley to oppose uniformly. But Thiel himself adheres to a breed of techno-libertarianism that feels increasingly anachronistic in the Valley. Today’s techies, from Mark Zuckerberg to Ellen Pao, are instead more likely to profess a civic-minded mission, chasing pursuits that strive to optimize society as it exists rather than create it anew. [ Backchannel ]

Lyft has hired two new key executives as it continues to lag behind Uber

Lyft, the ride-hailing company that has struggled to compete with Uber, has hired two new executives just as two of its top executives are leaving. First the hires: Raj Kapoor of venture capital firm Mayfield Fund, which led Lyft’s series A round, is joining as the chief strategy officer; and Melissa Waters, the former vice president of brand and product marketing at Pandora, will become head of marketing. [ Recode ]

How the Blockchain Could Change Corporate Structure

According to Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, the technology behind Bitcoin could create decentralized businesses unlike anything we’ve seen before. UP UNTIL NOW, a centralized company has been the best way to create a network that solves a large need: Uber connected riders with drivers, banks connected savers with borrowers, and Twitter connected content writers with content consumers. But thanks to the invention of the blockchain, we will no longer need central companies to act as the middleman. The business models of the future will be software protocols developed, governed and owned by the communities they support. [ WSJ ]


Greenwoods Asset Leads $100M Series C Round In Alcohol B2B Platform Yijiupi

Shanghai-based alternative investment firm Greenwoods Asset has led a US$100 million series C round of financing in, a whole sale alcohol B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce start-up, according to Chinese media reports. Source Code Capital, Lighthouse Capital, Meituan-Dianping and HG Capital also participated in the round. Meituan-Dianping, China's largest peer review and group buying company, is investing as a strategic investor and plans to incorporate's products to its own platforms. [ China money network ]

Insurance startup raises $23 million in second-round financing

Cambridge insurance startup EverQuote Inc. has raised $23 million in private equity funding to expand its business and its safe-driving mobile application, the company announced on Thursday. With this fresh round of financing, EverQuote joins the growing rank of insurance technology companies that are transforming the staid industry and attracting attention and money from investors.[ Boston Globe ]

TravelBank launches expense account app that pays you for underspending

Employees waste tons of money through expense accounts because there’s no incentive to book flights early, stay at a modest hotel, or dine on the cheap. But a new startup called TravelBank can predict what employees should be spending on trips, help them file their expenses, and even give them cash rewards if they come in under budget. TravelBank has raised a $10 million Series A round led by NEA and joined by Accel, and today is launching on iOS, Android, and web. It was co-founded by Duke Chung, who previously started and sold customer service startup Parature to Microsoft for $100 million. [ Tech Crunch ]

Ladder Raises $14M in Series A Funding

Ladder, a Menlo Park, California-based insurtech startup, raised $14m in Series A funding. The round was led by Canaan Partners with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, NYCA and 8VC. The company intends to use the funds to continue to develop the platform and expand operations. Founded in 2015 by Jamie Hale, CEO, Ladder provides a digital life insurance product with no middlemen or sales offices, which allows customers to receive a personalized value via a streamlined process to get a quick quote to see an estimate of the price and be covered instantly. [ finsmes ]


Beaverton digital payments firm lands $10M investment

Beaverton electronics payments company Nvoicepay landed $10 million in growth capital from the private equity arm of New York-based Napier Park Global Capital. As part of the deal, Steve Piaker, Napier's managing director, is joining the Nvoicepay board of directors. [ bizjournals ]

Mio Global Announces $15 Million USD in Series B Funding Led by Hydra Ventures

The heart rate technology company will use the funds to bring Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) and Mio SLICE to market, which will introduce breakthrough technology that will positively impact global health. Mio Global, known for the most accurate wrist-based heart rate technology, today announces $15M USD in funding led by Hydra Ventures with participation from private investors. Founded by IT industry veteran Liz Dickinson, the company has been a long-time pioneer and industry leader in heart rate monitoring technology. Mio Global disrupted the wearable tech industry by becoming the first company to introduce a continuous optical heart rate sensor in a sports wrist watch, the Mio ALPHA, which offers EKG-level accuracy for fitness training and day-to-day monitoring. [ Market wired ]

Hangar raises $6.5 million to give companies all the drone data they want without having to fly themselves

Drones and pilots legally permitted to fly them are here in spades. So American businesses are scrambling to figure out how to use drones to gain a competitive advantage.Recent examples saw Travelers Insurance using drones to inspect properties after Hurricane Matthew, and Hahn Estate Winery using drones to monitor the health and density of vegetation on their vineyards, and forensic researchers have used drones to find buried bodies. [ Tech Crunch ]


Tribe raises $3 million to bring conversational commerce to video chat

Video messaging and chat company Tribe has announced the closure of a $3 million seed round and a new version of its chat app today. The app has had more than 500,000 users since its August 2015 launch. Tribe also announced the arrival of what it’s calling “augmented messaging” or “magic words.” Tribe 2.0 listens to your conversation, and when keywords are identified — like a product, celebrity,  calendar event, brand, or movie title — natural language processes convert speech to text and the words appear on the screen. [ Venture Beat ]


Italian Luxury Shoemaker Golden Goose Said to Weigh Sale

The private-equity firm headed by British tycoon Guy Hands is preparing to sell its aircraft leasing company, according to people familiar with the matter, as Chinese buyers help fuel demand for such businesses. Terra Firma Capital Partners Ltd., which manages about $12.07 billion, aims to begin the process of selling AWAS Aviation Capital Ltd. in January or February next year and has hired an investment bank to advise on the process, according to the people familiar with the plan. [ WSJ ]



Redpoint Ventures launches $180 million fund dedicated to early-stage Chinese companies

Redpoint Ventures, a venture capital (VC) firm headquartered in Menlo Park with offices in L.A., San Francisco, Beijing, and Shanghai, has announced its first fund dedicated to China.The aptly named Redpoint China I fund weighs in at $180 million and will be directed at “early-stage consumer and enterprise technology companies,” according to a company statement. [ Venture Beat ]

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