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President Obama explains why you can’t run the U.S. like a startup

Last week, the White House held its Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh, with a focus on what the U.S. government is doing for the future, in areas including space exploration, smart cities and more effective police accountability. President Obama ended the conference with a speech that included some real talk for startup founders and others in Silicon Valley who might think the White House and government in general could stand to borrow more heavily from the tech industry’s modus operandi. [ Tech Crunch ]

With Uber gone, a new challenger raises nearly $750m to take on Didi

Many pundits assumed that with Didi’s acquisition of Uber’s China wing this August, the days of cash-burning competition in China’s ride-hailing market had come to an end. But perhaps that isn’t the case. A new and massive investment in a relatively unknown player suggests Didi’s cash-burning could just be coming to a middle. Specifically, last week China’s Everbright Bank invested US$743 million into car-hailing app Dingding Yueche. The investment will be used to expand the app’s coverage, increase efficiency, and support drivers. [ Tech Asia ]

VC firm Daphni announces its first $165 million fund

Paris-based VC firm Daphni is announcing its inaugural fund for seed and Series A investments. The team will manage a $165 million fund (€150 million) and try some new things when it comes to venture capital in Europe. On paper, Daphni looks like many other funds. A bunch of limited partners have given a big pile of money so that a team of tech-savvy people can invest everything in startups. But Daphni wants to work a bit differently with both startups and LPs. [ Tech Crunch ]

Trump son-in-law makes approach on post-election TV start-up

Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has informally approached one of the media industry’s top dealmakers about the prospect of setting up a Trump television network after the presidential election in November. Mr Kushner — an increasingly influential figure in the billionaire’s presidential campaign — contacted Aryeh Bourkoff, the founder and chief executive of LionTree, a boutique investment bank, within the past couple of months, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Their conversation was brief and has not progressed since, the people said. Mr Bourkoff and Mr Kushner both declined to comment. [ Vanity Fair  ]


Morgan Stanley Makes $100-Million Move on Fintech Startup Affirm Inc.

Startup lender Affirm Inc. is adding debt from Morgan Stanley as it seeks to increase its loans for tickets, trips and other big online purchases as an alternative to paying with credit cards. The Wall Street titan is furnishing a $100 million credit line for Affirm, the four-year-old San Francisco company led by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, which was valued at $800 million in its most recent fundraising. It is the first time Morgan Stanley has backed the lender, which has raised cash from venture-capital investors and debt from investment bank Jefferies and others. [ WSJ ]

Iora Health raises $75M for digital-enabled primary care service

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based healthcare provider Iora Health, which offers digitally-enabled primary care services focused on senior citizens, has closed a $75 million Series D funding round. Led by Singapore-based Temasek, the round also included existing investors .406 Ventures, Flare Capital Partners, F-Prime Capital, GE Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Polaris Partners and Rice Management Company.  This brings Iora’s funding to at least $123.5 million. Iora will use the funding to drive expansion beyond their current 34-primary practices in 11 US markets, as well as to further investment in Chirp, the company’s collaborative care IT platform. Previously, the company raised $28 million.
[ mobi health news ]


News App DailyHunt Gets $25 Million In Series D Round From ByteDance, Others

DailyHunt, a mobile application which provides news, magazines and e-books in local languages, has raised $25 million in its Series D round. The funding round was led by ByteDance, a China-based tech company operating content platforms worldwide. Along with ByteDance, existing investors of the company — Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Falcon Edge, and Omidyar Network. The company has also roped in a new investor — Arun Sarin, who is a former CEO of Vodafone. Speaking about this newly raised investment, Virendra Gupta, Founder and CEO of Dailyhunt, said that they are now looking forward to learn from the ByteDance team on personalisation and large-scale machine learning to continue offering a unique user experience. [ venture dreams ]


Video Editing Platform mooVmoo Looks to Raise £150,000 on Crowdcube

mooVmoo, a UK-based video editing platform, has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to raise £150,000 as it prepares to expand and build its new mobile app. The company stated that its platform connects consumers to video editors. For £3 per minute, users can have their camera and mobile footage uploaded on its website and turned into memorable short movies, which can be shared at home or online. [ crowd fund insider ]

Snapsheet raises $20 million to help insurance fix your wrecked car

Crrrrrunch. That's the sound of your car getting rear-ended. What's your first move? If you're not injured, it could be pulling out your smartphone to snap a picture of the damage. Snapsheet — a Chicago-based startup that announced Friday that it's raised $20 million — creates white-label apps that help people use those photos to instantly file claims with their auto insurance company. It will use the Series C funding, which brings the company's total outside investment to $28.5 million, to add new products and double its headcount to 500 in the next 12 months, said co-founder and president C.J. Przybyl.
[ chicago tribune ]


Pet concierge service Baroo inks $2.25 mln seed

Baroo, a pet concierge service, has raised $2.25 million in seed funding. Birchaven Group led the round with participation from other investors that included Crimson Peak, Krillion Ventures, Sueco and The Graduate Syndicate.
Boston, MA – October 13, 2016 – Baroo, the leading full-service pet concierge which operates in urban, luxury multifamily properties in premier cities across the U.S., today announced it closed a $2.25 million seed investment, led by investor Jordanna Schutz’s Birchaven Group, which focuses on early stage and technology companies. In addition to Birchaven, the round includes a diverse group of venture capitalists, approximately 50 percent of which are from women-led firms, including Crimson Peak, Krillion Ventures, Sueco and The Graduate Syndicate, a fund managed by Flybridge Capital Partner’s General Partner, Jeff Bussgang. [ PE Hub ]


Returnly raises $3.2M to immediately refund your money after an online return

Returning a product you bought online is inherently a statement of dislike, but smart retailers are quickly learning that they’re far better off if they shelve their defensive impulses and instead embrace your dissatisfaction with open arms. This is because it turns out that a smooth return process makes customers considerably more likely to repurchase in the days following the calamity. Returnly, a new company based north of San Francisco in Marin county, promises to help mend the strained relationship between merchant and customer after a return. The company’s CEO and founder Eduardo Vilar wants to use data to put once lost revenue back in the hands of merchants. [ Tech Crunch ]


Webscale Closes $12M Funding Round

Webscale Networks, a Mountain View, CA-based multi-cloud web application delivery and control, raised $12m in a Series A1 round of funding. The round was led by Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV) with participation from Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), Grotech, and Silicon Valley Bank. In conjunction with the funding, Jim Smith, general partner at MDV, and Anik Bose, general partner at BGV, joined Webscale’s board of directors. The company – which has raised $20m in total financing to date – intends to use the funds to expand operations and grow the business globally. [ Finsmes ]


InnoGames Receives Investment from MTG

InnoGames, a Hamburg, Germany-based online games developer and publisher, received a growth investment from international digital entertainment group MTG(Modern Times Group MTG AB (publ.)). MTG acquired a 35% stake in the company from Eight Roads Ventures and the founders. The transaction – which is subject to German and Austrian merger approvals – is based on an Enterprise Value of €260m for 100% of the company. MTG has an option to acquire a further 16% at the same valuation. The investment will enable InnoGames to continue to develop several new mobile-only game titles which will be released in the next 12 months. [ Finsmes ]


Facebook’s Oculus acquires InfiniLED, an Irish startup that makes low-power LED displays

Facebook-owned virtual reality (VR) firm Oculus has acquired InfiniLED, an Irish startup specializing in low-power LED displays. Founded in 2010, InfiniLED was spun out from the Tyndall National Institute, a research hub specializing in photonics and micro/nanoelectronics that’s aligned with University College Cork. The company touts its ILED (inorganic LED, also referred to as MicroLED) display smarts, which is a next-generation technology that could succeed the likes of OLED, plasma, and LCD through offering greater power efficiency at a lower cost. [ Venture Beat ]

Fortress Said to Explore Sale of Florida East Coast Railway

Fortress Investment Group LLC is exploring a sale of Florida East Coast Railway Corp., the coastal freight operator it took private in 2007, according to people familiar with the matter. Asset manager Fortress is working with Barclays Plc and Morgan Stanley to weigh options for Jacksonville-based Florida East Coast Railway, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public. The company is likely to attract interest from other private equity firms, infrastructure firms and railway operators, the people said. Shares in Fortress rose as much as 3.9 percent in New York. [ Bloomberg ]


Buyout firm Ardian to raise $500 mln fund for new N. American arm -source

French private equity firm Ardian is set to raise a $500 million fund as it jointly launches a North American direct investment business on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter said. The $500 million fund would finance investments made by a new buyout arm, said the source who declined to be named as the person is not authorised to speak publicly on the matter. Ardian, which manages about $60 billion, is partnering with New York-based private equity firm Seven Mile Capital Partners to start a buyout arm focusing on mid-sized industrial deals and other related businesses, the two companies said in a statement. [ Reuters ]

Kayne Anderson closes energy growth fund at $2 billion hard cap

Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors closed its latest energy-focused private equity fund, Kayne Anderson Energy Fund VII, at its $2 billion hard cap, said a news release. The fund partners with management teams focused on growth-oriented upstream oil and gas companies in North America. Kayne Anderson closed this energy fund a little more than a month after the firm announced the close of its $1.55 billion Kayne Private Energy Income Fund, which invests in large, long-life upstream oil and gas onshore assets in North America. The private equity firm closed its last growth fund in 2013 — the $1.6 billion Kayne Anderson Energy Fund VI. [ PI Online ]

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