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Emails: Apple CEO Tim Cook only wanted to meet 1-on-1 with Clinton, “no staff”

Among the tech tidbits buried in the trove of Clinton campaign emails published by WikiLeaks on Monday was a request from Apple CEO Tim Cook for a meeting with Hillary Clinton on June 21, 2015. "Tim's office requested a 1:1 meeting today, which was a nice way of saying 'no staff,'" campaign aide Lindsay Roitman wrote in an email. "I think this is one [where] we should proceed cautiously. He's supportive but new to this so I think we shouldn't come on too strong."  [ Fast Company ]

Obama says humans will be on Mars by 2030s

One of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandfather's shoulders, waving a flag as our astronauts returned to Hawaii. This was years before we'd set foot on the moon. Decades before we'd land a rover on Mars. A generation before photos from the International Space Station would show up in our social media feeds. I still have the same sense of wonder about our space program that I did as a child. It represents an essential part of our character -- curiosity and exploration, innovation and ingenuity, pushing the boundaries of what's possible and doing it before anybody else. The space race we won not only contributed immeasurably important technological and medical advances, but it also inspired a new generation of scientists and engineers with the right stuff to keep America on the cutting edge. [ CNN ]

Amino Capital Completes Final Close of Its $50M Fund II for Early-Stage Startups

Early-stage venture firm Amino Capital Management Company, LLC (“Amino Capital”) today announced the final close of its $50 million second fund, Amino Capital II, L.P.(formerly zPark Capital II, L.P., the “Fund”) and Dr. Huican Zhu’s joining the Fund as a general partner. Amino Capital focuses on artificial intelligence (AI), data-driven ventures. With the addition of Dr. Zhu, the pioneer of Google image search and Asian language search, the Fund will reinforce that investment focus. [ Medium ]

The Venture Capitalist Who is Both a Man and a Woman

Cyan Banister always thought there was something wrong with her. She never felt entirely like a girl. Five years ago, she finally figured out why. Cyan Banister is an accomplished angel investor who, along with her husband, won TechCrunch’s Angel of the Year award last spring for prescient bets on SpaceX, Uber, and DeepMind Technologies. Earlier this year, Banister joined Founders Fund as its first female investing partner. She’s a self-taught engineer who held several management roles at IronPort, the security startup that sold to Cisco for $850 million in 2007. Later that year, she started a photography platform company called Zivity. Banister is also genderqueer. [ Backchannel ]


Sheryl Sandberg shoots down rumors of a role in Clinton administration

Dropbox Founder's 3-Point Cheat Sheet for Young Professionals

Young startups are struggling as the tech industry celebrates another record-breaking quarter

What it's like buying a $128k side project

Estonia’s Funderbeam is building a blockchain-based “stock exchange” for startups


Softbank Just Backed This Silicon Valley Biotech Startup

Japanese telecom conglomerate Softbank has led a massive, $130 million round in Zymergen, a three-year old Silicon Valley biotech startup. The company is trying to produce industrial chemicals from single-cell organisms, or microbes, to help make everything from surgical sutures to super fuel-efficient car parts. Zymergen is going after a massive opportunity—industrial chemicals that are used in products like dish soap, ink, and paint are $3 trillion market. It also happens to be a market that depends on petroleum and other environmentally unfriendly products as its main ingredients. [ Fortune ]

KKR-Backed Emerald Media Invests US$50mn in YuppTV

Emerald Media, a Pan-Asian platform established by leading global investment firm KKR for investing in the media and entertainment sector, today announced that it has acquired a significant minority stake in YuppTV for US$50mn. YuppTV is one of the world’s leading over-the-top (OTT) video platforms for South Asian content offering live TV, catch-up TV and movies on-demand in 14 languages across the globe. The growth capital will enable YuppTV to further its global footprint, expand its content library through original productions and acquisitions, and rapidly grow its paid subscriber base.
[ Venture Beat ] 


France’s Navya raises $34M for its self-driving shuttle bus, reportedly at a $220M valuation

When it comes to self driving cars, the public tends to focus on developments for private vehicles for individuals, but there are also some significant advances underway in other categories such as shuttle busses. In the latest piece of news, Navya, a startup out of France that makes driverless shuttles, has raised $34 million (€30 million) in funding to build out its team, technology and sales. The funding is coming from two strategic backers, public transportation provider Keolis and automotive parts group Valeo, along with Qatari investors Group8. [ Tech Crunch ]

Evidation Health adds another $3.4 million from Facebook cofounder's VC firm

Evidation Health, a digital health efficacy-focused company launched last year by GE Ventures and Stanford Healthcare, has raised an additional $3.4 million to complete the $15 million round it began raising in June. The round was led by B Capital Group, a global venture fund cofounded by Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin. Existing investors GE Ventures, AMV, Fresco Capital, and new investor Pappas Ventures also participated in the round. With an initial investment of $6 million, this brings the company's total funding to $21 million. “At Evidation Health, we enable rapid evaluation of technology-based approaches that augment or replace traditional interventions–powered by direct patient participation to prove impact in the real world," Deborah Kilpatrick, CEO of Evidation Health, said in a statement. “This financing marks our fast growth and industry leadership to drive faster, better, more cost efficient ways to quantify health outcomes in the digital era of medicine.” [ Mobi Health News ]

Everwise nabs $16 million to connect protégés with mentors

Everwise, a platform that helps professionals boost their careers by connecting them with expert mentors, has raised $16 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from existing investors Canvas Ventures and Webb Investment Network.Founded out of New York in 2012, Everwise offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to connect protégés with mentors from outside the their place of employment. Much of the process involves predictive technology used to recommend a suitable expert who has pre-agreed to volunteer their time. Why would a mentor wish to volunteer their time for no financial reward? Good ol’ fashioned altruism, according to Everwise, with the added bonus of being able to build their coaching skills. [ Venture Beat ]


StreetTeam locks down $10M to power ambassador programs for brands

Millennials hate advertising and don’t respect brands – so what is a self-respecting 21st century marketer to do? Callum Negus-Fancey and his company StreetTeam would have you leverage the power of the upwardly mobile ambitious twenty-somethings themselves. StreetTeam helps brands build, deploy, and manage large decentralized ambassador programs to sell more goods. The English company just closed a $10 million round led byKindred Capital, Frontline Ventures, and Backed and managed to bring on a number of strategic investors including Universal Music Group, Saatchi Invest, and Peter Davies. The $10 million round also includes the conversion of a convertible note. Negus-Fancey is looking to bolster sales in the live entertainment industry with nothing more than a platform and an understanding of social dynamics. [ Tech Crunch ]


New Money: Remote Year Raises $12M to Help You See the World While Working

Remote Year should be a pretty appealing idea to anyone with a serious case of wanderlust: Participants spend a whole year working abroad, moving to a different city and country each month. But is it just a fun, one-time experiment, or the seed of a big business? The team at Highland Capital Partners is betting on the latter — it just led a $12 million Series A in the company. Other investors in the round include WeWork Labs co-founder Jesse Middleton and Airbnb co-founder/CTO Nate Blecharczyk. Remote Year founder and CEO Greg Caplan told me that he first had the idea about two years ago, and when he announced it, 25,000 people ended up applying to participate in the first group of 75 — which recently completed its year abroad. Now the company has expanded to include 500 traveling professionals across six programs. With the new funding, naturally, one of Caplan’s goals is to increase the number significantly, something that will be helped by tapping into two “mega trends.”
[ Tech Crunch ]


Alibaba Spinoff Ant Financial Reportedly Won't IPO for at Least a Year

Investors gearing up for the initial public offering of Ant Financial, the $60 billion online finance arm spun off by e-commerce giant Alibaba, will have to wait until at least late 2017 as the business puts growth first, sources say. Sources with knowledge of the plans said Ant Financial, whose anchor business is Alipay, China’s largest online payments service, is focusing on expanding its existing 450 million-strong army of daily users, adding merchants and customers. [ Fortune ]



Actis targets $2 billion for energy fund

Emerging markets specialist Actis aims to raise $2 billion for its latest energy fund, a person familiar with the matter said.  The fund will be significantly larger than its predecessor, Actis Energy III, which closed above its $750 million target on $1.15 billion in 2013. The fund will make investments in electricity generation and distribution businesses in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Actis has received commitments to the vehicle from at least two large institutional investors, according to a filing. The Employees Retirement System of Texas, a public pension fund with $21 billion of assets, and Danish pension fund Industriens Pensionsforsikring, have both committed capital to the fund, the filing said. [ E Financial News ]

Venture Pulse

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