CoInvent Newsletter (06/07/15)

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Fortune has a list that tracks the number of unicorn startups — venture-backed companies with a $1 billion valuation or higher. Depending on how you count, there are about 100 of those now. As many startups’ valuations continue to soar, it seems that becoming a VC is a popular career path for a lot of folks. About two weeks ago, Jessica Verrilli, Director of Corporate Development & Strategy at Twitter, was said to join Google Ventures as a Partner. She wrote about it here. And just last week, a TechCrunch writer also announcedthat he’d join 500 Startups as a venture partner. As I wrote last week, a rising tide raises all boats. In this case, it’s just the same thesis applied to a different scenario.

Uber turned 5 last week. The company is currently raising another round at a $50 billion valuation. If successful, that will put Uber as the world’s most valuable venture-backed private startup ever. Uber held its 5th birthday party last week. Here is The Verge’scoverage about the event.

Looking forward next week’s event with Ignited Space in Hollywood. The theme of this event is innovation showcase. The demo companies include Miler, Wirecash, Soshfluence, and CommuniGift. For more details, click here.


Industry News

In this newsletter, we have a segment called “Top 10 Venture Deals” each week. It’s not surprising to often see more than half of the 10 most funded startups come from outside of the US every week. East Asia has increasingly become a focus for both entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in recent years. Last week, big news was coming from that region. First, South Korea’s Coupang was getting $1 billion investment injection from Softbank. Moreover, Japanese e-commerce giant will shore up finances with plans to raise $1.5 billion. More details below:

Coupang confirms $1B investment from Softbank — Tech In Asia
Rakuten Plans to Raise $1.5 billion — WSJ
What Silicon Valley Can Learn from Seoul — NYT


Gawker media votes to unionize — link

America’s unwanted Ivy Leaguers are flocking to India — link

SoftBank invests $1B In Korean e-commerce firm Coupang at a $5B valuation — link

Showtime undercuts HBO with $10.99 stand-alone streaming service — link

Yahoo will Stream the NFL’s first web game, for free — link

Google buying Twitter an ‘Instant Fit,’ investor Sacca says — link

DST global led mobile shopping app Wish’s $500M round — link

How Facebook’s video-traffic explosion is shaking up the advertising world — link

Kim Dotcom gets to keep his millions, cars, and jet skis, for now — link

Rakuten plans to raise $1.5 billion — link

TechCrunch writer becomes an investor — link

Pao to seek $2.7 million to walk away from gender lawsuit — link

A $15 fitness tracker made by Xiaomi is the world’s second most popular wearable — link

Microsoft to pay stockholders special one-time dividend — link

Sling TV’s web TV subscriber numbers keep growing, now around 250,000 — link

6.1B smartphone users globally by 2020, overtaking basic fixed phone subscriptions — link

IRS failed to address computer security weaknesses, making attack on 104,000 taxpayers more likely, watchdog says — link

Sony mobile cuts 1,000 workers in Sweden as handset maker restructures — link

Medium, the publishing platform started by one of Twitter’s cofounders, is gutting some of its most popular sites — link

Steve Case’s venture firm revolution growth is raising $450 million for third fund — link

U.S. data giant Equinix buys Telecity — link

Why Re/code, an 18-month-old tech news startup, really sold to Vox — even though it was generating $12 million — link

Intel agrees to buy Altera for $16.7 billion — link

Pirate bay co-founder Frederik Neij released from prison — link

Huffington Post in limbo at Verizon — link

Top Ten Venture Deals (Past 7 Days)

1. Coupang, a Seoul-based e-commerce company, has raised a $1 billion round of funding led by SoftBank Corp, a Japanese telecoms group.

2. Qunar, a Beijing-based Chinese search and booking site, has raised $500 million in a new round of funding led by Silver Lake, a global tech investment firm.

3. Wish, a San Francisco-based leading mobile commerce platform in Europe and North America, has raised $500 million in a Series D funding led by DST Global, a late-stage internet investment firm.

4. China Business News, a Shanghai-based leading financial media company under Shanghai Media Group (SMG), has raised $193.6 million in new financing from Alibaba Group.

5. Purch, a Utah-based digital content and commerce company, has raised $135 million in a Series C round of funding. The round was led by Canso Investment Counsel, a Canadian private equity firm.

6. Ecom Express, an India-based logistics solutions provider, has raised $133 million from private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

7. Sumo Logic, a Redwood City-based log management and analytics service, has raised $80 million in a Series E round of funding led by DFJ Growth, along with new investor Institutional Venture Partners (IVP). Existing investors Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Accel Partners also participated in the round.

8. Coupa Software, a San Mateo-based world’s leading provider of cloudbased spend management solutions, has raised $80 million in a Series G round of funding. The round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, with participation from Premji Invest, Crosslink Capital, Battery Ventures, El Dorado Ventures, Rally Ventures and Qatalyst Partners.

9. Lvamama, a Shanghai-based tour-booking site, has raised $80 million in a Series E round of funding from Jinjiang International Group.

10. Blue Bottle Coffee, an Oakland-based high-end coffee retailer, has raised $70 million in a Series C funding round led by Fidelity Management and Research. Tetragon Financial Group, Morgan Stanley, Index Ventures, True Ventures, Jared Leto (actor), Tony Hawk (pro skateboarder ), Bono (U2 frontman) and Instagram founder Kevin Systrom also participated in the round.
New Funds

Berlin’s Point Nine Capital Closes $60M Third Fund — link

Airbus Group starts $150 mln venture fund, Silicon Valley base — link

Business Growth Fund launches £200m ($308 million) venture capital fund for young tech businesses — link

The Chicago Firm Behind SpaceX & Fooda Just Closed a $490M Fund — link

Latest London VC Fund to Focus on Fashion, Luxury Tech — link

CyberAgent Ventures raises new $50M fund for startups in Southeast Asia, opens co-working space in Jakarta — link

Events Calendar

1. [Ignited Spaces, Los Angeles] June 11th — CoInvent LA Social Demo Hours, Co-hosted with Ignited Spaces

Drinks and refreshments are made possible with no extra charge by Ignited Spaces and CoInvent. Dress code is business casual. Apply at RSVP at

2. [Anchin, New York] June 25th — CoInvent NY Startup Demo Night, Co-hosted with Anchin

This is CoInvent’s annual demo night event in NY. Apply to pitch your startups at Food and drinks are included with admission. Get tickets at

3. [Asa Meza, Los Angeles] July 22nd — CoInvent LA Startup Happy Hour @ Asa Meza

This is a CoInvent private event for founders, entrepreneurs, investors, and startup professionals — part of the startup networking series. Cash bar with happy hour price. Private space. Dress code is business casual. RSVPs required at

4. [Suite 36, New York] September 3rd — CoInvent NY Startup Happy Hour @ Suite 36

A private event for founders, entrepreneurs, investors, and startup professionals. RSVP’s required. Attend for free at

Recommended Readings

What Twitter Can Be. — Chris Sacca
College Dropouts Thrive in Tech — Daisuke Wakabayashi
The 4 Ways Investors Find Great Startups — Paige Craig
How The Golden State Warriors Courted Silicon Valley — And Why The Love Is Mutual — Alex Conrad
Choosing Life and Finding Meaning 30 Days After Dave’s Tragic Death — Sheryl Sandberg
The Seeds Have Changed: An Epilogue to The New Venture Landscape — Manu Kumar
Grow fast or die slow — McKinsey

- Andrew