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The Briefing: Lidar-maker Ouster Eyes Public Market, Peloton Buys Precor, And More

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase DailyLidar company Ouster said to eye public markets

San Francisco-based Ouster, a startup that makes lidar sensors for self-driving cars and smart cities, is reportedly in discussions for a deal to go public at a roughly $1.9 billion valuation through a merger with a blank-check acquisition firm.

Reuters reports that the deal would involve a merger with blank-check acquirer Colonnade Acquisition Corp.

Founded in 2015, Ouster previously raised $132 million in venture funding, per Crunchbase data.

Peloton to buy Precor for $420M

Connected fitness provider Peloton announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Woodinville, Washington-based exercise equipment maker Precor in a transaction valued at $420 million.

New York-based Peloton says the acquisition will enable it to establish U.S. manufacturing capacity, boost research and development, and accelerate Peloton’s penetration of the commercial market.

The deal follows a blowout year for Peloton, which has seen demand for its products soar as more consumers seek at-home fitness options, with the company securing a public market capitalization of around $42 billion.

Funding rounds

  • Ironclad reportedly raises $100M-plus: San Francisco-based Ironclad, a developer of software for managing contracts, has reportedly raised at least $100 million in a Series D funding led by VC firm Bond at a post-money valuation of more than $950 million.
  • Liberis banks 70M pounds for business finance platform: Liberis, a London-based embedded business finance platform, secured 70 million pounds ($93.5 million) in financing and venture debt from British Business Investments, Paragon Bank, BCI Europe and Silicon Valley Bank.
  • MINDD lands $1M for women’s intimate apparel: MINDD, a Los Angeles-based intimates company for women, announced a $1 million seed round led by The51 Ventures.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Reuters reports that the deal would involve a merger with blank-check acquirer Colonnade Acquisition Corp.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-12-22-20/

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The Briefing: Fluence Raises $125M For Energy Storage, 23AndMe Gets $82.5M, And More

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase DailyFluence gets $125M from Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund at $1B valuation

Fluence, a joint venture between AES Corp. and Siemens that makes energy storage technology, said Wednesday that it has entered a deal with the Qatar Investment Authority to get $125 million from the sovereign wealth fund through a private placement transaction.

The investment in Arlington, Virginia-based Fluence, which makes energy storage products for wind farms and other renewable providers, comes at a $1 billion valuation, according to the company. Fluence said it plans to use the proceeds to grow its product offerings and launch in more markets around the world. AES and Siemens will remain major shareholders in Fluence following the deal, each with an approximately 44 percent stake in the company, according to a funding announcement.

Funding rounds

Tech news

  • Apple loses copyright case against startup Corellium: A federal judge in Florida rejected Apple’s claims that security and virtualization startup Corellium had violated copyright law with its software, which helps researchers find bugs and security holes on Apple’s products.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-12-30-20/

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Q&A: Next Coast Ventures’ Mike Smerklo Channels Early Beginnings With Andreessen, Horowitz Into Advice For Entrepreneurs

Smerklo spoke about his journey, what his children really think he does for a living, and how he pays his knowledge forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

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Mike Smerklo is an entrepreneur, investor and author, applying the decades worth of knowledge he has gained into helping other entrepreneurs reach their goals.

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He’s had a lot of practice: The co-founder and managing director of Next Coast Ventures was recruited by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz as one of the first employees of their startup, LoudCloud Systems.

In 2003, Smerklo went to serve as CEO at ServiceSource, a cloud-based apps startup in San Francisco. Over the next 12 years, he grew the business from a 30-person operation into a successful 3,000-person publicly traded company with close to $300 million in revenue. In 2015, he co-founded another cloud-based company, NucleusGrowth.

He also just came out with a book, “Mr. Monkey And Me,” which provides a look at the mental toughness and grit it takes to start, grow and operate a successful business.

Smerklo spoke with Crunchbase News about his journey, what his children really think he does for a living, and how he pays his knowledge forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Next Coast Ventures’ Mike Smerklo

What was it like working with Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz?

Smerklo: In my book, “Mr. Monkey And Me,” I talk about my time working with them. I learned so many lessons, but the most salient one was that life is too short to make small plans. The first step in working with the entrepreneurs was the most amazing part. We talked about building something big and meaningful. Marc talked to me about coming aboard. I wanted every advantage I could get, going from the board to hiring people. The experience is like meeting an NFL player. I thought, “Wow, this is what the big leagues look like.”

What are some lessons you learned that you carried with you into your own company and then into investing?

Smerklo: Ben said to me early on that a company’s first 25 employees are the most important. I didn’t understand it at the time—I thought that was pretty dismissive to Employee 26. However, the first 25 people are going to set the culture of the organization. After that, those first 25 in the organization are the ones hiring employees, and the founders are not involved in the process as much. Our ability to scale and have the same type of folks go from there changes, so you have to look at every aspect of the business and look at how those employees bring advantages.

What do you see as the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make?

Smerklo: There is a mental aspect to being an entrepreneur. One of biggest mistakes starting off is thinking your business is going to suddenly be an Airbnb–worth $100 billion and all of the founders have stories. It’s rare to get to that level, it takes a long time, there are ups and downs, and if you don’t have the right mental stance of how long and what it takes, you won’t get there. Entrepreneurship is underestimated. I watch “Shark Tank,” and that is what my kids think I do for a living.

We are at an all-time high in the stock market, so valuations are at an all-time high, too, and getting a lot of publicity around it. All of this airtime is doing a disservice to the entrepreneur. Expectations have gotten out of whack in terms of time and valuations. Comparison is the thief of joy, if you get caught up in it.

With everything that you’ve learned yourself, what kind of wisdom do you like to pass on?

Smerklo: One of the things I am passionate about is self-care. Outside of practical business, that is a hard job because it is easy to get caught up and keep yourself sane. When people tell me they work 100 hours a week, I see some celebrate that, but not me. Self-care should be part of your routine. When someone is successful, they also have a horrific story, too–something that happened to them. Self-care and mental-care don’t get enough attention.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

In 2003, Smerklo went to serve as CEO at ServiceSource, a cloud-based apps startup in San Francisco. Over the next 12 years, he grew the business from a 30-person operation into a successful 3,000-person publicly traded company with close to $300 million in revenue. In 2015, he co-founded another cloud-based company, NucleusGrowth.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/next-coast-ventures-mike-smerklo/

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The Briefing: Graphcore Raises $222M, DXY Closes On $500M, And More

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase DailyGraphcore raises $222M for AI microprocessors

Graphcore, a U.K.-based startup that develops a microprocessor designed specifically for artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications, has raised $222 million in a Series E funding round.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan led the financing, which reportedly sets a post-money valuation of $2.77 billion for the Bristol-based company.

The latest round brings total funding to date for Graphcore, which was founded in 2016, to over $780 million.

Funding rounds

  • China’s DXY lands $500M for online health: DXY, an online health care community for Chinese consumers and health care organizations, raised $500 million in a Series E round led by private equity firm Trustbridge Partners and joined by existing backer Tencent.

Other news

  • Coinbase to suspend XRP trading: Coinbase said it will suspend trading of the cryptocurrency XRP, following a lawsuit from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week against Ripple, the company that developed it.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-12-29-20/

the-briefing:-graphcore-raises-$222m,-dxy-closes-on-$500m,-and-more

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