Round aims to raise $100M for farming startup Plenty | Data analytics startup Dremio raises $70M | Med-tech startup Air Doctor raises $7.8M
March 30, 2020
NVCA SmartBrief
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The Lead
Plenty, a startup backed by the SoftBank Vision Fund that is developing indoor farming technology, is discussing with prospective investors a fundraising round to bring $100 million or more, sources said. Previous investors include funds that invest on behalf of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Full Story: Bloomberg (tiered subscription model) (3/30) 
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Capital Call
Dremio, a startup that organizes and manages data from multiple databases, raised $70 million in its most recent funding round. The new capital will be used expand its go-to-market and engineering teams, and enhance its product's capabilities.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/27),  VentureBeat (3/26) 
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Air Doctor, a startup that helps travelers find doctors when they are far from home, raised $7.8 million in a funding round led by The Phoenix Insurance Company and Kamet Ventures, which makes investments for AXA. The new capital will be used for research and development, expansion of its medical network and develop new business with telecom, credit card and insurance clients.
Full Story: TechCrunch (tiered subscription model) (3/30) 
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Electric scooter startup Bird has laid off roughly 30% of its 1,387 employees in response to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Bird and other scooter providers have suspended services amid the pandemic.
Full Story: TechCrunch (tiered subscription model) (3/27) 
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ZipRecruiter, an startup employment marketplace, is cutting back its approximately 1,200-person workforce by 30% in response to the coronavirus pandemic, sources said. Executives have reportedly told employees that companies using ZipRecruiter's services have scaled back their hiring drastically.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/29) 
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View from Abroad
Preply, a startup online marketplace for tutors, raised $10 million in its Series A round. The company, which is based in Ukraine and Spain, will use the new capital to scale the business, primarily in the US.
Full Story: TechCrunch (tiered subscription model) (3/30) 
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Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing startup backed by Japan's SoftBank Group, is forming a joint venture with Chinese automaker BAIC to lease BAIC's cars, as auto sales in China fall off. Other companies participating in the venture include the Postal Savings Bank of China, electric vehicle battery maker CATL, State Grid and used car trading platform Uxin.
Full Story: Reuters (3/30) 
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Many of China's electric vehicle startups, once flush with cash, are scrambling to find new capital to stay in business. The industry is trying to cope with subsidies that are fading away, disappearing private investment. weak sales and the disruption brought by the coronavirus.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (3/30) 
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Corporate Venture Capital
Microsoft said it will no longer invest in companies developing facial recognition technology and that it will sell its equity interest in the Israeli facial recognition startup AnyVision.
Full Story: Reuters (3/27) 
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Shares of SoftBank Group have dropped as much as 10% after satellite operator OneWeb, which SoftBank backs financially, filed for bankruptcy protection. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son had at one point considered OneWeb one of the most promising companies in SoftBank's investment portfolio.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (3/29) 
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Thought Leadership
Startups must look beyond the fundamentals of customer service to retain a client base and build upon it through culture, writes Micah Solomon. Define and implement the principles employees should embody, and include them in the onboarding process, he writes.
Full Story: Entrepreneur online (3/24) 
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NVCA News
NVCA is closely monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is working diligently to address the VC industry's needs and provide resources that aim to help firms and portfolio companies during this challenging time. Stay up to date on the latest policy updates and resources on our new COVID-19 page.
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NVCA recently released its 2020 Yearbook, with data provided by PitchBook, documenting trends and analysis of venture capital activity in the United States from the past year and capturing historical data and information about venture's role in fueling entrepreneurship in America. TheYearbook is a public industry resource and may be found here. NVCA members may contact research@nvca.org to receive the members-only XLS data pack. Not an NVCA member? Contact membership@nvca.org.
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Every year, the venture industry closes thousands of financing rounds with early- and growth-stage companies, creating tens of thousands of pages of legal documents. To save the industry time and money, NVCA has developed a set of model legal documents to serve as templates so that investors and entrepreneurs can spend less time focused on process and more time focused on growing their companies. The template model legal documents were put together by a group of leading venture capital lawyers. Each document is intended to serve as a starting point only, and should be tailored to meet your specific requirements. Visit NVCA's model legal document library.
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