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5 great weekend reads to help you calm your anxious brain

March 13, 2020, 2:00 PM UTC

It’s a quiet day in dealmaking land as the nation grapples with the uncertainty of what the coronavirus may bring. 

Experts caution against reading about the outbreak obsessively. “Constantly checking for updates on the numbers who have been infected and died can just fuel anxiety,” Gary LeRoy, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told The Wall Street Journal.

It’s crucial to stay up to date. But since it’s Friday, I’d like to bring you some interesting reads in case you need to take a mental break and learn something new.

Here we go:

— How Shaq’s investments in Google, Lyft, and Ring Created a New Class of Venture Capitalists / Vanity Fair: Thanks to his fame and a chance babysitting gig, Shaquille O’Neal built a portfolio of world-class start-ups, including Vitaminwater, Ring, Google, and Lyft. Of Google, he says, “My only regret is that I wish I would have bought more.” Read more.

— Wikipedia Is the Last Best Place on the Internet / WIRED: Everyone loves Wikipedia. In its 19 years of existence, Wikipedia has successfully avoided the privacy scandals and the advertising outrage. As a not-for-profit, it is the closest thing we have to an online public square. As the story notes, “A free encyclopedia encompassing the whole of human knowledge, written almost entirely by unpaid volunteers: Can you believe that was the one that worked?” Read more.

— Adam Ondra’s Race to the Top / The New York Times: Adam Ondra is probably the best indoor climber in the world, probably the best outdoor climber in the world, and certainly the best combination of the two. Now, for the first time ever, a climbing event will debut in the Olympics … but it’s speed climbing, which Ondra hates. He’s about strategy, not speed. And as soon as the Olympics are over, he vows to never do the speed wall again. But first he has to get there. Read more.

Laurene Powell Jobs Is Putting Her Own Dent in the Universe / The New York Times: In the nine years since the death of Apple’s Steve Jobs, his widow Laurene Powell Jobs has kept a low-profile. But now, she’s stepping off the sidelines and jumping into some of the most contentious political fights of our time — immigration, education, and press independence. As the 35th-richest person in the world who is worth $27.5 billion, her efforts against wealth inequality may seem disingenuous. But, she says, “I’ve dedicated my life to doing the very best I can to distribute [my wealth] effectively.” Read more.

— The NFL coach searching for his family / ESPN: Even though this article is from 2018, it’s one of my favorite stories ever. It will leave you in shock. Here’s a quick overview: At 44 years old, Kansas City Chiefs running backs coach Deland McCullough went searching for his biological parents. What he found out will stop you in your tracks & make you realize life is just a series of weird coincidences. Read more.

Stay safe, and have a great weekend.

Polina Marinova
Twitter: @polina_marinova


- Confluent, a Mountain View, Calif.-based real-time event streaming platform, will raise between $200 million and $300 million in funding at a roughly $5 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg. Read more.

- Ride Report, a Portland, Ore.-based micro-mobility management tool that helps cities around the world manage their bike and scooter share programs, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Unusual Ventures led the round. 

- UrbanLeap, a San Francisco-based developer of a marketplace and discovery solution that connects governments with tech companies, raised $4.2 million in seed funding. StageOne Ventures led the round.

-, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based developer of an online platform for influencers, brands, marketers, talent managers, raised $3 million in seed funding. Bonfire Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including ACT Capital Partners, Alumni Ventures Group, Next 10 Ventures, and Singapore Press Holdings Ventures

- Case Status, a Birmingham, Ala.-based client relationship management and marketing platform for law firms, raised $1.5 million in seed II funding funding of $1.5 million from BIP Capital. 


- NinjaRMM, a San Francisco-based remote monitoring and endpoint management solution, raised funding of an undisclosed amount from Summit Partners. 

- Charter Health Care Group, a portfolio company of Pharos Capital Group, acquired two hospice service providers, St. Luke’s Home Hospice and Arizona Select Hospice. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


- Epic Games will buy Cubic Motion, a U.K.-based computer vision startup. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Cubic Motion had raised approximately 20 million pounds ($25 million) in funding from investors including NorthEdge Capital.