Rocket Internet comes down to Earth

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It’s hard to talk about the rise of U.S.-based startups following the 2008 financial crisis without mentioning Rocket Internet, the German startup incubator that’s simultaneously beloved as a poster child of Europe’s tech scene yet dreaded for its reputation for growing a “clone factory” of many companies that copied Silicon Valley counterparts. 

Short-term rental platform Airbnb popped up in 2008. Then two years later, so did Wimdu, a Berlin-based company that some dubbed a clone. There was Square in the U.S., and there was also Payleven in Germany shortly thereafter. Don’t forget Pinterest, which was followed by Pinspire.

Now, Rocket Internet plans to delist from the Frankfurt and Luxembourg stock exchanges after the company’s valuation taken a beating. Rocket says it has ample access to private funding and therefore does not need the public side of the equation, but the story isn’t so straight and narrow, per my colleague Jeremy Kahn.

PATREON: The rise of the independent creator economy—think YouTube stars, Instagram influencers, online novel writers—is certainly something venture capitalists are thinking about. On Monday, Patreon, a platform for artists to run subscriptions for their services, raised $90 million in Series E funding for a valuation of $1.2 billion. Investors in the round included New Enterprise Associates, Wellington Management, and Lone Pine, as well as existing investors Brook Capital, Thrive Capital, DFJ Growth, and Index Ventures. And other startups in the ecosystem have raised funding: Karat, a credit card for influencers and online creators, recently raised some $4.6 million.

FORTUNE 40 UNDER 40: Fortune released its annual list of 40 influential people under the age of 40—with a twist. The list this year has no repeat candidates from prior iterations, and has expanded to highlight 40 people in each of five categories: Finance, technology, healthcare, government and politics, and media and entertainment. You’ll find quite a few hidden gems: There’s the youngest SoftBank executive with direct access to Masayoshi Son, the man who led Xiaomi to its smartphone dominance in India, and a woman helping redistribute surplus medications in a pricey healthcare system. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


- Yuanfudao, a Chinese online education platform, is set to raise $1.2 billion in funding in a round that will value it at about $13 billion, per Reuters. Existing investors, Tencent Holdings, Hillhouse Capital and Boyu Capital, will invest in this round. Read more.

- Neon Pagamentos, a Brazilian fintech, raised $300 million in Series C funding. General Atlantic led the round and was joined by investors including BlackRock, Vulcan Capital, PayPal Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, Monashees, Flourish Ventures, and BBVA.

- PropertyGuru Group, a Southeast Asian online realty company, raised S$300 million ($220.4 million) from its existing investors KKR and TPG Capital. 

- Bambuser, a Stockholm-based live video startup, raised $45 million in funding this year. Investors include Consensus Asset Management, Handelsbanken, Harmony Partners, Lancelot Asset Management,  Tenth Avenue Holdings, and TIN Fonder. Read more.

- PicnicHealth, a San Francisco-based company for secure medical records, raised $25 million in funding. Felicis Ventures. Read more.

- InCountry, a San Francisco-based provider of solutions for data residency, raised $18 million in additional funding. Caffeinated Capital and Mubadala Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Accenture Ventures,  Arbor Ventures, Felicis, Ridge Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, and Team Builder Ventures.

- Lumen Bioscience, a Seattle-based, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing biologic drugs for highly prevalent diseases, raised $16 million in Series B funding. WestRiver Management and Bioeconomy Capital led the round and were joined by investors including Avista Development and Columbia Pacific

- Mosaic, a construction technology company for homebuilding, raised $14.3 million in Series A funding. A16z led the round. Read more.

- Toss Lab, a South Korea-based creator of enterprise collaboration platform JANDI, raised $13 million in Series B funding. SoftBank Ventures Asia led the round and was joined by investors including SV Investment, Atinum Investment, Must Asset Management, Shinhan Capital, SparkLabs, and T Investment. Read more.

- springbig, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based in cannabis marketing company, raised $11.5 million in Series B funding. TVC Capital led the round and was joined by investors including KEY Investment Partners

- Trade, a New York-based coffee subscription brand, raised $9 million in funding. Madrona Venture Group led the round and was joined by investors including JAB and Launch. 

- Boundless Immigration, a Seattle-based system for navigating immigration, raised $7.5 million in Series A-1 funding. The Foundry Group led the round. Boundless also acquired RapidVisa. The deal will allow  Boundless Immigration to help thousands of additional immigrants each year and improve organizational efficiencies.

- Carewell, a Charlotte, N.C.-based online supplier of home health products, raised $5 million in seed funding. Investors included, NextView Ventures, and Primetime Partners.

- Honcho, a Denver, Co.-based maker of governance software, raised $4 million in Series A funding. FINTOP Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Peter Thiel


- Baird Capital has invested in Blue Matter, a strategic consulting firm serving the life sciences industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Oaktree Capital Management acquired a non-controlling stake in Jones Industrial Holdings, a Houston-based parent company of behind Universal Plant Services. Part of the proceeds were used to acquire a minority investment previously held by MML Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Kellermeyer Bergensons Services, a portfolio company of Cerberus Capital Management, acquired Clearview Cleaning, a Boise, Id.-based provider of commercial cleaning services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- OANDA, backed by CVC Capital Partners, has acquired TMS, a Polish multi-asset class broker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Circle Graphics, backed by H.I.G. Capital, acquired Bay Photo, a California-based provider of albums and specialty prints. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Squla, a portfolio company of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, acquired Scoyo, a German online learning platform for primary and secondary school students. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Churchill Asset Management invested in Trojan Lithograph Corporation, a Renton, Wash.-based provider of graphic packaging solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Wrench Group, backed by  Leonard Green & Partners, acquired  All About Water, a Chandler, Ariz.-based plumbing and water treatment service. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Boxed, a New York-based wholesale retailer, is exploring strategic options including a sale or going public through a merger with a blank-check acquisition company that could value it at around $1 billion, per Reuters. The company has raised funding from investors including American Express and GGV Capital. Read more

- Bumble, the dating app operator, is preparing for an IPO that could value it at between $6 billion to $8 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- ChinData Group, a Chinese data center owner, is preparing to file confidentially for a U.S. IPO to raise up to $400 million, per Reuters. Bain Capital backs the firm. Read more.

- Geely Automobile Holdings, a Hangzhou, China-based automaker, plans to raise 20 billion yuan ($2.93 billion) from a public share sale on Shanghai’s STAR Market. The company is already listed in Hong Kong. Read more.

- Pague Menos, a Brazilian drugstore chain, raised 746.9 million reais ($136 million) in an IPO. General Atlantic backs the firm.

- Nuvei, a Canadian payments processing fintech, filed for an IPO in Toronto. Novacap backs the firm.


- TPG is exploring a sale of Astound, a cable operator, that could fetch a valuation of over $8 billion, per Reuters. Read more.

- TCV acquired Oversight, an AI-powered platform for spend management, from Luminate Capital Partners, which will maintain a minority interest. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) agreed to acquire 10th Magnitude, a Chicago-based cloud company. Pamlico Capital backed 10th Magnitude. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Gong acquired Vayo, an Israel-based startup specializing in data analytics for sales teams. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Dialpad acquired Highfive, a video conferencing company. Highfive investors have included Lightspeed and Dimension Data. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Unilever agreed to acquire Liquid I.V., a California-based electrolyte drink mix brand. Liquid I.V. was backed by investors including CircleUp. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Point72 Ventures hired Scott Barclay to lead its new healthcare investing team. 

- Brighton Park Capital named Jeff Machlin as a partner. Previously he was with General Atlantic.

- Riverwood Capital promoted Joe De Pinho and Alex Porto to principal.

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