Coinbase says 60 employees are leaving over its apolitical stance
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Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong started a maelstrom when he said his company would engage “minimally” around politics. Those who didn’t agree, he said, could leave.
On Thursday, Armstrong revealed in a blog post just how many took him up on the offer: About 60 employees, or 5% of Coinbase’s staff, took up the exit package that offered severance of between four to six months. The figure, he added, could be higher as some negotiations are wrapped up.
Armstrong’s initial missive reportedly came after employees called for the company to say the words “Black Lives Matter.” Coinbase hesitated to comply—apparently over concerns whether the phrase would also mean support for defunding the police—but Armstrong eventually did on Twitter after a virtual walkout. Then Coinbase tightened its guidelines on discussions around politics at work, culminating in Armstrong’s post, according to Wired.
In that message, Armstrong said that it had been a distraction for companies to engage in a wide variety of social activism. But ironically, by attempting to free Coinbase of any political stance, he has made it the center of a political conversation.
Now the question is, what will it do when the next sociopolitical issue crops up?
UNICORN FACTORY: At least four new unicorns crossed my radar this week alone. There was Unqork, Tipalti, and Dialpad on Tuesday, not to mention MessageBird on Thursday. It seems like a robust time for unicorn creation.
But what does the data say? According to numbers from Pitchbook, some 93 unicorns globally have been created so far this year, or about one every three days. And while the assembly line is going strong, figures are still trending below that of 2019, an outsized year for new unicorns. Some 106 companies crossed the $1 billion threshold by the end of the third quarter in 2019.
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- Aledia, a French startup developing technology for microLED displays, raised €80 million of a planned €120 million in Series D funding. Société de Projet Industriel led the round.
- Lark Health, a Mountain View, Calif.-based chronic care platform, raised $55 million in Series C funding. King River Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Franklin Templeton, SteelSky Ventures, and Olive Tree Capital.
- Hyperice, an Irvine, Calif.-based maker of muscle recovery devices, raised $48 million in funding at a $700 million valuation. Main Street Advisors and SC.Holdings led the round.
- Datavant, a San Francisco-based life sciences data management firm, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Transformation Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Johnson & Johnson, Cigna Ventures, Flex Capital and Roviant.
- Accurics, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based cloud cybersecurity firm, raised $20 million across seed and series A funding. Intel Capital led its Series A and ClearSky led the seed.
- OXIGEN, a maker of pH balanced water, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Investors include recording artist Brett Eldredge and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love.
- Bloom Credit, a New York-based API platform company that helps businesses integrate with credit bureaus for access to scores and monitoring, raised $13 million in funding. $10 million was led by Allegis NL, along with Resolute Ventures, Slow Ventures, and Commerce Ventures. Another $3 million came from angel investors.
- NOCD, a Chicago startup treating obsessive compulsive disorder, raised $12 million in a Series A funding. Health Enterprise Partners led the round and was joined by investors including 7Wire Ventures, Chicago Ventures and Hyde Park Angels.
- Lingokids, a Spain-based early learning skills company, raised $10 million in funding. Ravensburger Group led the round and was joined by investors including HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, JME Ventures, All Iron Ventures, 500 Startups, Athos Capital and Sharpetown.
- Evrythng, a London-based platform seeking to help businesses track physical products, raised $10 million in funding. IDC Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Sway Ventures and Generation Ventures.
- SiteAware, a Houston-based A.I. construction verification software company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Axon Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital led the round and were joined by lool Ventures, Oryzn Ventures, The Flying Object and Power Capital Venture.
- Andie Swim, a New York-based swimwear company, raised $6.5 million in Series funding. Investors include CityRock Venture Partners and Trail Mix Ventures.
- Veritonic, a New York-based company seeking to predict the effectiveness of advertising, raised $3.2 million in Series A funding. Greycroft led the round and was joined by investors including Lerer Hippeau and Audible. Read more.
- JobGet, a Boston-based mobile hiring app maker, raised $2.1 million in seed funding. Pillar VC led the round and was joined by investors including Data Point Capital Partners, Crocker Mountain Capital, and EO Venture.
- Earthly Technologies, a Redwood City-based company with software build tooling, raised $2 million in seed funding. Investors included 468 Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Uncorrelated Ventures, and Hack VC.
- LLR Partners recapped YCharts, a cloud-based investment analytics and communications platform for RIAs, broker-dealers and asset managers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Warburg Pincus agreed to invest about $95 million in Home First, an Indian affordable housing finance company.
- Ardian acquired a majority stake, in Syclef, a French refrigeration company, from Latour Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Centerbridge Partners agreed to acquire American Bath Group, a maker of bathtubs, from Lone Star. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Morgan Stanley agreed to acquire Eaton Vance Corp (NYSE: EV), the investment management company, for about $7 billion in a cash-and-stock deal.
- Citadel Securities agreed to acquire the market-making unit of IMC Financial Markets. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Otto Group plans to sell the French operations of its parcel delivery service Hermes Group, per Bloomberg. The group is seeking a valuation of about 500 million euros ($588 million) for the unit. Read more.
- Euronext agreed to acquire Borsa Italiana, the Italian bourse, from The London Stock Exchange for €4.3 billion.
- Miniso Group Holding Ltd, a Chinese retailer, plans to raise $532 million in a listing of 30.4 million ADSs priced between $16.50 to $18.50 apiece. The company posted revenues of $1.2 billion in the 12 months ending June and a loss of $35.9 million. Tencent backs the firm. Read more.
- Thayer Ventures Acquisition, a Valencia, Calif.-based blank check company formed by seeking a travel and transportation target, plans to raise $175 million. Thayer Ventures formed the company. Read more.
- Forest Road Acquisition Corp., a SPAC formed by three former Walt Disney Co. executives, Shaquille O’Neal, and one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s sons, plans to raise $250 million. It is seeking an acquisition in media and technology. Kevin Mayer, who was recently CEO of TikTok, is also among the team. Read more.
- Pontifax AgTech Management closed Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund II with $302 million in commitments.
- General Atlantic named Brett Zbar as a managing director and global head of life sciences.
- Ara Partners hired Katy Terrell as a vice president and promoted John Baik to senior associate.