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The dichotomous story of Robinhood

April 16, 2021, 3:19 PM UTC

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It’s not been an easy 24 hours for Robinhood.

Massachusetts security regulators on Thursday looked to effectively ban the startup in the state by revoking its broker-dealer license. The investing app also suffered a major outage in its crypto-trading platform early in the day, as the infamous meme Dogecoin surged. 

Officials in Massachusetts have previously said that the startup failed to protect consumers on its platform, “aggressively inducing and enticing trading among its customers.” Robinhood on its part hit back, saying: “We don’t believe our customers are naive as the Massachusetts Securities Division paints them to be,” and “the complaint reflects the old way of thinking.”

The crypto-trading issue did resolve about two hours after Robinhood announced that it had been made aware of the issue—but the issue appeared again early Friday.

And yet, despite these stumbles, Robinhood continued its ascent. As CEO Vlad Tenev highlighted on Twitter Friday, the app remains the most downloaded on Apple’s app store, above that of Coinbase and TikTok

This story has played itself out a few times now. Near the start of the pandemic, Robinhood crashed, leading some users to miss a lucrative trading day. This January, the company also briefly paused the trading of shares in GameStop, fanning unproven conspiracy theories of market manipulation. Meanwhile Congress appears set on some kind of penalty against the startup. But the public outcry aside—or perhaps fueled by the public outcry?—Robinhood appeared to be chugging along just fine after each case.

RELIGION IN VENTURE CAPITAL: An uncommon corner of venture capital has been gaining followers—religion tech. Hallow, a Catholic prayer and meditation app, raised about $12 million in Series A funding with General Catalyst leading the round. The company says it experienced a seven times increase in downloads since the start of the pandemic. That comes as funding in the space still remains piecemeal overall, but has grown in recent years to $18.2 million in 2019.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: lucinda.shen@fortune.com

P.S. Speaking of Robinhood, investors have now undeniably changed the way they value stocks. I caught up with fintech investor Frank Rotman over at QED Investors (Credit Karma, Prosper, and SoFi) about what these new behaviors could mean for the broader market. I also asked him whether he wishes Credit Karma had waited a smidgen longer before combining with tax prep software company Intuit in February of 2020—just before the valuations of other financial tech startups shot up. Read for his answer.

VENTURE DEALS

- Polestar, a Swedish electric car company owned by Volvo, raised $550 million in its first external round. Chongqing Chengxing Equity Investment Fund Partnership, Zibo Financial Holding, and Zibo Hightech Industrial Investment led the round.

- C2i Genomics, a New York-based cancer intelligence company, raised $100 million. Casdin Capital led the round and was joined by investors including NFX, Duquesne Family Office, Section 32, iGlobe Partners, and Driehaus Capital.

- Xwing, a San Francisco-based autonomous aviation company, raised $40 million in funding at a $400 million valuation. Blackhorn Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including ACME Capital, Loup Ventures, R7 Partners, Eniac Ventures, Alven Capital, and Array Ventures.

- Vyond, a maker of animated video content creation for the enterprise, raised $50 million in funding from PeakSpan Capital.

- AltruBio, a Redwood City, Calif.-based clinical stage biotech company, raised $63 million in Series A funding. aMoon led the round and was joined by investors including BVF Partners and CAM Capital.

- Chili Piper, a San Francisco-based routing and scheduling solution for revenue teams, raised a $33 million. Tiger Global led the round and was joined by investors including Base10 Partners and Gradient Ventures.

- Level, a New York-based maker of financial products for employers, raised $27 million in Series A funding. Khosla Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Operator Collective, First Round Capital, and Homebrew.

- Cart.com, a Houston-based e-commerce services provider, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Mercury Fund and Arsenal Growth led the round.

- Saltbox, an Atlanta-based co-warehousing startup, raised $10.6 million in Series A funding. Playground Global led the round and was joined by investors including XYZ Venture Capital and Wilshire Lane Partners.

- LEUNE, a San Francisco-based cannabis brand, raised $5 million. Investors included Rich Paul, La La Anthony, Carmelo Anthony, John Wall, music manager Anthony Saleh, as well as Karan Wadhera and Yoni Meyer.

- Torch, a Chicago-based digital freight network focused on short-haul trips, raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Maersk Growth led the round and was joined by investors including Schematic Ventures, Bluestein Ventures, Anorak Ventures, Supply Chain Ventures, and SaaS Ventures.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Salt Creek Capital acquired Tuscan Imports, Inc. d.b.a. Fontana Forni USA, a distributor of Italian ovens, grills, and authentic decorative pottery. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Altaris Capital Partners agreed to acquire a 51% stake Solesis, a Telford, Pa.-based provider of biomaterials, tools and services for the life science and medical technology industries. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Clover Capital Partners and Granite Creek Capital Partners invested in Big Easy Blends, a New Orleans-based developer and manufacturer of ready-to-drink beverages. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- NewSpring Franchise acquired Duck Donuts, a donut franchise. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- The Block, a cryptocurrency-focused media startup, bought shares back from its non-employee shareholders, per Axios. The company previously raised about $4 million from investors including Greycroft and Pantera.

PEOPLE

- General Catalyst, a San Francisco-based venture firm, named Paul Kwan as a managing director. Kwan was previously head of west coast tech banking at Morgan Stanley.

- Menlo Ventures, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture firm, named Tim Tully as a partner.