I spent the week in Malibu attending Upfront Ventures’ annual Upfront Summit, which brings together the likes of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC’s elite for a two-day networking session of sorts. Cameron Diaz was there for some reason, and Natalie Portman made an appearance. Stacey Abrams had a powerful Q&A session with Lisa Borders, the president and CEO of Time’s Up. Of course, Gwyneth Paltrow was there to talk up Goop, her venture-funded commerce and content engine.
“I had no idea what I was getting into but I am so fulfilled and on fire from this job,” Paltrow said onstage at the summit… “It’s a very different life than I used to have but I feel very lucky that I made this leap.” Speaking with Frederic Court, the founder of Felix Capital, Paltrow shed light on her fundraising process.
“When I set out to raise my Series A, it was very difficult,” she said. “It’s great to be Gwyneth Paltrow when you’re raising money because people take the meeting, but then you get a lot more rejections than you would if they didn’t want to take a selfie … People, understandably, were dubious about [this business]. It becomes easier when you have a thriving business and your unit economics looks good.”
In other news…
The actor stopped by the summit to promote his startup, HitRecord . I talked to him about his $6.4 million round and grand plans for the artist-collaboration platform.
Backed by GV, Sequoia, Floodgate and more, Clover Health confirmed to TechCrunch this week that it’s brought in another round of capital led by Greenoaks. The $500 million round is a vote of confidence for the business, which has experienced its fair share of well-publicized hiccups. More on that here. Plus, Clutter, the startup that provides on-demand moving and storage services, is raising at least $200 million from SoftBank, sources tell TechCrunch. The round is a big deal for the LA tech ecosystem, which, aside from Snap and Bird, has birthed few venture-backed unicorns.
Pinterest, the nine-year-old visual search engine, has hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase as lead underwriters for an IPO that’s planned for later this year. With $700 million in 2018 revenue, the company has raised some $1.5 billion at a $12 billion valuation from Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Valiant Capital Partners, Wellington Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and more.
Kleiner Perkins went “back to the future” this week with the announcement of a $600 million fund. The firm’s 18th fund, it will invest at the seed, Series A and Series B stages. TCV, a backer of Peloton and Airbnb, closed a whopping $3 billion vehicle to invest in consumer internet, IT infrastructure and services startups. Partech has doubled its Africa VC fund to $143 million and opened a Nairobi office to complement its Dakar practice. And Sapphire Ventures has set aside $115 million for sports and entertainment bets.
The co-founder of Y Combinator will throw a sort of annual weekend getaway for nerds in picturesque Boulder, Colo. Called the YC 120, it will bring toget her 120 people for a couple of days in April to create connections. Read TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos’ interview with Altman here.
Consumer wellness business Hims has raised $100 million in an ongoing round at a $1 billion pre-money valuation. A growth-stage investor has led the round, with participation from existing investors (which include Forerunner Ventures, Founders Fund, Redpoint Ventures, SV Angel, 8VC and Maverick Capital) . Our sources declined to name the lead investor but said it was a “super big fund” that isn’t SoftBank and that hasn’t previously invested in Hims.
Five years after Andreessen Horowitz backed Oculus, it’s leading a $68 million Series A funding in Sandbox VR. TechCrunch’s Lucas Matney talked to a16z’s Andrew Chen and Floodgate’s Mike Maples about what sets Sandbox apart.
Here’s your weekly reminder to send me tips, suggestions and more to firstname.lastname@example.org or @KateClarkTweets.
In a new class-action lawsuit, a former Munchery facilities worker is claiming the startup owes him and 250 other employees 60 days’ wages. On top of that, another former employee says the CEO, James Beriker, was largely absent and is to blame for Munchery’s downfall. If you haven’t been keeping up on Munchery’s abrupt shutdown, here’s some good background.
Consolidation in the micromobility space has arrived — in Brazil, at least. Not long after Y Combinator-backed Grin merged its electric scooter business with Brazil-based Ride, it’s completing another merger, this time with Yellow, the bike-share startup based in Brazil that has also expressed its ambitions to get into electric scooters.
If you enjoy this newsletter, be sure to check out TechCrunch’s venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this week’s episode, available here, Crunchbase editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunch’s Silicon Valley editor Connie Loizos and Jeff Clavier of Uncork Capital chat about $100 million rounds, Stripe’s mega valuation and Pinterest’s highly anticipated IPO.
12 Best Uses For Old Computer Keyboards
Maybe you want to wear your love of keyboards on your sleeve, but earrings and charm bracelets are just a little too ostentatious for your taste. Enter the subtler and more stylish buttons and cufflinks. Not only is this a more discreet way of keeping your old keyboard close, but it’s also among the easiest projects we have for you.
You’ll only need a few supplies, at least one of which you already have at hand. There aren’t any scissors or saws, and you won’t be using any power tools. All you need is your old keyboard, an adhesive like epoxy, and the base of a cufflink or button, both of which you can find at your local craft store or online.
Before you get started, however, take a moment to inspect your keyboard. Consider the wide array of buttons, each with its own special function. Now choose your favorites. Those are the keys you want to carefully remove. If you’re making cufflinks, you’ll need at least two keys. If you’re making buttons, the sky’s the limit.
Now take out a flathead screwdriver — the only tool you’re going to need — and pop the keys you’ve chosen off of the keyboard frame. Once you’ve got them all liberated, generously apply adhesive to the back side of each key and jam the cufflink or button base right in there. Wait for it to cure and you’re ready to attach them to your favorite threads.
28% Of Car Lovers Most Want To Own This Banned Vehicle
In a SlashGear poll with 590 U.S. respondents, 27.97% said they would love to own Lamborghini Diablo Strosek. The Italian supercar is not street legal in the U.S. because it’s too fast. If pushed to the limit, the Lamborghini Diablo can exceed 200 mph — this made it the fastest car when it was released in 1990. But it was a German designer known as Vittorio Strosek who modified it and made it even more difficult for it to pass the FMVSS regulations. Because of the 25-year rule, you’re only allowed to import a Lamborghini Diablo that was produced between 1990 to 1997.
The second most popular option in the poll was the Porsche 959, which was picked by 25.25% of the respondents. Just like Lamborghini Diablo, Porsche 959 is super-fast but it doesn’t exceed 200 mph — the best it can do is 198 mph in the Sport variant. However, the real reason Porsche 959 was never sold in the U.S. is that the automaker didn’t want to have its very expensive cars crash tested by NHTSA. Despite the Porsche 959 quickly selling out after it was released, the manufacturer was making a loss selling the car — and if NHTSA crash tested a minimum of four cars, it would have lost more money.
Besides that, 19.83% of the participants said they would prefer Honda ATC and 16.95% wanted Nissan GT-R Skyline. The Smart Crossblade was the least popular option at 10%.
The Reason Why NYC Destroys Hundreds Of Dirt Bikes And ATVs Each Year
In 2021, eight people were killed by dirt bikes or ATVs, and the New York Police Department, along with then-Mayor Bill de Blasio, went on a crusade to get rid of illegal vehicles, according to The City. By the end of the year, the city had seized and subsequently destroyed approximately 500 bikes. As many as 3,000 were ultimately crushed under the tracked wheels of a bulldozer in 2021 (via The City).
When new Mayor Eric Adams took office on January 1, 2022, he continued the fight. By June, they had seized over 2,000 bikes — almost 80% over the number they took by that time the previous year. And there’s no sign of letting up, with the police nabbing more than 250 on a single Sunday in August.
The dirt bikes and ATVs are not street legal to begin with, lacking several required features like turn signals, brake lights, and mirrors. According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, any 1985 or newer motorcycle must be equipped with directional or turn signals that show amber to the front and red or amber to the rear. It must also have an adjustable rear view mirror, a red stop lamp on the back, and a headlamp on the front of the vehicle. None of these things are found on a vast majority of the illegal vehicles that, as Mayor Adams put it, are continuing to terrorize the city.
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