Odds and Ends 

Startups Weekly: The Peloton IPO (bull vs. bear)

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the proliferation of billion-dollar companies. Before that, I noted the uptick in beverage startup rounds. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets. A bullish perspective: Peloton, an early player in the fitness tech space, has garnered a cult following since its founding in…

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Odds and Ends 

Mejuri raises $23M Series B to serve women buying jewelry for themselves

New Enterprise Associates, the 42-year-old venture capital firm, has invested in the $23 million Series B round for Mejuri, a startup capturing millennial women’s penchant for affordable and treat yo’ self type of jewelry rather than diamonds and precious stones for special occasions. It’s the latest instance of startups drawing investor interest with their direct-to-customer retail model. Based in Toronto and Buenos Aires, four-year-old Mejuri designs, makes and sells jewelry directly to women primarily online in addition to two offline showrooms, bypassing middle-person costs. Besides striving for reasonable prices, Mejuri…

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Odds and Ends 

In venture capital, its still the age of the unicorn

Howie Xu At the time, the piece defined a new breed of startup — the $1 billion privately held company. When Lee did her first count, there were 39 “unicorns”; an improbable, but not impossible number.. Today, the once-scarce unicorn has become a global herd with 376 companies on the roster and counting. But the proliferation of unicorns begs raises certain questions. Is this new breed of unicorn artificially created? Could these magical companies see their valuations slip and fall out of the herd? Does this indicate an irrational exuberance…

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Headlines 

Tesla Makes Last-Ditch Model 3 Deliveries as Pressures Mount

With pressure escalating after one of the worst weeks in its almost 15-year-history, Tesla Inc. raced to manufacture and deliver its mission-critical Model 3 sedan to burnish the numbers it’s about to report to rattled investors. Tesla’s Fremont, California, delivery hub was packed with people Saturday evening as the last hours of the quarter drew to a close. Red couches and tall white tables were set up outside, a DJ played music and a truck selling Vietnamese food was on hand. Behind the scenes, a company that’s struggled to figure…

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Odds and Ends 

Toyota launches venture capital fund targeting artificial intelligence startups

Toyota is the latest Fortune 500 company to launch an AI focused venture capital fund. The initial early-stage fund will deploy $100 million and operate as a subsidiary of theToyota Research Institute.The automaker has strategically positioned itself as an ROI rather than strategic-focused fund meaning that it aims to profit like any other VC firm. Jim Adler will serve as managing director of the fund. He has been serving as vice president of Toyota Research and comes from a product background. Adler and the rest of the team at Toyota…

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Odds and Ends 

Cabin secures $3.3M for its moving hotel

Cabin recently announced it had secured $3.3 million in seed financing for its sleeper-car buses. (Ill explain that concept in a minute.) The funding was led by Founders Funds FF Angel, with participation from half a dozen other investors. This new round of funding will enable Cabin to expand its overnight transportation services regionally and nationally. Now, about that moving hotel idea. A full-size travel bus has been outfitted with sleeping berths lining a narrow walkway, like trains used to have. Theres a small communal lounge area for social insomniacs,…

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Odds and Ends 

Hong Kongs Qupital raises $2M led by Alibaba to finance invoice loans for SMES

the $130 million AlibabaEntrepreneurs Fund which launched in 2015. Other investors that took part includeDRL Capital and Aria Group. Founded by mid-20-year-oldsAndy Chan (26) and Winston Wong (25) who met playing basketball, the startup wants to freesmall companies on tight budgets from the restraints of unpaid invoices. Thats to say that a large chunk of an SMEs working cash flow is locked up in invoices that maytake up to 90 days to actually pay out.Qupital tackles that issue by companiesto take a loan to cover 80-95 percent of the value…

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Odds and Ends 

A $150 million fund, The Engine, will back startups others find too hard

A fund and accelerator for advanced technology startups, The Engine, closed its debut fund at a robust $150 million this week, according to its President, CEO and Managing Partner Katie Rae. Last year, TechCrunch reported that MIT was investing $25 million into The Engine, becoming the anchor LP for the fund. While The Engine is not owned and operated by the private, research university, it has strong ties with MIT. Several of its board members and advisers are faculty and staff at MIT. Additionally, startups backed by The Engine can…

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Headlines 

Techs Wealthy Enclaves Hurt the Countryand Tech Itself

On a dreary Thursday afternoon in March, the halls of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, swelled with people who spend their lives trying to salvage the economies of America’s forgotten towns. Hailing from across the country, they hurried past Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in their sharp suits and jewel-toned dresses, each one carrying a different proposal for how to keep their cities and states afloat. Together, they reflected America’s diversity: a mixture of millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers, men and women of different races and…

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