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1. Go-Jek's first close of $2B round
Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY, OTCPK:TCTZF), and JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) agreed to invest $920M in Southeast Asia ride-hailing company Go-Jek, according to TechCrunch sources. The ride-hail company hopes to raise $2B total in the round at a $9.5B valuation.
Go-Jek will likely use the funds towards deepening its presence in new markets and building out its fintech business. The full round will also help Go-Jek keep up with rival Grab (GRAB), which acquired Uber's SE Asian business last year and has its own $5B financing push underway.
2. SoftBank bets $100M on smart sourcing platform
SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY) Vision Fund nvested $100M in Globality, a marketplace for matching global enterprises with service providers. The deal reportedly pushed valuation to $1B and total fundraising to $172M. As part of the deal, Jeffrey Housenbold and Ted Fike of SoftBank Investment Advisers will join Globality's board.
The startup's AI bot Glo uses natural language processing to analyze a client-submitted service brief then searches a database containing over 17K providers in 100 countries to find the best match. Globality will use the money to invest in AI tech, hire for the engineer and product teams, and expand its marketing and sales programs.
3. Alphabet, Al Gore back African software developers
GV and former Vice President Al Gore's Generation Investment Management participated in a $100M round for Andela, a startup that connects African developers with top tech companies. Andela's valuation now stands between $600M to $700M with total funding at $40M.
Andela trains and manages around 1,100 developers and has over 200 customers paying for access to that talent pool. In its roughly four years of existence, Andela has received over 130K applications from software developers. Andela receives $50K to $120K from the hiring company, passes a third of that on to the developer, and then uses the rest for operations and training. The new funds will go towards doubling the developer base.
4. Zendesk, Salesforce competitor snags $35M
Zendesk (NYSE:ZEN), Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) and Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) competitor Kustomer snagged $35M for its "omnichannel" CRM platform that can pull data from multiple sources into one timeline view. Battery Ventures led the Series C with Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) Investments among the participants.
The funding will help Kustomer attract more large enterprise customers. CEO Brad Bimbaum says the startup is handling "a bunch of Oracle and Salesforce conversions, larger enterprises" that are operating on legacy systems that are "15 years too old." Kustomer claims it's currently seeing 500% Y/Y revenue growth.
5. JNJ gets strategic with K-Beauty
Memebox stocks its private-label Korean beauty brands I Dew Care, Nooni and Pony Effect, which are also sold at Sephora and Ulta. JNJ's strategic investment, the VC arm's first in a beauty company, could help Memebox broaden its reach outside the U.S. and Korea.
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