Welcome to Seeking Alpha’s Venture Capital Deals of the Week. Follow this account and turn on the e-mail alert to receive VCDeals in your inbox on Saturday mornings.
1. SoftBank sinks $1.5B into Chinese car trading
Chehaoduo operates the sites Guazi and Maoduo and counts Tencent among its backers. The company will use the funding to develop its data and cloud computing technology. Chehaoduo will also improve services in down payments, second-hand vehicle trading, and after-market services at its over 600 physical stores.
Competitors: Uxin and Souche are longstanding competition while upstarts like ride-hail giant Didi (DIDI) move into the market.
2. Ant Financial backs WeWork competitor
Ant Financial (NYSE:BABA) and Tiger Global co-led a $500M Series C in Danke Apartment at an over $2B valuation. The startup plans to use part of the money to update its rental data processing system, which uses AI-driven algorithms to determine housing prices.
Danke provides affordable housing for young Chinese living in urban centers by renting smaller, furnished apartments with the startup covering things like housekeeping and maintenance. Danke currently has a presence in 10 major Chinese cities. Some of the new funds will go towards improving apartment amenities and expanding the current offerings, which mostly target recent graduates and office workers, to blue collar workers.
Competitors: WeWork's (VWORK) WeLive operates on a similar model.
3. Dell helps storage architecture startup out of stealth
Dell's (NYSE:DELL) VC arm and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) participated in Series A and B fundings totaling $80M in storage architecture startup Vast Data, which emerged from stealth mode. Norwest Venture Partners, 83 North, and TPG Growth.
Vast claims to develop an innovating form of data reduction and introduced its Universal Storage system that can deploy high-performance all-flash storage for the same price as spinning disk-based storage. Existing clients include General Dynamics subsidiary Ginkgo Bioworks and Zebra Medical Vision.
4. Victoria's Secret foe gets $55M
Victoria's Secret (NYSE:LB) competitor ThirdLove raised $55M in funding at an above $750M valuation led by L. Catterton with numerous participants including 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki and her sister, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. The startup had previously only raised $68M since its 2013 founding.
The funding will help ThirdLove expand its sizes beyond the 78 currently available and grow in three new areas: retail, international, and category expansion into areas like swim and athletic wear. The company says it's generating over $100M in annual revenues and that 12M women to date have used its tech-driven, big data-backed Fit Finder tool.
5. BMW backs Uber for kids
BMW (OTCPK:BMWYY) i Ventures led a $40M Series C for Uber (UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) competitor Zūm, which focuses on transporting children. Spark Capital and Sequoia Capital brought total funding to $70M.
Zūm fully vets its drivers for safety and works with local school districts to support their needs, a tactic that sets the company apart from traditional ride-hail services. The startup has so far partnered with 150 school districts and transported more than 500K students. The new infusion will help expand those partnerships and build out the underlying tech platform, which features route optimization and vehicle tracking tools.
Competitors: Other kid-focused companies include HopSkipDrive and Kango.
Editor's Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.