• Samuel Poon

Aquifer Tech Snapshot: Week of May 18-22

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

Welcome to our very first rendition of Aquifer Tech Snapshot. In these posts, we hope to get you up to speed on what's moving the tech market and give you a glimpse of the deals that are shaping the North American startup landscape. We'll offer tangible, evidence-based advice you can incorporate at your own firms and give you the tools to turn these into reality.

Let's jump in.

On Monday, Elon Musk said that he would open and restart production at Tesla's California factory despite stay-at-home orders issued by Alameda County. The county eventually granted the request to reopen on Wednesday, but did not provide any colour on whether the company was in violation of shutdown measures or not. The statement is raising discussions on the power states actually have on tech executives and whether harsher governance from officials is necessary.

On Friday, Facebook announced in a blog post that it was acquiring GIPHY, a search engine for GIFs for an undisclosed sum. GIPHY will be integrated into Instagram. The company reported that 50% of GIPHY's traffic already came from Facebook's family of apps and Facebook plans to incorporate GIPHY's services more deeply into Facebook's other apps. Axios estimated the total deal value at $400 million, representing a sizeable discount from its $600 million valuation after its Series D round in 2016.

In other news...

US video game sales have record quarter as consumers stay at home

A new report from the NPD reported that Q1/20 sales for gaming companies hit a record breaking $10.9 billion in the United States, representing a 9% increase year-over-year

Internet giants to staff: Plan to work from home for 2020

While Tesla urges workers to restart production at its California factory, tech companies are telling their employees a different message: Prepare to work from home for 2020.

Facebook content moderator details trauma that prompted fight for $52 million PTSD settlement

Facebook agreed to pay $52 million to thousands of U.S. workers who suffered psychological damage from moderating posts depicting acts of suicide, murder, child abuse, or other disturbing content on the platform.

Paradox: Last Monday, Paradox announced that it had closed a $40 million Series B funding round led by Brighton Park Capital. Paradox is an AI platform that helps HR and talent teams automate administrative tasks. The Arizona-based startup boasts 200+ enterprise clients including McDonald's, Unilever, and CVS Health.

UpKeep: UpKeep announced Tuesday that it had closed a $36 million Series B financing round led by Insight Partners, but joined by Y Combinator, Emergence Capital, and Battery Ventures. UpKeep is a maintenance management platform designed for technicians and maintenance workers. The round brought UpKeep's total funding to $48.8 million, according to CrunchBase. Lolli: On Monday, Lolli announced that it had closed an oversubscribed $3 million Seed II funding round led by Pathfinder, Founder Fund's early-stage investment vehicle. Other investors included YouTube makeup artist Michelle Phan, and Sound Ventures. Lolli's flagship product is a browser extension on Chrome and Firefox that sends Bitcoin to users for shopping on select merchant partners.

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Until next time,

Rich Zhou

Research contributed by Samuel Poon.

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