Startups Weekly: Even Gwyneth Paltrow had a hard time raising VC

I spent the week in Malibu attending Upfront Ventures annual Upfront Summit, which brings together the likes of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Washington, DCs 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 Times 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 Its 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. Its great to be Gwyneth Paltrow when youre raising money because people take the meeting, but then you get a lot more rejections than you would if they didnt wantto 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
1.Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an entrepreneur, too
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.

Deals of the week

Backed by GV, Sequoia, Floodgate and more, Clover Health confirmed to TechCrunch this week that its 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-publicizedhiccups. 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.

The Pinterest IPO is really, actually happening

Pinterest, the nine-year-old visual search engine, has hired Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase as lead underwriters for an IPO thats planned for later this year. With $700 million in 2018 revenue,the company has raised some $1.5 billion at a $12 billion valuation fromGoldman SachsInvestment Partners, Valiant Capital Partners, Wellington Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and more.

Fundraising efforts

Kleiner Perkins went back to the future this week with the announcement of a $600 million fund. The firms 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. Partechhas 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.
Startups Weekly: Even Gwyneth Paltrow had a hard time raising VC

Sam Altman has a new idea

The co-founder of Y Combinator will throw a sort of annual weekend getaway for nerds in picturesque Boulder, Colo. Called theYC 120, it will bring toget her 120 people for a couple of days in April to create connections. Read TechCrunchs Connie Loizos interview with Altman here.

Hims gets unicorn status

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 isntSoftBankand that hasnt previously invested in Hims.

a16z bets on VR again

Five years after Andreessen Horowitz backed Oculus, its leading a $68 million Series A funding in Sandbox VR. TechCrunchs Lucas Matney talked to a16zs Andrew Chen and Floodgates Mike Maples about what sets Sandbox apart.

Heres your weekly reminder to send me tips, suggestions and more to or@KateClarkTweets.

More startup cash:

Data governance platform Collibra raises $100M at a $1B valuation

FabFitFun raises $80M for its growing lifestyle brand

ContentSquare, the digital experience insights platform, raises $60M

Petal raises $30M from Valar to bank the unbanked with credit cards

Verbit raises $23M for its transcription service

Dadi brings in $2M to democratize sperm storage

Startups Weekly: Even Gwyneth Paltrow had a hard time raising VC

An update on the Munchery fiasco

In a new class-actionlawsuit, 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 Muncherys downfall. If you havent been keeping up on Muncherys abrupt shutdown, heres some good background.

Scooter consolidation

Consolidation in the micromobility space has arrived in Brazil, at least. Not long afterY Combinator-backed Grin merged its electric scooter business with Brazil-based Ride, its 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.

Listen to me talk

If you enjoy this newsletter, be sure to check out TechCrunchs venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this weeks episode, available here, Crunchbase editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm, TechCrunchs Silicon Valley editor Connie Loizos and Jeff Clavierof Uncork Capital chat about $100 million rounds, Stripes mega valuation and Pinterests highly anticipated IPO.
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