Top VC deals: Amazon backs Ecobee, Tencent bets on a used car marketplace, plus self-driving trucks


A weekly recap of some of the most interesting venture capital deals, funds and start-ups.

Here's a round-up of the most important deals in venture capital from the past week.


Tencent led an $818 million investment in Chehaoduo, an online platform for buying and selling cars in China. The company has scored $1.7 billion in funding thus far, according to Crunchbase. Earlier investors included U.S. venture firms active in China, including Sequoia, Matrix and Blue Run Ventures. China is the world's largest market for new and used car sales today, according to research from IHS Markit.

Magic Leap , a startup developing augmented reality technology, raised $461 million in a funding round led by Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund. Magic Leap's new funding brings its total capital raised to $2.3 billion. The start-up, founded in 2011, has yet to release a product.

Google's growth fund, CapitalG, Accel, and Kleiner Perkins were among investors in a $153 million series B round of funding in UIPath . The start-up is developing AI software that can handle back-office functions for different organizations.

Electric scooter rentals business Bird raised $100 million in a series B funding round. Bird plans to bring its electric kick scooters to 50 U.S. markets by the end of this year. Valor Equity Partners led the investment, joined by Index Ventures and earlier Bird backers Craft Ventures, Goldcrest, Tusk Ventures and Upfront Ventures. The series B is coming fast on the heels of its series A funding round. The company raised $15 million in February.

Energy Impact Partners and Amazon Alexa Fund are among the investors in a $62 million round of funding for Ecobee . The investment came just days after Amazon paid a price reportedly over $1 billion to acquire Ring , a smart home security company that was also backed by EIP.

Starsky Robotics , a San Francisco-based developer of self-driving trucks, raised $16.5 million in a series A round led by Shasta Ventures and joined by Y Combinator. The company's unmanned trucks are already hauling freight in test drives, including on public roads in Florida.

HQ, a trivia gameshow-app, raised $15 million in a new funding round led by Founders Fund, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Funds and Firms

Mars, the candy and pet food manufacturer, is starting a $100 million venture arm called the Companion Fund just to invest in products, tech and services for pets and their owners. The fund will be led by Ben Jacobs, who founded and sold his "fitbit for pets" business, Whistle, to Mars in 2016.

Ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced that he has formed a new fund that will focus on ventures and projects that lead to job creation.

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