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Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky just raised another $200 million for his newest company, Tempus

Posted by on May 31, 2019 in Baillie Gifford, Biotech, drug development, eric lefkofsky, Groupon, Recent Funding, Revolution Growth, Science, Startups, TC, Tempus | 0 comments

When serial entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky grows a company, he puts the pedal to the metal. When in 2011 his last company, the Chicago-based coupons site Groupon, raised $950 million from investors, it was the largest amount raised by a startup ever. It was just over three years old at the time, and it went public later that same year.

Lefkofsky seems to be stealing a page from the same playbook for his newest company, Tempus. The Chicago-based genomic testing and data analysis company was founded a little more than three years ago, yet it has already hired nearly 700 employees and raised more than $500 million — including through a new $200 million round that values the company at $3.1 billion.

According to the Chicago Tribune, that new valuation makes it — as Groupon once was — one of Chicago’s most highly valued privately held companies.

So why all the fuss? As the Tribune explains it, Tempus has built a platform to collect, structure and analyze the clinical data that’s often unorganized in electronic medical record systems. The company also generates genomic data by sequencing patient DNA and other information in its lab.

The goal is to help doctors create customized treatments for each individual patient, Lefkofsky tells the paper.

So far, it has partnered with numerous cancer treatment centers that are apparently giving Tempus human data from which to learn. Tempus is also seemingly generating data “in vitro,” as is another company we featured recently called Insitro, a drug development startup founded by famed AI researcher Daphne Koller. With Insitro, it is working on a liver disease treatment owing to a tie-up with Gilead, which has amassed related human data over the years from which Insitro can use to learn. As a complementary data source, Insitro is trying to learn what the disease does in a “dish,” then determine if it can use what it observes using machine learning to predict what it sees in people.

While’s Tempus genomic testing is centered on cancers for now, Lefkofsky already says that Tempus wants to expand into diabetes and depression, too.

In the meantime, he tells Crain’s Chicago Business that Tempus is already generating “significant” revenue. “Our oldest partners, have, in most cases, now expanded to different subgroups (of cancer). What we’re doing is working.”

Investors in the latest round include Baillie Gifford; Revolution Growth; New Enterprise Associates; funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price; Novo Holdings; and the investment management company Franklin Templeton.

Source: The Tech Crunch

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Niantic EC-1, Part 3 and what the data show are the best fundraising decks

Posted by on Apr 13, 2019 in Baillie Gifford, character, Charles Plowden, DocSend, harry potter, niantic, red antler, russ heddleston, TC | 0 comments

Harry Potter, the Platform, and the Future of Niantic

After deep dives into the story of Niantic’s spinout from Google and its creation and development of Pokémon GO, TechCrunch editor Greg Kumparak turns his attention to Niantic’s future, looking at how Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is not just uniting wand-wielders, but also the company’s ambitions in areas as diverse as 5G, China, 3D mapping, and the next-generation of augmented reality.

This is definitely a weekend read (it’s about 25 mins in length), but here’s a taste:

There’s one more piece to this grander AR vision, and it’s perhaps the biggest and most challenging one.

Your phone knows your location, but current GPS tech is really only accurate within a few feet. Even when it’s at its most accurate, it doesn’t always stay there for long. Ever use Google Maps in a big city and had your marker hop around all over the map? That’s probably from the signals bouncing off buildings, vehicles, and all of the myriad metal things around you.

That’s good enough for basic augmented reality functionality seen in Pokémon GO today. But Niantic wants to get closer and closer to the vision of GO’s original trailer, where hundreds of people can look up to see the same Zapdos flying overhead, synchronized in time and space across all of their devices. Where you can gather in a park with friends to watch massive Pokémon battles play out in real time, or leave a virtual gift on a bench for a friend to walk up to and discover. For this, Niantic will need something more precise and more consistent. Like pretty much everything with Niantic, it all goes back to maps.

More specifically, they’ll need to build a 3D map of the environments where people are playing. It’s easy enough to get relatively accurate 3D data about huge things like buildings, but what about everything around those buildings? The statues, the planters, the trees, the bus stops. John [Hanke, Niantic’s CEO], and others in the space, refer to this map as the “AR Cloud.”

Source: The Tech Crunch

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One of Tesla’s biggest investors upped its stake by more than $30M

Posted by on Feb 8, 2019 in Automotive, Baillie Gifford, Elon Musk, funding, nio, Tesla, Tesla Model S | 0 comments

Baillie Gifford & Co., the second-biggest shareholder of Tesla stock, has increased its stake in the electric automaker and energy storage company.

A regulator filing posted Friday shows Baillie increased its stake in Tesla from 7.64 percent at the end of the third quarter to 7.71 percent at the end of the fourth quarter. That doesn’t sound like much, but it translates into Baillie purchasing nearly 109,000 Tesla shares in the fourth quarter. That pencils out to a ballpark of $32 million worth of shares, if based on Friday’s price alone. CNBC was the first to report the filing.

The U.K.-based investment management firm Baillie now owns 13.2 million shares of Tesla stock, according to the regulator filing. That translates to more than $4 billion worth of Tesla, based on the latest share price of $304.26.

Last month, Tesla reported it earned $139 million in the fourth quarter — its second consecutive quarterly profit.

The company managed to string together two profitable periods in a row thanks to sales of the Model 3 and despite several headwinds in the fourth quarter, including a non-cash charge of $54 million attributable to non-controlling interests, higher import duties on components from China, a price reduction for Model S and Model X in China and the introduction of a lower-priced mid-range version of Model 3.

Baillie Gifford is the largest outside shareholder of Tesla stock. CEO Elon Musk, Tesla’s largest shareholder, owns about 20 percent of the company.

Baillie appears to be increasingly interested in electric vehicles. In October, the company took a stake in Nio, the Chinese electric vehicle automaker that recently became a publicly traded company.

Baillie Gifford now owns an 11.44 percent stake in Nio, according to a regulatory filing. The company disclosed that it had purchased 85.3 million shares.

Source: The Tech Crunch

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