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The Crunchbase News Briefing: Mon., Sept. 21


Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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Nikola founder steps down amid regulatory probe, stock plunge

Electric truck startup Nikola Corp.’s shares fell as much as 37 percent in pre-market trading Monday. The plunge took place amid an SEC regulatory probe which has prompted company founder and chairman Trevor Milton to step down, according to reports.

In a statement, Milton wrote, “Nikola is truly in my blood and always will be, and the focus should be on the company and its world-changing mission, not me. So I made the difficult decision to approach the board and volunteer to step aside.”

Milton has been replaced by Stephen Girsky, the former General Motors vice chairman who oversaw Nikola’s stock listing and helped broker their partnership with the Detroit mega-corporation.

Nikola’s falling stocks have impacted General Motors, which took an 11 percent equity stake in Nikola earlier this month. GM officials said the company will continue to finalize its deal with the startup after Milton’s departure.

Playco raises $100M for gaming platform

Playco, a  newly launched developer of  instant games across a variety of platforms, has raised $100 million in a Series A funding round at a reported valuation of just over $1 billion.

The Tokyo-headquartered startup created by Game Closure co-founder Michael Carter and Zynga co-founder Justin Waldron.

Sequoia Capital and Mino Games founder Josh Buckley led the round, which comes as digital gaming sees continued strong growth as people seek more at-home activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other news

TikTok deal gets early nod, but ByteDance will hold as subsidiary: China’s ByteDance said on Monday that TikTok’s global business will become its subsidiary, even as Oracle and Walmart said over the weekend that they and U.S. investors would own the majority of the video app following a deal with the Trump administration.

Funding rounds

  • Mobile Premier League raises $90M: India-based gaming startup Mobile Premier League raised $90 million in a Series C round led by SIG, early-stage tech investor RTP Global, and MDI Ventures.
  • Marco Financial secures $26M: Marco Financial, a Miami-based financing platform built for small and medium-sized Latin American exporters selling to U.S. buyers, announced $26 million in pre-seed funding and credit. The funding includes an equity round, led by Struck Capital and Antler, and a credit facility underwritten by Arcadia Funds, LLC.
  • Ahana raises additional $2.3M: Ahana, the self-service analytics company for Presto, announced an additional $2.3 million in seed funding led by new investor Lux Capital with participation from existing investor GV, bringing total funds raised to $4.8 million. The San Mateo, California-based company raised the first part of the seed round in June led by GV. Presto software is an open-source distributed SQL query engine for big data.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

The Crunchbase News Briefing: Mon., Sept. 21

Gene sequencing firm Illumina plans to buy cancer screening startup Grail in a cash-and-stock deal worth $8 billion.

Markets have been rewarding companies with low carbon footprints, and penalizing those with high fossil fuel consumption.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-9-21-20/

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