VW CEO Charged In US; Zola Raises $100M; Richard Branson To Raise PE Fund

by 11 months ago

The Water Coolest

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Volkswagen’s former CEO, Martin Winterkorn, has been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud for his part in the diesel-gate scandal.

Despite his conviction, Winterkorn likely won’t “do a bid” at Club Fed. Germany will not extradite citizens outside of the EU.

Winterkorn was in the driver’s seat when VW outfitted 11M vehicles with “defeat devices,” software meant to outsmart emissions tests. The company has already paid $4.3B in fines related to the sh*tshow.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “You know you f*cked up good when you have a Netflix original made about your white-collar crime. “Dirty Money: Hard NOx” is worth the watch.”



Zola, the online wedding registry, and e-commerce platform just closed a $100M series D funding round led by Comcast Ventures and Goldman Sachs.

Your fiances’ most frequented website has raised $140M and boasts over 500k users. The wedding planners have corraled 600 brand partners that offer over 60k products via Zola’s registry service.

The $100M funding round matches the sixth largest investment secured by a female founder. Female-founded companies raised $4.4B in Q1 of this year, compared to overall investments of more than $28B.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “I’m all for the streamlining of planning of any sort, wedding or otherwise. If I can just get someone to plan the proposal and buy the ring for me, I would really be in business.”



He’s no Jeff Bezos, but with flowing locks and a $5B net worth, certified silver fox Richard Branson certainly claims a spot in the “f*ck you money” club. But a one-percenter’s work is never done. Branson announced he will be entering the private equity world and is planning to raise a $600M fund.

The Virgin Group founder won’t be going it alone. The fund will be co-managed by British VC firm, Metric Capital and will focus on consumer-facing plays with market caps up to $2B.

The fund will seek a 20% return. Because 21% just seems greedy.

This partnership appears to have been 20 years in the making. A decades-long bromance between John Sinick, the founder of Metric Capital, and Branson has finally become official.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “I hate to be THAT guy, but technically Richard Branson has already dabbled in the space. Two words: Shark. Tank.”




  • Xiamoi, the massive Chinese smartphone manufacturer, will file for what may be the largest IPO of 2018. Early reports indicate the company is looking to raise $10B at a $100B valuation.
  • Instagram will begin allowing users to store payment information that can be used to buy products in-app. Because if anyone can be trusted with credit card data, it’s Facebook.
  • Blue Apron plans to sell their meal kits at Costco … at a 30% discount. Eat your heart out Kirkland Signature. 
  • Notable hipster brand American Apparel is back with its first brick and mortar since closing all retail outlets last year.
  • “I ain’t passed the bar but I know a little bit.” Maybe Jay-Z doesn’t know as much as he claims about the US legal system. The rapper and “business, man” is the target of an SEC subpoena after failing to testify as part of an investigation linked to his Rocawear brand.
  • US indices were mostly down yesterday.
    • DOW: +0.02%
    • S&P 500: -0.23%
    • NASDAQ: -0.18%


TAGSBusinesscareer adviceRichard BransonVWVW CEOZola