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Grammarly, a San Francisco-based startup that uses machine learning and AI to help improve people's writing , yesterday announced that it raised $110 million in VC funding led by General Catalyst. A portion of the round is secondary capital (i.e., early shareholder liquidity), per a source close to the deal.

History: This is the company's first round of outside funding ― it didn't even raise angel capital ― despite having been around since 2009. The basic explanation is that Grammarly was founded in Ukraine, which at the time had neither an active VC scene locally nor foreign investors interested in Ukranian startups. So the co-founders bootstrapped (as they had with a previous startup).

Metrics: The company reports 6.9 million daily active users and has 110 current employees.

Connections: Brad Hoover took over as CEO back in 2011, before which he spent six years as a VC with deal lead General Catalyst.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
40 mins ago - Economy & Business

Coinbase files to go public

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase on Thursday filed to go public via a $1 billion direct listing.

Why it matters: This comes in the midst of a crypto boom, and the listing may further legitimize the industry.

Trump’s blunt weapon: State GOP leaders

Trump supporters rally near Mar-a-Lago on Feb. 15. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump didn't have to punish his critics in Congress — his allies back in the states instantly and eagerly did the dirty work.

Why it matters: Virtually every Republican who supported impeachment was censured back home, or threatened with a primary challenge.

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.