StrictlyVC: May 19, 2014

Hey, good morning! Last Friday was not April 24th, as you likely know. (Apologies.)


Top News in the A.M.

The FBI and police in several countries have arrested more than 100 people in a global crackdown on hackers linked to the malicious software called Blackshades. As CNN reports, the years-long investigation centered one of the most popular tools used by cybercriminals to hijack computers around the world, malware that can be used to hijack computers remotely and turn on webcams, access hard drives and capture keystrokes to steal passwords.

In honor of the Rubik’s Cube’s 40th anniversary, Google is featuring a playable version of the toy today. Have at it.


Battery Ventures and Venrock Back 6Sense with $12 Million

A lot of bets are being made these days on the thesis that most enterprise products don’t make users’ lives easier or help them do their jobs better. “I doubt you could find a single sales rep who really enjoys using Salesforce,” says Roger Lee, a general partner of Battery Ventures. “What a [customer-relationship management] product should do is tell you which leads are likely to close this quarter, what products they’ll buy, how much they’ll spend, and whether they’re candidates for upsell opportunities.”

Lee — who likens Salesforce’s offering to “basically a filing cabinet” — is putting his money where his mouth is with 6Sense, a year-old, 15-person company that helps enterprise customers like Cisco and Pure Storage to determine an account’s overall propensity to buy, help them predict where their prospects are in the buying cycle, and surface new prospects. In fact, this morning, 6Sense is announcing a $12 million Series A round led by Battery and Venrock. I talked with its CEO and cofounder, Amanda Kahlow, late last week to learn more.

You say you figured out the market fit for 6Sense at your last company – a Web analytics consultancy – but had to figure out the technology piece.

A lot of really smart technical founders build [a technology] in search of a business case. We were the opposite. We were a business case looking for a platform. Thankfully, at one meeting with a venture firm, a firm’s CTO [pointed me to] GrepData, a [big data analytics startup that went through the Y Combinator incubator program in late 2012], and when we came together, it was a match made in heaven. I couldn’t be blessed with a better technical cofounder [than GrepData cofounder Premal Shah].

You have lots of competition. How do you differentiate 6Sense from the many other startups doing predictive analytics?

We live in a world where people leave behind a digital footprint, and in the consumer world, that helps companies like Amazon know what you want, likely before you know you want it. But in the [business-to-business] world, [no one has yet] solved the problem because of the complexity and irregularity of the data coming in. What everyone else is doing right now is asking: Is this the profile of the right buyer? But they aren’t asking: Is she going to buy now? Our magic is in taking time-sensitive data [and combining it with unstructured data, like activity on thousands of B2B publishers sites] along with [structured] behavioral data to create a behavioral catalogue to make sense of data across the Web.

Why isn’t Salesforce doing what you do?

The focus of companies like Salesforce has been around the efficiencies of workflow. Which email should you send next? How do you manage the buyer’s process? I do think Salesforce will want to do [what we’re doing], but it’s not trivial. It isn’t something a smart engineer can do tomorrow.

This is your second company. You started your first about a dozen years ago, soon after you’d graduated from college. Why not work for someone else?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My dad has been a lifelong entrepreneur, trying to make a go of different software technologies. One of my brothers runs an [e-learning company]; another brother runs a company in the B2B marketing space. [I credit] our dad’s entrepreneurial spirit. We also have a mom who told all of us — almost ad nauseam [laughs] — that we could be anything we wanted to be.


New Fundings

ActualMeds, a 4.5-year-old, East Hartford, Conn.-based company whose Web-based platforms facilitate patient data collection and automate the coordination of care for patients with chronic diseases, has raised $400,000 from Connecticut Innovations and Vineyard Point Associates.

BetterCloud, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based company that develops enterprise-level security and management products built for the Google Apps platform, has raised $8.6 million in venture capital, according to anSEC filing. The company has now raised roughly $22 million altogether, including from Bear Creek CapitalTribeca Venture PartnersBLH Venture PartnersFlybridge Capital Partners, and Greycroft Partners.

CrowdSystems, a young, Moscow-based maker of retail analytics tools that rely on crowdsourced, smartphone user data, has raised a $1 million Series A round led by InVenture Partners based in Moscow. The company had previously raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Moscow Seed Fund.

Dashlane, a 4.5-year-old, New York-based company behind a password manager and secure digital wallet app, has raised $22 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Earlier investors also participated in the round, including Rho VenturesFirstMark Capital, and Bernard Liautaud, who founded the enterprise software company Business Objects and is a general partner at Balderton Capital. Liautaud had co-founded Dashlane as a project he brought to his alma mater, Ecole Centrale de Paris.

e-Go aeroplanes, a three-year-old, Cambridge, England-based maker of lightweight carbon fiber aeroplanes, has raised $1.6 million in Series B funding led by Angel CoFund, the SyndicateRoom (a crowdfunding platform), and a group of new and existing angel investors.

Epidemic Sound, a 4.5-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based production music library, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Creandum. TechCrunch has more on the company here.

Gelesis, a 7.5-year-old, Boston-based biotech developing a pill that’s designed to curb hunger in obese and diabetic patients, has raised $12 million in fresh funding. The capital came from its founder, the venture creation company PureTech, along with the Pritzker/Vlock family office and several unnamed angel investors. The company has raised more than $42 million to date.

Incentive, a 5.5-year-old company headquartered in Malmo, Sweden and L.A., has raised $2.3 million in funding from unnamed private investors. The company manages a private social intranet service for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Kymab, a 4.5-year-old, Cambridge, England-based monoclonal antibody biopharmaceutical company, has raised $40 million in Series B funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the Wellcome Trust, an earlier investor. Both parties invested $20 million, says Kymab, which has garnered roughly $70 million to date.

Olset, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based hotel-booking service for business users, has raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by Montage Ventures, with Digital Garage500 StartupsPlug & Play Tech VenturesXG VenturesPrinciple InnovationMerced Partners, and a number of angels also participating in the round, according to TechCrunch.

Proteon Therapeutics, a 13-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based company focused on renal and vascular diseases, has raised $45 million in Series D funding led by Abingworth, with participation by Deerfield Management and Pharmstandard International S.A. Earlier investors also participated in the round, including TVM CapitalPrism VentureWorksSkyline VenturesIntersouth PartnersMPM Capital,Devon Park BioventuresBessemer Venture Partners, and the Vectis Healthcare and Life Sciences Fund. The company has raised roughly $125 million to date.

Sansan, a 6.5-year-old, Tokyo-based contact-management service that hosts structured data (like business cards) in the cloud, has raised $14 million in funding led by DCM. Other participants in the round included the Innovation Network Corporation of JapanNikkei Digital MediaEnergy and Environment Investment, and GMO Venture Partners.

Timeful, a year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based still-stealth startup focused on intelligent time management, has raised $6.8 million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures. Other participants in the round included Kleiner Perkins Caufield & ByersGreylock PartnersData CollectivePitango Venture Capital, and A-Grade Investments, among others. More on why the company has captured investors’ interest here.


New Funds

Looks like New York has a new life sciences venture firm on the scene. According to an SEC filingAzimuth Ventures, founded by Milena Adamian, is looking to raised $75 million for a debut fund, the first sale of which has yet to occur, shows the filing. Adamian, a cardiologist by training, has been in New York since 2010, when she transferred from a San Francisco outpost of the life sciences firm Easton Capital to its New York headquarters. Soon after, Adamian founded the Life Sciences Angel Network, where she remains executive director. Earlier in her career, Adamian worked in interventional cardiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York; she later joined Boston Scientific as an associate medical director, then Lehman Brothers as an analyst beginning in 2005. Azimuth has made at least one investment to date, in Owlet, maker of a “smart” baby sock that’s embedded with sensors to measure an infant’s heart rate. The company raised $1.85 million in funding last month.

Last November, we told you about Blade, a new, Boston-based “startup foundry” that had raised almost $20 million from undisclosed funding sources and which is being managed by Paul English, the co-founder and chief technology officer of Kayak Software (sold to in May for roughly $1.8 billion). Late last week, English revealed more about the outfit, saying Blade’s funding comes from Accel Partners andGeneral Catalyst Partners, both of which were Kayak investors. TechCrunch has more here.



Shares of Jumei, the China-based online cosmetics retailer, rose roughly 29 percent in their market debut on Friday, valuing the Chinese online cosmetics retailer at about $4 billion. Sequoia Capital, which invested more than $10 million in Jumei in 2011, owned 19 percent of the company before its IPO; its stake is now 16.5 percent.



DirecTV, the satellite TV operator, is being acquired by AT&T for $48.5 billion. Dealbook has much more on what deal means here.

Twitch, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based site for broadcasting and watching video game play, is being acquired by Google’s YouTube for $1 billion in cash, reports Variety. If completed the acquisition would be the most significant in the history of YouTube, notes the outlet. It’d be pretty significant for Twitch investors, too. Among those firms that have funded the company with $35 million are Bessemer Venture PartnersAlsop Louie PartnersWestSummit CapitalTake-Two Interactive Software, and Thrive Capital. Perhaps most impressive: the exit would mark another huge win for serial entrepreneur Justin Kan, who launched Twitch with cofounder Emmett Shear in 2011. In 2012, SocialCam, a separate video startup that Kan cofounded in 2011, was acquired by Autodesk for $60 million.

Quest Visual, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that’s best known for its augmented reality app Word Lens Translator, has been acquired by Google for an undisclosed amount. Quest Visual doesn’t appear to have raised (or, at least, disclosed) outside funding.



The 100 most influential tech-focused women on Twitter.

Dr. Dre isn’t the only rapper who will make money in a sale of Beats Electronics to Apple. also has an ownership stake in the electronics company, and played a key role in its success by “marketing the hell out of the brand,” reports Fortune. cofounder Marc Lore is talking with investors about raising funds for a new, mobile-first e-commerce startup, according to numerous press reports, with Re/code sources telling the outlet that Lore is interested in raising as much as $50 million to get his new company off the ground.

Forerunner Ventures founder Kirsten Green is profiled in PandoDaily, which notes Green’s unconventional rise in the world of venture capital. “It’s hard to find others who have invested early in this many big hits and avoided nearly all the [e-commerce] mega-disasters,” says the report. “To wit: Andreessen Horowitz invested in Fab and ShoeDazzle. Accel invested in Bonobos and Birchbox, but also invested in Beachmint. And Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners invested in Bonobos and Honest, but he also was on the board during ShoeDazzle’s Kardashian-studded, high profile, and mostly self-inflicted implosion. Of course, more failures than hits is the nature of the venture business. But there issomething special about Kirsten Green.”

Massimo Marchiori could have been one of the wealthiest Silicon Valley billionaires. Instead, he’s a $3,000 per-month computer-science professor and mathematician at University of Padua, Italy. Bloomberg tells his story here.


Job Listings

LinkedIn is looking for a business development manager, mobile. The job is in Mountain View, Ca.



The Internet Week New York festival kicks off today. Get more information, including a schedule of events, here.

Re/code’s Code conference is coming up May 27th through the 29th. Tickets are already sold out for the event, being held in Rancho Palos Verdes, but you can put yourself on a waitlist here.



The first quarter of 2014 was very kind to entrepreneurs, shows a new venture capital survey of 156 tech and life sciences companies from the law firm Fenwick & West. According to respondents, just 8 percent of financings in the first three quarters were down rounds, while 16 percent were flat and 76 percent were up rounds — and boy, were they up. According to Fenwick’s survey, the average percentage change in the share price of startups funded during the first quarter compared with the share price of their previous financing round was 85 percent. More here.


Essential Reads

Facebook insiders and executives have cashed out $7.2 billion since the company’s May 2012 IPO. Bloomberg breaks out who has made what from share sales here.

“The business plan of InsideAtlas is somewhat unorthodox: It will measure and store your building’s magnetic fingerprint in its computing cloud. Keeping it private, however, will cost $99 a month, per building.”



Things Parisians do that stun New Yorkers — and vice versa.

Why airplane food has become so bad.

“It’s not just a goal. It’s much more than that. It’s the whole story.”

Feminist humblebrags.


Retail Therapy

A case that looks like a dead Japanese crustacean and 12 other insane options for your iPhone.

Skylock. It does everything but send birthday reminders.


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