StrictlyVC: June 4, 2014

Hi, everyone, good morning! Wishing those of you who observe it a happy Shavuot.

Apologies, by the way, but we don’t have a column for you today. StrictlyVC had one too many meetings yesterday. Enjoy the intel below, though, and we’ll see you back here Thursday morning.


Top News in the A.M.

A 26-year-old woman was allegedly kidnapped by an Uber driver in L.A.and taken to a local motel, police said yesterday. She was released the next day.

China has just blocked Google in advance of the 25th anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.


New Fundings

Aryaka Networks, a 5.5-year-old, Milpitas, Ca.-based cloud-based wide-area-network optimization company, has raised $10 million in Series D funding from earlier investors, including InterWest PartnersMohr Davidow VenturesNexus Venture PartnersPresidio Ventures and Trinity Ventures. The company has raised roughly $73 million to date, shows Crunchbase.

Booster Pack, a new, Singapore-based game company, has received $1.5 million in funding from Cyberworld StudiosAriel Star Group, and Kathrein Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

BrightFarms, a 3.5-year-old, New York-based company that designs, finances, builds and operates hydroponic greenhouse farms at, or near, supermarkets, has added $2.4 million to its Series B, bringing total funding for the round to $7.4 million. The new tranche was led by WP Global Partners. Others of its investors include NGEN PartnersEmil Capital Partners, and BrightFarms founder Ted Caplow. BrightFarms has now raised close to $20 million to date.

Consumer Physics, a three-year-old, Tel Aviv-based startup whose pocket spectrometer for smart phones can determine the chemical makeup of food, including nutritional information, has raised more than $2 million in crowdfunding via its Kickstarter campaign, with 10 days still left to go. More than 10,000 backers have donated to the startup, which has also raised startup funding from Khosla Ventures and angel investors. TechCrunch has the story here.

Dinner Lab, a 2.5-year-old, New Orleans-based membership supper club that pairs unknown chefs with private audiences, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding from John Elstrott, the chairman of Whole Foods, and a long list of angel investors. TechCrunch has the story here.

Fresh Nation, a two-year-old, L.A.-based online market for farmers’ markets, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Lerer Ventures.

Gild, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose tech hiring software promises to make it easier to evaluate tech talent, has raised $13.5 million in Series B funding led by Menlo VenturesCorrelation Ventures , DFJ VentureGlobespan Capital PartnersSAP Venturesand private investors Steve Anderson of Baseline Ventures and Mark Kvamme of Drive Capital also participated in the round. The company has raised $25.9 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

Invaluable, a 25-year-old, Allstone, Ma.-based online marketplace for fine arts and antiques, has raised $33.75 million in Series D funding led Insight Venture Partners. Earlier investors also participated in the round, includingAscent Venture Partners and Commonwealth Capital Partners. The company has raised $48.6 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

KemPharm, an eight-year-old, North Liberty, Ia.-based biopharmaceutical company that makes drugs for pain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other central nervous system diseases, has struck a $60 million financing agreement with Deerfield Management Co. to advance a drug meant to combat opioid abuse. KemPharm is receiving $10 million through a secured senior convertible note and up to an additional $50 million through a secured senior term debt facility.

Kobalt Music Group, a 13-year-old, New York-based music publisher and music services company to artists, writers and publishers has raised $140 million from investors, including Balderton Capital; Michael Dell’s private investment firm, MSD Capital; and other investors. TechCrunch has more on the giant round here.

MediaMath, a 6.5-year-old, New York-based ad buying, data management, digital marketing platform, has raised $73.5 million in Series C funding led by Spring Lake Equity PartnersAkamai Technologiesand earlier investors Safeguard ScientificsCatalyst Investors, and Observatory Capital, also participated in the round. The company also increased its debt facility to $105 million. The company has now tapped $195 million altogether from investors, shows Crunchbase.

Movius Interactive, a 15-year-old, Duluth, Ga.-based mobile software firm focused on converged communications like voicemail, video mail, visual voicemail, and unified messaging, has raised nearly $13 million, according to an SEC filing that was flagged by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The round was led by PointGuard Ventures, a Bay Area firm that’s currently raising $50 million for its debut fund. The company has raised roughly $40 million altogether, shows Crunchbase, including from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates.

Nanotherapeutics, a 15-year-old, Alachua, Fl.-based integrated biopharmaceutical company with a focus on advanced development and manufacturing, has landed a $30 million loan facility from Hercules Technology Growth Capital.

Nezasa, a two-year-old, Zurich­-based travel startup that invites users to book everything, from airfare to hotels to activities, in one place, has closed an $800,000 second round of funding from an unnamed family office, various business angels and existing investors.The has raised just more than $1.1 million to date.

Octro, an eight-year-old, India-based company that which makes digital versions of popular local classics, such as the card game Indian Rummy, has raised $15 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Pathbrite, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose software tools enable students to create Web-based portfolios, has raised $3.7 million in new funding led Cengage Learning, a Boston-based education content company. Other investors to participate in the round include ACT and Serious Change. The company has raised $11.7 million altogether.

Profitero, a 4.5-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based SaaS company that sells online insights and e-commerce intelligence to retailers and brands, has raised $8 million in funding from Polaris Partners. The company has raised roughly $9 million altogether.

Revolution Foods, an eight-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based company that makes healthier lunch meals for children, has raised $30 million from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth fund. The company says it serves more than 1 million meals a week across more than 1,000 schools in 26 cities in the U.S.; it also sells prepackaged meal kits through grocery stores. Dealbook has the story here. The funding brings the total capital raised by the company to roughly $60 million, according to Crunchbase data.

SmartPay, a three-year-old, Southington, Ct.-based maker of pay-as-you-go worker’s compensation software for payroll and insurance companies, has raised $1.4 million, including follow-on investments from Connecticut Innovations and Tennant Capital Partners. Other investors in the round include Stonehenge Growth Capital and private investors. The company has raised $2.7 million altogether.

Structured Polymers, a young, Austin, Tx.-based 3D printing company, has raised $1.2 million in seed funding in less than a week via MicroVentures, a crowdfunding platform. The company has reportedly developed a specialty polymer powder that can replicate a variety of parts including those used in the car, aviation and medical industries.

SwipeClock, a 15-year-old, Salt Lake City-based provider of time, attendance and workforce management SaaS for small and mid-size businesses, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the middle-market private equity firm Moelis Capital Partners.

Urban Remedy, a 6.6-year-old, San Rafael, Ca.-based company that makes freshly pressed juices, nutrition-based drinks, snacks and meals, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from micro-VC firm Venture51. (Interestingly, the round doesn’t appear to be syndicated). Urban Remedy had earlier raised $1 million in funding from the L.A.-based startup foundry Science Inc. The WSJ has its story here.

Yext, an eight-year-old, New York-based company that helps businesses manage local listings and ad campaigns across the Web, has raised a $50 million in Series F financing led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from MarkerInstitutional Venture Partners, and Sutter Hill VenturesAccording to Business Insider, the round gives Yext a $525 million post-money valuation, up from a $270 million valuation in 2012.


New Funds

IDG Capital Partners, the early-stage, China-focused venture capital firm, is looking to raise up to $550 million, according to media reports. The outfit is backed by International Data GroupAccel Partners and, more newly, Breyer Capital. The 21-year-old firm has backed hundreds of startups, including Baidu, Tencent, and Xiaomi.

Saudi Arabia’s government and one of the country’s biggest banks plan to start a venture capital fund with as much as $270 million to invest in new advanced materials, sustainable energy, and information, communication and other technology companies. Riyad Capital, the investment banking arm of Riyad Bank, will manage the fund, while Saudi Technology Development and Investment Co., a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, will provide seed capital, according to Adel Al Ateeq, head of asset management at Riyad Capital. Al Ateeq tells Bloomberg News that “We’re going to invest in international companies that are relevant to Saudi . . .None of our competitors are looking into venture capital. It’s an ignored sector.”

True Ventures, the early-stage venture firm with offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto, has officially closed its fourth fund with $290 million in commitments. Firm cofounder Phil Black tells Venture Capital Dispatchthat the firm set out to raise $225 million but went larger to accommodate LP interest. Its third fund closed with $205 million in 2011.



CareDx, a 16-year-old, Brisbane, Ca.-based company whose molecular test is used to monitor heart transplant recipients for acute cellular rejection, has filed to go public. The company’s test, AlloMap, is already being sold in Europe. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is its biggest shareholder; according to the company’s prospectus, it owns 17 percent. Other major shareholders include TPG Capital, which owns 16.5 percent; Sprout Capital, which owns 11.1 percent; Intel Capital, which owns 10.2 percent; Burrill & Company, which owns 9.4 percent; DAG Ventures, which owns 7.3 percent; and Integral Capital Partners, which owns 5.6 percent.



InstaEDU, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based on-demand tutoring marketplace, has been acquired by Chegg, the now publicly traded textbook rental company, for $30 million in cash. InstaEDU had raised $5.1 million, including from Battery Ventures and The Social+Capital Partnership, along with many individual investors.

Gazzang, a four-year-old, Austin, Tx.-based software company that helps enterprises ensure their data security, has been acquired by Cloudera, the still-private enterprise software company. Terms of the acquisition aren’t being disclosed, though GigaOm has much more on the deal here. According to Crunchbase, Gazzang had raised $9.6 million from investors, including Austin Ventures.

Labrys Biologics, a two-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based developer of a chronic and episodic migraine treatment, is being acquired by the publicly traded drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in a deal worth up to $825 million. The Journal has more here. Labrys had raise at least $45 million from investors, including InterWest PartnersCanaan PartnersSofinnova Ventures, and venBio.

Simplikate, a 12-year-old, Miami company that provides a mobile commerce platform and applications for malls, airports and luxury real estate, has been acquired by Austin-based Phunware, a five-year-old startup. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.



Google cofounder Sergey Brin is $91 million richer today than yesterday.

In a new digital series, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tells interviewer Katie Couric that he “never liked the term disruptor because it suggests for us to win hotels have to lose.” (StrictlyVC thinks there must be a memo going around. At a roundtable discussion in downtown San Francisco yesterday, Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo — who is convincing more companies all the time to switch to a subscription model — also noted that Zuora isn’t “disruptive” but a company that’s instead “reinventing” how other enterprises do business.)

Business Insider takes a look at the fabulous life Of Dr. Dre, “hip-hop’s richest man.”

It’s been a brutal couple of months for “the cloud” — so brutal that Byron Deeter, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, tells the WSJ: “We are calling bottom . . . There is no question cloud is the future of software. It is just a short-term valuation question, and the public markets are trying to find fair value.”

Foundation Capital, the venture capital firm, has two new entrepreneurs-in-residence: Srinivas Mantripragada and Geoffrey Wong. Mantripragada was most recently the VP of technology at the network identity company Infoblox. Woo was most recently a product manager for Groupon’s MerchantOS group and before that, CEO and co-founder of Glassmap, a company that Groupon acquired in January 2013

Josh Green of Mohr Davidow Ventures talks about lean startups — and lean venture outfits — with the San Jose Business Journal. “I think that the whole notion of ‘capital lite’ is temporal. We will return to more capital-intensive focuses for new ventures, if not next year then in a few years. With that will come a whole different role for capital to play. That’s the biggest issue I think I see in the entire community.”

SV Life Sciences, a life sciences venture capital firm with offices in Boston, San Francisco, and London, has appointed three new venture partners —Dan BurgessEd Mascioli and Michael Mendelsohn — as new venture partners. All three will join the firm’s biotechnology investment team.


Job Listings

Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners is looking for either a senior associate or VP to join its fund of funds investment team in London. The team co-invests in direct deals and acquires secondary limited partner interests in funds across asset classes, from venture capital to leveraged buyouts and special situations.


Essential Reads

Shares of Salesforce have recently lost 20 percent in value, and analysts say there are unusual ways in which such a drop might expose vulnerabilities at Salesforce and directly affect its business performance.

Before it launches self-driving cars, Google might want to sort out its autonomous aircraft, says the Seattle Times, which reports that a giant solar-powered balloon of Google’s crashed into some power lines in the city of Yakima, Wa., last week, leading to an outage for nearby homes.

Healthkit already exists, and it doesn’t belong to Apple.

As if Google Glass didn’t have enough problems: A developer has come up with a way to cut off the Wi-Fi connection of nearby Google Glass wearers.



Sallie Krawcheck has opened an index fund focused on women.

Hyundai has dethroned Honda as the greenest automaker in the U.S., says a new report.

The story of the Gumball 3000, the world’s most lavish car rally.


Retail Therapy

The “incredibly useful,” “exhaustively researched,” “can’t go wrong”Father’s Day gift guide. (Yes, it features axes, jump ropes and grills. But also much more!)

If you have one of those wonderful dads who thinks of himself as the MacGyver type, here’s another option he might enjoy. If he’s closer to James Bond, try this.


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