StrictlyVC: October 2, 2014

Hello, everyone, and happy Thursday! (Here’s an easier-to-read version of this morning’s email if you’re just visiting online and haven’t yet signed up.)


Top News in the A.M.

Apple Pay is coming in about two-and-a-half weeks, says a new report.

An attorney representing more than a dozen celebrities whose photos were recently stolen from their iCloud accounts, is now threatening Google with a $100 million lawsuit, writing in a letter to Google’s top brass that they should have removed the photos faster and that “Google’s ‘Don’t be evil’ motto is a sham.”


Max Levchin’s Glow Closes on $17 Million

Glow calls itself a women’s health and fertility company, but like nearly everything launched by its cofounder, the serial entrepreneur Max Levchin, it has much bigger ambitions.

For the past year, the startup — with offices in San Francisco and Shanghai — has been focused around an iPhone app for women who are trying to get pregnant. It helps them track their fertility cycles and find optimal days when they might conceive, in exchange for a wide assortment of data that it anonymizes. The app is free but users can also opt-in to a program to which they pay $50 a month, with those who don’t conceive after 10 months receiving their money back, plus a split of all funds contributed by those who do.

The 21-person company claims it has already helped 25,000 women become pregnant. And it more recently created a post-pregnancy app for expectant mothers to track their progress.

But Glow isn’t interested in women’s health alone, says Levchin’s cofounder, Mike Huang. Glow plans to tackle a host of other areas where similarly focusing on “prevention” can keep users from costly corrective events later on (like the fertility clinic). Toward that end, the company, which raised $6 million in funding at the outset, has just added $17 million in fresh funding led by Formation 8, with help from initial backers Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz. Its idea, broadly: to generate even more data, which Glow sees as good for the apps, good for the broader medical community, and good for employers, too.

In fact, Glow’s chief (and possibly only) source of revenue is expected to come from enterprises that offer Glow apps as an employee benefit, paying $50 per month to help keep its workforce healthy.

Asked about obvious privacy concerns around issues like pregnancy, Huang says employers will never know which of its employees are trying to conceive or who hasn’t yet announced that she is expecting. Glow provides employers only with information about how many people have signed up for the service.

He adds that a small but growing number of companies, including the file storage company Evernote, the onine ticketing service Eventbrite, and the cloud computing company Pivotal, are already customers. The focus now, says Huang, is, “How do we get this to be bigger?”


New Fundings

15Five, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based, SaaS-based inter-company employee feedback system, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding led by Matrix Partners, with participation from earlier investor Point Nine Capital and individual investors. The company has now raised $3.4 million altogether.

365Scores, a six-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based mobile sports application company, has raised $5.5 million in new funding led by LETA Capital, with participation from Cedar Fund, Titanium Investments and other, unnamed investors. The company has raised $6.7 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

Appboy, a 3.5-year-old, New York-based app optimization company, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by InterWest Partners, with participation from earlier investor Marketo. The company has now raised $22.6 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

Bridge US, a nearly three-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose software aims to make the complex immigration process easier and more affordable, has raised $800,000 in seed funding from 500 Startups, Ulu Ventures, and individual investors.

Building Robotics, a 1.5-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based software company that makes it possible for office workers to control the temperature of their respective work stations, has raised $5.5 million led by The Westly Group and Claremont Creek Ventures. The company had previously raised $1.5 million in seed funding, including from Claremont, Google VenturesFormation 8, Navitas Capital, Red Swan Ventures and individual investors.

Cognoptix, a 13-year-old, Acton, Ma.-based medical device company that’s developing an eye test to identify early-stage Alzheimer’s disease, has raised $15 million in Series D funding. The company has raised at least $20 million over the years, including from LaunchPad Venture Group, Inventages Venture Capital Investment, and Alopexx Enterprises.

Cohealo, a 13-year-old, Boston-based analytics and resource-sharing platform for major hospital systems, has raised $9 million in Series A funding from earlier investor Romulus Capital, with new investor Krillion Ventures and individual investors participating. The company had previously raised $750,000 in seed financing.

Coinapult, a two-year-old, Panama City, Panama-based bitcoin wallet service has raised $775,000 in seed funding, including from FirstMark Capital, Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., angel investor Roger Ver, and Coinapult co-founders Erik Voorhees and Ira Miller. Coindesk has more here.

Eve, a new, San Francisco-based database company “that allows you to build anything from a simple website to complex algorithms” without needing any prior coding background, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon, Hunch engineer Tom Pinckney, and Y Combinator president Sam Altman, among others. Business Insider has more here.

Flocasts, an eight-year-old, Austin-based digital media content company for sports like track and field, wrestling, and gymnastics, has raised $8 million from Causeway Media Partners.

Front, a 1.5-year-old, Paris-based startup that operates a service for shared email inboxes, has raised $3.1 million in seed funding led by SoftTech VC, with Boldstart Ventures, Caffeinated Capital, Point Nine Capital and individual investors participating.

Houzz, a five-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based home décor site that’s preparing for a major push into e-commerce, has raised $165 million in new funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from DST Global and T. Rowe Price. The company had earlier raised $48 million from investors, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates.

Lever, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes job-applicant tracking software, has raised $10 million in Series A funding fromMatrix Partners. The company had previously raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from, among others, Box co-founder Aaron LevieSV Angel, and Y Combinator. (Lever graduated from its program in 2012.)

MinuteKey, a six-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based company that operates self-service kiosks for duplicating keys, has raised $30 million in funding from earlier investor Main Street Capital Corp., a publicly traded investment firm. The company says it has now raised $81 million altogether.

Rowl, a four-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based company whose app helps users discover events, activities and meet-up possibilities, has raised $4 million in funding from individual backers, including former Logitech CEO Jerry Quindlen and investor Gary Vaynerchuk. TechCrunch has more here.

StoreDot, a two-year-old, Ramat Gan, Israel-based company behind a battery charger that can recharge a smartphone in 30 seconds (wow), has closed a $42 million Series B round, reports Globes. Singulariteam, the private investment company of serial entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg (most recently of Yo) led the round, which also included a $10 million investment from Millhouse, the asset management company of Roman Abramovich. The company had previously raised $6.25 million. Others of its investors are Genesis Angels Fund and Nation-E.

Stratos, a two-year-old, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based Bluetooth-enabled mobile-payments service, has raised $5.8 million in funding from Toba Capital Partners, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Resonant Venture Partners, and Western Technology Investment.

Ticketbis, a five-year-old, Madrid, Spain-based online exchange for buying and selling after-market tickets to events in Europe, Latin America, and Asia, has raised €5.2 million ($6.6 million) in funding led by Active Venture Partners, along with participation from existing investors. The company has now raised roughly $12.6 million. TechCrunch has more here.

Visterra, a seven-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that’s developing antibodies for serious cases of influenza and other infectious diseases, has raised $30 million in Series B funding co-led by new investors Merck Research Labs Venture Fund, Vertex Venture Holdings, and Temasek. Other participants in the round included Cycad Group and earlier backers Polaris Partners, Flagship Ventures, Omega Funds and Alexandria Venture Investments. The company has now raised $73.4 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

Zafin, a 12-year-old, Vancouver, British Columbia-based company that develops software for the financial-services industry, has raised $15 million in new funding from Kayne Partners, the growth-equity arm of alternative-investment firm Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors.

ZenMate, a year-old, Berlin-based service that encrypts one’s browsing history and hides IP addresses and locations, has raised $3.2 million in Series A funding led by Holtzbrinck Ventures. Shortcut Ventures and T-Venture also joined the round, along with earlier investor Project A Ventures. The company has reportedly raised $4.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.



Box, the nine-year-old, Los Altos, Ca.-based cloud-storage company, won’t go public until later this year or early next year because of volatile market conditions, according to Bloomberg sources. The company had filed to go public in March, but first postponed plans to go public in May, citing market conditions. In July, it raised $150 million at a valuation of $2.4 billion. That capital gives Box more than two years of runway, notes a WSJ piece, but the company is still in a race against the clock, it suggests, noting that the “market for online storage is growing more competitive by the day as bigger companies bring the price closer to zero with similar features, and at lower costs or as an add-on to their existing service.”

Rocket Internet, the seven-year-old, Berlin-based e-commerce investor, went public earlier today in Frankfurt and things aren’t looking so great at this hour. Its shares, which it priced at the top of their book-building range yesterday at 42.50 euros ($53.77), dropped 14 percent within minutes of the stock’s debut. Reuters has much more here.

Wayfair, the 12-year-old, Boston-based online home-goods company, is also expected to begin trading today, with its shares initially priced at $29, above the expected range of $25 to $28 per share. The stock will trade on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s the first e-commerce company to make its public debut since Alibaba’s IPO last month. Wayfair’s biggest outside shareholders include Battery Ventures, which owns 6.15 percent of the company; Great Hill Partners, which owns 11.43 percent, and HarbourVest Partners, which owns 7.03 percent.



Bering Media, a six-year-old, Toronto-based online advertising platform has been acquired by the privately held ad platform Audience Partners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Bering had raised $7.5 million over the years, shows Crunchbase; its investors include MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, Tech Capital Partners, and Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund.

Perzo, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based instant-messaging software company, has been acquired for $66 million by 14 financial-services firms that plan to turn it into a communications platform for traders. Goldman Sachs led the consortium. Other investors included Bank of America,Bank of New York Mellon, BlackRock, Citadel, Citigroup, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Jefferies,  Capital, Morgan Stanley, Nomura Holdings and Wells Fargo. Crunchbase shows that Perzo, which is being renamed Symphony Communication Services, had raised at least $5.5 million, including from Merus Capital.

Struq, a six-year-old, New York-based ad personalization platform, has been acquired by the privately held ad-targeting company Quantcast for undisclosed terms. Struq had raised at least $8.5 million from investors, including Allen & Company, Reed Elsevier Ventures, and Pentech Ventures.

Socialarc, a five-year-old, Emeryville, Ca.-based public relations boutique catering to technology startups, has been acquired by San Francisco-based SparkPR for undisclosed terms. The company’s 14 employees will remain in place in Emeryville. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed.



Cindy Cheng has quietly joined Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner focused on its Digital Growth Fund. Cheng joined the firm from Hillspire, a family office in Menlo Park, Ca.. Earlier in her career, she worked as an analyst in the technology investment banking practice at Morgan Stanley.

Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz — who at age 30 is the second youngest billionaire in the U.S. — says he plans to “be rid” of his money before he dies: “I’m very fond of this quote from Louis C.K. below and generally view the world through this lens: ‘I never viewed money as being My Money. I always saw it as The Money. It’s a resource. If it pools up around me, then it needs to be flushed back out into the system.’”

Alison Rosenthal, most recently COO of mobile messenger app company MessageMe, has been hired by the investment service Wealthfront as its VP of strategic partnerships, reports Recode. Before joining MessageMe, Rosenthal spent 1.5 years at Greylock Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Before that, she spent five years as a business development director at Facebook.



The New York-based healthcare investment firm Psilos Group released its annual “healthcare outlook” report. Here’s the link if you’re interested in checking it out.


Essential Reads

That Uber rider attacked by his driver might lose his eye.

Verizon is backing down on its plan to slow down unlimited data users.

Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham just posted his guest lecture from Sam Altman’s startup class at Stanford.



The Secret Service scandals explained.

Strategies on finding your right time to go to bed.

Socrates addresses the county school board.


Retail Therapy

This is not a Prius.

And we’re not sure about connecting these slippers to our laptop, but they are kind of adorbs.

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