StrictlyVC: August 21, 2015

Friday, old friend, are we ever happy to see you. (Long Thursday.) Hope you have a stupendous weekend, everyone!


Top News in the A.M.

Uber plans to go public in the next 12 to 18 months, according to a leaked presentation.

Twitter‘s shares closed at $26 last night — meaning they’re all the way back down to their IPO price. More here.

Intuit announced surprising plans yesterday to sell Quicken (among other properties). More here.

Worries of a deepening China economic slowdown intensified earlier today after a private survey showed the factory sector shrank at its fastest rate in almost6.5 years this month.


CrowdFunding Platform OurCrowd Seeks a Broader Audience, Including with Traditional VCs

Many crowdfunding startups now make it easier for founders to reach a bigger audience of investors. The question is whether investors are as keen to continue funding crowdfunding sites.

OurCrowd may find out soon. The two-and-a-half-year-old, Jerusalem-based hybrid platform enables accredited investors to back startups through its site, as well as makes direct investments in each of those companies. In the meantime, it’s thinking about its own, next funding round.

To learn the latest about the company, which raised $25 million in Series B funding from undisclosed investors last year, we talked yesterday with founder and CEO (and longtime VC) Jon Medved.

OurCrowd has brand recognition in the U.S., but I’m not sure people understand how it differs from other crowd-funding platforms.

Honestly, ten years ago, the Valley was much less Valley-centric than it is today. The world goes global and is connected on the web, yet the Valley becomes more hyper local than ever. It’s really contrary to all the trends. We can all meet in cyberspace, but if you’re not physically in the Valley, it’s often like, “Who are you?”

Dare I ask if you’ve thought about opening a Bay Area office?

We’re looking to establish a presence in Silicon Valley. We’re actively looking for a managing director [in the Bay Area], someone with rich angel and venture capital experience, if you want to tell your readers.

You sometimes lead deals on your platform, is that correct?

Yes, in fact, we just launched a deal for $25 million that we’re leading. Most people, when they think of crowdfunding, they think of deals that are small, but we’re far ahead of that; we’re doing millions of dollars on average, and in this particularly case, we’re investing more than $10 million.

The already profitable company [called Mprest] basically makes software that powers the Iron Dome, which is the Israel-based system that shoots missiles out of the air before they land. In Israel, you have about 15 seconds if someone shoots at you from the Gaza Strip. This system responds within a second, creating instruction sets to intercept whatever has been fired — and it’s now taking its technology into the Internet of Things.

To do what?

More here.


New Fundings

Avegant, a three-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company whose media headset, Glyph, supports 3-D and virtual reality content, has raised $24 million in Series B funding led by the Chinese mobile Internet company Hangzhou Liaison Interactive Information Technology Co. Ltd. Venture Capital Dispatch has the story here.

Carbon3D, a two-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based maker of 3D printing machinery and software, has raised $100 million in funding led by Google Ventures, with participation from Reinet Investments, Yuri Milner and earlier investors Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake Kraftwerk and Northgate Partners. VentureBeat has more here.

ChurchDesk, a five-year-old, Copenhagen, Denmark-based startup that makes mobile apps for church engagement and management, has raised $2 million in funding led by Mangrove Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here., a nearly three-year-old, Shanghai, China-based peer-to-peer lender, has raised $207 million in new funding co-led by Standard Chartered Private Equity and China Fintech Fund, with participation from Boahi Leasing. Earlier this year, Tiger Global Management also invested an undisclosed amount of money in the company. TechNode has more here.

GuiaBolso, a three-year-old, Sao Paolo, Brazil-based personal finance management platform, has raised $7 million in new funding led by Ribbit Capital, with participation from Omidyar Network, QED Investors, Kaszek Ventures, e.Bricks,Valor Capital, and numerous individual investors. More here.

Hightower, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based leasing management platform for the commercial real estate industry, has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Corp., Starwood Capital CEO Barry Sternlicht, Rudin Management CEO Bill Rudin, and earlier backer Aaron Levie of Box. The funding comes just four months after the company raised $13 million in Series B funding led by RRE Ventures. New York Business Journal has more here.

Marilyn Monroe Spas, a three-year-old, Orlando, Fla.-based chain of spas that plans to begin teaching classes about the salon, spa, and beauty industry, has raised $20 million in funding from JCR Holdings. The round brings the company’s total funding to $36 million, it says. More here.

Orbus Therapeutics, a 3.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company working on therapies to treat rare diseases like anaplastic astrocytoma, has raised $32.5 million in Series A funding from Longitude Capital, H.I.G. BioVentures and Adams Street Partners. More here.


New Funds

Lerer Hippeau Ventures, the 5.5-year-old, seed-stage, New York-based venture capital firm, is looking to raise up to $75 million for its fifth fund, shows an SEC fiing that states the first sale has yet to occur. The firm closed its fourth fund with $62 million in June of last year. StrictlyVC had chatted with managing director Eric Hippeau about that vehicle, and what the firm finds most interesting, here.

Point Judith Capital, a 14-year-old, Boston-based early-stage venture firm, is looking to raise up to $100 million for its fourth fund, shows an SEC filing that states the first sale has yet to occur. The firm had targeted the same amount for its third fund, which it began raising in 2011 and whose closing it didn’t publicly announce.



Local Motion, a four-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based fleet management startup that had raised more than $6 million from investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, has been acquired by the car-sharing company Zipcar for an undisclosed amount. More here.

Maxymiser, a nine-year-old, New York-based maker of cloud-based consumer personalization software that had raised more than $15 million from investors, including NXT CapitalInvestor Growth Capital, and Pentech Ventures, has been acquired by enterprise software giant Oracle for undisclosed terms. ZDNet has more here.



Tech stocks have been taking a beating lately, and venture capitalist Bill Gurley of Benchmark thinks private market valuations might be next.

Facebook and Asana cofounder Dustin Moscovitz writes smartly on Amazon, tech company culture, and why rest matters.



SurveyMonkey is looking to hire a director of corporate strategy. The company is in Palo Alto, Ca.

WPP is looking to fill a junior corporate development role. The job is in New York.


Essential Reads

Spotify just “got real creepy with the data it collects” about users, Forbesreported yesterday. For this weirdness, the company now says it’s sorry.

Google’s Life Sciences unit, previously part of its X research lab, is becoming its own company under Alphabet. More here.

The coders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, designers, and scientists (and, yes, one actress) behind L.A.’s tech boom.



Glenn O’Brien opens up about the abrupt end of his beloved “Style Guide” column in GQ.


Retail Therapy

Sidecar bicycle. Do not try this in New York, or any other crowded, urban setting for that matter, unless you have a death wish.

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