Hi, everyone, welcome back, and thanks to the many of you who bought tickets Friday for StrictlyVC’s next event, coming up the evening of February 25th in San Francisco. We’re excited to see you.:)
Top News in the A.M.
Morgan Stanley’s richest clients are getting a piece of Uber. Business Insider has more here.
Rest in peace, David Bowie: Musician, actor, techie.
A Visit with Chelsea Handler, and a Nervous Wait Afterward
As you may have heard, brash comic Chelsea Handler is set to host a new series on Netflix entitled “Chelsea Does…” in which she’ll explore a range of issues, including a universe still foreign to many outside of it: Silicon Valley.
Now, as the series debut approaches on Saturday, January 23rd, at least one venture firm –- Foundation Capital — is waiting on pins and needles. The reason? Foundation somewhat bravely agreed to let Handler and crew into their offices so she could pitch them on an mobile app while the show was being filmed.
On Friday, we talked with general partner Paul Holland and Foundation’s marketing partner, Meg Sloan, about what went down.
How did it come to pass that you’re in this new show?
MS: [Foundation entrepreneur-in-residence] RJ Jain was working with [Handler’s] development team on her app. We’re also early investors in Netflix, so I think we were on the radar of the production team.
I used to work at Facebook, where we have posters that say: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” I joked [to the team here] that the answer was to say yes to being in a Chelsea Handler documentary.
What was the idea exactly?
MS: That she would pitch us her app. We also talked with the producers, who asked for our help with some locations, and we put together a happy hour for Chelsea in Palo Alto with a cross section of folks we know. I think she was super interested in the social scene here in Silicon Valley, to the degree that there is any. [Laughs.]
Was the pitch straightforward?
PH: She came in with an entourage – not her entourage from [her long-running E! Online show, “Chelsea Lately”], but she’d encountered a young kid along the way, a 10-year-old, Silicon Valley kid who has [his own] app and she was fascinated by him. She also brought her dog, Chunk.
Aelix Therapeutics, a two-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based drug development company specializing in immunotherapies against HIV infection, has raised $12.7 million in funding led by Ysios Capital, a Spanish investment fund. Other participants in the round include Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Caixa Capital Risc, the venture capital division of Spain’s financial group, ‘la Caixa’. FierceBiotech has more here.
Healthline Media in San Francisco has raised $95 million from Summit Partners to compete with the likes of WebMD, reports Dow Jones Venturewire. The company was incubated in 2006 by the now 16-year-old holding company Healthline Networks. The company, which originally licensed content through third parties, was relaunched in 2012 with original content. With the new funding, says the report, Healthline is spinning off from Healthline Networks and is now an independent company.
Iconic Therapeutics, a 12-year-old, South San Francisco, Ca.-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on new therapeutics for retinal disease and cancer, has raised $40 million in Series C funding from HBM Healthcare Investments, Cormorant Asset Management, and Osage University Partners, along with earlier backers MPM Capital, H.I.G. Capital and Lundbeckfund Ventures. More here.
Kymeta, a three-year-old, Redmond, Wa.-based start-up focusing on using tiny satellite antennas, has raised $62 million in new funding led by Bill Gates, with participation from Lux Capital, Osage University Partners, the Kresge Foundation, and unnamed strategic partners. Dealbook has more here.
Mambu, a 4.5-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based SaaS banking platform, has raised $8.7 million in new funding led by Acton Capital Partners and CommerzVentures, with participation from existing investors. TechCrunch hasmore here.
Qyer, a 12-year-old, Beijing, China-based online service that provides travel information to Chinese residents who are booking trips, has raised $57 million in Series D funding led by SIG Asia, a venture capital investment arm of Susquehanna International Group. DealStreetAsia has more here.
Sansan, an eight-year-old, Tokyo, Japan-based contact sharing service (it digitizes business cards for collaborative use within companies), has raised $16.9 million in Series C funding from DCM Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and the Japanese firm Nissay Capital. The Tech Bulletin has more here.
SoundCloud, an 8.5-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based social sound platform that allows anyones to create sounds and share them everywhere, has raised 300 million Swedish krona (the equivalent of around $35 million) in debt funding from Tennenbaum Capital Partners, according to Swedish news site Digital. The report also suggests that SoundCloud has an option to borrow another 600 million Swedish krona (around $70 million) through convertible bonds. TechCrunch has more here.
Square, the seven-year-old, San Francisco-based payments technology company that went public last November, has a new, major shareholder in Blackrock, according to a filing with the SEC that shows the asset management giant has taken at least a five percent stake in the company. Fortune has more here.
V-Wave, a 5.5-year-old, Caesarea, Israel-based medical device company at work on an implantable shunt to treat congestive heart failure, has raised $28 million in Series B funding from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, TriVentures, Pura Vida Investments and BioStar Ventures. Also participating in the round are earlier investors BRM Group, Pontifax and Edwards Lifesciences.
Yunniao Delivery, a 1.5-year-old, Beijing, China-based online platform that connects same-day courier services with individuals with vans who are willing to work on an on-demand basis, has reportedly raised $100 million in Series C funding led by Warburg Pincus. Earlier backers Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital and GSR Ventures also participated. China Morning Network has more here.
Bruin Sports Capital, billionaire investor Dan Gilbert and WPP have formed Courtside Ventures, a new $35 million venture investment firm to be based in Detroit and New York that will invest in emerging sports and media technology start-ups. More here.
Drug makers Shire and Baxalta announced a merger this morning valued at about $31 billion. The combination will create a giant in the treatment of rare diseases. Dealbook has more here.
Famed accelerator Y Combinator has grown a lot under the direction of Sam Altman, who was appointed president roughly two years ago. It’s grown so much in fact that Altman says it’s now too big for him to manage as closely as he once did, so he’s shifting more responsibility to some longtime colleagues.More here.
In a piece on Yahoo’s brain drain, senior VP Jeff Bonforte tells the New York Times that CEO Marissa Mayer is the best boss he’s ever had but that she’s tough. “Marissa is the type of boss that makes you feel like you’re disappointing her at all times, so I always feel like I’m on the verge of being fired . . . It’s never, ‘Way to go, Jeff!’”
Adam Dell, a serial entrepreneur and venture partner with Austin Ventures, has taken to LinkedIn to find a technical cofounder for his newest company, a financial health monitoring startup called Clarity. More here.
Vine creator Dom Hofmann is back with a new messaging app called Peach.More here.
Amir Malayery has joined Industry Ventures as a vice president, working with the San Francisco firm’s secondary investments team. Malayery previously founded a menswear e-commerce company called Dapper Shopping. He also worked previously as an investor with Summit Partners.
Ten-year-old Maker Media, the champion of the do-it-yourself movement, has laid off 20 percent of its staff. TechCrunch has more here.
Analytics startup Mixpanel has laid off 18 people — less than 10 percent of its 230-plus person team. TechCrunch has more here.
SOLS, a company using 3D-printing technology to make custom shoe insoles, has laid off 20 percent of its workforce, or 14 employees. TechCrunch has more here.
Connecticut Innovations (it serves Connecticut-based companies) is looking for a managing director. The job is in Rocky Hill, Ct.
As you suspected, digital health funding is up, up and away, shows new CB Insights data. More here.
UberChina’s Series B fundraising effort has been a long struggle, with many institutional investors in China frightened by UberChina’s losses as well as broader economic troubles in the country, reports The Information. (Subscribers only.) The head of Uber’s business arm, Emil Michael, disputes that the company can’t beat back incumbent Didi Kuaidi. “In a lot of ways,” he tells the outlet, “it’s a privilege for us to do business in China because of the sort of graveyard of tech companies past, and we’ve, I think, far exceeded where Amazon ever got to, where eBay ever got to, where Google ever got to, already.”
The Tesla Model S can now drive without you.
A 1950 Ferrari 195 S Inter Superleggera. It’s not clear that it’s in working condition(?), but it’s awfully pretty.