Hi, everyone, we are back from our very fun travels. Hope you had a terrific weekend.
Quick reminder: StrictlyVC’s next evening event takes place Thursday, February 25th in San Francisco at the beautiful Autodesk Gallery, featuring Bill Maris of Google Ventures; Heidi Roizen of DFJ and Stanford; Autodesk CEO Carl Bass; Hans Tung of GGV Capital; Ben Einstein of Bolt; and CEO Peter Szulczewski of Wish, one of the hottest startups in Silicon Valley right now. Remaining tickets are available here.
If you are interested in helping to sponsor the event, we’d love to talk. If you are interested in volunteering at it, we’d also love to hear from you.
Top News in the A.M.
Four senior Twitter executives are leaving the media company, the biggest leadership changes since Jack Dorsey returned as CEO. Confirming earlier reports, including by Recode, Dorsey wrote last night that longtime media head Katie Jacobs Stanton, product head Kevin Weil, engineering division head Alex Roetter, and HR head Brian “Skip” Schipper, will all leave the company. There’ve been grumblings in media circles that not all the departures are voluntary, but Dorsey praised the four and said he was “forever grateful” to them.
Dataminr’s CEO on Whether He Regrets Working with Fidelity
On Friday, we talked with CEO Ted Bailey of Dataminr, asking him for a little more detail about how his real-time information discovery platform works; whether he worries about Twitter, on which Dataminr is heavily reliant; and if he at all regrets letting Fidelity Management lead a $130 million investment in his company last March. (In November, at the same time that it slashed the value of a number of its investments, Fidelity marked down the company’s value by 35 percent.)
You can see the entire interview here, or you can just read the lightly edited highlights here:
Your business looks at social media to create a kind of sentiment analysis. Is that correct?
We do look at social media, but we differentiate ourselves by being real time, so we identify early information when people tweet and other sources before the news wires. We’ve pioneered real-time information discovery, meaning discovering information before it’s a trend.
What are you looking for?
It runs the gamut. Our customers run from investment professionals, [including] hedge funds and investment banks, to 250 news organizations, to public safety professionals, like major cities, fire departments, offices of emergency management . . .
What Dataminr tries to do is enable our customers to know about things sooner. Last year for example, there was a big gas explosion in New York City, and when that happened, people around it — acting as a real-time sensor for what was going on — took photos and tweeted pictures, and there was a signal we found in that. And we sent an alert to the [NYFD], and they said, “Oh, wow, there’s a huge fire; we’re going to send out the fire trucks.” After that, they received the first 911 call.
Aircall, a 1.5-year-old, French SaaS startup focused on quick deployment of enterprise phone systems, has raised $2.75 million in new funding led by Balderton Capital, with participation from FundersClub. TechCrunch has more here.
DataXu, a 6.5-year-old, Boston-based company that makes programmatic marketing software for brands and agencies, has raised $10 million in new funding led by the U.K.-based, paid-TV giant Sky. The company has now raised roughly $65 million altogether, including from Accomplice, Menlo Ventures, Thomvest Ventures and Flybridge Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
HomePolish, a three-year-old, New York-based online platform for booking interior designers, has raised nearly $17 million of a new funding round that could total $21.5 million, according to an SEC filing first flagged by Fortune. New backers include Elephant VC.
iROKO, a four-year-old, Nigeria-based online entertainment platform, has raised $12 million in new equity funding from the French cable company Canal+ and earlier backer Kinnevik. TechCrunch has more here.
Omni-ID, a nearly nine-year-old. Rochester, N.Y.-based maker of UHF RFID tags that work in harsh environments, has raised $21 million in fresh funding from GE Ventures, Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners, and YFY Group of Taiwan, along with earlier backer Trillium International. More here.
Oscar, the 2.5-year-old, New York-based healthcare insurance startup, has reportedly authorized the sale of up to $400 million in new shares that are valued at $6.75 each, which — as Fortune’s Dan Primack notes — would give the company a fully-diluted valuation of roughly $2.97 billion. The company has already raised $327 million, including from Google Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Founders Fund, shows Crunchbase; Fidelity Investments is reportedly leading the new round.
Prevalent Networks, an 11-year-old, Warren, N.J.-based maker of vendor risk management and cyber threat intelligence analytics software, has raised $8 million in Series B funding from Fulcrum Equity Partners and Spring Mountain Capital. More here.
RetraceHealth, a two-year-old, Minneapolis, Mn.-based primary care clinic that relies on video visits to reach patients, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthEast Care System, and McKesson Ventures. More here.
Wingz, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based scheduled airport ride startup, has raised $11 million in Series B funding, including from Expedia, Altimeter Capital, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. VentureBeat has more here.
WOO Sports, a 2.5-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based company whose tracking devices enable kiteboarders to measure their performance, share results, and compete against their peers, has raised $4.3 million in Series A funding, shows an SEC filing.
Assemble.VC, a new, Boston-based venture firm, is targeting $75 million for its debut fund, and its founders — longtime VCs Michael Skok and C.A. Webb — tell BostInno how they’re trying to differentate themselves from their peers.
CAVU Ventures, a year-old, New York-based venture firm focused on food and other consumer packaged goods, has closed its debut fund with $156 million, shows an SEC filing first flagged by VentureWire.
Origin Ventures, a 16-year-old, Chicago-based early-stage firm, is targeting $100 million for its fourth fund, shows an SEC filing that states the first sale has yet ot occur.
AOL has acquired AlephD, a Paris-based startup that helps publishers automatically identify the best price for each ad impression. Financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. The company had raised $2 million in funding from A Plus Finance, CapDecisif Management and Partech Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Two-time Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has, at age 83, developed a mobile gaming app called “Churchill Solitaire.” More here.
Why biotech entrepreneur Martin Shkreli will talk on social media but not to Congress.
Attorney Matthew Sonsini, who back in 2008 left Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (cofounded by his father, Larry) to work under his father-in-law, John Sobrato of the family-owned real estate empire The Sobrato Organization, is back. WSGR announced this morning that he’ll be part of the firm’s corporate securities practice.
In addition to its other, high-profile departures, Vine head Jason Toff is also leaving Twitter; he’s joining Google’s new virtual reality unit. More here.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’s back to work today, following a two-month paternity leave.
The equity crowdfunding platform SeedInvest is looking to hire a venture associate. The job is in New York.
The IVC Research Center, which monitors Israel’s high-tech scene, has released its fourth-quarter fundraising survey. Turns out $1.2 billion was raised in the fourth quarter and that, for the year, fundraising hit $4.43 billion, 30 percent more than 2014’s previous record. Much more here.
Of the 204 Bay Area startups that received series A funding last year, just 8 percent – or 16 companies – are led by women, a number that declined a stunning 30 percent from the previous year, according to new data by Female Founders Fund. More here.
It’s official. San Francisco’s Yellow Cab Cooperative has filed for Chapter 11.
U.S. health inspectors have reportedly found serious deficiencies at Theranos‘s Northern California blood-testing lab.
The Iowa caucus system, explained in two minutes.
Shepard Fairey’s L.A. home is for sale, should you be interested. (H/T: Uncrate.)