Happy Monday, everyone! How about those Oscars?
We’re happy to say we’ve begun posting content from our event last Thursday. Check out our column today and our “People” section. You can also see some pictures of the evening right here.
Top News in the A.M.
Fidelity just slashed more startup valuations. Fortune has the rundown here.
Bill Maris Talks Uber, Zenefits, and Running the Show at GV
Thursday night, at a StrictlyVC event in San Francisco, we talked with GV CEO Bill Maris about a wide range of issues, including what happened with its Europe fund, why GV didn’t invest in Zenefits, and why Maris alone makes every decision on behalf of the powerful venture unit, which now employs 70 people.
As venture geeks, we found much of what he had to say interesting. Hopefully, you’ll find the conversation instructive, too. (It’s been edited lightly for length.)
You work for the most valuable company in the world. You run its venture arm. Every decision falls to you and you alone, which not everyone realizes.
It’s getting scary. [Laughs.]
What is the trickle-up process?
So all the investment decisions I make, going into a company or when and how to come out of it, is in collaboration with the partner who brings [the deal] forward. So we talk about all the opportunities as a team and everyone is invited to that discussion – not just the investing partners. And we don’t take a vote. It’s not like a democracy in any way. But everyone knows where people stand and we try and give each other good advice, and at the end of the day, the person who brings it forward and I decide whether to move forward or not.
Why isn’t it more democratic?
I have no idea, because I’ve never worked as a venture capitalist before. I masquerade as one now . . . But basically it started out with just me. The buck stops with me. So if we succeed, credit all goes to the team. If we fail, the blame should fall all on me; that’s how management should work.
Do Larry Page or Sergey Brin ever say, “Bill, why’d you invest in XYZ deal?”
They never say anything. And that’s not a bad thing. We designed it specifically not to be influenced by Google. Larry and Sergey . . . are billionaires. Google has many billions of dollars. If they want to invest in something themselves, they have the opportunity to do that.
Some people are surprised that they don’t or can’t influence [GV], but the idea was that they wouldn’t. So I never talk about ventures with them. The closest we get is an email from Larry with a URL of a company that he came across.
Borrowell, a year-old, Toronto, Canada-based online lender focused on the Canadian market, has secured $6.4 million in operating and loan capital fromEquitable Bank, Hedgewood, Power Financial Corporation, Oakwest Corporation, Adam Felesky, and Freycinet Investments. More here.
Enlighted, a seven-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based maker of smart energy software for commercial buildings, has raised $25 million in Series D funding from Tao Capital Partners, along with earlier backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, RockPort Capital Partners and DFJ. More here.
Health Catalyst, an eight-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based tech platform that organizes and links health-related data from different systems and makes it available for all users, has raised $70 million in Series E funding co-led byNorwest Venture Partners and healthcare provider UPMC. Other participants include MultiCare Health System, OSF Healthcare, Leerink Capital and earlier investors Sequoia Capital, Sands Capital, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, CHV Capital, Partners HealthCare, EPIC Venture Partners,Leavitt Equity Partners, and Tenaya Capital. Silicon Slopes has more here.
Hopscotch, a four-year-old, Mumbai, India-based e-commerce service focused on mums and founded by a former Diapers.com executive, has closed a $13 million Series C round led by Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. The company has now raised $26 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
iCharts, an eight-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that makes cloud-based collaborative visualization platforms, has raised $5.5 million in Series B2 funding led by Software AG, with participation from new and earlier institutional and private investors. The company has now raised a total of $15 million. More here.
Kika Tech, a 1.5-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based smart keyboard app for Android that aims to make typing fast and easy, has raised $30.6 million in Series B funding, including from Honge Capital, Bole Zongheng and Chinese investor Zhu Ye. More here.
MedCPU, an eight-year-old, New York-based company that delivers real-time patient care advice through a clinical decision and advisory support platform, has raised $35 million in new funding led by UPMC, with participation from earlier backer Merck Global Health Innovation Fund. The Globes has more here.
Souq, a 10.5-year-old, Dubai-based online marketplace that’s been described as the Amazon of the Middle East, has raised roughly $275 million in fresh funding at a reported $1 billion valuation. The funding comes from previous investors Tiger Global Management and Naspers, as well as strategic investors, including Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC (a member of the World Bank Group), Baillie Gifford, and other unnamed “regional and tech-focused financial institutions.” The company has now raised $425 million altogether. More here.
Advancit Capital, a four-year-old, Norwood, Ma.-based early-stage investment fund co-founded by Shari Redstone (daughter of Sumner Redstone) with former Blackstone Group executive (and her son-in-law) Jason Ostheimer, is raising a third fund. According to an SEC filing, the firm — which invests in media, entertainment and technology startups — is targeting $40 million and the first sale has yet to occur.
Jet.com, the young, well-funded e-commerce company, has acquired Hayneedle, a 14-year-old, Omaha, Neb.-based online retailer focused on the home goods market. No financial terms were disclosed, but Fortune’s Dan Primack hears the deal was for roughly $100 million in cash. Hayneedle had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Insight Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. More here.
LOGICnow, a 15-year-old, London-based cloud-based customer service platform that lets companies manage customer emails, web support and twitter communication, has acquired iScan Online, a nearly four-year-old, Plano, Tex.-based provider of a data breach risk intelligence platform. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. More here.
Tripda, a 1.5-year-old, São Paulo, Brazil-based carpooling startup that’s been operating in 13 countries and is backed by the Berlin-based incubator Rocket Internet, is ceasing operations this Friday after facing high operating costs and failing to raise fresh funding. TechCrunch has more here.
Heidi Roizen of DFJ had some great insights about startup psychology at our StrictlyVC event last week: “You like to think all these markets are scientific and disciplined, but it’s human nature just like everything else. Your friend raises money and he or she gets this valuation and you think you should have that valuation.” Much more here.
Apple’s next big event is reportedly happening March 21st, when it’s expected to reveal a new iPad and a new, smaller iPhone.
Warren Buffet’s 2016 shareholder letter, annotated.
Silicon Valley, as seen through the eyes of a New York Times photographer.
Startups were apparently buying $10,000 bikes to give away as signing bonuses.
The key to good teamwork is being nice, says years of analysis by Google.
The Life Project, a cradle-to-grave study, on what makes people happy, healthy, and successful.
The Boncho, to keep from getting soggy on your bike commute.