Monthly Archives: November 2016

StrictlyVC: November 22, 2016

Happy Tuesday! No column today. Also, StrictlyVC is taking a teensy break for the rest of the week to enjoy our favorite American holiday. (U.S. readers, we hope you’ll be enjoying a little down time this week, too.)

We know it’s not ideal for our readers outside of the U.S., but we’ll be back and completely re-energized on Monday! Also, if anything truly crazy breaks — holidays are ideal for burying ugly developments — we’ll hop online to share the news with you.

Take care, everyone; see you soon, and happy Thanksgiving.:)

Top News in the A.M.

After abruptly canceling a meeting with the New York Times, then rescheduling it, Donald Trump is meeting right now with reporters, editors, and other writers from the outlet, who are using Twitter to report on what’s happening.

New Fundings

Apptopia, a five-year-old, Boston-based app analytics company, just raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, with participation from Mark Cuban, 500 Startups, RTA Ventures and Full Tilt Capital. BostInno has more here.

Aye Finance, a two-year-old, New Delhi, India-based startup that specializes in micro-loans in India, has raised $10.3 million in new funding led LGT, with participation from earlier investors SAIF Partners and Accion. TechCrunch has more here.

Barefoot Networks, a 3.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup that sells ultrafast chips for switching systems, has added $23 million to what is now an $80 million Series C round. Alibaba and Tencent led the financing. More here.

Findo, a months-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based smart search assistant across all personal cloud, emails, files, and contacts, has raised $7 million in funding from ABBYY, Flint Capital and Foxit. More here.

Getui, a six-year-old, Beijing, China-based, third-party push-notification-service provider that enables app developers to set up and send notifications to users across Android, iOS, and other platforms, says it has raised $58 million in Series D funding from (unnamed) returning investors. DealStreetAsia has more here.

Helpshift, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile customer service platform for businesses, has raised $1.8 million in additional Series B funding from Cisco, says Fortune. Back in June, the startup had raised $23 million in Series B funding from Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce and earlier backers Intel Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, True Ventures, and Visionnaire Ventures. More here.

LifeRobotics, a nine-year-old, Tokyo, Japan-based company whose “co-robots” help businesses to automate their production processes, has raised $9 million in Series B funding from Global Brain, Mitsui Fudosan, Koden Holdings, Mizuho Capital, Golden Asia Fund and several unnamed investors. The startup’s product, “Coro,” is being developed for small manufacturing spaces. DealStreetAsia has more here.

PayKey, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based peer-to-peer payments company, has raised $6 million in Series A funding co-led by and Gaby Salem, with participation from CommerzVentures, Mastercard, Santander InnoVentures, Digital Leaders Ventures, and Magma VC. More here.

Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a three-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based drug discovery company focused on rare genetic diseases, has raised an additional $2.2 million in Series A funding that brings the total round to $15.1 million. The fresh capital came from Felicis Ventures and several angel investors. Lux Capital led the round. More here.

SafeDK, a two-year-old, Herzliya, Israel-based startup that offers a mobile SDK management platform that helps app developers stay on top of the multiple SDKs their apps may rely on, has closed $3.5 million in Series A funding. Investors include Samsung Next Tel Aviv, Marius Nacht, StageOne Ventures, Kaedan Capital, and angel investor Leon Waisbein. TechCrunch has more here.

True Link Financial, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based financial services provider for seniors, has raised $3.6 million in funding from Kapor Capital,Initialized Capital, Symmetrical Ventures, and the Ziegler Link-Age Longevity Fund. VentureBeat has more here.

Vymo, a three-year-old, Bangalore, India-based company that builds web and mobile applications to automating sales force activities and drive sales, raised $5 million in Series A funding from Sequoia India.The Economic Times has more here.

New Funds

Biomatics Capital Partners, a two-year-old, Seattle-based life sciences venture firm founded by Boris Nikolic — who spent five years as a chief advisor for science and tech to Bill Gates — has raised $200 million for its first fund. FinSMEs has more here.

Caffeinated Capital, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based venture capital firm founded by Raymond Tonsing, has raised $17 million in capital for a new fund that’s targeting $75 million, shows an SEC filing. The firm’s bets include Wish, Optimizely, and Docker, among others, shows Tonsing’s LinkedIn profile. (Caffeinated’s site is pretty bare bones.)
Information Venture Partners, a Toronto-based early-stage venture fund focused on fintech and enterprise SaaS, has closed its second fund with $106 million. More here.

Telescope Partners, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based growth equity firm, is targeting $75 million for its debut fund, shows an SEC filing. The firm was founded by Mickey Arabelovic, who previously spent close to eight years as a partner with Sequoia Capital, where he focused on growth-stage tech and healthcare companies. Arabelovic also logged a couple of years as a senior associate with Summit Partners earlier in his career.


Google has acquired Qwiklabs, a four-year-old, hands-on learning platform for those who want to become more familiar with operating cloud environments and writing applications that run on them. Terms weren’t disclosed. Quiklabs doesn’t appear to have raised outside funding. TechCrunch has more here.


VC Marc Andreessen seems to think flying cars are highly likely, though he says we’ll need to see a fundamental breakthrough in battery technology first. Much more here.

Investor Peter Thiel has reportedly been approaching other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in recent days, asking them to advise the President-elect and possibly join his administration. He isn’t finding many takers, though — yet.

Actress Reese Witherspoon appears to be launching a media startup called Hello Sunshine that will be “devoted to, and passionate for, telling female-driven stories” for “film, tv & mobile,” she writes on Twitter.


Crikey. Researchers, including at Northeastern University, are finding racial and gender disparities in just about every corner of the on-demand labor market. More here.

Essential Reads

Xiaomi’s push into smart appliances could lay the foundation for the creation of a manufacturing conglomerate. But it’s unclear if that’s enough to justify its last valuation, reports The Information.

NextEV yesterday unveiled its record-breaking electric supercar, the first product under the Chinese-backed startup’s new NIO brand, and it is not slow.

Renaissance Technologies: Why this hedge fund is a money-making machine like no other.


A look inside today’s most cutting-edge superyachts.

The states that college graduates are most likely to leave.

An animated map that shows how population density has changed over the last two centuries.

Retail Therapy

Nine great gifts for your favorite twentysomething.

StrictlyVC: November 21, 2016

Hi, everyone, hope you had a wonderful weekend! Apologies for the late send. We were mixing work with Thanksgiving prep and can we just say: do not wait until Wednesday to get your act together. It’s getting scary out there already.

Top News in the A.M.

Why Trump’s pick for attorney general could be bad news for Silicon Valley.

This 18-year-old just raised $3.5 million to help developers easily add capabilities to their apps

RapidAPI, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that enables developers to find, test, and manage many of the APIs they want to integrate into their apps, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding. The round was led by Martin Casado at Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from FundersClub, SV Angel, Green Bay Advisors, and 500 Startups, whose accelerator program it recently passed through.

The company is interesting for numerous reasons — not least of them its founder, Iddo Gino, an 18-year-old who was a high school senior in Haifa, Israel last year when he was “discovered,” so to speak. It happened at a local hackathon, where Gino caught the attention of Dov Moran. The renowned Israeli angel investor provided Gino with some early mentorship, as well as $250,000 in seed money that Gino — who studied briefly at the public research institute Technion – used to move to the U.S. in January.

Of course, RapidAPI’s mission — to enable developers to access and easily use publicly available APIs in a way that allows them to seamlessly communicate — is obviously of great interest to investors, too.

Gino likens these functional “blocks” that can be woven together, to pieces of plumbing, explaining that, “Each company has its own language. So [a developer] tries to learn how Facebook speaks then uses a dictionary to translate it back to English. And [he or she] has to do this every time” with every company and sometimes even across one company’s different divisions. RapidAPI has meanwhile created what are essentially big repositories of translator units, “so we don’t need an API company to change anything. We take care of turning everything into a single language.”

More here.

New Fundings

AdvisorEngine, a two-year-old, New York-based digital wealth management platform for investment advisors, has raised $20 million in Series A funding from WisdomTree Investments. FinSMEs has more here.

Cera, a five-month-old, London-based on-demand social care platform, has raised £1.3 million ($1.6 million) in seed funding from JustEat CEO David Buttress; former chairman of Lazard and UBS banks Ken Costa; and global head of digital at McKinsey & Co., Paul Willmott. More here.

Electric, a months-old, New York-based startup that provides automated IT support channel to small and mid-size companies, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Bowery Capital, with participation from Primary Venture Partners, Charge Ventures, Gunderson Dettmer, and Anchor Worldwide. More here.

Garmentory, a 2.5-year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based e-commerce marketplace for independent boutiques and designers, has raised $2 million in funding led by MHS Capital. WWD has more here.

Genalyte, a nine-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based diagnostics company whose lab-on-a-chip technology reportedly requires just one drop of blood to run 128 tests, just raised $36 million in funding from earlier backers Khosla Venturesand Redmile Group. TechCrunch has more here.

Joya Communications, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based creator of video messaging app Marco Polo, has quietly raised roughly $20 million at a post-money valuation of around $100 million valuation, says Recode. Benchmarkled the round. More here.

PatSnap, a nine-year-old, Singapore-based intelligence platform startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Shunwei Capital and Qualgro. China Money Network has more here.

Rapid Healthcare, a two-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based startup that makes mobile medical apps, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Watermark Venture Capital. More here.

New Funds

ARCH Venture Partners, a PE and VC firm that was originally spun out of the University of Chicago in 1986 and invests in a wide range of technologies from biotech to software, has raised $408.4 million toward a ninth venture capital fund, according to an SEC filing that shows a $550 million target. The firm’s previous fund closed with $410 million in 2014.

Hyperplane, a nearly two-year-old Boston-based venture firm founded by local investor Vivjan Myrto, is looking to raise $45 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing. This time, too, it looks like Myrto has company, including new managing partners Jack Klink, formerly the head of global strategy at State Street, and John Murphy, who was formerly an associate at Point Judith Capital. More here.

IDinvest Partners, a 19-year-old, Paris-based investment firm, has closed on €250 million ($265.7 million) for a new growth fund. The firm reportedly hopes to raise upwards of $425 million before holding a final close.


Last month, BuzzFeed quietly acquired a budding e-commerce holding company called Scroll whose cofounder, Ben Kaufman, previously founded the now-shuttered business Quirky. The reason: Kaufman is helping BuzzFeed try out different forms of commerce. Fortune has more here.

In a deal that highlights consolidation in the semiconductor industry, Macom Technology Solutions said it will acquire Applied Micro in a deal valued at $770 million. Both companies are publicly traded. ZDNet has more here.

Oracle has acquired Dyn, an 18-year-old, Manchester, N.H.-based cloud-based Internet performance and DNS performance management company that suffered a massive DDoS attack last month. According to CrunchBase, Dyn had raised $88 million from investors over the years,  including Pamplona Capital Management and North Bridge Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Symantec has agreed to acquire LifeLock, a 12-year-old, Tempe, Az.-based identity theft protection services company, for $2.3 billion. LifeLock had gone public in 2013. Network World has more about Symantec’s ambitions to create the “world’s largest consumer security business” right here.


Amid reported struggles, Munchery, a venture-backed meal preparation and delivery service, has named James Beriker as its new president and CEO. Most recently, Beriker was the CEO of the job search engine Simply Hired (acquired in June by Recruit Holdings). Before that, he was a VP of display advertising at Yahoo, among other posts. TechCrunch has more here.

Michael (“Woody”) Sherwood, a Goldman Sachs vice chairman and co-head of its European division, will retire from the Wall Street firm at the end of the year. He’d previously been seen as a potential successor to Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Dealbook has more here.

Sad news. Harry Weller, who long led the East Coast venture practice of New Enterprise Associates from Washington, D.C., passed away unexpectedly in his sleep Saturday night at age 46. Weller had joined the firm in 2002, not long after nabbing an undergraduate degree in physics from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard. In a statement, a shocked NEA described Weller as a “renowned technology investor, champion of innovation and true partner to entrepreneurs” who was “bold, brilliant, and passionate” and “equally remarkable for his kind heart and generous spirit.” More here.


Silverton Partners, an early-stage venture firm that invests primarily in Austin, Tex.-based startups, is looking to bring aboard a principal who has three to six years of experience at either a venture-backed startup or a venture firm. This position could lead to a partner role at the firm. The job is in Austin. To apply, write to


1,700. That’s how many millionaires are minted in the U.S. every single day, according to Boston Consulting Group. (Note: many of them are inheriting that wealth.)

Essential Reads

Apple has disbanded its division that develops wireless routers, another move to try to sharpen the company’s focus on consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue. Bloomberg has more here.

Hyperloop One, the futuristic transporation company that aims to shuttle people and cargo at speeds of up to 700 miles per hour, says it has settled an ongoing lawsuit brought against it by its former CTO and cofounder, Brogan BamBrogan, and several former employees. Terms of the settlement aren’t being disclosed, unsurprisingly, but BamBrogan tells TechCrunch that he’s now “planning to build rad shit with rad people, starting with our take on Hyperloop. More to come in the near future.” More here.

Instagram has launched ephemeral live video that followers can watch only when it’s streaming, along with Snapchat-style disappearing private messages. TechCrunch has more here.

The IRS is on the hunt for people who used Bitcoin to evade taxes. On Thursday, it asked Coinbase — the largest Bitcoin exchange in the United States — for the records of all customers who bought virtual currency from the company from 2013 to 2015. Dealbook has more here.

Accel Partners recently cautioned its startups to play nice with traditional companies, noting that more non-tech businesses have been acquiring startups than otherwise. Bloomberg has more here.


This is going to be one interesting presidency.

Two websites you should always check before shopping at Amazon.

Friendship at first sight.

Retail Therapy

Tiny Clouds.

The accessory of the season.

StrictlyVC: November 18, 2016

We’ve been racing around but didn’t forget you. Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you have a terrific weekend, and we’ll see you back here Monday.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Amazon is going to sell cars online now, too.

Seen Enough? Here’s How to Get the SEC’s Attention

Sean McKessy spent most of the last five years as first chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, building the division into an 18-person unit that has chased down hundreds of the roughly 14,000 tips it has received to date and paying out $132 million to tipsters in connection with successful Commission enforcement actions.

McKessy left the agency in late July to join the Washington office of the whistleblower law firm Phillips & Cohen. He was in San Francisco this week, however, and we sat down with him to discuss a range of things, including how often the agency hears from the startup world, whether the SEC is likely to pursue fewer cases in Silicon Valley under a Trump administration and, either way, how tipsters can get the agency’s attention most effectively.

More from that conversation follows, edited here for length.

You were an SEC enforcement attorney who left to work in the private sector, then came back to the SEC to spearhead this program. What was that like?

It was a fascinating challenge. There was an awards program under the SEC that was specific to insider trading cases, but it had been around for [22] years and the entirety of the payouts was around $3 million. Dodd-Frank established the one that I ran, which was broader and basically said that if you come forward with any kind of securities law violation and help the SEC bring the case, you can get a reward.

How big an award?

The awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.

And the money comes from where?

Wisely, Congress set up separate funds for whistleblowers to be paid out of. [So if you get an award], we’ll multiply the 10 to 30 percent against whatever was collected in the case you helped us bring, but the money is going to be paid out of a different pot. What Congress didn’t want was for victims’ rewards to be reduced because we’re [paying a] whistleblower.

What’s the criteria, beyond that a case has to have sanctions of more than a million dollars?

Well, for example, you need to have voluntarily provided information to us. If the SEC sends you a subpoena and that’s why you’re sharing information with us, you aren’t a whistleblower.

You also have to provide original information, though are exceptions; you can take publicly available information and synthesize it into analyses. The paradigm for that would be Harry Markopolos [the former securities industry exec who famously tried in vain to warn the SEC about Bernie Madoff]. He never worked at Madoff; everything he knew was from public documents. But his analysis showed the only way Madoff could be producing the returns he claimed was through fraud. The program was set up [in the wake of that case] so people like Markopolos could be eligible.

The office made a $20 million payout on Monday, but the release about it is very opaque.

The SEC is extraordinarily transparent about the cases it brings, so as soon as it brings an enforcement action, there’s a press release. But the whistleblower office has a statutory mandate not to identify whistleblowers. There are many pieces of information that the public would like to know that we thought could be reverse-engineered [to reveal a source].

The office says 14,000 tips have come through the program since it went into effect in August 2011, and that it has paid out $132 million dollars to 34 people connected with 26 cases to date. Those don’t seem like great odds for potential whistleblowers.

The number of people paid doesn’t necessarily represent everyone who brought good information; some have brought in good information where the sanctions have been less than $1 million. As I was leaving this summer, we had 800 ongoing investigations that were generated by whistleblowers. That’s actually a pretty high conversion rate. At any kind of intelligence or regulatory agency, you’re going to get 100 tips for every one or two that are good; that’s just the nature of the business.

Do you think people are reaching out because of the money or they’re more interested in seeking justice?

In the early days of the program, you weren’t even required to fill out a form, so anyone who supplied anything in writing had technically done what they needed to do, and in one case, we reached out a whistleblower and said, “You helped us bring a really good case; you provided information in writing. You could get paid.” The whistleblower said, “I didn’t do this to get paid; I’m not all that interested in it.” I [strongly encouraged him to accept the award] and he did.

Donald Trump has pledged to dismantle the Dodd-Frank law. Are you worried about preserving what you built at the SEC?

The speculation right now is the SEC’s whistleblower program will be spared because it’s working and it’s a fraud measure, and part of Trump’s philosophy is that we’ve got to “drain the swamp” and root out fraud wherever it may be. And for anyone looking to trim the government, I can’t think [doing away with the unit] is a compelling narrative. I think a lot of what drove people to vote in certain ways was this feeling that the game is rigged. So I don’t know how you tap into that [as a candidate], then turn around and say, “We’re going to take all the resources away from the agencies that we’re counting on to fix the system.”

Are startup employees and investors aware of the whistleblower program and trying to take advantage of it?

More here.

New Fundings

BuzzFeed, the 10-year-old, New York-based digital media company, has raised another $200 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion, the same valuation it had last year, according to documents from CB Insights. Business Insider has more here.

Cogito, a nine-year-old, Boston-based voice-analysis software business, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by OpenView, with participation from earlier backers Romulus Capital and Salesforce Ventures. Xconomy has more here.

Handshake, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based recruiting platform and professional network for college students, has raised $20 million in Series B financing led by Spark Capital. The round also included participation from earlier backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, True Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lowercase Capital, Annox Capital and Charlie Cheever. The company has now raised $34 million total. The WSJ has more here.

Inspire Medical Systems, a nine-year-old, Maple Grove, Mn.-based company whose medical devices are used to treat sleep apnea, has raised $37.5 million in Series F funding led by Amazak Health, with participation from OrbiMed Advisors and Medtronic (the medical company it was originally spun out of). Mass Device has more here.

PeerStreet, a three-year-old, Manhattan Beach, Ca.-based crowdfunding platform that provides investors with easy access to loans that are collateralized with real estate, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from The Kaiser Family Foundation, Rembrandt Venture Partners, and Montage Ventures. Reuters has more here.

Prevalent, a 12-year-old, Warren, N.J.-based cyber security company, has raised $60 million in Series C funding led by Insight Venture Partners. More here.

Renew, a months-old, Venice, Ca.-based platform designed to help baby boomers understand their post-retirement benefits, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Venrock, with participation from Expa, WTI, Madrona Venture Group, Refactor Capital and angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Sigfox, a seven-year-old, Labège, France-based company that operates a cell network dedicated to low-throughput communication for connected objects, has raised a whopping €150 million ($160 million) in Series E funding, including from new investors Salesforce, France’s gas giant Total, and Parrot founder Henri Seydoux. TechCrunch has more here.

Sparkcentral, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based social media-focused customer service company, has raised $20 million in funding led by LRM, with participation from Group MC,  and earlier backer Split Rock Partners and Jackson Square VenturesMore here.

Wearhaus, a three-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based wireless headphone startup, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from Tellus International, Xiaoxiang Capital, and China Southern Media. More here.

Yup, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based chat-based mobile tutoring company that was formerly known as MathCrunch, has raised $4 million in a seed extension round led by Sesame Ventures, bringing the company’s total capital raised to date to $7.5 million. Earlier investors in Yup’s seed round included Floodgate and Index Ventures.TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Sheila Gulati, a former Microsoft manager who formed the venture firm Tola Capital six years ago, has just closed a $295 million growth-oriented fund. GeekWire has more here.


Xtera Communications, an 18-year-old, Allen, Tex.-based maker of optical networks for terrestrial and subsea applications, has filed for Chapter 11 protection. The company had raised roughly $120 million from investors, including Arch Venture Partners, ComVentures, and New Enterprise Associates, before going public late last year. More here.


Rob Fishman, the co-founder of Niche, has left Twitter, says Fortune. Twitter acquired the startup, which works with influencers on social networks like Vine, in 2015 for a reported $50 million. Fortune’s report notes that Twitter had pulled Niche’s app from the App Store and laid off much of its engineering team in September.

Elon Musk says Tesla’s solar shingles will cost less than a dumb roof. “Electricity is just a bonus.” (In related news, yes, Tesla shareholders yesterday approved plans to acquire the solar energy firm SolarCity, and by an 85 percent majority. Bloomberg has more here.

Volkswagen announced this morning that it’s cutting 23,000 jobs. Dealbook has more here.


App abandonment is climbing, and app installs are only up 6 percent year-over-year, says a new industry report out from Adobe.

Essential Reads

Apple is reportedly asking Foxconn and others to study feasibility of making its iPhones in the U.S. Nikkei Asian Review has more here.

Airbnb’s launch of Trips — which it’s describing as the biggest in its eight-year history — comes as the company is preparing to go public “as soon as possible.” Wired has more here.


Stephen Colbert destroys Apple over its $300 coffee table book.

What to bring to next week’s Thanksgiving potluck dinner.

How little kids figure out who’s in charge.

Retail Therapy

The Shinola Runwell turntable. Made in America. F yeah!

StrictlyVC: November 17, 2016

One more day, guys, hang in there!

Top News in the A.M.

In her first public remarks since last week’s election, Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen just said the economy remains in good health for now, suggesting the central bank will go ahead and raise its benchmark interest rate at its next meeting in December.

YC Tries a New Experiment: Temporary Partners

Y Combinator has developed a reputation under its president, Sam Altman, for iterating — a lot. The accelerator program’s newest twist? Temporary or “visiting partners” who will be asked to become highly involved with a particular “batch” or YC class based on their particular expertise.

The partners will be a bit like YC’s “part-time partners,” a role the program created in 2011, except that part-time partners — who are invited to stay for six months — operate on renewable terms, and most tend to renew their position.

To kick off its newest initiative, YC is welcoming three of these visiting partners, two of whom are YC alums: Aaron Epstein, Gustaf Alströmer, and Lyle Fong.

Epstein founded Creative Market, a marketplace for digitally designed content that passed through YC in 2010. It was acquired for undisclosed terms by Autodesk in 2014.

Alströmer is a product lead for growth at Airbnb. He previously worked as VP of growth at the communications app company Voxer and cofounded Heysan, a messaging service that graduated from YC in 2007 and was acquired for undisclosed terms by Good Technology in 2009.

Meanwhile, Fong is the cofounder and CEO of mobile video game studio Hobo Labs. He also founded Lithium Technologies, a social media software company that’s best known in some circles for acquiring the social web startup Klout in 2014.

Before it kicks off its winter batch in January in Mountain View, Ca., YC is also bringing aboard three new “part-time partners” to add to more than the dozen of so already operating within the network.

More here.

New Fundings

CodeFights, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based company that brings together coding challenges and skills-based recruiting, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by, with participation from SV Angel, Felicis Ventures, A Capital and Granatus Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

CoverWallet, year-old, New York-based online insurance management platform, has raised $7.8 million in Series A funding led by Union Square Ventures, with participation from Index Ventures and previous investorsHighland Capital Partners, Two Sigma Ventures and Founder Collective. More here.

Domino Data Lab, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that’s building a data science platform to help companies maximize the impact of their quantitative research, has raised $10.5 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from earlier backers Zetta Venture Partners, Bloomberg Beta, and In-Q-Tel. More here.

Glycomine, a San Francisco-based biotechnology company developing a new generation of replacement therapies for rare diseases, just raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Sanderling Ventures, with participation from Chiesi Ventures, along with unnamed angel investors and patients. More here.

GuestReady, a year-old, Trogen, Switzerland-based service that helps homeowners who use Airbnb and other services manage their properties professionally, has raised $750,000 in seed funding led by existing investorSwiss Founders Fund. TechCrunch has more here.

Heal, a two-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based platform for scheduling on-demand medical house calls, raised $14.8 million in Series B funding fromFidelity Management and Research Company. More here.

Helpster, a 10-month-old, Bangkok, Thailand-based company that matches employers with people seeking blue-collar jobs, has raised $2.1 million in funding led by Jakarta-based Convergence Ventures, with participation from Wavemaker Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Heptio, a months-old, Seattle-based company that’s being built to support and advance the open Kubernetes ecosystem (an explainer of Kubernetes here), has raised $8.5 million in funding led By Accel Partners and Madrona Venture Group. TechCrunch has more here.

Hotbody, a two-year-old, Beijing, China-based fitness mobile app that combines fitness plans, video demonstrations, and social networking, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Haodao Capital, with participation fromAmeba Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Jongla, a seven-year-old, Finland-based messaging startup, has raised €5 million ($5.4 million) in Series B funding, including from its founder Arto Boman, Circlion Capital, Kontino Invest, Takoa Invest, Ingman Finance, and JSH Capital. Artic Startup has more here.

M87, a four-year-old, Seattle-based wireless infrastructure company that aims to deliver better coverage to the edge of the network, has raised $5 million from Madrona Venture Group, Qualcomm Ventures and Trilogy Equity Partners. More here.

Particle, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based development platform for the Internet of Things, has raised $10.4 million in Series A funding led by Root Ventures, with participation from OATV and Rincon Venture Partners. More here.

Petuum, a months-old, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based startup that’s building an artificial intelligence and machine learning development platform, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Advantech Capital, with participation from Tencent Holdings, Northern Light Venture Capital, and Oriza Ventures. More here., a four-year-old, London-based platform that makes it easy for anyone to build and share SaaS integrations, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by London-based Mosaic Ventures, with participation from True Venturesand earlier backers Redpoint Ventures, Passion Capital, Angelpad and Huddle co-founder Andy Mcloughlin. TechCrunch has more here.

Uplevel Systems, 1.5-year-old, Tigard, Ore.-based company that sells managed IT services to small business IT consultants, has raised $1.2 million in funding from undisclosed sources. More here.

New Funds

Slow Ventures, the early-stage venture firm cofounded by early Facebook employees Dave Morin and Kevin Colleran, has officially closed Slow Ventures III with $145 million — a huge jump from the $65 million fund that the team raised in the spring of last year. The firm reportedly raised the fund from more than 100 CEOs, tech founders, executives, VCs, university endowments, and foundations. More here.


Facebook could one day build facial gesture controls for its app thanks to the acquisition of a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff company calledFacioMetrics. More here.

New York marketing tech firm Sprinklr, a New York-based marketing tech firm, has acquired five-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based LittleBird for undisclosed terms. LittleBird helped researchers quickly find the top experts and influencers on any given subject via Twitter. It had raised $4.8 million in funding, including from Mark Cuban, Jason Calacanis, Oregon Angel Fund and other individual investors. More here.

Verizon has acquired SocialRadar, a mapping startup founded by Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen that aims to provide users with more accurate location data for businesses. Terms aren’t being disclosed. SocialRadar launched its mapping SDK earlier this year. When the company was first founded, its central idea was to cross-reference the location beacons in our pockets – our smartphones – with the billions of social profiles online to create real-time information about the people around us. More here.


AOL CEO Tim Armstrong just announced internally that there will be layoffs across AOL’s global workforce. More here.

Hours after VC Tim Draper defended Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes on CNBC yesterday, his daughter, Jesse, a childhood friend of Holmes, took to Twitter to flame the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who revealed the depth of the company’s troubles in the WSJ. “43 articles and you’ve never spoken to founder of Theranos but congrats on ruining someone’s life. Hope you feel good,” Draper tweeted to the reporter, John Carreyrou. Carreyrou responded by noting he’d begun asking for an interview with Holmes more than five months before writing his first article — and that he’s “still asking.”

In related news, Theranos’s whistleblower — who happens to be former Secretary of State George Shultz‘s grandson — talked to the WSJ and Carreyou yesterday about trying to expose Therano’s overinflated claims, and his isolating ordeal afterward. (Amazing read.)

It’s a big day for Elon Musk. SpaceX has asked the U.S. government for permission to launch an internet network powered by thousands of satellites above the Earth. Meanwhile, shareholders of Tesla Motors and SolarCity are voting on the companies’ controversial proposed merger today.

Renaud Laplanche, who was ousted earlier this year from the company he founded and took public — LendingClub — is planning a comeback. According to the WSJ, his new startup, Credify Finance, will make loans via the internet, just like Lending Club.

Essential Reads

In the U.K. police and intelligence agencies can now legally hack into your electronic devices remotely.

New analysis shows that in the final three months of the presidential election campaign, fake election news stories generated substantially more engagement on Facebook than stories from legitimate news outlets.

Baidu began testing its self-driving cars in California earlier this year; now it’s testing them out in China.


Nice reflexes, kid.

Stephen Hawking thinks we humans have maybe 1,000 years left.

Drake and Dave Chappelle lose it over a truly insane David Blaine trick.

Retail Therapy

The Awesomatic, for your holiday party.

Three $25 million beach houses on different islands.

StrictlyVC: November 16, 2016

Wednesday! Booyah.

Top News in the A.M.

Erp. Facebook said this morning it has uncovered several more flawed measurements related to how consumers interact with content, raising more questions about the metrics marketers lean on to decide whether to buy ads on the social media network. The WSJ has more here.

Zwift Raises $27 Million to Make Indoor Athletics More Social

If you haven’t heard of Zwift, founded two years ago in Long Beach, Ca., you aren’t alone. But investors have been following the company. Its massive, multiplayer video game technology, which caters to indoor cyclists, just attracted $27 million in Series A funding in a round that brings Zwift’s total funding to $45 million.

The round was led by the private equity firm Novator Partners out of London, with participation from Shasta Ventures, entrepreneur Max Levchin, and earlier backers, including the Swiss investment firm Waypoint and Samchully, a maker of bicycle parts that’s headquartered in Korea.

What are they tracking, exactly? Well, a 70-person company that’s been quietly establishing an avid following by merging gaming, indoor cycling and social elements and changing the way that people get fit during colder months and inclement weather.

Indeed, among Zwift’s appealing aspects is users’ ability to connect with friends and strangers around the globe for “virtual” group rides and races, which current users often log using the popular cycling and running app Strava. That integration also enables users to see a map of the virtual path they’ve ridden, along with their incline stats and other performance information, like heart rate and cadence. And, like Strava, Zwift users can earn awards and badges — as when they zip through a sprint section the fastest.

Zwift doesn’t cost a fortune, either. In fact, a large part of its appeal is its affordability. It’s a little like a gamified Peloton, except that users needn’t buy a $2,000 stationary bike to get started. They can use the bikes they already own, along with their own trainers (which turn road bikes into stationary bikes). The cost? Just $10 per month, though it’s worth noting that users need to have “smart” trainers that can wirelessly interact with third-party software like Zwift’s. (These can run from $100 to $1,500.)

More here.

(Other) New Fundings

BetterUp, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile career coaching platform, has raised $12.9 million in  Series A funding led by DFJ, with participation from SVAngel, Freestyle, and others. More here.

East Meets East, a three-year-old, New York-based dating service for Asians in the U.S., has raised $1 million in funding from 500 Startups, East Ventures, the Japanese games firm DeNA, iSGS Investment Works, and Shintaro Yamada, who founded the Japan-based unicorn Mercari. TechCrunch has more here.

Echo, a 1.5-year-old, London-based company whose app simplifies the process of ordering prescriptions, has raised £1.8 million ($2.2 million) in seed funding led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Global Founders Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Firefly Learning, a seven-year-old, London-based edtech company behind a SaaS-based teaching and learning support platform for schools, has raised £4.5 million ($5.6 million) in Series A funding led by BGF Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

LeShi, the 12-year-old, Beijing-based parent company of LeEco, has raised $600 million in funding from 10 Chinese companies, and an initial, $300 million tranche will go to LeEco. It needs it, it admitted recently. More here.

Magenta Therapeutics, a months-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotech startup that’s developing stem cell and bone marrow-based therapeutics, has raised $48.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Third Rock Ventures and Atlas Venture. More here.

Mavenlink, an eight-year-old Irvine, Ca.-based software platform that helps businesses do work with distributed teams, contractors, and clients, has raised $39 million in Series D funding led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity. The company has now raised $84 million to date. More here.

Mobalytics, a nine-month-old, L.A.-based startup that produces personal performance analytics for competitive League of Legends gamers, has raised $2.6 million in seed funding from Almaz Capital, Founders Fund, General Catalyst Partners and GGV Capital. The young startup had won TechCrunch’s Battlefield Disrupt competition in September. More here.

MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings, an eight-year-old, Seattle-based “fast-casual” pizza store franchise, has raised $42 million in funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and PWP Growth Equity. It’s the second round of funding this year for the company, which has now raised $150 million altogether. More here.

Now Interact, a six-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based company that says its machine learning platform bridges the gap for ecommerce companies between online and offline channels, has raised $5 million in Series A funding co-led by SEB Venture Capital and Inventure, with participation from earlier backer Industrifonden. has more here.

PageCloud, a two-year-old, Ottawa, Ontario-based browser-based website-creation service, has raised $4 million in a Series A round from Accomplice, the trade-finance agency Export Development Canada, and angel investors that include Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke, former Salesforce VP Avanish Sahai, and former LinkedIn VP Ellen Levy. The company has now raised $8.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Phononic, an eight-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based company whose patented solid-state cooling and refrigeration technology aims to replace older refrigeration systems, has added $40 million to a Series E round that originally closed in September. Investors in the extension round included UBS’s wealth management businesses, GGV Capital, Lookout Capital, Eastwood Capital, Venrock, Oak Investment Partners, Tsing Capital, Huaneng Invesco WL Ross, Wellcome Trust and Rex Healthcare Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Royole, a three-year-old, Freemont, Ca.-based maker of flexible displays, sensors, and smart devices, raised $80 million in pre-Series D funding from Warmsun Holding Group. The investment values the company at around $3 billion. FinSMEs has more here.

SeaLights, a year-old Israel-based continuous testing platform for quality assurance cycles, has raised $11 million in funding led by TLV Partners, with participation from Blumberg Capital and Oren Zeev. has more here.

Scroll, a six-month-old, New York-based digital subscription service that allows users to read ad-free content from multiple publishers, raised $3 million in funding from SoftTech VC, OATV, Axel Springer, News Corp and the New York Times. Recode has more here.

Skedulo, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile workforce scheduling app, raised $9.2 million in new funding led by Costanoa Venture Capital, with participation from earlier backer Blackbird Ventures. More here.

Spoiler Alert, a 1.5-year-old, Boston-based maker of enterprise software that helps manufacturers and farms put excess food inventory to good use, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Acre Venture Partners, with participation from Valley Oak Investments, LaunchCapital, Fresh Source Capital, and FTW Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

WeFarm, a year-old, U.K.-based peer-to-peer network that enables small-scale farmers to access and share agricultural information, even when their internet access is limited, has raised $1.6 million (£1.3 million) in seed funding led byLocalGlobe. TechCrunch has more here.

Womply, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that makes front office software for small and mid-size businesses, has raised $30 million in new funding led by Sageview Capital, with participation from (unnamed) earlier backers. More here.

New Funds

Intel Capital will be investing $250 million in autonomous driving over the next two years, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced yesterday at the L.A. Auto Show. More here.


Qufenqi, a two-year-old, China-based platform that invites university students to borrow money to buy goods and pay back the loans in monthly installments, is reportedly planning to raise between $500 million and $800 million in a U.S. IPO in the first half of next year. The company is backed by Ant Financial, BlueRun Ventures and Source Code Capital, among others. China Money Network has more here.


Virtual Instruments, an eight-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based privately held infrastructure performance management company, has acquired Xangati, a San Jose-based hybrid cloud and virtualization performance management company. Terms aren’t being disclosed. According to CrunchBase, Xangati had raised $21.7 million in funding from investors including Alloy Ventures, Citrix Systems, HighBar Partners and Walden International. SD Times has more here.


Longtime VC Tim Draper still believes that Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes (who received one of her first checks from Draper) has “built a fabulous company.”
Nasdaq has a new CEOAdena Friedman.

Google just hired some artificial intelligence hotshots into its cloud computing business. Fortune has more here.

Andy Page, who joined the personal genomics company 23andMe in 2013 as president, is leaving the company, reports Recode. The outlet says it’s unclear where Page is going. More here.

John Weinberg, formerly a top corporate adviser at Goldman Sachs, is moving to a newer Wall Street firm — Evercore Partners — and he’s taking one of its most senior posts. Dealbook has more here.

Essential Reads

Perhaps you’ve heard: Snap confidentially filed paperwork for an IPO that may value the popular messaging platform at as much as $25 billion and is expected to take place as early as March. The WSJ has more here.

Airbnb could slow down the growth in hotel revenues by almost double what Morgan Stanley analysts previously thought, say these same analysts. Business Insider has more here.

Twitter has suspended a number of accounts associated with the alt-right movement, saying it will shut down any account that features targeted abuse and harassment. USA Today has more here.


The two Americas of 2016.

Yikes. Apps just drove the biggest spike in traffic deaths in 50 years.

These professors make more than $1,000 an hour pedding mega mergers. Their predictions are often wrong, too.

Retail Therapy

Black slate wallpaper (for that contrast wall, maybe?).

StrictlyVC: November 15, 2016

Hi, all, hope you’re having a happy Tuesday.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Mary Jo White, the head of the SEC, announced yesterday that she’ll step down two years before the end of her term, clearing the way for Donald Trump to reshape the way Wall Street is regulated. What will that mean? Basically, the opposite of the coming crackdown on Silicon Valley startups that we’d foreseen last month. Now, the only thing stopping errant startups will be their investors — and we know how that usually goes.

The FBI has reportedly signed a contract with Dataminr, a company that sifts through the Twitter newsfeed to identify issues and trends in real time. The Stack, which has the story here, reports that only an estimated 1 percent of tweets are made available to the public through Twitter’s API, but using Dataminr,the FBI will now have access to all messages written on Twitter. (If you aren’t familiar with Dataminr, we talked with CEO Ted Bailey earlier this year about his business.)

Spark Capital just closed on $1 billion for the first time

Spark Capital, whose investments have included Twitter and Cruise Automation, has closed on $1 billion in commitments, it revealed yesterday. The 11-year-old firm, which has offices in Boston, San Francisco, and New York, closed its fifth early-stage fund with $400 million, down slightly from the $450 million it had raised for its fourth-early stage fund, which closed in 2013.

Spark also garnered $600 million in commitments for its second growth fund, just two years after launching its debut growth fund with $375 million in capital. Like a lot of early-stage funds that have raised so-called opportunity funds in recent years, Spark uses the capital to invest in its breakout portfolio companies. Among the startups it has funded are the Brazilian real estate portal VivaReal and the automated investing platform Wealthfront.

Spark has enjoyed a string of hits in its relatively short existence. Among its exits: headset maker Oculus was sold to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014; Twitter went public in 2013; Wayfair, an online home furnishings company went public in 2014; and the autonomous driving tech startup Cruise Automation sold earlier this year to General Motors for a reported $1 billion.

The firm also holds stakes in the highly valued messaging service Slack and the still-private eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker.

Spark is among a growing spate of early-stage venture funds that are suddenly managing far more money than they ever had previously. Other firms that have raised significantly higher amounts than in past years include Forerunner Ventures, a young, San Francisco-based firm that focuses primarily on e-commerce opportunities and has raised at least $122 million this year, up from its last, $75 million fund; and decades-old Accel Partners, which closed on $2 billion across two new funds earlier this year, up from two funds that totaled $1.45 billion just three years earlier.

New Fundings

Ava, a two-year-old, Zurich-based startup that makes fertility-tracking wearable devices, has raised $9.7 million in Series A funding led by Polytech Ventures, with participation from Blue Ocean Ventures, Global Sources, Swisscom, and ZKB. TechCrunch has more here.

CareCloud, a nearly eight-year-old, Miami, Fl.-based company that makes cloud-based healthcare software for physicians, has raised $31.5 million in Series C funding led by Blue Cloud Ventures, with participation from PNC Financial Services Group and First Data Corporation. Earlier backers Norwest Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Tenaya Capital and Adams Street Partners also joined the round. TechCrunch has more here.

eOriginal, a 20-year-old, Baltimore-based software firm whose digital transaction management tools are used in the post-execution of financial asset documents, has raised $26.5 million from the Philadelphia-based private equity firm LLR Partners. More here.

Genetesis, a three-year-old, Cincinnati, Oh.-based medical device startup that helps physicians detect and characterize cardiac rhythm disorders, has raised $1.2 million in seed financing co-led by CincyTech and Radical Investments. The Cincinnati Enquirer has more here.

Gluru, a three-year-old, London-based task management platform, has raised $2 million in seed funding from British Sussex Place Ventures, SaatchInvest, Gecad, and Playfair Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Kit, a year-old, New York-based company created inside the startup studio Expa, has raised $2.5 million from Social CapitalPrecursor VenturesApril UnderwoodEllen PaoAuthentic VenturesBlack Angel Tech Fund, and Expa. Kit is a site where users can discuss and purchase interesting products that are grouped into kits for all sorts of activities, like, say, vlogging. Users who create “kits” for the benefit of others can also make money through affiliate links (a la Wirecutter). TechCrunch has more here., a two-year-old Israel-based startup that aims to simplify log analysis by using machine-learning algorithms to predict critical events, has raised $16 million in Series B funding led by OpenView, with participation from 83Northand Giza Venture Capital. SiliconAngle has more here.

MacroPoint, a seven-year-old, Cleveland, Oh.-based company that makes automated location tracking software, just raised $44 million in funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity. More here.

Midaxo, a five-year-old, Helsinki, Finland-based company that makes mergers and acquisitions software, has raised $4 million in Series A funding co-led by EOC Capital and Finnish Industry Investments. FinSMEs has more here.

Musement, a four-year-old, Milan, Italy-based company that provides information and ticketing services pertaining to museums, archaeological sites, and opera theaters around the world, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by the family fund Micheli Associati, with participation from P101, and 360 Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Orbital Shift, a seven-year-old, Missoula, Mt.-based workforce management software company, has raised $1.25 million in funding led by Next Frontier Capital, with participation from unnamed angel investors. More here.

PlaySimple Games, a two-year-old, Bangalore, India-based mobile social gaming startup, has raised $4 million in Series A funding co-led by SAIF Partners and earlier backer IDG Ventures India. LiveMint has more here.

Procurify, a four-year-old Vancouver, Canada-based maker of cloud-based procurement software, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Runa Capital, with participation from Point Nine Capital, Nexus Venture Partnersand the Business Development Bank of Canada. TechCrunch has more here.

Prynt, a 2.5.-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that builds printers for smartphone cases, raised $7 million in Series A funding led by GGV Capital. More here.

Sauce Labs, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes cloud-based testing software for mobile and web applications, has raised $70 million in funding from Centerview Capital Technology, Institutional Venture Partners, and Adams Street Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Siemplify, a year-old, New York-based online information security platform, has raised $10 million in funding led by 83North and G20 Ventures, with participation from a couple of investors. More here.

xAd, a seven-year-old, New York City-based location marketing and advertising platform, raised $42.5 million in Series E funding. Eminence Capital led the round, with participation from W Capital, Institutional Venture Partners, and Emergence Capital. Part of the new capital is being used to buy WeatherBug, a weather app. TechCrunch explains why here.

Zefo, a year-old, Bangalore, India-based refurbished furniture marketplace, has raised roughly $5.9 million in funding led by Sequoia India, with participation from Beenext and Helion Ventures. The Tech Portal has more here.

New Funds

Boldstart Ventures started off with $1 million in 2010 as a kind of experiment. Could a New York-based outfit find enough seed-stage, enterprise-focused, East Coast opportunities to rationalize a bigger fund? The answer, seemingly, is yes. Boldstart, founded by longtime VC Ed Sim (who’d spent the previous decade-plus an investor with Dawntreader Ventures), just closed its third fund with $47 million. That’s $30 million more than the $17 million Boldstart had raised for its second fund in 2013, says Sim, who now works alongside general partner Eliot Durbin. The two have also more recently brought in Work Market cofounder Jeff Leventhal as a venture partner. More here.


Trivago, an 11-year-old, Düsseldorf, Germany-based online hotel search aggregator, has revealed plans to raise up to  $400 million in an public offering on Nasdaq. Skift has more here.


Estee Lauder is buying Too Faced, an Irvine, Ca.-based makeup brand that’s backed by General Atlantic, for about $1.45 billion. Bloomberg has more here.

GE Digital has acquired, a machine-learning powered service that helps businesses find patterns and trends in their vast data stores. The companies aren’t disclosing terms of the deal. had raised $3.6 million. It also participated in the Alchemist Accelerator and Citrix Startup Accelerator programs. TechCrunch has more here.

Hulu has bought the assets The Video Genome Project (The VGP), a three-year-old, Santa Monica-based company that maintains one of the largest structured databases of video content. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, and Hulu says only a small team from The VGP will join the company. The VGP was backed by Segal Group Limited. TechCrunch has the story here.


America’s biggest pension fund just revealed what it pays its PE managers.


The law firm Fenwick & West quietly released its third-quarter venture capital survey this past Friday, and its findings aren’t exactly shocking. At the same time, they hint at problems to come for some startups. More here.

The gender pay gap by tech job, courtesy of Glassdoor.

Essential Reads

Apple is reportedly exploring Google Glass-like augmented reality digital glasses that connect wirelessly to iPhones, as it comes under pressure to deliver new products. Bloomberg has the scoop here.

BuzzFeed’s sources say that a group of Facebook engineers has formed an unofficial task force to review company’s role in promoting fake news, despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s public stance that the concern is vastly overblown. More here.

Uber might have the last laugh over China. Here’s why.


The spy who added me on LinkedIn.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wows in opera debut.

Retail Therapy

French Toast Double Brown Ale. It’s what’s for breakfast if you’re still trying to get over this election. (We’re kidding! Okay, not really. We promise we’ll stop soon.)

StrictlyVC: November 14, 2016

Hi, everyone, hope you had a great weekend. We’re still depressed, but Dave Chapelle’s monologue on SNL this past weekend helped a little bit.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Samsung is increasing its focus on the connected car after the Korean firm announced plans to acquire auto and audio product maker Harman in an all cash deal worth $8 billion. TechCrunch has more here.

Siemens is buying Mentor Graphics for $4.5 billion in cash — its second acquisition focusing on software for semiconductor design this year. Fortune has more here.

Noodling the Future of Urbanization

For roughly a year, Niko Bonatsos, a managing director at the venture firm General Catalyst Partners, didn’t make a single investment. He was meeting with startups daily, as it’s his job to do. But Bonatsos, who steered General Catalyst to Snapchat in 2012, was finding it hard to be inspired by what he was saw.

That changed in September, says Bonatsos, who has spent recent months spending half his time focused on the question of what urban centers are going to look like in the coming decades. On a recent afternoon in San Francisco, we sat down with Bonatsos to talk about it. Our chat has been edited for length.

You see a lot of space being freed up, or repurposed, thanks to companies like Uber, which may make parking structures redundant, and Airbnb, which is beginning to put two- and three-star hotels out of business. As an investor, where do you see the opportunities as this shift takes place?

There are two buckets. The first is in helping cities to run more efficiently, and this is anything that’s happening in the background that you don’t notice until it breaks down – water management, parking, safety, energy stuff.

The second bucket is more consumer-facing, meaning products and services that make life better, easier, and more convenient for inhabitants of dense cites. Think of marketplaces to find roommates, or startups that can help you find physical storage, or hyper-local news that helps you understand what’s happening in the world around you.

How long do you think the transition will take? And do you think the buildings will be the same as today or new?

I think it will take ten to twenty years. And it feels to me that in the Western World, if you and I were to find ourselves in downtown San Francisco 30 years from now, most the buildings would be the same. I don’t see a lot of new inventory coming in. But buildings will need to be repurposed. [In addition to Uber and Airbnb], if Amazon continues to eat up [more of our discretionary spending], what’s going to happen to all the department stores? If self-driving happens, what does that mean for streets and parking lots?

What do you think the implications of self-driving will be for city centers?

I don’t know if whether self-driving cars, when they happen 10 or 25 years down the road, will mean that cities will be more dense or not. You could argue it either way. The cost of transportation will go to zero, and it will be become either entertaining or productive for you to commute.

There may also be a consumer preference component, where the introverts are going to find themselves living in the suburbs, and the extroverts will be hanging out in downtown areas.

More here.

New Fundings

Active AI, a year-old, Singapore-based startup whose chatbot helps banks interact with their customers, has raised $3 million in funding from IDG Ventures India and Kalaari Capital. Tech in Asia has more here.

ElasticRun, a 1.5-year-old, Pune, India-based startup building a “next generation technology that will empower the e-commerce and distribution industry of India,” has raised $2 million in seed funding from Kalaari Capitaland Norwest Venture Partners. Tech in Asia has more here.

Intent Solutions, a two-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based creator of a medication dispenser, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from undisclosed investors. More here.

Nutmeg, a six-year-old, London-based online investment management service, has raised £30 million ($37.5 million) in new funding led by the Hong Kong-based independent financial advisory firm Convoy, with participation from earlier backers Schroders, Balderton Capital, Pentech, Armada Investment Group, and Nigel Wray. TechCrunch has more here.

PERQ, a 15-year-old, Indianapolis, Ia.-based marketing and ad tech company, has raised $1.7 million in funding from 4G Ventures. Xconomy has more here.

Quantopian, a five-year-old, Boston-based online platform that strives to turn anyone into a successful quantitative analyst, has raised $25 million in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Point72 Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Spark Capital. VentureBeat has more here.

Roofstock, a year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based online marketplace for single family rentals, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Khosla Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Nyca Partners, QED Investors, and SV Angel. More here.

Talent Garden, a five-year-old, Milan, Italy-based co-working space company, has raised €12 million ($13 million) in funding from investors including Endeavor Catalyst, 500 Startups and Italy’s largest investment bank, Tamburi Investment Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Vacasa, a seven-year-old, Portland, Ore. tech-enabled vacation rental platform, has raised $5 million in funding from Assurant, a risk management provider. The capital brings the company’s Series A round to $40 million. More here.

Zugata, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup whose software automatically figures out who employees work with most, then helps them gather feedback from each other without involving managers or HR departments, has raised $7 million in Series A from Canaan Partners, General Catalyst and Redpoint Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Homestead Capital, a San Francisco-based investment firm that’s focused on acquiring diversified farmland assets in the U.S, has raised $400 million for its new fund, just 15 months after closing its debut fund with $173 million. The firm currently owns a portfolio of farms across 11 states that produce 16 different crops. The WSJ has more here.

Long Hill Capital Management, a Shanghai, China-based venture capital firm, has closed its inaugural fund with $125 million in commitments. Long Hill is managed by Xiaodong Jiang and Bo Jiang, who previously led the China investing practice for New Enterprise Associates. Their firm invests in early-stage healthcare and consumer services companies based in China. More here.


Bob Grady, a well-regarded longtime venture capitalist and private equity investor who has been splitting his time in recent years between homes in Wyoming and San Francisco, is reportedly on Trump’s short list for either Energy Secretary or Interior Secretary.

Wall Street veteran and former Citigroup CFO Sallie Krawcheck — currently the CEO and cofounder of Ellevest — tries arguing why Donald Trump’s presidency may ultimately be one of the best thing for feminism.

Geoff Lewis, a partner at Peter Thiel’s venture firm Founders Fund, broke with Thiel yesterday, writing in a blog post that he’s fearful of Donald Trump’s presidency and that he thinks the technology industry bears some of the blame for Trump’s rise. Bloomberg has more here.

On Saturday, “Silicon Valley” stars Kumail Nanjiani and Thomas Middleditchreported on Twitter that they’d been harassed and invited “outside” by two twentysomethings over their public opposition to Trump. The Washington Post has more here.

Essential Reads

In a dramatic about-face, Airbnb says it is ready to police its San Francisco hosts, taking actions it has long resisted as invasive, unrealistic or unwieldy.

The reviews of Apple‘s new MacBook Pro are in. The verdict? Meh.

Gizmodo claims Facebook chose not to take steps to suppress fake news earlier this year because it would have “disproportionately impacted right-wing news sites by downgrading or removing that content from people’s feeds.” More here.

Donald Trump “will be condemned for his recklessness, ignorance and incompetence” if he imposes tariffs, says a Communist party-controlled newspaper. The Guardian has more here.


Centuries of preserved shipwrecks, found in the Black Sea. (H/T: FiveThirtyEight.)

New photos of the house where the Obamas plan to spend the next several years.

Rest in peace, Gwen Ifill. You will be missed.

Retail Therapy

Artist Residence, for when you’re finally ready to write that novel.

StrictlyVC: November 11, 2016

Hi! Happy Friday, everyone, and a giant thank you to those of you who are veterans or who count veterans in your family. We so greatly appreciate your service.

Top News in the A.M.

Alibaba says its Singles Day promotion yesterday smashed its previous sales record, and that it recorded a stunning $15 billion 20 hours into the event.

Yep, 2016 Will See the Fewest IPOs since 2009

While September might have been a good month for IPOs, things have slowed down considerably again, and don’t expect that to change before the first quarter of 2017. The last six weeks of the year are typically slow. There’s also the black swan outcome of the U.S. presidential election to factor into the picture.

What that means: 2016 will likely see as few IPOs as 2009 — there’s just too much ground to make up at this point.

New Pitchbook numbers underscore the point. In the first three quarters of this year, just $7.24 billion was raised across 49 public offerings — declines of 49 percent and 48 percent, respectively, over the first three quarters of 2015. And that’s taking both PE-backed and VC-backed companies into account. Breaking things down further, just $2 billion was raised across 31 venture-backed IPOs.

Also, the first time since 2008, not a single IPO raised more than $250 million for the issuer, notes Pitchbook. That largely owes to smaller floats. As IPO pro Lise Buyer noted when we chatted with her last month, it “used to be that you sold 10 to 20 percent of your shares in an IPO, but . . . valuations are low, so companies are smart to take advantage of the [demand created from] limited supply.”

As for so-called unicorns — of which there ostensibly remain roughly 200 — just two made it out the door this year: Nutanix and Twilio.

So what happens next? It’s hard to know. Most companies take advantage of the ability to file confidentially, which allows them to get the process started without alerting their competitors to their numbers. We may see a healthy number of offerings in the first quarter; we might not.

Of course, even those that may have been prepping public offerings could push them off for now while the markets adjust to the new U.S. president. As you might have noticed, while most of the market rose yesterday, tech stocks have been crumbling over apparent concerns about the impact the incoming administration will have on trade overseas.

You can find Pitchbook’s newest numbers here, if you’d like to read more.

New Fundings

CureVac, a 16-year-old, Germany-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing immunotherapies for the treatment of prostate cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, has raised $29.5 million in funding led by new investorsBaden-Württembergische Versorgungsanstalt für Ärzte, Zahnärzte und Tierärzte and Landeskreditbank Baden-Württemberg. More here.

CurrencyFair, a seven-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based peer-to-peer currency exchange marketplace, has raised €8 million ($8.8 million) in funding led by earlier backers Octopus Ventures and Frontline Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.

Heureka Software, a two-year-old, Cleveland, Oh.-based analytics company that gives organizations the ability to extract intelligence from dark data, has raised $1.1 million in seed funding from the venture development organization JumpStart and local angel investors. More here.

Intuity Medical, a 14-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based company that makes blood glucose monitoring systems for diabetes management, has raised $40 million led by PTV Healthcare Capital, with participation from Luther King Capital Management, Accuitive Medical Ventures, Investor Growth Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock, and Versant Ventures. MobiHealthNews has more here.

PillDrill, a three-year-old, Las Vegas-based startup behind a medication tracking system, has raised $3 million in seed funding from unnamed angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

ReVision Optics, a 20-year-old, Lake Forest, Ca.-based company behind an implantable presbyopia-correcting corneal inlay technology, has raised $32 million in funding led by JJDC, with participation from earlier backers Canaan Partners, Domain Associates, InterWest Partners and ProQuest Investments. More here.

Singular, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based marketing analytics company, has raised $15 million in Series A funding from KDWC, Translink Capital, Telstra Ventures, and earlier backer General Catalyst Partners. Globes has more here.


Authorea, a 4.5-year-old, New York-based online collaborative platform for researchers, has acquired The Winnower, a two-year-old, bootstrapped research publisher that offers advanced publishing tools to individual authors. No financial terms were disclosed. According to CrunchBase, Authorea has raised $2.25 million from Lux Capital, the Knight Foundation, ff Venture Capital and New York Angels. More here.

Facebook has purchased CrowdTangle, a four-year-old, Baltimore, Md.-based tool that publishers use to track how content spreads around the web. Terms aren’t being disclosed. According to CrunchBase, CrowdTangle had raised $2.2 million from a host of investors, including Advancit Capital, Betaworks, and BoxGroup. More here.


Brendan Hannigan has joined Polaris Partners as a New York-based venture partner focusing on security, cloud and SaaS companies. Hannigan spent more than four years as a general manager at IBM previously.

Last night, Fox News reported that Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney had asked employees who had voted for Trump to resign, but there’s no evidence to support that claim.

Rob May has joined Pillar Companies, a Boston-based venture firm, as a partner. May previously cofounded Backupify, where he was CEO until it was acquired in late 2014.

Peter Thiel is reportedly joining Donald Trump’s transition team, and according to a tidbit just leaked to reporter Dan Primack, Thiel is already suggesting that Trump consider Rex TibbensCOO of Lyft, as U.S. Transportation Secretary. We will admit that our first reaction to this possibility was: Gross. Barf. More cronyism. (Lyft is backed by Thiel’s Founder Fund.) But the general idea is an interesting one. Tibbens was previously a VP at Amazon where, according to his LinkedIn bio, he led the technical and product development of Prime Now, Amazon’s one-hour delivery service. He also spent some time in logistics at Dell.

A 21-year-old Thiel Fellow is dropping out of the program and returning the $100,000 grant he was given, citing Thiel’s help in Trump’s election win. Says Cosmo Scharf, the young founder, ” . . . the free money is not worth having that on my conscience every few months when a wire transfer comes through my bank account.”

Amid reports that Facebook greatly impacted the U.S. election outcome owing to the filters it uses and the fake news that users discovered on the platform, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is saying that “the idea that fake news on Facebook, which is a very small amount of the content, influenced the election in any way… is a pretty crazy idea.” More here.

Essential Reads

Amazon has to refund parents for their kids’ “accidental” in-app purchases, a federal judge decided yesterday.

Yikes. Carnegie Mellon researchers just showed how commercial-grade facial recognition software can be tricked into identifying the wrong person 100 percent of the time.


Seattle Seahawks linebacker Cassius Marsh may not look like a nerd, but “I’m a nerd,” he told the Washington Post while searching for his stolen “Magic: The Gathering” cards.

Rats are ticklish, too.

“This is what it feels like when America’s made great again.” (Funny, poignant stuff from Stephen Colbert.)

Retail Therapy

We’re putting this one on our Christmas list. (It’s legal here now in California, and given this week, we think Santa will understand.)

StrictlyVC: November 10, 2016

Hi, all, happy Thursday.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Why a Trump administration is expected to dismantle net neutrality.

And expand government surveillance.

Here are numerous other tech policies that Trump promised to implement as president.

Peter Thiel’s Big Gamble

Peter Thiel should rightly be admired for sometimes seeing what many others cannot. He understood the power of online money transfers well before most traditional financial institutions. He wrote Facebook a check when it was little more than an interesting startup from another Harvard dropout. Most recently, he anticipated what few of his peers predicted could possibly come to fruition: a Trump presidency.

Of course, Thiel more than recognized that Trump’s ascendancy was unstoppable. He spoke out publicly on Trump’s behalf, including in a keynote speech at the Republican National Conventional. He also donated to Trump’s campaign.

If Trump retreated back to the world of reality television and his real estate dealings after this year’s election, as was widely expected to happen, Silicon Valley and the rest of the business world would eventually forget about Thiel’s ringing endorsement of Trump. As distance grew between Trump’s political aspirations and his ability to initiate global annihilation, the tech community would have been increasingly willing to forgive and forget.

Instead, Trump is now President-elect of the United States of America. And no matter what your position on that outcome – whether you consider him a genius for acknowledging an angry republic and for cutting his way to the most powerful office in the world virtually single-handedly, or you deem him a shallow narcissist who has repeatedly displayed contempt for for women, minorities, civility, and critical thinking — he is wholly inexperienced as a politician. Things will be said that can’t be unsaid. Mistakes will be made. They will also serve as a persistent reminder of Thiel’s support for Trump.

More here.

New Fundings

Blackmoon Financial Group, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based online lending platform that connects balance sheet lenders with institutional investors looking to purchase new loans, has raised $2.5 million in funding from Target Global, A&NN Group, Flint Capital, and angels. More here.

Cape Analytics, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company that sells geospatial structured data to the real estate industry, has raised $14 million in funding led by Formation 8, with participation from Data Collective, XL Innovate, Lux Capital, Khosla Ventures, Promus Ventures, and Montage Ventures. More here.

Crayon, a two-year-old, Boston-based marketing intelligence startup, has raised $3.35 million in seed funding co-led by Founder Collective and Baseline Ventures, with participation from BoxGroup, Converge Venture Partners, and angel investors, including Behance founder Scott Belsky and ex-HubSpot executives Mike Volpe and Yoav Shapira. More here.

Job Today, a 1.5-year-old, Luxembourg-based app for finding local jobs, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Flint Capital, with participation from earlier backers investors Accel Partners, Mangrove Capital, and Felix Capital, and with the participation of three European media companies: Astremedia, Channel 4, and German Media Pool VC. More here.

Neo Technology, a nine-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company whose open source-based “graph database”  can be used to map and discover relationships across various industries and use cases, has raised $36 million in Series D funding from new investor, London-based Greenbridge Partners. The company’s earlier backers also joined the round, including Creandum, Sunstone and Fidelity’s Eight Roads Ventures. More here.

Rappi, a year-old, Columbia-based on-demand delivery service, has raised $9 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Foundation Capital and Redpoint Ventures. More here.

RiskIQ, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based cyber security company, has raised $30.5 million in Series C funding led by Georgian Partners, with participation from Summit Partners, Battery Ventures, and MassMutual Ventures. More here.

SentiOne, a five-year-old, Warsaw, Poland-based startup that helps brands track online mentions about their products and services and engage in conversations with customers across the social web, has raised $3.5 million in funding from Venture TFI and Trigon TFI Group. More here.

Teamleader, a four-year-old, Belgium-based software company that helps companies manage data in their cloud, has raised €10 million ($10.8 million) in Series B funding led by previous backer Fortino Capital. More here.

Toast, a year-old, Singapore-based startup that helps make cross-border payments easier and cheaper for migrant workers living overseas, has raised $1.5 million in funding led by Aetius Capital, with participation from 1776 and the Australian financial services company Pepper Group. More here.

Zipline International, a five-year-old, Half Moon Bay, Ca.-based startup that builds drones that drop crucial medical supplies to clinics or hospitals in areas that aren’t accessible by land, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. Visionnaire Ventures led the financing, joined by Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Subtraction Capital and Jerry Yang. More here.

New Funds

Material Impact, a 1.5-year-old, Lexington, Ma.-bsed venture firm that aims to invest in small and mid-size “material technologies” in the healthcare and energy sectors, is targeting $100 million for its debut fund, shows an SEC filing. Material Impact was founded by Adam Sharkawy. He was most recently an SVP at The Medicines Co., a publicly traded pharmaceutical company that’s best known for an anti-clotting drug.


Adobe is acquiring the 10-year-old, Emeryville, Ca.-based ad tech company TubeMogul for roughly $540 million net of debt and cash. It’s buying TubeMogul’s outstanding common stock for $14 per share. TubeMogul had gone public in July 2014, surging in its debut before getting walloped by public market investors (alongside shares of other publicly traded ad tech companies). More here.

Yesterday, Nasty Gal, the retailer founded 10 years ago when founder Sophia Amorusa began by selling vintage fashion items on eBay, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Central District of California. The L.A.-based company has raised $65 million over the years, including from Index Venturesand renowned retail executive Ron Johnson. More here.


Adam Bain, Twitter’s chief operating officer, plans to leave the company. Anthony Noto, the company’s CFO, will replace him.

On Twitter this morning, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos congratulated Donald Trump on his win, saying he wishes him “great success in his service to the country.” Smart move. Bezos also owns the Washington Post and the space company Blue Origin. After Trump had attacked the Washington Post as a tax shelter for Bezos during his election campaign, Bezos offered to send Trump into space on one of his rockets.

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban apparently also feels compelled to change his public stance. Though he called Trump a “superstar liar” during the election, he urged his many Twitter followers yesterday to give Trump a chance.

One more: Asked his thoughts about the election results, Alphabet chairman and Hillary Clinton supporter Eric Schmidt said at a Dealbook conference today, “I think we should congratulate the next president of the United States. It’s a significant achievement . . . and it’s a pretty amazing story.”

As for 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, he’s not graciously accepting the outcome of the election. Instead, he had an impassioned “meltdown” over Trump’s win at a tech conference in Lisbon.

Essential Reads

The future of big mergers under Trump? Like much else, it’s unclear.

It’s “Singles Day” in China, and the annual event, pioneered by Alibaba in 2009 to encourage spending, just landed the company $1 billion in sales in the first five minutes in what looks to become a record-breaking sales day.


Regarding your reaction to my gluten-free diet.

Still feeling lousy? You’ll get over the election in about a week, says one out-of-touch study.

Retail Therapy

The best new luxury cars coming to next week’s L.A. auto show.

Hundreds of pieces from David Bowie’s art collection, which you can buy today.

StrictlyVC: November 9, 2016

Hi, everyone. We know you don’t open StrictlyVC for our political opinion. We’ll just say that we’re stunned like so many others by what happened last night; like a lot of you, we’re still processing it all. (We’ve spent much of the day watching CNN for the first time since this country’s last election.)

As Hillary Clinton suggested in a concession speech a little earlier today, let’s all of us hope that Donald Trump will be a successful president for all Americans. Forward we go into the great unknown.

Top News in the A.M.

Silicon Valley reacts to Trump’s win with disbelief, outrage, fear and . . . a secession plan?

“He’s a Startup That Disrupted the Establishment”

Fabrice Grinda, a longtime New Yorker, has helped create hundreds of jobs for Americans and others. Among the companies he has started is OLX, one of the largest free classifieds sites in the world — one that was acquired over time by the African conglomerate Naspers for $250 million.

Grinda more recently cofounded Beepi, the peer-to-peer used car marketplace based in California; Rebagg, a New York-based platform that buys high-end luxury bags from their owners for cash; and InstaCarro, a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based car-buying service that will buy individuals’ cars for cash in an hour’s time.

Grinda and longtime business partner, Jose Marin, also plug between $15 million and $20 million of their own capital into startups each year through their joint vehicle, FJ Labs.

But though he sounds it, Grinda isn’t American. He doesn’t have dual citizenship. He’s “pure French.” He just happened to head to Princeton at age 17, and he hasn’t much wanted to leave the East Coast since.

So what does this European make of a new U.S. president who has Silicon Valley on edge? Because he’s a global operator and because he doesn’t live in the Bay Area, we talked with Grinda earlier today about President-elect Trump and whether he’s concerned about what comes next.

How did the U.S. election just change the picture?

Public market investors, limited partners in venture funds and private equity firms — they don’t like uncertainty. What they don’t know is the actual set of policies coming down the line that could impact them going forward. What will be his tax policy? What will his administration regulate and deregulate? It’s not like [Trump’s team] came forward with a well-thought-out set of policy proposals. It was all kind of vacuous. So I think investors will be more cautious until they understand what a Trump presidency means.

Do you think it could impact you personally?

I don’t spend much time thinking about politics. I’m not sure it has a real impact on day-to-day life. It’s a large part of the reason I’m on the Internet. I like its deregulated, fast-moving nature.

Yet there could easily be consequences. People worry, for example, that for the sake of creating more American jobs, Trump might somehow slow tech, including self-driving technologies.

There’s no hard data regarding what is going to be done. My only concerns are around the uncertainty.

What do you make of Trump, the candidate, and soon, the president?

I dislike the guy. I dislike populism and most of the things he said and much of what he stands for. I’m pro immigration and probably more socially liberally than anyone I know. But look, he’s a startup who has disrupted the establishment. He used a lot of the same tactics that a startup would use to get free press, frankly. He created a story that was compelling enough that he garnered press all the time and so had much lower acquisition costs than the other candidates. Jeb Bush was paying something like $5,000 per voter in the GOP primaries, where Trump was paying about $300.

In startup terms, he had an effective distribution and a marketing strategy and messaging that people found compelling. I think he proved the adage that any press is good press. And the establishment only realized this was dangerous once it was too late.

More here.

New Fundings

Buster, a four-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based consumer charter bus, limo andd van reservation platform, has raised $1.1 million in funding led by individal investors and earlier backers General Catalyst Partners, Allen & Company, and Priceline veterans Jeff Boyd and Bob Mylod. The company has now raised $3.8 million altogether. More here.
Castle, a two-year-old, San Francisco company that provides account takeover protection, raised $2 million in seed financing led by First Round Capital, with participation from F-Prime Capital, FundersClub, and numerous angel investors. More here.

Hired, a four-year-old San Francisco-based career marketplace for tech talent, has raised an additional $30 million in Series C funding that brings the round’s total to $70 million. Investors include The Glenmede Trust and the Ontario Pension Fund. More here.
Motionsoft, a Rockville, Md.-based maker of gym management and billing software, has raised $6 million in Series C investment from its existing investors, including Route 66 Ventures, Edison Partners, and company co-founders Al Noshirvani and Hossein Noshirvani. More here.

Square Yards, a three-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based real estate consulting company, has raised $12 million in funding from Reliance Group. More here.

RetireUp, a four-year-old, Chicago-based company that makes software for retirement income planning, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Annexus Ventures. FinSMES has more here.
The Wing, a year-old, New York-based multi-purpose space and women’s club, has raised $2.4 million in funding, including from SoulCycle founders Julie Riceand Elizabeth Cutler, Birchbox cofounder Hayley Barna, BBG Ventures, Equinox CEO Harvey Spevak, and investor Steve Case. Forbes has more here.

Wurk, a year-old, Denver-based startup that helps cannabis businesses comply with regulators, raised $1 million in seed funding from Arcview Group, CanopyBoulder, and Poseidon Asset Management. TechCrunch has more here.


OneLogin, a company that provides identity management in the cloud, is acquiring Sphere Secure Workspace to add mobile device management to its identity-driven security model. Sphere Secure Workspace appears to have raised a nominal amount of seed funding from the cyber security accelerator CyLon. TechCrunch has more here.


A Baidu vice president who was considered one of the company’s rising stars has resigned after claims by the company he had improper conflicts of interest. Li Mingyuan, who is in his early 30s, led the company’s mobile and cloud business. The WSJ has the story here.

Two executives have quietly left the chat app company Slack, reports Business Insider. Anne Toth, the company’s head of HR who was also the company’s head of policy, left at the end of September, though her LinkedIn profile has not yet been changed to show her departure or her next gig. Creative Director Mark Lawson has also left after about eight months on the job. More here.

Silicon Valley’s best-known Donald Trump supporter — Peter Thiel — issued a statement earlier on Trump’s historic win. Business Insider has more here.


NatureBox, the online delivery service that delivers natural snacks to consumers’ doors, is looking to hire an analyst/chief of staff. The job is in Redwood City, Ca. You can reach out directly to CEO Guatam Gupta, at
Touchdown Ventures, a two-year-old firm that partners with leading corporations to help establish and manage their venture capital programs, is looking to hire a venture capital analyst. The job is in San Francisco.

Essential Reads

SoftBank has cut the value of two of its largest startup investments in India – Ola and Snapdeal, writing off a total of $550 million in the value of its shares in the companies. As a result, the valuation of the companies in the domestic market will fall, too. Tech in Asia has more here.

Walgreens invested about $140 million in Theranos; now it wants that much back in damages.

Did Donald Trump win because of Facebook?


Clinton’s data-driven campaign relied heavily on an algorithm named Ada. What didn’t it see?

Retail Therapy

We are trying all of these as soon as we hit “publish.”