Hey, Friday! How you doin’?
Hope you have wonderful weekend, dear readers. Thanks very much to those of you who’ve already picked up a ticket for our next StrictlyVC INSIDER evening on February 8, featuring, to our great delight: Foundry Group cofounder Brad Feld, Cowboy Ventures founder Aileen Lee, Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake, Tusk Ventures founder Bradley Tusk, Haystack founder Semil Shah and yours truly. More than half the tickets are now gone, so don’t wait too long to grab yours.
We also want to say a giant thank you to our sponsors, Bolt, the hardware-focused venture firm that always has our back, CrunchBase, the data and analytics platform that a lot of us rely on to get our jobs done every day, and Rosebud, a new, L.A.-based public relations outfit that caters to startups up and down the coast of California.
If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor as well, let us know, and we’ll see the rest of you next week!
Top News in the A.M.
Eek. Turns out the government body that oversees the security of voting systems was itself hacked. TechCrunch has more here.
NextView Looks to Fund Three
NextView Ventures, one of few seed-stage venture firms in Boston, is looking to raise at least $50 million for a third fund, shows an SEC filing that was processed Wednesday. The firm closed its second fund with $40 million in 2014 and its debut fund with $21 million in 2012.
NextView was founded in 2010 by three former veterans of other venture firms: Dave Beisel, who’d previously worked for Venrock; Rob Go, who was formerly with Spark Capital; and Lee Hower, a former investor with Judith Capital.
They’ve seemingly worked hard to raise the profile of the firm over that period, too. Go, for example, posts two or three pieces of analysis or advice each month to his widely read blog. (One of his most recent posts compares the process of sourcing venture deals to the process of drumming up customers for a software company, including nurturing leads over an extended period.)
The firm typically writes checks of between $100,000 and $1 million. Some of its newest investments include GetHuman, a four-year-old, Boston-based startup that fights people’s customer service battles for them (NextView led a $3 million seed round in the company last month), and Optimus Ride, an MIT spinoff at work on self-driving technologies. NextView led a $5.25 million seed round in the company in October.
At least 13 of NextView’s portfolio companies have been acquired, shows Crunchbase data.
Cota, a two-year-old, New York-based data tracking company that uses a digital classification system to assess cancer patient results on specific treatment protocols, has raised $18 million in funding from Boston Millennia Partners, Novartis, Celgene, Foundation Medicine and Horizon Healthcare. More here.
Femasys, a 12-year-old, Atlanta, Ga-based company that has developed an implantable contraceptive device, has raised $40 million in Series C funding from “multiple institutional investors, family offices and a global medical device company,” none of which were named in a release. The company has now raised roughly $60 milion altogether, shows CrunchBase. More here.
Memebox, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based beauty brand focused on the latest in Asian beauty products and trends, has raised an additional $60 million in a Series C extension round. Investors include Goodwater Capital, Altos Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Mousse Partners, Formation Group, Funders Club, Pear Ventures, Cota Capital and Janet Gurwitch. The new funding brings the company’s Series C round to $66 million, and the company’s overall funding to $160 million. Forbes has more here.
OB1, a year-old, bitcoin-based, decentralized, peer-to-peer trade community, has raised $3 million in funding from BlueYard and earlier backers Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Founder Brian Hoffman also founded OpenBazaar, a bitcoin-based open-source, peer-to-peer marketplace that’s operated as a nonprofit. (OB1 is building services on top of OpenBazaar). More here and here.
One, a 10.5-year-old, Folsom, Ca.-based company that makes cloud-based software for insurance companies, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. AXA Strategic Ventures led the round, with participation from MassMutual Ventures and earlier backer H&Q Asia Pacific. GeekTime has more here.
Pocket Aces, a 2.5-year-old, Mumbai, india-based digital content creator, has raised $3 million from a clutch of global investors, including Sequoia Capital India, North Base Media, Aarin Capital, and FreeCharge. Business Insider has more here.
Springbot, a four-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based e-commerce marketing platform, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Harbert Growth Partners, with participation from TTV Capital and Tech Operators. More here.
VictorOps, a four-year-old Boulder, Co.-based real-time incident management company, has added $2.8 million to its Series B round, which now stands at $15 million. Investors in the company include Shea Ventures, Foundry Group and Costanoa Ventures. More here.
Wyre, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based money transfer company, has raised $5.8 million in Series A funding led by Amphora Capital, with participation from the Chinese payments firms Baofoo.com and 9fBank, Draper Associates, and Digital Currency Group. The company has now raised $7.5 million altogether. CoinDesk has more here.
(Other) New Funds
Cayman Islands-based Genbridge Capital, founded by two former members of JD.com’s M&A team, is looking to raise a $500 million debut fund, according to a new SEC filing. An Asian Venture Capital Journal report says the fund will focus on China-based companies. DealStreetAsia has slightly more here.
The Holt family — owners of the heavy caterpillar equipment, engines, machines, and caterpillar equipment product company — has launched Holt Ventures as an investment arm. The unit will look to back new tech and startups that are focused on the industrial and manufacturing industries. More here.
SJF Ventures, a 17-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based venture capital firm, has closed on $125 million in commitments for its fourth fund — nearly 40 percent more than it raised for its third fund. The News & Observer has more here.
Trivago, the Düsseldorf, Germany-based global hotel search aggregator being spun out of Expedia, priced its IPO offering of 26.1 million American depositary shares at $11 apiece this morning, below its expected range. The WSJ has more here.
Bigger picture: 2016 will not go down in the books as a particularly good year for IPOs. The Renaissance IPO Index has returned a measly 1.7 percent so far this year, compared to 10.5 percent for the S&P 500. Meanwhile, there have been 102 IPOs priced so far this year, a -46 percent change from last year.
Unilever has gone shopping yet again in the world of venture-backed startups. This time, it has agreed to acquire Living Proof, a 12-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based maker of volumizing hair care products. Living Proof raised $53 million from investors including Polaris Partners, Leerink Partners, Piper Jaffray, and actress Jennifer Aniston. Terms of its deal with Unilever aren’t being disclosed. Women’s Wear Daily has more here.
Oracle’s chief executive Safra Catz will join Trump’s transition team, an Oracle spokesperson told TechCrunch yesterday. Catz was one of several top tech executives that attended a meeting with Trump, his children and his advisors Wednesday at Trump Tower in New York. More here.
We weren’t alone in thinking it a little unsettling that Palantir’s Alex Karp was at that meeting with Trump this week. BuzzFeed has more here.
Keith McCarty, founder of the well-funded pot delivery startup Eaze, is stepping down from his position as CEO, and the startup’s chief product and technology officer Jim Patterson will take on the role. TechCrunch has more here.
VMWare is looking to hire a director of corporate development. The job is in Palo Alto.
Coders love VC-backed unicorn Github, but it’s losing a lot of money through profligate spending, says Bloomberg.
Inside Apple‘s $14 billion tax bill.
The biggest tech failures and successes of 2016.
A snapshot of the swanky private club where Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, and Justin Timberlake go to ski.
This developer says he thought he was designing for Space X when it was actually the notorious online marketplace Silk Road.
Soylent powder — it’s back! Try it if you dare.