StrictlyVC: January 10, 2017

Hi, happy Tuesday, everyone! Tons of news to track today, so let’s dive right in.

Top News in the A.M.

Apple and Zeiss, an old-line Germany-based company that makes optical systems, industrial  measurements, and medical devices, are working together on augmented reality optics, says blogger and tech evangelist Robert Scoble.

That Strange New Lawsuit Against Investor Michael Goguen was Just Dropped

Early last month, we told you about a bizarre new lawsuit involving longtime venture capitalist Michael Goguen, whose long career at Sequoia Capital ended early last year after he was sued in a salacious breach of contract suit that accused him of sexually mistreating a woman named Amber Baptiste, then refusing to honor an elaborate financial arrangement they’d made.

Baptiste and Goguen are set to meet in court this coming May. But the newer suit, filed the first week of December by a former acquaintance named Bryan Nash, was just dropped — and not surprisingly given the circumstances.

According to Nash’s suit, he first met Goguen in 1994 and they became “friends.” As Nash and Goguen’s “friendship developed,” they enjoyed “joint family gatherings,” took “vacations together,” went “mountain biking together,” and also exercised together, it said.

After skipping over two decades (that’s not an exaggeration), Nash’s suit proceeded to claim that last year, Goguen agreed to pay Nash $15 million — and an eventual $19 million altogether — for “unrelated professional and personal assistance to Goguen.” The issue at the crux of the suit was that “before the funds were deposited through the wire transfer,” Goguen then “withheld, or revoked” the transfer.

None of Nash’s complaint added up, as you’ve probably surmised yourself, but that didn’t stop a Mission Viejo, Ca.-based personal injury law firm from agreeing to represent Nash in his lawsuit.

At least, until yesterday.

More here.

New Fundings

Aledade, a two-year-old, Bethesda, Md.-based services and software company that offers analytics and other IT meant to support accountable health care, has raised $20 million in funding led by Biomatics Capital. More here.

The Athletic, a year-old, Chicago-based subscription sports website that was originally backed by Precursor Ventures, Y Combinator and other early-stage investors, has just raised another $2.3 million in seed funding led by Courtside Ventures, with participation from Advancit Capital, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investors, Luminari Capital, and others. FinSMEs has more here.

Choozle, a 4.5-year-old, Denver-based real-time digital marketing platform, has raised $2.4 million Series A-1 funding from Great Oaks Venture Capital, Gemini Group, and other, unnamed investors. VentureBeat has more here.

Cloud Elements, a 4.5-year-old, Denver-based cloud API integration service, has raised $13 million in Series B funding led by Harbert Partners, with participation from Rally Ventures, Access Ventures and Grotech Ventures. The company has now raised more than $21 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Ivantis, a 10-year-old Irvine, Ca.-based device company focused on eye health (it has developed a stent meant to lower eye pressure in people with glaucoma), has raised $25 million in Series C funding led by RA Capital ManagementMérieux Développement also joined the round, as did earlier investors. More here.

Kaminario, a six-year-old, Needham, Ma.-based all-flash storage company, has raised $75 million in new funding led by the private equity firm Waterwood, with participation from new and earlier investors. The company has now raised $218 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Kwipped, a five-year-old, Wilmington, N.C.-based online B2B equipment rental marketplace, has raised more than $700,000 in funding led by VentureSouth. FinSMEs has more here.

Lalamove, a three-year-old, Hong Kong-based on-demand logistics company, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Xianghe Capital, with participation from (the ill-advisedly named) Blackhole Capital and earlier investors MindWorks Ventures and Crystal Stream. TechCrunch has more here.

Logtrust, a 5.5-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based big data analytics platform, has raised $11 million in new funding from Kibo Ventures, IPW and Atlantic Bridge Capital. More here.

Mighty AI, a two-year-old, Seattle-based startup that uses humans to fine-tune artificial intelligence engines and was known until today as Spare5, has raised $14 million in Series A1 funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from GV, Accenture Ventures and earlier investors Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group and New Enterprise Associates.The Seattle Times has more here.
MobileCause, a 12-year-old, Calabasas, Ca.-based cloud-based fundraising and communication platform for nonprofits, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Level Equity. More here.

PeraHealth, a nine-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based company that makes predictive, real-time clinical surveillance software, has raised $14 million in new funding from the growth equity firm Mainsail Partners. More here.

Phantom, a 2.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based cybersecurity company, has raised $13.5 million in Series B funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with participation from earlier investors TechOperators Venture Capital, Blackstone Group, In-Q-Tel, and Rein Capital among others. More here.

Resy, a two-year-old, New York-based restaurant booking app, has raised $13 million in funding led by Airbnb — itself of the most richly funded startups in the world, which will begin offering the service to allow travelers to make reservations beginning in April. Other participants in the round include First Data Corp., RSE Ventures, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures. The WSJ has the story here.
Scandit, an eight-year-old, Zurich, Switzerland-based mobile barcode scanning company, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding from Atomico. VentureBeat has more here.

SnapMD, a three-year-old, L.A.-based company that makes telemedicine software that allows for virtual care management, has added $3.25 million to a previously closed Series A round. The new infusion brings the round to $9.15 million. Investors include the original syndicate, including Shea Ventures and TYLT VenturesMore here.

New Funds

According to reporter Dan Primack, who launched his Pro Rata newsletter today (sign-up is here), the three-year-old, San Francisco-based hardware incubator Highway1 is raising its first official venture capital fund from outside investors — and with a $100 million target. Highway1 was launched by the custom manufacturing company PCH International.

The Knight Foundation, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and other investors have formed a new, $27 million fund. The big idea behind it: to promote research into artificial intelligence in the public interest. TechCrunch has more here.


British online fashion retailer is a step closer to acquiring the brand and customer database of 11-year-old, L.A.-based fashion retailer Nasty Gal, which filed for bankruptcy protection back in November. Boohoo is bidding $20 million. TechCrunch has more here.
Alphabet is reportedly in talks to sell Skybox Imaging — the satellite business it acquired for $500 million less than three years ago — to Planet, the satellite imagine startup formerly known as Planet Labs. Bloomberg calls it another sign the technology giant is ratcheting back grand ambitions to blanket the globe with internet service. More here.

Fitbit, the wearable fitness device company, has acquired a young “affordable luxury” smart watch brand called Vector for its software platform and design team. Vector had raised $2 million from Gecad Group. TechCrunch has more here.


Atomico, the European venture firm launched by Skype cofounder Niklas Zennstrom, has promoted principals Carolina Brochado and Teddie Wardi to partner. TechCrunch has more here.

Robin Bienfait has joined the Atlanta-based venture firm Valor Ventures as a partner. She was previously the CIO and chief innovation officer at Samsung.
Yumin Choi has joined Bain Capital Ventures as a managing director, leading the firm’s healthcare investments. Choi will be based in Boston and joins from healthcare specialist HLM Venture Partners, where he’d led and managed early- and growth-stage investments.

Crosslink Ventures has two new partners: Omar El-Ayat, who has has been promoted to partner and Matt Bigge, who just joined the firm. El-Ayat had joined Crosslink in 2011 and was made a vice president in 2014. Bigge was previously a partner at Paladin Capital, where he focused on enterprise and industrial infrastructure with a particular emphasis on security.

Mike Dempsey has joined the New York-based early-stage venture firm Compound (formerly Metamorphic Ventures) as a principal. Dempsey most recently worked at Rothenberg Ventures and was previously an analyst with the private research and database company CB Insights.

Jocelyn Goldfein has joined the three-year-old, early-stage venture firm Zetta Venture Partners as a partner. Goldfein was most recently an engineering director at Facebook for four years and, before that, a VP of engineering at VMware. According to Fortune, she’s looking to back AI companies specifically (for now, at least).

Elise Hebb has joined Maveron as partner and COO. For the last nine-plus years, Hebb was with Madrona Venture Group, where she managed investor relations and business development. Earlier in her career, Hebb was also an LP at the University of Washington. GeekWire has more here.

Ellen Pao — the former interim Reddit CEO, former partner at Kleiner Perkins and the co-founder of the diversity and inclusion organization Project Include — has joined the Kapor Center for Social Impact. More specifically, Pao will serve as Kapor Capital’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, as well as a venture partner. TechCrunch has more here.

Essential Reads

If the Verizon deal goes through, Yahoo is renaming itself Altaba, and half its current board members, including Marissa Mayer, will step down. The new brand is a play on the single biggest asset that would remain of Yahoo if its deal with Verizon closes: a 15 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Altaba would also own a 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan. More here.

It’s a new game for Uber drivers if New York passes this law.


U2 is setting out on a 25-date stadium tour where it will perform its “Joshua Tree” album in its entirety each night. [Happy sigh.]

Late-night hosts had a field day yesterday, after the Donald complained that Meryl Streep is “overrated.”

The most dangerous U.S. cities for pedestrians. (TLDR: Don’t walk in Florida.)

Retail Therapy

The Leave Me Alone Sweater. (Hey, it takes strong messaging sometimes.)

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