StrictlyVC: January 20, 2017

That was some inauguration speech. So much for trying to unify the country.

No column today as we coughed our way through the night and are now officially zonked. Superfluous pro tip: Do not, whatever you do, let a seven-year-old with a virus breathe all over you for three days while he stays home from school.

See you back here on Monday, everyone.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Twitter just isn’t enough. President Trump just took to Snapchat, too.

New Fundings

Adarza BioSystems, a nine-year-old, St. Louis, Mo.-based company that develops biological assay platforms for measuring clinical and point-of-care samples, has raised $17 million in Series C funding led by RiverVest. MedCity News has more here.

Cristal Therapeutics, 5.5-year-old, Limberg, The Netherlands-based life sciences company developing nanomedicines to treat cancer and other, chronic inflammatory diseases, has raised €12.8 million ($13.6 million) in funding from a consortium headed by Aglaia BioMedical Ventures and Belgian DROIA Oncology Ventures. FinSMEs has more here.

Dwolla, a nine-year-old, Des Moines, Ia.-based startup that competes and partners with banks to provide payments and money transfers with reduced fees via its software, has raised $6.85 million led by previous investor Union Square Ventures and new investor Foundry Group. Other participants include Next Level Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, High Alpha, Firebrand Ventures, and Detroit Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Faradion, a six-year-old, Sheffield, U.K.-based low-cost battery material developer, has raised £3.2 million ($3.9 million) in Series B funding from Mercia Technologies and earlier investors Finance Yorkshire Seedcorn Fund and Haldor Topsoe A/D. More here.

Lmrkts, a four-year-old, New York based fintech startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by Motive Partners. More here.

Milk Mantra, an eight-year-old, Odisha, India-based dairy startup offering natural milk products to urban consumers, has raised $10 million in Series D funding led by Neev Fund. Eight Road Ventures (an investment arm of Fidelity International), and impact investor Aavishkaar also participated in the round. The Tech Portal has more here.

Miss Fresh, a 2.5-year-old, Beijing-based company that provides fresh produce from U.S., Chile and Australia to Chinese consumers and guarantees two-hour delivery, has raised $100 million in new funding led by the venture capital arm of Lenovo and Zhejiang Zheshang Venture Capital Co. Other participants in the round include Tencent Holdings, South Korean KTB Investment & Securities, Grand Flight Investment and China Growth Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Qonto, a 10-month-old, Paris, France-based next-gen bank for entrepreneurs, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by Alven Capital, with participation from Valar Ventures and angel investors. More here.

Wydr, a year-old, Gurugram, India-based mobile wholesale marketplace, has raised an undisclosed amount of second round funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, Stellaris Venture Partners and Jungle Venture Partners. Axis Capital from Singapore has also joined the round. Forbes India has more here.

New Funds

CAVU Venture Partners, a food and beverage investment firm that launched its first, $156 million, fund in January of last year, has already raised a second fund, announcing the $209 million vehicle yesterday. Partly, its momentum owes to a late-stage bet on health drink company Bai, which sold in November for $1.7 billion to Dr Pepper Snapple Group. According to Forbes, that provided CAVU with a 3x return on its capital in just 10 months. More here.

HTC Vive, the virtual reality system developed by HTC, has launched a $10 million program to support virtual reality developers working on projects that drive awareness and understanding of global issues such as famine, poverty, gender disparity, and climate change. ZDNet has more here.

Raine Ventures, a 3.5-year-old, New York City-based private equity and venture firm focused on investments in digital media, entertainment, and sports, raised $100 million for its second fund, says  the WSJ. (Subscription required.)


Avaya, a Santa Clara, Ca-based telecommunications company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday. Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital had taken the company private for $8.2 billion in 2007. Fortune has more here.

Rachel Lam is stepping down as head of Time Warner’s venture capital arm, a position she has held for the last 14 years. Allison Goldberg, who joined Time Warner in 2001, is taking over as senior VP of Time Warner Investments. More here.

Accel Partners in London has promoted Luciana Lixandru to partner. Lixandru had joined the firm as a principal in 2011 after shorter stints at Summit Partners and Morgan Stanley. TechCrunch has more here.

Donald Trump will tap Ajit Pai as his pick to lead the FCC in the new administration, elevating the sitting GOP commissioner to the top spot overseeing the nation’s communications industry, says Politico. Its report notes that Pai is a “fierce and vocal critic of many regulations passed by the commission’s Democratic majority, including the 2015 net neutrality rules that require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.” More here.

Investor-CEO Ellen Pao to Jack Dorsey: Follow the platform’s rules and suspend Trump’s Twitter account.

Amit Singhal, former SVP of search and employee number 176 at Google, has joined Uber as its SVP of engineering. TechCrunch has more here.

Former Google VP of engineering on Youtube’s ad team, Kevin Thomson, is also joining Uber. His role: VP of marketplace engineering. TechCrunch has more here.


SeedInvest, the equity crowdfunding platform, wants to hire a director to lead its venture capital sourcing team. The job is in New York.

Essential Reads

Meitu, a kawaii anime makeover app, has been sweeping across the U.S., but security experts say it requires far more data from users’ phones than is necessary for a simple photo app and that it contains some sketchy code.

T. Rowe Price, the mutual fund giant that is one of Snap’s biggest backers, has reportedly “quietly and persistently” objected to a plan put forth by the company’s founders to only sell non-voting shares when it goes public.

Google uses its search engine to hawk its own products, finds a WSJ analysis.


The most creative infographics of 2016.

Why so many movie villains have British accents.

A visual history of the U.S. presidential inauguration.

Retail Therapy

Steve McQueen’s racing helmet is right now up for auction. (Note: the auction house warns that it’s “very expensive!”)

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