Happy Monday, everyone!
Some quick notes: A reminder that our next SVC event is coming up Thursday evening, May 4 in San Francisco. You can grab your seat here. (We always run out of room closer to these events.)
Thanks very much to Rosebud Communications for partnering with us. We also want to thank our friends at the expansion-stage firm Nextworld Capital for generously welcoming us back into their beautiful offices and gallery, and our friend and frequent guest editor, investor Semil Shah, who is helping us out once again. If you’re interested in partnering with us on this event, we’d love to talk to you, too.
Before we jump into the newsletter: Today’s StrictlyVC is brought to you by the startup studio Expa. Startups can apply now to be considered for Expa Labs, where selected companies receive a $250,000 or $500,000 equity investment, six-months of office space, and guidance from the Expa team. The application deadline is March 31 (so get moving).
No column today. We’re too busy watching these hearings.
Top News in the A.M.
Jeff Jones, the president of Uber and formerly CMO of Target, is quitting the car-hailing company after less than a year. According to Recode, the move owes to recent and explosive charges of sexual harassment at the company. Jones reportedly determined that the company’s situation is more, er, complicated than he’d realized.
Aetion, a 4.5-year-old, New York-based data analytics company focused on the healthcare industry, has raised $11.2 million in Series A funding led by Flare Capital Partners, with participation from Lakestar. More here.
Akeneo, a 3.5-year-old, Nantes, France-based CRM for product data (it helps customers manage information about their products in stores, online, and in catalogs), has raised a $13 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Partech Ventures, with participation from earlier backer Alven Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
BEFORE Brands, a year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based company aiming to bring new nutritional products to families that end food allergies (it hasn’t launched publicly yet), has raised $35 million in Series B funding from earlier backer Gurnet Point Capital. The funding comes fast on the heels of the company’s $13.1 million Series A round, raised last fall, including from real estate billionaire John Arrillaga and 23andMe cofounder Anne Wojcicki. (Cofounder and CEO Ashley Dombkowski was a former chief business officer at 23andMe.) More here.
CloudCheckr, a six-year-old Rochester, N.Y.-based cloud management platform company, has raised $50 million in Series A funding from Level Equity. More here.
FarmLead, a 3.5-year-old, Ottawa, Canada-based startup that connects grain producers and buyers online to help farmers get fair prices for what they grow, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding led by Monsanto Growth Ventures. Other participants include Avrio Ventures, the MaRS Innovation Accelerator Fund and Serra Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Gro Solutions, a 1.5-year-old, Johns Creek, Ga.-based startup that helps banks and credit unions optimize their mobile offerings, has raised $4.25 million in funding led by TTV Capital, with participation BIP Capital, C&B Capital, and BLH Venture Partners. More here.
Hypereal, a 1.5-year-old, Shanghai-based visual reality headset developer, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Qiming Venture Partners. China Money Network has more here.
MedLumics, an eight-year-old, Madrid, Spain-based cardiac device company specializing in optically guided minimally invasive instruments, has raised €34.4 million ($37 million) in Series B funding led by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, with participation from Seroba Life Sciences, Innogest Capital and earlier backers Ysios Capital Partners and Caixa Capital Risc. More here.
Mychebao, a 4.5-year-old, Nanjing, China-based online auction platform for used cars, has raised $100 million in Series C funding led by PAG Asia Capital. Asian Venture Capital Journal has more here (subscription required).
Nested, a year-old, London-based real estate startup that promises to help users sell their homes for at least 95 percent of their market value and within 90 days, has raised £8 million in funding led by previous investor Passion Capital, with participation from Rocket Internet’s venture arm GFC, which is also a previous investor in the company. The company has now raised £11 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.
Pulmocide, a 3.5-year-old, London-based drug discovery company developing compounds designed for inhaled delivery to treat respiratory syncytial virus and pulmonary aspergillosis, has raised $30.4 million in Series B funding led by SR One. Other participants include Longwood Fund and earlier investors SV Life Sciences, F-Prime Capital, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Touchstone Innovations. More here.
Reduxio Systems, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco and Tel Aviv-based computer storage company developing hybrid flash and disk storage technologies, has raised $22.5 million in Series C funding led by C5 Capital. Previous backers Jerusalem Venture Partners, Carmel Ventures, Intel Capital and Seagate Technology also joined the round. More here.
ShadeCraft, a nearly four-year-old, Pasadena, Ca.- based robotics startup whose first products, designed for outdoors, will be available next year, has raised $2 million in seed funding, according to Fortune. More here.
Tech In Asia, an eight-year-old, Singapore-based regional media startup, is close to raising as much as $6 million in new funding, according to TechCrunch. The outfit had most recently raised $4 million in Series C funding in June 2015. More here.
Square Peg Capital, a four-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-based early stage outfit that has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into startups but was until recently structured as a collective, has closed a debut fund with $180 million, reports Australia’s Financial Review. Square Peg was founded by Paul Bassat, who cofounded the now 13-year-old, publicly traded jobs recruitment platform Seek. More here.
Netmarble, one of the world’s top mobile and PC gaming firms, has filed to raise as much as $2.35 billion (2.66 trillion won) through an IPO in its native Korea. The 16-year-old company is both a game developer and a publisher. You might recall that in December, it paid a reported $800 million for some of the assets of its far U.S. rival Kabam, whose CEO, Kevin Chou, talked with us last month. TechCrunch has more on the IPO filing here.
TPG Capital has reportedly scrapped its plans for an IPO. The New York Post has more here.
Vodafone India has confirmed that it has reached an agreement to acquire rival Idea Cellular. The deal, which is being characterized as a merger, will create India’s largest operator, with some 377 million customers. More here.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tweeted out a picture of himself in a giant robot suit this past weekend, with the jokey hashtag #MARS2017.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky was once lost at a one-day sale at Macy’s, his mother confided to the department chain’s CEO last week at a luncheon.
This past Saturday, Apple CEO Tim Cook defended globalization in a rare public speech in China. (As readers will know, since the U.S. presidential election, Apple has faced political pressure to bring back more of its manufacturing to the U.S.)
Amazon said on Friday that Bing Gordon, a partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has stepped down from the board after a 13-year run as one of its directors. Amazon isn’t saying yet who Gordon’s replacement will be.
Madrona Venture Group has hired Maria Karaivanova as a principal. Karaivanova was previously the head of business development at San Francisco-based Cloudflare.
Early investor and longtime executive chairman of ClassPass, Fritz Lanman, will be taking over as CEO of the company, as cofounder and former CEO Payal Kadakia assumes his former role as the company’s executive chair.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has lost $2 billion since his company’s post-IPO peak. Don’t feel too bad, though; the company just received its first buy rating from a lesser-known Wall Street trading firm. The move has sent its shares upward.
Justin Wexler has joined WndrCo as an investor in San Francisco. Wexler joins the firm — launched recently by former DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg — from the New York office of Technology Crossover Ventures, where he was an investment analyst.
GE Ventures is recruiting for two positions within its healthcare investment group. It’s looking to hire a director level person in Boston and an associate in Menlo Park, Ca.
At Peter Thiel’s Palantir, allegations of theft and deception have surfaced. Bloomberg has more here.
A top secret division within Facebook called Building 8 is working on at least four unannounced consumer hardware products, including one product that involves cameras and augmented reality. Business Insider has more here.
So maybe building a $32 million basket wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Porsche pockets $17,250 in profit on every car.
Twenty-five things you didn’t know about Us Weekly.
Shrimp neck pillow. (We can’t not buy this one.)