Hi, all, hope you had a great weekend! Apologies for the very late send. It’s been a busy day on our end, including an exchange with one of San Francisco’s notoriously obstinate parking enforcement officers. (Predictably, we lost that argument.)
Today’s StrictlyVC is being brought to you courtesy of Crowded Ocean, the 2-person marketing agency that specializes in positioning and launching startups (46 to date, including Palo Alto Networks, Nimble Storage and Sumo Logic—as well as 10 exits). We help develop your positioning and messaging, turn that into content (website, white papers, use cases) and hire the resources (PR, web design, demand gen, etc.) to launch your company. We then help hire our successor and depart. To learn more about our services, see our book, The Ultimate Startup Guide, or contact us.
Top News in the A.M.
Vice Media revealed today that it has raised $450 million in new funding from the private equity firm TPG in a deal that assigns the 23-year-old, Brooklyn company a stunning $5.7 billion post-money valuation.
Why Stackshare is Quietly Becoming a Secret Tool for Devs and CTOs
On Stackshare, Airbnb lists over 50 services in its “stack,” Slack lists 24, and Spotify lists more than 31; these stacks are collections of different pieces of software that each company is using to run their operations, and range from infrastructure tools to communications tools to container tools to email services.
Why are companies beginning to share the specific mix of apps that’s enabling their businesses to grow? Because they know it’s the missing piece of the puzzle for developers, many of whom struggle to learn which tools certain companies use and why, says Stackshare founder and CEO Yonas Beshawred.
In fact, Stackshare is quietly becoming a go-to platform for numerous players in the startup ecosystem for a few reasons, Beshawred argues.
The benefits are clearest for developers. “If you’re trying to build a new on-demand service,” he notes, “you can come to Stackshare and see all the tools that Instacart uses.” Stackshare also benefits companies; when big or small startups volunteer what tools they’re using, they have a better shot at attracting developers who are well-versed in those very same technologies.
Meanwhile, Stackshare is attracting the attention of SaaS vendors, a small but growing number of which are beginning to sponsor sections of the platform and that now have a new place for their communities to evangelize their products.
Certainly, something seems to be clicking. Stackshare, founded in San Francisco in 2014, currently features the “verified” tech stacks of 7,000 companies. More, it claims that more than 150,000 developers are now using the service, where they not only see which companies are using what but they’re also invited to (and do) comment on the tools, helping their peers understand what they should be using and avoiding.
Investors like it, too. At least, today, Stackshare is announcing that it had raised $1.5 million in seed funding late last year, led by Cervin Ventures. Other participants include Precursor Ventures, Square exec Gokul Rajaman, and former VMWare and Facebook exec turned VC Jocelyn Goldfein. The round follows $300,000 in earlier seed funding from 500 Startups; MicroVentures; Airbnb’s first employee, Nick Grandy; Heroku’s former engineering manager Glenn Gillen, and others.
Beshawred — an Ethiopian-American from Maryland and former Accenture analyst — has some competition, as you might guess.
Augury, a five-year-old, Haifa, Israel and New York -based industrial IoT startup focused on mechanical diagnostics, has raised $17 million in Series B funding. Eclipse Ventures and Munich Re/HSB Ventures co-led the round; other participants include Sound Ventures, First Round Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. Globes has more here.
Casper, the three-year-old, New York-based mattress startup, has raised $170 million led by Target, at a pre-money valuation of $750 million, reports Dealbook. (If this sounds familiar, it’s because of reports in late May that the company had raised $75 million from Target.) Target yesterday also began selling Casper mattresses, pillows, sheets and more in its stores and on its website. More here.
ClassPass, a four-year-old, New York-based subscription service for fitness classes and gyms, has raised $70 million in Series C funding led by Temasek. Earlier investors that include Acequia Capital, CRV, General Catalyst, GV, M13 and Thrive also joined the round. More here.
FuboTV, a three-year-old, New York-based over-the-top video startup dedicated to premium live sports, has raised $55 million in Series C funding led by Northzone, with participation from 21st Century Fox, Sky and Scripps Networks Interactive. The company has now raised $75 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Gamida Cell, a 12.5-year-old, Jerusalem -based genetic disease company, has raised $40 million in funding led by Shavit Capital. Other participants in the round include VMS Investment Group, Israel Biotech Fund, Novartis, and earlier backers Clal Biotechnology Industries and Israel HealthCare Ventures. Globes has more here.
Julia Computing, a two-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based open source computing language for data, analytics, algorithmic trading, machine learning and artificial intelligence, has raised $4.6 million in seed funding from General Catalyst Partners and Founder Collective. More here.
Pivotal Commware, a year-old, Bellevue, Wa.-based spin-out of Intellectual Ventures whose communications products employ what the company is calling “holographic beam forming,” has raised $17 million in funding, including from The Thermo Companies, DIG Investment, Bill Gates, Lux Capital, the family office of Barry Sternlicht, and others. More here.
Reddit, the 12-year-old, San Francisco-based self-proclaimed “front pate of the internet,” is reportedly raising $150 million in fresh round of funding that will give the company a valuation of $1.7 billion. Bloomberg has more here.
Samba TV, an 8.5-year-old, San Francisco-based TV audience data and analytics company, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Union Grove Venture Partners led the round; other participants include Disney, Interpublic Group, MDC Ventures, Time Warner, A+E Networks, TGM, Draper Associates and Ambition VC. Broadcasting & Cable has more here.
Snips, a four-year-old, Paris-based company whose new voice platform aims to give hardware makers an alternative to Google’s Home and Amazon’s Alexa, has raised $13 million from investors, including MAIF Avenir, BPI France, Eniac Ventures, and an unnamed Korean-French venture fund. The company has now raised a total of $21 million. VentureBeat has more here.
Talla, a two-year-old, Boston-based startup whose service assistant bot aims to help IT and HR departments field and answer inquiries, has raised $8.3 million in Series A funding led by Glasswing Ventures, with additional participation from PJC and previous investors Avalon, Pillar, and Launch. More here.
Aspect Ventures, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm, is looking to raise up to $175 million for its second fund, shows a new SEC filing. The firm, cofounded by longtime VCs Jennifer Fonstad (formerly of DFJ) and Theresia Gouw (formerly of Accel Partners), had closed their debut fund with $150 million in 2015. More here.
Health Velocity Capital, a 10-month-old, San Francisco-based outfit, is looking to raise up to $150 million for its first fund, shows an SEC filing. The firm is managed by Bruce Crosby, formerly an executive at Nashville-based Compassus (a network of acute-care services), and Martin Felsenthal, previously an investor at the healthcare IT focused firm HLM Venture Capital. More here.
Luminate Capital Partners, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based private equity fund founded by former Silver Lake managing director Hollie Haynes, has closed its debut fund with $265 million in commitments. The firm, which invests in enterprise software companies, says it was targeting $200 million. More here.
Weathergage Capital, an 11-year-old, Palo Alto-based investment firm that was early to back numerous micro VC firms, has closed on $296 million in commitments for its fourth fund of funds — capital that it says has come from international pension funds, endowments, foundations, and family offices. Weathergage had closed its third fund of funds with $230 million in 2015. More here.
According to a new SEC filing, meal-kit delivery company Blue Apron plans to raise as much as $586.5 million in an IPO to help it compete in the increasingly crowded marketplace for on-demand food. (Some might say the move is a matter of survival.) The company will market 30 million shares at $15 to $17 each; the sale can be increased to 34.5 million shares if there’s enough demand, which would boost the IPO to $586.5 million, according to the filing. Bloomberg has more here.
Online food takeaway company Delivery Hero priced its IPO today, signaling it could raise it as much as 995.6 million euros ($1.1 billion). The German firm set the price range at 22 euros to 25.50 euros per share and is expected to begin trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on June 30. CNBC has more here.
The Mode Media story continues. Following the abrupt shut-down of the 13-year-old company last year (after it raised roughly $225 million from investors), its assets have been acquired for undisclosed terms by a wedding-focused advertising company called BrideClick. More here.
Ars Technica talks with Shiva Ayyadurai — who has spent nearly six years publicly proclaiming himself the “inventor of e-mail” — and who is currently trying to sue Techdirt into bankruptcy over its dozen-plus articles attacking that claim.
EQT Ventures, a Stockholm-based venture firm that closed on a $633 million fund last year, has brought aboard Alastair “Ali” Mitchell as its fourth partner, and he’ll be based in San Francisco. Mitchell — who will specialize in business-to-business software opportunities — formerly cofounded and served as CEO of Huddle.com.
Three thirty-somethings are right now running Uber’s global operations; Bloomberg takes a look at each.
Stitch Fix, an online retailer that ships personalized fashion assortments to customers’ doors, has hired a new chief financial officer, Paul Yee, in what looks like another step toward an IPO. Recode has more here.
Viacom is hiring a VP of digital partnerships and audience development to join its mobile and emerging platforms team. The job is in New York.
Disappearing profits: Snap is currently the worst performing VC-backed tech IPO of the year, says Renaissance Capital. (In seemingly better news for the company, it just signed a $100 million deal with Time Warner, which will create up to 10 original shows a year for the platform.)
Uber’s share of the U.S. ride hailing market was 77 percent at May’s end, down from 84 percent at the start of the year according to a study of credit card data. (New tipping prompts from rival Lyft could drive that percentage lower, too.) The Financial Times has more here.
Media companies are getting sick of Facebook.
Inside the booming world of initial coin offerings.
The FTC plans to try and block the proposed merger of FanDuel and DraftKings, dealing a major blow to daily fantasy sports sites.
Can power cause brain damage?
A new study finds that employees work together more effectively when pay is transparent.
America Online co-founder Steve Case is selling Merrywood, a childhood home of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The cost of the McLean, Va. property: $49.5 million. (Case will reportedly be setting a record if he gets anywhere near that asking price.)