StrictlyVC: July 18, 2017

Hi, happy Tuesday, all.:) We’re on a plane with good-but-not-great WiFi; if we missed anything major, we’ll catch you up tomorrow.

Top News in the A.M.

An investigation into alleged sexual misconduct at an event in 2013 has now led AngelList to place a sales employee, Lee Jacobs, on indefinite paid leave of absence, TechCrunch is reporting. A complaint lodged with AngelList alleges that Jacobs sexually assaulted a woman during an event attended by others in the tech industry in March 2013.

Hampton Creek’s entire board quietly left last month, except for CEO Josh Tetrick. Bloomberg has more here.

Also, Ethereum‘s cofounder is now saying that the crypto coin market is a ticking time bomb.

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Secondary Marketplace EquityZen Draws $3M in Funding

The number of public companies in United States is at a 40-year low; that’s good news for EquityZen, a four-year-old, New York-based company that operates a secondary marketplace for company-approved transactions in pre-IPO stock.

The 20-person firm says it has already closed more than 2,000 investments in more than 70 private firms, and Draper Associates is betting that number will grow substantially. To wit, the early-stage venture firm just led a $3 million Series A round in EquityZen, with participation from earlier backer WorldQuant Ventures.

EquityZen had previously raised seed funding from 500 Startups, LaunchCapital, and Projector Ventures. It has now raised $6.5 million altogether.

Certainly, the company has been picking up momentum over the last year. According to CEO Atish Davda, EquityZen now serves 20,000 accredited investors, and roughly a quarter of those individuals have joined in 2017; he also says his company has, in the first six months of this year, already surpassed the transaction volume it saw in 2015 and 2016 — combined.

No doubt part of that pick-up can be tied to EquityZen reducing the check size required to invest, from what used to be $20 million to $20,000. (And it wants to get that minimum down further, Davda says.)

Among those companies whose pre-IPO shares EquityZen has helped to trade are Nutanix, Veracode, Cloudera, and AppDynamics. EquityZen has also helped facilitate the trade of shares of the real estate brokerage Redfin, which is currently in the midst of a pre-IPO roadshow.

More here.

New Fundings

Artsy, an eight-year-old, New York-based art discovery marketplace, has raised $50 million in Series D funding at a reported $275 million post-money valuation led by Avenir Growth Capital. The round also included earlier backers L CattertonShumway Capital and Thrive Capital, along with some high-profile individual investors, like Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia and Larry Gagosian of Gagosian Gallery. TechCrunch has more here.

Awake Security, a three-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based cybersecurity analytics startup, has raised more than $30 million in new funding from Greylock Partners and Bain Capital VenturesMore here.

Corelight, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based cybersecurity startup focused on helping enterprises fight ransomeware, has raised $9.2 million in Series A funding. Accel Partners led the round, with participation from Osage University Partners and Riverbed Technology co-founder Steve McCanne. TechCrunch has more here.

Embark, a year-old, San Mateo-based self-driving trucking startup started by a 21-year-old robotics enthusiast, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Data Collective, with participation from YC ContinuityMaven Venturesand SV Angel. Techcrunch has more here.

Enterin, a year-old, Philadelphia-based developer of drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease, has raised $12.7 million in Series A funding led by New Ventures. FierceBiotech has more here.

Freshbooks, a 14-year-old, Toronto-based cloud accounting service, has raised $43 million in Series B funding led by earlier backer Georgian Partners, with participation from other earlier investors Accomplice and Oak Investment Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Ironhack, a four-year-old, Madrid-based coding bootcamp with campuses in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris and Miami, has raised $3 million in financing led by Madrid-based JME Venture Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

NewStore, a two-year-old, Boston-based enterprise platform for mobile commerce, has raised $50 million in Series B funding from Activant CapitalGeneral Catalyst Partners and founder Stephen Schambach (who previously founded Demandware). The company raised $40 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

PegBio, a 10-year-old, Suzhou, China-based drug developer focused on diabetes and obesity, has raised $20 million in Series E funding led by Shanghai-listed Tasley Pharma. China Money Network has more here.

Privitar, a three-year-old, London-based startup building tools to help organization keep their data private, has raised $16 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Partech Ventures, with strategic participation from CME Ventures (the investing arm of derivatives marketplace CME) and Salesforce Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

ScaleFT, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based security company, has raised $2 million in seed funding from Fathom CapitalSpectrum 28Fuel Capital and Rackspace founder Graham WestonMore here., a two-year-old, Israel-based visual search startup focused on fashion products, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by NHN Ventures (the investment arm of Korean internet services giant NHN). Other participants in the round include Naver Corp., messaging app Line Corp.Magma VCRemagine VCKDC Ventures, and NBM Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Wellframe, a six-year-old, Boston-based startup behind a mobile patient engagement and care management platform, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by F-Prime Capital, with participation from earlier backer DFJ. MobiHealthNews has more here.

Workato, a four-year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based maker of workflow automation software, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Storm Ventures, with participation from strategic investors Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures. The company has now raised $16 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Insight Venture Partners, the 22-year-old, New York-based venture capital and private equity firm, has so far raised $3.6 billion from 66 investors for its tenth main fund, shows an SEC filing. (The filing also shows a tidy $12 million in sales commissions to Goldman Sachs, Magenta Capital Services, and Sparring Partners Capital, among others.) Insight had last closed on two funds (a main fund and a co-investment fund) totaling $4.75 billion in 2015.

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Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart has sweetened its takeover offer of up to $950 million for Snapdeal, improving the chances of a deal between the two rivals, though some sticking points are still being hashed out, reports Reuters. More here.


We mentioned yesterday that software company BetterWorks and its CEO, Kris Duggan, are being sued by a former employee for assault, harassment, and discrimination. Now, Penguin Random House has pulled plans to publish a book co-written by Duggan and VC John Doerr. Bloomberg has the story here.

Come. On. Private equity investor Michael Loeb — who owns the sprawling waterfront mansion featured in the series “Billions” — was arrested for allegedly breaking a teen’s nose. The 18-year-old, who is friends with Loeb’s son, says Loeb punched him after another of the boys’ friends drunkenly threw up in Loeb’s garage during a charity event on Saturday. The New York Post has more here.

Tesla has added two new independent directors to its board, a move CEO Elon Musk said he’d been working on since the electric vehicle manufacturer merged with his solar panel company SolarCity. Joining the now nine-member board are media executives, Linda Johnson Rice, who is CEO of Johnson Publishing Company and Ebony Media Operations; and 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch. Recode has more here.

Two USC seniors walked into Sequoia Capital with a prototype made out of a fishbowl and landed $1.5 million. Business Insider has more here.

Rachel Whetstone, who recently left her job as top public relations and policy exec at Uber, is joining the communications team at Facebook in a newly created role as VP of comms of its WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger products. Recode has more here.

Essential Reads

Google Glass‘s second act is here.

Snap‘s lock-up period ends July 29. Here’s what could happen.

Google is taking aim at the recruiting software market.

Everlane, founded in 2011 as a direct-to-consumer brand that sells clothing made in factories with humanitarian conditions at wholesale prices, is opening its first brick-and-mortar store, the latest in a growing string of e-commerce companies to make the same move.


Twelve “Game of Thrones” cameos you might have missed.

Instagram has ruined wedding season.

Farewell for now, Kermit thee Frog.

Retail Therapy

Brush your teeth in 10 seconds with this baby. (We can’t guarantee your dental hygienist will approve.)

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