Monthly Archives: September 2017

StrictlyVC: September 1, 2017

Friday! StrictlyVC is publishing Monday, Labor Day, but don’t hate us if it’s highly condensed (which, let’s face it, is what’s going to happen).

Happy long weekend, everyone. If you haven’t already, please do send a little something to the folks in Houston, who have a long road ahead. We know that WeWork is still matching gifts to the Harvey Relief Fund, for what it’s worth. Your company may well match the organization of your choice, too.

Top News in the A.M.

The chief executives of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google joined roughly 300 business leaders urging President Donald Trump late yesterday to continue protecting children brought illegally to the United States from being deported. Reportedly, Trump isn’t make any announcements about it today.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Studio Science, a leading design and innovation consultancy that specializes in building and launching ambitious brands, services and products for some of the world’s leading technology companies. Studio Science partners with world-class VCs, startups and founders to design compelling brand experiences, explore emergent business models and innovate new products and services. To learn more about Studio Science’s customers, results, and work, we invite you to visit www.studioscience.com.

New Fundings

7shifts, a four-year-old, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based maker of restaurant scheduling software, has raised $3.5 million in new  funding from Tandem Capital and earlier investor Relay VenturesMore here.

8th Wall, a year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based provider of augmented reality platform that works on iOS and Android phones and integrates with ArKit (Apple) and Google’s Tango, has raised $2.4 million in funding. Its investors included Norwest Venture Partners, the VR FundSV AngelGreylock PartnersBetaworks, and Third KindMore here.

Abcfintech, a year-old, China-based startup whose AI-driven analysis products for the financial industry aim to improve how investment decisions are made, as well as to predict future trends., has raised $30 million in a combined angel and Series A round. Qiming Venture Partners led the financing; other participants Source Code CapitalSIG Asia Investment and Welight Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Cara, a year-old, Berlin-based precision medicine company focused on chronic digestive disorders, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Atlantic Labs, with participation from numerous angel investors. More here.

Citybox, an eight-month-old, China-based smart vending machine operator, has raised $15 million in Series A funding from Blue Lake CapitalGGV CapitalYunqi Partners and Zhen Fund. China Money Network has more here.

Good Feeling Group, a four-year-old, Shenzhen, China-based fitness club chain, has raised $14 million in Series B funding led by China Merchants Bank, with participation from Century Golden Resources Corp.

Teckro, a two-year-old, Limerick, Ireland-based life sciences company that uses machine-learning technologies to improve the speed and accuracy of clinical trials, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. Investors include Bill Maris’s Section 32; the company has now raised $17.8 million altogether. The Irish Times has more here.

Weekly Shirts, a year-old, Seoul, South Korea-based shirt rental service for men, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by K Cube Ventures, with participation from D.Camp and The Yoonmin FoundationMore here.

Simpli.fi, a seven-year-old, Fort Worth, Tex.-based programmatic advertising platform, has received a majority investment from GTCR, a private equity firm based in Chicago. The amount of money changing hands isn’t being disclosed. More here.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group, an operator of streaming music and karaoke apps that is controlled by China’s Tencent, is looking to raise additional funding at a $10 billion valuation ahead of IPO, reports Bloomberg. (Tencent Music was created last year, when Tencent agreed to acquire a controlling stake in China’s then leading music-streaming company, China Music Corp. As of last year, it owned roughly 60 percent of the company.) More here.

New Funds

Joanna Rees, whose firm VSP Capital imploded among infighting roughly ten years ago, is raising a new $100 million fund under the brand West, shows an SEC filing. Her partner in the fund is the head of a marketing agency that operates under the same brand. Rees was once a rising star in the venture industry and one of the first women to launch her own venture firm, though LPs later asked for their money back. Rees subsequently ran unsuccessfully for mayor of San Francisco.

IPOs

Lightstar Therapeutics, a London-based biotech company with a choroideremia gene therapy (choroideremia, which primarily affects men, causes untreatable progressive vision loss), has filed to raise up to $86 million in a IPO on Nasdaq. New Enterprise Associates and Wellington Management are two of the company’s biggest outside shareholders. FierceBiotech has more here.

Exits

Hewlett Packard Enterprise just completed the $8.8 billion sale of much of its software business to Micro Focus International.

People

Billionaire and native Texan Michael Dell has pledged $36 million of his foundation’s money to help disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. It’s the largest donation to date aimed at recovery efforts.

David Famolari has joined Hearst Ventures as a managing director in New York. Famolari was previously a director with Verizon Ventures.

Blake Ross, the founder of Firefox and a former Facebook executive, will join Uber to develop product strategy, he said yesterday.

Whether Uber employees will want to leave under the company’s new leadership is one thing, but the company has made it far easier for them to do so — which wasn’t always the case. According to Axios’s Dan Primack, Uber earlier this year extended the time employees have to exercise their stock options to a healthy seven years (up from a typical 90 days that employees have after leaving a company). With an IPO now seemingly now coming in the next one to three three years, you may well see some departures.

Data

Stanford produces the most startup founders (still). Axios has more here.

Essential Reads

Samsung can start testing self-driving cars in California.

Yes, it’s true. Benevolent Google uses its power to quash ideas it doesn’t like.

Co-living buildings are just getting started.

Detours

Inside New York City’s priciest rentals.

The average dad is getting older. (Not George Clooney older, but older.)

We don’t know about you, but we’re growing a little worried about the future.

Retail Therapy

Quite a home concept! (H/T: Uncrate.)


StrictlyVC: August 31, 2017

Thursday! Hope yours is going well.:)

With some of you wondering: we recently ran out of seats to our StrictlyVC event next month, but you can always put your name on our waitlist, which is growing but not out of control, and we promise to do what we can. Either way, we’ll be posting interviews and pictures afterward, so those of you can’t come won’t miss out. Giant thanks again to BoltBallou PR, and Rosebud Communications for supporting the event. It’s great to have you as partners(!).

Top News in the A.M.

Benchmark‘s lawsuit against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is heading to an arbitrator, a decision that Kalanick immediately declared as win. More here.

New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi met with employees for the first time yesterday, saying something they’ve undoubtedly longed to hear: that Uber could IPO as soon as 18 months from now. More here.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Studio Science, a leading design and innovation consultancy that specializes in building and launching ambitious brands, services and products for some of the world’s leading technology companies. Studio Science partners with world-class VCs, startups and founders to design compelling brand experiences, explore emergent business models and innovate new products and services. To learn more about Studio Science’s customers, results, and work, we invite you to visit www.studioscience.com.

Early Uber Backer Bill Maris: “I’d Invest Again But the Sellers Have Disappeared”

While Bill Maris was the CEO of Google’s venture unit, GV, the outfit made a bet in 2013 that drew snickers: it poured $258 million into the ride-share company Uber at a roughly $3.7 billion post-money valuation.

The investment was by far GV’s biggest investment at the time. Yet while seemingly rich, the investment looks brilliant in hindsight. (It also looks complicated, of course, with Google spin-off Waymo now suing Uber for allegedly stealing its trade secrets.)

Maris has more recently launched his own venture firm, Section 32, but as the founder of GV, he maintains a meaningful interest in Uber’s future, and he suggests that after this week, he’d buy Uber again — at its current $68 billion valuation — if only he could find a seller.

We talked with Maris earlier today about his renewed enthusiasm for the company. Our chat has been edited lightly for length.

You closed on a $150 million debut fund in May. How many investments have you made since?

It’s quite a long list: BloomAPIEmbarkFreenomeCoinbaseAuris. About ten have been made public and some are in stealth mode.

You’ve told me you’d consider investing in Uber at its current valuation. That would require a lot of money. Can you write any size check you like? 

I have broad latitude to make investments that I think are worthwhile.

When I look at Uber now, I don’t think of it as expensive. I’m very optimistic and bullish on the company’s future. I’m excited about new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who seems very much like a values-driven, principled leader. And I feel like Uber is a buy now, not a sell.

You say “now.” Did you feel differently recently?

Earlier, I might have felt more pessimistically. Now I can say there’s a light there.

What I’ve observed in talking with other investors and folks involved is that this feeling of fear has now shifted to optimism and excitement.

You own a stake through your previous employer’s venture fund. Have you tried buying secondary shares from another seller more recently? Have you been approached?

It’s best I don’t comment on that. I will note that groups that were sellers have disappeared and I think it would be foolish [otherwise] given what has transpired. There’s a lot of risk, of course, but the company has so much potential, especially given that people who work there are fired up again. If you believe Khosrowshahi can lead the company successfully, you see it as a unique investment opportunity.

At $68 billion. Do you think that, as Benchmark has said, Uber will “comfortably” be valued at more than $100 billion in the not-too-distant future?

More here.

New Fundings

Bambu, a year-old, Singapore-based B2B robo-advisor platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from investors, including Franklin Templeton InvestmentsWavemaker Partners, and private investor Robby HilkowitzMore here.

BitPesa, a four-year-old, Kenya-based bitcoin remittance platform, has raised $2 million in additional Series A funding from Greycroft Partners, bringing total capital raised in the round to $10 million. Fortune has more here.

BrainScope, a nearly nine-year-old, Bethesda, Md.-based medical neurotechnology company focused on traumatic brain injury, has raised $16 million in funding from DBL Partners, along with earlier backers Revolution LLC, ZG Ventures and Maryland Venture Fund. Mass Device has more here.

Elium, a 9.5-year-old, Belgium-based enterprise social network for knowledge-based organizations, has raised €4 million ($4.7 million) in Series A funding led by Serena Capital, with participation from the investment firm SRIW. Tech.eu has more here.

Fengxiansheng, a three-year-old, Hangzhou City, China-based intra-city logistics company that facilitates same-day delivery of everything from food to flowers to documents, has raised “tens of millions” of dollars in Series C funding from Daosheng Capital and the online apparel company Jolly Information Technology. China Money Network has more here.

Gamer Sensei, a year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based professional e-sports coaching service, has raised $4 million in funding led by Accomplice and Advancit Capital, with participation from Origin VenturesCRCM VenturesKiwi VenturesaXiomaticAbstract Ventures and Subversive Capital. Xconomy has more here.

HowStuffWorks, a 20-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based digital media brand that has changed owners more the once in the past few years, is being spun out as an independent company with the help of $15 million in Series A funding. The Raine Group led the round. TechCrunch has more here.

Islands, a year-old, Tuscaloosa, Al.-based currently-in-beta college-focused digital communication platform, has raised $1.85 million in seed funding from investors, including Greylock PartnersVaizra InvestmentsScott Belskyand Howard Lindzon. Mashable has more on the app here.

Qadium, the four-year-old, San Francisco-based internet monitoring platform that alerts large organizations to risks outside their firewalls, has raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Institutional Venture Partners. Others in the round include TPG Growth and earlier backers New Enterprise AssociatesFounders Fund, and Susa Ventures. We’ve written much more about the company here.SafeTrek, a four-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based personal safety mobile app, raised $3.2 million in seed funding led by Cultivation Capital, with participation from New Enterprise AssociatesMaveron, and Aspect VenturesMore here.

SPORTLOGiQ, a three-year-old, Montreal-based sports statistics company that uses feeds from broadcast cameras, then applies advanced computer vision to analyze players’ movements and provide context to the game, has raised C$5 million ($4 million) in Series A funding. Rho Canada Ventures and Anges Quebec Capital led the round; other participants include Mark Cuban and TandemLaunch. BetaKit has more here.

SuperAwesome, a four-year-old, London-based company whose ad campaign platform works with companies to help them comply with strict rules on marketing to children, has raised $21 million in Series B funding from Mayfair Equity PartnersMore here.

Travelbank, a year-old, San Francisco-based expense app for businesses that analyzes flight expenses and more, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by DCM Ventures, with participation from NEA and Accel Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Upper Hand, a four-year-old, Indianapolis, In.-based startup that sells sports organizations online tools to help them more effectively manage their businesses, has raised funding from earlier backer Elevate Ventures in a deal that brings the company’s total funding to $2.4 million. More here.

IPOs

Europe’s next major tech IPO is on the horizon. José Neves, CEO of luxury fashion website Farfetch, tells The Telegraph that a float is “the next logical stage” for his company. A Sky News report in June suggested Farfetch was close to choosing which bankers to underwrite a $5 billion IPO in New York. More here.

Rocket Internet-backed HelloFresh could be planning an IPO for as early as next month, per reports. In an interview with German publication Manager Magazin, CEO Dominik Richter said the startup is “keeping all options open” amid reports that the company could go public this fall. More here.

RYB Education, a China-based company that provides early childhood education services, has filed for a $100 million IPO, with plans to trade on the NYSE. More here.

Exits

Publicly traded BroadSoft, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based company that provides software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer unified communications over their internet protocol networks, is contemplating a sale and working with the bank Jefferies toward that possible end, reports Reuters. More here.

Siemens is buying Tass International, a four-year-old, Netherlands-based self-driving software specialist, for undisclosed terms. We weren’t able to dig up much on Tass’s funding situation. Reuters has more here.

People

Brab, Uber’s Southeast Asia-based rival, which in the process of raising a huge $2.5 billion investment round, just lost its head of engineering. More here.

Yesterday, Expedia named its new CEO and it is . . . Expedia CFO Mark Okerstrom, who’d joined the company as an SVP back in 2006. More here.

The on-demand delivery startup Postmates has let go of all of its city managers as it centralizes some of its operations at its San Francisco headquarters. More here.

According to Bloomberg, a group of 17 former Apple engineers have joined the self-driving car startup Zoox since Apple backed off plans to build its own vehicle. (We’ll be on stage next month with Steve Jurvetson of DFJ, who led his firm’s investment in Zoox — and Tesla, and Space X. We’ll have to poke around on this one in that chat.)

Jobs

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is looking to hire a principal to help invest its strategic investment fund. The job is in Seattle.

Essential Reads

The first ICO unicorns are here. Gulp.

Detours

How much it costs to watch the NFL this season without cable.

Why the menswear world is (evidently) obsessed with Shia LaBeouf.

The Harvey Relief Fund, established to help the many in Houston without flood insurance. (Note: WeWork is right now matching donations up to $100,000.)

Retail Therapy

Yahoo’s first CEO, Tim Koogle, is selling his house in swanky Los Altos. The price: $19.4 million.


StrictlyVC: August 30, 2017

Wednesday!

Top News in the A.M.

Kalanick versus Benchmark heads today to a courtroom in Delaware, where the lawsuit ocould either be placed on a fast track or thrown out entirely.

In a rare partnership, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos just announced a tie-up that will enable users of the latter’s Alexa voice assistant to summon Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant and vice versa.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Studio Science, a leading design and innovation consultancy that specializes in building and launching ambitious brands, services and products for some of the world’s leading technology companies. Studio Science partners with world-class VCs, startups and founders to design compelling brand experiences, explore emergent business models and innovate new products and services. To learn more about Studio Science’s customers, results, and work, we invite you to visit www.studioscience.com.

Galvanize Lays Off 11% of Employees, as Bootcamps See Broader Correction

After years of explosive growth, coding boot camps are starting to scale back, if not shut down altogether. Two schools have announced plans to close this year: Dev Bootcamp in San Francisco and Iron Yard of Greenville, South Carolina. They have deep-pocketed parent companies, too, having been acquired by Kaplan and the Apollo Education Group, respectively.

Now, Galvanize is revealing that it, too, may have overstretched, saying in a statement obtained by Reuters that it plans to lay off 11 percent of staffers  —  totaling 37 employees — at its headquarters in Denver. It currently employs 350 people.

“In order to adjust to evolving market demands we made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce today,” said Galvanize, which looks to have raised $85 million from investors in its five-year history. “These actions are consistent with our overall strategy to build a more product-focused platform that enables a continuous learning environment.”

The move won’t surprise many who’ve been following the business of coding schools. “You can imagine this becoming a big industry, but not for 90 companies,” Michael Horn, a principal consultant at Entangled Solutions, an education research and consulting firm, told the New York Times in a recent story about what looks to be an early shakeout of the field.

As of 2014, there were at least 43 U.S.-based programming bootcamps that offered full-time in-person instruction or 40 or more hours of classroom time per week and were not affiliated with an accredited college or university. This according to Course Report, an outfit that tracks the industry.

By earlier this year, says the outfit, that number had reached 95 bootcamps.

More here.

New Fundings

Adwerx, a four-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based advertising and re-targeting network for real estate agents, has raised $4.3 million in fresh funding led by Grotech Ventures, with participation from Bull City Venture Partners and Alerion Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

ALICE, a five-year-old, New York-based startup whose platform connects every department of a hotel for all staff communications and guest requests, has raised $26 million in Series B funding. Expedia led the deal (under the leadership of Dara Khosrowshahi, who is now joining Uber as CEO.) The round brings the startup’s total funding to $39 million. TechCrunch has more here.

Appier, a five-year-old, Taiwanese startup that helps companies harness artificial intelligence to make marketing decisions, has raised $33 million in Series C funding from SoftBankLine Corp.Naver Corp.EDBI and the Hong Kong-based financial services firm AMTD Group. The company has now raised $82 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

ARMO BioSciences, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based late-stage immuno-oncology company, has raised $67 million in Series C funding led by new investor Qiming Venture Partners, with participation from Decheng CapitalSequoia CapitalQuan Capital and RTW Investments. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Kleiner PerkinsOrbiMedDAG VenturesGV and others. More here.

Convey, a four-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company aiming to give shippers better visibility in to how to reduce costs while also providing them tools to take action, has raised $8.25 million in Series B funding. Investors include Techstars and RPM Ventures. Built in Austin has more here.

Domuso, a three-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based property management system and payment portal that lets tenants in sticky situations pay late rent over time, has raised $3.1 million in funding. Investors include owner/operators of rental properties, including David Kim, founder of Bascom Group. The company has now raised $5.8 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Dwelo, a nearly three-year-old, Provo, Utah-based smart apartment platform that allows building owners to integrate smart lights, thermostats and the like while providing renters and app to control them, has raised $4.9 million in funding. Peterson Ventures led the round. The company has now raised $9.7 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.

FlowAccount, a three-year-old, Bangkok, Thailand-based cloud-based platform for business accounting, has raised $1.15 million in seed funding from Kasikorn Bank, with participation from SBI Group and earlier investors 500 Startupsand Golden Gate Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Grab, the five-year-old, Singapore-based ride-sharing company competing with Uber for dominance in Southeast Asia, has confirmed that Toyota is among investors participating in a new, $2.5 billion round of funding that it’s targeting — $2 billion of which is coming from Didi and Softbank. The financing will reportedly value Grab at more than $6 billion. TechCrunch has more here.

Homelike, a two-year-old, Cologne, Germany-based startup that helps business travelers rent furnished apartments for a month or longer, has raised €4 million (about $4.8 million) in Series A funding led by Cherry Ventures, with participation from earlier backer Coparion. TechCrunch has more here.

Ideal, a three-year-old, Toronto-based startup that builds AI-driven recruiting software, has raised $3 million in funding, including from MaRS Investment Accelerator FundMore here.

PriorAuthNow, a three-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based software company that connects directly with all insurance carriers, making it faster for hospitals to submit, monitor and complete prior authorizations, has raised $3.6 million in funding. NCT Ventures led the round, with participation from Detroit Venture PartnersMore here.

Shuidi, a year-old, China-based company that runs operates three crowdfunding platforms — a crowdfunding platform a la Kickstarter called Shuidichou, an online medical community called Shuidichou, and a medical insurance platform called Shuidibao — has raised $24 million in Series A funding. Tencent and BlueRun Ventures co-led the round, with participation from Sinovation VenturesBanyan CapitalIDG CapitalMeituan-Dianping and Tongcheng Foundation. Shiudi was founded by Shen Peng, who previously cofounded the food delivery platform Meituan Waimai. China Money Network has more here.

Treebo Hotels, a two-year-old, Bengaluru, India-based budget hotel chain, has raised $34 million in Series C funding led by the Hong Kong-based investment firms Ward Ferry Management and Karst Peak Capital. Earlier backers SAIF PartnersMatrix Partners India, and Bertelsmann India Investments also joined the round. The outlet Inc42 has more here.

New Funds

Qingsong Fund, a five-year-old, China-based venture capital firm founded by Alvin Liu, a co-founder of Tencent Holdings, has closed its third fund with $129 million in committed capital from roughly 30 limited partners. The firm, which focuses on everything from education to artificial intelligence, is now managing $200 million altogether, says China Money Network. More here.

IPOs

Best, a 10-year-old logistic service company that was founded by the former co-president of Google China (Johnny Chou) and is backed by Alibaba Group, is now looking to raise up to $1 billion via a U.S. IPO, up from an earlier target of $750 million. China Money Network has more here.

Exits

RedOwl, a nearly six-year-old, Baltimore-based cybersecurity analytics startup, has been acquired by a Raytheon-owned company. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but according to the Baltimore Sun, RedOwl’s 60 employees will be absorbed into the Austin, Tex.-based company, Forcepoint, which specializes in content security and data protection. According to Crunchbase, RedOwl had raised roughly $24 million, including fromBlackstoneMore here.

People

Kathryn Hume has joined the venture firm ffVC as a venture partner. Hume is also VP of product and strategy at integrate.ai, a Toronto-based SaaS platform company that helps its customers apply AI to social media, behavioral, and first-party transaction data.

While Dara Khosrowshahi (now officially Uber’s new CEO) is at an all-hands in San Francisco today (where this selfie suggests things are going well), Expedia is planning to name its new CEO. Stay tuned.

Magic Leap, which has so far raised $1.4 billion from investors, has settled a bitter legal battle with executives who started its Silicon Valley office.

Early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar just can’t stop weighing in on Benchmark’s lawsuit with his friend and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The latest: a somewhat strange letter he wrote last week to inspire Kalanick’s attorneys that was today made public.

Jobs

Fitbit is looking to hire a senior manager to its corporate development team. The job is in San Francisco.

Data

LinkedIn just published a “U.S. state of the salary” report for 2017. Interestingly, tech leads as an industry, but certain medical jobs are still the highest paying. More here.

Essential Reads

The SEC is worried about you getting sucked into an ICO scam.

PayPal just launched its first physical credit card.

What it was like to attend SpaceX‘s Hyperloop Pod competition last weekend.

Detours

Family vacation breakdown.

Would you like to sit down with me on my bed and check Twitter?

Organic Doritos. They’re real, and they may be heading to Whole Foods.

Retail Therapy

Lightheaded beds, for nighttime reading.


StrictlyVC: August 29, 2017

Hi, everyone, good morning!

Here’s where to donate to victims of Harvey, a storm we now know is like no other in U.S. history.

Top News in the A.M.

Uber is ending its post-trip tracking of riders, as part of a new public relations privacy push.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Studio Science, a leading design and innovation consultancy that specializes in building and launching ambitious brands, services and products for some of the world’s leading technology companies. Studio Science partners with world-class VCs, startups and founders to design compelling brand experiences, explore emergent business models and innovate new products and services. To learn more about Studio Science’s customers, results, and work, we invite you to visit www.studioscience.com.

The Rise of Iranian-Americans in Tech is No Surprise

Longtime Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has put Iranians and Iranian-Americans in the spotlight. In part, that’s because the 48-year-old, just elected to become Uber’s new CEO, fled Iran with his family at age 9 to escape the Iranian Revolution. In part, his ties to other people of Iranian descent in the U.S. tech world are, well, extensive.

As The Washington Post noted in an article earlier today, Khosrowshahi’s brother, Kaveh Khosrowshahi, is a managing director with Allen & Co. His cousin, Amir Khosrowshahi, co-founded Nervana, an artificial intelligence company that Intel acquired last year for more than $400 million. He is also cousins with Hadi and Ali Partovi, high-powered twins who are both founders and tech investors.

As if that’s not enough, the Post says two other family members include Farzad “Fuzzy” Khosrowshahi, who played a role in creating Google spreadsheets, and Avid Larizadeh Duggan, a London-based general partner at GV.

Venture capitalist Pejman Nozad, who was practically penniless and unable to speak English when he moved to the U.S. from Iran in 1992, says that neither Khosrowshahi’s success, nor that of his extended network, should come as a shock to anyone who knows how Iranian families tend to operate — putting family and friends first, followed closely by a dedication to study, particularly of math and science.

“Math and science are so rooted in Iranian culture,” says Nozad, who today co-manages the venture firm Pear, which he co-founded roughly four years ago with friend and fellow investor Mar Hershenson.

Nozad points to Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman and first Iranian to win the Fields Medal, often described as the rough equivalent of a Nobel Prize for mathematicians. (Sadly, Mirzakhani, who was most recently a professor at Stanford, passed away last month at age 40, a victim of aggressive breast cancer.)

Nozad also evokes Sharif University of Technology in Iran, which has produced large numbers of PhD students for Stanford, as Newsweek once noted. In fact, the report praised Sharif as having “one of the best undergraduate electrical-engineering programs in the world.”

More here.

New Fundings

Akeso Biopharma, a five-year-old, Zhongshan, China-based contract research organization that provides services to domestic and international pharmaceutical companies, has raised $45 million in Series B funding led by GTJA Investment Group, with participation from Shenzhen Capital GroupQianhai Fund of Funds and TriWise Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Amplero, a year-old, Seattle-based company behind an AI-driven marketing platform, has raised $17.5 million in Series B funding co-led by Greycroft Partners and Ignition Partners. Earlier backers Wildcat Venture PartnersSeven Peaks Ventures, and Trilogy Equity Partners also participated in the round, which has brought Amplero’s total funding to more than $25 million. More here.

Anonyome Labs, a three-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based startup that runs a cyberprivacy platform for consumers, has raised $20.4 million in Series B funding from Hanna Ventures and a long list of individual investors, including LifeLock founder Todd Davis, Ariba cofounder Ken Eldred, and earlier backers, such as Crosspoint Ventures cofounder John Mumford and Symatec CEO Greg Clark. SiliconAngle has more here.

Arrail Dental, a 19-year-old, China-based private dental service provider with nearly 100 private clinics in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, among other cities, has raised $90 million in Series D round funding from Goldman Sachs and the Chinese private equity firm Hillhouse Capital Group. China Money Network has more here.

Bestow, a year-old, Dallas-based on-demand life insurance platform, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Core Innovation CapitalMorpheus Ventures and 8VCMore here.

Gigster, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that does software development on demand, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with participation from original investors Andreessen HorowitzY Combinator, and Sound VenturesMichael JordanMarc Benioff and former Facebook CTO Adam D’Angelo also participated in the round. More here.

Herb, a two-year-old, Toronto-based digital media business focused on cannabis-related news, has raised $4.1 million in seed funding led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures, with participation from Slow VenturesLiquid 2 Ventures, and numerous individual investors, including Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke and Buddy Media co-founder Michael Lazerow.  TechCrunch has more here.

Hotelchamp, a two-year-old, Amsterdam-based marketing and sales platform that aims to help hoteliers drive more direct bookings on their sites, has raised €2.25 million ($2.7 million) in seed funding, including from popular Dutch blogger Nalden, and Phillippe de Knijff and Jolanda Degen of WorldTicketCenter.  The company has now raised €4 million ($4.8 million) altogether. More here.

LevaData, a four-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based software company that aims to help its enterprise customers improve their gross margins by reducing supply chain costs, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Tola CapitalMore here.

LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, an eight-year-old, Reston, Va.-based cybersecurity company, has raised $26.3 million in debt and equity, including from new investors Eastward Capital and Triangle Peak Partners. Earlier backers Alsop Louie PartnersNeuberger Berman, and New Spring Capital also joined the round. More here.

Next Caller, a five-year-old, New York-based phone fraud detection service, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Crystal Towers. TechCrunch has more here.

Qiniuyun, a six-year-old, Shanghai, China-based  enterprise cloud services company, has raised $140 million in new funding from Alibaba Group and Yunfeng Capital. The company is expected to support the development of Alibaba’s cloud computing unit, Alibaba Cloud. China Money Network has more here.

Recvue, a 1.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.- based recurring revenue and billing management platform, has raised $2 million in funding led by Cota CapitalMore here.

Wise Apple, a year-old, Chicago-based meal delivery service whose hook is that it helps involve kids in meal planning, has raised $3.6 million in seed funding. Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Levy Family Partners led the round, with participation from Chicago VenturesGreycroft PartnersBoxGroup and Irish AngelsMore here.

Zūm, a nearly three-year-old, Belmont, Ca.-based start focused on providing on-demand rides for kids aged 5 through 15, has raised $5 million in funding from Sequoia Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

DSG Consumer Partners, a four-year-old, Singapore-based investment firm focused on (mostly) privately held consumer businesses, has closed its second fund with $50 million in capital commitments, putting the amount of money it’s now managing at $74 million. LiveMint has more here.

Joy Capital, a China-based venture capital firm founded a couple of years ago by former Legend Capital managing director Liu Erhai, is seeking to raise $300 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing. The firm closed on a $200 million debut fund just last year.

Exits

Meltwater, a 16-year-old, San Francisco-based company that provides data to more than 25,000 businesses to track where and how they are mentioned in media and other public platforms, has acquired Algo, a 12-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based startup that has built a data analytics platform for real-time searches around topics and specific keywords. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. Algo had raised an undisclosed amount of funding, says TechCrunch, including from Matt Michelsen, an angel investor and Algo’s cofounder. More here.

Western Digital Corp., known for storage hardware,  said yesterday that it has acquired the assets of startup Upthere, an app-based cloud-storage offering meant to challenge services like Dropbox. Terms of the deal were not announced, but UpThere had raised $77 million in venture funding last year led by Western Digital’s venture investment arm, along with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Marketwatch has the story here.

People

Ryan Hoover, founder of popular tech leaderboard Product Hunt, is raising a small venture capital fund called Weekend Fund that has secured just over $3 million, per an SEC filing first flagged by Axios. The fund isn’t a complete surprise; as we reported in May, a number of investors are raising small venture funds that are managed by AngelList, including Hoover. Axios notes, however, that Hoover’s fund appears to have raised more money than most Angel Funds to date, which are investing less than $1 million. AngelList had acquired Product Hunt last December for a reported $20 million. More here.

Dara Khosrowshahi may need to divest his shares in freight startup Convoy if he accepts the CEO role at Uber, reports Recode. In May, the company launched a competing freight service called UberFreight that matched truckers with payloads through an app. Uber cofounder Garrett Camp, also an early investor in Convoy, divested his shares in the company in June, says the report. More here.

The top two executives of Mozido, a financial technology company that has raised some $300 million to develop a mobile payments business, have quietly left the company, reports Forbes. More here.

Facebook hired Michael Sayman for an internship when he was 17 years old, and gave him a full-time engineering job at 18. Now, the wunderkind, who turned 21 last week, is leaving for Google. More in Bloomberg.

Heavyweight tech investor and FDA-critic Peter Thiel is among conservative funders and American researchers backing an offshore herpes vaccine trial that blatantly flouts US safety regulations, according to a report yesterday in Kaiser Health News. Ars Technica has more here.

Jobs

Verizon is looking to hire a venture development manager. The job is in San Francisco.

Data

Basically, every problem in the U.S. economy is because companies have too much power, new research argues.

Essential Reads

In case there was any doubt, the Apple iPhone event is, in fact, taking place September 12. The company is aiming to use its new 1,000-seat Steve Jobs theater, on its new headquarters, for the spectacle.

Detours

The Library of Congress has put the papers of Alexander Hamilton online for the first time in their original format. Zoom in and read them here.

Why Yale owns a forest.

The stars of “The Crown” on what British people say versus what they really mean.

Retail Therapy

Skyroam Solis. So WiFi, so much puck-like. (We want one.)


StrictlyVC: August 28, 2017

Holy s, southeast Texas. Hang in there.

No column today (we’re not quite done with what we’re working on).

Top News in the A.M.

Uber has a new CEO: longtime Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Here’s an excellent look at his career, and what he and ousted CEO Travis Kalanick have in common.

Interestingly, Khosrowshahi may come with a price tag in the neighborhood of $200 million. At least, as Bloomberg notes, he holds unvested options at Expedia worth $184.4 million, and companies typically grant replacement awards to execs who forfeit unvested equity.

It’s going to be a big job, obviously. One of Khosrowshahi’s first tasks, says early Uber advisor Bradley Tusk, should be to implement the Holder report recommendations. Step two: Hire a management team.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Studio Science, a leading design and innovation consultancy that specializes in building and launching ambitious brands, services and products for some of the world’s leading technology companies. Studio Science partners with world-class VCs, startups and founders to design compelling brand experiences, explore emergent business models and innovate new products and services. To learn more about Studio Science’s customers, results, and work, we invite you to visit www.studioscience.com.

New Fundings

Access Vascular, a two-year-old, Bedford, Ma.-based medical device company that’s developing venous access devices to eliminate thrombotic risk, has raised $3.7 million in funding from unnamed individual investors and angelMD, an investment platform that connects medical startups, physicians, and investors. More here.

Athelas, a year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based startup that wants to change blood testing with a machine that promises precise results (yes, that sounds familiar), quietly raised $3.5 million million earlier this year led by Sequoia Capital. The company has raised $3.7 million altogether. Bloomberg kicks the tires here.

CF PharmTech, an eight-year-old, Suzhou, China-based specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and manufactures inhalation products, has raised $65 million in Series D funding led by Future Industry Investment Fund, a private equity fund managed by SDIC Fund Management Corporation. Other participants in the round include CCB InternationalYuanming CapitalLongmen Capital and Hengyutianze. China Money Network has more here.

Distinct Healthcare, a five-year-old, China-based private clinic franchise (a la One Medical), has raised $40 million in Series C funding, including from Matrix Partners ChinaTiantu CapitalChina International Capital Co.Qianhai Fund of Funds, and Shuimu Fund. China Money Network has more here.

Entefy, a five-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company at work on a smart platform that uses AI to help users interact with people, services, and smart devices through what it has dubbed a “universal connector,” has raised $8 million in Series A funding from undisclosed investors. The company has now raised $17.7 million to date. More here (though its site is fairly cryptic).

Fangsiling, a two-year-old,  Nanjing, China-based startup offering rent installment payment options to young professionals in China, has raised $45 million in Series E funding. Mingdaojinkong led the round; other participants include 9F Bank9C CapitalWill Hunting Capital and Fengjr.com. China Money Network has more here.

Freenome, a three-year-old, South San Francisco, Ca.-based company focused on disease management and cancer detection through blood tests, has raised an additional $7 million in Series A funding. The new funding brings the company’s total funding to nearly $72 million, was led by Section 32 (Bill Maris’s new fund) and included the participation of 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki and other private and corporate investors. More here.

Hubble, a 10-month-old, New York-based direct-to-consumer contact lens brand, has raised $10 million in additional Series A funding from earlier investors FirstMark CapitalGreycroft PartnersFounders FundWildcat Capital Management and Two River. The company, which had closed on $16.5 million in Series A funding earlier this year, has now raised more than $30 million to date. More here.

IndoorAtlas, a five-year-old, Oulu, Finland and Palo Alto, Ca.-based developer of indoor positioning technology, has raised €3.6 million ($4.3 million) in Series B funding led by Yahoo! Japan, with participation from earlier investors Takoa Invest and Innovestor VenturesMore here.

MedGenome, a four-year-old, Foster City, Ca.-based genomics research and diagnostics company, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Sequoia India and Sofina s.a., with participation from Zodius CapitalKris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder and former CEO of Infosys; and Lakshmi Narayanan, former CEO of Cognizant. More here.

Seven Senders, a three-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based e-commerce logistics startup that helps online shops ship to their customers, has raised €6.5 million ($7.8 million) in Series A funding led by btov Partners. EU Startups has more here.

Sherpa, a year-old, Naxxar, Malta-based price comparison sites for insurance products, has raised $2.3 million from InsurTech.VC and numerous angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

TimePlay, a 13-year-old, Toronto-based company specializing in interactive experiences for mobile and other second screen devices, has closed the first tranche of its Series A, closing on $6.4 million in funding. The company comes from unnamed accredited investors. More here.

WhatsBroadcast, a two-year-old, Munich, Germany-based messenger service for enterprises, has raised €5 million (roughly $6 million) in Series A funding, including from Hightech GründerfondsMüller Medienmedia + more venturesWessel Management, and other, unnamed, parties. More here.

Exits

Hong Kong logistics company GoGoVan has agreed to a merger with 58 Suyun, the freight business of mainland Chinese online classifieds giant 58 Home, creating Hong Kong’s first startup that’s worth more than $1 billion. South China Morning Post has more here.

Gilead Sciences has acquired to buy acquire Kite Pharma, a publicly traded, Santa Monica, Ca.-based cancer immunotherapy company, for  $11.9 billion in cash, or $180 per share, which is a 29 percent premium over Friday’s closing price. Kite Pharma has a cell therapy treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma under review by the FDA that uses a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancerous cells. The L.A. Times has more here.

People

Since joining the Warriors in 2013, Andre Iguodala, 33, has quickly become part of the vanguard of NBA players and other athletes making financial forays into Silicon Valley. Bloomberg takes a look at his web of connections, and what he has funded so far.

Travis Kalanick filed a new document today arguing the case involving Benchmark should move to arbitration. This filing reiterates Kalanick’s earlier argument that Benchmark’s claims are subject to mandatory arbitration and that the Delaware Chancery Court doesn’t have the jurisdiction to settle them.

Boosted just landed a new CEO — Jeff Russakow — as the company tries to grow beyond electric skateboards.

Nice news: Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan welcomed their second daughter, August, he announced earlier today.

Also Sponsored By . . .

Casper is an internet sensation, with thousands of 5-star reviews and countless awards. The Casper mattress is obsessively engineered and sleeps cool. Plus it ships for free, straight to your door in a “how did they do that?” sized box. Try it risk-free for 100 nights. Mention the promo code STRICTLYVC and receive $50 off.

Jobs

American Family Insurance, a venture firm investing $200 million into startups in and around the insurance industry, is looking to hire a senior analyst. The job is New York.

Essential Reads

Apple is expected to announce three new iPhones at its September 12 event.

The retailers that can resist the Amazon onslaught.

In related news, Amazon’s its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods closed today, and the grocer is already rolling out discounts on select food items as result.

Detours

Why dating in your 20s is terrible.

(Better) understanding last night’s season conclusion to “Game of Thrones.”

Retail Therapy

Six places to visit with your unused vacation days.


StrictlyVC: August 25, 2017

Friday! [Clouds part, rainbows appear in background.] Hope you have a fantastic weekend, everyone.:)

Friends in Texas, we’re thinking of you!

Top News in the A.M.

A South Korean court just found 49-year-old Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong guilty of bribery and sentenced him to five years in prison. The decision could freeze up decision-making at the global electronics powerhouse, suggests the Associated Press.

Uber just abandoned its plans to move into a massive, 380,000-square-foot building in Oakland.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Rosebud Communications. We’re small, scrappy, and get the job done. Our retainer is $6,250 per month, and we love going up against the bigger guys who charge $12K or more. Reach us at info@rosebudpr.io; operators are standing by.

Racing Against Big Rivals, India’s Ezetap Raises $16M

There are more than 1 billion cellphone users in India. The country also abruptly went cashless last November, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that millions of high-denomination currency notes would no longer be legal tender.

These two developments play nicely into the vision of Ezetap, a six-year-old, Bangalore-based startup whose software as a service is used by more than 200,000 merchants; they’re using its technology to transact payments via everything from physical cards to online payments to wallets to one-click payments in applications via India’s new UPI system.

Indeed, Ezetap and its ilk, which were once seen as innovators, are quickly becoming mainstream, with Indians being forced to switch to electronic payments quickly. The company’s biggest challenge now: capturing market share as fast as possible from its better-known and more richly funded regional competitors, including the Alibaba and SoftBank-backed outfit Paytm, whose parent company was recently valued at $7 billion; and MobiKwik, which reportedly raised around $35 million earlier this month from the non-bank finance company Bajaj Auto Finance.

Investors seem to think Ezetap has a shot against its deeper-pocketed rivals. The company just closed on $16 million in new funding led by JS Capital Management, which is the venture firm of Jonathan Soros, with participation from Jeff Skoll Group and earlier backers Social Capital and Horizons Ventures.

“India is on the brink of a massive surge in consumer consumption, but not until the underlying payments infrastructure is securely in place,” Social Capital founder Chamath Palihapitiya said in a statement to the press about Ezetap, whose $3.5 million Series A round Social Capital led back in 2012.

That puts the company “in an incredible position,” Palihapitiya said.

Time will tell what Ezetap is able to make of it.

More here.

(Other) New Fundings

Amitree, a nearly five-year-old, San Francisco-based online platform that helps home buyers navigate the process of buying a house, has raised $7 million in funding led by Vertical Venture Partners, with participation from Accel Partners and Seven Peaks Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Ember Technologies, a five-year-old, Westlake Village, Ca.-based maker of temperature-controlled mugs, has raised $13 million in fresh capital from a long list of private individuals. Ember has now raised more than $20 million altogether, including from StubHub CEO Scott Cutler, eBay Chief Product Officer RJ Pitman, singer Demi Lovato, and Robert Brunner, chief designer of Beats by Dre and the former head of design at Apple. L.A. Biz has more here.

Go-Jek, a seven-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based ride-hailing startup that rivals Uber and Grab regionally, has raised $100 million from JD.com according to Reuters. The money is part of a $1.2 billion round that Go-Jek is trying to close and which will give the company a $3 billion post-money valuation, says TechCrunch. More here.

Mirador, a three-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based digital small business lending platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from CMFG VenturesMore here.

Revive Kombucha, a seven-year-old, Petaluma, Ca.-based employee and family-owned brewery, has raised $7.5 million in Series B funding led by Peet’s Coffee. A long list of individual investors also joined the round. More here.

Stride Health, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based benefits startup for independent workers, has raised $23.5 million in Series B funding led by F-Prime Capital Partners, with participation from Portage3 Ventures and earlier backers Venrock and New Enterprise AssociatesMore here.

New Funds

Baidu, along with the biggest life insurer in China, China Life, are forming a 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) private equity fund to target internet and other technology investments, the companies said earlier today. VentureBeat has more here.

Primus Capital, a 34-year-old, Cleveland, Oh.-based venture capital and private equity firm, is looking to raise up to $500 million for its eighth fund, according to an SEC filing.

People

Melinda Gates: I spent my career in technology. I wasn’t prepared for its effect on my kids.

Early Uber investor Shervin Pishevar  who was introduced to Uber by Benchmark’s Bill Gurley and Matt Cohler — has penned a letter to Uber’s board, demanding that Benchmark Capital drop its lawsuit against former CEO Travis Kalanick. Pishevar has also filed a legal motion, asking for Benchmark’s case to be dismissed. More here.

Verve, an ad tech firm that has raised at least $64 million, has quietly laid off staff in recent weeks in a sign of the company’s struggles.

Also Sponsored By . . .

Nicky Goulimis is a fast-talking, smart-as-a-whip Brit who came to America for a Stanford MBA. But something she found surprised her: In spite of her great UK credit history, she had a hard time getting a car, apartment, and credit card in the U.S. So she co-founded Nova, which enables immigrants to bring their credit “passport” with them — unlocking a world of quality customers for lenders. (And yes, they’re a Financial Solutions Lab company, today’s sponsor.)

Data

There are more unicorns in the startup world than ever before, but fewer companies are reaching a $1 billion valuation than in years past, says Pitchbook. More here.

Essential Reads

These former Apple engineers just built a $700 door lock.

Uber‘s board is gathering today to talk CEOs; there will be plenty of bickering, too.

Google is issuing refunds to advertisers over fake traffic, though some are questioning the level of those refunds.

Detours

Turd Reich: San Francisco dog owners are laying a minefield of dog poop for some out-of-town guests.

The innovation that changed fashion forever.

UFC champion Conor McGregor or a pretentious barista?

Retail Therapy

Crosley Rocket Jukebox. (It would not suck to have this in your office.)


StrictlyVC: August 24, 2017

Hi, all, happy Thursday. Hope you’re enjoying these last weeks of August.:)

A quick note to our reporter friends out there, especially those of you in the Bay Area. If you are interested in attending our upcoming SVC event the evening of September 27, let us know; we’re happy to send you a press pass. (Full-time journalists only, please.)

We also wanted to mention that over at TechCrunch, on Tuesday, September 19, the second day of TC’s upcoming Disrupt show, we’re organizing a breakfast discussion around fundraising tips from successful female founders. It’s going to be a lively chat, including with Jini Kim of Nuna (whose company has raised $90 million to date) and Elizabeth Iorns of Science Exchange (which closed its Series C earlier this year). This is a closed-door session, so won’t be live-streamed. If you’re a reporter who’s attending the event and you’d like to come, just let us know and we’ll make sure to get you a pass.

Top News in the A.M.

Holy b’doly. WeWork just announced a $4.4 billion investment from the SoftBank Group and its Vision Fund. More here.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Rosebud Communications. We’re small, scrappy, and get the job done. Our retainer is $6,250 per month, and we love going up against the bigger guys who charge $12K or more. Reach us at info@rosebudpr.io; operators are standing by.

A Battery Company with Bold Claims Just Closed a $30M Seed Round

There’s no shortage of battery companies battling with Tesla for market share. Outfits around the world are building out battery capacity to fill the needs of automakers and energy storage developers alike — so much so that overcapacity has led to lower battery prices.

Still, a year-old, L.A.-based battery company called Romeo Power thinks its future looks very bright, thanks to a combination of talent, materials, and techniques that it claims enables the company to achieve at least 25 percent more energy density — and sometimes upwards of 200 percent more — than existing lithium-ion battery packs. In fact, its very tagline is: “The world’s most energy dense battery packs.”

It’s a bold claim, and one that skeptics will surely dismiss as little more. But Romeo has a number of things working in its favor. For starters, cofounder and CEO Mike Patterson has previously founded — and sold — three companies, including InAuth, a mobile authentication and fraud detection company that American Express bought last year for undisclosed terms.

The 190-person company features a number of veterans of SpaceX, Samsung, Tesla, and Amazon, so there’s institutional know-how about manufacturing, procurement, design, and about battery packs specifically. Indeed, cofounder and CTO Porter Harris spent a year at Faraday Future as its chief battery architect; before that, he spent four years at SpaceX as an energy storage engineer. In fact, Porter has been working on batteries for the last decade, dating back to an earlier engineering gig at The Aerospace Corporation, in Southern California.

Romeo is also fueled by capital. Specifically, it just closed on $30 million in seed funding —  all of it from its management team, unnamed family offices, and past shareholders who’ve invested in Patterson’s startups and “were willing to throw into the next one,” he says. (Asked if he has something against venture capitalists — or vice versa — Patterson says that’s not the case. “I’m not saying we won’t raise venture in the future, but not now.”)

More here.

(Other) New Fundings

51zhaoyou.com, a two-year-old, China-based business-to-business  e-commerce platform that trades in diesel, gasoline, and kerosene, has raised $31.8 million in Series B funding led by DCM Ventures. Others to join the round include the venture capital firm SIGGGV CapitalYunqi Partners, the Uber-like truck logistics start-up HuochebangSky9 Capital and Chuangban Investment. China Money Network has more here.

AbleTo, a nine-year-old, New York-based telehealth company that matches people with therapists and behavioral coaches, has raised $36.6 million in funding led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from Aetna and earlier backers .406 VenturesSandbox IndustriesHLM Venture Partners, and Horizon Healthcare ServicesMore here.

Blend, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based technology company focused on consumer lending, just raised $100 million in Series D funding. The round was led by Greylock Partners, with participation from Emergence Capital8VCLightspeed Venture Partners, and Nyca Partners. The company has now raised $166 million altogether. More here.

Clearink Displays, a five-year-old, Fremont, Ca.-based developer of reflective display technology for various industry applications, has raised $5 million in Series C funding. The round, which is half subscribed, was led by Vestech International, which is an investment fund backed by a number of Asian display manufacturers. More here.

Cubic Telecom, an 11-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based supplier of data connections for cars and other IoT devices, has closed a new $46.5 million funding round from investors, including chipmaker Qualcomm and Audi‘s venture arm. TechCrunch has more here.

Descartes Labs, a three-year-old, Santa Fe, N.M.-based data company that’s applying machine learning to satellite imagery, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by March Capital, with participation from seed investors Crosslink Capital and the company’s Series A lead, Cultivian SandboxMore here.

Eko Communications, a five-year-old, New York and Thailand-based company that operates a messaging app targeted at businesses, has closed a strategic investment of $2 million to grow in Japan and expand into Europe and the U.S.. The funding was led by Japanese corporate Itochu, which provided $1 million and will partner to help expand sales. Earlier backers, including Gobi Ventures, also joined the round. TechCrunch has more here.

G2 Esports, a four-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based esports team, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding, including from FC Barcelona midfielder André Gomes, Eric Mindich’s Everblue Management, and MACRO VentureMore here.

Gabi, a year-old, San Francisco-based company that monitors insurance rates from various carriers, then advises users on their optimal coverage, has raised $2.6 million in seed funding from SV Angel, A.Capital Ventures, and Germany’s Project A Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

GaiaWorks, an eight-year-old, China-based workforce management software company, has raised $19 million in additional Series B funding led by Warburg Pincus, with participation from Matrix Partners China and Genesis Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Maihaoche, a three-year-old, China-based new car e-commerce platform, has raised $29 million in Series B funding led by Welight Venture Capital(founded by a former EVP at Tencent Holdings), with participation from Northern Light Venture Capital and the South Korean venture capital firm LB Investment. China Money Network has more here.

New Funds

Magma Ventures, an 18-year-old, Israel-based venture capital firm, has raised $24 million for its first growth equity fund, shows an SEC filing. Magma appears to have closed its fourth and most recent early-stage fund with $150 million in 2014. More here.

Scopus Ventures, a year-old, Los Angeles-based venture capital firm, is looking to raise upwards of $25 million for its debut venture fund, shows an SEC filing. One of its managing partners, Robert Mai, was formerly a wealth advisor and family office consultant in New York. Another, Eran Gilad, was formerly the CEO of Tracx, a social media management company. More here.

SparkLabs Group started in 2012 with a Seoul-based accelerator dedicated to boosting South Korea’s then-nascent startup ecosystem. Now it’s going back to its roots with the launch of a $50 million fund for early-stage Korean startups that want to expand globally. TechCrunch has more here.

IPOs

Nothing too notable today, though you might want to check out the sixteen things CEOs should do before an IPO, according to former OpenTable CEO (and now Andreessen Horowitz partner) Jeff Jordan.

Exits

The online food ordering-and-delivery market, once very hot, appears to be cooling down a little in China, says TechCrunch. Baidu, the country’s search giant confirmed that it has just sold its Xiaodu food delivery subsidiary to Rajax, which operates Ele.me, China’s leading food delivery business. More here.

People

Former Twitter COO Adam Bain has joined the board of a new $500 million special purpose vehicle launched by Social Capital that plans to help startups go public without enduring the dreaded IPO process.

Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer whose blog post about the company’s troubling internal workings eventually led to Travis Kalanick’s ouster, has a new message for the Supreme Court: get rid of arbitration agreements.

Also Sponsored By . . .

Eddie Lim had a problem. He had sold his company to Visa and was prepping to start another, when he tried to refi his home in Palo Alto. Interest rates? Super low. His home value? High. The answer? No dice; he was unemployed. Which made him wonder: Why is home wealth so illiquid in the first place? And so he started Point, a company selected by the Financial Solutions Lab, today’s sponsor. Here’s the rest of his story.

Essential Reads

Apple plans to offer a premium version of its iPhone for $999.

Roku isn’t only maintaining its lead as the top streaming media player device in the U.S.; it’s increasing it.

Detours

Salaries of top TV talent revealed.

Aging parents have lots of stuff, and their children don’t want it.

Now you can rent a dad in Japan.

Retail Therapy

Miniature Eames chair and ottomon, perhaps to go with the real deal.

Honestly, we’re not so sure about this trend (if you were to ask our opinion).


StrictlyVC: August 23, 2017

Well, hello, and happy Wednesday.:)

Top News in the A.M.

VIPKid, an online education company that matches Chinese students with North American teachers and has been exploding as parents seek out high-quality education for the children, just raised $200 million, exactly one year after raising $100 million. Investors include Sequoia Capital China and Tencent Holdingssays Bloomberg, The company is reportedly now valued at $1.5 billion. (Worth noting: Founder and CEO Cindy Mi is speaking at TechCrunch’s upcoming Disrupt event next month.)

Wall Street banks are warning that a downturn is coming.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Rosebud Communications. We’re small, scrappy, and get the job done. Our retainer is $6,250 per month, and we love going up against the bigger guys who charge $12K or more. Reach us at info@rosebudpr.io; operators are standing by.

This Purveyor of “Human Grade” Pet Food Just Raised $12.6M from VCs

Ollie, a two-year-old, New York-based subscription service that sells what it calls human-grade pet food, has raised $12.6 million in Series A funding.

The round was led by Canaan Partners, with participation from WME Ventures, Rosecliff Ventures, RiverPark Funds, Correlation Ventures and earlier backers Primary Venture Partners and Lerer Hippeau Ventures. It brings the company’s total funding to roughly $17 million, including a $4.4 million seed round led by Primary and Lerer Hippeau last fall.

The company certainly takes dog food seriously, promising to customize recipes based on each dog’s “unique needs” as well as recommending the perfect portion and delivering that precise amount of food to its customers’ doors.

It uses a third-party USDA kitchen in Pennsylvania to produce its meals, which include chicken, beef, and lamb heart dishes with butternut squash, rutabaga, chickpeas, potato, cranberries, kale, strawberries, and cod liver oil, among other ingredients that you probably do not associate with dog food (yet!).

More here.

(Other) New Fundings

Art19, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based podcast technology company, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and DCM Ventures. Other investors participating in the round included United Talent AgencyGallo DigitalZach Coelius and Array Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Baozhunniu, a two-year-old, Beijing, China-based customized insurance products company, has raised $14 million in Series B funding led by the venture firm Marathon Venture Partners. Other investors in the round include Matrix Partners ChinaXinyi CapitalZhongguancun Dahe Capital, and Denise Peng, a venture partner at GGV Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Forward Networks, a four-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company whose technology aims to help engineers and operators visualize and search complex networks to debug problems, verify network-wide policy correctness, and predict network behavior prior to making major changes, has raised $16 million in Series B funding. DFJ led the round; it was joined by investors that include Andreessen Horowitz and A.Capital Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

ICEYE, a two-year-old, Espoo, Finland-based satellite-based service aiming to provide access to near-real-time imagery from space, has raised $8.5 million in funding led by Draper Nexus, with participation from True VenturesLifeline VenturesSpace AngelsDraper Associates and Finnish Funding Agency for Innovations. ICEYE has now raised $18.7 million altogether since its founding. TechCrunch has more here.

Innowatts, a four-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based energy analytics startup, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Shell Technology VenturesMore here.

Lumity, a three-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based HR benefits startup that aims to help employers optimize and simplify health care costs, has raised $19 million led by DFJ. TechCrunch has more here.

Memphis Meats, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based “clean” meat startup (it uses animal cells versus actual animals), has raised $17 million in Series A funding led by DFJ. Other investors to join the round include CargillBill GatesRichard BransonAtomicoNew Crop CapitalSOSVFifty YearsKBW VenturesInevitable VenturesSuzy WelchKyle Vogt, and Kimbal Musk. VentureBeat has more here.

Raised Real, a year-old, San Francisco-based subscription meal delivery service designed for growing babies, has raised $5 million in funding from privately held food delivery giant Schwan’s CompanyMore here.

Roost, a three-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based smart home technology startup, has raised $10.4 million in Series B funding led by Aviva Ventures, with participation from Desjardins Insurance and Fosun RZ CapitalMore here.

Shanghai Distributed Technologies, a young, Shanghai-based company behind Onchain, a local version of blockchain technology, has raised its first round of institutional funding from Fosun Group, says Reuters. The size of the investment is not being disclosed. More here.

Sliver.TV, a two-year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based esports entertainment platform in 360-degree VR, has raised $9.8 million in Series A funding led by Danhua Capital, with participation from Heuristic Capital PartnersZP CapitalDCMSierra VenturesThe VR FundSamsung Next Fund and Sony Innovation Fund. TechCrunch has more here.

Square Roots, a year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y. -based urban farming accelerator that invites applicants to participate in a yearlong program where they’re trained in urban farming, has raised $5.4 million in seed funding. Collaborative Fund led the round for the company, which was founded by Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk. TechCrunch has more here.

SquadLocker, a six-year-old, Warwick, R.I.-based startup that allows athletic teams to build and launch custom online gear stores quickly and easily, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by Causeway Media PartnersMore here.

StoryStream, a five-year-old, U.K.-based platform that helps marketers centralize and display all their best social media content, has raised roughly $1.5 million in funding led by MMC VenturesMore here.

Truss, a year-old, Chicago-based commercial real estate tech platform, has raised $7.7 million in Series A  led by Navitas Capital, with participation from Hyde Park Angels. TechCrunch has more here.

IPOs

Snap‘s lead IPO underwriter, Morgan Stanley, just lowered its price target for the stock — again.

Exits

Okay, so this is more like an attempted exit, but: Match Group, the parent company of a variety of dating apps, offered to acquire Bumble for $450 million over the summer, according to TechCrunch. A source close to the company suggests that Bumble is valued at over $1 billion. More here.

People

James Damore,  the engineer who was fired by Google after he criticized the company’s diversity policies for ignoring differences between the sexes, has hired civil rights lawyer Harmeet Dhillon to explore filing a lawsuit.

Former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson has launched a campaign to buy Twitter to kick off the president.

Donald Trump is reportedly eyeing his potential opponents in 2020 and at the top of his list of possible challengers: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Also Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is also brought to you by the Financial Solutions Lab at CFSI, which is laser-focused on fintech solutions that can help more Americans become financially healthy. FinLab alums have raised $130 million in follow-on funding, and you may know some of them: Digit, Even, PropelEARN, Albert, EarnUpWiseBanyan + more. Don’t miss a thing: Sign up for blog updates.

Essential Reads

Google and Walmart are partnering to challenge Amazon.

Why Apple has scaled back its ambitions for a self-driving car.

Uber drivers can now choose what specific types of trips they are willing to accept.

Snapchat‘s first scripted fare is coming by year end.

All the companies from day two of Y Combinator‘s Demo Day.

Detours

Fake shadows in Redwood City.

The SpaceX space suit revealed.

Why you should eat an enormous breakfast.

Retail Therapy

Here’s how to make your own “Game of Thrones” cape, before it’s too late.


StrictlyVC: August 22, 2017

Hi, happy Tuesday.:) SO MANY CALLS TODAY. (We didn’t forget you.)

Top News in the A.M.

Sonos says its customers won’t be given an option to opt out of its new privacy policy, leaving them with sound systems that may eventually “cease to function.”  They don’t seem too happy about the development.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Rosebud Communications. Everybody’s still talking about the solar eclipse today. We’d say the sun did a good job of “getting the word out.” Smart, on-message media coverage = higher valuations. We’re the hardest-working PR firm in the business. Send us an email; operators are standing by: info@rosebudpr.io

This 23-Year-Old Just Closed Her Second Fund with $22 Million

Laura Deming is not your typical venture capitalist. Then again, she isn’t typical in many ways.

For starters, the 23-year-old, New Zealand native was home schooled, developing a love of math and physics and, perhaps most interestingly, the biology of aging, along the way. In fact, she became so preoccupied with the last that at age 11, Deming wrote to Cynthia Kenyon, a renowned molecular biologist who specializes in the genetics of aging, asking if she could visit Kenyon’s San Francisco lab during a family trip to the Bay Area. Kenyon said yes. When, soon after the visit, Deming asked if she could work in the lab, Kenyon said yes again.

Deming’s family moved to the U.S. to make it possible, and it’s highly doubtful they regret the decision. Indeed, by age 14, Deming was a student at MIT, and two years after that — at the tender age of 16 — she was a college drop-out, having been accepted into Peter Thiel’s two-year-old, Thiel Fellowship program, which gives $100,000 to young people “who want to build new things.”

Often, those “new things” evolve along the way. Not for Deming, who pitched the idea of a venture fund that would support aging-related startups, and has since turned that early concept into Longevity Fund, an early-stage venture outfit that just closed its second fund with $22 million.

Earlier today, we caught up with Deming, who’s now 23, to learn more about her path — and which technologies she’s betting on to extend the human lifespan.

It’s incredible that this all started with an email to a UCSF professor.

[Cynthia Kenyon] is the most amazing person I’ll ever meet.

What did you do in her lab, exactly?

We were working with tiny, see-through worms. You put them on plate of jelly and you see what happens if you change their genetic material. Do they live longer or die faster? If you starve them, they live longer. If you starve worms and also turn off certain genes, could you get them to live even longer? I was naïve, but I really wanted to make the longest-living worms ever. [Laughs.]

More here.

New Fundings

Animusoft, a three-year-old, Miami, Fl.-based software platform for drones, has raised $1 million from investors, including from Accelerated Growth Partners, a South Florida network of angel investors. The Miami Herald has more here.

CommandScape, a newly launched, Delray Beach, Fl.-based company that offers control centers, video surveillance and security for buildings, has raised an undisclosed amount funding from founder Jim Clark, who is best known for cofounding Netscape but who moved to Florida years ago to jump into real estate investing. USA Today has more here.

Databricks, a nearly four-year-old, San Francisco-based machine learning and analytics platform that was founded out of the UC Berkeley AMPLab, has raised $140 million in Series D funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, less than a year after raising $60 million led by New Enterprise Associates. The company has now raised $247 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Druva, a nine-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based cloud-based data protection provider, has raised $80 million in fresh funding led by Riverwood Capital. Other participants include Sequoia Capital IndiaNexus Venture PartnersNTT FinanceTenaya Capital and other, earlier backers. The company has now raised $200 million altogether. VC Circle has more here.

Elucida Oncology, a three-year-old, New York-based clinical development stage company whose technology aims to identify and treat an array of solid tumor cancers, has raised $10.9 million in funding, shows an SEC filing.

GoodTime, a year-old, San Francisco-based startup that uses employee data to schedule interviewers faster and more cost effectively, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Big Basin Capital and Walden Venture Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Hyper Anna, a two-year old, Sydney, Australia-based startup that has created a kind of virtual, AI-powered data analyst, has raised $16 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital China, with participation from seed investors Reinventureand AirTree Ventures. Australia’s Financial Review has more here.

Julive, a three-year-old, China-based online-to-offline real estate agency, has raised “tens of millions of U.S. dollars” in a round led by Vertex Venture Holdings, with participation from earlier backer Source Code Capital. China Money Network has more here.

ShoCard, a two-year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based blockchain-based identity management system, has raised $4 million in funding. Morado and AME Cloud Ventures led the round with participation from Storm VenturesDanhua CapitalCorrelation VenturesRecruit Strategic Partners and Robert Tinker, the founder and former CEO of MobileIron. More here.

Sigstr, a four-year-old, Indianapolis, Ia.-based cloud platform for employee email personalization, has raised $5 million in Series A funding. Hyde Park Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Battery VenturesHubSpotGrand Ventures and High Alpha CapitalMore here.

Skytap, an 11-year-old, Seattle-based company that runs its own cloud with the goal of helping enterprises that want to modernize their infrastructure bring their existing applications to its service, has raised $45 million in Series E funding. Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing led the round, with participation from existing investors. The company has now raised $109 million, altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Tulip.io, a four-year-old, Toronto-based startup whose mobile software allows sales associates and retailers to engage more effectively with customers, has raised $40 million in new funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The WSJ has more here.

New Funds

1confirmation, a fund that plans to invest in blockchain-based companies, is looking to raise $20 million for its debut fund, says Bloomberg. Mark Cubanand the venture capital firm Runa Capital is among its investors, and its technical advisors include investor-founder Balaji Srinivasan and programming language JavaScript founder Brendan EichMore here.

Unshackled Ventures, a three-year-old organization that funds and helps foreign entrepreneurs who want to base their startups in the U.S., is raising a targeted $25 million for a second fund, according to an SEC filing. Axios has more here.

IPOs

Crystal Biotech, a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based gene therapy company at work on treatments for dermatological diseases, is planning to raise up to $35 million in an IPO, shows a new filing.  Marketwatch has more here.

Meanwhile, Blue Apron has been hit with multiple class-action lawsuits over its sinking share price. TechCrunch has more here.

People

GoDaddy has named chief operating officer Scott Wagner its new CEO, announcing earlier today that current CEO Blake Irving will retire at the end of this year.

Veteran media executive Ross Levinsohn was named publisher and CEO of the 135-year-old L.A. Times yesterday.

The newest board seat for VC Mary Meeker: it’s with the PGA Tour Policy Board, a council that governs the tour.

Also Sponsored By . . .

Today’s StrictlyVC is also brought to you by the Financial Solutions Lab at CFSI, which would like to gently remind you that if you’re lucky, you’re going to get old. But your parents will first — and if they’re lucky, their money will last the rest of their lives. But what if there was a way to keep an eye on your folks’ financial lives, without taking away their financial independence? There is — it’s EverSafe, one of this year’s Lab companies. Here’s their story.

Jobs

Nextworld Capital is looking to hire an associate. The job is in San Francisco. (We hosted our May event at NextWorld; you can get a feel for its digs here.)

Data

Parents are maybe not great role models when it comes to texting and driving, suggests a new survey.

Essential Reads

Why big business is racing to build blockchains.

All 50 startups from day one of Y Combinator‘s Demo Day.

Coinbase’s individual customers get burglarized—with surprising and unsettling frequency — and fraud protections are mostly unavailable.

Detours

The next step after a bad first impression at work.

Foiling fast in Silicon Valley.

JayBey just shelled out $88 million for a new L.A. mansion — the most expensive home sale of the year in L.A.

Retail Therapy

The Plaza Hotel. Now it can be yours (for around $500 million).


StrictlyVC: August 21, 2017

Hi and happy Monday, everyone! No column today. (It was the first day back to school in our house, so hectic. We’ve also been distracted by this stupefying solar eclipse, which we’re still watching online.)

In separate news: our upcoming event, Wednesday, September 27, in San Francisco, is nearly sold out. We have roughly a dozen seats and that’s it, alas. If you don’t have a ticket but know you want to come, don’t delay.

Thank you to Bolt and to Ballou PR and to Rosebud Communications for partnering with us; your support is invaluable. Thanks, too, to the wonderful Sarah McBride of Bloomberg, who will be leading the evening’s VC chat.

Top News in the A.M.

Bitcoin Cash is crashing.

Watch Google unveil the next version of Android, coming up live in a bit right here.

New Fundings

Capital Float, a four-year-old, Bangalore, India-based digital finance company that provides working capital and business loans to SMEs, has raised $45 million in Series C funding led by Ribbit Capital, with participation from SAIF PartnersSequoia India and Creation Investments. TechCrunch has more here.

Commonwealth Joe, a five-year-old, Arlington, Va.-based coffee roasting company, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Mendacre, with participation from Hammerstone Capital and Stroud Companies. Technical.ly DC has more here.

eMoov, a seven-year-old, Essex, England-based online real estate agency, has raised £9 million ($11.6 million) in funding led by JXC Ventures, with participation from Episode 1 VCMaxfield CapitalSpire and Startive Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Let’s Do This, a year-old, London-based online sports listing startup that wants to build the “Airbnb of endurance events,” has raised £1 million from numerous individuals in tech, banking, and sports. Business Insider has more here.

Magmode, a two-year-old, Beijing-based Chinese men’s fashion start-up, has raised $15 million in addition Series B funding led by the Sino-French private equity firm Cathay Capital Private EquitySinovation Ventures also joined the round. China Money Network has more here.

Monstar Lab, an 11-year-old, Japan-based software development firm, has raised $6.3 million in funding, including from YJ CapitalShinsei Corporate InvestmentSan-In Chuo Television Broadcasting CoFenox Venture Capital and Tanabe Corp. Tech in Asia has more here.

Prodigy Finance, a 10-year-old, London-based platform that helps students fund their studies by connecting them with alums who’ll loan them money based on their future earning potential, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. Index Ventures led the round, with participation from Balderton Capital and the African fintech accelerator AlphaCode. Business Insider has more here.

UangTeman, a three-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based online microlending platform, has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by K2 Venture CapitalEnspire Capital and Alpha JWC Ventures, with participation from Draper Associates. DealStreetAsia has more here.

New Funds

Beoff Lewis, a partner at Founders Fund, is leaving to start his own fund, says Bloomberg. If that sounds familiar, it’s because he’s following a similar path as Luke Nosek, a Founders Fund cofounder who also recently left the firm to start his own fund. Nosek’s fund is called Gigafund, and its objective in part is to help Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX, raise money. Meanwhile, Lewis reportedly plans to raise more than $100 million for his new fund, with Founders Fund as an anchor investor. More here.

The pan-Asian venture capital and growth equity firm Epsilon Venture Partners – which recently marked the first close of its $350 million fund – expects to hit its final close by early next year, it says. The firm, set up two years ago, was founded by Sudheer Kuppam, the former India and Asia Pacific managing director of Intel Capital; it plans to invest at least one third of its fund in Indian companies and the rest in North and Southeast Asian countries. DealStreet Asia talks with Kuppam here.

Exits

Cisco said today that it plans to buy Springpath, a five-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based software startup known for the development of a distributed file system for hyperconvergence that enables server-based storage systems. Cisco is paying around $320 million, says ZDNet. According to Crunchbase, Springpath had raised $34 million from NEARedpoint VenturesSequoia Capital, and Stanford UniversityMore here.

Amazon-owned video game streaming site Twitch has acquired ClipMine, a three-year-old, Palo Alto-based video indexing platform that’s now being put to use to translate visual information in videos – like objects, text, logos and scenes – into metadata that can help people more easily find the streams they want to watch. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. ClipMine had raised $2.6 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. Its backers included renowned investor Ram Shriram, former Facebook vice president Greg Badros, entrepreneur Amarjit Gill and Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tam. TechCrunch has more here.

People

Investor-operator Ellen Pao has published a new book about sexism in Silicon Valley. The Cut has an excerpt.

Over half a dozen residents of a San Francisco “castle” have become bitcoin millionaires. Business Insider takes a look inside.

Also Sponsored By . . .

Today’s StrictlyVC is also brought to you by the Financial Solutions Lab at CFSI, which selected Blueprint Income, Dave.com, EverSafe, Grove, Nova, Point, Token Transit, and Tomorrow for this year’s Lab class. What makes these startups so special?

Jobs

Rev1 Ventures, a Columbus, Oh.-based seed-stage venture firm, is looking to hire a director of investments.

Data

The solar eclipse is reportedly costing companies at least $700 million in lost worker productivity. (To quote the characters from “Billions,” one of our favorite shows: worth it!)

Essential Reads

How hate groups forced online platforms to reveal their true nature.

Since Britain gave notice it was leaving the European Union in March, a growing list of British VC firms has been told they will not receive financial support from the European Investment Fund, the EU agency that provides almost half of the money for the region’s venture capital industry.

An inside look at Ford’s $1 billion bet on Argo AI.

Detours

The evolution of Drogon the Dragon, in “Game of Thrones.”

How your feelings affect your face.

Retail Therapy

Freak out a date (and anyone else who visits you).

VW is bringing back its Microbus, and it’s electric.