StrictlyVC: August 17, 2017

Thursday! Just a mention that we’ll be traveling tomorrow with our kids, so StrictlyVC will likely be either very short or very late. We’ll have much more for you Monday.:)

Also, in our rush to publish yesterday, we failed to mention that our friend Semil Shah had interviewed Mike Maples for the newsletter. Many of you wrote to let us know you enjoyed Maple’s advice; we just wanted to give credit where it’s due.

Top News in the A.M.

U.S. stocks are tumbling today and Treasuries rising on rising speculation that Donald Trump’s pro-growth policy agenda is imperiled following a rebuke by business leaders.

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Social Capital Brings Aboard a New Partner: Mike Ghaffary

If you’ve worked in tech in the Bay Area over the last decade or more, you quite possibly know Mike Ghaffary, a USC grad who nabbed both his MBA and JD from Harvard before beginning to work his way through a number of well-known institutions.

From his first stop at Summit Partners, to co-founder of the news and talk radio service Stitcher (sold to Deezer in 2014), to business development roles at TrialPay and Yelp to eventually CEO of Yelp Eat24, Ghaffary has seemingly been working toward a career as a venture capitalist since completing his degrees.

Now, with Yelp selling its food ordering service Eat24 to GrubHub for $287.5 million earlier this month (roughly twice what Yelp paid for it in early 2015), he has landed just that role.

To wit, Ghaffary just joined Social Capital as one of five full-time partners on the firm’s venture team.

It’s good timing for Social Capital, whose co-founder, Mamoon Hamid, left earlier this monthto join Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In fact, it was Hamid who introduced Ghaffary to the firm, inviting him to an offsite retreat last year where Ghaffary had a chance to meet the entire team and spend more time with another Social Capital co-founder, Chamath Palihapitiya, who oversees the firm as its CEO.

We had a quick chat with Ghaffary yesterday and he sounds, understandably, excited about his new post, where he will be investing in both consumer and enterprise deals.

More here.

New Fundings

Alzeca Biosciences, a five-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based early-stage healthcare diagnostic company that’s trying to develop best-in-class imaging technologies for the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease pathology, has raised $11 million in Series A financing from undisclosed sources. FierceBiotech has more here.

Codacy, a three-year-old, Lisbon, Portugal-based automated code review platform provider, has raised $5.1 million in Series A funding led by EQT Ventures, with participation from FaberCaixa CapitalJoin Capital, and Seedcamp. TechCrunch has more here.

Color Genomics, a four-year-old, Burlingame, Ca.-based genetic health screening startup, has raised $80 million in Series C funding from General Catalyst PartnersCRV, and Emerson Collective. The company has now raised $150 million altogether. CNBC has more here.

LVL Technologies, a six-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that’s developing proprietary sensor platforms for wearables (it was formerly called BSX Athletics), has raised $6.75 million in Series A funding. Samsung Catalyst Fund led the round, with participation from Maxim Integrated Products and other unnamed individual investors. More here.

Ripcord, a months-old, Hayward, Ca.-based company that uses machine vision, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to digitize all of an enterprise’s records, has raised $40 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Icon Ventures, with participation from Kleiner PerkinsLux Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank. The company has now raised $49.5 million altogether. More here.

Tokopedia, an eight-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based online marketplace for individuals and business owners, has raised $1.1 billion in funding in funding led by Alibaba. TechCrunch has more here.

TuSimple, a two-year-old, Beiijing-based autonomous truck technology startup, has raised $20 million in funding led by Sina, with participation from Nvidia. TechCrunch has more here., a San Francisco-based online wine retailer, says it has raised $15 million in funding from earlier investors. It didn’t name any outfits specifically, but the company is majority owned by Baker Capital, a New York-based private equity firm. More here.

ZingBox, a 2.5-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based startup whose software guards IoT devices from threats on the Internet, has raised $22 million in Series B funding led by Dell Technologies Capital and TriventuresMore here.


Google has acquired AIMatter, a startup founded in Belarus that has built both a neural network-based AI platform and SDK to detect and process images quickly on mobile devices, and a photo and video editing app that has served as a proof-of-concept of the tech called Fabby. The company had raised approximately $2 million in venture funding from Haxus Venture Fund. Terms of the deal aren’t being diclosed, but TechCrunch reports that the service will continue to run, and that most of the company’s employees will join Google. More here.

ShapeShift, a three-year-old, Zug, Switzerland-based digital currency exchange platform, has acquired KeepKey, a Kirkland, Wa.-based hardware wallet for digital assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Financial terms weren’t disclosed but this was an “all bitcoin deal.” ShapeShift has raised roughly $13 million from investors, shows Crunchbase, including Earlybird Venture Capitaland Digital Currency Group. KeepKey doesn’t appear to have raised outside funding (or announced it, in any case). Reuters has more here.


National Economic Council Director (and former Goldman Sachs president) Gary Cohn is said to be “disgusted” by President Trump’s statements in the wake of the violence at a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Va. He isn’t going anywhere, though. (In you’re still confused over how Cohn landed at the White House in the first place, Vanity Fair published a piece this month titled, “The Untold Story of How Gary Cohn fell for Donald Trump.”)

Last night, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to all global employees condemning racism and bigotry. More here.

WeWork has hired Shiva Rajaraman as its chief product officer. Rajaraman worked briefly at Apple earlier this year to help shape its video strategy. Before that, he held posts as the VP of Product at Spotify, and as a director of product management at Google. Dave Fano, previously WeWork’s chief product officer, will (somewhat confusingly) become chief product & growth officer.

Fortune just published its annual “40 under 40” list. You can check it out here.


LaunchCapital, a seed and early-stage venture firm, is hiring an associate. The job is in New Haven, Ct.

Essential Reads

Facebook quietly shut down an internal discussion group at the end of last year, after employees reportedly used the anonymity within the group to make racist and sexist comments. Business Insider has more here.

A big, successful trial of probiotics at long last.


Inside Japan’s retro gaming shops, which are now drawing buyers worldwide. (Some are paying up to $18,000 per title!)

A masterful master shot.

The incredible, shrinking airline seat.

Retail Therapy

A mansion in L.A. that won’t sell, so its owners keep increasing its price.

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