StrictlyVC: October 23, 2017

No column today. We’re too busy digesting all the super creepy happenings in Silicon Valley of late. At this rate, we’ll need to add a new section soon called “Police Blotter.”  Check out “People” for more.

Also, happy Monday.:)

Top News

Amazon just spent more than it ever has in a single quarter lobbying the federal government, at $3.41 million. The (Jeff Bezos-owned) Washington Post has more here.

Your Chariot awaits (again).

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New Fundings

Abra, a three-year-old. Mountain View, Ca.-based bitcoin-based digital wallet app that’s primarily focused on foreign exchanges, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Foxconn, with participation from Silver8 Capital, Ignia and earlier backers Arbor Ventures, American Express, Jungle Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and RRE Ventures.

ActionIQ, a three-year-old, New York-based marketing platform that aims to give marketers better audience insights in order to run their campaigns more effectively, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Earlier backers Sequoia Capital and Firstmark Capital also joined the round, along with new strategic investor, Shutterstock.

ADC Therapeutics, a six-year-old, Lausanne, Switzerland-based biotech company that’s developing antibody drug conjugates that target cancer, has raised $200 million from investors, including AstraZeneca, Auven Therapeutics, Redmile and the Wild Family Office.

Automile, a four-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based platform that’s connecting vehicle drivers and fleet managers with vehicle data, has raised $34 million in a Series B funding round led by Insight Venture Partners.

Blue Medora, a 10-year-old, Grand Rapids, Mi.-based company whose software helps administrator teams work collaboratively on a company’s infrastructure to avoid downtime and make predictive insights, has raised $8 million in Series B funding led by the Chicago-based venture capital firm First Analysis. Earlier backers Wakestream Ventures, Lewis and Clark Ventures, and eLab Ventures also joined the round.

CountingUp, a 5-month-old, London-based company aiming to merge banking and accounting software to make the lives of freelancers and sole-person enterprises easier, has raised £750k ($1 million) in seed funding from Frontline Ventures and others.

DeePhi, 1.5-year-old, Beijing, China-based AI startup at work on neural network compression technology and neural network hardware architecture, has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Samsung Group, according to Chinese media reports.

Eargo, a four-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based hearing aid maker, is raising $45 million in Series C funding led by Nan Fung Life Sciences, with participation from New Enterprise Associates, Maveron and Charles and Helen Schwab.

EchoPixel, a five-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based maker of interactive VR software for healthcare professionals, has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from LAM Research, with participation from Aurus Capital, Runa Capital and Harris & Harris Group.

Equinom, a five-year-old, Israel-based seed breeding startup focused on developing specialized crops for the food industry, has raised $4 million from Fortissimo Capital.

Intezer, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that makes malware analysis and detection software, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from Magma and Samung NEXT.

Mya Systems, five-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes AI-driven recruiting software, has raised $18 million in Series B funding led by Foundation Capital, with participation from Emergence Capital.

Nested, a 1.5-year-old, London-based estate agent that provides a cash advance to help customers buy a new house before they’ve sold their old one, has raised £36 million ($47.5  million) in funding that brings its total capital raised to just shy of £50 million. The round was led by Rocket Internet’s Global Founders Capital.

Solvvy, a four-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based machine-learning-driven customer service platform that aims to more efficiently and affordably improve customer satisfaction, has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from earlier backers Pear Ventures, Signatures Capital and True Ventures. The company has now raised $16.5 million altogether.

Winnow, four-year-old, London-based startup that whose smart kitchen tech helps commercial kitchens reduce food waste, has raised $7.4 million in new funding from Circularity Capital, as well as earlier investors Mustard Seed and D-Ax.

Zero, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose credit card acts like a debit card, has raised $8.5 million in funding led by ENIAC Ventures, with participation from New Enterprise Associates and Lightbank.

Zuzu Hospitality Solutions, a 1.5-year-old, Singapore-based startup that sells revenue management software and marketing services to small hotels, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Wavemaker Partners, with participation from other Southeast Asian venture capital firms Golden Gate Ventures, Alpha JWC and Convergence Ventures.

New Funds

CapHorn Invest, a seven-year-old, Paris-based venture firm, has closed on $150 million in capital commitments for its second fund. The outfit says it plans to focus on Series A rounds, investing anywhere from $600,000 to $6 million into its portfolio companies. TechCrunch has more here.

Dah Chong Hong Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed distributor and dealer of motor vehicles in Greater China, said it plans to partner with its parent company, a subsidiary of CITIC, to establish an investment fund to back consumer and healthcare companies. As China Money Network notes, the Asian market for consumer goods and healthcare products is large and growing rapidly, driven by rising demand from an increasingly affluent middle class across Greater China and Southeast Asia. More here.

Forerunner Ventures is raising around $55 million for a fund that will make follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies, says Axios. Forerunner had closed its third early-stage fund with at least $122 million last year.

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Cisco said today that it’s shelling out $1.9 billion to acquire BroadSoft, a Maryland company that delivers unified communications via service providers. Broadsoft had gone public in 2010 after raising more than $77 million from investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Hearsay Systems, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based company that helps financial services clients compliantly use social media, websites, text and email to engage with their customers, has acquired the tech and intellectual property of Mast Mobile, whose four-year-old, startup that allowed businesses to manage work and personal numbers on a single mobile phone. Terms aren’t being disclosed, but Mast had raised $7 million in 2015 led by FirstMark Capital. (We’d written about the company here.)

WeWork, the behemoth co-working company valued at $20 billion, says it has acquired the five-year-old, coding education platform Flatiron School. Flatiron had raised more than $14 million, including from Thrive Capital, Matrix Partners, and CRV. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s worth noting that coding bootcamps have been struggling of late, having expanded too fast. More here.


Magaly Charbonneau has joined the Montreal-based venture firm iNovia as a principal. She worked most recently as a business development specialist at Intel Security Group, More here.

Yes, that secret twitter account actually does belong to former FBI director James Comey.

Susan Fowler — the former Uber engineer whose post about the company’s culture led to the ouster of cofounding CEO Travis Kalanick — has an interesting backstory, as revealed to Maureen Dowd of the New York Times.

Tech entrepreneur Zain Jaffer, the founder of the six-year-old mobile ad video company Vungle, has been being arrested on a slew of charges, including a lewd act upon a child and assault with a deadly weapon. The alleged victim was his three-year-old son, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Jaffer was CEO; he has been replaced by the company’s COO and CFO. TechCrunch has more here.

B Capital Group, a global venture capital firm co-led by Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin, has brought aboard Howard Morgan, cofounder of First Round Capital, as its chairman, and Joe Davis, the North American Chairman for BCG, as the firm’s vice chairman. Dealbook has more here.

Tom Preston-Werner — who resigned from his role as CEO and co-founder of GitHub following an investigation into allegations of harassment and intimidation of a female employee by he and his wife — is back with a new startup, Chatterbug. More here.

An influential tech evangelist known in Silicon Valley circles, Robert Scoble, has apologized for bad behavior that he claims occurred when he had a drinking problem. But several TechCrunch sources say he has continued to sexually harass women in the industry.

Grace Yun Xia has joined the Singapore-based venture firm Jungle Ventures as an investor. She was previously a senior director for corporate strategy and development with Tencent.


The 10-person investment team at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is looking to hire a principal-level person. The job is in Seattle.

Essential Reads

Snap badly overestimated demand for its Spectacles and now has hundreds of thousands of unsold units sitting in warehouses, either fully assembled or in parts, according to The Information, which goes on to suggest the disclosure “undercuts Snap CEO Evan Spiegel’s recent contention that Spectacles sales of more than 150,000 had topped the company’s expectations.” More here.

Why Facebook should not be allowed to buy tbh, a deal that TechCrunch reported on last week.

Amazon is receiving pitches from Detroit, Boston, Pittsburgh and many other U.S. cities that hope want to become home to its second headquarters. Here are some of the video pitches the e-commerce juggernaut has received so far.


Dogs pay attention to your looks.

The man who dresses Melania Trump.

The second season of “Stranger Things” lives up its expectations, says Gizmodo.

Retail Therapy

Buy your own bunker. (If we could afford it, we would.)

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