StrictlyVC: January 8, 2018

Hello! Happy New Year, everyone! We hope you had a terrific break. Aside from a ‘lil norovirus, which zipped through our family at astonishing speed, we had an energizing break.:)

 

Before we dive into things: We’re very excited to announce a couple of new additions to our February 27 event in San Francisco at NEA‘s South Park space. Now joining us for the evening are Medha Agarwal, a rising star on Redpoint’s early-stage investing team who some of you may already know (she’ll be joining Tina Sharkey of Brandless in conversation), and Kate Conger of Gizmodo, a former colleague over at TechCrunch and one of the industry’s top cyber security reporters. She’ll be sitting down with Marten Mickos of HackerOne.

 

We’re also very thankful to those who’ve have raised their hand to partner with us on the event, including the global law firm Morrison Foerster or MoFo, which prides itself on providing cutting-edge advice to startups (without taking itself too seriously); and Anduin Transactions, a young transaction workflow platform founded by Joe Lonsdale and Alin Bui with the goal of making private market transactions more efficient for all parties.

 

More announcements relating to the evening are coming. If you’d like to join us, don’t wait too long to grab a seat.

 

Top News

 

The messaging app Telegram plans to raise up to $500 million by issuing digital tokens in what could potentially become the largest ICO to date. TechCrunch has more here.

 

In an unusual campaign to make Apple more socially responsible, two activist shareholders want the company to develop tools and research effects on young people of smartphone overuse and addiction. The WSJ has more here.

 

Cryptocurrencies are being sold off left and right amid concerns about regulation and demand from Asia. Bloomberg has more here.

 

Three class action complaints have been filed against Intel over the Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws that were widely publicized last week. The suits cite the security vulnerabilities but also Intel’s response time. Ars Technica has more here.

 

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James Damore Just Filed a Class Action Lawsuit Against Google, Saying It Discriminates Against White Male Conservatives

 

James Damore, the former Google engineer who was fired in August after posting a memo to an internal Google message board, arguing that women may not be equally represented in tech because they are biologically less capable of engineering, has filed a class action lawsuit against the company in Santa Clara Superior Court in Northern California.

 

His claims: that Google unfairly discriminates against white men whose political views are unpopular with its executives.

 

Damore is joined in the suit by another former Google engineer named David Gudeman, who spent three years with Google, working on a query engine. According to Gudeman’s LinkedIn profile, he left the company in December 2016 and has been self-employed since.

 

The lawsuit, filed by Dhillon Law Group, says it aims to represent all employees of Google who’ve been discriminated against due to their “perceived conservative political views by Google,” due to “their male gender by Google” and “due to their Caucasian race by Google.”

 

More specifically, it accuses Google of singling out, mistreating, and systematically punishing and terminating employees who “expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity’ or ‘social justice’…”

 

More here.

 

New Fundings

 

BaishanCloud, a 2.5-year-old, Beijing, China-based cloud data services company, has raised $50 million in Series C funding co-led by Alpha Capital and Chunjia CapitalMore here.

 

Citiesocial, a six-year-old, Taipei, Taiwain-based startup that helps emerging brands break into Asia’s e-commerce market, has raised $2.75 million led byAlibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund, with participation from CDIB Capital and returning investor Cherubic Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Drop, a five-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based smart kitchen company, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Alsop Louie Partners, with participation fromFrontline VenturesRoss Lewis, and Domini Kemp. The Spoon has more here.

 

Element Analytics, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that makes analytics data management and integration software for industrial companies, has raised $19.5 million in Series A funding. Investors include GE Ventures,Honeywell VenturesABB Technology VenturesMitsui & Co., AsterBlue Bear Capital, and Kleiner PerkinsMore here.

 

FinMkt, a six-year-old, New York-based company whose tech platform is designed for use by the online lending industry, has raised $5 million in funding led byManchesterStory Group, with participation from West Loop Ventures, Perot Jain LP, and Vectr VenturesMore here.

 

Immusoft, a nine-year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based gene therapy company, has raised $3 million in Series B funding led by 600 Mile Challenge FundMore here.

 

Inocucor, a 10-year-old, Denver, Co.-based developer of biological crop inputs, has raised $9.5 million in additional Series B funding, bringing the round to $38.5 million altogether. Pontifax AgTech, an investor in the global food and agriculture sector, led the round, with participation from earlier backers Cycle Capital ManagementDesjardins Innovatech and Cairn InvestmentsMore here.

 

StrongAuth, a 17-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca-based maker of enterprise key management software, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Systena CorpMore here.

 

Voatz, a three-year old, Boston-based startup that provides a mobile voting platform and uses the blockchain to anonymously collect and audit voting data, has raised $2.2 million led by Medici Ventures, with participation from Urban Innovation Fund and Oakhouse VenturesMore here.

 

New Funds

 

General Catalyst Partners, the 18-year-old venture firm, with offices in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Boston and New York, is raising a $1 billion fund, according to the WSJ. That’s the firm’s largest yet. In early 2016, GC closed on its eighth and current fund, a $845 million vehicle that was itself a sizable step up from the firm’s previous fund, which closed with $675 million in 2013. More here.

 

Joe Zawadzki, chief executive of digital ad-buying technology firm MediaMath, andEric Franchi, a co-founder and former executive at Undertone, will lead an ad-tech focused fund they have named MathCapital, alongside three other MediaMath executives. (Because investors have made so much investing in ad tech? This is definitely a counterintuitive play.) The WSJ has more here.

 

Sponsored By . . .

 

StrictlyVC is sponsored this week by Meld Valuation, a premiere independent valuation firm. We care about understanding the unique risk profile of your situation and most importantly making the quantitative reflect the qualitative story. Contact us today to learn about our services and how we can help you everything from cap table management to complex valuation engagements.

 

Exits

 

Celgene has agreed to acquire a cancer drug startup called Impact Biomedicinesfor upwards of $7 billion, producing a “silly stupendous return” on investment for Medicxi Ventures, notes Axios. Medicxi was the sole participant in the startup’s $22.5 million Series A funding round. More here.

 

Ring, the connected home security gadget startup, has acquired Mr. Beams, a maker of LED lighting with wireless connectivity and motion-sensing capabilities. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

 

People

 

Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick will sell about 29 percent of his stake in the company to SoftBank for about $1.4 billion. Kalanick owns about 10 percent of Uber.

 

Teddie Wardie, a partner at Atomico and VP at Dawn Capital before that, has left London to join Insight Venture Partners in New York as a principal.

 

Jobs

 

Jump Capital is looking to hire an associate for its investment team. The job is in Chicago.

 

Essential Reads

 

Struggling GoPro just quit the drone business. It also just hired JPMorgan to explore a possible sale.

 

Detours

 

The nine best quotes from Oprah’s Golden Globes speech. (We know you also want to see all the red carpet looks.)

 

Why hobbies make you happier.

 

White House advisor Stephen Miller had to be escorted off CNN’s set yesterday.

 

Retail Therapy

 

Collapsible snow shovel. (Sorry, East Coast.)

 



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