StrictlyVC: January 11, 2018

Hi, happy Thursday, all.:)

 

Top News

 

Bitcoin slumped to its lowest level since Christmas day today as South Korea’s justice minister reiterated his proposal to ban local cryptocurrency exchanges. More here.

 

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to renew some of the U.S. government’s sweeping digital surveillance powers, despite objections from both Democrats and Republicans. More here.

 

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Howard Lindzon’s Venture Firm is Looking to Raise up to $50 Million for its Newest Fund

 

Social Leverage, a seed and early-stage venture outfit, is looking to raise up to $50 million for its third fund, shows a new SEC filing.

 

It’s of interest in large part because of co-founder Howard Lindzon, a kind of internet celebrity and serial entrepreneur known for creating WallStrip, an online video show that took a satirical approach to financial news and was acquired by CBS in 2007, and later StockTwits, a venture-backed social network for traders and investors.

 

Social Leverage dates back roughly a decade. As Lindzon told StrictlyVC in 2015, he’d started the firm with Tom Peterson, a classmate of his at Arizona State University. He explained at the time that “[o]riginally, back in 2008, we started a holding company inspired by Betaworks that would invest in and operate startups, but we learned that we’re best-suited for just investing, using social leverage as a means for accelerating startups.”

 

At the beginning of 2015, the firm added a third general partner: Gary Benitt, who’d earlier sold his company, Assistly, to Salesforce.

 

It isn’t clear how much money Social Leverage is currently managing altogether. Lindzon never announced the size of Social Leverage’s second fund, which the team was out marketing in 2015.

 

More here.

 

New Fundings

 

Adapsyn Bioscience, a two-year-old, Ontario, Canada-based developer of a bioinformatics platform for drug discovery, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Pfizer and Genesys Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.

 

Cardlay, a 1.5 year-old, Odense, Denmark-based credit card and expense management platform, has raised $5 million in new funding from SEED Capital and SEB Venture CapitalMore here.

 

Chronext, a 4.5-year-old, London-based online platform for luxury watch trading, has raised $34 million in fresh funding from Endeit Capital and Tengelmann Ventures. The round brings the company’s total funding to $50 million. TechCrunch has more here.

 

CryptoMove, a 2.5-year-old, Walnut Creek, Ca.-based cybersecurity startup, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Social CapitalMore here.

 

FloDesign Sonics, an eight-year-old, Wilbraham, Ma.-based startup at work on a technology that aims to changes the way we capture, filter, separate, and concentrate particles in fluid, has raised an undisclosed amount of money fromDynamk CapitalMore here.

 

Fritz, a Boston-based provider of an edge computing platform for mobile developers to manage machine learning models, has raised $2 million in seed-stage funding led by Eniac Ventures, with participation from Uncork Capital and Hack VC, among others. More here.

 

Grab, the 5.5-year-old, Singapore-based ride-hailing company that recently raised at least $2 billion in funding, revealed earlier today that among its newest investors in carmaker Hyundai. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Harver, a 7.5-year-old, New York-based maker of AI-driven recruitment software, has raised $4.2 million in new Series A funding led by Insight Venture Partners, which had provided the company with $8.1 million in Series A funding last year. More here.

 

HelloTeam, a 1.5-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based SaaS employee engagement and talent management platform, has raised $2.7 million in funding, including from Bain Capital VenturesOsage VenturesVT Technology Ventures and select angels. More here.

 

minuteKEY, a nine-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based network of self-service kiosks for accurate key duplication, has raised $83 million in funding, including from the private equity firm Comvest PartnersMore here.

 

Pagoda, a 16-year-old, Shenzhen, China-based fresh fruit e-commerce company, has raised $230 million in Series B funding from Co-Stone CapitalSource Code CapitalShenzhen Capital Group, Zhongzhi CapitalZhongjin Zhide Equity Investment Management and Yuexiu Industrial Fund. China Money Network has more here.

 

Qualifio, an eight-year-old, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium-based company behind an interactive marketing and data collection platform, has raised €3 million ($3.6 million) in Series A funding, including from Volta Ventures and SRIWMore here.

 

SyncThink, a 10-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based developer of eye-tracking technology for use in diagnosing concussions, has raised $3.5 million in Series A-1 funding led by Quadrant Management. The SF Chronicle has more on the company’s tech here. (H/T: Axios.)

 

Unbabel, a 4.5-year-old. Lisbon-based language translation platform, has raised $23 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Microsoft VenturesSalesforce VenturesSamsung NextNotion CapitalCaixa Capital, and Funders Club. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Voyage, a year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based self-driving taxi service, raised $15 million in funding, including from InMotion VenturesKhosla VenturesSV AngelInitialized CapitalAmino Capital and Charles River Ventures. The Information has more here.

 

Xinshang, a two-year-old, China-based marketplace for secondhand luxury goods in China, has raised $50 million in Series C funding co-led by GGV Capital and Joy Capital. China Money Network has more here.

 

New Funds

 

Full Tilt Capital, a 1.5-year-old, Raleigh, North Carolina-based venture firm that focuses on seed-round investments, is going all in on crypto. To wit, it says in a letter to investors that it’s investing 100 percent of its next fund in crypto. The outfit was founded by Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, who worked briefly at both Facebook and Snapchat previously, and it’s seeking to raise $25 million, says Bloomberg. More here.

 

OurCrowd, the Jerusalem-based crowdfunding investment platform, is looking to raise a $100 million fund to finance early-stage companies focusing on artificial intelligence, deep-learning and robotics. More here.

 

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IPOs

 

Dropbox, the file-sharing private company valued at $10 billion, has filed confidentially for a U.S. IPO, says Bloomberg. More here.

 

Exits

 

Some time last year — possibly last August — Google quietly acquired a four-year-old, U.K.-based startup called Redux whose technology turns surfaces such as phone displays into speakers. Google isn’t discussing the purchase price, though some paperwork around the deal first surfaced last month. Redux had raised at least $5 million, including from Arie Capital. Bloomberg has more here.

 

InMobi, a 10-year-old, India-based mobile ad company, has acquired AerServ, a five-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based maker of revenue tools for mobile publishers, for $90 million in cash and stock. AerServ doesn’t appear to have disclosed any outside funding. The Economic Times has more here.

 

Private equity firm Marlin Equity Partners has acquired Talkwalker, a cloud-based social media listening platform for undisclosed terms. Talkwalker, founded nine years ago in Luxembourg, had raised just more than $9 million, shows Crunchbase. Backers included Main Mezzanine Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

 

People

 

Did you know: Jeff Bezos‘s mother was just 16 years old when he was born.

 

Berkshire Hathaway is Apple’s fifth-largest shareholder, but founder Warren Buffett says he’s sticking with his Samsung flip phone. CNet has more here.

 

GV has lost its one female general partner. London-based Avid Larizadeh Dugganis joining Kobalt​, a New York-based music tech company that acts as a publisher and provides royalty tracking services for tracks when any sample or full track is played across various digital platforms. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Halsey Minor, a serial entrepreneur who cofounded CNET and more recently launched the crypto wallet Uphold, has embarked on yet a new journey, this time to deploy a video encoding and content distribution network running on the blockchain with a native protocol token. SiliconAngle has more here.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has reportedly attempted to recruit venture capitalist and “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance to run for Senate in Ohio. Vance would be up against Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown.

 

Essential Reads

 

The electric car boom is running into a metal crunch.

 

Ride-hail drivers work alone, but they’re now banding together online to compare notes, uncover new policies, and help each other navigate the gig economy.

 

Speaking of which: Uber is in trouble again, this time over secret tools meant to keep cops in the dark.

 

 

Detours

 

Why Wall Street hasn’t had its #MeToo moment yet.

 

Seven island vacations to cure your winter blues.

 

 

Retail Therapy

 

A 24K gold forest canopy bed that looks made for Sean Parker.

 



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