StrictlyVC: February 12, 2018

Monday! Hope your week is off to a great start, everyone.:)

 

We are going to be at Startup Grind in Redwood City, Ca., for much of tomorrow so SVC may come either really early or kinda late. Hope to see some of you there.:)

 

 

Top News

 

Good news(?). Stocks just recorded their biggest two-day rally since 2016.

 

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.

 

Outdoorsy, the ‘Airbnb of RVs,’ Just Rolled Up $25 Million in Fresh Funding

 

According to serial entrepreneur Jeff Cavins, more than 35 million people each year look to rent an RV — 38 percent of them so-called millennials. Yet they often walk away from the experience empty-handed. The reason, he says: there are fewer than 100,000 commercial owned vehicles available from traditional rental services.

 

Cavins says that his San Francisco-based company, Outdoorsy, is beginning to address this issue by enabling owners of the 14 million privately owned RVs in the United States to rent them to users, à la Airbnb.

 

The vehicles are mostly sitting around collecting dust anyway, says Cavins, who cofounded the company in late 2014 after heading up seven previous companies — two of which were  publicly traded.

 

“Americans desperately want time off, but what happens is they’ll buy a camper van, they’ll use it year one, then use it again maybe one week that second year,” says Cavins. “In the meantime, it’s sitting in storage, with the owner often dealing with both a mortgage and insurance payment. By year three, people go back to the dealership and say, ‘We’re done,’ and the dealer says, ‘I’m sorry but that vehicle you paid $100,000 for three years ago is now worth $40,000.’”

 

Intuitively, the platform would seem to make sense. RVs are unaffordable for most people. Storing them is a hassle. And people are increasingly interested in reaching places where home-sharing sites and hotels cannot take them. Think Burning Man, for example, or the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

 

But Cavins said venture investors “didn’t get it,” when he began pitching the idea to them several years ago. While he secured meetings with with all the right firms, he said he was repeatedly ushered politely out the door by people who deemed the idea too risky.

 

In fact, Cavins says that he and his cofounder Jen Young wound up funding the company for its first year and creating a sufficiently compelling platform with two “phenomenal” developers that within a year, VCs had produced four term sheets — all of which he turned down. (“I didn’t want to give my company to them,” he says.)

 

More here.

 

New Fundings

 

Ant Financial Services Group, the 3.5-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based fintech company that originated from the escrow service Alipay, is aiming to raise as much as $5 billion in a new funding round, according to media outlets. The affiliate of e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group last secured $4.5 billion from a slate of investors, including the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. and the private equity firm Primavera Capital Group. The deal, closed in 2016, had valued Ant at about $60 billion at the time, notes the WSJ.

 

DataVisor, a five-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based maker of financial crime prevention software, has raised $40 million in Series C financing led by Sequoia China, with participation from New Enterprise Associates and GSR VenturesMore here.

 

Go-Jek, a nearly eight-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based ride-hailing company, is raising $150 million in funding from the Indonesian conglomerate Astra International, as well as an undisclosed amount of funding from PT Global Digital Niaga, a unit of venture capital firm GDP Ventures. Reuters has more here.

 

HomeCare.com, a 3.5-year-old, McLean, Va.-based marketplace that connects families with caregivers, has raised $11 million in funding, including from 3TS Capital PartnersBlue Heron CapitalMaryland Venture Fund and Private Access NetworkMore here.

 

Jobcase, a nine-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based social platform focused on work, has raised $11.5 million in Series A-1 funding led by Providence Equity Partners. The company had previously closed on $7 million in Series A funding led by Savano Capital PartnersMore here.

 

nOCD, a nearly four-year-old, Chicago-based company whose app helps people treat their own obsessive-compulsive disorder, has raised $1 million in seed funding from the early-stage healthcare investment firm 7wire Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Stash, a three-year-old, New York-based investing app that let’s people begin building a portfolio with just $5, has raised $37.5 million in Series D funding led byUnion Square Ventures. Earlier investors Breyer CapitalCoatue Management,Entree CapitalGoodwater Capital and Valar Ventures also joined the round. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Volantio, a 4.5-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based maker of revenue and capacity optimization software for airlines, has raised $2.6 million in funding led byIngleside Investors, with participation from International Airlines Group,JetBlue Technology Ventures and Qantas VenturesMore here.

 

XebiaLabs, a 10-year-old, Boston-based software company that helps companies automate DevOps functions, has raised $100 million in Series B funding co-led bySusquehanna Growth Equity and Accel Partners. The round brings the company’s total funding to $121.5 million. TechCrunch has more here.

 

YapStone, a 19-year-old, Walnut Creek, Ca.-based company that provides payment services to marketplace-style businesses, has raised $71 million in Series C funding in a round that the company expects to close with $100 million. Premji Invest, the venture arm of the Premji family office, led the round; other participants includeMasterCard and earlier investors Accel Partners and Meritech Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

 

Sponsored By . . .

 

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New Funds

 

Homebrew, the nearly five-year-old, San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm, has closed on $90 million for its third fund. More here.

 

Wave, a six-month-old, San Francisco-based venture firm, has raised $31.5 million for its debut fund, shows an SEC filing that lists a $35 million target. The firm was cofounded by David Rosenthal, a former principal at Madrona Venture Group, andRiley Newman, a former director of data science at Airbnb.

 

People

 

In a rare move for Amazon, the retail giant is reportedly laying off hundreds of corporate workers in its Seattle headquarters and elsewhere.

 

NFL great Tom Brady has cofounded a new sports media startup called The Religion of Sports. The company, which is raising $3 million from investors, aims to create a multi-platform storytelling business that functions like an old-school studio — one that happens to be dedicated to sports.

 

In a rare move for Amazon, the retail giant is reportedly laying off hundreds of corporate workers in its Seattle headquarters and elsewhere.

 

Lars Dalgaard, who sold SuccessFactors to SAP for $3.4 billion in 2011 before going into venture capital, is stepping down from his general partner role at Andreessen Horowitz to found his own investment firm.

 

Snap’s VP of Sales, Jeff Lucas, has reportedly left the company after joining less than two years ago. Lucas was previously head of sales and marketing at Viacom.

 

National Geographic watched Elon Musk watch his Falcon Heavy rocket take off last week.

 

Essential Reads

 

Amazon is the latest major tech company, after Google and Apple, to design its own AI chips in hopes of differentiating its products — from Alexa to AWS — from those of rivals.

 

Another day, another scam: an emerging cryptocurrency startup more commonly known as LoopX has suddenly vanished out of thin air along with millions worth of its investors’ savings.

 

Inside the two years that shook Facebookand the world.

 

Detours

 

Olympics medal count (interactive map).

 

The secret brunch party for billionaires.

 

Alternatives to resting bitch face.

 

Retail Therapy

 

How to spend your bonus.

 



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