StrictlyVC: March 23, 2018

Friday! [Blows out candles.] Despite appearances, we didn’t forget you(!). Today has been insane.


Hope you have a restful couple of days, everyone. See you back here Monday.:)


Top News


Good news, hungry tech investors. Dropbox‘s shares closed at $28.42 today, up more than 35 percent in their first day of trading as investors proved eager to buy into the biggest tech IPO since Snap. The company has come a long way, as you can see from this demo video in 2008 (it’s pretty charming, actually).


Meanwhile, the rest of the market tumbled again today, sending the S&P 500 Index to its biggest weekly loss in more than two years. Investors are scared of a trade war and fearful that higher borrowing rates could throttle global growth.


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Going Against the Grain, AngelPad Kills Its Demo Day


Earlier this week, at the expansive Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Ca., Y Combinator introduced an exhaustive (and exhausting) 141 startups to investors who gathered to hear quick pitches about how each of the teams plan to disrupt their predecessors.


Roughly 3,000 miles away, in New York, another accelerator, AngelPad was busy blowing up its own demo day. Though in recent years, the eight-year-old outfit has similarly packed rooms with invite-only crowds of investors to hear startup pitches in rapid-fire succession, AngelPad — which has hosted demo days in both New York and San Francisco — thinks investors have had enough of the construct, says cofounder Thomas Korte.


“Demo days are great ways for accelerators to expose a large number of companies to a lot of investors, but we don’t think it is the most productive way,” he says, so AngelPad is introducing the idea of investor “preview” days instead. The idea: to pair founders with only the most relevant investors for same-day, one-on-one meetings.


It makes sense, particularly for an outfit like AngelPad that has always kept its focus on far smaller “batches” of founding teams. AngelPad’s newest class of 10 startups had more than 200 meetings in one day, but investors were able to get the founders’ undivided attention — and vice versa.


The feedback from both sides was “overwhelming positive,” too, says Korte. “Founders had their first 20-plus investor meetings, and the investors spent two productive hours with founders rather than sit through a quick show-and-tell presentation.”


If you’re interested in learning more about the recent graduates — they join 130 companies that AngelPad has now worked with altogether, including the delivery service Postmates — check out the slideshow. Some of our favorites include Meemo and Quoteapro, but you should decide for yourself which you think are the most promising.


More here.


New Fundings


Ansarada, a 12-year-old, Sydney, Australia-based virtual data room provider, has raised $18 million in Series A funding led by Ellerston Capital, with participation from Tempus PartnersBelay Capital and Australian Ethical InvestmentsMore here.


Dracen Pharmaceuticals, a new, Baltimore-based immuno-metabolism startup that was spun out of Johns Hopkins University, has raised $40 million in Series A funding led by Deerfield Management. has more here.


Insly, a 17-year-old, London-based cloud-based insurance platform, has raised €2.2 million ($2.7 million), including from Concentric and Black Pearls VCMore here.


Knowledge Officer, a year-old, London-based startup that has built a personalized online teaching app, just raised £600,000 ($848,000) in seed funding led by Kuwaiti investor Abdullah AlShaheen and former Fox Interactive Media VP Ian Hurlock. UKTN has more here.


ServiceTitan, a five-year-old, Glendale, Ca.-based company that makes workflow and field service management software for home-service businesses, has raised $62 million in Series C funding from Battery Ventures, as well as earlier backers Bessemer Venture Partners and ICONIQ CapitalMore here.


Shift, a San Francisco-based startup that’s aiming to facilitate military-to-civilian career transitions, has raised $4 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Tim FerrissStructure CapitalExpaGelt Venture Capital and BoxGroupMore here.


Tourlane, a two-year-old, Berlin-based online travel company that creates adventures for its customers, has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding led bySpark Capital, with participation from Holtzbrinck Ventures and DN Capital.More here. (Also, sign us up!)


Sponsored By . . . 


Let’s keep this short: If you’re a startup or nonprofit that offers a solution that could improve financial health — even if early stage —  you should apply to the Financial Solutions Lab before April 11. More: Lab Impact ReportLaunch BlogChallenge DetailsApplication.




Pivotal, the business software and cloud company that spun out of DellEMC and VMware, filed for an IPO today to raise $100 million. (It’s good to be a cloud company right now.) Fortune has more here.


Also: Alibaba Group is reportedly planning a mainland listing via depositary receipts that could come as early as the middle of this year. As Reuters notes, China has been looking for ways to lure home its offshore-listed tech giants to give Chinese investors more access to them. More here.




Sudip Chakrabarti has joined Madrona Venture Group as a partner. Chakrabarti was previously a partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, and before that at Andreessen Horowitz. GeekWire has more here.


Josh Hannah has quietly stepped down as a general partner with Matrix Partners, which he joined in 2009, says Axios. Neither Matrix nor Hannah (on LinkedIn) have updated online media about the move. He will reportedly maintain his Matrix board seats, but won’t be making any new investments.


Real estate investor and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has expanded his relationship with Dreamit Ventures through a new $12 million investment into the early stage fund and accelerator, announced earlier this week. The deal will also see Vinik joining Dreamit as a Partner and a member of the Board of Directors. TechCrunch has more here.




America’s 100 richest places.


Essential Reads


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’d “love to see” regulation on ad transparency. But that’s not the company’s message to lawmakers, as Quartz has discovered.


Meanwhile, you probably know this already, but it’s . . . time to buy Facebook. The reason: despite outrage over its failed privacy policies and despite its falling share price and despite the numerous shareholder lawsuits it’s now facing, pretty much no one deleted it this week, save for one of WhatsApp’s founders and Elon Musk. (He was dared to on Twitter, so.)


The best thing we’ve read to date on the Uber accident. The Times also takes a look at Uber’s struggles, explaining why its autonomous cars were never ready for prime time in the first place.




fascinating look inside Spike Jonze’s equally fascinating Apple ad.


This Omaha man “liked” a tweet. Then he lost his dream job.


At last, Matt Damon breaks his silence on Ben Affleck’s alarming back tattoo.


Retail Therapy


A floor mat for your favorite beep-boop-boop nerd.


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