StrictlyVC: April 4, 2018

Hello! Happy Wednesday.:)


Top News


It turns out the woman who attacked YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno yesterday may have been acting out of anger over its content policies. More here.


Sponsored By . . .


Don’t kick yourself on April 12 (next week!) for missing the deadline. If you have a startup or nonprofit that offers a solution that could improve some facet of financial health — even early stage —  you should apply to the Financial Solutions Lab before April 11. More: Lab Impact ReportLaunch BlogChallenge DetailsApplication. (Did we mention winners get $250,000 plus access to unparalleled resources?)


IfOnly, a Marketplace for Experiences, Has New Funding — and a New CEO


IfOnly, a San Francisco-based online marketplace that offers more than 3,000 unique experiences to its adventuresome users, has raised $20 million in Series D funding led by MasterCard, which was joined by other strategic investors, including Hyatt Hotels and Sotheby’s.


It has another new announcement, too: the company has brought aboard a new CEO, John Boris, who spent the previous six years as the chief marketing officer at the personalized photos and products company Shutterfly.


The latter wasn’t necessarily something the company saw coming. Until recently, IfOnly  was led by serial entrepreneur and founder Trevor Traina. But in January, Traina — a financial supporter of President Donald Trump — was nominated for an ambassadorship to Austria, and last Thursday, he was sworn in at his Pacific Heights home in San Francisco.


With Traina off to Vienna, Boris will steer the company’s growth, and its newest strategic partners should help.


Both MasterCard and Hyatt, for example, offer the kinds of experiences featured at IfOnly to help make their offerings a bit stickier for customers.


Meanwhile, Sotheby’s, known of its auctions business, has similarly been getting into the business of experiences. In December, anyone willing to pay enough could enjoy an after-hours tour of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, before being treated to an authentic Venetian dinner.


More here.


New Fundings


6 River Systems, a three-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based startup whose mobile robots are designed to speed up production in warehouses, has raised $25 million Series B funding led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners, Eclipse Ventures and iRobot. The company’s founders were previously executives with Kiva Systems (sold to Amazon). TechCrunch has more here.


Alisports Group, a three-year-old, China-based sports affiliate of Alibaba Group, has raised $191 million in Series A funding led by Yunfeng Capital. China Money Network has more here.


Chairman Mom, a new, San Francisco-based subscription startup aiming to provide resources to working mothers, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding led by Ann Miura-Ko of Floodgate Ventures and Tim Connors from PivotNorth Capital, with participation from Greylock Discovery and Precursor Ventures. The company was founded by Sarah Lacy, the founder of the media site Pando. TechCrunch has more here.


Impossible Foods, a seven-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company developing a plant-based meat alternative and known for its burgers, has raised $114 million in a convertible note led by Singapore’s Temasek and Sailing Capital. TechCrunch has more here.


OrderMyGear, an 11-year-old, Dallas, Tex.-based company that sells its e-commerce and payments software to team sports and affinity groups, has raised $35 million in funding from Susquehanna Growth EquityMore here.


Virta, a nearly four-year-old, San Francisco-based company try to reverse type 2 diabetes and other chronic metabolic diseases by remotely monitoring what patients eat, has raised $45 million in Series B funding from Founders FundPlayground Global and earlier backers VenrockObvious VenturesCreandumCaffeinated Capital, and Max Levchin’s SciFi VC. The company has now raised $75 million altogether. More here.


Yellow, a new, Brazil-based mobility startup, just raised a $9 million seed round for its dockless bike-share service, though it’s not saying who its backers are. Yellow was founded by Ariel Lambrecht and Renato Freitas, who sold their ride-share company 99 to Didi in January earlier this year. Yellow’s third co-founder is Eduardo Musa, CEO of bike manufacturer Caloi. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds


The Australian venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures has closed its third fund with $225 million in commitments. Industry super fund Hostplus is its cornerstone investor. It also turned to First State Super, the Australian government’s Future Fund, and 100 high net worth individuals. More in Startup Daily.


Congruent Ventures, a new, Bay Area-based firm led by veteran clean energy VCsAbe Yokell and Joshua Posamentier, has raised $92 million in funds to back early-stage companies focused on sustainability-related technology. Axios has more here.


Firebrand Ventures, a young, Kansas City-based venture firm focused on startups in the Midwest, has closed its debut fund with just less than $18 million. The outfit is led by former Techstars managing director John Fein. Startland News has more here.


Makers Fund, an eight-month-old, Hong Kong-based early-stage venture fund that’s focused exclusively on the global interactive entertainment market, has sealed up $180 million in capital commitments for its debut fund. We talked with cofounder Jay Chi about how he pulled it off, and what Makers Fund aims to do.


Sofinnova Partners, the Paris, France–based venture capital firm specializing in life sciences, has launched a new fund, Sofinnova Crossover I, with €275 million ($340 million). Limited partners include BpifranceCNP Assurances, a major (unnamed) Chinese biopharmaceutical company, the Danish State Investment fund, and family offices in Europe and Asia. FierceBiotech has more here.




Cloudera, which went public last year, fell more than 28 percent yesterday, after the company posted guidance that fell below analysts’ expectations. CNBC has more here.




GoFundMe, the startup that focuses on crowdfunding for charitable causes, has made another acquisition to scale up its platform, acquiring smaller rival YouCaring. YouCaring also never disclosed how much it has raised and has only ever disclosed one backer, Alpine Investors. TechCrunch has more here.


JUMP Bikes, an on-demand biking service that was long known as Social Bicycles, or SoBi, is reportedly considering a sale to Uber for more than $100 million. TechCrunch, which has the scoop, says the company is also weighing another round of funding, one that Sequoia Capital may want to lead. More here.




CEO Daniel Ek, who owns just over 9 percent of the music streaming company, is now sitting on about $2.3 billion of Spotify stock at its current price. His lower-profile co-founder, Martin Lorentzon, has about $3.1 billion worth of shares in the company. Recode has more here.


Oracle CEO Safra Catz reportedly criticized the bidding process for a huge Pentagon cloud computing contract in a private dinner with Donald Trump last night, saying it seemed designed for Amazon to win. Bloomberg has more here.


Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has joined the board of StyleSeat, an online platform that manages scheduling, appointment reminders, and payments for the beauty industry. Minted cofounder Melissa Kim is also now a director. Fortune has more here.


Alicia Navarro, the CEO and co-founder of venture-backed, London-based Skimlinks, has stepped down, handing over the reins to the company’s chief revenue officer. TechCrunch has more here.


“I thought I was the hardest-working person on the planet” until I met wife Serena Williams, says investor Alexis Ohanian, adding that he thought tech was the hardest-working industry. “It’s all malarkey.”


Slack is promoting VP of product April Underwood to be its first-ever chief product officer, per an announcement from CEO Stewart Butterfield. Fortune has more here.




G2VP, a venture firm led by four partners who worked together previously for Kleiner Perkins’s Green Growth Fund, is hiring an analyst or associate. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca. More here.


Essential Reads


More than 3,000 Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai, protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says the letter. More here.


Remember the 50 million Facebook users whose data may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica? That was probably closer to 87 million, Facebook is now saying. More here.


Lyft is now testing a subscription service in more than two dozen cites, hoping to lock in customers as competition with Uber heats up in the U.S. More here.




Inside the worst U.S. maritime disaster in decades.


How one artwork can have four very different price tags.


Female authors, describing themselves like a male author would.


Retail Therapy


Buy this, then tell your kids to get it themselves, dammit.


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