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StrictlyVC: April 30, 2018

Monday! Welcome back.:)
Top News
Sprint and T-Mobile are officially looking to merge. If the deal is approved, the resulting company would be the nation’s second-biggest wireless carrier after Verizon, controlling roughly 100 million customers. That might not sit so well with policymakers who are already concerned about the growing power of some U.S. companies. The Washington Post has more here

The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to hear an internet privacy case involvingGoogle that could put the brakes on an increasingly common form of settlement in class action suits that funnels money to unrelated third parties and charities instead of to those affected by the alleged wrongdoing. Reuters has the story here

WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, is reportedly planning to leave the company after clashing with its parent, Facebook, over WhatsApp’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption.
Sponsored By . . .
Treble is the PR firm working at the speed of business. We’re looking to collaborate and win with VC firms. Our new website captures our collective value proposition and results from Bloomberg TV to Forbes to The Wall Street Journal. Treble has partnered with VC firms including Mercury Fund, OpenView, Signal Peak Ventures and Dundee Venture Capital to-date. Our model allows us to maximize your portfolio funding launches across your investment portfolio. We love blockchain, IoT, DevOps, cybersec, cloud, fintech and consumer tech – contact us here
SoFi’s Mike Cagney is Back with a New Startup and a Whole Lot of Funding
Mike Cagney, who was ousted last summer from the lending company he founded, is back with a new startup and a whole lot of funding from at least one of his previous investors. 

Per a new report in Bloomberg, Cagney who earlier this year formed a new lending startup called Figure, has raised $50 million to grow the company, which plans to use the blockchain to facilitate loan approvals in minutes instead of days. 

According to the company’s site, its lending products will include home equity lines of credit, home improvement loans and home buy-lease back offerings for retirement. The round was led by DCM Ventures and Ribbit Capital and included participation from Mithril Capital Management, Cagney confirmed to Bloomberg. 

Ribbit Capital in Palo Alto, Ca., has been leading investments in the world of fintech and digital currencies from nearly its founding nearly six years ago. Others of its many bets include the online consumer lending company Affirm and Point, a startup that buys equity in U.S. homes.

 Mithril, cofounded by Peter Thiel, prides itself on funding companies that take time to build, with funds that have longer investing timelines than do most traditional venture vehicles. The cross-border firm DCM Ventures, meanwhile, is perhaps the most interesting participant in this round.  

More here.
New Fundings
A-Mansia, a young, Belgium-based microbiome company, has raised $15.7 million in funding led by Seventure PartnersMore here

Datavant, a healthcare data company spun out of Softbank-funded Roivant Sciences last year, has raised $40.5 million in funding co-led by Roivant and Datavant’s CEO, Travis May. FierceBiotech has more here

Dugout, a two-year-old, London-based social network for football fans, has raised $11.7 million in funding led by sports owners David and Frank McCourtMore here

Flexport, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based software-powered freight forwarder, quietly announced $100 million in funding from the Chinese courier company SF Express. The deal aims to help the company expand its operations into China. Flexport has now raised a little more than $300 million altogether, including from First Round CapitalBloomberg BetaFounders FundDST Global and Y CombinatorMore here

LeaseLock, a three-year-old, L.A.-based company that’s looking to replace security deposits with insurance, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Wildcat Venture Partners, with participation from Hivers & StriversLiberty Mutual Strategic VenturesAmerican Family Ventures and Moderne VenturesMore here

Minim, a year-old, Manchester, N.H.-based IoT platform for in-home cybersecurity, raised $2.5 million in seed funding co-led by Flybridge Capital Partners andFounder Collective. American Inno has more here

SAMCO, a three-year-old, Mumbai, India-based firm discount brokerage firm that says it’s building mutual fund, lending, and research and advisory businesses, has raised $7.5 million in Series B funding from earlier backers and the London-based investment firm Bay Capital Investment Partners. Inc42 has more here.
New Funds
New Funds Baidu is reportedly establishing a new, $500 million fund to invest in internet and AI companies in China. Named Changcheng Investment Partners, it will be the third tech-focused venture fund that Baidu has established. China Money Network has more here

Sky9 Capital, a venture capital firm founded by Ron Cao, formerly of Lightspeed Venture Partners, has closed its third fund with $200 million in capital commitments. The capital will be invested mainly in early-stage, China-based startups. China Money Network has more here.
Alzheon, a Framingham, Ma.-based pre-revenue developer of small-molecule therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, just withdrew its IPO registration. FierceBiotech has more here

GreenSky, an Atlanta, Ga.-based online loan platform that’s backed by Pimco and the private equity firm TPG, filed on Friday for an IPO, listing its initial offering size as $100 million, a placeholder amount. Bloomberg has more here

Kiniksa Pharmaceutical, a Lexington, Ma.-based biotech company focused on inflammatory disease, has filed to go public. The company’s lead drug is an already-approved rare disease treatment. Boston Business Journal has more here

Scholar Rock, a Cambridge Ma.-based startup focused on muscle-wasting disorders, disclosed in a filing on Friday that it’s looking to raise up to $75 million by listing its shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker “SRRK.” Its backers include FidelityPolaris Partners and The Kraft Group. Nasdaq has a bit more here.
Exits Marriott Vacations Worldwide has agreed to buy publicly traded ILG for about $4.7 billion in a stock and cash deal, creating the largest luxury brand for timeshare vacation resorts. More here.
People Jonathan Faerber has left his job as CFO at GV to take the same position with Section32, the venture firm launched last year by former GV CEO Bill Maris. 

Larry Harvey, the founder of the Burning Man event now held in Nevada, just passed away at age 70 after suffering a stroke earlier this month.  

Alexa exec Charlie Kindel says he left Amazon last week to spend more time with, well, his smart home. (He’s also just fried, he said.)

Oops. Twitter sold data access to Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic who also obtained millions of Facebook users’ information that was later passed to a political consulting firm without the users’ consent. 

Microsoft’s chairman and former Symantec and IBM exec John Thompson has joined Lightspeed as a venture partner.
According to a new report on voice assistants released today by PwC, younger users are adopting voice technology at a faster rate than their older counterparts — but they’re somehow using voice assistants less often.
Essential Reads
Forget the Facebook leak. China is mining data directly from workers’ brains on an industrial scale. Volkswagen and ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing say they’re are closing in on a joint venture to share technology and develop mobility services in China. The WSJ has more here

Thanks to Warby Parker, whose founders met at Wharton, the school is becoming a sort of incubator for direct-to-consumer startups.
Harsh but  funny

NBA playoff predictions

Trafficking in vintage scents
Retail Therapy
Pssst. A number of Bose products are $50 off today.

StrictlyVC: April 27, 2018

Friday! [Pushes over side table.] Hope you have an amazing weekend, everyone. More soon.:) 
Top News
Sequoia Capital is well on its way to closing an $8 billion growth-stage fund, according to a report in the WSJ. The Menlo Park, Ca., firm has already raised $6 billion for new investors, in increments of $250 million. (At least, that’s reportedly the smallest amount that an investor can contribute to the fund.) It now plans to tap it existing investor base for the rest. More here.
Sponsored By . . .
Treble is the PR firm working at the speed of business. We’re looking to collaborate and win with VC firms. Our new website captures our collective value proposition and results from Bloomberg TV to Forbes to The Wall Street Journal. Treble has partnered with VC firms including Mercury Fund, OpenView, Signal Peak Ventures and Dundee Venture Capital to-date. Our model allows us to maximize your portfolio funding launches across your investment portfolio. We love blockchain, IoT, DevOps, cybersec, cloud, fintech and consumer tech – contact us here.
Why the Tech Industry Should Care About the Farm Bill Being Drafted Right Now
For some food stamp recipients, 2018 could shape up to be a particularly aggravating year, including for one of the only startups trying to find ways to innovate on the ways that food stamps are delivered and managed. 

It’s not something that’s talked about much in tech circles, but perhaps it should be, given that 42 million Americans rely on the more than 50-year-old, anti-hunger program behind the stamps — called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — for basic food assistance. 

What’s the problem? It’s twofold essentially. First, let’s take a look at the farm bill, which subsidizes SNAP. 

The farm bill, which got its start in 1933 as part of FDR’s New Deal legislation, expires and is updated and passed anew by Congress every five years, after which the sitting U.S. president signs it into law. The last bill was signed in February of 2014, so Congress is working on the next version now. But things aren’t looking very promising for SNAP recipients. Already, the first draft of the House Republicans’ farm bill, which passed through one committee, looks to cut $20 billion from the program over the next 10 years, potentially cutting off two million people in the process. 

The cuts will be debated on the House floor beginning early next month, meaning it’s far from clear what happens from here. While Republicans argue they want to promote self-sufficiency (the cuts are expected to come via tightened work requirements), poverty experts see the proposal as chipping away at the already shrinking safety net for America’s most vulnerable. As an article about the bill in Vox notes, half of the 42 million people who are living below the poverty line and relying on SNAP for food assistance are children. 

But what do startups have to do with any of this, you may wonder.

More here.
New Fundings
EcoFlow, a two-year-old, Shenzhen, China-based hardware firm that sells portable power stations, has raised $4 million in Series A funding. Investors include battery makers Guangzhou Penghui Energy and SCUD Group, industrial design tooling factory ESID, and supply chain-focused firms Delian Capital and Chunjia Assets. TechCrunch has more here

Innovent Biologics, a nearly seven-year-old, Suzhou, China-based biotech company, has raised $90 million in Series E funding, including from Capital Group Private MarketsCormorant Asset ManagementRock Springs CapitalAlly Bridge GroupTemasekHillhouseLegend CapitalLilly Asia Venture andTaikang InsuranceMore here

Knowbox, a four-year-old, China-based K-12 online education platform, just raised $100 million in Series C funding led by Yunfeng Capital, the latest in a string of investments in China’s online education market. China Money Network has more here

Traackr, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based SaaS platform that powers so-called influencer programs for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies, has raised $9 million in Series B funding. Workhorse Capital led the round, and was joined by You & Mr Jones, among other investors. More here

TradeDepot, a three-year-old, Lagos, Nigeria-based SaaS platform that connects retailers in emerging markets with consumer-goods platforms, has raised an undisclosed amount of money led by Partech VenturesMore here

VIPKid, a five-year-old, Beijing, China-based company that connects Chinese children with North American tutors, is nearing a deal to raise $500 million in funding at a valuation of more than $3 billion, according to Bloomberg. (We’d reported on Wednesday that VIPKId is looking to hire thousands of teachers and tutors in the U.S., as is one of its competitors; they flooded job boards earlier this week with their postings.) 

Wellness Lifestyles, an eight-year-old, Vancouver, Canada-based owner and operator of healthcare and wellness centers, has raised $7 million in funding led byHorizons VenturesMore here.
Sonos, the 15-year-old, Santa Barbara, Ca.-based speaker maker, filed confidentially for an IPO slated for June or July, according to the WSJ. Its sources say the company is seeking a valuation of rough $3 billion. More here

Enterprise tech IPOs continue to roar in 2018. Today, not one but two enterprise tech companies, DocuSign and Smartsheet, saw their share prices pop as they made their debuts on to the public markets. TechCrunch has more here.
BlaBlaCar, the French carpooling platform, is acquiring Less, an 18-month-old carpooling platform based in Paris that focuses only on urban rides. Terms aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.
Michael Zeisser, Alibaba’s top dealmaker in Silicon Valley, has quietly left the Chinese giant over an apparent disagreement over investment strategy. Recode hasmore here.
Essential Reads
Now Apple is working on a VR headset, too.
Know who’s not using instant pots? Chefs

Our early ancestors stalked terrifying eight-foot-tall sloths.
Retail Therapy
kitchen utensil set for the great outdoors, because it’s spring and you should get out there.

StrictlyVC: April 26, 2018

Thursday! There’ve been so very many calls today. [We’re feeling a little this.] 
Top News
Amazon is increasing the price of its Prime membership in the U.S. for the first time in four years, it announced on a call with analysts earlier today. More important to Wall Street, Amazon reported that its first quarter revenue was up 43 percent over the first quarter of last year. 

Intel‘s earnings also beat analysts’ expectations
Sponsored By . . .
Got exits? We’ve got 8 under our belt at Treble – with a brand new website that captures our collective value proposition and results. Founded in 2013 to elevate brand visibility for venture-backed startups, Treble partners with venture capital firms to launch your funding investments and maximize brand visibility for your firm and your investments. Our scalable model aligns with new rounds of venture capital funding so startups can win early – and often – from seed stage to IPO. We love IoT, DevOps, cybersec, cloud, fintech and blockchain – with a growing consumer tech practice. Ready to win? Contact us here
New Fundings
Africa’s Talking, an eight-year-old, Nairobi, Kenya-based developer of business APIs, just raised $8.6 million in new funding led by IFC VC, with participation from Orange Digital Ventures and Social Capital. TechCrunch has more here

Etleap, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company creating what it describes as next-gen data pipelines, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, including from First Round Capital, SV AngelLiquid2BoxGroup and other unnamed investors. TechCrunch has more here.

CampusLogic, a seven-year-old, Chandler, Az.-based student financial services platform, raised $55 million in funding led by JMI EquityMore here

Cardiac Dimensions, a 17-year-old, Kirkland, Wa.-based developer of minimally invasive treatments for patients with heart failure, has raised $39 million in Series B funding, including from HostplusOxford FinanceM. H. Carnegie & Co., Arboretum VenturesLumira CapitalLSP Health Economics Fund and Aperture Venture PartnersMore here

Corvidia Therapeutics, a three-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based drug startup focused on chronic kidney disease, has raised $60 million in Series B funding led by Venrock, with participation from Fresenius Medical Care Ventures, Cormorant and founding backer Sofinnova PartnersMore here.  

Dosh, a two-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based app that offers cash back to consumers for shopping within its retailer network, has raised $44 million in Series A funding from Goodwater Capital and PayPal, among others. Built in Austin has more here

IFTTT, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based company that was an early mover in API integrations b enabling developers to write easy scripts to tie together different apps, has raised $24 million in Series C funding. The round was led by Salesforce, with participation from IBM, the Chamberlain Group, and Fenox Venture Capital. TechCrunch has more here, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based data aggregation company, has raised $3 million in seed funding, including from Bessemer Venture Partners, Greylock Partners and Katana CapitalMore here

Innovium, a three-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based company that makes fast data center networking chips, just raised $77 million in Series D funding from Greylock,Walden EverbrightWalden Riverwood VenturesPaxion CapitalCapricorn Investment GroupRedline CapitalS-Cubed Capital and Qualcomm Ventures. EETimes has more here

NuMat Technologies, a five-year-old, Skokle, Ill.-based product commercialization company, has raised $12.4 million in funding led by OS Fund, with participation from Osage University Partners and Tin Shed Ventures.​ More here

Rallybio, a months-old, Farmington, Ct.-based biotech that’s aiming to develop therapies for patients with severe and rare disorders and was founded by veteran pharmaceutical executives, has raised $37 million in Series A funding. 5AM VenturesCanaan Partners, and New Leaf Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Connecticut Innovations, among other investors. FierceBiotech has more here

Religion of Sports, a year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based sports content startup whose co-founders include Tom Brady and Michael Strahan, has raised $3 million in new funding from Advancit Capital and Courtside Ventures. American Inno has more here

Revolut, a three-year-old, London-based digital banking startup that offers a digital banking account and sprawling set of other financial services, has raised $250 million in new funding at a $1.7 billion post-money valuation. (That’s reportedly a fivefold increase in less than a year.) DST Global led that round, with participation from Index Ventures and Ribbit Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

SidelineSwap, a four-year-old, Boston-based online marketplace for athletes to buy and sell sports gear and equipment, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led byGlobal Founders Capital, with participation from Admiral CapitalPeak6 SportsRiverPark VenturesFJ Labs and The Player’s ImpactMore here.
New Funds
Pinnacle Ventures, a 16-year-old, early-stage Menlo Park, Ca.-based firm that provides startups with both venture and debt funding and was co-founded by Ken Pelowski, formerly of Redpoint Ventures, is raising its fifth fund. So shows an SEC filing that doesn’t list a target amount. More here.
Hearst Magazines agreed to acquire a minority stake in Gear Patrol, a digital media and e-commerce company that’s focused on enthusiast communities and makes nearly a quarter of its revenue from e-commerce and affiliate links The WSJ has more here

Square just announced that it’s reached an agreement to acquire Weebly, an 11-year-old company that makes website-building tools, for $365 million in cash and stock. According to Crunchbase, the company had raised less than $36 million over the years, including from Sequoia Capital. (We still remember meeting the company’s founders, then college seniors, in San Francisco, when Weebly was based on the “ninth floor in a three-bedroom apartment littered with desktop computers, mounds of cords and stray athletic shoes.”) More on the sale here

Teradyne, a company that provides automated testing equipment for industrial applications, has acquired the Danish robotics company MiR for $148 million, with $124 million on the table after meeting performance goals. The company had raised what appears to have been a very small amount of capital. (At least, we aren’t aware of further funding right now.) TechCrunch has more here.
Greg Coleman, a media executive whose most recent role was as president of BuzzFeed, has joined Lerer Hippeau as an executive-in-residence. More here

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has joined TPG’s Rise Fund as a senior advisor.

Fourteen women who say they were assaulted by their Uber drivers are asking Uber’s board to allow them to proceed with their lawsuit against the company in open court. They originally filed their lawsuit seeking class action status last November. While Uber employees can, as of 2016, opt-out of mandatory arbitration agreements, riders remain bound by them and don’t right now have the option of a jury trial. Recode has the story here.
Iconiq Capital, which manages money for numerous powerful families, is looking to hire an investment analyst. The job is in San Francisco.
Essential Reads
Essential Reads Amazon has quietly launched a portal offering home security services — which include all the equipment you would need and in-person visits from Amazon consultants to advise and install the kit.  

Amazon’s Alexa will soon gain a memory, converse more naturally, and automatically launch skills.  

Snap has made a new version of its camera glasses, Spectacles, that people might actually wear

Sorry, folks. Sounds like MoviePass is ending its whole 30-tickets-for-the price-of-one offering (though for now, earlier subscribers keep the deal they made with the company).
In a medical first, drugs have reversed an inherited disorder in the womb

How sneaker brands create hype

Donald Trump called into “Fox & Friends” this morning; they hung up on him to stop him from talking.
Retail Therapy
 A “new offshore living experience.” 

StrictlyVC: April 25, 2018

Wednesday! No feature story today. More tomorrow.:)
Top News
Perhaps you’ve noticed? The world’s most popular email service received a big overhaul today

So much for that user data scandal hitting Facebook’s bottom line. The company just reported its quarterly earnings, revealing that revenue is up a whopping 50 percent over this time last year.
Sponsored By . . .
Got exits? We’ve got 8 under our belt at Treble – with a brand new website that captures our collective value proposition and results. Founded in 2013 to elevate brand visibility for venture-backed startups, Treble partners with venture capital firms to launch your funding investments and maximize brand visibility for your firm and your investments. Our scalable model aligns with new rounds of venture capital funding so startups can win early – and often – from seed stage to IPO. We love IoT, DevOps, cybersec, cloud, fintech and blockchain – with a growing consumer tech practice. Ready to win? Contact us here
New Fundings
BigCommerce, a nine-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that powers e-commerce sites for Sony, Toyota and 60,000 other merchants, has raised $64 million in fresh funding led by Goldman Sachs. Other participants in the deal include General CatalystGGV Capital and Tenaya Capital. The company has now raised more than $200 million from investors. TechCrunch has more here

Castbox, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based podcast app, has raised $13.5 million in Series B funding led by SIG China, with participation from earlier backers IDG CapitalQiming Venture Partners, and GSR Ventures. The round brings the company’s total funding to $29.5 million. TechCrunch has more here

Catalyst, a 16-month-old, New York-based platform that integrates numerous, major SaaS services like Salesforce and Zendesk to create a unified dashboard for “customer success” data, has raised $2.4 million in funding led by True Ventures, with participation from Ludlow Ventures and Compound. TechCrunch has more here

Clark, a nearly three-year-old, Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany-based insurance robo-advisory firm, has raised $29 million in Series B funding co-led by Portag3 Ventures and White Star Capital, with participation from earlier investorsCoparionKulczyk Investments and Yabeo Capital. The company has now raised $45 million altogether. More here

Doctor on Demand, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based video telemedicine company, has raised $74 million in fresh funding co-led by Goldman Sachs andPrinceville Global, with participation from earlier backers, including Venrock,Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. The company has now raised $160 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

Fat Lama, a two-year-old, London-based peer-to-peer rental marketplace for almost anything, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Blossom Capital, with participation from Atomico and earlier backer Y Combinator. TechCrunch has more here

GitPrime, a three-year-old, Durango, Co.-based software engineering analytics platform, has raised $10.5 million in Series A funding led by OpenView, with participation from earlier investor Data CollectiveMore hereHasura, a year-old, Bangalore- and San Francisco-based startup that’s developing managed Kubernetes software that’s designed to make life easier for developers (Kubernetes is a tool that helps companies that are running containers manage them), just raised $1.6 million in seed funding. Nexus Venture Partners led the round, with participation from GREE Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Kidbox, a three-year-old, New York-based monthly subscription box filled with kids’ fashion items, has raised $15.3 million led by Canvas Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Firstime Ventures and HDS Capital, and from numerous individual investors. TechCrunch has more here

PlaySight Interactive, a five-year-old. Cresskill, N.J.-based startup that aims to make courts, gyms, fields and ice rinks “smart” by installing high-performance software and camera technology to record and analyze all sports action, has added $21 million to the $11 million in Series C funding that the company had raised in June of last year. New backers include SoftBank Ventures Korea and CE VenturesMore here

Pusher, a seven-year-old, London-based startup that provides tools and cloud infrastructure for developers to add real-time functionality to their apps (like push notifications), has raised $8 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Balderton Capital, with participation from Heavybit. TechCrunch has more here

Rocketrip, a five-year-old, New York-based startup that encourages employees to travel more cost effectively by giving them some of the savings they generate, has raised $15 million in Series C funding. GV led the round, participation from earlier backers Bessemer Venture Partners and Canaan Partners. TechCrunch has more here

Techtonic Group, a 12-year-old, Denver, Co.-based development services firm that operates an outsourced apprenticeship program to close skill gaps in high-tech fields, has raised $2 million in funding from University Ventures and Zoma Capital. TechCrunch has more here

Weimob, a five-year-old, Shanghai, China-based company that provides official account operation, training, marketing and other integrated supporting services for enterprises on WeChat, has raised $160 million in Series D funding. Backers include Tencent Double-Hundred PlanOriental Fortune Capital, Bohai Industrial Investment Fund Management Co., Chentao Capital, and PreIPO CapitalMore here.
New Funds
Sinovation Ventures, one of China’s prominent funds (it’s helmed by former Google China head Kaifu Lee), has announced publicly that it is targeting $900 million for its newest fund, which will be its fourth vehicle and its largest to date. TechCrunch has more here.
DocuSign just raised the price range of its pending IPO to between $26 and $28 per share, up from $24 to $26. With plans to sell 21.7 million shares, the IPO should raise $586 million and give DocuSign a fully diluted market value of $5 billion. GeekWire has more here.
Digg, the content aggregator more recently owned by Betaworks, has been sold to the little-known Boston-based ad-tech company called BuySellAds. According to Fast Company, it bought Digg’s assets, as well as its editorial and revenue teams, for an undisclosed amount. More here.
VC Bill Gurley would go long on Facebook and probably short Tesla, he said Monday night at a conference in New York. Here are some of his other picks

E-waste innovator Eric Lundgren has to spend 15 months in jail for producing tens of thousands of Windows restore disks intended to extend the lifespan of aging computers. (Argh.) More here and here

VC Peter Thiel has agreed not to bid on the assets of bankrupt Gawker Media in exchange for the web publisher’s promise to end an investigation into Thiel’s role in funding the lawsuit that led to its demise. Peter Thiel has separately agreed to take a meeting with entertainment mogul Kanye West, said Kanye West, in a series of seemingly unhinged tweets today.  

Uber remains mostly white and mostly male.
E-cigarette maker JUUL Labs is looking to bring add a senior associate to its strategy and operations team. The job is in San Francisco.
Essential Reads
The U.S. startup visa, passed with much fanfare during the twilight of Barack Obama’s presidency, was supposed to draw thousands of foreign entrepreneurs. Instead, just 10 people have applied. Says one immigration lawyer who talked to Bloomberg, “It’s a waste of time and money.”
The company that Michael Cohen kept. 

Meet the new guru for the Goop set. 

The art of the feel. (In calling out Macron’s alleged dandruff, she said, Trump “did something called primate grooming.”)
Retail Therapy
There’s an Echo Dot for kids now. 

A newly completed “marvel” in Atherton, Ca., if you have $30 million to spare.

StrictlyVC: April 24, 2018

Hi, happy Tuesday, all!
Top News
Instagram has launched a “data download” tool to let you leave

Earnings were supposed to lift stocks, but they wound up dragging them lower today. Dealbook has more here.
Sponsored By . . .
This month marks the 5th anniversary of Treble – built in 2013 to elevate brand visibility for venture-backed startups. We’ve achieved 8 exits to-date with our clients being acquired by Google, Oracle and VMware. Our scalable model aligns with new rounds of venture capital funding so you can win early – and often – from seed stage to IPO. Treble executes news announcements with precision, trendjacksbreaking news, and transforms ideas into articles. Check out our new website hereor contact us at
New Numbers Illustrate How Fast Fundraising Has Changed for Young Startups
Fundraising is never easy, but it’s even harder when the goal posts are being moved around. Such is the challenge facing today’s youngest startups, which are looking at very different fundraising metrics than new startups did just six or seven years ago. 

We explored the issue yesterday with Peter Wagner, who spent more than 14 years with Accel as a managing partner before cofounding the early-stage firm Wing Venture Capital in 2013 with another veteran investor, Gaurav Garg, formerly of Sequoia Capital. 

Wagner has an obvious interest in how rounds are changing. Wing has to know how much is reasonable to expect to invest in a company, even while it prefers to invest in companies that don’t yet have revenue or customers. In a competitive funding landscape, its now four-person investing team is also looking to raise the firm’s profile by publishing smart industry research, including, not so long ago, on the state of IoT

Whatever Wing’s motivations, its findings are worth tracking if you’re a founder who is thinking about raising either a seed or Series A round any time soon. More from our chat with Wagner, along with Wing’s data, follows. 

Your second fund, $300 million, was nearly twice the size of your $160 million debut fund. Do you expect your third fund will be even larger? Is this going to be an Accel-size firm some day? 

No, we’re actually working hard to keep a lid on our fund size. Early-stage investing doesn’t scale. For us to grow, we’d have to change our investing strategy. 

So many firms are doing exactly that, with the notable exception of Benchmark, which has maintained its fund size for the last 18 years roughly.  

I was at Accel when we were [expanding into] having a later-stage practice. We sought out different skills [from potential hires] because it’s a different process. It fact, the more we learned about it, the more realized how different a discipline it is. 

Given that you’re so focused on early-stage financing dynamics, tell us what you’ve learned. How did you put together this new report? 

We looked at companies that were funded by the 20 or so leading venture firms between 2010 and 2017. It’s 2,700 companies all together, and 5,800 financings. If a company raised a seed fund from another firm, but Sequoia led its Series A, all of its financings rounds, including that seed round, were incorporated into our research. We also focused on these companies’ downstream financings [no matter the investors]. 

So some of these companies are pretty new. Others are eight years old. What should founders know about the numbers? 

More here.
New Fundings
Après, a nearly two year-old, San Francisco-based startup that makes a plant-based protein beverage marketed for “post workouts,” has raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by Rocana Venture PartnersMore here

Brud, the four-year-old, L.A.-based company behind one of Instagram’s most popular virtual influencers, has quietly raised $6 million, including from Sequoia CapitalSV Angel, and BoxGroup. TechCrunch has more here.  

Cowboy, a 16-month-old, Brussels, Belgium-based startup that trying to build a new, smarter electronic bicycle, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Index Ventures, with participation from France’s Hardware Club and Kima Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Crypt TV, a three-year-old, L.A-based digital horror network that calls itself the “Marvel for Monsters,” has raised $6.2 million in Series A funding from Blumhouse ProductionsLerer HippeauNBCUniversal and Advancit Capital. Deadline has more here

Culture Trip, a seven-year-old, London-based travel site that relies heavily on local content creators, has raised $80 million in Series B funding led by earlier investor PPF Group out of the Netherlands. The company has now raised $103 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.  

Extend, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based company whose mobile app lets businesses share temporary access to their corporate credit cards with freelancers, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Plug and Play VenturesReciprocal Ventures and WorldQuant Ventures. The New York Post has more here.  

Guesty, a five-year-old, Hillsborough, Ca.-based startup that makes property management software for Airbnb and vacation rentals, has raised $19.75 million in new Series B funding, suggests a newly filed SEC form. TechCrunch has more here

Leanplum, a six-year-old. San Francisco-based mobile marketing platform, has raised $5 million in new Series D funding led by Beijing-based Waterwood Group. Last November, the company had raised $47 million in Series D in funding led by Norwest Venture PartnersMore here

Marble, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes little courier robots with last-mile delivery in mind, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from TencentLemnosCrunchfund and Maven VenturesMore here

NuProbe, a two-year-old, Boston-based molecular diagnostics company, has raised $11 million in Series A funding, including from Sequoia ChinaSerica Partners, and WuXi AppTec Corporate VenturesMore here

One Championship, a seven-year-old, Singapore-based mixed martial arts firm, is reportedly raising funding at a valuation of about $1 billion. The deal is expected to close in July. Bloomberg has the story here

Revolution Medicines, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based developer of cancer drugs, has raised $56 million in Series B funding led by Nextech Invest, with participation from Casdin CapitalSchroder AdveqThe Column Group and Third Rock VenturesMore here

SalesHero, an 11-month-old, San Francisco-based provider of an AI-powered sales assistant, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding, including from Baidu Ventures,CometLabsCherryVentures, and Signals Venture Capital. Its CEO, Stefan Groschupf, was the founding CEO of another venture-backed company, Datameer. More here

Savari, a 10-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based startup whose technology is designed to create a shared communications web among cars, personal devices, and roadway signals, has raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Aviva Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of London-based insurance company Aviva. Xconomy has more here

SEMrush, a 10-year-old, Philadelphia, Pa.-based search analytics firm, has raised $40 million in funding from GreycroftSiguler Guff, and The WSJ has more here.

Templum, a year-old, New York-based developer of a trading system to sell digital assets and the secondary trading of digital assets offered as securities, has raised $10 million in funding, including from SBI Holdings and Raptor GroupMore here

Uberflip, a six-year-old, Toronto-based content marketing platform, has raised $32 million in Series A funding led by Updata PartnersMore here

Yunji, a three-year-old, China-based social e-commerce platform, has raised $120 million in Series B funding led by CDH Investment, with participation from Huaxing New Economic Fund. China Money Network has more here
New Funds
New Funds Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz is preparing to launch a separate fund for crypto investments, says Recode. More here

Eight Roads Ventures, an investment arm of Fidelity International that has been in China since the 1990s, has launched a $275 million fund dedicated to China-based tech startups. More here

A new Seattle-based venture firm, Flying Fish, has held a first close of $23 million on a debut fund that it hopes will reach $80 million in capital commitments. TechCrunch has more here

Venrock, founded in 1969, has raised $400 million for its third biotech-focused public and crossover investment fund, shows an SEC filing first flagged by Axios. More here.
Carbon Black, the venture-backed, Waltham, Ma.-based maker of endpoint security software, has set its IPO terms, disclosing in a new filing that it plans to offer 8 million shares at between $15 and $17, which would give it a fully diluted market value of $1.3 billion at the midpoint. Seeking Alpha has more here

China’s Didi Chuxing, one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies, is holding discussions about a multibillion-dollar IPO that could happen as soon as this year, according to the WSJ

Smartsheet, a Bellevue, Wa.-based SaaS platform for managing and automating collaborative work, just increased its IPO price range from between $10 and $12 per share, to between $12 and $14. The company plans to sell 11.6 million shares. GeekWire has more here

Unity Biotechnology, a Brisbane, Ca-based developer of anti-aging therapeutics, plans to sell 5 million shares at between $16 and $18, it revealed in a new filing. Nasdaq has more here.
According to TechCrunch, Amazon is interested in venturing into TV home shopping. Specifically, its sources say Amazon has talked with Evine Live, which operates a pay-TV home shopping channel of the same name and may even be interested in acquiring it. More here

Groupon founder Andrew Mason’s audio tour startup Detour has been sold toBose. The acquisition, which involves only the software and tour content — not the team — was quietly announced on Detour’s blog a few days ago, followed by an email to customers. TechCrunch has more here

Mitel, the enterprise communications company that tried but failed to buy the voice communications company Polycom for $2 billion, is now being acquired for $2 billion itself. The company today announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Searchlight Capital Partners in an all-cash transaction, a deal that will also see the company going private. TechCrunch has more here

Oracle has acquired Grapeshot, a startup out of Cambridge, England, whose platform helps brands, agencies, publishers and ad platforms match ads to more specific placements overall. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. The startup, which had raised $22.4 million, according to Crunchbase, will become a part of the Oracle Data Cloud. TechCrunch has more here.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai is poised to have a highly lucrative week. Tomorrow, an award of 353,939 restricted shares he received before a promotion in 2014 will vest, and as of the end of last week, that grant was worth about $380 million, reports Bloomberg. That apparently makes it one of the largest single payouts to a public company executive in recent years. 

Tia Silas has been named Chief Diversity Officer at IBM, which Silas joined in 2015 as the head of HR for its Watson Health division. Previously, she held executive roles at Pitney Bowes, Macy’s, and JCPenney.
Aflac — as widely known for its duck mascot as its insurance products — is looking to bring aboard a venture capital associate. The job is in Charlotte, N.C. Car-hail giant Lyft is looking to add a director to its operations strategy team. The job is in San Francisco.
Essential Reads
To circumvent porch thieves, Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car

Facebook’s hand-picked watchdogs, including the global accounting firm PwC,  gave it high marks for privacy — even as it lost control of users’ data. 

Sequoia Capital has accepted up to a $350 million commitment to its new global growth fund from the Washington State Investment Board. The move signals a departure from its longstanding policy not to include U.S. public pensions as limited partners owing to their transparency around fund-level performance data. (Back in 2004, Sequoia said it was forced to part ways with the University of California system, after a court ruling said the university would need to disclose the performance of the funds in which it invests.) H/T: Axios and peHUB for flagging the development.
Why Malta became a hub of the cryptocurrency world

How a fake heiress made a photography editor’s $62,000 disappear

Quick facts about the Silicon Valley microschool that’s disrupting education.
Retail Therapy
Low-level light therapy. It works maybe.

StrictlyVC: April 23, 2018

Well, hey there! 
Top News
Careem, the Middle East rival to Uber, had the data of its 14 million customers and drivers stolen in a cyberattack, the company said today. The cyberattack apparently took place in January. More here.
Sponsored By . . .
This month marks the 5th anniversary of Treble – built in 2013 to elevate brand visibility for venture-backed startups. We’ve achieved 8 exits to-date with our clients being acquired by Google, Oracle and VMware. Our scalable model aligns with new rounds of venture capital funding so you can win early – and often – from seed stage to IPO. Treble executes news announcements with precision, trendjacksbreaking news, and transforms ideas into articles. Check out our new website hereor contact us at
Orchid Labs is Raising Tons of Money for Its Surveillance-Free Layer Atop the Internet
Orchid Labs, a San Francisco-based startup that’s developing a a surveillance-free layer on top of the internet, has raised a bunch of funding, according to a newly processed SEC filing that shows the year-old startup has closed on $36.1 million. The money comes just five months after Orchid closed on a separate, $4.5 million in funding from investors, including Yes VC, cofounded by serial entrepreneurs Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström. 

Others of its earliest backers include Andreessen Horowitz,  DFJ, MetaStable, Compound, Box Group, Blockchain Capital, and Sequoia Capital, according to its site. 

The stated goal of the Orchid is to provide anonymized internet access to people across the globe, particularly individuals who live in countries with excessive government oversight of their browsing and shopping. Part of the point also seems to be to insulate users from the many companies that now harvest and sell their data, including walled gardens like Facebook and other giants like AT&T. 

In a world where one assumes the Cambridge Analytica scandal is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to data abuse, it’s easy to see the project’s appeal. So far, says the filing, the company has raised that $36.1 million via a SAFT agreement, an investment contract offered by cryptocurrency developers to accredited investors (42 of them in this case). 

But the filing shows a target of $125,595,882 million, and based how hot particular blockchain ideas are getting, and how aggressively they’re being funded (see the Basis deal of last week), you can imagine more money will flow to the company if it hasn’t already. 

More here.
New Fundings
Bluedot Innovation, a 5.5-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-based location services tech company, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Transurban, a giant urban toll road manager and developer. TechCrunch has more here

Capital Float, a five-year-old fintech startup that says it is India’s largest online lender, says it just raised $22 million in new funding from Amazon. TechCrunch has more here

Formlabs, a seven-year-old, Somerville, Ma.-based maker of 3D printers, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Tyche Partners. The financing puts the company’s total funding at north of $85 million. TechCrunch has more here

LeEco, the 14-year-old, Beijing, China-based company, may be in the middle of a le comeback. According to the Financial Times, Tencent and are part of a consortium of 10 private investors that have agreed to buy a $437 million stake in a LeEco’s ailing smart television unit. Separately, Faraday Future, the U.S. electric vehicle startup run by LeEco founder and former chairman Jia Yueting, has received a $2 billion in fresh funding from an unnamed Hong Kong-based businessman in return for a 45 percent stake, says the Chinese outlet Caixin. More here

Manbang Group, a China-based truck hailing company that was created by merger of major players in the sharing economy, is raising $2 billion in funding fromSoftBank Group and Google’s late-stage venture investment fund, CapitalG, among others, says the WSJ. Manbang, whose mobile app platform matches truck drivers with shippers looking to transport cargo, is raising more money than it originally set out to fetch, according to the Journal, which previously reported that the company was looking to raise between $500 million and $1 billion. The WSJ also notes that this deal marks CapitalG’s first investment in China in roughly four years. More here

Pear Video, a two-year-old, Shanghai, China-based online short video platform, has raised a whopping $98.2 million in Series A funding led by Tencent Holdingsand Baidu. South China Morning Post has more here

RapChat, a five-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based app that enables users to make and share raps, has raised $1.6 million in funding from unnamed investors out of Oakland, Ca., and the Midwest. TechCrunch has more here

Slite, a two-year-old, Paris, France-based maker of collaborative documents that passed through Y Combinator’s accelerator program earlier this year, has raised $4.4 million in a round led by Index Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.
New Funds
8VC, the venture firm founded by entrepreneur-investor Joe Lonsdale, has closed its second flagship fund with $640 million, says Axios. The firm had registered the fund with the SEC back in February. It closed its debut fund with $425 million in 2016. More here

Data Collective, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, is raising a $250 million biotech fund, according to an SEC filing. Largely overseeing it are two investors formerly of Monsanto Growth Ventures: John Hamer and Kiersten SteadMore here

NIO Capital, a private equity fund established by Chinese electric car company NIO, is reportedly close to completing a first close of $500 million in capital commitments for an offshore fund that will invest in new automotive technologies. China Money Network has more here.
China streaming giant Tencent Music is getting ready for what would be one of the largest tech IPOs ever, according to the WSJ, which says the company plans to interview underwriters next month and that the offering could value the business at more than $25 billion. More here.
Flickr, which was owned by Verizon, has been acquired by photo sharing and image hosting site SmugMug, a family-owned online photography firm. SmugMug does not have any plans to lay off any employees nor fold Flickr into SmugMug. The price of the deal has not been disclosed. Business Insider has more here

Gaming hardware maker Razer, which went public in a big IPO in Hong Kong last year, is doubling down on payments after it announced a deal to acquire MOL, a company that offers online and offline payments in Southeast Asia. Razer had made an initial $20 million investment in MOL last June to supercharge its zGold virtual credit program for gamers. TechCrunch has more here

The ink is barely dry on SoftBank Vision Fund’s purchase of a stake in Flipkart — it invested $2.5 billion in August, and already it’s about to sell a substantial part of the fund’s 20-percent-plus stake to Walmart, allowing the U.S. retail giant to take a majority interest, says Bloomberg. Should the deal go through, say Bloomberg’s sources, Flipkart would be valued at around $20 billion, up from $12 billion last year. 
Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic whose app has set off the firestorm about online user data, says he’s considering suing Facebook. BuzzFeed has more here

San Francisco venture capitalist Jillian Manus throws the most outrageous parties in Silicon Valley; Business Insider takes a look here

Goldman Sachs has brought on a former crypto trader, Justin Schmidt, to explore creating a bitcoin trading desk. More here.
Despite a volatile market and regulatory uncertainty, investors and consumers will continue to buy more cryptocurrencies this year, according to a new SharesPost cryptocurrency and blockchain survey. More here

Streaming music revenue was up 39 percent year-over-year to reach $7.4 billion, or 43 percent of all global recorded music revenue last year, according to a new industry report from MIDiA ResearchMore here

Some 20 percent of Americans believe Amazon is having the most positive impact on society out of any other major tech company, according to a joint SurveyMonkey/Recode poll. More here

Assets under management for sovereign wealth funds now totals $7.45 trillion(!), up 13 percent from last year, according to a new report from Preqin. (H/T: Axios.)
Essential Reads
The many ways that Google harvests your personal data. 

Amazon is reportedly working on a domestic robot codenamed Vesta that can navigate inside homes like a driverless car. 

Uber will go head-to-head with Didi again — this time in Mexico

How China is buying its way into Europe.
Donald Trump’s approval rating is basically fixed, no matter how crazy the news cycle feels on a daily basis.  

What happened to Matthew Mellon? 

Driving through a waterfall

Why Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty” is quietly revolutionary.
Retail Therapy
A kitchen island, by . . . Bentley?

StrictlyVC: April 20, 2018

Friday! [Rolls a spliff in celebration of 4/20 day and also because we need it for medical reasons.] Hope you have a wonderful weekend.:) See you in a few days.
Top News
The Justice Department has reportedly opened an antitrust investigation into potential coordination by AT&T, Verizon and a telecommunications standards organization to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers. The New York Times has the skinny here.
Startup Ecosystem Report: China is Rising, Women Founders Have More Connections, and More
Startups are a gamble, but it’s possible to better understand why some thrive and many more die by looking at the ecosystems in which they operate. Such is the mission of eight-year-old Startup Genome, comprised of a group of researchers and entrepreneurs who, every year, interview thousands of founders and investors around the world to get a better handle on what’s changing in the regions where they operate, and what remains stubbornly the same. 

The larger objective is to figure out how to help more startups succeed, and the outfit — which this year surveyed 10,000 founders with the help of partners like Crunchbase and Dealroom — produced some data that should perhaps concern those in the U.S. To wit, China looks positioned to overtake U.S. dominance when it comes to numerous tech sectors. Consider: In 2014, just 14 percent of so-called unicorns were based in China. Between the start of last year through today, that percentage has shot up to 35 percent, while in the U.S., the number of homegrown unicorns has fallen from 61 percent to 41 percent of the overall global number. 

You could argue that investors are simply assigning China-based startups overly lofty valuations, as happened here in the U.S., and we partly believe that to be true. But China is also clearly “in it to win it,” based on a look at patents, with four times as many AI-related applications and three times as many crypto- and blockchain-related patents registered in China last year. With so much of the tech industry now focused on deep tech, it’s worth noting. In fact, as much as we loathed the January Financial Times column penned by famed VC Michael Moritz, who suggested that U.S. companies follow China’s lead, his underlying call to arms was probably, gulp, prescient in its own way. 

What else should startups know? 

More here.
New Fundings
Chai Point, an eight-year-old, Bengaluru, India-based chain of tea and snacks stores, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by new investor and private equity firm Paragon Partners. LiveMint has more here

Contessa Health, a three-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based home recovery care firm, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Health Velocity Capital, with participation from BlueCross BlueShield Venture PartnersNoro-Moseley Partners, and Sandbox Advantage FundMore here

DroneSense, a three-year-old, Austin, Tx.-based unmanned aircraft systems maker focused on public safety, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from publicly traded FLIR Systems, an Oregon-based sensor maker. More here

Emboline, a six-year-old, Santa Cruz, Ca.-based company that makes a medical device for use during percutaneous heart valve repair and replacement procedures and other cardiovascular procedures, has raised more than $10 million in Series B funding, including from SV Tech Ventures and Shangbay CapitalMore here

FlexyBeauty, a three-year-old, Paris, France-based SaaS solution for hairdressers and beauty salons, has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Serena Capitaland earlier backer Newfund CapitalMore here

FuboTV, a nearly four-year-old, New York-based startup that sells a cable-TV-like bundle of live TV that can be streamed to laptops, phones or actual TVs, has raised $75 million from investors that include AMC Networks21st Century Fox,DiscoveryNorthzone and Luminari Capital. Recode has more here

Inocucor, an 11-year-old, Montreal-based developer and producer of biological crop inputs, that’s been raising (and making announcements around) its Series B round for months, has finally closed the financing with $15.9 million. The capital comes from Cycle Capital ManagementDesjardins InnovatechTPG ART, andPontifax AgTechMore here

Point, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup that buys equity in American homes, landed its largest financial commitment to date this week through a $150 million boost from New York hedge fund Atalaya Capital Management. Specifically, Atalaya will buy as much as $150 million of home-equity investment instruments from Point over the course of three years. Bloomberg has more here

RealSelf, a 12-year-old, Seattle-based online community where people can ask questions and connect with doctors who provide cosmetic treatments, has raised $40 million in new funding — its first round of financing since the $2 million raised in 2008, two years after its founding. The round was led by Elephant, the venture firm co-founded by Warby Parker co-founder Andy Hunt. TechCrunch has more here

Saviynt, an eight-year-old, L.A.-based cloud access governance and intelligence services firm, has raised $40 million in Series A funding from Carrick Capital PartnersMore here

Scriptation, a nearly five-year-old, L.A.-based film and TV script reader and annotation app, has raised funding from individual investors, including actor Rob Morrow and producer Kenya BarrisMore here

Zimplistic, a 10-year-old, Singapore-based product design company at work on intelligent kitchen appliances, has raised $30 million in Series C funding co-led byCredence Partners and EDBI. Tech in Asia has more here.
New Funds
Red Sea Ventures, a seven-year-old, New York-based early stage venture firm, is looking to raise upwards of $50 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing first flagged by Axios. More here.
Laser maker nLight could hit the public markets next week, says Renaissance Capital. The Vancouver, Wa.-based company last month filed the paperwork declaring its intent to go public. Another regulatory filing Monday indicated that it intends to price 5.4 million shares between $13 and $15 per share, giving it a market cap of $462 million at the midpoint. Portland Business Journal has more here

Pivotal Software, the cloud-native app development platform majority owned by Dell Technologies, raised $555 million in its IPO. The company priced 37 million shares at $15 for a market cap of around $4.3 billion. It began trading earlier today, and things went so-so so. Forbes has more here

Surface Oncology, a Cambridge, Ma.-based immuno-oncology company, raised $108 million in its IPO after pricing 7.2 million shares at $15. Its biggest shareholders include Atlas VentureNovartisEli LillyNew Enterprise Associates, and F-Prime Capital Partners. Xconomy has more here.
Cognizant, a publicly traded multinational IT services company, has picked upBolder Healthcare Solutions, a five-year-old, Louisville, K.Y.-based maker of revenue cycle management software for medical practices and hospitals.  Financial terms weren’t disclosed. More here.
AI researchers are making giant boatloads of money

Travis VanderZanden keeps telling media outlets that cities are receptive to his Bird scooters, and media outlets keep reporting that this is not true

Dobbs Ferry residents remember a young Mark Zuckerberg
Essential Reads
Google is “pausing” development of its messaging app, Allo, since not enough people download it to make it a serious threat to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. 

Facebook is reportedly using some questionable tactics to enroll users in a facial recognition test in Europe. 

Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures met with officials at the SEC late last month, arguing that Washington oversight could slow innovation based on the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
How close are we to real-life “Westworld” robots? 

We’re almost starting to feel sorry for Michael Cohen.
Retail Therapy
Buy sake.

StrictlyVC: April 19, 2018

Happy Thursday!
Top News
Top News Amazon this morning introduced “Alexa Blueprints,” a new way for any Alexa owner to create their own customized Alexa skills or responses, without needing to know how to code. (“Alexa, never again play the Gummy Bear song, no matter how many times you are asked.”)
Sponsored By . . .
Underwear has finally evolved, and it’s ridiculously comfortable. Mack Weldon‘s Try-On Guarantee promises a full refund, with no return required if you don’t love your first pair. Try a pair today and find out why guys are obsessed with this brand. (You’ve never felt anything like it before.)
The Making of a Hardware Founder
Working in tech, it’s hard to avoid the many stories and congratulatory tweets about the latest company to close a funding round, and little wonder. It’s a milestone worth celebrating before getting back to work. Yet what’s happening in the trenches before those funding announcements roll out is often more instructive. How does one decide to make the leap in the first place? How do you mold a product or service into something that you can present to outsiders? How can you enlist people to help you when everyone you want to meet has more pressing demands on their time? 

These are questions that many new founders wrestle with, including Sarah McDevitt, a college basketball star turned hardware founder whose product she hopes to have in consumers’ hands by this holiday season – even while she’s acutely aware that a lot has to go right first. 

McDevitt didn’t anticipate being in this position five years ago when she was making a generous salary as a product manager at Microsoft, working a stone’s throw from where she’d grown up in Seattle. But like a lot of founders, McDevitt eventually felt compelled to start her now two-year-old company, Core Wellness, which aims to sell meditation experiences. 

We checked in with her this week about how far along she has gotten, the obstacles she wasn’t expecting, and where she goes from here. 

You played college basketball at NYU, where you also studied math and computer science. Which was more fun? 

In high school, I used to walk to a gym that was open at all hours of the night and play until my parents were like, ‘You have to come home.’ But I’ve always loved math and education, too. 

When you graduated, you went home to Seattle to work for Microsoft for five years. How did you get from there to launching a startup that makes it easier for people to meditate? 

More here.
New Fundings
Rare Bits, a year-old, Bay Area-based peer-to-peer marketplace for crypto goods, has raised $6 million in funding led by Spark Capital, with participation from First Round Capital, David Sacks’ Craft Ventures and SV Angel. TechCrunch has more here

Shapeways, the 11-year-old, New York-based 3D printing marketplace company, has raised $30 million in Series E funding led by Lux Capital. The company has now raised more than $100 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

TheWaveVR, a two-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based music and visual art creation VR startup, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Upfront VenturesKPCBGC VR Gaming Tracker Fund andThe VR Fund. The company has now raised $10 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
Dawn Capital, the 11-year-old, London-based early-stage venture firm, just closed its third fund with $235 million in capital commitments. The outfit invests primarily in financial and enterprise startups and, as Business Insider notes in a write-up, Dawn’s portfolio includes cybersecurity firm Mimecast, which IPO’d in 2015 and whose market cap is currently $2.16 billion, and the Swedish graph database firmNeo4jMore here

Russia’s Fort Ross Ventures says it has closed a new, $200 million fund for U.S. startups that are developing products and services in the areas of fintech, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and e-commerce. VentureBeat has more here.
Steel yourselves. The number of 2018 U.S. tech IPOs is going to double over the next 10 days.
Eventbrite has acquired the nine-year-old, Madrid, Spain-based ticketing platform Ticketea for undisclosed terms. The company had raised $5.7 million, including from Seaya Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Square has acquired elements of 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based corporate catering startup Zesty. Square already owns the on-demand food delivery service Caviar; it reportedly plans to use Zesty’s assets to strengthen Caviar’s corporate ordering business. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but TechCrunch has more here.
Executives at Theranos really don’t like Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Carreyou, whose reporting on the company’s exaggerated claims triggered its ongoing demise. As Business Insider reports, insiders even created a “Space Invaders”-like game where they shoot at floating pictures of him

VC Bill Gurley came out strongly in favor of Uber today, despite leaving the company’s board last summer and later launching a lawsuit (since dropped) against former CEO Travis Kalanick. CNBC has more here

It has been five months since Tesla and SpaceX placed board member Steve Jurvetson on leave, and Elon Musk’s companies have still not said whether or not he will remain on their boards of directors, observes Recode

Uber has denied that its sitting CTO, Thuan Pham, met with Cambridge Analytica — the controversial political consultancy at the center of a Facebook user data misuse scandal. TechCrunch has more here

According to Bloomberg, Uber’s top candidate for CFO is Zane Rowe, who holds the same position at VMWare. Uber needs to fill the position to prepare for what could be the biggest IPO of next year. More here

Reddit, one of the internet’s largest hubs for both traffic and controversy, announced today that it has hired former Time Inc. President of Digital Jen Wong to take on the role of COO. TechCrunch has more here

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will donate $1 million to support relief efforts on Kauai after severe floods hit the island’s North Shore over the weekend. Zuckerberg and wife Pricilla Chan own hundreds of acres of land on Kauai’s North Shore. More here in Pacific Business News.
Essential Reads
Mt. Gox and the surprising redemption of Bitcoin’s biggest villain

Palantir is a creepy 14-year-old that knows everything about you, says Bloomberg. That could be a problem if it tries to go public

New York’s attorney general has demanded an examination into 13 cryptocurrency exchanges, amongst them the Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange and Coinbase. AG Eric Schneiderman says move should be seen as a fact-finding mission as opposed to a crackdown.
 The year’s 100 most influential people, according to Time. 

The diary of a settler of Catan. 

Memorial Day getaways.
Retail Therapy
Bah hah

StrictlyVC: April 18, 2018

Well, hello! Happy Wednesday, everyone.:)
Top News
Facebook is starting to roll out new data privacy settings thanks to a law out of Europe. Here’s what you need to know. And here’s what should concern you.
Basis, a Year-Old Startup Developing a Price-Stable Cryptocurrency, Just Raised $133 Million from VCs
If you own any Bitcoin, you’re probably in the habit of watching its price fluctuate wildly. What you aren’t doing is using your Bitcoin to buy things. It’s too valuable, not to mention unpredictable. 

Enter Basis, a year-old, 10-person, Hoboken, N.J.-based cryptocurrency startup at work on a “stable coin” whose elastic supply will ostensibly expand and contract to keep its value at about a dollar instead of all over the map. The company’s big idea: to develop a new token that people will actually use, instead of use to speculate. 

Investors apparently love what Basis is cooking up. The upstart is announcing today that it has raised a somewhat stunning $133 million in funding from Bain Capital Ventures, GV, longtime hedge fund manager Stan Druckenmiller, one-time Federal Reserve governor Kevin Warsh, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Foundation Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, WingVC, NFX Ventures, Valor Capital, Zhenfund, Ceyuan, Sky Capital, Digital Currency Group and others. 

Reuters reported on part of the round last October, though CEO Nader Al-Naji, who cofounded the company with former Princeton classmates Lawrence Diao and Josh Chen, didn’t share specifics at the time on how much the company was in the process of raising. 

Al-Naji continues to keep details close to the vest, declining in an interview yesterday to discuss when, exactly, Basis’s tokens will be in circulation. He also declined to share when he believes the token could see widespread adoption or to elaborate on the major apps with which he says Basis plans to integrate. 

He did explain his love of Bitcoin, first fostered during his senior year of college in 2012 when he managed to mine 22 Bitcoins. (“There was free electricity on campus,” he told us with a laugh.)

More here.
Whistleblower Susan Fowler is Backing California Legislation to End Forced Arbitration
Susan Fowler, the former Uber engineer whose blog post about sexual harassment and troubling internal workings led to the departure of CEO Travis Kalanick, is backing new legislation that aims to give victims of sexual harassment and other workplace discrimination the freedom to seek legal action, and to do it publicly. 

Fowler is lending her support to bill AB-3080 — being presented publicly today by California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, the California Labor Federation, and the Economic Policy Institute — which would forbid employers from the practice of forced arbitration in response to discrimination complaints. 

The proposed legislation tackles a worrying norm in which companies, including throughout tech, mandate that employees air any grievances before a private, third-party arbitrator who is typically paid for by the company itself. 

The hearings happen in secret, with non-disclosure clauses preventing the claimant from talking about the details or filing a class-action lawsuit — and they are on the rise. The percentage of nonunion, private-sector employees covered by mandatory-arbitration clauses has more than doubled since the early 2000s, according to a study last year by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. 

Though the issue has come up periodically in Silicon Valley — venture firm Kleiner Perkins tried forcing former employee Ellen Pao into arbitration when she sued the firm for gender discrimination — it hasn’t received widespread attention “for the same reason that it hasn’t gotten much attention from people who work in other industries,” says Fowler via email. “They don’t realize that it affects them, and they don’t realize how widespread and sinister the problem really is.” 

Fowler says that she was “one of those people” for most of her life, knowing nothing about forced arbitration until she experienced what she describes as illegal treatment at Uber, after which she says she discovered that she “had no way to get justice.” Now that she knows about forced arbitration, she says, “I’m hell-bent on bringing attention to it and doing everything I can to prevent what happened to me at Uber from happening to anyone else.” 

More here.
New Fundings
100Credit, a four-year-old, Beijing, China-based provider of credit services, has raised $159 million in Series C funding led by China Reform Fund Management, with participation from earlier backer Sequoia Capital China. China Money Network has more here

Airway Therapeutics, a seven-year-old, Cincinnati, Oh.-based developer of interventions for acute and chronic lung disease that originally spun out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, has raised $11 million in Series B funding. It didn’t disclose the investors. More here.  

BookingBug, a 10-year-old, Boston-based appointment and scheduling platform, has raised $13.4 million in Series C funding from PeakSpan Capital and Downing VenturesMore here

Coverfox, a five-year-old, Mumbai, India-based startup that’s among a handful of companies trying to digitize insurance in India, has raised $22 million in Series C funding. IFC, a sister organization of World Bank, led the round. Other participants include the insurance firm Transamerica and earlier backers SAIF Partners, Accel and Catamaran Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Funding Societies, a three-year-old, Singapore-based peer-to-peer lending platform, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by SoftBank Ventures Korea, with participation from QualgroLINE Ventures and earlier backersSequoia IndiaGolden Gate Ventures and JWC Ventures.  TechCrunch has more here

Green Bits, a four-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based maker of point-of-sale software for cannabis retailers, has raised $17 million in Series A funding led by Tiger Global, with participation from Casa Verde Capital. CNBC has more here

Nano-C, a 17-year-old, Westwood, Ma.-based company that develops nanostructured carbon for energy and electronics applications, has raised $3 million in new funding from Ray Stata, a cofounder of Analog Devices. More here

Node, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that says its platform uses artificial intelligence to find sales leads, has raised $5 million in fresh funding, including from Recruit Strategic PartnersWndrCoAragon Capital,GingerBread CapitalFalmouth Ventures, and Open Field Capital. TechCrunch has more here

Project44, a four-year-old, Chicago-based company that connects shippers to their carriers, has raised $35 million in new funding led by OpenView, with participation from 8VC and earlier backers Emergence CapitalOmidyar Technology VenturesChicago Ventures and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. The WSJ has more here

RapidSOS, a six-year-old, New York-based startup that provides data for emergency response situations, raised $16 million in new funding led by Highland Capital Partners, with participation from Microsoft Ventures and CSAA Insurance GroupMore here

Redaptive, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based SaaS business focused on energy efficiency, has raised $20 million in funding led by CBRE, which is joined in the round by ENGIE New VenturesGXP Investments, the venture capital arm of Great Plains Energy; and Linse CapitalMore here

ReviveMed, a year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotech startup whose tech is trying to overcome the difficulties of identifying a large set of metabolites for each patient, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by Rivas Capital, with participation from TechUTeam Builder Ventures, and WorldQuant. TechCrunch has more on the MIT spinout here

Squarefoot, a 7.5-year-old, New York-based workspace-seeking platform, has raised $7 million in funding led by Rosecliff Ventures, with participation from RRE VenturesTriangle Peak Partners, and Armory Square Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Tala, a six-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based company that’s providing credit to millions of customers in emerging markets using non-traditional data, has raised $50 million in Series C funding led by Revolution Growth. Earlier backers IVP, Data CollectiveLowercase CapitalRibbit Capital and Female Founders Fund. TechCrunch has more here

Vicarious Surgical, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based developer of VR-based surgical robotics, has raised $16.75 million in Series A funding co-led by Khosla Ventures and Innovation Endeavors, with participation from Gates Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures and Marc Benioff. MassDevice has more here

Wonolo, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based staffing platform that helps businesses to fill their immediate labor needs, just raised $13 million in a Series B funding round led by Sequoia Capital. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
Pioneer Square Labs, a Seattle-based startup studio,  is expanding beyond its original company-building model and promising a new infusion of capital into the region’s startup ecosystem, thanks to a new $80 million fund. GeekWire has more here.
There’s an IPO frenzy in Vietnam, but the market has a richer valuation than Shenzhen tech stocks, warns Bloomberg. More here.
 Hedge fund manager Steve Cohen is bringing his passion for tech startups to Asia, along with his checkbook. Point72 Ventures, which invests mostly the billionaire’s money in early-stage companies, is starting to evaluate prospects on the continent after putting millions of dollars into startups in the Americas and Europe, says Bloomberg

Activist investor Carl Icahn has amassed a stake in VMware, the cloud computing and virtualization software company majority-owned by Dell Technologies, says CNBC. It isn’t clear yet whether he has a particular agenda. 

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is renting Google’s original office and planning her next act. She talks with the New York Times about it. 

Elon Musk told employees yesterday in an email that he wants to personally approve any Tesla expenditure of more than $1 million if an effort to pull the company into profitable territory. Recode has more here.  

conversation with legendary programmer Richard Stallman on the real meaning of “privacy rights” and why he only ever uses cash. In NYMag.
Essential Reads
Home Depot is launching its biggest tech hiring spree ever to protect its lead over Amazon, with more than 1,000 tech hires planned. 

Best Buy will sell Amazon-powered TVs in its stores and on its website as Amazon makes another foray into our homes
A Florida man has been accused of making 97 million robocalls. (Of course.) 
Retail Therapy
Moto Rockers, for pint-size rebels.

StrictlyVC: April 17, 2018

Hi, happy Tuesday, all.:)
Top News
A Southwest jet engine blew out in flight today, killing one passenger and making an emergency landing in Philadelphia. As the plane dropped from the sky, seemingly bound for destruction, passenger Marty Martinez, who runs a digital marketing company called Social Revolt in Dallas, bought WiFi so he could broadcast one last picture on Facebook. Bloomberg has more here. Just in time for tax day: the IRS website to make payments is down
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This Tiny AgTech Company Backed by Joe Lonsdale Thinks It Knows What Better-Funded Rivals Do Not
In November, we told you about Farmers Business Network, a social network for farmers that invites them to share their data, pool their know-how and bargain more effectively for better pricing from manufacturing companies. At the time, FBN, as it’s known, had just closed on $110 million in new funding in a round that brought its funding to roughly $200 million altogether. 

That kind of financial backing might dissuade newcomers to the space, but a months-old startup called AgVend has just raised $1.75 million in seed funding on the premise that, well, FBN is doing it wrong. Specifically, AgVend’s pitch is that manufacturers aren’t so crazy about FBN getting between their offerings and their end users — in large part because FBN is able to secure group discounts on those users’ behalf. 

AgVend is instead planning to work directly with manufacturers and retailers, selling their goods through its own site as well as helping them develop their own web shops. The idea is to “protect their channel pricing power,” explains CEO Alexander Reichert, who previously spent more than four years with Euclid Analytics, a company that helps brands monitor and understand their foot traffic. AgVend is their white knight, coming to save them from getting disrupted out of business. “Why cut them out of the equation?” he asks. 

Whether farmers will go along is the question. Those who’ve joined FBN can ostensibly save money on seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and more by being invited to comparison shop through FBN’s own online store. It’s not the easiest sell, though. FBN charges farmers $600 per year to access its platform, which is presumably a hurdle for some. 

AgVend meanwhile is embracing good-old-fashioned opacity. 

More here.
New Fundings
Agentology, a five-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based startup whose rapid response service aims to help real estate sales reps vet leads and hand off potential clients, has raised $12 million in funding led by TechCrunch has more here

Applitools, a five-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based AI-based cloud engine that aims to validate all the visual aspects of any web, mobile and native app in an automated way, has raised $31 million in Series C funding led by OpenView, with participation from earlier backers Sierra VenturesMagma Venture PartnersiAngels and La MaisonMore here.

AppOnboard, a two-year-old, L.A.-based startup that creates playable demos for mobile apps, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Korea Investment Partners, with participation from Mirae Asset ManagementMantarayMTG, and Runa Capital. VentureBeat has more here

Carpe, a nearly four-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based startup selling over-the-counter antiperspirant for sweaty hands and feet, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding led by Carolina Angel Network and Duke Angel Network, with participation fromLaunchCapitalRubicon Venture Capital, and Triangle Angel PartnersMore here

Cohesity, a five-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based data-storage company founded by Nutanix cofounder Mohit Aron, is reportedly in talks to raise at least $150 million in funding at a valuation of roughly $1 billion. No big surprise that SoftBank’s Vision Fund is said to be involved. Recode has the story here.

Drift, a four-year-old, Boston-based conversational marketing and sales platform, has raised $60 million in fresh funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from earlier backers CRV and General Catalyst. TechCrunch has more here, a two-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based “talent intelligence platform” has raised $18 million in Series B funding co-led by Foundation Capitaland Lightspeed Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here

Harbor, a young, San Francisco-based blockchain platform that we’d written about in February when it raised $10 million in funding, has raised another $28 million in funding. Founders Fund led the round and was joined by investors Andreessen Horowitz and Pantera Capital, as well as earlier backers Craft VenturesVy Capital, and Valor Equity Partners. TechCrunch has more here

Imperative Execution, a 1.5-year-old, Stamford, Ct.-based startup that aims to prevent high-frequency traders from eating away at the profits of stock-pickers, has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Point 72 Ventures, the venture fund of longtime hedge fund manager (and stock picker) Stephen Cohen. The WSJ has more here

Instant Financial, a 2.5-year-old, Vancouver-based “financial wellness” platform for employees, has raised $11.4 million in Series A funding led by TTV Capital, with participation from ITC Partners FundKinetic Ventures, and Real Ventures. More here

Kdan Mobile, a nine-year-old, Taiwan-based maker of cloud software for content creators, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from W.I. Harper Group,Darwin Venture Management and Accord Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

LawGeex, a four-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based maker of business contract review automation software, has raised $12 million in new funding led by Aleph, with participation from earlier backer Lool VenturesMore here

LimFlow, a 1.5-year-old, Paris-based medical device maker focused on Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI), has raised $33.5 million in Series C funding led by Sofinnova PartnersMore here

Parsley Health, a two-year-old, New York-based company that charges $150 a month for direct primary care,  has raised  $10 million in Series A funding led byFirstMark Capital, with participation from AmploTrail Mix VenturesCombineand The Chernin Group. TechCrunch has more here

Qapital, a five-year-old, New York-based personal finance management platform, has raised $30 million in new funding led by the Scandinavian mutual fund manager Swedbank Robur, with participation from other investors, includingNorthzoneMore here

QingKe, a six-year-old, Shanghai, China-based rental apartment service, has raised $100 million in funding co-led by Morgan Stanley Asia and Crescent PointMore hereScality, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based software storage firm, has raised $60 million in funding, including from Harbert European Growth Capital. VentureBeat has more here

Tempo Automation, a nearly five-year-old, San Francisco-based company that’s focused on getting quick prototypes to Bay Area tech firms looking to rapidly iterate on a design, has raised $20 million in funding led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Dolby VenturesIndustry Ventures and Cendana Capital, along with earlier backers Lux Capital, Uncork Capital and AME. Axios has more here

Turo, the nine-year-old, San Francisco-based car-sharing marketplace, has raised $12 million in new Series D funding from American Express and Sumitomo in a move that brings the round to roughly $104 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

XpertSea, a six-year-old, Québec City-based developer of technologies aimed athelping hatcheries, farms and research centers track and manage aquatic populations with greater accuracy and speed, has raised $10 million in Series A financing. The round was led by Obvious Ventures and Aqua-Spark, and includes participation from seed investor Real VenturesMore here.
New Funds
Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet and longtime VC Nick Brown have raised their first venture fund with $75 million in capital commitments, including from billionaire mall owner Rick Caruso. The firm, Imaginary Ventures, has already made 11 investments and is looking for early-stage opportunities at the intersection of retail and technology in both Europe and the U.S. We have more on the new fund here

New Leaf Ventures, a 13-year-old, healthcare-focused venture firm, is raising up to $275 million for its fourth vehicle, according to an SEC filing. The outfit never disclosed how much it had raised for its third fund, but it was at one point targeting $375 million, according to the WSJ. More here

Parade Ventures, a Los Gatos, Ca.-based pre-seed and seed-stage firm recently formed by Shawn Merani — who’d previously cofounded and been a partner at Flight Ventures in San Francisco — is looking to raise up to $25 million for its debut fund, shows an SEC filing first flagged by Axios. Not much more here (the elephant notwithstanding).
Adobe says it has acquired Sayspring, a startup that helps developers prototype and build the voice interfaces for their Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant apps. The company says the Sayspring team will join Adobe tomorrow and that it’ll then start integrating the company’s technology into its own products. TechCrunch has more here

Carvana, an online marketplace for buying used vehicles that went public last year, is acquiring Car360, a three-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based startup that’s expected to help improve the car-buying experience through enhanced imagery. The deal cost Carvana $6.7 million in cash and another $15.2 million in stock. TechCrunch has more here

Livongo Health, the Mountain View, Ca.-based digital health startup focused on managing chronic conditions that just raised $110 million in funding last week, has acquired Retrofit, a Chicago-based online weight loss platform. Retrofit, founded in 2011, had raised $15.7 million according to Crunchbase, including from Cambia Health SolutionsHyde Park Angel Network and DFJ. American Inno has more here.
Docusign, the San Francisco-based e-signature platform, has revealed more about its IPO plans, which include selling 21.7 million shares at between $24 and $26 apiece. That band would give the company a market valuation of $3.8 billion at the mid-range. GeekWire has more here

Yet another Chinese technology company is headed for an IPO, reports Bloomberg.Meilishuo, the online fashion retailer that’s focused on women and backed byTencent Holdings, is in talks with several investment banks about a U.S. offering that could value it at about $4 billion, it says. More here.
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn is stepping down after eight years on the job. She broke the news at the Commission’s monthly open meeting, confirming the plans to move on that she has mentioned occasionally since the new administration took over. More here

Banking heir Matthew Mellon has passed away at age 54. According to Page Six, Mellon was attending a drug rehabilitation facility in Cancun, Mexico, having battled addiction issues throughout his adult life. Mellon, says the report, had most recently made a fortune in cryptocurrency, turning a $2 million investment in Ripple into $1 billion dollars. 

Myrna Soto, who has just been hired as the first female partner at Trident Capital Cybersecurity, a San Mateo, Ca.-based venture capital firm focused exclusively on digital security. Soto was previously Comcast’s chief information security officer.
Essential Reads
At Facebook, median pay tops $240,000

A former Cambridge Analytica employee meanwhile said today that the number of Facebook users whose data may have been comprised in recent years is potentially “much greater than 87 million.”
San Francisco’s terrifying seismic gamble

On a lighter note! The best comedies of 2018 (so far). 

John Mulaney’s 10 best SNL sketches.  
Retail Therapy
Boosted’s electric skateboard: now shorter and cheaper.