StrictlyVC: November 12, 2013

110611_2084620_176987_imageHappy Tuesday!


Top News in the A.M.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee defends his relationship with local technology founders, which has been characterized by many as overly cozy.

Diagnose What’s Wrong, With Your Smartphone

Last week, Slate reported on a brilliant UCLA professor who is “changing the field of medical testing by turning smartphones into portable laboratories.”  But there are a growing number of entrepreneurs finding ways to transform our phones into diagnostic tools. Among the latest is Walter de Brouwer, the founder of Scanadu, a three-year-old, Mountain View, Calif.-based company that just raised $10.5 million in Series A funding led by the firm Relay Ventures. (Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund, Jerry Yang’s Ame Cloud Ventures, and numerous angels also participated.) 

Right now, Scanadu makes a puck-shaped scanner that’s packed with sensors designed to read your vital signs — including heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and blood oxygen levels — and beam the information wirelessly to your iOS or Android smartphone. Next, the company plans to produce a disposable urine analysis testing platform to help determine, say, whether you’re developing heart-related kidney problems. 

Yesterday, I chatted with de Brouwer — a serial entrepreneur and former academic — about his company’s next steps.

What’s the big idea here?

We want to bring [to consumers] the complete diagnostic experience of a hospital. That consists of the emergency room, which basically measures the electromechanical information on the surface of the body; imaging, or what you see through the skin; and labs, where bodily fluids — blood, urine analysis, saliva — are examined.

One day, this will come together in a way that’s FDA approved, so that patients have accurate information that both they and their doctors accept and understand.

You don’t yet have FDA approval. How long do you anticipate it will take?

We’re starting our first clinical trials with [the] Scripps [Translational Science Institute] and will deliver a feasibility study to the FDA in March. Normally, [the turnaround takes] 100 days, though you can never predict, especially if there are more questions, and you have to do more trials. So our hope is to have the product out to consumers for the holidays in 2014, but our expectation is that [it will be available for sale] in 2015.

Will you try to sell to both Western and developing countries?

Because we’re small – we have 19 employees right now – we’re targeting the U.S. market for the moment.

Who will have access to your customers’ data?

Users will basically own their data, which they can send to their doctor to view, even in real time.

In summer, you raised a separate $1.6 million for Scandu in a record-breaking Indiegogo campaign, during which pre-order prices rose from $149 to $199. What are you planning to charge for your first product?

The app will be free. But $199 is what we found consumers are willing to pay [for the device]. Over time, they can expect to pay less. The first digital thermometers cost $950.


New Fundings, a seven-year-old, Palo Alto, Calif.-based company whose online platform provides services for payables, receivables and cash management for small and mid-size business owners, has raised $38 million in financing led by new investor Scale Venture Partners. Other participants in the round included Bank of AmericaAmerican ExpressFifth Third Bank, CheckFree founder Pete Kight, and Commerce Ventures, as well as all of’s previous investors August CapitalNapier Park Global CapitalTTV CapitalJafco VenturesEmergence Capital and DCM.  The round brings’s total funding to date to $80 million.

Bitcasa, a two-year-old, Mountain View, Calif.-based, cloud storage service company, has raised $11 million led by Horizons Ventures, with participation from Pelion Venture PartnersSamsung VenturesAndreessen Horowitz, and First Round Capital. The company, which installed a new CEO in September, has now raised $20 million.

CardioInsight Technologies, a seven-year-old, Cleveland, Oh.-based company that makes a non-invasive electrocardiographic mapping technology, has raised $15 million in new funding. In a release about the round, the company did not name its investors. According to Crunchbase, CardioInsight has now raised $26.5 million in equity and $1.65 million in debt altogether.

CustomInk, a 13-year-old, Tysons Corner, Va.-based custom-apparel company, has raised $40 million from Revolution Growth – its first institutional round of investment. TechCrunch has much more on the company here.

FoundationDB, a four-year-old, Vienna, Va.-based maker of a distributed database, has raised $17 million in Series A funding from Sutter Hill Ventures, reports TechCrunch.

Futurelytics, a two-year-old, Wilmington, Del.-based company that helps its clients understand what to do with their customer data, has raised $800,000 in seed financing led by Index Ventures and Credo VenturesKima Ventures and Rob Keve, former CEO of FizzBack, also participated in the round.

GAIN Fitness, a four-year-old, San Francisco based mobile fitness application developer, has raised more than $2.1 million in new funding led by previous investor InterWest Partners. The company has now raised about $2.9 million, including a seed round that was announced in December 2011.

itBit, an 18-month-old, Singapore-based bitcoin exchange, has raised $3.25 million from Canaan PartnersRRE Ventures and Liberty City Ventures. The funding brings the company’s total capital raised to date to $5.5 million.

LendUp, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based online platform that offers an on-demand, “socially responsible” alternative to payday lenders, has raised $14 million in Series A funding led by Google VenturesData Collective and QED Investors are participated in the round.

Servergy, a four-year-old, McKinney, Tex.-based company that makes energy-efficient data servers, has raised $20 million in Series C funding raised by the accredited investors of The Williams Financial Group, an independent broker-dealer based in Texas.

ShapeUp, a seven-year-old, Providence, R.I.-based company whose online social-wellness platform encourages employees to engage through team workout challenges, has raised $7.5 million in debt and equity. Cue Ball Capital and Excel Venture Management, which have backed ShapeU previously, led the $5 million equity portion of the financing, while Silicon Valley Bank provided another $2.5 million in debt. The company has raised $10 million altogether.

Validic, a three-year-old, Durham, N.C-based company has raised $760,000 in seed money from Internet billionaire Mark Cuban, along with an array of angel investors. Validic helps wellness companies, healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and health plans access and aggregate data from apps and devices that have open APIs, including Fitbit., a months-old, Austin, Tex.-based startup that works with marketers to find existing online content that’s supportive of their products and services, has raised $1 million in seed funding. The money comes from LiveOak Venture PartnersFloodgate, and various angel investors.


New Funds

KPMG, the global consulting giant, has created a new, London-based corporate venture arm that aims to back big data and data analytics companies. Called KPMG Capital, the unit is launching with about $100 million, an amount that KPMG is reportedly prepared to increase if needed. Forbes has much more here.



Twitter‘s IPO created 1,600 millionaires, along with a $2.2 billion tax bill, says PrivCo.


People is starting to remind StrictlyVC of, a luxury e-tailer that that quickly raised $188 million to fuel its plans for world domination, only to abruptly implode in 2000. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Fab is losing its chief operating officerBeth Ferreira, who joined Fab in 2011 from Etsy. The revelation comes less than two weeks after the departure of Fab cofounder Bradford Shellhammer. Two-year-old Fab has raised at least $325 million from investors. In an email to Fab’s board about Ferreira, CEO Jason Goldberg added that he plans to “downsize” the company even further.

John Pleasants is out the door at Disney, reports AllThingsD. Pleasants landed at Disney when it acquired Playdom, where he was CEO. Before joining Playdom, he was COO of Electronic Arts. Pleasants has also served as the president and CEO of Revolution Health and as CEO of Ticketmaster.

Before Sheryl Sandberg, Silicon Valley spent an unhealthy amount of time scrutinizing another female executive, Kim Polese. Polese talks about that experience, telling the Guardian of the continuing challenges that women in tech face: “That we’ve gone backwards is still stunning to me.”



Business Insider‘s Ignition conference revs up for a second, star-studded day in New York.

Dealbook, meanwhile, kicks off its 2013 conference today in New York. Barry Diller will be there, as will the Winklevoss twins, ThirdPoint founder Daniel Loeb, and Sal Khan of Khan Academy, among others. You can watch a live stream of the event using this link.

O’Reilly also kicks off day two of its Strata conference in London today. You can learn more here.

It’s also day two of the Techonomy 2013 conference in Tucson, Ariz. Among the speakers today: Zappos CEO and VegasTechFund founder Tony Hsieh.


Job Listings

Samsung is looking for a New York-based associate to search out investment opportunities for its Open Innovation Center (OIC) which is based in Silicon Valley but has an outpost in Chelsea. The OIC’s mission is to incubate and build software that’s better than Apple’s (essentially), but the center is also looking to bring in startups through acquisitions, to seed-fund startups, and to form partnerships with startups that don’t necessarily want to go to work inside of Samsung. To apply, you need an MBA and at least three years of experience at a tech company, plus two or more years of experience in venture capital, private equity, investment banking, or in business development.


Essential Reads

More tech startups are spying new opportunities thanks the Affordable Care Act. (More on the trend in StrictlyVC later this week.)

Wild: Google is trying to patent an electronic tattoo with a microphone. The company says the tattoo could be used by security personnel in emergency situations (to start).

Tesla was just hit with a 40-page, securities class-action suit, after three of its cars burst into flames in recent months. The  suit seeks to sustain losses during the stock’s precipitous fall afterward.

Bad news: About 600,000 bats were killed by wind turbines last year.



“I’m Josh Fletcher, and I’m the last employee at Blackberry…You want keyboards? You don’t want keyboards? You want it bigger? You want it smaller? Just tell us what you want. Just &$%ing tell us what you want.”

AshleyMadison, the site for adulterers, is being sued by a woman who says she was paid to create 1,000 fake female profiles to entice men to the platform. Her complaint? That all that typing hurt her wrists. (You cannot make this stuff up.)

China doesn’t think Jimmy Kimmel is so hilarious. During a regular skit in which Kimmel asks kids to debate contemporary political issues, he asked the children, during an October episode, how the U.S. might solve its debt problem with China. “Kill everyone in China? OK, that’s an interesting idea,” Mr. Kimmel said in response to one child’s suggestion. Growing protests over the skit have now led to demands by China’s Foreign Ministry that ABC fire Kimmel.


Retail Therapy

Colorful chinos are in, friends. Give in and acquire a pair or two. Your jeans will still be waiting for you.


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