StrictlyVC: June 2, 2014

Good morning, everyone! Hope you had an excellent weekend. —– Top News in the A.M.

What developers want to hear from Apple this morning, as its Worldwide Developers Conference gets underway.

Samsung has just announced the first smartphone running its Tizen operating system. More here.


That’s It?

Almost a week ago, some odious years-old emails written by Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel were leaked to the media, and it’s a wonder how quickly their content seems to be have been swept under the rug.

It’s understandable, to a point. Spiegel’s emails were written when he was a college student trying to impress his fraternity brothers, not the CEO of Snapchat. Emails are also private communications that, very arguably, should remain private.

Besides, it isn’t like Spiegel holds public office. He never signed up to be a role model. He certainly shouldn’t be held accountable for a culture in which objectifying women not only remains socially acceptable but, for some, seems to border on a competitive sport.

Still, Spiegel’s lone public apology, in which he said he was “mortified and embarrassed,” didn’t go far enough. How about some response from others close to the company, the same people who blog and tweet and talk so openly with reporters about how Silicon Valley is changing the world?

On Friday, Stanford Provost John Etchemendy emailed the university’s student body to say the school is “positively ashamed” that the emails were sent by a Stanford student.

If Snapchat’s influential investors are also ashamed of the noxious attitudes toward women that were conveyed in those emails, they should also say something. It’s easy enough to condemn their content without hanging Spiegel out to dry. And frankly, not doing anything seems like an implicit endorsement, as if what Spiegel wrote isn’t that bad. (It is.)

“We can choose to turn a blind eye to such statements and chalk them up to youthful indiscretion,” wrote Etchemendy to Stanford’s undergraduates. “Or we can be more courageous, and affirmatively reject such behavior whenever and wherever we see it, even — no especially — if it comes from a friend, a classmate, or a colleague.”

Nobody’s going to change Silicon Valley’s attitude towards women overnight, but here’s hoping Etchemendy’s message resonates not only with the men and women of Stanford but with Snapchat’s board, as well. A few choice words could help send the message that objectifying women isn’t okay, no matter how “hot” your company might happen to be.


New Fundings

AppDynamics, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose application performance management software helps large companies monitor and manage their software environments, has raised up to $50 million in venture debt, according to Venture Capital Dispatch. The money comes from Silicon Valley BankMore here.

Concurrent, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based company that develops big data applications that help its enterprise customers run their data processing apps, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. Earlier investors Rembrandt Venture Partners and True Ventures also participated in the round, which brings Concurrent’s total funding to $15 million.

Edai, an eight-year-old, Chengdu, China-based peer-to-peer lending company that operates both online and features retail stores in China, has raised $10 million from Softbank China, according to Tech in Asia, which has much more on the story here.

FluGen, a seven-year-old, Madison, Wi.-base biopharmaceutical company specializing in the prevention and treatment of seasonal and pandemic influenza, has raised $3.2 million in new funding, shows an SEC filing. The company has raised at least $6.5 million to date.

Fortscale Security, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv-based company that’s trying to make it easier for companies to run big data analytics for cyber security, regardless of their technical know-how, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Intel Capital and Blumberg Capital. Earlier investors, including Swarth Group, also participated in the round, part of which will be used to relocate the company’s headquarters to New York.

Govtoday, a six-year-old, Greater Manchester, England-based digital media platform dedicated to delivering the latest public sector and government news in the U.K., has raised $837,000 in new funding from Osprey Capital, along with the Greater Manchester Loan Fund. The company has raised a little more than $3 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

PerBlue, a six-year-old, Madison, Wi.-based mobile game developer, has raised $3 million in venture capital from investors, including Lightbank. PerBlue previously raised $800,000 from Golden Angels Investors and individual investors.

Salsa Labs, a five-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based company whose software helps nonprofits to fundraise and organize their supporter bases, has raised $5 million from Maryland Venture Fund and earlier investor Edison Ventures. The company has raised $12 million to date, shows Crunchbase.


New Funds

BlueRun Ventures is raising a new, $150 million fund, shows a new SEC filing. VentureWire had reported back in December that the firm was planning to raise its fifth fund this year on the heels of some successful exits in 2013, including the sale of its portfolio company Waze to Google, and of Topsy Labs to Apple. BlueRun focuses on early-stage startups that use real-time data generated by smartphones. Some of its newer investments include QingCloud, a two-year-old, Beijing-based company that operates an on-demand real-time cloud computing platform and Banjo, a three-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based social media startup that gives users a way to read multiple social media conversations about particular topics of news in one screen. BlueRun had closed its fourth fund in 2009 with $240 million in capital commitments; it raised raised $315 million for its third fund in 2005.

MPM Capital, an 18-year-old, Boston-based venture firm focused on healthcare startups in the U.S. and Europe, is raising a new, $380 million fund, according to an SEC filing that was first flagged by VentureWire. If the firm hits its target, the fund will be nearly 25 percent larger than the firm’s previous fund, which closed on just less than $300 million in 2010. MPM Capital ranked second, just behind Kleiner Perkins, in a ranking of investors with the most 2013 IPOs.

Romulus Capital, a six-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based seed-stage fund that focuses primarily on Cambridge-area and New York-based startups, is about to close $50 million for its second fund, reports Business Insider, which profiles the firm’s 26-year-old cofounder, Krishna Gupta. According to an SEC filing, the firm began raising its current fund in 2012.

Sequoia Capital announced Friday that it has raised $530 million for its fourth India-focused fund, capital that will be used to expand its investments in India and Southeast Asia, reports the International Business Times. “The two trends that we have been seeing is that mobile Internet is growing, and Indian start-ups are increasingly becoming global. We want to tap both these opportunities,” Shailendra Singh, a managing director with Sequoia Capital in Bangalore, told Mint, a local business newspaper. Sequoia, which entered the Indian market eight years ago, has since backed since more than 75 India-based startups, says the International Business Times.



Renaissance Capital published an IPO pricing recap on Friday. Among its findings: In May, on average, the 21 IPOs were priced 10 percent below their midpoint and they averaged 8 percent on the first day, half the pop seen among the 94 IPOs in January through April.

Rocket Internet, the online startup investor founded by Germany’s Samwer brothers, is planning an IPO that could value the company at more than $4 billion, according to Bloomberg’s sources. Reuters says the brothers have already hired banks Berenberg, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan to review a potential listing on the Frankfurt exchange.



Desti, a 2.5-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based online travel guide app company that was spun out of SRI International, has been acquired by a Nokia company for an undisclosed amount. Desti raised $2 million altogether, including from SRI InternationalCarmel Ventures andHorizons Ventures.


The five largest donors in technology.

Jeff Grabow is Ernst & Young’s new U.S. venture capital leader, the firm announced last last week. Grabow has been with the company for the last 27 years.

Alex Karp, the cofounder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, is in no hurry to go public, despite that the 10-year-old company is expected to bring in $1 billion in revenue this year. An I.P.O. “is corrosive to our culture, corrosive to our outcomes,” Karp tells the New York Times. Palantir’s backers and clients, he adds, “do not see us as supernormal.”

Jenny Lefcourt has joined the seed-stage firm Freestyle Capital as an investor. Lefcourt previously cofounded, acquired by TheKnot in 2006; the wedding photo company Bella Pictures, acquired by a St. Louis-based photography service called CPI; and an e-commerce company, Markkit.

Chikai Ohazama has joined Google Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Ohazama co-founded Keyhole, acquired by Google in 2004 (and now Google Earth). According to his Google Ventures’s bio, he was also one of the first product managers when the Geo group was initially formed within Google and helped lead efforts at the company like satellite imagery, monetization, and mobile maps. Before Keyhole, Ohazama was a member of the technical staff at Silicon Graphics.

Peter Sunde, one of the founders of file-sharing website Pirate Bay, was arrested in southern Sweden over the weekend. Sunde had been on the run since 2012, when he was sentenced to prison and fined for breaching copyright laws. Reuters has more here.

The Winklevoss twins may have just shelled out $14.5 million for a penthouse in Soho that looks pretty fabulous (of course). More here.



Apple‘s annual developers conference kicks off a little later this morning in San Francisco. Here’s a link if you want to watch its live coverage.

The Jefferies annual global healthcare conference also kicks off today. It’s in New York. Details are here.


Job Listings

The Ohio State University is looking for a director to lead its venture capital program, which plans to invest up to $100 million in venture funds. The school is in Columbus, Ohio.

SolarCity, chaired by Elon Musk, is looking for a corporate development manager in San Mateo, Ca.



One in seven U.S. consumers was notified that their personal data was breached last year, according to a new survey by Consumer Reports. Meanwhile, 11.2 million people fell for e-mail phishing scams and 29 percent of Americans online had their home computers infected with malware in the last year. More here.

In recent years, U.S.-based VC firms have invested more capital in more startups than ever before in Asia, reports Pitchbook. In the four-year period from 2007 to 2010, they invested $4.3 billion across 417 financings. Since early 2011, they’ve invested $9.7 billion across 617 venture rounds in Asia. You can learn more here.


Essential Reads

Google plans to spend more than $1 billion on a fleet of satellites to extend Internet access to unwired regions of the globe.

E-mail privacy hasn’t been updated in 28 years. This could be the bill to do it.

Why investors never ever see the crash coming.



Three lost Dyson inventions.

The ten universities to produce the most billionaires.

Comic Mindy Kaling’s hilarious commencement speech at Harvard Law School.

Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques, is on the ocean floor right now, and he’s not coming up for air until July.


Retail Therapy

Haute Dogs.

A nice big truck with a solar-paneled camper, to offset the truck.


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