StrictlyVC: February 13, 2015

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wow, last night was fun. Thanks to everyone who came out to our first INSIDER series event. We loved seeing so many of you who we know and meeting other longtime readers in person for the first time. Next World Capital, you were phenomenal hosts. Craig Hanson, special thanks to you for your time and generosity. Ballou PR and Standish Management, thank you for being terrific partners. We also cannot say enough about our amazing speaker line-up. We would head out any day of the week to see Keith Rabois, Naval Ravikant or Strava CEO Mark Gainey talk about their work and the broader industry; we’re confident that everyone at last night’s program felt the same way. Much thanks, too, to Semil Shah of Haystack and Greg Gretsch of Sigma West, who managed their interviews with aplomb.

We’ve run out of time this morning for a column, but stay tuned for some great content from the event, including pictures, interviews and sound files (if you’d rather listen to the interviews at your leisure). We won’t be publishing on Monday — Presidents’ Day — but we’ll see you back here bright and early Tuesday!


Top News in the A.M.

Google executives Eric Schmidt and Larry Page; Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer; and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have declined invitations to attend President Obama’s cybersecurity summit in Palo Alto, Ca., today, the latest in a string of signs that relations between the White House and Silicon Valley have frayed over privacy and other issues.


New Fundings

CloudVelox, a five-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based company whose business centers on hybrid cloud disaster recover and migration, has raised $15 million in Series C funding from Cisco Investments, along with previous backers Mayfield Fund, Pelion Venture Partners, and Third Point Ventures.

Cortendo AB, a 19-year-old, Goteborg, Sweden-based biopharmaceutical company that develops treatments for orphan endocrine diseases, has raised $26.4 million from investors just five months after raising $11 million. Investors in the combined round include RA Capital ManagementNew Enterprise Associates, Broadfin Capital, and HealthCap.

Gummicube, a three-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based company whose platform aims to provide developers with more app store intelligence, has raised $830,000 from Golden Seeds and F50 Venture Partners. VentureBeat has more here.

Lyft, the three-year-old, San Francisco-based ride-hailing service, is in talks to raise about $250 million in new financing at a $2 billion valuation, reports Dealbook. The company has raised $332.5 million to date, including from Floodgate, Founders Fund, K9 Ventures, Alibaba Group, and Andreessen Horowitz. Its much larger rival, Uber, has raised roughly $4.9 billion. Depending on investor interest, Lyft could seek to raise up to $500 million, says Dealbook.

Moda Operandi, a 4.5.-year-old, New York-based online luxury fashion retailer that allows members to pre-order ready-to-wear accessories and jewelry, has raised $60 million in funding led by Fidelity Investments. The company has now raised $78.4 million altogether, shows Crunchbase. Others of its investors include LVMH, Condé Nast, Manatt Venture FundNew Atlantic Ventures, RRE Ventures, and New Enterprise Associates.

Practo Technologies, a 6.5-year-old, Bangalore, India-based company whose health care platform connects patients with doctors’ appointments, has raised $30 million in Series B funding from new investor Matrix Partners and earlier backer Sequoia Capital. The company has now raised $34 million to date, shows Crunchbase.

Saguna Networks, a six-year-old, Hazafon, Israel-based mobile broadband tech developer, has raised an undisclosed amount of money from strategic investors SoftBank Ventures Korea Corp. and Akamai Technologies.

Unchained Labs, a three-month-old, Pleasanton, Ca.-based company with a product to help drug researchers analyze the stability of proteins, has raised $25 million in funding from Novo Ventures, Canaan Partners and TPG Biotech. The San Francisco Business Times has more here.


New Funds

August Capital, the 20-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based firm, announced yesterday that it has raised $450 million for its seventh fund, which will be stage agnostic. Longtime partner David Hornik has more here.

Polaris Partners, the 19-year-old investor in life-sciences and technology startups, with offices in Boston, San Francisco, and Dublin, Ireland, has closed on two new investment vehicles, reports VentureWire: Polaris Partners VII LP, the firm’s main fund, recently closed at $435.6 million; a side fund affiliated with the main fund closed at $30 million.



Yesterday, Invitae, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based genetic diagnostics company, sold 6.35 million shares at $16 per share in its IPO, raising $101.6 million. Its shares closed the day at $17.05 apiece.



AlertMe, an 8.5-year-old smart energy and home monitoring system that enables users to control home appliances and devices, has been acquired by one of its investors, British Gas, in a deal worth £65 million ($100 million). AlertMe had raised $36.8 million from investors, including Index Ventures, VantagePoint Capital Partners, SET Venture Partners and Good Energies. TechCrunch has more here.

Automated Insights, a 7.5-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based company that sells its natural language generation technology to companies in business intelligence, media, sports, finance, and more, has been acquired for undisclosed terms by another Durham company, Stats, which is a sports data company backed by Vista Equity Partners. According to Crunchbase, Automated Insights had raised at least $10.8 million from investors, including IDEA Fund Partners, OCA Ventures, Court Square Ventures, Steve Case, Samsung Ventures, and Osage Venture Partners.



David Carr, the brilliant media critic – and advocate — died at age 58 last night, shortly after speaking at an event at the New School in New York. He will be missed by many.

Tripp Jones has been promoted to general partner at the Sand Hill RoadAugust Capital. Jones joined the firm in 2011 after spending four years at the private equity firm Spectrum Equity Investors. Earlier in his career, he worked as an analyst at JMP Securities and BMO Capital Markets.

Yesterday, at a technology conference, TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington asked Senator Rand Paul about a vaccine-related comment he made last month to CNBC, when Rand told an interviewer: “I’ve heard many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” Said Arrington to Rand: “You seem convinced that there’s a link between autism and vaccines. You didn’t actually say that ____.” More here.


Job Listings

SVB Capital, the venture arm of SVB Financial Group, is looking for an associate. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.


Essential Reads

The five-year-old Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is entering the U.S. market, reports the WSJ. At an event yesterday, the company said it’s bringing its e-commerce site to American consumers to sell accessories like earphones and fitness bands. “We are not a handset company,” said Xiaomi co-founder Bin Lin. “We are an Internet company.”

The arc of company life, and how to prolong it.



How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life.

The most intense military training exercises from around the world.

Extremely high-resolution, time-lapse videos of Rio De Janeiro. (Thanks, David!)


Retail Therapy

New era, new View-Master.

The Adidas Yeezy Boost sneaker. We like it.

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