StrictlyVC: March 23, 2015

Hi, everyone, welcome back! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. We were pretty busy, so no column this a.m. (By the way, web visitors, here’s an easier-to-read version of this email here.)


Top News in the A.M.

Tina Huang, a former engineer at Twitter, has filed a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming its “black box” promotion process unlawfully favors men. Huang’s filing follows that of former Facebook product manager Chia Hong, who filed a lawsuit against Facebook last Monday for sexual discrimination and harassment.


New Fundings

850 Sports News Digest, a seven-month-old, London-based sports news service that delivers its content via iOS and Android apps, has raised $500,000 in seed funding from iBus Media Network. TechCrunch has more here.

AchieveIt Online, a 4.5-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based company whose cloud-based software service helps businesses track their performance and operational goals, has raised $2 million in Series D funding led by earlier investor BIP Capital. The company has raised at least $5.6 million to date, shows Crunchbase.

Binti, a year-old, San Francisco-based company that aims to help simplify child adoptions by streamlining paperwork and increasing transparency throughout the process, has raised $2.7 million from investors, shows an SEC filing that names only the company’s executives, including CEO Felicia Curcuru and president Julia Chou (alums of McKinsey & Co. and Google, respectively).

Corsa Technology, a two-year-old, Ottawa, Ontario-based company focused programmable SDN switching, has raised $16.5 million in Series B funding led by Roadmap Capital, with participation from earlier backers, including Celtic House Venture Partners and BDC Capital.

EZCater, a four-year-old, Boston-based online platform that makes it easy for businesses to order food from local caterers and restaurants, has raised $11.7 million from investors, including Breton Capital Management, shows an SEC filing. The company had previously raised $6.8 million from investors, shows Crunchbase. Its earlier backers include Sidecar Ventures and LaunchPad Ventures.

Graphic India, a four-year-old, Singapore-based company focused on creating leading characters, comics and stories for the Indian youth market via mobile and digital platforms, has raised $2.8 million in seed funding from earlier backer CA Media, which is the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group, and the New York-based media investment group Start Media. Numerous angel investors also participated in the round, which brings the company’s funding to $5.3 million, shows Crunchbase.

LendingHome, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based online platform that allows both individuals and institutions to invest in residential real estate loans, has raised $70 million in fresh funding, shows an SEC filing that lists Ribbit Capital‘s Micky Malka and Renren CEO Joseph Chen, among others, as directors. The round comes just eight months after the company closed on $28 million in funding led by Foundation Capital. LendingHome has now raised roughly $103 million to date, show SEC filings.

Life on Air, a three year-old, San Francisco-based company that recently created the live-streaming app Meerkat, has raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Greylock Partners, with participation from unknown angel investors. The company has now raised roughly $16.2 million since its founding, including from Aleph, Ooga Labs, and Entree Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

OrthoSensor, a five-year-old, Dania Beach, Fl.-based medical device company that makes sensor-assisted surgery tools, has raised $19 million in Series C funding led by Bridger Healthcare and The Tullis Growth Fund. The company has now raised at least $72 million to date, shows Crunchbase

Pear Therapeutics, a two-year-old, Boston-based company that’s combining mobile health apps with supplements, medical foods, and pharmaceuticals to improve the treatment of addiction and other mental illnesses, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by 5AM Ventures, with other, undisclosed investors participating.

Slidejoy, a year-old, New York-based Android application that pays users daily for having relevant articles, deals and ads displayed on their lockscreen, has raised $1.2 million from angel investors, shows an SEC filing.

Smatoos, a four-year-old, Seoul-based education startup whose English learning service, BeNative Pro, launched earlier this year, has raised $2.7 million in Series B funding from Korea Investment Partners, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, and Partners Investment. The company has now raised $6 million altogether. Tech in Asia has more here.

Uber, the 5.5-year-old, San Francisco-based car-booking company, has taken a strategic investment from the digital arm of the media giant Times of India to boost its visibility in India. TechCrunch has the story here.


New Funds

Bertram Capital, a nine-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based private equity firm that targets lower middle market companies, has formed a holding company called CG Acquisitions to invest in businesses that create and manage digital content for e-commerce applications. Bertram launched the platform last week; a new SEC filing shows the fund has $47.9 million to invest.

Infosys, the 34-year-old, Bangalore-based technology consulting company, made its first startup investment last month. Now, it reportedly wants to plug roughly $125 million into startups in Silicon Valley, Israel and India. The Economic Times has more here.

Westly Group, the 15-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based venture firm founded by former eBay executive turned California controller Steve Westly, is planning to start raising its fourth fund this year in the range of $150 million to $200 million, he tells VentureWire. The firm raised its third fund — a $160 million pool designed to invest largely in clean tech companies — in 2013, its second fund of $127 million in 2009, and its debut fund of $16 million in 2000. That first fund was backed solely by Westly. The firm’s subsequent funds have reportedly featured meaningful capital contributions from the firm’s principals. Its outside investors include E.ON, SK Group, and Citi.



Apigee, an 11-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based company whose software is used to manage web applications, has filed plans to raise up to $86.3 million in an IPO. Its S-1 is here.

SteadyMed, a 10-year-old, Tel Aviv-based medical technology company, has raised nearly $40 million in its initial public offering. The company sold 4.7 million shares at a price of $8.50 per share (down from the $12 to $14 range at which it originally hoped to sell the shares). More here.



Silicon Valley “techies” are reportedly snapping up real-estate in L.A. Says one 25-year-old entrepreneur to CBS, “I have a yard with a pool and a beautiful home for less than what I would pay for an equivalent-sized condo in San Francisco.”

Y Combinator head Sam Altman agrees with other recent complaints that early stage startups are often overvalued. But yesterday, on Twitter, he blamed investors — not founders — for those frothy valuations.

King Digital, the company behind the mobile gaming sensation “Candy Crush Saga,” is the target of a class-action lawsuit that claims it deliberately hid a significant decline in users ahead of its IPO last year. Mashable has the story here.

On Saturday, the judge in the discrimination and harassment case of Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers denied a motion by Kleiner to rule out punitive damages for Pao. Here’s why.

Matt Swann, long an Amazon VP and its general manager of payments, has left the company and headed off to Citigroup, reports TechCrunch. The move came shortly after Amazon shut down its beta version of Wallet — a Square competitor — in January.

Fascinating early posts from tech founders who’ve changed the world.


Job Listings

Equinix, the publicly traded data center giant, is looking for a director of corporate development. The job is in Redwood Shores, Ca.

Spring Lake Equity Partners, a growth-stage venture firm, is looking for an analyst. The job is in Boston.

Westly Group, the venture firm, is looking to hire a new managing director to focus on consumer investments. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.



The financial tech startups that are unbundling banking — an infographic courtesy of CB Insights.


Essential Reads

Last month, China’s two biggest taxi hailing rivals, Kuaidi and Didi, decided to merge, creating a powerhouse that has Uber looking to merge with a Chinese ally of its own. More here.

Meanwhile, China’s internet boom is reportedly starting to fade, undermined by poor earnings at Chinese technology companies.



Inside the Mercedes robo-car.

An artist without a memory.

When the 13-year-old picks a $14 million condo.


Retail Therapy

Aspen’s priciest listing.

Pathogens, embroidered.

Filed Under:

Don’t Miss Out!

Sign up today to receive a free daily email with everything you need to start your day. Plus, keep track of the companies and personalities that will shape the industry in the months and years to come. Let StrictlyVC be your very own venture capital concierge.

StrictlyVC on Twitter