StrictlyVC: March 31, 2015

Hi, all, happy Tuesday! (Web visitors, here’s an easer-to-read version of today’s email.)


Top News in the A.M.

Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable provider in the U.S., has just agreed to purchase the sixth-largest U.S. provider, Bright House Networks, for $10.4 billion. If approved, says Charter, the deal will create the second biggest cable operator by customer volume.

Two federal agents were charged yesterday for diverting valuable bitcoin into their personal accounts during their investigation of the black-market site Silk Road. As shocking, one is accused of acting as as a paid informant for Silk Road’s recently convicted administrator, Ross Ulbricht.


Andreessen Horowitz Bets Big on Tanium — Again

Tanium, an eight-year-old, Emeryville, Ca.-based company founded by father and son David and Orion Hindawi, has landed $52 million from Andreessen Horowitz less than a year after raising $90 million from the Sand Hill Road firm.

Somewhat amazingly, it hasn’t touched a penny of it, either, says Orion Hindawi, the company’s CTO.

In fact, Tanium — whose security and systems management software can deliver all kinds of information about every machine and device running on a corporate network within seconds – has been profitable since 2012, says Hindawi, and it’s growing fast. Last year, it increased its total billings by 400 percent and grew its employee base from 25 to 175. (It plans to employ between 500 and 600 people by year end.)

So why raise so much? Two reasons, says Hindawi. The company is seeing an “immense amount of opportunity” that it wants to “even more aggressively” pursue — particularly in international markets like Japan, England, and Australia, where its business has begun to take off.

Tanium has also mapped out how much it needs to survive for three years without revenue in the case of a “black swan” event. “I like real cushions,” says Hindawi, who cofounded an earlier company with his father called BigFix that launched in 1999. BigFix survived the dot com boom and bust, eventually selling to IBM in 2010 for a reported $400 million. But the downturn also made Hindawi acutely aware of how challenging it is to survive lousy market conditions.

Not that he needs to worry this time around, seemingly.

Andreessen Horowitz is so taken by Tanium’s technology that despite its enormous investment in the company, it owns “substantially less than 25 percent,” says Hindawi.

Perhaps it’s no wonder that Hindawi thinks highly of Andreessen Horowitz, too. He points to the expertise of of Andreessen partner and former Microsoft executive Steven Sinofksy, who sits on Tanium’s board. (“Usually, I’ve dealt with VCs who didn’t have direct knowledge of our space,” Hindawi says.)

He also cites Andreessen Horowitz’s “executive briefing center,” a low-flying, 50-person unit that focuses narrowly on bringing in customers to the firm’s enterprise portfolio companies.

It’s “one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen,” says Hindawi, who says that half of Tanium’s customers have come from its own pipeline. The other half, he says, have come through Andreessen Horowitz.


New Fundings

Augure, a 13-year-old, Paris-based company whose marketing software helps its clients better connect with so-called influencers, has raised $16.1 million in Series E funding from previous backers Serena CapitalVentech, OTC Agregator, and Amundi private equity funds, along with two new investors: Seventure Partners and Bpifrance International. Rude Baguette has more here.

Drifty, a three-year-old, Madison, Wi.-based company that helps web developers build native mobile applications that can then be published to the major app stores, has raised $2.6 million in new funding led by Lightbank, with participation from Founder Collective and earlier backer Arthur Ventures, which provided Drifty with $1 million in seed funding last year. TechCrunch has the story here.

DroneDeploy, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based smart drone management system, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Emergence Capital, with participation from earlier backers SoftTech VCData Collective and AngelPad. The company has now raised $11 million altogether. More here.

Enbala Power Networks, a 12-year-old, Vancouver, B.C. -based developer of distributed energy resource management software, has raised $11 million in new funding led by GE Ventures and Edison Energy, a subsidiary of Edison International. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Export Development Canada, EnerTech Capital Partners, Sorfina Capital and Chrysalix EVC. The company has now raised roughly $27 million to date, shows Crunchbase.

GlassesUSA, a six-year-old, New York-based online retailer specializing in prescription eyewear, has raised $12.5 million in new funding led by Viola Private Equity. Geektime has more here.

GoFormz, a three-year-old, San Diego-based company that turns paper forms into “smart” mobile forms, has raised $3 million in Series A funding from Cloud Apps Capital Partners and Floodgate. More here.

KeepTrax, a 1.5-year-old, Dallas-based company that leverages GPS and mobile device sensors to convert physical location visits into digital “pins” for a variety of use cases, has raised $1 million in seed funding led by Naya Ventures.

Laundrapp, a year-old, London-based on-demand laundry startup, has raised $5.9 million in new funding from a group of investors including Michael Spencer, founder of interdealer broker ICAP. More here.

Novan, a seven-year-old, Raleigh, N.C.-based company that’s developing deliverable nitric oxide for dermatological purposes, has raised $50 million from the publicly traded company Malin Corporation, with participation from Novan’s existing private investors through the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. The company has now raised roughly $85 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

PlayVox, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose engagement software aims to make it more fun for call center workers to achieve their goals, has raised $1.5 million from a corporate venture investor in Colombia called FCP Innovacion. (PlayVox founder, Oscar Giraldo, is a systems engineer from Colombia.) The company has now raised $2.2 million to date. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

ProsperWorks, a four-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company that sells its customer relationship management software to companies that use Google Apps, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by True Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Bloomberg Beta and Crunchfund. The company has now raised $10 million altogether. Silicon Angle has more here.

Raptr, an eight-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based social platform that automatically updates a person’s gaming status in real-time, has raised $14 million in Series D funding led by earlier backer Accel Partners, with participation from AMD Ventures and other previous investors DAG Ventures and Tenaya Capital. The company has now raised $41 million altogether. This latest round values it at $170 million, VentureWire reports.More here.

SmartNews, a 2.5-year-old, Tokyo-based news recommendation and reading app, has raised $10 million in funding from earlier backers, including the games company GREE, Globis Capital Partners, Atomico,Mixi and Social Venture Partners. To date, SmartNews has raised $50 million. More here.

Sprinklr, a 5.5-year-old, New York-based maker of social media management software, has raised $46 million in Series E funding from earlier backers Intel Capital, Battery Ventures, and Iconiq Capital. The company has now raised $123.5 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

Spruce, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based telemedicine company that’s focused on connecting people with board-certified dermatologists whenever they need them, has raised $15 million in Series A funding from earlier backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Google VenturesBaseline Ventures and Cowboy Ventures. The company has now raised $17 million altogether. StrictlyVC talked with Spruce last year.

Thrasos Therapeutics, a 13-year-old, Montreal-based biotech startup focused on kidney disease, has raised $16.5 million in Series D funding co-led by BDC Capital and SR One, with participation from earlier backersAdvanced Technology Ventures, Fonds de solidarite FTQ, Lumira Capital, MP Healthcare Venture Management, Pappas Ventures, and SW Co.



CoLucid Pharmaceuticals, a 10-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based company focusing on therapies for central nervous system disorders, has filed plans to raise up to $86.25 million in an IPO. The company has raised roughly $56 million in funding across four rounds, including from Novo VenturesAuriga Partners, Pappas Ventures, Domain Associates, Care CapitalTriathlon Medical Venture Partners, and Pearl Street Venture Funds.

Renaissance Capital just released its IPO review of the first quarter. In a nutshell, the market “slowed dramatically” owing to a variety of factors. You can download the specifics here.



ReadyForZero, a nearly five-year-old, San Francisco-based Y Combinator-backed company that helps consumers better manage their personal debit and credit using online financial software, has been acquired by the online lending platform Avant, itself a Y Combinator alum. Financial terms are not being disclosed. Avant, a 2.5-year-old, Chicago-based company has raised roughly $333 million in equity and another billion dollars in debt, says TechCrunch. According to Crunchbase, ReadyForZero had raised $4.8 million in funding from Citi VenturesPolaris Ventures, 500 Startups, and others.

RupeePower, a four-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based marketplace for loans, credit card and other personal finance product offers, has been acquired for undisclosed terms by India’s Snapdeal, the e-commerce giant. Snapdeal plans to use the acquisition to launch a financial services marketplace. TechCrunch has more here.



Move over Tiger Global Management. Legendary hedge fund manager Steve Cohen is getting into the venture business. According to Bloomberg, Point72 Asset Management, the firm that manages his fortune, has started a venture capital unit called Honeycomb Ventures and it aims to back still-private growth-stage technology companies.

A first look at Facebook‘s new mothership, into which 2,800 employees will soon move.

Lynn Hermle, a star partner with Orrick, Herringto & Sutcliffe, talks with the Recorder about the Kleiner Perkins trial and what was going through her mind at various times. “I thought there was a universe between what happened in the courtroom and what the media said happened,” says Hermle of the case’s media coverage. “Like one of those Venn diagrams that don’t connect in any way.”

Yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that his company will unveil a new product — “not a car” —on April 30. Most bets are on a Tesla home battery that would be for use in people’s houses and which Musk said last month is coming “fairly soon.” Company watchers are meanwhile having fun speculating about other possibilities.


Essential Reads

Introducing Amazondash.”

Microsoft’s brand-new tablet could be a MacBook Air killer. It hopes.



The 25 most expensive homes for sale in San Francisco right now.

The Passover menu is getting a foodie update.

Popular chicken recipes.


Retail Therapy

Balloon lamps.

Yellow submarines.

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