StrictlyVC: May 5, 2015

Hi, everyone. No column today but lots of intel. Hope you have a great Tuesday.:) (Psst, web visitors, here’s a more scannable version of today’s email.)


Top News in the A.M.

Alibaba shares fell to an all-time low of $77.8 per share this morning. More here

Oof. Comcast spent $336 million over the past year-plus on its failed attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable. Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable reportedly shelled out more than $200 million in merger-related costs. More here.


New Fundings

Applicate, a year-old, Bangalore, India-based workforce management platform, has raised $550,000 in seed funding from individual investors, including Flipkart VP Rishi Vasudev. Tech-Portal has more here.

Canva, a three-year-old, Sydney, Australia-based online design platform, has raised $6 million in funding from AirTree Ventures, as well as earlier backers, including Matrix Partners, Shasta Ventures and Blackbird Ventures. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised at least $13 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.

CloudGenix, a two-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based wide-area-networking startup, just raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from CRV and Mayfield Fund. The company has now raised $34 million altogether, it says. VentureBeat has more here.

Cytena, a year-old, Freiburg, Germany-based company whose laboratory device, called cy-Clone, separates single cells, has raised €1.1 million ($1.2 million) in seed funding from High-Tech Gründerfonds and a private investor.

Dasheroo, a year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based company whose collaborative business dashboard app helps companies analyze how they’re performing across all the apps they use, has raised $3.25 million in Series A funding led by the venture firm Cloud Apps Capital Partners.

EnShape, a year-old, Jena, Germany-based maker of 3D-sensors for industrial applications, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from High-Tech Gründerfonds.

Fazua, a four-year-old, Munich, Germany-based company that makes an e-bike drive system (replete with engine, gearbox, battery, and other electronics), has raised a “seven figure euro” Series A round, including from earlier backers High-Tech Gründerfonds, Bayern Kapital and a private investor.

FileChat, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based company whose application allows users to chat about and share documents insidered their preferred cloud storage platforms, has raised $3 million from unnamed private investors.

GAMURS, a months-old, Sydney, Australia-based social media platform for gamers, has raised $500,000 in seed funding, after graduating from the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) Slingshot Jumpstart accelerator program. The company was founded by 19-year-old Riad Chikhani, who tells the Australian Financial Review: “Users were spending about six minutes on the site, but now we’re seeing numbers of 13 to 14 minutes.”

Incentive, a seven-year-old, Venice, Ca.-based company that has developed a social collaboration platform for the enterprise, just raised $1.7 million in seed funding from an undisclosed group of institutional and private investors. The company has now raised $3.5 million in seed funding altogether, it says.

MeeDoc, a three-year-old, Helsinki, Finland-based telemedicine platform, has raised €3.5 million ($3.9 million) in funding, including from XLHealth, a German venture firm. The company has now raised $5.3 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.

NatureBox, a three-year-old, San Carlos, Ca.-based subscription commerce startup that sells snacks direct to online consumers, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Global Founders Capital, the venture arm of Rocket Internet. Other participants in the round — which appears to bring the company’s total funding to $58.5 million — include Neuberger Berman Equity Funds, Kensington Capital Holdings, Valley Oak Investment Partners, individual investors and earlier investors General Catalyst Partners, Canaan Partners and Softbank Capital. The WSJ has much more here.

Outreach, a two-year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based company that creates workflow tools for sales teams, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding from MHS Capital, Floodgate, Version One Ventures, and individual investors, including Sarah Imbach, a former chief revenue officer at LinkedIn.

Panshi, an 11-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based online and mobile advertising firm, has raised $200 million in Series B funding led by the Shanghai-based investment firm NewMargin Ventures, says China Money Network. Other participants in the round include WI Harper Group, JD Capital, Fang Fund Partners, and Shanghai Lefeng.

Parkifi, a year-old, Denver, Co.-based company whose sensor technology provides real-time data to parking lot operators, cities, and mobile applications to let them know where open and available parking spots exist, has raised $2 million from Galvanize Ventures, Foundry Group Angels and Access Ventures, among others.

PureWow, a 4.5-year-old, New York-based digital media company specializing in women’s lifestyle content (with localized and interest-specific content), has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group, with participation by VaynerRSE, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Melo7Tech, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Galvanize Ventures, and individuals, including Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn.

SMS Assist, a 20-year-old, Chicago-based company that makes cloud-based facilities management software, has raised $45 million in Series C funding from Insight Venture Partners. According to Crunchbase, the company has now raised $105 million altogether, including from Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Jumpstart Ventures.

Travefy, a three-year-old, Lincoln, Ne.-based online and mobile group travel planner, has raised $1.8 million in funding from strategic investor Travel and Transport, the Nebraska Global Investment Company, Nelnet, Columbia University, Linseed Capital, the Invest Nebraska Corporation, and a variety of angels.

Twilio, the seven-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose application programming interface lets developers add call, voice, text and picture messaging to their apps with just a few lines of code, has quietly raised a $100 million round of funding, reports Forbes. A Forbes source with knowledge of the funding says the raise pushes the company past the billion-dollar valuation mark. Twilio has previously raised $104 million from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures and Union Square Ventures. It was valued at roughly $500 million during its last funding round in July 2013.

UHoo, a year-old, Hong Kong-based company whose device monitors air pollution levels inside users’ homes, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from East Ventures. Tech in Asia has more here.

Wonder Workshop, a 2.5-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company that teaches children to code through smart robots that children can program using mobile devices, has raised $6.9 million in funding from WI Harper Group, with participation from earlier backers Madrona Venture Group, CRV, Maven Ventures, Bright Success Capital and numerous angel investors. The company has now raised $15.9 million altogether.



Berlin-based e-commerce investor Rocket Internet‘s giant push into the food delivery business has largely contributed to a 77 percent rise in its loan portfolio value since its IPO last October, reports Reuters. The company says the value of its top dozen investments has risen by a stunning $2.22 billion bolstered by stakes in “proven winners,” including its portfolio companies Foodpanda and Delivery Hero, which have been gobbling up other competitors left and right.



Speaking of which: Delivery Hero, the four-year-old, Berlin-based based takeout food service backed by Rocket Internet, is acquiring Yemeksepeti, a Turkey-based competitor, for $589 million, in a cash and stock deal. Yemeksepeti had raised $44 million in Series A funding led by General Atlantic, shows Crunchbase; it later raised an undisclosed amount of funding from MENA Venture Investments. According to Delivery Hero, it’s the largest acquisition yet in the food-order sector. TechCrunch has the story here.

Fullscreen, a joint venture of AT&T and the Chernin Group, has acquired a six-year-old, L.A-based social media content creator called McBeard, the companies announced yesterday. The Wrap has the story here.

Google is spending an undisclosed amount to acquire Timeful, whose app for Apple’s iOS uses machine learning, data analysis, and behavioral economic theory to customize people’s digital calendars. According to Crunchbase, Timeful had raised $7 million in Series A funding a year ago from A-Grade Investments, Pitango Venture Capital, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Greylock Partners and Data Collective.

Weight loss company Weight Watchers has acqired Hot5, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that produces a wide range of five-minute-long workout videos that users can access from the company’s app. More here.

Rakesh Agrawal, PayPal‘s former director of strategy, is suing the company for defamation, saying the company implied he was fired after he quit. The dispute centers on a day in May of last year when, on Twitter, Agrawal raged against the company and a communications executive in particular, calling her a “piece of sh_t” and a “useless middle manager.” Agrawal claims he intended for the tweets to be private but mistakenly blasted them out to all of his followers. Shortly afterward, PayPal tweeted that “Rakesh Agrawal is no longer with the company. Treat everyone with respect. No excuses. PayPal has zero tolerance.” Agrawal — who says he resigned before taking to Twitter that day — is seeking punitive damages, claiming PayPal’s tweet caused him to lose out on income. Agrawal worked for PayPal for about two months, notes The Recorder, which has the story here.

Though she was only an Apple employee for about half of last year, Apple senior VP of retail and online stores Angela Ahrendts took home the biggest paycheck of any female executive last year: $82.6 million, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index. More here.

Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York this morning, investor Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz predicted that New York would be home to ten $1 billion companies in the next three to five years. More here.

Thomas Loverro has joined Institutional Venture Partners, the Sand Hill Road firm, as a vice president. Loverro joins the firm from New York-based RRE, which he joined as an analyst and leaves as a principal. Before joining RRE, Loverro worked as an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Last night marked one of the biggest fashion events of the year: the Met Gala.Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, a co-chair of the event, was there; so were the Winklevoss twins and Instagram CEO Kevin Systom. (You can check out all the “red carpet arrivals” here if you’re curious.)



Excel Venture Management, a life science technologies investor, is looking to replace an associate who’s off to Harvard Business School this fall. The job is in Boston.


Essential Reads

Snapchat is making QR codes cool again. More here.



The strange-but-true story behind a famous 1965 photograph from a football game between bitter high school rivals.

How the languages in “Game of Thrones,” “Defiance,” and “Thor” were created.

Welcome to Business Town!

Retail Therapy

It’s a trash can. It’s a vacuum! It’s a vacrashcuuman, though the company calls it, simply, “Bruno.”

Fantasy Jocks. (Smart idea.)

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