StrictlyVC: May 21, 2015

Hi, everyone, happy Thursday!

No column today. (Busy morning.)


Top News in the A.M.

Watch out, on-demand delivery startups: Amazon announced today that its Prime Now service will now start delivering goods from local stores in Manhattan, with plans to expand to other neighborhoods and cities later this year.

A top Apple analyst thinks a new iPhone is coming in August.

The NSA developed a plan to deliver malware through Google and Samsung app stores, according to newly published documents obtained by Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept and CBC News. More here.


New Fundings

Black Duck Software, a 13-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based company whose software helps enterprises with the logistical challenges that come with open source adoption and management, has raised $5 million in fresh funding, including from Siemens Ventures. According to Crunchbase, the company has raised at least $75 million over the years, including from SAP, General Catalyst PartnersIntel CapitalSapphire VenturesFlagship Ventures, and Volition Capital.

CloudTags, a three-year-old, New York-based company whose omnichannel analytics tell retailers who their customers are prior to checkout, has raised $2 million in funding from IDEA Fund Partners, Alerion Ventures, Knoll Ventures and Hallett Capital. The company has raised $4 million to date, shows Crunchbase.

Cove, a two-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based provider of shared “productive spaces,” has raised $2.8 million in Series A funding from unnamed investors. More here.

Directly, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes on-demand customer service apps that are used by Airbnb, Pinterest and others, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Costanoa Venture Capital and earlier investor True Ventures, with numerous seed investors participating. The company had earlier raised $3.1 million in seed funding, including from CrunchFund and investor Gil Penchina. More here.

Edo Interactive, an eight-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based ad tech company, has raised $20 million in Series E funding from VantagePoint Capital PartnersBaird Capital, and several unnamed local firms. More here.

EnergySage, a six-year-old, Boston-based online solar energy marketplace, has raised $1.5 million in Series A funding led by Launchpad Venture Group, with participation from New York Angels and the Clean Energy Venture Group.

eProdigy, a seven-month-old, New York-based fintech holding company with several subsidiaries serving the alternative finance space, announced yesterday that it has landed $100 million from an unnamed private equity firm in the form of a term loan, a convertible note feature, and participation rights.  The convertible note portion is a $20 million facility with the noteholder’s right to convert the full amount to equity at a $100 million valuation. More here.

FraudMetrix, a two-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based Internet security firm founded by several former Alibaba executives, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Qiming Venture Partners, with participation from earlier backers China Broadband Capital, IDG Capital Partners, China Growth Capital, and Linear Venture . China Money Network has more here.

Fuze, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based cloud video conferencing company, has raised $20 million in growth funding from Hermes Growth Partners. The round brings the company’s total funding to $68.5 million, shows Crunchbase. Fuze has also acquired for an undisclosed amount LiveMinutes, an online team workspace platform. Four-year-old LiveMinutes, also based in San Francisco, had raised $3.2 million from investors, including Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Great Oaks Venture Capital.

General Fusion, a 13-year-old, Vancouver-based developer of fusion energy, has raised roughly $22 million (U.S.) in new funding led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the Malaysian government’s strategic investment fund, along with earlier backers BDC Capital, Bezos Expeditions, Braemar Energy Ventures, Cenovus Energy, Chrysalix Energy Venture CapitalEntrepreneurs Fund, GrowthWorks, SET Ventures and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.

Glowforge, a year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based startup that wants to make 3-D laser printers that are easy enough to operate and affordable enough for home users, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Foundry Group, with participation from True Ventures and ex-MakerBot executives Bre Pettis and Jenny Lawton. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Guerrilla RF, a two-year-old, Greensboro, N.C.-based company that provides monolithic microwave integrated circuits to wireless network infrastructure OEMs, has raised $2 million in Series B funding led by Charlotte Angel Fundand Piedmont Angel Network, with participation from other individual investors. The company has raised $3.5 million in funding to date.

Jiff, a four-year-old, Palo Alto, CA-based health technology company cofounded by serial entrepreneur James Currier, has raised $23.3 million in Series C funding led by Rosemark Capital, with participation from GE VenturesVenrock, Aberdare Partners and Aeris Capital. The company has raised roughly $50 million so far, shows Crunchbase. More here.

Justworks, a 2.5-year-old, New York City-based human resources and payments platform  has raised $13 million in Series B funding led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from previous backers Thrive Capital and Index Ventures. The company has now raised $20 million altogether.

Liqid, a 2.5-year-old, Lafayette, Co.-based  data center startup operating in stealth mode, has raised $5.7 million in seed funding from Kingston Technology, Phison Electronics Corp., ABR Capital Management, and DH Capital. More here., a year-old, Paris-based SaaS-based log management platform, has raised $1 million in funding led by ISAI Seed Club.

Lookup, a nine-month-old, Bangalore, India-based free and secure messaging app that connects shoppers with local businesses, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. The company had previously raised $382,000 in seed funding from angel investors. The Economic Times has more here.

Maana, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company that’s been developing a search engine technology for big data, has raised $11 million in Series A funding from investors, including Chevron Technology Ventures,ConocoPhillips Technology Ventures, Frost Data Capital, GE Ventures, and Intel Capital. The company has now raised more than $14 million altogether. More here.

Metabiota, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of epidemic prediction and prevention software, has raised $30 million in Series A funding led by RSTP, with participation from Capricorn Healthcare, WP Global Partners, Industry Ventures, and Data Collective. The company has now raised $32.8 million altogether.

Qwilr, a year-old, Syndey, Australia-based platform whose cloud-based tools aim to make it easy to turn business documents into webpages (and replace PowerPoint decks in the process), has raised AUD $500,000 (about $395,000) in seed funding from investors, including Sydney Seed Fund and Macdoch Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Regenexbio, a six-year-old, Rockville, Md.-based gene therapy company, has raised $70.5 million in Series D funding led by Vivo Capital, with participation from Brookside Capital, VenrockJanus Capital Management, Jennison Associates, Perceptive Advisors, QVT Financial, Tourbillon Global Ventures, Sectoral Asset Management, Cormorant Asset Management,Foresite Capital Management, RTW Investments, Deerfield Managementand Fidelity Biosciences.

Stripe, the five-year-old, San Francisco-based online payments processor, is raising a new round of funding that could reach $500 million, and at a $5 billion valuation, according to TechCrunch sources. To date, the company has raised $190 million from investors, including Khosla Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and Sequoia Capital, as well as investor-operators Elon Musk,Peter Thiel, and Aaron Levie.

Samanage, an eight-year-old, Israel-based SaaS platform for managing internal assets, has raised $16 million in Series B funding co-led by Marker andVintage Investment Partners, with participation from earlier investorsCarmel Ventures, Gemini Israel Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.

Taplytics, a year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based enterprise mobile A/B testing platform, has raised $2.4 million in seed funding from a long list of prominent individual investors, including serial entrepreneur Justin Kan and Matt Cutts, the longtime head of Google’s web spam team.

Wibbitz, a four-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based text-to-video startup, has raised $8 million in Series B funding led by NantMobile, founded by L.A based billionaire physician and entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong. Earlier investorsHorizon Ventures, Lool Ventures, Initial Capital and Kima Ventures also participated. Geektime has more here.


New Funds

Formation 8, the three-year-old, San Francisco-based venture firm, has quietly held a first close on a new $100 million-targeted fund that will invest exclusively in hardware companies, reports Fortune. Among the fund’s LPs is Flextronics.

Glilot Capital Partners, a four-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based venture capital firm investing in early-stage, Israeli cyber-security and enterprise software start-ups, has raised a second fund with $77 million from limited partners, including Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank. The firm’s debut fund had closed with $30 million, which it invested across eight companies. Those include cloud security startup Aorato, which Microsoft acquired for a rumored $200 million, and the inbound marketing platform Insightera, which was acquired by Marketo for $20 million.<

GreenSoil Investments, a four-year-old, Toronto-based investment firm, has held a first close of $25 million for its third fund, which is targeting between $80 million and $100 million. The firm now has $56 million in assets under management. More here.

Ignition Partners, the 15-year-old firm with offices in Bellevue, Wa., and Palo Alto, Ca., has officially closed its sixth fund with $200 million, money it will invest in early-stage enterprise software startups. (We told you about this fund in March, when the firm filed an SEC form that stated its target.) Ignition says it could have raised more than $300 million from endowments, foundations, fund of funds and family offices but that it chose to stick to its core “boutique” model.

The band Linkin Park recently launched a venture fund that’s targeting consumer-facing startups. We’re tempted to poke fun, but in the end (yes), they’ve assembled some pretty attractive stakes, including in the ride-sharing platform Lyft; the free-trading app Robinhood; and Shyp, the shipping app. CNN Money has more about the band’s firm, Machine Shop Ventures, here.

Osage University Partners, a Philadelphia area-based venture capital firm that invests exclusively in startups that are commercializing university research, has closed its second fund with $215 million. The group has signed deals with 68 U.S. and two Israel universities and research institutions.

Vistara Capital Partners, a Vancouver, Canada-based growth capital firm, has raised $80 million for its debut fund. The firm, which is targeting an overall fund size of $100 million, provides growth capital financing (debt and equity) to mid- and later-stage tech companies across Canada and the U.S.. The fund will invest in both private and public companies, providing between $5 million and $15 million per investment, with capital saved for follow-on investments. More here.



Etsy, the 10-year-old, Brooklyn-based online crafts marketplace, saw its shares plunge 23 percent yesterday, a day after it posted a wider-than-expected loss in the most recent quarter. International Business Times has more here.

Shopify, the nine-year-old, Toronto-based company whose software helps retailers sell goods online, priced its IPO yesterday at $17 a share, above the top end of a price range that had already been raised because of strong investor demand. More here.



Handy, a 3.5-year-old, New York-based on-demand cleaning, plumbing and other home services platform, is in talks to acquire its slightly younger, less well-capitalized, San Francisco-based rival, Homejoy, says TechCrunch. According to Crunchbase, Homejoy has raised at least $40 million, from First Round CapitalGoogle VenturesMax LevchinRedpoint VenturesSignatures Capital, and Pejman Mar Ventures. Meanwhile, Handy has raised at least $60 milion, including from Sound VenturesTPG GrowthRevolutionGeneral Catalyst Partners, and Highland Capital Partners.

TheLadders, the 12-year-old, New York-based online recruitment service, is nearing a sale, according to Fortune.



The venture-backed big-data software company ClearStory Data has named long-time Silicon Valley technologist Timothy Howes as chief technology officer, reports VentureWire. Howes has previously held CTO spots at Netscape, Opsware, HP’s enterprise software business, and RockMelt.



Lift Ventures, a San Francisco-based startup studio, is looking to hire an associate.



Atomico Ventures looks at 182 software companies worth more than a billion dollars and concludes that increasingly, they aren’t from the U.S.. They’re also hitting their “unicorn” status faster than ever. Silk lays out Atomico’s data here.


Essential Reads

The clock is ticking for Dropbox, argues Business Insider.

Things are rocky for smartwatch maker Pebble, too, reports TechCrunch.

The state of California has forced venture-backed Leap Transit to stop operating its luxury bus line without a permit.

Spotify says it’s becoming a platform for more than just streaming music.



Letterman says goodbye.

The plan to move an entire Swedish town.

This is why we’re terrible with names.


Retail Therapy

Live like Woz. Buy the Los Gatos, Ca. house built just for him.

(Also, in case you’re interested: Fast Company has just posted a little-seen Apple video with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak talking about the company’s beginnings.)

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