StrictlyVC: June 16, 2015

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

No column this a.m.


Top News in the A.M.

LastPass officials warned yesterday that attackers have compromised servers that run the company’s password management service and made off with cryptographically protected passwords and other sensitive user data. Ars Technica’s resident password expert said it’s nothing to sweat. (We went ahead and changed our master password anyway.)

Remember how, last week, everyone thought Twitter president Adam Bain was the clear front runner to succeed Dick Costolo as CEO of the company? Scratch that. Now Twitter CFO Anthony Noto reportedly has pole position.


New Fundings

Ambassador, a five-year-old startup that helps companies manage their referral marketing programs, has raised $2.6 million in Series A funding led by Arthur Ventures, with additional investment from Zelkova VenturesLudlow Ventures, Social Starts and Matchstick Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Actility, a five-year-old, Paris, France-based company that makes network software and managed information systems for the so-called Internet of Things market, has raised €22.5 million ($25 million) led by Ginko Ventures, the European investment arm of Foxconn. Other participants in the round include telcos Orange, Swisscom, and KPN, as well as previous investor Fonds Ecotechnologies, which is managed by Bpifrance Investissement, Idinvest Partners, and Truffle Capital.

Azimo, a three-year-old, London-based digital money transfer service, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Frog Capital, with participation from MCI Investments and earlier backers, including and Greycroft Partners. The company had previously raised $11 million in funding. More here.

Beleza na Web, a seven-year-old, São Paulo, Brazil-based beauty e-commerce company, has raised $30 million in Series C funding from an undisclosed New York private equity firm. The company’s $5 million Series A round closed in 2011, with participation from Kaszek Ventures and Tiger Global Management. TechCrunch has more here.

Connectifier, a three-year-old, Costa Mesa, Ca.-based next-gen job recruitment platform, has raised $6 million in funding led by True Ventures, with participation from Galeo-Ventures, Okapi Venture Capital, and angel investors Sean Ellis, Andrew Chen, Jonathan Downey, and James Hong. TechCrunch has much more about the company, founded by two former Google engineers, here.

CyMedica Orthopedics, a 2.5-year-old, Scottsdale, Az.-based company that develops and commercializes products that target joint injuries, has raised $11.5 million in Series A funding from Research Corporation TechnologiesCalifornia Technology Ventures, and Aphelion Capital.

Dreamware, a three-year-old, Naples Fla.-based company whose software automates the listing process for a variety of industries (its flagship product is Car Lister, which lets people list and buy vehicles for sale), has raised $6.5 million in angel funding from undisclosed sources. Tech.Co has more here.

enSilo, a 10-month-old, San Francisco-based cybersecurity startup, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from earlier backer Carmel Ventures.

GitHub, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that helps companies and developers build software, is talking with investors about a new, $200 million round that would value the company at about $2 billion, reports Bloomberg. Roughly three years ago, the company raised $100 million in Series A funding from Andreessen Horowitz — a bet that (we think still) represents the venture firm’s biggest single bet. (Andreessen Horowitz has since plowed even more capital, across two rounds, into Tanium, an outfit that helps companies pinpoint security threats and manage their sprawling computer networks.)

Hello, the three-year-old, San Francisco-based company behind the Sense sleep tracker, has raised $40 million in new funding led by Temasek Holdings, according to the Financial Times. The company, which had previously raised at least $10.5 million as part of an earlier round, and another $2.4 million through a Kickstarter campaign, is now valued at between $250 million and $300 million, sources tell TechCrunch. More here.

HomeLane, a year-old, Bangalore, India-based company that boasts of integrated interior design and manufacturing capabilities that allow its customers to customize their homes, has raised $50 million in new funding from earlier investor Sequoia Capital and others, reports The Tech-Portal. Just earlier this year, Sequoia — with participation from Aarin Capital — had provided the company with $4.5 million in Series A funding.

La Ruche qui dit oui, a four-year-old, Paris-based e-commerce platform where users group themselves to buy directly from their local farmers, has raised $9 million in Series B funding led by Union Square Ventures and Felix Capital, with participation from XAnge and Quadia. The company has now raised $13.1 million altogether. Techcrunch has much more here.

Lavu, a five-year-old, Albuquerque, N.M.-based startup that provides iPad-centric point of sale systems for restaurants, has raised $15 million in its first outside funding, led by Aldrich Capital Partners. More here.

Philo, a five-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based startup that’s helping cable and satellite TV providers re-engage college-age students with a live TV service that offers search, sharing and a network-based DVR, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by earlier investor New Enterprise Associates. Other participants in the round include CBC New Media Group; HBO; Rho Ventures; XFUND; and Philo CEO Andrew McCollum. Crunchbase shows the company has now raised $18.8 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

The Players Tribune, a 10-month-old, New York-based site founded by former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, where professional athletes create their own content (think first-person essays, tvideo content, podcasts and original photography), has raised $9.5 million in Series B funding. New Enterprise Associates led the round, with participation from earlier backers, including Thomas Tull of Legendary Entertainment. Business Insiderhas the story here.

PolicyGenius, a two-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based online insurance broker, has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding led by Karlin Ventures and Susa Ventures, with participation from insurers Transamerica and AXA. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Sketchfab, a three-year-old, New York-based marketplace for 3D file sharing (users can create sharable 3D files, browse them, or buy them), has raised $7 million in Series A round led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from earlier backers TechStars, Balderton Capital, Partech Ventures andBorealis Ventures. The company has now raised $9 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

SigOpt, an eight-month-old, San Francisco-based Y Combinator alum at work on an optimization technology, has raised $2 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Data Collective. TechCrunch has more here.

Wahanda, a seven-year-old, London-based salon-booking site, has raised €65 million ($73 million) in fresh funding from its sole outside investor, Japan’s Recruit Holdings, which now owns 80 percent of the company after buying outother investors last month. The company has also acquired ZenSoon, a beauty platform in France, for an undisclosed amount. TechCrunch has more here.

Zymergen, a two-year-old, Emeryville, Ca.-based biotech startup that makes microbial DNA manipulating robots, has raised $42 million in Series A funding led by Data Collective, with participation from AME Cloud Ventures, DFJHVF, Innovation Endeavors, Obvious Ventures, True Ventures and Two Sigma Ventures. The company has now raised $44 million altogether. TechCrunch has much more here.


New Funds

Foundation Capital, a 20-year-old venture capital firm with offices on Sand Hill Road and more newly in San Francisco, is looking to raise up to $325 million for its eight fund, shows an SEC filing that states the first sale has yet to occur. Foundation’s last two funds were $750 million (closed in 2008) and $282 million (closed in 2013), respectively.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has launched a new $4 million seed fund called KPCB Edge — a carve-out from its $450 milion 16th fund, closed last year. Mike Abbott, who joined the firm as a general partner in 2011 after working as Twitter’s VP of engineering, is leading the effort, but three newer employees —  Anjney Midha, 23; Ruby Lee, 23; and Roneil Rumburg, 22 — will oversee its day-to-day operations. Venture Capital Dispatch has much more here.



Fitbit, the eight-year-old, San Francisco-based maker of wearable fitness devices, has increased the target size of its IPO by a whopping 37 percent to $655.5 million, reports Bloomberg. The company is now offering 34.5 million Class A shares for $17 to $19 apiece, up from its original plans to sell 29.85 million shares at $14 to $16 apiece. As Bloomberg notes, Fitbit would be valued at about $3.9 billion at the high end of its new offering range. No doubt there’s a lot of demand for the offering; Fitbit will be one of alarmingly few tech companies that have gone public in 2015. As readers know, it’s also now facing two lawsuits that were recently filed against it by competitor Jawbone (and which will be expensive to battle, presumably).

The investment bank Houlihan Lokey has confidentlaly filed for an IPO that’s expected later this year. The WSJ has the story here.



Evernote CEO Phil Libin is talking to candidates who could replace him as CEO and “may be close to something,” Libin said in an interview with The Information yesterday. (Subscription required.) “We’ve been looking for a professional CEO for a while,” Libin told the outlet, adding it would be “someone who is going to be better than me at it. . . I’m a product person.”

Google is in talks with a developer to lease or buy a slice of 3 million square feet of offices and R&D space that’s being developed in San Francisco’s Hunters Point Shipyard, reports the San Francisco Business Times.  As the piece notes, the $8 billion redevelopment project, which also includes the former Candlestick Park site, is “drawing looks” from numerous Silicon Valley titans.

Sounds like Google has yet again made VP Neal Mohan an offer he could not refuse; he says he’s staying put at the search giant and not departing for Dropbox, which was reportedly trying to woo him as its head of product. (Recode says additional compensation wasn’t involved as it was when Twitter tried recruiting Mohan from Google several years ago, but we’re not sure that rules out other enticements.)

Zynga has acquired Superlabs, an incubator founded by Zynga CEO Mark Pincus before his return to Zynga in April. The deal cost Zynga just $1 but could “amount to a lot more depending on employee compensation packages and stock grants,” say Recode, noting that the “grants for Superlabs’ nine employees may include as much as 1.1 million shares of Zynga stock.” (That sounds like a big fat conflict of interest to us, but readers may recall that Pincus has a lot more voting power than anyone else.)



Tribeca Venture Partners is hiring an associate. The job is in New York.

A top venture firm (trust us on this) is looking for a senior director of marketing for its Menlo Park, Ca., office. Email resumes to vcmarketing2015 [at] gmail [dot] com.



A data-driven argument against a bubble, care of Andreessen Howoritz. (This is worth zooming through.)


Essential Reads

Singapore rising: The plot to become the next big tech hub.



The real housewives of Westeros.

An Antwerp townhouse with the world’s largest windows.

Beautiful motorcycles.


Retail Therapy

The only “WALL ST” license plate issued in the state of New York is for sale right now on EBay. (It comes with a 13-year-old Mercedes S-Class with 89,000 miles on the odometer.) Buy it now!

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