StrictlyVC: July 14, 2015

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! We’re still at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, which is crammed with great content. As we arrived, we caught a talk by YouTube head Susan Wojcicki, who said the video unit’s priorities right now are “mobile, mobile, mobile.” We were also wowed by former Googler turned U.S. CTO Megan Smith, who made a persuasive case (over the loudest thunderstorm we’ve ever heard) for why many others in tech should consider public service, at the state, federal, and even international level. “Show up where you are rare,” she told attendees.

We’re actually racing off to yet another panel discussion this morning, so apologies for a somewhat abbreviated newsletter. More soon!


Top News in the A.M.

hoax story this morning suggested that Twitter is on the verge of being acquired for $31 billion. While it lit up Twitter for a while, Twitter cofounder Evan Williams suggested at the Brainstorm conference this morning that the company isn’t interested in being bought (at least right now). “No, not at this time,” he answered when asked if Twitter might be better off under an umbrella company.


Andrew Braccia’s Big Bet on Slack

Andrew Braccia of Accel Partners doesn’t tweet or write blog posts. He rarely talks with the media. But that doesn’t mean the 39-year-old isn’t working it. In fact, Braccia may have landed as big a deal for Accel as Facebook, whose $12.7 million Series A investment produced billions of dollars for its investors.

That company? Slack.

I had coffee with Braccia last week to ask about his early bet on the company, which Accel led with help from Andreessen Horowitz. It could become the defining deal of Braccia’s career, despite his other prescient bets, including on the high-profile Hadoop software company Cloudera (expected to go public sooner than later); Vox Media (owner of The Verge, SB Nation, Vox and Recode); and the 30-year-old, fast-growing online learning company, which had raised nearly $300 million from investors in recent years and announced in April that it was being acquired by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion.

Our chat, edited for length, here.


New Fundings

Arivale, a year-old, Seattle-based company that combines genetic analysis with personal coaching to put individuals on a scientific path to wellness, has raised $36 million in Series B funding led by ARCH Venture Partners and Polaris Partners, with participation from Maveron. Geekwire has more here.

FanDuel, the six-year-old, New York-based daily fantasy sports startup, has raised $275 million in new venture funding at a valuation “well north” of $1 billion, according to a Recode source. The round was led by KKR and included new investors Google Capital and Time Warner Investments with Turner Sports. Existing investors Shamrock Capital, NBC Sports VenturesComcast Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Pentech Ventures and Piton Capital were also involved. More here.

Fastacash, a three-year-old, Singapore-based fintech startup— it acts as an intermediary for banks that want to get into social payments — has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Rising Dragon SingaporeLife.SREDAUVM 2 Venture Investments, and undisclosed existing investors. The company had previously raised $8.5 million. TechCrunch has more here.

MySmartPrice, a four-year-old, Hyderabad, India-based price comparison and search site, has raised $10 million in fresh funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from Helion Venture Partners. The startup had previously raised $1.3 million across two prior funding rounds. TechCrunch has more here.

Pager, a year-old, New York-based healthcare on-demand service, has raised $14 million in Series A funding from New Enterprise Associates, Sound Ventures and earlier investors Goodwater Capital, Lux Capital andMontage Ventures. Crain’s New York has more here.

Paktor, a two-year-old, Singapore-based social networking platform for singles, has raised $7.4 million in Series B funding from earlier investor Vertex Venture Holdings and new backers Majuven, and Convergence Ventures. TechCrunch has more here., a two-year-old, L.A.-based leading online marketplace for real estate investing, has raised $35 million in Series B funding led by Sorenson Capital with additional funding from Canaan Partners, the lead investor in the company’s Series A financing.

StyleSeat, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based company that helps independent beauty pros schedule clients and manage their business, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Fosun Kinzon Capital. Lightspeed Venture Partners, Cowboy Ventures and Slow Ventures also participated. The company had previously raised $14 million, including from Uber cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick and entertainer Ashton Kutcher. Fortune has more here.


New Funds

Workday, the 10-year-old, Pleasanton, Ca.-based publicly traded human resources software maker, is launching its own investment fund called Workday Ventures that will solely focus on data science and machine learning startups. Business Insider has more here.



The Seattle-based mobile remittance app Remitly — which lets people in the U.S. send money to India or the Philippines — has acquired Talio, a picture messaging app co-founded by ex-Amazon engineers. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed. TechCrunch has the story here.

Match Group, the IAC subsidiary, is acquiring the dating site PlentyOfFish for $575 million in cash. TechCrunch has more here.



The rapper known as 50 Cent filed for bankruptcy protection in Connecticut yesterday as a lawsuit against him over a controversial online video plays out in a New York court. His boxing promotion company, SMS Promotions, has also filed for bankruptcy, listing assets and debt of $100,000 to $500,000 in May. 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, is also a tech entrepreneur: In late 2011, he formed a consumer electronics company in Delray Beach, Fla., called SMS Audio. The company, which stands for studio mastered sound, makes headphones and other electronics. No word on what happens to that company now. Bloomberg has more here.

Chris Gomersall has spent the past three years working with brands and agencies at Facebook, where he was the first creative strategy leader. Now he’s leaving to run his own startup, Atomized. More here.

Tumblr, Yahoo’s microblogging and social service, has tapped Comedy Central’sDon Steele as head of audience development. Tumblr also has named Evan Minskoff, previously with Ovation TV, head of marketing strategy and operations. Variety has the news here.

In a post on Reddit late Sunday, Yishan Wong, Reddit’s former chief executive and Ellen Pao’s predecessor, accused Alexis Ohanian, a Reddit co-founder, of firing a popular employee, Victoria Taylor, which caused a major-league backlash against the company and led to the resignation last week of Pao.“When the hate-train started up against Pao,” Wong wrote, “Alexis should have been out front and center saying very clearly ‘Ellen Pao did not make this decision, I did.’” Wong added, “I used to respect Alexis Ohanian. After this, not quite so much.” The New York Times has the story here.

In related Reddit news, the company’s chief engineer of the last two months, Bethanye Blount, has just quit, saying she has lost confidence in the direction of the company. Recode has the story here.


Essential Reads

Facebook’s new security chief, Alex Stamos, is calling for Adobe Flash to be killed off.

Venture-backed Wealthfront was called out yesterday by Mozilla Firefox co-creator Blake Ross, who thinks the company is wrongly charging its clients “Wall Street prices” for “Silicon Valley tech.”



How to behave at the airport.


Retail Therapy

Calm Before the Storm beer. (We could use these in Aspen right now.)

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