StrictlyVC: July 17, 2015

It is Friday, thank goodness. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


Top News in the A.M.

U.S. presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton are already duking it out over the so-called on-demand economy and what it means to Americans’ financial security.

Google’s stock soared yesterday after it reported that revenue had jumped 11 percent to $17.7 billion in the second quarter, and that it saw a 17 percent jump in net income to $3.93 billion. Here are the three reasons why it did so well.


Employees Wise Up

This week, a Bay Area founder was taken aback when an engineer being recruited by his startup asked for both its cap table and information regarding the liquidation preferences of its venture backers. The candidate presumably “worked somewhere where he discovered that these things matter,” says the founder, who asked not to be named in this story.

Though the startup is still debating how much information to give to the candidate, it will likely need to come up with a policy around such requests soon. The amount of information that privately-held companies share with employees is becoming a bigger issue, largely owing to the rise of so many billion-dollar valuations.

Just yesterday, CB Insights, the research firm, published an attention-grabbing report about “unicorn” valuations, reporting that 2015 has already seen growth of $143 billion in combined unicorn valuations year-to-date, a 47 percent increase over their aggregate valuation at the end of 2013. It also reported that the number of still-private companies now valued at $1 billion or more has grow by around 50 percent in 2015. (That jump represents a stunning 39 companies that have been assigned billion-dollar valuations by their investors this year.)

More here.


New Fundings

Chrono24, a 12-year-old, Karlsruhe, Germany-based online marketplace for high-end watch collectors, has raised $22.8 million in Series A funding from Insight Venture Partners. More here.

Common, a months-old, Brooklyn-based startup that offers shared housing in major cities, has raised $7.35 million in Series A funding led by Maveron, with participation from Lowercase Capital and Slow Ventures. Individual investors, including 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, also joined the round. More here.

CredSimple, a two-year-old, Boston-based startup building a medical credentialing database, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding to help healthcare and insurance companies manage their doctor networks. Bowery Capital led the round, with participation from Primary Venture Partners and a handful of angels. TechCrunch has more here.

Immunocore, a seven-year-old, Abingdon, England-based developer of T-cell receptor-based biological drugs to treat cancer, has raised a stunning $320 million in funding, including from Woodford Investment Management, Malin Corporation, Eli Lilly and Company, and RTW Investments. FierceBiotech has the story here.

LogDog, a two-year-old, Israel-based company focused on personal cybersecurity (it alerts you if there’s suspicious activity in your Gmail, Dropbox, or other accounts), has raised $3.5 million in funding led by BRM Group, with participation from earlier backers Curious Minds Investments, FirstTime Ventures, Maxfield Capital and TheTime VC.

When I Work, a five-year-old, St. Paul, Mn.-based employee scheduling and time clock app, has raised $5 million in fresh funding from earlier investors Greycroft Partners, and Arthur Ventures. The company has also acquired for undisclosed terms Shifthub, a Toronto-based company that operates in the same space. When I Work has now raised at least $9 million in funding. The Minnesota Star-Tribune has more here.

Upstart, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based online lending platform that uses unconventional data to rate borrowers, has raised $35 million in Series C funding led by Third Point Ventures. The company has now raised $56 million altogether, including from Khosla Ventures and First Round Capital.

Workspot, a three-year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based company whose techology promises to securely deliver business applications and data to any device, has raised $5 million in funding led by Helion Ventures, with participation from Translink Capital and Qualcomm Ventures. The company has now raised $14.6 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.


New Funds

Maven Ventures, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based seed-stage venture fund, is looking to raise up to $35 million for it second fund, according to Fortune. (We’d heard this, too, for forgotten to report it.) Maven  was founded by Jim Scheinman, a entrepreneur and attorney who became the third employee at, a social network that AOL acquired for $850 million in cash in 2008. The sale, which made Bebo’s founders wealthy, also gave Scheinman the freedom to become an angel investor and advisor, then a micro VC. “I’m happy to make people money and get a dinner or a thank you,” he told StrictlyVC last year. “But I thought, ‘Why not pool some of that money and take 20 percent?’” Among Maven’s newest bets is Eden, a new, on-demand, in-home tech support startup that announced its funding earlier this week.



ABS Capital Partners, the San Francisco-bsaed late-stage growth company investor, has brought aboard Michael Avon as a venture partner. Avon was formerly CFO and EVP of Millennial Media.

Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, the Vancouver-based venture firm, has promoted two associates to vice president: Joe Blair and Alfred Lam. Blair, once an associate at Cue Ball Capital in Boston, joined Chrysalix roughly two years ago. Lam has been with the firm for roughly three years. He was previously an analyst and researcher at the UBC-Clean Energy Research Centre, a multi-disciplinary research organization in Vancouver.

Eric Friedman, Foursquare’s longtime Global Senior Director of Sales and Revenue Operations, has left the company to join the startup studio Expa as an executive-in-residence. (Expa was cofounded by Foursquare cofounder Naveen Selvadurai, so there are natural ties.) Business Insider has more here.

Whisper, the anonymous social networking app, has hired a head of product for the first time: Jaime Mendez, who recently led the FarmVille 2 studio at Zynga. Recode has the story here.

Former Treasury secretary Larry Summers has joined the board of Premise, a San Francisco-based company. Dealbook has more here.



Fenox Venture Capital is looking for an intern. The job is in San Jose, Ca.



Venture capitalists invested $17.5 billion in 1,189 deals in the second quarter of 2015, according to the newest MoneyTree report from PwC and the NVCA. That’s up 30 percent in dollars and 13 percent in the number of deals over the first quarter, when $13.5 billion was invested in 1,048 deals. This past quarter also marks the sixth consecutive quarter to see more than $10 billion in venture funding invested in a single quarter. The last time quite so much money was put to work was the third quarter of 2000. (Gulp.) You can find the full report right here.


Essential Reads

After months of built-up expectations, video artist Casey Neistat revealed his new app this morning, BeamCheck it out.

Fresh from raising $2 billion in new funding, Didi Kuaidi — China’s most popular taxi hailing service — has expanded into a new form of transportation: buses.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has taken on Uber with a proposed law designed to limit its growth in the city. Unsurprisingly, Uber has found a creative way to fight back.



A $40,000 film — to sell a house(!).

The magic of Shin Lim.

You have to love this guy.


Retail Therapy

Seaweed that tastes like bacon and is twice as healthy as kale. (You’re welcome.)

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