StrictlyVC: July 23, 2015

Happy Thursday, everyone!


Top News in the A.M.

Veteran Apple blogger Jim Dalrymple has just written a scathing review of Apple Music. It’s a “nightmare” and “I’m done with it,” he writes.


Y Combinator Reveals Its Approach to Late-Stage Investments

A couple of weeks ago, we published a post that pondered what investing pro rata would mean for Y Combinator. Just one month earlier, the popular accelerator program had filed for what it’s calling its Y Combinator Continuity Fund, which appears to be a growth-stage vehicle that’s rumored to be raising at least $1 billion.

We speculated that if Y Combinator used the money to cherry-pick deals from its portfolio of graduates — even if it were to skip a few stages to invest in a limited number of very late-stage deals — it could create a signaling risk for many other startups it funds. We added as a caveat that, “It’s possible that Y Combinator could follow on in every one of the venture-backed rounds of its portfolio companies, but the moment it doesn’t . . .”

Turns out, Y Combinator is doing exactly that — and it’s not a new decision. More here.


New Fundings

Bulletproof, the controversial, nearly five-year-old, San Francisco-based startup behind Bulletproof coffee — featuring butter and oil — has raised $9 million in venture funding led by Trinity Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.

Cazena, a year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based company that aims to quickly and securely optimize big data processing in the cloud, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Formation 8, with participation from earlier investors Andreessen Horowitz and North Bridge Venture Partners. The company had raised $8 million in Series A funding last October.

Clover, a year-old, Toronto-based dating app, has raised $2 million in led by Social Starts, with participation from unnamed angel investors. The company has now raised $4 million altogether, it says.

Continuum Analytics, a 3.5-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that develops Anaconda, an open source analytics platform powered by Python, has raised $24 million in Series A funding led by General Catalyst Partners and BuildGroup. The company has now raised $34 million altogether. VentureBeat has more here., a two-year-old, La Jolla, Ca.-based event management platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Arctaris, with participation from La Jolla Holding and Moore Venture Partners. The company has now raised $17 million, it says. More here.

Fishbrain, a five-year-old, Göteborg, Sweden-based social network for sport fishers, has raised $8 million in venture funding from Northzone, with participation from Industrifonden, Active Venture Partners, GP BullhoundEdastra Venture Capital, Recruit Strategic Partners, and Novel TMT Ventures. The company has now raised $10.6 million altogether, shows Crunchbase. The Telegraph has more here.

Ginkgo Bioworks, a seven-year-old, Boston-based organism design company, has raised $45 million in Series B funding led by Viking Global, with participation from earlier backers OS Fund, Y Combinator and Felicis Ventures. The company has now raised $54 million in total funding. More here.

Giosis, the five-year-old, Singapore-based company behind the popular e-commerce platform Qoo10, has raised $82.1 million in Series A funding led by Singapore Press Holdings, with participation from earlier investor eBay. TechCrunch has more here.

Gynesonics, a 10-year-old, Redwood, Ca.-based medical device company that makes an ablation tool for treating uterine fibroids, has raised $43 million in funding co-led by Endeavour Vision and Abingworth, with participation fromHealthCrest, InterWest Partners, Advanced Technology Ventures, HBM Partners, Correlation Ventures and Hercules Technology Growth CapitalMore here.

Leadspace, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based marketing analytics company that helps its customers determine how to prioritize leads, has raised $18 million in Series B funding led by Battery Ventures. The company, led by former Salesforce CMO Doug Bewsher, has now raised $35 million to date. Fortune has more here.

Outpost Games, a year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based maker of PC games, has raised $6 million from Benchmark. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Remedy Partners, a four-year-old, Darien, Ct.-based developer and manager of bundled payment programs for government and private health insurers, has raised $50 million from Bain Capital Ventures. The company has now raised $86.2 million altogether, shows Crunchbase. More here.

SGN, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile game developer, has raised $130 million in new funding from the South Korean mobile gaming company Netmarble Games. SGN had previously $28 million in funding, including from Columbia CapitalFelicis VenturesFounders Fund, and Greylock Partners. Fast Company has more here.

SmarterHQ, a five-year-old,  Indianapolis, In.-based customer intelligence marketing platform, has raised $8 million in funding led by Simon Venture Group, with participation from Battery Ventures and angel investors. The company has now raised $23.5 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.


New Funds

Notion Capital, a seven-year-old, London-based venture firm focused on enterprise startups, has held a first close of $120 million on its third fund, which is expected to close with $150 million. The firm, founded by entrepreneurs and brothers Ben and Jos White (they sold their company MessageLabs to Symantec for $695 million in 2008), has invested in 33 companies across its first two funds, including NewVoiceMedia and Tradeshift. TechCrunch has more here.



Consulting giant Accenture has acquired Chaotic Moon, a five-year-old, Austin Tex.-based studio that comes up with design technology for major brands. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

Dropbox has acquired Clementine, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based enterprise communication service that focuses on conference calls and chat services that aren’t connected to a personal phone number. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

Online real estate service Zillow has acquired DotLoop, a seven-year-old, Cincinnati-based real-estate service that moves much of the document sharing and signing process online. The financial details of the transaction aren’t being disclosed. DotLoop had raised $14 million, incuding from Trinity Ventures. More here.



Jonathon Triest and Brett deMarrais of Detroit-based Ludlow Ventures carpool to work every day. In a Jerry Seinfeld-esque twist, they’ve decided to start recording their in-car conversations, including with other entrepreneurs and VCs. (Upcoming editions include conversations with Eric Reis and Mark Suster, among others.)  You can catch their first, introductory episode here. (Spoiler alert: there’s some singing.)



Twitter is looking for a corporate development manager. The job is in San Francisco.



Silk has put together the latest on Google’s self-driving car accidents.


Essential Reads

After days of a political battle, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has temporarily relented on plans to cap the number of Ubers on NYC streets.

For ADP and Zenefits, the bickering goes on.



Thirteen months of working, eating, and sleeping at the Googleplex.

From Harvard Innovation Lab: a startup to help take tiny houses mainstream.

How Berlin’s airport became a $6 billion embarrassment.


Retail Therapy

A new GoPro video stabilizer is coming (from a company called Aetho).

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