StrictlyVC: August 19, 2015

Hi, everyone. It is Wednesday! Already!

We’ll be at Y Combinator’s second Demo Day for part of this afternoon, representing TechCrunch. If you’re also heading there and want to chat about your top picks, please find us; we’d love to tawk. In the meantime, here are the 50 startups that presented at its Demo Day yesterday.


Top News in the A.M.

GrabTaxi, the taxi-hailing app that rivals Uber in Southeast Asia, is getting some support from China after it announced a $350 million Series E round from a range of investors that — most interestingly — includes Didi Kuaidi, China’s largest taxi app firm. TechCrunch has more here.

Snapdeal — currently in a three-way battle for e-commerce dominance in India with rivals Flipkart and with Amazon — has raised $500 million in fresh funding at a valuation of $4.7 billion led by Alibaba and Foxconn. Bloomberg has more here.

Uber is upping its focus on India, with an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Tata Capital, one of India’s largest wealth management organizations. As TechCrunch notes: Tata is a “potentially very influential ally in Uber’s battle against Indian rival Ola, which is present in over 100 cities and has the support of SoftBank, Tiger Global and other heavy-hitting investors.”


Adam Lisagor of Sandwich Media on Making the Killer Corporate Video

Adam Lisagor, an L.A.-based video producer, has more demand for his corporate videos than he can handle, thanks to the breakout success of product launch videos for Square, Airbnb, and Warby Parker among many dozens of others. Demand doesn’t look to be tapering off any time soon, either. We talked with Lisagor about his own six-year-old, startup, Sandwich Video, yesterday.

A Forbes piece earlier this year attributed your early success to a seemingly serendipitous meeting with Jack Dorsey, who asked you to make a video for Square. How did he find you?

I was Internet friends, then real-life friends, with Robert Andersen, who was the first lead designer at Square [and is today its creative director]. Since we were friends and I’d done my own video for an app I worked on with a friend, and done one professional video for Genentech that no one saw, Robert suggested I fly up and meet with Jack. I thought he was photogenic and charismatic and that he could speak about the product as clearly as anyone, but he said, “No, I want you to do it.” And that was that.

Sandwich’s pricing model allows for startups to pay you partly in equity. How many stakes have you amassed that way?

About 35 at this point.

You also announced the Sandwich Fund earlier this year with Ludlow Ventures, a Detroit-based venture firm. The idea is to assemble a portfolio of select companies that will provide you with early shares instead of pay you the roughly $100,000 that it costs to make a video. How many stakes have you taken through that fund?

Only one so far: Cur, [which makes a pain relief wearable that people apply like a bandaid]. As a product, it was really interesting to me because it seemed like such a slam sunk. I tried it and it worked exactly as promised.

Has Sandwich itself raised any outside funding or would it?

For more of our interview with Lisagor, click here.


New Fundings

AlienVault, an 8.5-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company that delivers a hybrid threat management solutions combined with a crowd-sourced threat intelligence platform, has raised $52 million in new funding led by Institutional Venture Partners, with participation from Trident Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and GGV Capital. The company has now raised roughly $116 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here., a five-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based developer of artificial intelligence and natural language tech that enables developers to add Siri-like conversational interfaces to their apps, has raised $3 million in funding led by SAIC Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

CastAR, a year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based augumented reality gaming startup, has raised $15 million in a round led by Playground Global, the hardware accelerator and fund launched earlier this year by Android co-founder Andy Rubin. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Guideline Technologies, a months-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company whose automated investment technology incorporates an individual’s entire financial ecosystem to make ongoing recommendations and adjustments to his or her 401(k), has raised $2 million in seed funding from investors, including New Enterprise Associates, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, SV Angel, Red Swan Ventures, BoxGroup, Xfund, and 500 Startups. More here.

Iconixx, a five-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based maker of compensation management software, has raised $10 million in funding co-led by Harbert Venture Partners and S3 Ventures, with participation from earlier backer Ballast Point Ventures. More here.

IntelligenceNODE, a three-year-old, Mumbai, India-based big data analytics startup that serves retailers, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by New Enterprise Associates and Orios Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Kahuna, a four-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based mobile marketing startup, has raised $45 million in Series B funding led by Tenaya Capital, with participation from earlier backers Sequoia Capital and SoftTechVC. The company has now raised about $58 million altogether. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Kik, a six-year-old, Waterloo, Ontario-based messaging app, has raised $50 million in new funding from China’s Tencent at around a $1 billion valuation. More here.

Kindara, a three-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based startup that helps women track ovulation cycles and fertility, has raised $5.3 million in seed funding led by Boston Seed Capital, with participation from SOS Ventures, Good Works Ventures, PV Ventures, MENA Venture Investments, and 62 Mile Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Klarna, a 10-year-old, Swedish payments startup, has reportedly seen its valuation double to $2.25 billion in a secondary offering that involvedNorthzone, mutual fund Wellington Management, and the foundation Wellcome Trust, which purchased roughly $80 million worth of stock from company insiders. Klarna was valued at about $1.4 billion last year when it raised roughly $100 million from earlier backers. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Mirantis, a 4.5-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that says it delivers all the software, services, training and support needed for running OpenStack, has raised $75 million in fresh funding, according to regulatory filing flagged by Dow Jones. The company had raised $100 million in funding in October of last year led by Insight Venture Partners. More here.

NextHealth Technologies, a two-year-old, Denver-based predictive analytics company, has raised $1 million in funding, including from the City of Denver’s Office of Economic Development and numerous health industry veteran executives. More here.

Owlet Baby Care, a two-year-old, Provo, Ut.-based maker of the Smart Sock baby monitor, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Formation 8, with participation from TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie and earlier backers Azimuth Ventures, ffvc, Eniac Ventures and Peak Capital. Owlet also receiving another $1 million for participating in a government National Institutes of Health grant. The grant and the Series A collectively bring the amount that Owlet has raised to $9.2 million. More here.

Revel Systems, a five-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based iPad point-of-sale platform, has raised $13.5 million in Series C-3 funding from ROTH Capital Partners. the round has now reached $110 million altogether, and the company has collectively raised $128.5 million, according to Crunchbase. More here.

Royole Corporation, a two-year-old, Shenzhen, China-based company that develops rollable displays that can be incorporated into smartphones, computers and TVs, has raised $172 million in Series C funding from investors, including IDG Capital Partners, Shenzhen Capital Group, Shenzhen Green Pine Capital Partners, AlphaWealth, Jack and Fisher Investment, and other undisclosed investors. China Money Network has the news here.

SpotHero, a four-year-old, Chicago-based on-demand parking app, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Battery Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Chicago Ventures,Draper Associates, OCA Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and 500 Startups. The company had previously raised $7 million. TechCrunch hasmore here.

WaVe Life Sciences, a six-year-old, Boston-based genetic medicine company focused on advancing stereopure nucleic acid therapies for patients impacted by rare diseases, has raised $66 million in Series B funding led by new investorForesite Capital, with participation from Fidelity Management & Research Company, New Leaf Venture Partners, Redmile Group, Jennison Associates (on behalf of certain clients), Cormorant Asset Management, and certain private investment funds advised by Clough Capital Partners. Earlier backers RA Capital Management and Kagoshima Shinsangyo Sosei Investment also joined the round. BioPortfolio has more here.



Edge Therapeutics, a six-year-old, New Providence, N.J.-based company with a drug delivery system for brain hemorrhaging and other acute neurological conditions, has filed an S-1 form with the SEC, revealing plans to raise up to $115 million. Just five months ago, the comapny had raised $72.5 million in Series C funding, including a C-2 round led by Venrock, with participation from Sofinnova Ventures, Janus Capital Management, New Leaf Venture Partners and BioMed Ventures.

RegenXBio, a seven-year-old, Rockville, Md.-based company that’s developing gene therapies for rare diseases and licensing out gene delivery technology, has filed with the SEC to raise up to $100 million in an IPO. More here.

SynCardia Systems, a 14-year-old, Tucson, Az.-based developer and manufacturer of temporary implantable artificial hearts, has registered plans with the SEC to raise up to $40 million in an IPO. More here.



Anova, maker of an automated sous vide cooker, is spending $9.2 million in cash to acquire Get Fresh, whose CEO, Stephen Svajian, will become CEO of Anova. Anova, which had raised $1.8 million in a Kickstarter campaign in 2013, is paying $9.2 million in cash. Get Fresh had raised one seed round from Zenefits COO David Sacks and Cotap CEO Jim Patterson (who were formerly colleagues at Yammer). GetFresh never disclosed the amount of that seed round. TechCrunch has more here.

PayPal has bought Modest, a Chicago-based startup headed by the former chief technology officer of President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Modest helps merchants build mobile apps, and had raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Hyde Park Venture Partners and Base Ventures. Fortune has the story here.



After three years, Paul Maritz is stepping down as CEO at Pivotal Software, a data analytics, cloud computing and software-development services company spun out of EMC and VMware. His successor: Rob Mee, who cofounded Pivotal Labs, a software development company. The WSJ has more here.



Kapor Capital is looking for a full-time portfolio services director. The job is in Oakland, Ca.



From the New York Times: “Last year, Yale paid about $480 million to private equity fund managers as compensation — about $137 million in annual management fees, and another $343 million in performance fees, also known as carried interest — to manage about $8 billion, one-third of Yale’s endowment. In contrast, of the $1 billion the endowment contributed to the university’s operating budget, only $170 million was earmarked for tuition assistance, fellowships and prizes.”


Essential Reads

Hackers finally posted that stolen Ashley Madison data.

With the help of its investors, including Sequoia Capital and China Broadband Capital, the home-sharing startup Airbnb is gearing up for a big push into the booming market of Chinese travelers.



How to be an expert in anything.

At Lucali, pizza for the A-list and the landlady upstairs.

“I’m Phil Brock, and I want to be your bald wingman.”


Retail Therapy

Surf Snowdonia. (GoPro CEO Nick Woodman checks it out here.)

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