StrictlyVC: August 24, 2015

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Top News in the A.M.

Chinese stocks plummeted earlier today, erasing gains for the year. It’s dragging our markets down with it, too. (A tumbling stock market could also mean bad juju for so-called unicorn companies.)

Need more proof that the stock market is in trouble? Apple CEO Tim Cook emailed TV personality Jim Cramer this morning to calm nervous investors.


Having Won Over VCs, Y Combinator Turns to LPs

Last week, Y Combinator ran investors through 105 presentations by early-stage startups in a two-day show it calls Demo Day. The pace of deal-making for such events, staged every summer and winter, has grown so feverish that the incubator introduced a new wrinkle: backers could commit to plowing millions into a company by simply clicking the equivalent of an “easy button” via an online dashboard that Y Combinator created.

Many local VCs seemed too busy to notice. Brian O’Malley of Accel Partners was walking around on his phone. Jon Sakoda of New Enteprise Associates made the rounds. Hunter Walk of Homebrew looked to be taking a couple of meetings, too.

Yet there were other, more surprising guests. There, in the front row, was “Stevie” Cohen, the famed hedge fund manager. Elsewhere in the audience, a money manager for Major League Baseball sat rapt, listening to the procession of startup presentations.

Perhaps the most interesting category of attendee, though, were more traditional limited partners, who typically invest in venture and private equity funds.

Indeed, while it used to be that VCs treated their LPs a bit like mushrooms, keeping them mostly in the dark, today’s LPs want to be closer to the action, and for them, Y Combinator is Ground Zero.

More here.


New Fundings

AppInside, a months-old, Israel-based mobile application security platform that identifies vulnerabilities, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding from Accomplice and unnamed angel investors. The Globes has more here.

Cavendish Kinetics, a nine-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based radio chip design company, has raised $36 million from undisclosed backers in a round that brings its total funding to $105 million. The company’s earlier backers include Tallwood Venture Capital, Wellington Partners, Celtic House Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, and Quadia. VentureBeat has more here.

Everything But The House, a seven-year-old, Cincinnati, Oh.-based online estate sale marketplace, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led byGreenspring Associates, with participation from earlier backers Greycroft Partners and Spark Capital. The company has now raised $43 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Freee, a three-year-old, Tokyo, Japan-based accounting software-as-a-service startup led by ex-Googler Daisuke Sasaki, has raised $28.7 million in Series C funding from Recruit Holdings, Japan Co-Invest, and earlier backer DCM. The company has now raised $45.9 million altogether, shows Crunchbase. Tech in Asia has more here.

Get Smart Content, a nearly four-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company whose tech helps marketers provide site content and messaging based on visitors’ profiles and web-based interactions, has raised $3.5 million in funding led by Origin Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Chicago Ventures and Virgo Capital. More here.

Link Labs, a 1.5-year-old, Annapolis, Md.-based company that builds long-range machine-to-machine networks for the Internet of Things, has raised $5.7 million in funding from TCP Venture Capital, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, and unnamed individual investors. Capital Gazette 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 $100 million in new funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from Goldman Sachs, August Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Ericsson, Sapphire Ventures and WestSummit Capital. (Last week, we told you that the company — which raised $100 million in October of last year, too — had raised at least $75 million, per a regulatory filing.) TechCrunch has more here.

RNTS Media, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based investment company that acquires and owns businesses in the mobile ecosystem, has raised 100 million euros, or $112 million, in a convertible bond. VentureBeat has more here.

SkinVision, a three-year-old, Amsterdam-based digital health startup whose smartphone tech and vision algorithms help users track changes to their moles with the aim of identifying suspicious growth, has raised $3.4 million from the European pharmaceutical firm LEO Pharma, with participation from earlier backer Personal Health Solutions Capital, a Dutch investment firm focusing on consumer-centric digital health opportunities., a year-old, Boulder, Co.-based company whose development tools aim to help companies reduce the time required to build feeds for their mobile apps and websites, has raised $1.75 million in funding from investors, including Brad Feld/FG Angels, Techstars Ventures, and Tahoma Ventures, among others. BizWest has more here.

Syndax Pharmaceuticals, a 10-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on an inhibitor for solid tumors and hematological tumors, has raised $80 million in Series C funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and Delos Capital Fund, with participation from EcoR1 Capital, OrbiMed, Jennison Associates (on behalf of certain clients), Tavistock Life Sciences, Arrowpoint Partners,Cormorant Asset Management, BioMed Ventures and undisclosed mutual funds. Earlier backers Domain Associates, MPM CapitalRusnanoMedInvest and Forward Ventures also joined the round. FierceBiotech has more here.

Thread, a three-year-old, London-based e-company that’s aiming to make shopping easier for men, has raised $8 million in funding from Balderton Capital and other investors. The Sunday Times has more here.


New Funds

Hatteras Venture Partners, a 15-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based venture firm focused on life sciences and other healthcare technologies, has raised $90 million for its fifth fund, which could reportedly reach as much as $150 million before it holds a final close. Its anchor LP is the Irish life sciences firm Malin. The firm, which specializes in the Southeast U.S., closed its last fund with $90 million. Xconomy has more here.

InnoSpring, a three-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based U.S.-China tech incubator, announced this morning that its Shanghai, China-based holding company has raised $10 million in strategic funding from Chinese auto parks maker Wanxiang Group. More here.

The LA Dodgers Accelerator, a new, L.A.-based accelerator program in partnership with R/GA, is kicking off its first class today with ten sports-related tech startups. TechCrunch has the story here.

Lakestar, a Zurich, 2.5-year-old, Switzerland-based venture firm founded by longtime VC Klaus Hommels, has closed its second fund with $385 million. TechCrunch has more here.

Versant Ventures, a 16-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based healthcare venture capital firm, has launched its third biotech incubator, Highline Therapeutics, in Manhattan. The firm says it’s busily forming partnerships with local academic institutions — beginning with the Weill Cornell Medical College — and that several other formal programs will be announced over the coming months. Carlo Rizzuto, who’d joined as Versant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals in 2012, will manage the firm’s newly established New York base. Xconomy has more here.



Apple has hired senior engineer Jamie Carlson from electric car maker Tesla Motors, as part of its effort to build a team of experts in automated driving. Reuters has the story here.

Talk about a change in direction: Stephen Colbert’s first handful of “Late Show” guests will include SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The Verge has more here.

Silicon Valley companies like may provide companies plenty of perks, but enough child care (including day care centers so employees can remain close to their toddlers) is not one of them yet, argues Buzzfeed.



Hulu is looking to hire a business development and partnerships manager. The job is in Santa Monica, Ca.


Essential Reads

In Uber’s quest to Win over China, Tencent blocks the way.

How not to commit fraud when raising money, by Andreessen Horowitz.



No, you don’t have to drink eight glasses of water a day.


Retail Therapy

A “paparazzi proof” penthouse in L.A. Cost: $50 million.

Action hero beach blankets. (Heh.)


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