StrictlyVC: September 1, 2015

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Two quick things. First, happy birthday to one of our most beloved readers.:)

Second, on a programming note, we’re starting a Founders’ Questions column over at TechCrunch. The idea: to answer entrepeneurs’ burning questions or, more aptly, for you — sophisticated investors, entrepreneurs, attorneys (and more) — to offer your insights. This week’s question: “How do you establish a valuation for a nascent SaaS startup when there are no similar products?” Thank you in advance!


Top News in the A.M.

U.S. and European markets are dropping again after a report from China showed activity in August slipped to a three-year low.


IDG Ventures Closes Third Fund with $120 Million

IDG Ventures, an early-stage venture firm that was among the first VC outfits to plant its flag in San Francisco instead of Silicon Valley, has raised $120 million for its third and newest fund, according to cofounders Phil Sanderson and Alex Rosen.

The two longtime VCs came together with a third partner, Pat Kenealy, in 2008; their previous fund closed with $100 million.

IDG Ventures is an interesting outfit in a number of ways. It’s kind of a corporate fund, but not really.

More here.


New Fundings

Apptus, a nine-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based SaaS company whose sales-management software is built on Salesforce’s platform, has raised $108 million in funding from Salesforce Ventures, Iconiq Capital, K1 Capital and KIA. The company has now raised $186 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here., a six-year-old, Shanghai, China-based online food ordering platform, has raised $630 million from investors including CITIC Private Equity, department store chain Hualian Group, China Media Capital and the private equity firm Gopher Asset. (We told you last week that it had raised $90 million from Hualian Group; looks like that was just part of the story.) The company is now valued at more than $3 billion; Forbes has more here.

Guru, a nearly two-year-old, Philadelphia, Pa.-based Chrome web extension that aims to surface important information as users need it, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from MSD Capital, Salesforce Ventures, and other angels. TechCrunch has more here.

Intellia Therapeutics, a 1.5-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based gene editing startup focused on treating cancer and other diseases, has raised $70 million in Series B funding led by OrbiMed HealthCare Fund Management, with participation from EcoR1 Capital, Fidelity Management, Foresite Capital,Janus Capital Management, Sectoral Asset Management and earlier backers Atlas Venture and Novartis AG. Intellia has now raised $85 million altogether. More here.

LotusFlare, a year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based mobile growth and engagement platform that was founded by three former Facebookers, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Social + Capital, with participation from Google Ventures and Metamorphic Ventures. The company has now raised $10 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Shift, a 22-month-old, San Francisco-based online used car marketplace, has raised $50 million in new funding led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Shift’s Series A investors DFJ and Highland Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Super League Gaming, a year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based startup that transforms movie theaters into interactive, multiplayer gaming arenas, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding from the theater chain Cinemark Theatres, a SoftBank affiliated fund, and multiple (unnamed) institutions in Hong Kong and Singapore. More here.

Take Eat Easy, a two-year-old, Brussels-based food delivery startup backed by Rocket Internet, has raised €10 million ($11.2 million) in Series B funding led byEight Roads Ventures (previously Fidelity Growth Partners), and earlier backers Rocket Internet, DN Capital, and Piton Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Water Planet, a four-year-old, L.A.-based company that makes water treatment membrane products, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding from Air Liquide Venture Capital, Bluestem Capital, and UCLA Venture Fund. More here.

WellAware, a three-year-old, San Antonio, Tex.-based provider of monitoring and management services for oil wells, pipelines, and refining and chemical facilities, has raised $16 million in Series B-1 funding from strategic investors Mitsui Corp. and Genscape, a provider of information for the commodities and energy industries. TechCrunch has more here.

Yummly, a six-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based online recipe recommendation and food delivery service, has raised $15 million in new funding led by Bauer Venture Partners, with participation Physic Ventures,Unilever Ventures and earlier investors. The company is now reportedly valued at $100 million. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

1776, a 2.5-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based incubator, has announced the final closing of a new, $12.5 million seed fund. The outfit will focus on investments in pre-Series A startups in highly regulated industries like health, education, energy, transportation, and smart cities. 1776 was founded byDonna Harris, a former managing director of the Startup America Partnership, and Evan Burfield, who founded netDecide, which makes enterprise wealth management software, and the consulting firm Synteractive.

Cloud Apps Capital Partners, a nearly two-year-old, San Francisco-based venture firm founded by longtime VC Matt Holleran, has raised $53.7 million for its debut fund, he tells us. The single GP firm makes classic Series A stage investments, meaning “leading financings of $3 millionish.” It also typically takes a board seat. Judy Loehr, a former senior director at Salesforce, has joined Holleran as a venture partner. Cloud Apps Capital Partners has so far made seven investments, including in Insightly, GoFormz, ServiceMax, and Hootsuite. More here.

Edison Nation, a seven-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based outfit that helps get a lot of those “As Seen on TV” type products made, then sold by big retailers, has raised $50 million from a group of undisclosed backers. TechCrunch has more here.

Sigma West, an independent venture firm that spun out of Sigma Partners four years ago, has rebranded itself as Jackson Square Ventures. (The San Francisco-based firm has an office in San Francisco’s Jackson Square.) “We probably should have done this before,” writes managing director Josh Breinlinger. “[I]t turns out that being tied to the legacy name created confusion.” But now the firm is “choosing a name that fits us.”



Nice news: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is expecting twin girls in December, she announced late last night.

Investor Marc Andreessen talks with Bloomberg about Silicon Valley’s relationship with the Pentagon, market volatility in China, and Twitter’s ongoing CEO search.

VC Tim Draper, who appears on the ABC Family series “Startup U,” has offered to donate $1 million to charity if the show can attract 1 million viewers this week.

Silicon Valley loves this presidential candidate six times more than any other.


Essential Reads

Apple is reportedly eyeing a move into original programming. Variety has more here.

Hotels long welcomed sites like Expedia and Priceline. Now, they’re (finally) fighting against them.



The college fallacy.

Intriguingly mundane moments from Hillary Clinton’s email.

Seoul, day to night.


Retail Therapy

The newest Nest thermostat. A lot like the old Nest thermostat — but a little bit better!

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