StrictlyVC: September 2, 2015

Happy Wednesday!

Thank you very much to the many of you who wrote yesterday with help for our new TechCrunch “Founders’ Questions” column. You’re such a great crew.

Also, our next StrictlyVC Insider event is coming up in about two weeks. Woot! We released a handful of tickets to those of you on the waitlist last night. Hopefully, we can let a few more of you into the event, too, over the next week or so. We wish we could let in many more guests, but the Autodesk Gallery has attendee limits and for good reason, we’re guessing. Thanks again to our friends and sponsors at Bolt, Ludlow Ventures, and GLG for all of their help; we couldn’t do it without you.

(No column today, btw.)


Top News in the A.M.

There’s a new, long-awaited feature coming to the new Apple TV: universal search. Buzzfeed has the story here.

Amazon is expanding its “Dash Buttons” program, it announced this morning. TechCrunch has more here.


New Fundings

Aquicore, a three-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based company that makes analytics software for energy efficiency management, has raised $3.1 million in seed funding led by 1776, an incubator in Washington. (We mentioned its new fund to you yesterday.) TechCrunch has more on the deal here.

Area360, a three-year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based mobile location technology platform (it improves visitor experiences at museums, hospitals, airports and the like using location data), has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding led by Madrona Venture Group. GeekWire has more here.

Capillary Technologies, a seven-year-old Singapore-based social CRM company, has raised $45 million in Series C funding led by Warburg Pincus, with participation from returning investors Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. The company has now raised $79.1 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Crosswise, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that provides cross-device mapping data, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Pereq Ventures, with participation from ZhenFund, Emerge, and earlier backers Giza Venture Capital, OurCrowd and Horizons Ventures. MediaPost has more here.

DecisionSim, a 5.5-year-old, Chadds Ford, Pa.-based maker of health care simulation-based learnings tools, has raised $1.85 million in Series A funding led by Philadelphia-based Rittenhouse Ventures, with participation from Ben Franklin Technology Partners. Philadelpia Business Journal has more here.

Exosome Diagnostics, a seven-year-old, New York-based company that develops and commercializes blood-based cancer molecular diagnostics for disease monitoring, has raise $17.6 million in Series B-1 funding that brings the entire round to $44.7 million. Participants in this newest financing included Forbion Capital Partners, NGN Capital, Arcus Ventures, Tiger Global Management, and CD Ventures.

Instabridge, a three-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based startup whose app helps users find solid, free WiFi spots, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Stockholm-based Moor (the fund of Rovio co-founder Kaj Hed) and London-based Balderton Capital.  The round also included Creandum and Swisscom Ventures. More here.

InVenture Capital, a four-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based provider of small loans by cellphones that’s targeting the developing world, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Data Collective, with participation from Collaborative Fund, Female Founders Fund and individual investors.

Lengow, a six-year-old, Nantes, France-based company whose software helps e-commerce sites centralize, optimize and track the distribution of their product catalogues, has raised €10 million ($11.2 million) in Series B funding from Serena Capital, BPI, and earlier backer Alven Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

NewsCred, a seven-year-old, New York-based content marketing platform, has raised $42 million led by FTV Capital, with participation from earlier backers FirstMark Capital, InterWest Partners, and Mayfield Fund. The company has now raised roughly $90 million altogether. Techcrunch has more here.

Qnovo, a five-year-old, Freemont, Ca.-based company that develops electronic management systems for lithium ion batteries, has raised $8.6 million in Series B funding from Intel Capital, RockPort Capital, US Venture Partners and Blue Run Ventures. More here.

Quovo, a six-year-old, New York-based data aggregation and analytics platform, has raised $4.75 million in funding led by Fintech Collective, with participation from numerous angel investors. The company had earlier raised $1.5 million in seed funding. WealthManagement has more here.

Saucey, a two-year-old, L.A.-based on-demand alcohol delivery startup, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by Blumberg Capital, with participation from Structure Capital, Altpoint Ventures, T5 Captial, HashTagOne and numerous celebrity investors, including Scooter Braun. TechCrunch has more here.

Tanium, the eight-year-old, Emeryville, Ca.-based security and systems management startup run by father and son David and Orion Hindawi, has raised $120 million in new funding led by TPG and Institutional Venture Partners. The round comes seven months after the company raised $52 million from Andreessen Horowitz (which had also made an even earlier bet on the company). More here.

Universal Avenue, a year-old,  Stockholm, Sweden -based startup that lets customers hire salespeople (or “brand ambassadors”) on demand, has raised $5 million in funding from Northzone and Salesforce Ventures, with participation from Moor (see earlier mention above). TechCrunch has more here.

Voalte, a seven-year-old, Sarasota, Fla.-based startup offering secure communications programs for doctors and nurses with smartphones, has raised $17 million in Series D funding led by Ascension Ventures and Cerner Capital, with participation from earlier backer Bedford Funding.


New Funds

Billionaire Sajjan Jindal of JSW Steel, India’s largest private steel producer, has formed a venture capital fund called JSW Venture Fund. Gaurav Sachdeva, formerly the general manager of strategic investments at Brand Capital, has been hired to run it, alongside Jindal’s son, Parth, who is reportedly enrolled at Harvard Business School currently. The Economic Times has the story here. The fund, it says, will not be a strategic investor; rather, it will look to fund a broad array of startups and sectors.



Michael Bell, an Intel VP who helped lead the company’s push into the Internet of Things and who’d previously spent many years as an executive at both Apple and Palm, has has left Intel join Silver Spring Networks as CEO. The WSJ has more here.

Contrary to reports, Forbes wants you to know that singer-investor Bono is not a billionaire.

Josh Miller, 24, who sold his company, Branch, to Facebook in January of last year for a reported $15 million, announced last week that he was leaving the social network for something new. That endeavor, he disclosed yesterday, is as the White House’s first Director of Product. TechCrunch has more here.

Former MoPub CEO Jim Payne has joined Accel Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence. The idea: to start his next company there. Fortune has more here.


Essential Reads

Google‘s driverless cars are getting involved in minor accidents because they observe traffic laws to the letter — and people don’t.

Hulu is starting a commercial-free version of its streaming service to rival Amazon and Netflix.

China‘s economic uncertainties. How bad is it?



The 11 greatest moments Apple’s ever had on stage.

A behavioral scientist on how you see you versus how everyone else sees you.

Time travel to-do list.


Retail Therapy

Gateway founder Ted Waitt just put his Hollywood Hills home on the market for $20 million. To us, it looks like a very nice prison from the outside. But the views? Spectacular.

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