StrictlyVC: September 8, 2015

Hi, everyone, welcome back! Hope you had a terrific long weekend.


Top News in the A.M.

Uber plans to enter 100 more Chinese cities over the next year, doubling a previous goal set just three months ago, CEO Travis Kalanick said earlier today.

Uber also just closed a $1.2 billion round of funding led by Chinese search giant Baidu. (Another day, another round . . .)

Amazon is planning to release a $50 tablet in time for the holidays.


Emergence Capital, a Top Saas Investors, Zeroes In On Mobile Enterprise Applications

Since its founding a decade ago, Emergence Capital Partners has become among the startup industry’s most highly regarded investors in enterprise software-as-a-service companies.

Fact is, few firms are as specialized. But the approach has paid big dividends. In fact, in 2013, Emergence saw one of the industry’s biggest returns with the IPO of Veeva Systems, an enterprise cloud provider for life sciences companies. In 2008, Emergence invested $4 million in the startup. When it went public, it was valued at $4.4 billion, and the firm’s stake was transformed into more than $1.2 billion.

Veeva’s market valuation has since slid to $3.2 billion, and Emergence has since quietly shifted its focus from SaaS startups to mobile enterprise applications. Among its newest investments: ServiceMax, a company whose applications are used by field service workers who are tasked with, say, completing installations or warranty repairs.

“We think this is a bigger trend than SaaS has been to date,” says general partner Kevin Spain, who just published a detailed industry report that you’ll probably want to read.

We talked with him about it Friday. More from that conversation follows here.


New Fundings

Azendoo, a five-year-old, Bordeaux, France-based internal collaboration platform for marketing teams, has raised $1.5 million from TheFamily,Thibault Poutrel and Arnaud Vinciguerra. TechCrunch has more here.

BlaBlaCar, a nine-year-old, Paris-based car-sharing website that connects drivers with empty seats and paying passengers to offset distance travel costs, is raising $160 million in fresh funding at a $1.2 billion post valuation, reports TechCrunch. Insight Venture Partners is leading the round with a syndicate that seems not to include earlier backers Index Ventures, Accel PartnersISAI and Lead Edge Capital, says the report. More here.

CommonBond, a nearly four-year-old, New York-based online lending platform that connects borrowers with investors wiling to make student loans, has raised $35 million in funding led by August Capital, with participation fromNyca Partners and earlier backers Tribeca Venture Partners, Social + Capital Partnership, and individual investors like former Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. TechCrunch has more here.

IDNtimes, a 1.5-year-old, Surabaya, Indonesia-based media portal that hopes to become the equivalent of Buzzfeed for Indonesia’s younger generation, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from local venture capital firm East Ventures. Tech in Asia has more here., a four-year-old, Beijing-based maternity and baby products flash sales platform, has raised $150 million in Series D funding led by Baidu, with participation from undisclosed earlier investors. China Money Network has more here.

NeoBear, a six-year-old, China-based early childhood education start-up that markets augmented reality toys and mobile apps, has raised $19 million in Series A funding led by GGV Capital, with participation from QualcommSinolink Securities, Haitong Kaiyuan Capital, and Liuhe Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Okta, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based integrated identity and mobility management service, has raised $75 million round in new funding at a $1.175 billion valuation. (That puts it in “unicorn” territory, for those of you keeping track.) Earlier backers Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners andSequoia Capital led the round, with participation from Khosla VenturesAltimeter, Glynn Capital and other unnamed investors. The company has now raised $230 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Paymium, a four-year-old, Paris-based bitcoin marketplace, has raised €1 million ($1.1 million) in seed funding from French venture firms Newfund and Kima Ventures, with participation from Galitt, a payments consultancy and services firm, and a few angel investors. More here.

Smile Telecoms, an eight-year-old, Mauritius-based company that operates a broadband network in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda and plans to launch in the Democratic Republic of Congo early next year, has raised $365 million in debt and equity financing, including $50 million in equity from the Public Investment Corporation, which invests on behalf of the South African Government Employees Pension Fund. TechCrunch has more here.

TradeIt, a year-old, New York-based startup that allows users to quickly and easily place orders with their existing online brokerage accounts from any website or mobile device, has raised $4 million in funding from Valar Ventures and Citi Ventures. The company had previously raised an undisclosed amount of angel backing. TechCrunch has more here.

TVibes, a 10-month-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that aims to make it easier to store and share videos on its cloud-based platform, as well as to stream video live, has raised $1 million in seed funding from TV and movie producer Damien Collier and other private investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Zomato, a seven-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based restaurant discovery site, has raised $60 million in new funding, just five months after closing a $50 million round. (It has now raised $225 million altogether.) The Singapore investment company Temasek led this newest round, with participation from earlier backer Vy Capital. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

Just days after the third “main” fund of 500 Startups was officially closed with $85 million, the five-year-old Mountain View, Ca.-based firm has kicked things into high(er) gear, officially setting out to raise its fourth fund with a target of $200 million. In a more meaningful shift for the firm, it’s preparing to raise a growth fund for the first time, too. More here via TechCrunch.

Japan’s Beenos group, a global conglomerate with a business incubator, has announced a $60 million, Singapore-based fund for early-stage startups called BEENEXT. The fund intends to invest in internet and mobile-related businesses in India, Southeast Asia, Japan, and the U.S. Tech In Asia has more here.

Silversmith Capital Partners, a months-old, Boston-based growth equity firm launched by alumni of Bain Capital Ventures and Spectrum Equity, has closed its debut fund with an impressive $460 million, reports Fortune. More here.



Microsoft announced this morning that it purchased the three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based cloud security firm Adallom for a reported $250 million. (Earlier reports pegged the sale at more than $300 million.) Adallom had raised roughly $50 million over three funding rounds. Its backers included Sequoia CapitalRembrandt Venture Partners, and Index Ventures. More here.



Docker has hired former Twitter CFO and Zynga treasurer Mike Gupta as its new CFO. More here.

Why Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants everyone to read about how the poor spend their money.



Uber is looking for a head of business development for India. The job is New Delhi.



A record 290 companies in Central and Eastern Europe received private equity and venture capital investment last year, as capital invested by funds across the region soared 66 percent from 2013 to €1.3 billion ($1.45 billion). So shows new data released today by the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. Its full report is here.


Essential Reads

Apple has ramped up its hiring of artificial intelligence experts, but it still faces obstacles to making its phones smarter, reports Reuters.

The products of consumer electronics maker Jawbone “have a beautiful design, but they’re expensive to manufacture,” one former executive tells The Information. “They can’t get out of this cycle of products that . . . don’t make money.” (Subscription required.)

Take a peek at someone using Facebook‘s new virtual assistant, “M.”



Seven of Oliver Sack’s most fascinating case studies.

Six unique and inspiring timelapse videos.

Most cyclists hospitalized for injuries are over age 45, shows new research.


Retail Therapy

Cumberland Street Townhouse, Brooklyn. (H/T: Uncrate)

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