StrictlyVC: September 10, 2015

Happy Thursday, everyone!

We’re getting super excited to see many of you in just seven days at our newest StrictlyVC event in San Francisco! Thanks to our wonderful sponsors, including Bolt and Ludlow Ventures, for their help; it’s going to be a fun night.:)

We’ve been in many meetings so no column today.


Top News in the A.M.

There was a lot of Apple news to emerge from its big press event yesterday. We have all kinds of links for you if you missed any of it. Like:

The new Apple TV ships next month. Here’s what you’ll want to know first.

It also unveiled the iPad Pro. (It’s much bigger; you can take advantage of split-screen multitasking. You can also buy a new $99 Apple stylus or $169 smart keyboard by Logitech that also works like a smart cover, as you can see here.)

Apple also introduced a new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 S, in a rose-gold tone and significantly altered innards from their precedessors.

And it announced a 24-month payment plan with an option to upgrade for a new iPhone every year.

And animated iPhone photos.

To make things simpler, here’s everything that was unveiled at yesterday’s big event.

Here’s influential blogger John Gruber’s take on all the pretty new things, too.


New Fundings

CartoDB, a three-year-old, New York-based mapping software startup, has raised $23 million in Series B funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from Salesforce Ventures and earlier backers Earlybird Ventures and Kibo Ventures. The company has now raised $31 million altogether. TechCrunch hasmore here.

Chain, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose platform enables institutions to design, deploy, and operate blockchain networks, has raised $30 million in new funding from Visa, Nasdaq, Citi Ventures, Capital One Ventures, Fiserv and Orange, along with earlier backers Khosla VenturesRRE Ventures, Thrive Capital and SV Angel. Forbes has more here.

Delphinus Medical Technologies, a five-year-old, Plymouth Township, Mich.-based maker of breast ultrasound technology, has raised $39.5 million in Series C funding led by Venture Investors, with participation from Hopen Life Science Ventures, Waycross Ventures and earlier backers Arboretum Ventures, Beringea, and North Coast Technology Investors.

Discern, a 5.5-year-old, San Francisco-based analytics startup for investment professionals, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Artiman Ventures. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

EaseCentral, a nine-month-old, San Francisco-based online platform for insurance benefits brokers, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding led byFreestyle Capital, with participation from Upside Partnership, Metamorphic Ventures, Deep Fork Capital and Transmedia Capital. More here.

Fundbox, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based alternative lending startup, has raised $50 million in Series C funding less than six months after closing on a $40 million Series B round.  Spark Capital Growth led the round, with participation from Bezos Expeditions, Sound Ventures, and Entrée Capital, along with earlier backers Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst PartnersBlumberg Capital and investor Shlomo Kramer. The company has now raised $108 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

HookLogic, an 11-year-old, New York-based marketing company, has raised $15.5 million in Series C funding co-led by Fung Capital and Mousse Partners, with participation from earlier backers Bain Capital Ventures and Intel Capital. Vator has more here.

Optimal+, a 10-year-old, Israel-based maker of testing software for the semiconductor manufacturing process, has raised $42 million in growth equity funding led by KKR, with participation from earlier investors Carmel Ventures and Pitango Venture Capital. Reuters has more here.

Orchard Platform, a two-year-old, New York-based technology and infrastructure platform for marketplace lending, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Thrive Capital, with participation from Victory Park CapitalThomvest Ventures, and former Goldman Sachs president Jon Winkelried, as well as earlier investors, including Spark Capital, Canaan Partners, QED Investors, Nyca Partners, and Conversion Capital.

Paxata, a Redwood City, Ca.-based analytics startup whose technology lets business users clean up and transform data on their own, has raised $18 million in Series C funding led by EDBI, with participation from earlier backers Accel Partners India, Walden-Riverwood Ventures and Toba Capital. Fortune has more here.

Planet3, a 20-month-old, Washington, D.C.-based exploration-based learning company, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Switch, a Nevada-based data center developer. More here.

Plytix, 1.5-year-old, Copenhagen-based company that offers a way for brands to track the performance of their products across multiple web sites, has raised €500,000 in seed funding led by SEED Capital, with participation from unnamed angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

ThredUP, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based online consignment store, has raised $81 million in Series E funding led by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, with participation from earlier backers Trinity Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Redpoint Ventures. FastCompany has more here.

Unified, a four-year-old, New York-based marketing and analytics startup, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by iHeartMedia, with participation from Advance Publications, Upfront Ventures, and Foundry Group. The company also raised a $10 million debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank.


New Funds

Gobi Partners, a 13-year-old, Shanghai, China-based venture firm, has closed a new RMB 600 million (about $94 million) fund dedicated to providing fledgling startups in China with early-stage funding. TechCrunch has more here.

Kalaari Capital, a nine-year-old, Bangalore, India-based early-stage venture firm focused on India-based startups, has raised a new $290 million fund — a marked increase from its last fund, which closed with $160 million. Times of India has more here.

Following the success of its first, $1.5 million venture fund for Dartmouth College alumni (raised with the help of 44 individuals), Boston-based Launch Angels is launching new venture funds for Yale College and University of New Hampshire alumni, too. Bostinno has the story here.



First Data Corp., the Atlanta-based payments technology company backed by KKR, is hoping to raise at least $2.5 billion in its upcoming IPO, reports Bloomberg. It will be the year’s largest offering if it succeeds. More here.

Square, the mobile-payments company, plans to stage its IPO in the fourth quarter of this year, say Bloomberg sources.



Inrix, an 11-year-old, Kirkland, Wa.-based company that provides real-time traffic and other data to car companies, tech companies, and other enterprises, has acquired ParkMe, a six-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based startup that offers “smart parking” services to users, including finding and reserving parking spaces and paying for them by mobile. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. According to Crunchbase, ParkMe had raised $8.3 million from investors, including Fontinalis Partners and IDG Ventures. Inrix has meanwhile raised roughly $143 million from August Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Venrock, and Bain Capital Ventures, among others. More here.

Wave Broadband, a 12-year-old, Kirkland, Wa.-based gigabit fiber and broadband services company serving both business and residential users, has bought Layer42 Networks, a 16-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based company that provides businesses with Internet, colocation and data transport. (We don’t know the funding situation of either company.) More here.



SpaceX founder Elon Musk says thermonuclear bombs could be key to starting a Martian real estate boom. (He’s not joking.)

Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen has left his position as VP of mobile at Uber and has moved over to London to become a general partner at VC firm Balderton. TechCrunch has more here.

NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway said on Bloomberg TV yesterday that if Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer “hadn’t announced she was pregnant with twins, she’d be out of a job within six months . . . I don’t think any board in America right now in technology that’s as visible as Yahoo wants to be seen as not leaning in.” Fortune has more here.

Michael Giampapa, who formerly worked in the tech investment banking group at J.P. Morgan, has joined Institutional Venture Partners as an associate.

Slack has a higher percentage of African-Americans in engineering than it does company-wide, it revealed yesterday among other diversity-related data. TechCrunch has more here.

Uber poached roughly 50 scientists from Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center earlier this year; now it’s trying to make nice by announcing a $5.5 million gift to the school. More here.

HP’s Meg Whitman has joined SurveyMonkey’s board of directors. VentureBeat has more here.


Yahoo is looking to hire a corporate development M&A analyst. The job is in Sunnyvale, Ca.



Tough times ahead? Venture capital funding was down by 50 percent last quarter in China. More here.


Essential Reads

Well this kind of stinks: Intel is dropping its longtime financial support of the most prestigious science and mathematics competition for American high school students.

A California bill that would have curtailed drone usage, prompting the concern and considerable lobbying effort of tech companies like Amazon and Google, is now kaput.



How the “High Times” became the New York Yankees of New York media softball.


Retail Therapy

A shower head that uses 70 percent less water.

The Nike Cortez. They are back! Huzzah.

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