StrictlyVC: September 22, 2015

Happy Tuesday, everyone! No column today, but we hope you’ll find some useful content in what you see below.

We’re back at TechCrunch Disrupt; hope to see a bunch of you again today.:)


Top News in the A.M.

Apple is planning to ship its first electric car(s) in 2019, say WSJ sources.

Volkswagen’s emissions crisis deepened earlier today when the company said that as many as 11 million vehicles worldwide could be affected by software allegedly used to cheat emissions tests.


New Fundings

Agora, a 1.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based communications-as-a-service startup, has raised $20 million in Series B round from Morningside VenturesSIG, GGV Capital, ShunWei Capital and IDG Capital Partners. According to China Money Network, the company has now raised $25.9 million altogether.More here.

CloudFlare, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose product and services filters and cleans all internet traffic before it reaches its customers websites, has raised $110 million in new funding by Fidelity, with participation from Google Capital, Microsoft, Baidu, and Qualcomm Ventures. Business Insider has more here.

CoverHound, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based site that lets people search for, compare, and buy auto and property insurance through its own site and Google’s insurance search, has raised $33.3 million in Series C funding led by the insurance giant ACE Group, with participation from RRE VenturesBlumberg Capital, Core Innovation Capital, Route 66 Ventures and American Family Ventures (the venture capital arm of American Family Insurance). The company has now raised just north of $53 million. TechCrunch has more here.

Cruise, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup working on technology that would enable cars to go into “highway autopilot” mode, has raised $12.5 million in a Series A round that was led by Spark Capital and Y Combinator President Sam Altman. The company has now raised $16.8 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Daraz, a three-year-old, Berlin-based creation of Rocket Internet  that began life as a fashion portal and has since evolved into an Amazon-like e-commerce portal serving Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar, has raised $56 million in funding led by the CDC Group, a development finance institution wholly-owned by the UK government. Rocket Internet’s regional investment group, the Asia Pacific Internet Group, also participated. TechCrunch has more here.

Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, a 12-year-old, Lexington, Ma.-based company at work on cancer therapies that could be less susceptible to resistance than some existing treatments, has raised $75 million Series B funding led by new investor New Leaf Venture Partners. FierceBiotech has more here.

Flashgap, a 16-month-old, Paris, France-based time-delayed photo-sharing app, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from unnamed French and American investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Globality, a months-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based stealth startup that says, somewhat cryptically, that it’s building artificial intelligence technology that will enable mid-size and small businesses to play a greater role in driving the global economy, has raised $10 million from a group of high-profile angel investors, including former Vice President Al Gore, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman. TechCrunch has more here.

GrubMarket, an 18-month-old, Newark, Ca.-based online farmers’ market that supplies local fresh food to customers, has raised $10 million in Series A funding  led by Fosun Group, with participation from Y Combinator, Battery Ventures, GGV and AME Cloud Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Headspace, a five-year-old, Venice, Ca.-based digital health platform that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training, has raised $30 million from The Chernin Group, Advancit Capital, Allen & CompanyBreyer Capital, The Honest Company co-founder Jessica Alba, actor Jared Leto, TV personality Ryan Seacrest, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner and others. TechCrunch has more here.

iAdvize, a five-year-old Nantes, France-based company that makes multi-channel, real-time customer service software, has just raised $16 million from Iris Capital, Bpifrance and existing investor Alven Capital. More here.

Jaunt, a two-and-a-half-year-old cinematic virtual reality startup, has raised $65 million in new funding, led by Disney, with participation from Evolution Media Partners, a growth equity and investment joint venture from TPG Growth, Evolution Media Capital and Participant Media. Recode has more here.

Modernizing Medicine, a five-year-old, Boca Raton, Fla.-based company that makes a cloud-based, specialty-specific electronic medical record system, has raised $38 million in Series E funding from Pentland Group and funds affiliated with Summit Partners and Sands Capital Ventures. The company has now raised $87 million altogether, it says. More here.

Morphick Cyber Security, an eight-month-old, Cincinnati, Oh.-based cyber security managed service, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Orchard Holdings Group. More here.

Portea Medical, a four-year-old, Bangalore, India-based in-home medical care company, has raised $37.5 million in Series B funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from International Finance Corporation, Qualcomm Ventures and Ventureast. More here.


New Funds

Jungle Ventures, a five-year-old, Singapore-based venture firm, has announced a new $100 million fund. (Note: That’s ten times larger than its $10 million debut fund, closed in 2012.) TechCrunch has more here.

Trifecta Capital Partners — the year-old, Mumbai, India-based venture debt firm of Rahul Khanna, a longtime managing director at venture capital firm Canaan Partners — has held a first close of roughly $30 million on its debut fund. LiveMint has more here on the effort.



German publishing giant Axel Springer is closing in on a deal to buy the web publisher Business Insider in a deal valued at around $560 million, reports Recode. Business Insider, founded in 2007, has raised $57 million over the years, including from Axel Springer, which bought a stake in the company in January. Others of its backers include Bezos Expeditions, RRE VenturesInstitutional Venture Partners, Allen & Company, Pilot Group, and Marc Andreessen.



The former UK head of Google, Dan Cobley, has launched a new venture called SalaryFinance and he’s already saying it will “be talked about in some of the same sentences as unicorn businesses over the next few years.” More here.

Some significant downsizing is underway at Groupon, the daily deals and local-commerce site, reports TechCrunch. The company is today announcing that it will be cutting 1,100 jobs and taking a pre-tax charge of $35 million in the process.



India reached a record high in venture capital fundraising, deals, and exits in 2014, but investments this year might surpass that, says a new report from Preqin.


Essential Reads

Facebook giveth and Facebook taketh away.



Why the U.S. hides 700 million barrels of oil underground.

Charlie Chaplin’s scandalous life — and boundless artistry.


Retail Therapy

To be clear, these are golf shoes.

The 21 Bitcoin Computer. We don’t know how we’d use this, but you might have some ideas.

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