StrictlyVC: September 24, 2015

Disrupt is over! And now, to a winery. Have a great Thursday, everyone.


Top News in the A.M.

Crikey. Yesterday, the Office of Personnel Management said the hackers who stole security dossiers from the agency also got the fingerprints of 5.6 million federal employees. Fingerprints, notes the New York Times, are being used more frequently to assure identity in secure government facilities and elsewhere.


Premise Raises $50 Million to Outsource the Collection of Economic Data

Three-year-old Premise, an economic data tracking platform, has raised $50 million in Series C funding from earlier backer Social + Capital Partnership and new investor Valor Equity Partners, which pitched in $35 million.<

Valor’s Antonio Gracias, who is also a director at Tesla and SpaceX, is joining the board. He joins the company’s earlier board members Chamath Palihapitiya, who founded Social + Capital; Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary; and investor Karim Farris of Google Ventures.

It’s easy to understand Premise’s appeal. The 40-person, San Francisco-based SaaS company does something that’s somewhat singular: it uses 25,000 “contributors” in 32 countries and tasks them with photographing and otherwise documenting economic data in order to provide customers like the World Bank with highly valuable information.

Just how extensive is the impact of government-driven food rationing in Venezuela? Premise has boots on the ground who will show up at grocery stores and send back information that Premise’s data analysts then parse. In Yemen, where there’s an emerging famine, how much of the food aid being dropped into the country is reaching its intended destination? Because of its recruits, Premise knows more, and faster, than the relief organizations that are becoming some of its customers. (Others of its customers include Bloomberg and Standard Chartered Bank.)

Yesterday, we talked with founder David Soloff, who previously cofounded the privately held ad tech company Metamarkets, to learn more. Our conversation has been edited for length.

More here.


New Fundings

CliniCloud, a year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes connected medical devices for the home, has raised $5 million in seed funding, including from Tencent Holdings and Ping An Ventures. Forbes has more here.

DriverUp, a three-year-old, Dallas, Tex.-based online marketplace for automotive financing, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by SF Capital Group, with participation from earlier backers Emerald Development Managers and RRE Ventures. More here.

G-Banker, a 10-month-old Beijing, China-based gold trading platform that enables consumers to buy, store, and sell gold online, has raised $17 million in Series B funding led by Softbank China Venture Capital and the Chinese real estate firm the Evergrande Group. More here.

Innerchef, a months-old, Gurgaon, India-based online food delivery platform that focuses both on ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook meals, has raised $1.66 million in funding from numerous individual investors. YourStory has more here.

iQ media, a five-year-old, Conshohocken, Pa.-based media analytics company that counts the NFL and Mercedes Benz among its customers, has raised $9 million in Series B funding from Edison Partners. More here.

MasteryConnect, a six-year-old, Sandy, Ut.-based education-technology startup, has raised $5 million in Series B-1 funding from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. The company had raised $15.2 million in Series B funding last year. More here.

Metabiota, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based company that uses a network of on-the-ground epidemiologists and risk analytics to track disease outbreaks, has raised $1 million from Google Ventures as an add-on to a $30 million round the company announced in May that included investors Data Collective, Capricorn Health & Special Opportunities, Industry VenturesRSTP and WP Global Partners. VentureWire has the news about the deal (which mostly sounds like a new data-sharing partnership), here.

Onshape, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based cloud-based CAD software maker, has raised a whopping $80 million led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from earlier backers New Enterprise AssociatesCommonwealth Capital Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners. We talked with the company about its new round here.

Scribble Technologies, a seven-year-old, Toronto-based content marketing platform, has raised $35 million in Series D funding led by OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund, with participation from Emerillon Capital, Blue Cloud Ventures, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, Rogers VenturesSummerhill Venture Partners, Georgian Partners, Export Development Corp. of Canada, and Waterloo Innovation Fund. More here.

Skillz, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based eSports tournament platform, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by David Bonderman’s Wildcat Capital Management, with participation from The Kraft Group, owners of the New England Patriots; and Marc Lasry, co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. More here.

StreamSets, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose infrastructure aims to accelerate time-to-analysis when it comes to big data processing in enterprises, has raised $12.5 million in funding co-led by Battery Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Accel Partners, Battery Ventures, Data Collective, Ignition Partners and New Enterprise Associates. More here.

Teambition, a 2.5-year-old, Shanghai, China-based cloud-based collaboration and project management tool, has raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Northern Light Venture Capital, with participation from earlier backers IDG Capital Partners, Vangoo Investment Partners and Microsoft VenturesMore here.

Veran Medical Technologies, a 16-year-old, St. Louis, Mo.-based company that’s commercializing technologies to detect lung cancer at an early stage, has raised $30.6 million co-led by River Cities Capital Funds and Versant Ventures, with participation from earlier backers 3G Capital, Advantage Capital, Dynamic Investments, Rex Health Ventures, Prolog Ventures and Vectis. More here.

Yhouse, a two-year-old, Shanghai, China-based social networking and concierge app for China’s wealthy population, has raised $19 million in Series B funding led by SAIF Partners and Shenzhen Fortune Venture Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Zscaler, a seven-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based internet-security company, has added $25 million in new funding to a previously closed Series D round from Google Capital. Earlier backers in the round (now fully closed with $110 million), included TPG, EMC, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Silicon Valley Business Journal has more here.



Bioceres, an Argentina-based agro-industrial biotechnology business, has filed for an initial public offering of American Depositary Shares. More here.

Pure Storage has set the terms for its IPO, revealing that it’s looking to raise up to $450 million. More here.



BillGuard, a five-year-old, New York-based crowdsourced security app for personal finance, has been acquired by peer-to-peer lending giant Prosper Marketplace. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but VentureBeat saysthe transaction amounts to around $30 million in cash, plus an undisclosed stock component. According to CrunchBase, BillGuard had raised $16.5 million from investors, including Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, IA Ventures, and Founders Fund.



Combinator President Sam Altman had a somewhat gloomy prediction for Disrupt attendees during an on-stage interview yesterday: If the state and federal government “can’t get [their] act together in time” and find solutions to shifts brought by technology, we’re in serious trouble.

Harvard’s endowment chief, Stephen Blyth, said in an annual report released Tuesday that the university is getting “particularly discriminating” about where it invests its money these days, as “[t]he debate about highly-valued assets continues to get louder . . . This environment is likely to result in lower future returns than in the recent past.” The WSJ has the story here.

Ellen Pao won’t have to pay her former employer, Kleiner Perkinsafter all.

Google CFO Ruth Porat just bought Palo Alto’s most expensive house. (Amazingly, it had sat vacant for decades.)

Mark Selcow, the longtime president of the sales performance management software company Merced Systems (acquired in 2011) and currently the interim CEO of the startup Quizlet, has joined Costanoa Venture Capital as a venture partner. More here.


Essential Reads

The fake traffic schemes that are rotting the Internet.

A detailed look into Beijing’s sprawling state-controlled cyberespionage machinery.

A plot twist: E-book sales slip, and print is far from dead.



Jimmy Fallon’s “Jimpire.”

A supermoon lunar eclipse is coming this weekend. Don’t miss it. You won’t have another chance to see one until 2033.


Retail Therapy

Because why shouldn’t a flask look like a giant cigar.

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