StrictlyVC: October 8, 2015

Hi, it is Thursday and we are off to another field trip! (Help!)

Hope you have a great day, everyone.


Top News in the A.M.

This morning, Amazon opened an arts-and-crafts bazaar online that squarely takes aim at a niche but growing market dominated by the Brooklyn-based Etsy.


Flightcar Raises Fresh $20.7 Million Amid Major “Restructuring”

Imagine a young startup where two of three founders are pushed out the door. Imagine that this same startup parts ways with its COO, its SVP of Finance, its VP of Guest Experience, its VP of Engineering, its VP of Marketing and roughly half its other full-time employees, all within a period of months. Not last, imagine that the remaining cofounder, who is 20, has never before held a full-time job.

Sound like a great company into which to sink a small fortune? Investors in Flightcar, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup, apparently think so. In fact, Priceline Group, Tencent Holdings, and earlier backers GGV Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Softbank Capital and First Round Capital came together last month to quietly provide the company with $20.7 million in Series B funding. It has now raised roughly $40 million to date.

Flightcar was formed to address a very real problem: the hassles involved in airport parking. The idea: while you’re away on a trip, someone else arriving into town can use your ride. You leave your car with a valet and skip the process of schlepping back and forth to a far-flung lot. You also avoid parking fees that can add up fast. Your car, meanwhile, gets insured against theft and damage, it’s thoroughly cleaned, and you’re given a little cash for every day your car was rented.

The idea isn’t foolproof for many reasons, including growing competition from Uber. But Flightcar had been ticking along just the same, striking deals with three airports – San Francisco, Boston, and L.A. — by September of last year and raising $13.5 million in the process.

Then, encouraged by investors to start scaling as rapidly as possible, the figurative wheels began to come off.

More here.


New Fundings

Binary Fountain, an 11-year-old, McLean, Va.-based company that makes health care reputation management and patient experience analytics software, has raised $16 million in Series A funding led by HLM Venture Partners. Earlier backers Providence Health & Services and Pioneer Venture Partners also joined the round. More here.

CareSync, a four-year-old, Tampa, Fla.-based maker of software and services for chronic disease management, has raised $18 million in Series B funding from Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Greycroft Partners and Harbert Venture Partners, with participation from earlier backers Tullis Health Investors, Clearwell Group, CDH Solutions and the company’s founder and CEO, Travis Bond.

Hixme, a year-old, Agoura Hills, Ca.-based online platform that helps employers transition to a new type of market-based private benefit exchange, has raised $10.14 million in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. More here.

Hubba, a three-year-old, Toronto, Ontario-based B2B product sharing and discovery platform, has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Real Ventures, with Kensington Venture Fund, and various funds managed by Canso Investment Counsel. Earlier backers Brightspark Ventures and numerous angel investors also joined the round. More here.

Hulbee, a seven-year-old, Switzerland-based semantic search company that launched a consumer search engine in the U.S. this August, has raised $9 million in angel funding. The company isn’t disclosing those investors’ names. TechCrunch has more here.

Pypestream, a months-old, New York-based messaging app designed to connect organizations with their customers and employees, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by WGI Group and Jonah Goodhart, the co-founder of Moat. TechCrunch has more here.

Quartet Medicine, a two-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based developer of treatments for chronic pain and inflammation, has added $6.25 million to its Series A funding, bringing the total round to $23.25 million. Investors include Atlas Venture, Novartis Venture Funds, Partners Innovation Fund, Pfizer Venture Investments, Remeditex and two undisclosed Shanghai-based strategic investors. More here.

Reflektive, a year-old, San Francisco-based employee engagement and performance platform, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz. We’ve written more about the deal here on TechCrunch.

Scalock, a months-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that wants to secure the burgeoning container space, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from TLV Partners, a new fund launched earlier this year by veterans of the Israeli VC scene Rona Segev and Eitan Bek. TechCrunch has more here.

Skurt, a year-old, L.A.-based on-demand rental car delivery service, has raised $1.3 million in seed funding led by Upfront Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

Formation8 Partners Hardware Fund I LP has been renamed Eclipse Ventures Fund I LP, according to a filing flagged by Venture Capital Dispatch. The outlet says the fund — which has closed with $125 million, according to its sources — still appears to be under the umbrella of the San Francisco venture firm Formation 8. You can check out that new SEC filing here.



Hit or miss? Data storage rivals see the IPO of flash storage company Pure Storage very differently, reports the Silicon Valley Business Journal.



Dell is reportedly in talks with EMC over a possible merger.



Harvard, Goldman Sachs, venture capitalist and now fugitive. The WSJ digs into the strange story of Ifty Ahmed.

Sources tell Reuters that an IP address belonging to Lyft CTO Chris Lambertwas used to access a security key that was later employed in a breach of Uber driver data.

Elon Musk has now hinted at a Tesla Model Y with falcon-wing doors. Ars Technica has more here.


Essential Reads

With Seattle’s tech scene booming, it’s begun looking to the Bay Area as a cautionary tale.



“Extreme poverty” should fall below 10 percent of the world’s population for the first time this year.

Every conversation between a parent and a child.

Smartphone battery myths, explained.


Retail Therapy

Slim house.

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