StrictlyVC: October 15, 2015

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Top News in the A.M.

Square is officially going public, and investors in its most recent round were guaranteed a return of at least 20 percent, shows its SEC filing.

The FBI and the US attorney’s office in Boston have launched an investigation into whether DraftKings and other fantasy sports operators are violating federal gambling laws, according to the Washington Post.


Kinnek, a Small Biz Marketplace, Raises $20 Million Led by Thrive

Kinnek, a 3.5-year-old, New York-based marketplace for small businesses to find suppliers and manage purchasing, has just raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Thrive Capital.

It already looks like a smart bet.

The company currently has 20,000 businesses and 2,000 suppliers using its marketplace, and they’re striking millions of dollars worth of deals every week, says cofounder Karthik Sridharan. Considering the company’s age and the fragmented landscape in which it’s operating – think restaurants to distilleries to manufacturers – that kind of traction is meaningful.

It’s also just the tip of the iceberg, apparently. According to a spokesperson for the company, Kinnek “conservatively” estimates that U.S. businesses with up to 100 employees and $20 million in yearly sales spend more than $2.2 trillion annually on machinery, equipment and physical goods based on data from Visa, Intuit, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While we can’t vouch for the accuracy of that number (there are lots of different figures floating around out there), what is clear is the competition, or lack of it, facing Kinnek.

More here.


(Other) New Fundings

17hats, a 1.5-year-old, L.A.-based business management app for small business owners, including project management, quotes, time tracking and bookkeeping, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Wavemaker Partners, which also led the company’s $1.3 million seed round earlier this year. TechCrunch has more here.

8i, a 1.5-year-old, New Zealand-headquartered company that’s building a consumer media platform to let users create and share immersive 3D video of real people, has raised $13.5 million in Series A funding from RRE VenturesFounders Fund Science, Horizons Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Dolby Family Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Sound Ventures, Signia Venture Partners, Inevitable Ventures, Freelands Ventures, Advancit Capital, Rothenberg Ventures and Boost VC (among others). TechCrunch has more here.

23andMe, the nine-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based genetics-testing company, has raised $115 million in Series E funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Co., with participation from Google Ventures and New Enterprise Associates and new backers Casdin Capital and WuXi Healthcare Ventures. The financing implies a valuation of $1.1 billion, reports Bloomberg.

Bracket Computing, a four-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based company that protects corporate customers from some of the security risk associated with cloud computing, and which was founded by veterans of the anti-spam company Ironport Systems, has raised $45 million. Fidelity Management and Research and Goldman Sachs joined the round along with several current investors. The company has now raised $130 million altogether. Venture Capital Dispatch has the story here.

Clustree, a two-year-old, Paris, France-based recruiting tool that helps HR departments assess internal candidates by matching up employees’ talents and job openings, has raised $2.9 million (€2.5 million) in new funding from Alven Capital and business angels. TechCrunch has more here.

Decibel Therapeutics, a months-old, Boston-based hearing company focused on discovering and developing new medicines to protect, repair and restore hearing, has raised $52 million in Series A funding led by Third Rock Ventures, with participation from SR One. Forbes has more here.

FabFitFun, a five-year-old, L.A.-based women’s lifestyle subscription box company that sends off products from numerous categories, including beauty, fashion, food, wellness, and technology, has raised $3.5 million in funding led by New Enterprise Associates and Upfront Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

FollowAnalytics, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile marketing automation and engagement platform, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Aspect Ventures, with participation from Salesforce Ventures. Earlier backers Sapphire Ventures, Zetta Venture Partners and others also joined the round. More here.

Gaana, a five-year-old, New Delhi, India-based music streaming service, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Micromax, the country’s largest smartphone maker, which will now bundle Gaana’s music app on its devices. TechCrunch has more here.

Galera Therapeutics, a six-year-old, Malvern, Pa.-based clinical-stage biotech developing new treatments for cancer patients, has raised $37 million in Series B funding led by Novo Ventures, with participation from earlier backers New Enterprise Associates, Novartis Venture Fund, Correlation Ventures and Galera Angels. More here.

Hatch Baby, a two-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based company whose smart changing pad is due to ship soon (it weighs babies so parents know they’re gaining enough weight as they grow), has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by True Ventures. Other participants in the round include Geoff RalstonJames Hong, H. Barton Co-Invest Fund, and Veddis Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Hermo, a 3.5-year-old, Malaysia-based online cosmetics and skincare marketplace, has raised $2 million in Series A funding from Gobi Partners. Tech In Asia has more here.

Lenddo, a four-year-old, New York-headquartered company that helps financial service providers with their credit scoring and online verification, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by new investors AT Capital and Life.SREDA, with participation from earlier backers Omidyar NetworkBlumberg Capital and Golden Gate Ventures. More here.

Mast Mobile, a two-year-old, New York-based mobile communications platform that provides phones to its corporate customers that feature separate work and personal numbers, has raised $7 million in funding led by by FirstMark Capital. Other participants include DFJ, Eniac Ventures, Harrison Metal, HMM Investors, and Initialized Ventures. We talked about the company yesterday with CEO David Messenger. More from that chat here.

Niantic, a four-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based games maker that began as a lab within Google and was spun out last month, has raised $20 million in Series A funding from Pokémon Company Group, Google and Nintendo. TechCrunch has more here.

OpenGov, a three-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company whose software visualizes municipal financial data, allowing governments to access, analyze, and share that data with the public, has raised $25 million in Series C funding from earlier backers Andreessen Horowitz, Formation 8, Thrive Capital and AITV, along with new investors Glynn Capital, Sound Ventures, and Intuit founder Scott Cook. TechCrunch has more here.

Outdoor Voices, a three-year-old, New York-based recreational apparel — or “athleisure wear” — company, has raised $7 million in new funding led by earlier backer General Catalyst Partners, with participation from Forerunner Ventures, Collaborative Fund, and 14W. The company had previously raised $1.1 million in seed funding. TechCrunch has more here.

Zwipe, a six-year-old, Oslo, Norway-based company whose embedded fingerprint reader technology can authenticate card payments, just raised $5 million in Series B funding from Photon Future, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Shenzhen, China-based high-tech holding group Kuang-Chi Group. TechCrunch has more here.



VMware has announced plans to purchase email management app Boxer for an undisclosed amount. Three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based Boxer had raised $3 million dollars from Sutter Hill Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.



The eight-year-old, French music streaming service Deezer has announced that it plans to raise €300 million ($343 million) in a public listing that will take place in its native France at the end of this month. TechCrunch has more here.



Christina Smedley, who’d been PayPal’s VP of global brand and communications, is joining Facebook to run communications for Messenger. TechCrunch has more here.



Eastman Kodak is looking for a director of business development. The job is in San Francisco.

Pandora wants to add a senior associate to its corporate development group. The job is in Oakland, Ca.



Yesterday, CB Insights and KPMG published their most recent numbers. Today, it’s Dow Jones VentureSource, and the theme is much the same: Investments continued apace in the third quarter, hitting $19 billion, according to its findings. U.S. venture investments hit $54.6 billion for the first nine months of the year; that’s nearly all the venture money invested in 2014 (which was $55.5 billion). Still, bubbly as those figures may sound, they’re still likely to be below the record $94.17 billion invested in 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom, says the report. Much more here.


Essential Reads

Theranos, which has raised more than $400 million from investors, is struggling with its blood tests, reports the WSJ. Notably, it has retained legendary litigator David Boies, too, which could mean one of two things. Meanwhile, founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes has pronounced the WSJ piece “disappointing” and “full of falsehoods.”

The unicorn boom has just begun, argues Forbes.



A Twitter account run by a chicken.


Retail Therapy

The August doorbell cam, accessible from you phone.

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