StrictlyVC: October 16, 2015

Ah, Friday, not a day too soon.:) Hope you have a fantastic weekend, everyone!


Top News in the A.M.

Regulators in Nevada just banned DraftKings, FanDuel and other daily fantasy sports sites, saying that they’re unlicensed gambling operators.


YC Tells VCs Not to Worry About Its New, $700 Million Growth Fund

Almost a year-and-a-half after Ali Rowghani resigned as COO of Twitter, he’s been appointed the head of Y Combinator’s growth fund by the organization’s president, Sam Altman.

TechCrunch had heard whispers of the move earlier this week, but Altman made the announcement official earlier yesterday,tweeting of Rowghani that he’s a “wonderful partner to help companies scale.”

Rowghani joined Y Combinator as a part-time partner back in November of last year. Earlier in his career, from 2002 through 2008, he served as the CFO of Pixar. (Rowghani had joined Twitter as CFO from Pixar but was made COO in 2012.)

Yesterday, we hopped on the phone with Rowghani to discuss some of his plans moving forward.

Most notably, Y Combinator will be leading investments in startups with its new growth capital, which is coming in part from Stanford University, Willett Advisors, and TrueBridge Capital Partners, according to the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, as TechCrunch reported early this week, YC is the lead investor in Checkr, a San Francisco-based startup that runs background checks and vets potential hires for fast-growing startups. The company is raising at least $30 million in Series B funding, at a valuation north of $250 million.

For VCs who haven’t had to compete with Y Combinator in later-stage rounds, this is a Big Deal.

More here.


New Fundings

Codacy, a three-year-old, Lisbon, Portugal-based company that makes an automated code review tool, has raised €1 million ($1.1 million) in a seed extension round from Caixa Capital, with participation from current investors Faber Ventures and E.S. Ventures. The company has now raised €1.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

HappyCar, a two-year-old, Hamburg, Germany-based car rental comparison startup, has raised $1.58 million in funding led by Capnamic Ventures, with participation from HR Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Swoodoo founder Wolfgang Heigl, among others. The company has now raised $3.2 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.

Emergent VR, a months-old, Francisco, N.C.-based startup that promises full video capture that can be viewed on virtual reality headsets, has raised $2.2 million from Accel Partners, Rothenberg Ventures and Google Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Klook, a year-old, Hong Kong-based company that sells travel activities across Asia, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners. China Growth Capital and Francis Leung, chairman of CVC Capital. The round brings the company’s total funding to $6.5 million. TechCrunch has more here.

MycoTechnology, a two-year-old, Aurora, Co.-based natural food technology company that employs “gourmet fungi,” has held a first close on a $9.2 million Series A round from S2G Ventures, Seventure Partners, and Middleland Capital. More here.

Quip, a three-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based company behind a hybrid communications, collaboration and productivity service, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Greylock Partners, with participation from Benchmark. Recode has more here., a 12-year-old, Moscow-based online sports company that live-streams video game tournaments, has received roughly $100 million in funding from billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s USM Holdings. Bloomberg has more here.



Alibaba is acquiring Youku Tudou, one of China’s top YouTube-like services, in a $3.5 billion deal. TechCrunch has more here.

The publicly traded enterprise software company Red Hat is spending more than $100 million to acquired Ansible, a two-year-old, Santa Barbara, Ca.-based company that helps its clients build and manage hybrid IT deployments across the cloud and on site, reports VentureBeat. Ansible had raised $6 million from Menlo Venture and, shows CrunchBase.



First Data Corporation ended lower in its trading debut yesterday, a move that could dampen the struggling IPO market even more. Dealbook has more here.



Former Microsoft CEO (and current L.A. Clippers owner) Steve Ballmer says he has built up a 4 percent stake in Twitter.

Flipboard cofounder Evan Doll isn’t returning to the company after a long sabbatical. Instead, he’s becoming an entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint Ventures.

Square (and Twitter) CEO Jack Dorsey is giving almost 20 percent of his Square stake to an organization serving struggling communities.

Matt Kelly, Facebook‘s head of growth product, has resigned from the company.

The restaurant search app Zomato has laid off 300 employees, or 10 percent of its staff.



Hercules Technology Growth Capital is looking to hire an associate. The job is in Palo Alto, Ca.


Essential Reads

Under pressure from regulators, Theranos has stopped collecting tiny vials of blood drawn from finger pricks for all but one of its tests, reports the WSJ.

Stanford and Michael Bloomberg now back every Y Combinator startup.

Dropbox‘s reinvention continues with Paper.



How well do you know the news? Take Fast Company’s quiz.

American’s top 10 fears, 2015 edition.

The new “billionaire beach bunker,” in Miami.

Pirate cat.


Retail Therapy

Vuarnet Glacier Spectre sunglasses. James Bond wears them. Just sayin’.

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