StrictlyVC: October 19, 2015

Hi, everyone, happy Monday! No column today, but we have some good stuff coming your way tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Also, congratulations to our co-conspirator in StrictlyVC events and our favorite guest editor, investor Semil Shah, on his beautiful week-old twin sons. We’re so happy for his family.


Top News in the A.M.

The Transportation Department plans to announce today that it wants to soon require registration for all unmanned drones “except for toys and those with minimal safety risk,” according to the WSJ. Its concern: That the devices increasingly pose a threat to people on the ground and in the air.

This morning, Amazon has come out swinging hard at the mid-August New York Times piece that called the company’s workplace culture “bruising.”

Hundreds of iOS applications have just been pulled from the App Store, following a report from analytics service SourceDNA, which uncovered a group of applications that were extracting users’ personally identifiable information, including their email associated with their Apple ID, device and peripheral serial numbers, and a list of apps installed on their phone.


New Fundings

AppSheet, a three-year-old, Seattle-based startup whose tool lets companies build their own custom mobile apps without writing code, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from New Enterprise Associates. The company has now raised $2.1 million altogether. GeekWire has more here.

Ensighten, a six-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based maker of enterprise tag management software to enable companies to manage their sites more effectively,has raised $53 million in private equity and debt financing. Insight Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital, Mack Capital and Volition Capitalprovided the equity; Silicon Valley Bank provided the debt. AdExchanger hasmore here.

HealthiPASS, a two-year-old, Chicago-based patient check-in and payments company, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by OCA Ventures, with participation from Beverly Capital and MPG Equity Partners.More here.

StreetHub, a two-year-old, London-based startup that helps independent retailers be discovered and sell online, has raised $2.6 million in new funding led by earlier investor Octopus Ventures, with participation from Index Ventures and Playfair Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

TinderBox, a five-year-old, Indianapolis Ia.-based company that sells cloud-based sales productivity software, has raised $7 million in funding co-led by Greycroft Partners and Allos Ventures, with participation from the regional firm High Alpha. Indianapolis Business Journal has more here.

UserZoom Technologies, an eight-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based SaaS platform used to test web and mobile products, has raised $34 million in new funding led by TC Growth Partners, with participation from Trident Capital and StepStone Group. NovoBrief has more here.



Dyson, the British maker of vacuums, has agreed to acquire Ann Arbor, Mich.-based battery startup Sakti3 for $90 million in cash, according to Quartz. Sakti3 has raised around $50 million in VC funding from Dyson, Beringea, GM Ventures, ITOCHU Corp. and Khosla Ventures.

Time Inc. has acquired Hello Giggles, operator of the pop-culture, beauty and lifestyle website, for $20 million, give or take, says the WSJ. The company was founded in 2011 by entertainer Zooey Deschanel.



Ellipse Technologies, a 10-year-old Aliso Viejo, Ca.-based company that makes orthopedic implant systems, has filed for a $75 million IPO. Its largest outside shareholders include HBM Healthcare Investors, which owns 29.9 percent of the company; Wexford Capital, which owns 18 percent; and HBM-MedFocus, which owns 12.9 percent. More here.

Match Group, a spinoff of IAC that owns properties like Tinder and OKCupid, has filed to go public. TechCrunch has much more here.

Mimecast, a 12-year-old, London-based email security provider, has filed to go public on Nasdaq. The company has raised roughly $90 million over the years, shows CrunchBase. Its investors include Insight Venture Partners, which owns 19.8 percent of the company; Index Ventures, which owns 17 percent; and Dawn Capital, which owns 14.5 percent. Reuters has more here.



Legendary venture capitalist Michael Moritz has published an opinion piece about the boom in “unicorn” tech businesses, saying many are “subprime.”

Jacqueline Reses is leaving her role as chief development officer at Yahoo, to help boost the executive team at Square. Bloomberg has the storyhereYahoo Marketing Partnership SVP Lisa Licht is also out the door, though it isn’t clear yet where she’s headed.

VCs tend to be optimistic about startups, but have they grown blindly defensive? Business Insider suggests the answer is yes.

Inside a love triangle at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Meet venture capital’s teenage analyst.



Mercedes-Benz is hiring a venture scout. The job is in Sunnyvale, Ca.



Home prices are bad in San Francisco, but they’ve pulled almost as far away from the middle class in Los Angeles and San Diego, suggests Standard & Poor’s data.


Essential Reads

Late last week, TechCrunch obtained documents that show Pinterest has been forecasting $169 million in revenue this year and $2.8 billion in annual revenue by 2018, and expecting to grow its monthly active users to 151 million by year end and to 329 million by 2018.

In April, Amazon filed suit against the operators of websites that offered Amazon sellers the ability to purchase fake, four and five-star reviews of their products. Now it’s going after individuals who provide such fake reviews.

Apple wants mobile devices to be filled with apps. Google supports a world where people browse the web for most things. Sites are increasingly caught in the middle.

Twenty new ways Facebook is eating the Internet.



Facebook will now notify you of “state-sponsored attacks” on your account.

Parents talk differently to boys and girls after accidents.

An epic escape from Syria.


Retail Therapy

24-karat gold manicure set, for when every other overpriced gift idea in the world has been exhausted.

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