StrictlyVC: October 30, 2015

Hi, everyone, we’re running off to a Halloween parade. Hope you have a frightfully good weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday!


Top News in the A.M.

The SEC is voting to finalize rules on Title III of the JOBS Act today.

HTC’s latest financial results are out, and the struggling Taiwanese company is still struggling.

LinkedIn reported its third quarter earnings yesterday, and they trounced analyst expectations.

SolarCity also beat revenue expectations yesterday.


Blind, An Anonymous Chat App for Employees, Raises Series A Funding from DCM

Tired of being monitored by your company while wanting to dish with colleagues about said company? Or maybe you’re curious about what people with similar work experience are making at other companies. Blind, a two-year-old app founded in South Korea and newly available in the U.S., may be just the thing for you.

Its big idea: bringing anonymity to the workplace so you can “share the real you” with other employees. If you happen to figure out what’s really happening in the upper echelons of the company, so much the better.

Blind’s origins trace back to Naver, the South Korean Internet giant, which long ran a widely used employee forum but pulled the plug when employees began making less-than-flattering remarks about management. When a group of Naver employees left to form Blind, many Naver employees embraced the platform, followed by employees elsewhere.

It’s been growing ever since, says Osuke Honda, a general partner at DCM, which led an unannounced Series A round of “single digit millions” in the company in May. Indeed, he says that another pivotal moment for Blind came late last year, when a senior Korean Air executive exploded in a rage after a flight attendant presented her peanuts in a bag instead of on a dish.

More here.


New Fundings

Aira.IO, a year-old, La Jolla, Calif.-based visual interpreter for the blind, has raised $790,000 in seed funding from Lux Capital and ARCH Venture Partners. More here.

Monclarity, a Burlingame, Ca.-based company that was cofounded by a neuropsychologist and makes games that it promises can train the brain under the brand Brainwell, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Access Industries. More here.

Elastic Path Software, a 15-year-old, Vancouver, Canada- based company that builds commerce software for e-tailers, has raised $7.6 million from Yaletown Venture Partners and BDC Venture Capital. More here.

Filld, a months-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based on-demand fuel delivery startup, has raised $3.25 million in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Javelin Ventures Partners. More here.

MabSpace Biosciences, a seven-year-old, Suzhou, China-based developer of antibody-based therapeutics designed to treat cancer, has raised $15 million in Series A funding from Lilly Asia Ventures. China Money Network has more here.

TrendKite, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based public relations analytics company, has raised $10.7 million in Series C funding led by Noro-Moseley Partners, with participation from earlier backers Battery Ventures, Silverton Partners and Mercury Fund. More here.


New Funds

Altos Ventures is looking to raise up to $110 million for its second Korea-focused venture capital fund, according to an SEC filing that states the first sale has yet to occur.

BPI France has launched a $100 million fund focused on tourism and leisure. FinSMEs has more here.

Frazier Healthcare Partners, which just closed a $262 million eighth fund, is raising a separate growth buyout fund, shows an SEC filing that doesn’t list a target. (If you missed it, we talked earlier this week with the firm about its fundraising adventures.)<

Green Visor Capital, a San Francisco-based financial-services-focused venture firm, is looking to raise $200 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing that states the first sale has yet to occur.

U.S. Venture Partners has raised $281.3 million for its eleventh fund, shows an SEC filing. The firm officially kicked off fundraising in September of last year.



Mainstream, a three-year-old content management and delivery platform for video content creators, is being acquired by Cisco for undisclosed terms (though one of Mainstream’s investors, DCM, says the deal is producing a 14x return on its investment). Altogether, Mainstream had raised $8.75 million, including from the satellite company Sky, Menlo Ventures and Luminari Capital. Variety has more here.

The Seattle-based online home services platform has acquired Fountain, a service that connects Internet users with doctors, lawyers, mechanics, tech support and other experts through video chats, texts and annotated photos. Fountain was co-founded by Aaron Patzer, who’d earlier founded Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. Fountain had raised $4 million in funding from Shasta Ventures and First Round Capital. TechCrunch has the story here.

Almost two weeks after it was outbid by another firm, Woburn, Ma.-based chip maker Skyworks Solutions has struck a deal to acquire California rival PMC-Sierra for $2.27 billion in cash. Boston Business Journal has more here.



The founder of Yahoo-acquired Summly, Nick D’Aloisio, has left the company to focus on his philosophy and computer science schoolwork at Oxford.

Josh Silverman has rejoined venture capital firm Greylock Partners as an EIR, a post he also took up in 2011. Silverman has spent the past several years with American Express as president of consumer products and services.

The European Parliament voted Thursday to protect NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden from extradition to the United States.

Jessica Verrilli, a longtime member of Twitter’s corporate development team who left for Google Ventures in May, is headed back to Twitter for a senior role.


Essential Reads

Alphabet’s Google unit is trying to get back into China.



“Marty was always my best friend”: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s love story.

Study: Self-driving cars crash five times as much as regular ones.

Quiz: Could you cut it as an art-buying billionaire?

The man bun and comb-over are big already, and Google predicts they’ll only get bigger.


Retail Therapy

Good things to have for long plane rides.

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