StrictlyVC: November 3, 2015

Hi, all, happy Tuesday!


Top News in the A.M.

Volkswagen‘s emission cheating scandal is now threatening to spread to its Porsche brand.

Google is aiming to begin drone deliveries in 2017.

Tencent Holdings is about to invest $1 billion in China’s biggest online provider of on-demand services, as part of a new round that could value the startup at $20 billion.

Twitter is changing its star icon for favorites to a heart and calling them “likes.”


RelayRides Rebrands as Turo, Raises $47 Million Led by Kleiner

RelayRides, the six-year-old, San Francisco-based peer-to-peer car rental service, has just rebranded itself as Turo. The company is also announcing $47 million in Series C funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The combined announcement is meant to grab attention. Turo doesn’t disclose the number of people using its platform or the number of cars currently available to renters. But the company says that 60 percent of its revenue now comes from out-of-town travelers who are renting the cars of people who are themselves flying out of town. And it wants to take the trend global, thus the name. CEO Andre Haddad says it evokes both “touring,” or, in Italian, “turismo.”

The shift makes sense. There are plenty of hassles involved in airport parking, from the typical drive to the far-flung lot to the big parking tab. Cars are also depreciating assets from which more owners could easily wring money.

Turo isn’t not alone in trying to capture people who are willing to hand over their car keys for a little more spending money. Among its other competitors are GetAround and Flightcar, a company whose major restructuring we wrote about last month.

Still, there are differences. Whereas GetAround rents cars by the hour or day, Turo requires a one-day minimum and says the average rental period is 5.5 days.


New Fundings

3nder, a nearly two-year-old, London-based dating platform for “curious, open-minded people” (we won’t ask), has raised $500,000 in seed funding from an undisclosed group of angel investors. More here.

Affinio, a two-year-old, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada-based marketing intelligence platform, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Whitecap Venture Partners, with participation from Build Ventures, Social StartsBRaVe Ventures, and unnamed angel investors. More here.

Appier, a three-year-old, Taipei, Taiwan-based marketing company that uses artificial intelligence to find audiences for ads across mobile, desktop and tablet platforms, has raised $23 million in Series B funding from investors, including Sequoia Capital, JAFCO Asia, TransLink Capital, MediaTek Ventures and an investment arm of Singaporean bank UOB. The South China Morning Post has more here.

ByeBuy, a six-month-old, London-based pay-as-you-go and on-demand alternative to gadget ownership, has raised €1 million in seed funding, including from the Commerzbank subsidiary Main Incubator, Rocket Internet’s venture arm Global Founders Capital, Hannover Innovation Fund, KRW Schindler Investments, and previous investor Seedcamp. TechCrunch has more here.

Deporvillage, a five-year-old, Spanish ecommerce startup focused on sports apparel, has raised €3.7m ($4 million) in funding from backers that include la Nevera Roja, Ad4Ventures, Cabiedes & Partners, the Italian venture firm Programma 101, and business angels. More here.

Iboss Cybersecurity, a nearly 13-year-old, San Diego-based cybersecurity company, has raised $35 million in Series A funding from Goldman Sachs‘ Private Capital Investing group. The San Diego Tribune has much more here.

IPV, an 18-year-old, Cambridge, UK-based provider of multi-media content management systems, has raised £$2.5 million ($3.8 million) from Calculus Capital. More here.

Localize, a two-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based business translation platform for both large, mid-size, and small businesses, has raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by FG Angels, with participation from Kima VentureszPark, and Matchstick Ventures. Business Insider has more here.

Lumo, a four-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based smart sensors and software platform, has raised $10 million in Series B financing. New investor Wuxi Healthcare Ventures led the latest round, along with previous investors Madrona Venture Group, Innovation Endeavors, AME Cloud VenturesInnovalue Capital, MAS Holdings, and SanDisk founder Eli Harari. TechCrunch has more here.

Qraved, a two-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based company that provides users with restaurant information, reviews, recommended dishes with photos, promotions, and the abiity to book a table, has raised $8 million in Series B funding co-led by Richmond Global Ventures and Gobi Partners, with participation from GWC and earlier backers Convergence Ventures, 500 Startups, Toivo Annus, and M&Y Partners. The outlet e27 has more here.

Personal Genome Diagnostics, a five-year-old, Baltimore-based company that’s making advanced cancer genome testing products and services, has raised $21.4 million in Series A funding round led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Windham Venture Partners and Nanjing Kaiyuan Growth Capital Investments. More here.

Sochat, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based maker of a messaging app, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Eniac Ventures, with participation from New Enterprise AssociatesGreylock PartnersSlow VenturesFoundation CapitalBetaworks, and Maiden Lane. VentureBeat has more here.

SweetIQ, a 10-year-old, Montreal, Quebec-based platform for local marketing automation, has raised $4.2 million in Series A funding led by Plaza Ventures, with participation from Rothenberg VenturesDesjardins-InnovatechOtimo Retail Group, and earlier backer Real VenturesMore here.

Tiny Owl, a Mumbai, India-based food ordering software startup, has raised $7.67 million from Matrix Partners and Sequoia Capital. The Economic Times has more here.

Verge Genomics, a six-month-old, San Francisco-based Y Combinator alum that looks to use algorithms to help cure neurodegenerative disorders, has raised $4 million in seed funding led by IA Ventures, with participation from Two Sigma Ventures, Draper Associates, Great Oaks VC, Slow VenturesKarlin Ventures, and individual investors Elad Gil and David Lee. TechCrunch has more here.

Vice Media, the nine-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based media company and content creation studio, is in talks with Disney to raise $200 million in new funding. The WSJ has more here.

VISR, a nearly two-year-old, Toronto-based company whose app helps alert parents to safety issues involving their children’s social media and apps usage, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Horizons Ventures. TechCrunch hasmore here.

Weave, a four-year-old, Lehi, Ut.-based unified communications platform that combines voice, SMS, and email with existing practice management software, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding led by Crosslink Capital, with participation from Pelion Ventures, Peak Capital, A Capital, Y CombinatorInitialized Capital and individual investors Geoff Ralston and Joe Montana. The company has now raised $22 million altogether. More here.


New Funds

Sequoia Capital is raising its fifth India-focused fund, shows an SEC filing.More here.



The IPO roadshow of digital payments company Square kicks off next week, reports CNBC.



Activision Blizzard has entered into an agreement to acquire, maker of the wildly popular game Candy Crush $18.00 in cash per share, for a total equity value of $5.9 billion. TechCrunch has more here.

Chef, a Seattle-based IT automation provider, has acquired VulcanoSec, a small German startup founded this year that specializes in security and compliance technology. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. GeekWire has more here.



Former Stanford student Elise Clougherty has dropped a high-profile lawsuit against venture capitalist Joe Lonsdale, a former paramour who Clougherty later accused of sexual assault. Lonsdale, who had strongly denied Clougherty’s allegations and filed a countersuit against her, including for defamation, has dropped his lawsuit, too. More here.

Will Quist is the newest partner at four-year-old Slow Ventures. Quist joins the firm from the San Francisco-based investment firm Industry Ventures, where he spent the last five years as a managing director, having worked his way up from an associate position back in 2007. Previously, Quist was an analyst at Banc of America Securities. We have a bit more here.

Napster cofounder and former Facebook president Sean Parker is part of a coalition that yesterday proposed an initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in California and place a 15 percent tax on retail sales of the drug.More here.

Anarghya Vardhana has joined Maveron as a new senior associate. Vardhana spent the last 1.5 years as an investor with Rothenberg Ventures in San Francisco. Previously, she spent several years at Google and one year as a product manager at the payments company Clinkle.

On the heels of two other recent acquisitions (The Weather Company and Cleversafe), IBM is today announcing it has acquired the cloud brokerage firm Gravitant. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. According to CrunchBase, the 11-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company had raised roughly $40 million across three rounds, including from Cielo Private Equity and S3 Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.



Prosper Marketplace is looking for a director of corporate development. The job is in San Francisco.


Essential Reads

Amazon is opening a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, its first.



What we think about when we run.

That time I tried to buy an actual barrel of crude oil.

Popular potato recipes for Thanksgiving.


Retail Therapy

Now you can rent a newly renovated 5,442-square-foot store in SoHo, courtesy of Google.

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