StrictlyVC: November 4, 2015

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Top News in the A.M.

San Francisco voters have rejected a measure to curb Airbnb rentals in the city.

The price of Bitcoin is suddenly surging again.


Marc Andreessen and Sheryl Sandberg Battle Notion that Tech is Driving Income Inequality

Yesterday morning at Fortune’s Global Forum conference in San Francisco, Fortune interviewer Alan Murray got quite an earful from the guests on his panel: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and venture capitalist and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen, who pushed back hard on the notion that technology is exacerbating income inequality.

It was a riveting chat that touched on what’s next in mobile, whether Facebook might restructure itself a la Alphabet, and why Andreessen has seemingly been promoting Facebook competitor Twitter by spending so much time publishing to the platform. Some highlights follow.

On the changes brought by mobile. . .

For his part, Andreessen talked at some length about the “smart phone wars,” and the fact that “gigantic manufacturing capacity is being built up worldwide” – from screens to chips to batteries – which has driven down the cost of making smart phones to $25.

That’s great for smartphone customers, of course, but it’s also great for investors, he suggested. The reason: The same components are now used to help produce electric cars, drones, virtual reality hardware and connected toys, among other things. There are “thousands of categories that weren’t possible before that will use smart phone components,” he said.

More here.


New Fundings

Bidgely, a five-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based energy analytics company, has raised $16.6 million in Series B funding led by Constellation Technology Ventures and the venture capital arm of Exelon Corporation, with participation from European utilities E.ON and RWE and earlier investor Khosla Ventures. Greentech Media has more here.

Body Labs, a two-year-old, New York City-based company that makes 3D body models, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from FirstMark Capital, Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, Osage University Partners, and Catalus Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Caldan Therapeutics, a month-old, Glascow, Scotland-based university spin-out that’s developing therapeutics that target free fatty acid receptors for Type 2 Diabetes and other potential indications, has raised £4.45 million ($6.8 million) in Series A funding led by the life science firm Epidarex Capital, with participation from Eli Lilly  and the Scottish Investment Bank. The Daily Record has more here.

Chronext, a two-year-old, Cologne, Germany-based platform for buying and selling luxury watches, has raised $5.3 million in funding from Partech Ventures, InVenture Partners, MGO Digital Ventures, Altus Capital and Playfair Capital, along with earlier investors Capnamic Ventures and NRW.Bank. More here.

CureVac, a 15-year-old, Tubigen, Germany-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has raised $110 million from Baillie GiffordChartwave Limited, the Coppel family, Elma Investments, Sigma Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. More here.

Evelo Therapeutics, a new, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that plans to leverage the power of the microbiome to develop cancer therapies and has been created by Flagship Ventures, the venture capital and venture creation firm, is getting started with $35 million in funding. Xconomy has more here.

FunkSac, a two-year-old, Denver-based company that makes odor-barrier and child-resistant packaging for marijuana, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital. Crain’s Cleveland Business has more here.

Jet, the year-old, Hoboken, N.J.-based e-commerce startup that’s trying to take on Amazon, has raised $500 million in new funding led by Fidelity, according to Fortune, which reports the round is not yet closed and will likely include even more capital capital from earlier investors. The financing is said to value Jet at $1 billion “pre-money.” Jet previously raised $220 million in equity and debt capital from a long list of investors, including Bain Capital Ventures, Accel Partners, Coatue Management, General Catalyst Partners, and Goldman Sachs. More here.

LeafLink, a new, NY-based wholesale management platform for the cannabis industry, has closed a $750,000 seed round led by group of New York angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Mi9 Retail, a 14-year-old, Miami, Fla.-based company that sells enterprise software to retailers, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth funding from Summit Partners. More here.

OssDsign, a four-year-old, Uppsala, Sweden-based company that makes regenerative implants for the improved healing of bone defects and deficits in skull, facial and other types of surgeries, has raised SEK 93 million (EUR 9.6 million) in new funding led by SEB Venture Capital and Fouriertransform, with participation from earlier backer Karolinska Development. More here.

SnapApp, a five-year-old, Boston-based content marketing startup, has raised $12 million in Series A funding from Providence Equity Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Zenchef, a five-year-old, Paris-based company that helps restaurants build out their online presence, has raised €6 million ($6.6 million) in new funding led byEdenred Capital Partners, with participation from Xange, Metro, and previous backers Elaia Partners, Accélérateur Capital Partners and Kima Ventures. Several unnamed angels also contributed. TechCrunch has more here.



Surojit Chatterjee, who has spent the last eight or so years at Google as a product management director, has joined India’s e-commerce giant Flipkart as its SVP and head of consumer experience and growth. TechCrunch has more here.

Deals company Groupon announced yesterday that cofounder Eric Lefkofsky is stepping back into his role as board chair and replacing himself as CEO with Rich Williams, the company’s chief operating officer. Between the management switcheroo and the company’s newly reported earnings, which were mixed, the stock was down 30 percent in pre-marketing trading this a.m.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is still defending her controversial 2013 decision to ban Yahoo employees from working from home, but she also wishes the world would move on. “I hope it’s not my legacy,” she said yesterday at Fortune’s Global Forum conference.

Robert Senior, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, says he isn’t concerned about  “talent drain” from the ad industry to tech companies, telling Business Insider the latter have too short-term a way of looking at things.”[They talk about] this quarter, or this year, or these four years. And it’s really exciting and funky for creative people to go there. But I’ve been here for eight years. [Saatchi & Saatchi] has been here for 45 years. I’ll see you in 45 years, guys. See how you’re doing then. Bring your beanbags.”

Jason Wheeler has been appointed the newest CFO of Tesla. Wheeler spent 13 years at Google as its VP of Finance; he’s replacing Deepak Ahuja, who announced his retirement early this year. TechCrunch has more here.



The most common job in each state.


Essential Reads

Q&A: Why are more companies passing on going public?



Twenty-six tech companies where the average pay is more than $120,000.

How families are handling responsibilities when both mom and dad work.

The vivid, disappearing fish boats of Greece.


Retail Therapy

“Spectre” hits theaters late tomorrow night! (If you really like the Bond franchise, you can now buy that, too, by the way.)

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