StrictlyVC: November 5, 2015

Wow, is it really Thursday already?! Hope you enjoy the day, everyone.


Top News in the A.M.

JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and other big banks are reportedly “snarling the flow of data” to popular sites that help consumers manage their finances. The WSJ has the story here.

Unrelated (we think): JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon thinks the government willcrack down on bitcoin and other virtual currencies before they get too big.


Trinity Ventures Raises $400 Million for 12th Fund

Trinity Ventures, a 29-year-old, Sand Hill Road Firm whose recent hits include the IPOs of Zulily, New Relic and TubeMogul — not to mention the still-private but highly valued startup Docker — has closed its 12th fund with $400 million in capital.

We were in touch yesterday with Ajay Chopra, a general partner at the firm for nearly the last decade, to ask what the fundraising process was like at a time when valuations are high — as are concerns about exits. Our exchange has been edited lightly for length.

You raised your last fund in 2012 with $325 million. This fund is considerably larger. 

We’re writing slightly larger checks for the same ownership. With valuations higher, it takes a larger check to get the same ownership in a similarly sized portfolio. But our mission and strategy for achieving it have stayed the same: invest early in world-class teams going after big ideas, support them through good times and bad, and build meaningful businesses together.

How has the firm’s team changed since that last fund was closed?

Since then, we’ve added six people to our staff. Four of the new additions are women, and two of those women are partners. We’re very glad that with these additions, we’re probably the most diverse firm of our size.

The [general partners are] the same except for Noel Fenton, who founded the firm almost 30 years ago and is taking a well-deserved step back.

What was fundraising like? What did your investors want most to see? Did you sense nervousness on their part over exits, or a general lack of them?

Besides good performance, they want to see funds where partners have worked well together over several investment cycles with consistent investment style over several funds. They’re definitely concerned about current startup valuations but also understand that from a return standpoint, it’s primarily an issue for late-stage investors.

How are you dealing with the slowdown in IPOs?

More here.


New Fundings

Atreca, a five-year-old, San Carlos, Ca.-based company developing antibodies that could enable more patients to benefit from new, immunotherapies, has raised $56 million in Series A funding led by an undisclosed health care-focused fund, with participation from the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationGlaxoSmithKline and Mission Bay Capital. More here.

Cask, a four-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based open-source software company that makes it easier for developers to build applications that run on the big data software system Hadoop, has raised $20 million in Series B funding, reports VentureWire. The round was led by Safeguard Scientifics. The company has now raised $37 million altogether.

Coveo, a 10-year-old, Quebec-based enterprise search technology company, has raised $35 million in Series D financing led by IQ Venture Capital, with participation from earlier backers, including Tandem Expansion Fund, BDC Capital, Propulsion Ventures SEC, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, and Coveo CEO Louis Tetu. Altogether, the company has now raised $75 million. More here.

Hivemapper, an 11-year-old, Burlingame, Ca.-based startup that wants to help drone pilots avoid crashing into buildings and other structures, has raised $2.9 million in a new seed round led by Spark Capital, reports Venture Capital Dispatch.

M.Gemi, a 1.5-year-old Boston-based company that sells shoes made in Italy directly to consumers, has raised $18 million in Series B funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from earlier investors General Catalyst PartnersForerunner Ventures and Breakaway Ventures. BetaBoston has more here.


(Other) New Funds

In a surprising turn of events, the four-year-old venture firm Formation 8 has axed plans to raise a third fund, reports TechCrunch. Instead, cofounder and general partner Joe Lonsdale will be raising his own $400 million fund (with a lot of Formation 8 staffers joining him, we hear). Its brand: 8 Partners.

Greenspring Associates, the 15-year-old, Owing Mills, Md.-based venture capital fund-of-funds, has raised $430 million for Greenspring Global Partners VII. Like its previous six funds, the money will be earmarked for emerging venture capital managers, expansion-stage companies and secondary interests of funds and companies. Some of the firm’s investments include the venture firms 5AM Ventures, Balderton Capital, and Accel Partners. Its startup stakes include the web performance and security company CloudFlare and the marketing platform DemandBaseMore here.



Expedia announced yesterday that’s acquiring the publicly traded vacation rental service HomeAway and its brands — including —  for $3.9 billion in cash and Expedia common stock. The 10-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based compay had raised almost $505 million across five funding rounds before its 2011 IPO. TechCrunch has more here.

Johnson & Johnson is acquiring the six-year-old, Radnor, Pa.-based antiviral drug discovery company Novira Therapeutics for undisclosed terms. Novira had raised roughly $40 million in equity and debt funding, including from 5AM Ventures, Canaan Partners, Versant Ventures, shows CrunchBase.



Facebook director Marc Andreessen has sold roughly 15 percent of his stake in the social network in recent days, netting nearly $31.9 million, according to an SEC filing. He sold the shares under a prearranged trading plan, reports the WSJ.

Madrona Venture Group has hired serial startup exec Mike Fridgen to lead its Madrona Venture Labs, an in-house startup studio that launched 18 months ago and has since spun out two companies: Spare5, an app that pays people to perform tasks on their smartphone in their spare time and is now funded by New Enterprise Associates, Foundry and Madrona, among others; and a second company that’s still operating in “stealth” mode. Among other things, Fridgen was previously president and CEO of the shopping service Decide. After it sold to eBay in 2013, he became general manager of eBay’s 400-person Seattle office.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this week that Tesla may add constraints to its autodriving mode, mostly because people are idiots. (Gizmodo’s words, not his.)

Beleaguered ad tech company Rocket Fuel has announced a series of changes to its top management. Business Insider has more here.

A couple of Skype‘s cofounders —  Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla — are going against the grain with a drone that makes deliveries from the ground, not sky.



Venture Lab, an Accion-sponsored initiative to invest in and support seed-stage startups that are improving the way financial services are delivered to the poor, is looking for an investment associate. The job is in Washington, D.C. Past experience working in India is a plus.



Feel like corporate VCs are taking over? You aren’t far off. According to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, corporate groups invested $2.3 billion across 240 deals to the startup ecosystem during the third quarter of 2015, accounting for 14.1 percent of all venture capital dollars invested and 21.5 percent — or one fifth(!) — of all deals. Through the first three quarters, a combined 181 corporate venture groups participated in 20.5 percent of all deals and accounted for 13.6 percent of the capital invested in startups. More here.


Essential Reads

Facebook video viewership is growing — fast. According to company, it now sees 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users. That’s up from just 4 billion video views per day in April. Facebook also disclosed yesterday in an earnings call that more than 1.55 billion people now visit its platform each month.

The higher price of delivery app convenience: a breakdown.



The best Bond cars.

Twenty-two fascinating facts about Warren Buffett’s success.

A petition is asking the United Nations to stop singer Phil Collins from coming out of retirement with a new album, citing “too much suffering in the world as it is.”


Retail Therapy

A smoke-colored weekender bag by Malle. (We like this one.)

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