StrictlyVC: November 13, 2015

It is Friday the 13th! Have fun and be careful out there. See you back here soon.:)


Top News in the A.M.

Wish, a low-flying, online bazaar for cheap, unbranded clothes, jewelry, and other products, most of them sent directly from China, may have just turned down a $10 billion (with a b) acquisition offer from Amazon. Business Insider has more here.


Fiverr CEO On Raising $60 Million in New Capital: “It’s a Land Grab”

This week, Fiverr, an online market for small services, announced $60 million in new financing led by Square Peg Capital. Earlier backers Bessemer Venture Partners, Accel Partners and Qumra Capital also chipped into the round, which brings the company’s total funding to a pretty significant $110 million.

We talked with founder and CEO Micha Kaufman about what those investors are backing exactly, how and why five-year-old Fiverr just changed its pricing structure, and whether an IPO is in its sights yet. Our chat has been edited for length.

First, how big is the company at this point? Give us some stats.

We have more than 200 people in five offices, including here in Tel Aviv, New York, Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco. Fiverr generates close to 1 million transactions a month, and we’re truly an e-commerce company, as opposed to a labor marketplace. It’s a catalog business.

Your Chicago office came together through an acqui-hire of a small design house called Cuban Council, from which Google also did some recruiting.

Yes, part of the business was acquired by Google, and we took one of their founders and a few of their team and started our own studio of gifted designers.

With $60 million in the bank, are more, bigger, acquisitions on the horizon? There are a whole lot of companies catering to freelancers at this point.

Doing acquisitions is one way to accelerate our growth, and there are vertical businesses that might help us gain market share in particular categories or with our core business of e-commerce and recommendation systems and so forth, so that’s definitely on our radar.

On a macro level, I do think we’ll see something similar to what’s gone on with e-commerce, where some startups break apart, then the market starts to consolidate through M&A and companies starting to wind down. But 97 percent of freelancing is still happening offline. A small minority happens online. So this is still not a very mature market where you need to aggressively compete against someone to gain market share. It’s more of a land grab right now, and the opportunity is immense.

More here.


New Fundings

Alphaeon, a two-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based company that sells products and services that it markets as promoting wellness, beauty and performance, has raised $70 million in Series B funding, according to Fortune. Sailing Capital led the round, and was joined by H&S Ventures, Longitude Capital and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises.

Anchanto, a four-year-old, Singapore-based e-commerce fulfillment company, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding from Transcosmos in Japan. The outlet e27 has more here.

CCP Games, an 18-year-old, Iceland-based company that has long made massively multiplayer online games and is now developing virtual reality games, has raised $30 million in funding led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Novator Partners. More here.

Gainsight, a six-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company that makes customer success management software, has raised $50 million in Series D funding led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Battery Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures and Summit Partners. Forbes has more here.

GetYourGuide, a six-year-old, Berlin-based startup whose desktop and mobile platform helps users find and book holiday activities, has raised $50 million in Series C funding led by KKR. Earlier backers Spark Capital, Highland Capital Partners and Sunstone Capital also joined the round, along with new investor Nokia Growth Partners. The company has now raised just less than $100 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

HealthiestYou, a Scottsdale, Az.-based platform that helps employees stay atop their health benefit and savings, has raised $30 million in growth equity from Frontier Capital. MobiHealthNews has more here.

Huuuge, a year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based mobile free-to-play social casino, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Korea Investment Partners. More here.

RetroSense Therapeutics, a six-year-old, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based company that’s developing gene therapies designed to restore vision in patients with retinitis pigmentosa, has raised $6 million in Series B funding from RBV Capital, ExSight Capital, Santen Pharmaceutical and earlier investor BlueWater Angels.

Rhumbix, a year-old, San Francisco-based platform for construction timekeeping and cost coding, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led byGreylock Partners, with participation from Brick & Mortar Ventures, UJ Ventures and Stanford University professor Ray Levitt. The San Francisco Chronicle has more here.

Schoology, a six-year-old, New York-based learning management system that focuses on cloud collaboration, has raised $32 million in Series D funding led byJMI Equity, with participation from earlier backers FirstMark Capital, Intel Capital and Great Road Holdings. TechCrunch has more here.

TigerText, a 5.5-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based company that makes secure, mobile, real-time messaging software for healthcare providers to communicate with their employees, has raised $50 million in Series C funding.Norwest Venture Partners led the round, which also included Invus Group,Accolade Partners and return backers Shasta Ventures, OrbiMed, andReed Elsevier. Fortune has more here.

Unitive, a year-old, Woodside, Calif.-based analytics startup that focuses on unconscious bias in hiring and other HR decisions, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Ignition Partners, with participation from Kapor Capital, Webb Investment Network, Floodgate and Correlation VenturesMore here.


New Funds

Rakuten is has launched a $100 million fund dedicated to supporting startups in the financial sector. Rakuten already runs Rakuten Ventures, a $100 million fund that invests across a range of verticals. The unit has done most of its deals in Asia but it’s global in scope. TechCrunch has more here.

White Star Capital, an eight-year-old, transatlantic venture firm with offices in London, New York and Montreal, has closed its first institutional fund with $70 million in LP commitments from mainly sovereign and institutional funds, entrepreneurs and family offices. Among its backers: the Business Development Bank of Canada, Isomer Capital, and Swen Capital Partners. The firm was co-founded by Eric Martineau-Fortin, a former technology M&A banker, and Christian Hernandez Gallardo, a former Facebook executive. TechCrunch has more here.



Watchmaker Fossil Group said today it would acquire Misfit, which creates various wearable and sleep trackers, for $260 million. Sonny Vu, CEO of Misfit, will serve as Fossil’s CTO. Misfit had raised $64.4 million across three rounds of funding, including a $40 million round in October last year. Investors include GGV Capital, Xiaomi and Founders Fund. TechCrunch has more here.

Hulu is reportedly seeking to sell a stake to Time Warner as part of a deal that would value the streaming-video service at more than $5 billion. The WSJ has more here.



Gene Amdahl, a trailblazer in the design of IBM’s mainframe computers, died earlier this week at a nursing home in Palo Alto, Ca., at age 92. More on his life and legacy here.

It may be time to remove Marissa Mayer as CEO of Yahoo, says Robert Peck, an analyst at SunTrust. More here.



The WSJ has published the names of some of the many people involved in Sequoia Capital‘s known, but low-flying, five-year-old scout program.


Essential Reads

The highly valued health-insurance broker Zenefits, valued by private investors at $4.5 billion last spring, is falling short of revenue targets and cutting costs,reports the WSJ.

GoPro‘s stock closed yesterday below $24, compared $80 a year ago. Fortune looks at what’s going on here.



The making of the most-expensive mansion in history.

A look inside New York’s storied Explorers Club.

You can now take a sword-fighting class at “the only school in the United States a hundred percent devoted to medieval fighting arts.”


Retail Therapy

The Chapel. Just $235 a night.

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