StrictlyVC: November 17, 2015

Hi, everyone! We ran out of time to finish today’s column, but we have some good stuff coming your way the rest of this week.

Happy Tuesday.:)


Top News in the A.M.

The board of directors for Angie’s List rejected a proposal today from New York-based IAC/InterActiveCorp to acquire the local recommendations service, claiming the all-cash deal “dramatically undervalues” the company.More here.


New Fundings

Align Commerce, a nearly two-year-old, San Francisco-based bitcoin company that’s being used as a tool to provide cross-border payments for small businesses, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Codiak BioSciences, a new, Cambridge, Mass.-based company that aims to develop exosomes as a new therapeutic and diagnostic modality to treat diseases, including cancer, has raised $80 million in funding from Arch Venture Partners and Flagship Ventures. The underlying technology is being licensed from the The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. More here.

Cogito, an eight-year-old, Boston-based company that makes voice recognition and behavioral analysis software that analyzes customer service reps, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Romulus Capital, with participation from Salesforce Ventures. Xconomy has more here.

Craftsvilla, a four-year-old, Mumbai, India-based marketplace for ethnic goods, has raised $34 million in Series C funding led by earlier investors Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Ventures. Nexus Venture Partners and Global Founders Capital, which are also existing backers, participated alongside Apoletto Asia. TechCrunch has more here.

Datto, the company that acts as a backup and disaster recovery service for small to mid-sized businesses, has raised $75 million in Series B funding led by Technology Crossover Ventures. The company has now raised just more than $100 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Descartes Labs, a 1.5-year-old, Los Alamos, N.N.-based artificial intelligence technology company that’s right now focused on analyzing satellite imagery, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Cultivian Sandbox Ventures. Venture Capital Dispatch has much more here.

Door to Door Organics, a 10-year-old, Lafayette, Co.-based natural and organic online grocer, has raised $25.5 million in Series B funding led by Arlon Group, with participation from Greenmont Capital Partners. Tech Bulletin has more here.

Earnest, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based online consumer lender, has raised  $75 million in Series B funding led by Battery Ventures, with participation from Adams Street Partners and earlier backer Maveron. Earnest also secured $200 million in commitments from New York Life and others in a warehouse financing facility that will be used to finance loansonline consumer lender, reports Venture Capital Dispatch.

Gogoro, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based electric scooter maker, has raised $130 million in Series B funding led by Taiwanese billionaire Samuel Yin, who is chairman of the Taiwan-based retail firm Ruentex Group. Yin is an earlier investor and major shareholder of Gogoro. Other participants in the round include Panasonic Corporation and the National Development Fund of Taiwan. The company — which says it has sold nearly 2,000 scooters to date — has now raised more than $180 million in total funding. More here.

Noitom, a four-year-old, Beijing, China-based motion capture software firm, has raised $20 million in Series B funding from Legend Capital, Haitong Kaiyuan Investment, Alpha Animation and Culture, and other undisclosed investors, according to a company announcement posted on Wechat. China Money Network has more here.

ProtectWise, a 2.5-year-old, Denver-based, cloud-based network security services company, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Tola Capital, with participation from earlier backers Crosslink Capital, Trinity Ventures, Paladin Capital Group and Arsenal Venture Partners. The Denver Post has more here.

Salesfusion, an eight-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based maker of marketing automation software for small and mid-size businesses, has raised $13.5 million in Series B funding from a long list of investors who’d provided most of the round to the company late last year. Those backers include Noro-Moseley Partners, BLH Venture Partners, Alerion Ventures, Tech Square Ventures, Ellis Capital, Dave Williams, and Hallett Capital, which was Salesfusion’s sole Series A investor. Noro-Moseley led the Series B. More here.

Taskbucks, a 1.5-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based Android-only mobile-focused task marketplace that lets users “do interesting tasks on your smartphone and earn bucks,” has raised $15 million in funding from India’s Times Internet.TechCrunch has more here.

TinyRx, a seven-month-old, San Francisco-based prescription delivery startup, has raised $5 million in new funding, including from Joe Lonsdale’s new fund, 8 Partners, as well as from early employees of Google and Airbnb. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

Ameba Capital, a four-year-old, China-focused venture capital firm, has closed its second fund with RMB1 billion (US$157 million) in capital commitments, it says. Ameba Capital focuses on early-stage investment in the tech, media, and telecom sectors. China Money Network has more here.



Pandora, the publicly traded streaming music company, has acquired “key assets” from Rdio for $75 million in cash, it announced yesterday. Rdio had raised at least $125 million in funding from investors that included Atomico,Mangrove (which eventually sold its stake), and serial entrepreneur Janus Friis, who cofounded Rdio with longtime business partners Niklas Zennstrom and Carter Adamson. TechCrunch has more here.



Seven top executives have resigned from the fashion tech company Rent the Runway in the past 10 months—four in the past two months alone. Fortune looks at what’s going on here.

Tech executives may have attained a cult-like status in Silicon Valley. But their popularity doesn’t extend to the rest of America, suggest audience numbers from Stephen Colbert’s new “Late Show,” which has so far featured Tim CookBrian Chesky, Elon Musk, Travis Kalanick, Reed Hastings and Evan Spiegel. The Information takes a look here. (Subscribers only.)

Solar City’s Lyndon Rive talks with Inc. about entrepreneurship, sustainable energy, and what movie makes him think about his cousin Elon.

UBS Group has hired four bankers from Jefferies Group, as Switzerland’s biggest bank looks to build its global technology business. Bloomberg has more here.


Essential Reads

Uber’s transition plan for self-driving cars.

SpaceX may win its first U.S. military satellite launch after the only other certified bidder, a Boeing Co.-Lockheed Martin Corp. joint venture, decided not to compete.

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, has contracted for a second consecutive quarter, marking a technical recession.



A charmingly hapless dad pointed his GoPro in the wrong direction for his entire Las Vegas vacation.

Figures from classic paintings placed in contemporary settings.

“Ms.Wang confirmed that, as in the past, she and Mr. Liu would be using their American Express card to pay for the [$170 million] Modigliani. That way, with the cardholder’s points they accrue, their whole family — the couple, their four children and two grandchildren — can continue flying for free.”


Retail Therapy

subterranean garage that evokes James Bond but was built for a “royal.”

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