StrictlyVC: November 18, 2015

Hi, everyone! We’re sending out SVC a little earlier than usual to get some news to you as it’s breaking. Hope you have a wonderful day and we’ll see you tomorrow.


Top News in the A.M.

It’s baaaaack. Google Plus, that is. More on why Google is injecting new life into the platform here.

Taxi owners and lenders filed a lawsuit this morning against New York City and its Taxi and Limousine Commission, saying Uber was destroying their businesses and threatening their livelihoods.


Andreessen Horowitz Lands a New GP —  And A New Fund

Andreessen Horowitz is making a big move into biotech, and it’s using a $200 million new fund called the AH Bio Fund – and new general partner, Vijay Pande — to plant its stake in the ground.

The fund will be used to invest in mostly early-stage startups at the intersection of computer science and life sciences. It’s the first sector-focused fund for Andreessen Horowitz, which is halfway through its main fund, a $1.5 billion vehicle that it announced in March of last year.

Pande seems a good choice to lead it. He has the know-how and the connections, having spent the last 16 years teaching chemistry, structural biology and computer science at Stanford University, where he says he’ll continue “spending a very small percentage of my time” with his research group there.

Pande also knows startups, having been involved in a number of them already. Last year, he cofounded Globavir, a seed-funded infectious disease company. Pande also foundedFolding@home, a now 16-year-old distributed computing project for disease research that remains his highest-profile work to date.

Asked if it will be hard to say no to some of the many Stanford-related startups now working on health care-focused, machine-learning startups, Pande calls it a “kid in a candy store” issue, adding that he expects to “see a lot [of startups] from Stanford, Berkeley, and M.I.T.,” among other places. (Conveniently, he notes, he has spent time at all three. He was once a Miller Fellow at U.C. Berkeley and nabbed his PhD in physics from M.I.T.)

Andreessen Horowitz is quick to note that Pande won’t be making decisions about what to fund on his own.

More here.


New Fundings

Aiwujiwu, a 1.5-year-old, Shanghai-based rental and second-home listings portal, has reportedly raised $150 million in Series E funding led by Temasek Holdings and Hillhouse Capital, with participation from earlier backers Morningside Venture Capital, Banyan Capital, Shunwei Capital Partnersand GGV Capital. The young company has now raised $350 million to date. DealStreetAsia has more here.

APX Labs, the five-year-old, Herndon, Va.-based company behind the Skylight smart glasses development platform, has raised $13 million in venture funding led by New Enterprise Associates. Other participants in the round includeCNF Investments, GE Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, and SineWave Ventures. The company has now raised $29 million altogether. TechCrunch hasmore here.

Athos, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based wearable technology company centered around workout clothing, has raised $35 million in Series C funding led by Social+Capital Partnership, with participation from apparel giant MAS Holdings, Lightspeed Ventures, Felix Capital and earlier backers True Ventures, DCM and Golden State Warriors managing partner Joe Lacob. TechCrunch has more on the company, which has now raised roughly $51 million, right here.

Goodbox, a nearly three-year-old, Bangalore, India-based marketplace app that helps small retailers set up mobile storefronts, has raised $2.5 million in Series A from Nexus Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Hoodline, a San Francisco-based news startup centered on local communities (it was founded by former TechCrunch co-editor Eric Eldon), has raised $1.6 million in seed funding from SoftTech VC and along list of individual investors, including Keith Rabois, Shervin Pishevar, and Cyan and Scott Banister. TechCrunch has more here.

Joyable, a year-old, San Francisco-based digital therapeutics company (its app aims to treat people diagnosed with mental health issues like social anxiety and depression), has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Thrive Capital and Harrison Metal. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Jugnoo, a 1.5-year-old, Chandigarh, India-based hyper-local online marketplace that facilitates autorickshaw rides and food and grocery deliveries through autorickshaws, has raised $3 million in Series B funding from Paytm, with participation from individual investors. The round brings the company’s total funding to $9 million altogether. DealStreetAsia has more here.

Numecent, a 19-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based “cloudpaging” technology company  that transmits pre-virtualized native software instructions in a transient manner, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding led by earlier backer Deutsche Telekom. Other participants included unnamed family offices and private equity firms. The company has now raised $38 million altogether.

Nuvolo Technologies, a two-year-old, New York-based company that’s making enterprise applications for the ServiceNow cloud platform, has raised $2 million in seed funding from New Enterprise Associates and ServiceNow. More here.

Stuart, a new, Barcelona, Spain-based on-demand, same-hour delivery startup that is currently pre-launch and operating in stealth, has raised €22 million in funding led by GeoPost, the delivery subsidiary of Le Groupe La Post. TechCrunch has more here., a four-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca-based student loan management startup, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from MassMutual Ventures,Wildcat Venture Partners, and Mohr Davidow Ventures, among others. The company has now raised $8.2 million altogether. More here.

TuringSense, a months-old, Campbell, Ca.-based wearable sports technology startup, has raised $3 million in seed funding, including from Angel PlusChinaRock Capital, Ideosource, SV Tech Ventures, Zen Water Capital, and numerous individual investors.



Stay tuned: Square and are pricing their IPOs this afternoon.

China’s version of Lending Club is planning an IPO on the NYSE.



Michael Chou, who joined Harmony Partners as a principal in its New York office in 2011, has been promoted to partner. Chou relocated to lead the venture firm’s San Francisco office earlier this year. Earlier in his career, he was a techn  investment banker at Perella Weinberg and Barclays.

S. (“Soma”) Somasegar, who spent nearly 27 years at Microsoft, including most recently as corporate VP of its developer division, has joined Madrona Venture Group as a venture partner.



Salesforce is looking to hire a senior director of strategic partnerships. The job is in San Francisco.

TechStars is looking for a CFO. The job is in Boulder, Co.



Startup valuations continued to rise at a torrid pace in the third quarter, though there were potential signs the venture-capital tide may have started to turn, according to new data published yesterday by the law firm Fenwick & West.


Essential Reads

Lyft, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing startup, is reportedly looking to raise about $500 million at a valuation of approximately $4 billion. The New York Times has more here.



Inside one billionaire’s apocalypse shelter.


Retail Therapy

Finally, a small act of kindness toward parents from Lego’s.

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