StrictlyVC: December 11, 2015

We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty ecstatic that it’s Friday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

(No column today.)


Top News in the A.M.

Alibaba is buying the South China Post. Dealbook has more here.

Dow and DuPont are merging in a stunning megadeal, reports the Washington Post.

State legislators in Ohio and Florida are moving ahead with regulations governing Uber and other ride services that would designate all drivers as independent contractors. North Carolina, Arkansas, and Indiana also now require the contractor designation as part of new laws governing so-called transportation network companies. Reuters has the story here.

In the heaviest blow yet to the daily fantasy sports industry, a New York judge this morning ordered DraftKings and FanDuel to temporarily stop taking entries from that state. The Boston Globe has more here.


New Fundings

Boundless, a 3.5-year-old, Boston-based company that provides platforms for managing data and building maps and applications, has raised $5 million in Series B funding led by Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, with participation from earlier backers Vanedge Capital and In-Q-Tel. More here.

CultureIQ, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based startup whose SaaS software aims to help companies measure, understand and strengthen their culture, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures, with participation from Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Founder Collective and numerous angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

DataScience, a 1.5-year-old, Culver City, Ca.-based data science startup focused on business insights, has raised $22 million in Series A funding. Whitehart Ventures led the round. DataScience has now raised more than $28 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Factual, a seven-year-old, L.A.-based data platform that enables personalized mobile experiences via definitive global data, has raised $35 million in Series B funding. Investors include Altpoint Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Data Collective, Haystack Partners, Heritage Group, Index Ventures, Miramar Ventures, Tamarisk Global, Upfront Ventures, Saif Mansour, Michael Ovitz and Tom Unterman. The WSJ has more here.

Gradle, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based company that automates the process of compiling code, testing it, and creating files with all the necessary dependencies tool comes in, has raised $4.2 million in funding from True Ventures and Data Collective. VentureBeat has more here.

HomeStudio, a 10-month-old, Bangalore, India-based furniture startup that sells customized solutions for kitchens, wardrobe, living rooms and more, has raised $5 million in funding from Bren Corporation. The outlet Inc42 has more here.

Nestpick, a 1.5-year-old, Berlin-based long-term home rental startup, has added $2 million to an $11 million Series A round. The capital comes from investors Target Global and b-to-v Partners. More here.

Streamroot, a 1.5-year-old, Paris-based video delivery startup, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Partech Ventures, with participation from Walnut Venture Associates, Cherrystone Angel Group, and Bpifrance. Rude Baguette has more here.

TabbedOut, a 6.5-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company focused on mobile payments for bars and restaurants, has raised $2 million in new funding from Aeterna Capital, bringing its Series C round (announced back in June) to $23.5 million. Earlier investors include Wellington Management, New Enterprise Associates, and Morgan Creek Capital Management. More here.

Tinyclues, a 5.5-year-old, Paris-based predictive marketing SaaS startup, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Alven Capital, with participation from earlier investors ISAI and Elaia Partners.

TinyPulse, a three-year-old, Seattle-based employee engagement platform, has raised $6 million led by Arthur Ventures, with participation from High Alpha Capital and Varenne Partners. StrictlyVC talked with TinyPulse founder Davie Niu last December.

UrbanClap, a 14-month-old, Gurgaon, India-based online local services marketplace that helps users find and hire service providers like plumbers, wedding photographers and more, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the business tycoon Ratan Tata. The money comes just weeks after the company raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The outlet e27 has more here.

Vinted, a seven-year-old, Vilnius, Lithuania-based company that operates a mobile, peer-to-peer marketplace for second-hand clothing, has raised $26.3 million in Series C funding led by the German publishing house Hubert Burda Media Group. Earlier backers Accel Partners and Insight Venture Partners also joined the round. Unquote has more here.


New Funds

Icon Ventures in Palo Alto, Ca., is raising upwards of $260 million for its sixth fund, according to an SEC filing that states the first sale has yet to occur. Icon was formerly known as Jafco Ventures. It rebranded in January of this year.

San Francisco has a new venture firm, reports Fortune’s Dan Primack. Presence Capital, founded by serial entrepreneurs Paul Bragiel, Amitt Mahajan and Phil Chen, will focus on virtual reality and augmented reality startups. Toward that end, it has held a first close on a debut fund that it expects will grow to $10 million. More here.



The cloud collaboration software company Atlassian opened trading yesterday at $27.48 per share and closed the day at $27.78. It currently has a market cap of $5.8 billion. Bloomberg has more here.



Quettra, a two-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based mobile analytics startup, has been acquired for $10 million by SimilarWeb, a six-year-old, Israeli company that provides websites and mobile app publishers with intel about their own traffic and that of competitors. SimilarWeb has raised $65 million from its investors, including Naspers. Quettra had raised $2.9 million from Google Ventures, Miramar Venture Partners, CrunchFundSV AngelHorizons Ventures, Sungy Mobile and Data Collective. TechCrunch has more here.

Yummly, a six-year-old, Redwood City, Calif.-based food discovery platform, has nabbed some of the employees (but not the hardware) of The Orange Chef, a maker of a connected kitchen scale that shut down earlier this month. Yummly has raised $24.1 million in funding from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners, First Round Capital, Harrison Metal, Intel CapitalPhysic Ventures and Unilever Ventures. The Orange Chef had raised roughly $5 million in funding, including from Google Ventures, SparkLabs Global Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, The Social+Capital Partnership and Graph Ventures.



Apple CEO Tim Cook is really over discussing the “hump” on the Apple iPhone smart battery case.

Billionaire investor Mark Cuban thinks Apple should ban Twitter from its App Store until Twitter more effectively solves “any and all objectionable UGC content issues.”


Essential Reads

According to the Financial Times, Google “reversed course and abandoned its high-profile separate European venture fund after tension developed between its continental and U.S. teams on investment strategy and frustration grew over stalled deals.” More specifically, says the piece, the London partners of Google Ventures had trouble persuading CEO Bill Maris — who reportedly spent just three days in Europe last year after the fund’s launch — to sign off on their investments. Google Ventures’s dependence on machine-based algorithms, which had less access to data on European companies than U.S startups, also allegedly caused problems for the London team because it repeatedly rejected their proposed deals. Much more here.

Faraday Future, an electric automaker that hopes to challenge Tesla, plans to start construction on a $1 billion factory in Nevada early next year if state legislators approve incentives and tax breaks worth $215 million.

Hacker collective Anonymous seems to be targeting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump after he called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.



Mapping the staggering, sorry state of U.S. student debt.

Warriors point guard Steph Curry on LeBron James, isolation tanks, and how it feels to be him: “The game is slow. It just feels so comfortable, smooth, natural. It’s the confidence that when we’re out on the floor, only good things are gonna happen. Any move you wanna make, it happens. You’ll miss shots, but there’s a flow to everything you do. It’s cool. I’m on cloud nine.”


Retail Therapy

Gift ideas for your favorite bike commuter.

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