StrictlyVC: December 21, 2015

Happy Monday, dear readers!

Just a quick reminder that we’re publishing for a few more days, then recharging through New Year’s, so we can keep going and going . . .


Top News in the A.M.

U.S. health regulators are investigating complaints about laboratory and research practices at Theranos by two former employees of the blood-testing startup company, reports the WSJ.


On “60 Minutes,” Tim Cook Bats Away Car Talk and More

Last night, “60 Minutes” aired a segment on Apple, in which interviewer Charlie Rose talked with CEO Tim Cook about running a modern-day tech giant and the challenges the company faces daily, from a world filled with terrorists to criticisms that its manufacturing operations in China have everything to do with low-wage workers.

Unfortunately, Rose didn’t get much new out of Cook, including about Apple’s rumored car-building operation.

Cook wouldn’t apologize for the fact that Apple is keeping $74 billion in revenue offshore, either. Two-thirds of Apple’s business is overseas, Cook noted, adding that he doesn’t plan to pay “40 percent [of that sum in taxes] to bring it home . . . I don’t think that’s a reasonable thing to do.”

One thing Cook did confirm for Rose: Apple’s new headquarters will cost a whopping $5 billion, give or take, to build.

The news magazine sent us the script last night; here it is in its entirety.

More here.


New Fundings

Assurex Health, a nine-year-old, Mason, Oh.-based personalized medicine company that specializes in pharmacogenomics, has raised $15 million in Series D extension funding from existing (unnamed) investors. More here.

Axonics Modulation Technologies, a two-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based company that’s developing implantable neuromodulation technologies, has raised $38.5 million in Series B funding. New investors Advent Life Sciences and Cormorant Asset Management joined earlier investors in the round, including a syndicate led by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, NeoMed Management, Legend Capital, The Alfred E. Mann Foundation and unnamed private individuals. Axonics has now raised $59 million altogether. More here.

CellSavers, a year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based on-demand repair service that’s like an Uber for smartphone repairs, has raised $3 million in seed funding from Sequoia Israel. TechCrunch has more here.

Flux Factory, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based maker of collaborative design software for the building design and construction industry, has raised $29 million in Series B funding co-led by Temasek and Surbana Jurong Private Limited.  Far East Ventures, DFJ, South Park Ventures, Borealis Ventures, and Obvious Ventures also participated in the round. TechCrunch has more here.

Gusto, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based online platform for payroll, compliance, and benefit services, has raised $22.3 million in new Series B funding, according to an SEC filing that shows a $50 million target. Earlier backers include Google Capital, Emergence Capital Partners, Google Ventures, and Ribbit Capital. Gusto was formerly known as ZenPayroll.

Lyft, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based ride-hailing company, plans to raise as much as $1 billion in new funds, according to a Delaware state filing. Bloomberg has the story here.

Memblaze, a nearly five-year-old, Beijing, China-based flash memory card maker, has raised “tens of millions of U.S. dollars” in Series C funding from General Technology Venture Capital Co. and Qualcomm Ventures, according to a company announcement. China Money Network has more here.

Segura Networks, a four-year-old, U.K.-based company that makes production tracking systems that retailers and brand owners in the garment industry use to control their supply chain, has raised roughly $3 million in funding from Octopus Ventures.


New Funds

BioGeneration Ventures, a nine-year-old, Naarden, North Holland-based venture investment firm, is looking to raise about 50 million euros ($54 million) for its third fund next year, reports Dow Jones VentureWire. The firm reportedly just saw a huge exit with AstraZeneca $4 billion purchase of the cancer-drug startup Acerta Pharma B.V.

OrbiMed, the 26-year-old, New York-based investment firm leading investment firm focused on the healthcare sector, just announced the closing of its newest fund, OrbiMed Private Investments VI, LP, with a stunning $950 million, citing the “increasing pace of translation of science to medicine” and the “exciting opportunities” that’s creating in areas like oncology, central nervous system disease, and gene editing. The new fund, focused on North America and Europe, is expected to fund roughly 30 companies, via checks that range from $10 million to $75 million. (If this announcement sounds vaguely familiar to you, it may be because last week, we mentioned another, Israel-focused fund that week that Orbimed is raising.)



Qihoo, a Beijing-based developer of security software and Internet browsers, announced late last week that it will go private in a deal worth $9.3 billion. As Reuters notes, this makes Qihoo the latest in a growing list of U.S.-listed Chinese tech firms that have decided to go private. More here.



More than two years after he bought the Post from the Graham family for $250 million, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has shaped its digital transformation in ways big and small. Bloomberg takes a look here.

Sam Fort has been promoted to partner at DFJ Growth. Fort joined the firm five years ago as a principal, after logging time as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and an associate at TPG Growth. When we talked with DFJ Growth cofounder Randy Glein last week, he credited Fort with “doing a terrific job for us, both in helping us envision new markets that we’ll be investing in and sourcing several of our important investments.”

The WSJ takes a look at famed investment banker Frank Quattrone‘s “comeback in the new tech era.”

Pharmecuticals executive Martin Shkreli said this weekend that securities fraud allegations that resulted in his arrest last week were “baseless and without merit.” No matter; he’s losing jobs left and right as a result.



Scrum Ventures is looking to hire an associate. The job is in San Francisco.


Essential Reads

Ruh roh. On Friday, announced in emails to customers and on its website that it can’t guarantee delivery of merchandise in time for Christmas except items eligible for pricey two-day delivery.

Maybe we’ll see Terrafugia‘s flying car in the U.S. someday after all.



How you’ll search for a job in 2016.

How to read an entire book in a single day.

The siege of Miami.


Retail Therapy

Apps to download in 2016.

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