StrictlyVC: January 8, 2016

All right, all right, it’s Friday. No column today; we’ve been a little busy trying to figure out our next event and we’re happy to announce that you can get your tickets for it starting today. The date: the evening of Thursday, February 25th. The location: San Francisco. The venue: The beautiful Autodesk Gallery, at 1 Market Street.

We’re exceedingly happy to announce that longtime VC and Stanford lecturer Heidi Roizen will be joining us this time to talk about the investing landscape (and how to survive in a crummy market). We’re also thrilled to say that GV CEO Bill Maris is coming to give readers the lowdown about where Google Ventures will — and won’t — be shopping in 2016. Not last, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass himself is going to sit down to talk about the software giant’s new Internet of Things fund and a bunch of other stuff. (The amiable Ben Einstein of Bolt will be interviewing him.) We may have one last surprise for you, too, so stay tuned.

Tickets are available here. If you’d like to partner with us on the event as a sponsor, we’d love to hear from you.

Thanks, and have a terrific weekend, everyone!


Top News in the A.M.

U.S. federal marshals raided a hoverboard booth yesterday at CES yesterday.

Speaking of hoverboards, colleges are beginning to ban them on campus.

Why formerly mysterious Faraday Futures probably shouldn’t do interviews just yet.


New Fundings

Agilence, a nine-year-old, Mt. Laurel, N.J.-based data analytics company, has raised $6 million in Series B funding led by Arrowroot Capital, with participation from previous investor Aster Capitol. More here.

Alector, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based biotech company pioneering the discovery and development of first-in-class, immuno-modulatory therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, has raised $29.5 million in Series D funding led by the Dementia Discovery Fund, with new investors Amgen Ventures and AbbVie participating. More here.

ASLAN Pharmaceuticals, a five-year-old, Singapore-based developer of immunotherapies and targeted agents for Asia-prevalent tumor types, has raised $43 million in Series C funding, including from MVP Capital Partners and Accuron Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings.More here.

Cortexyme, a three-year-old, South San Francisco-based company at work on therapeutics and diagnostics for Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative disorders, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Pfizer, along with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company through its venture arm, and earlier investor Dolby Family Ventures. Cortexyme previously raised roughly $1 million, including an investment award from Breakout Labs.

Cloud Elements, a 3.5-year-old, Denver-based provider of a cloud-based API platform, has raised $5 million in new Series A funding from Access Venture Partners, among others. More here.

Deposit Solutions, a four-year-old, Germany-based open-architecture platform for retail deposits in Europe, has raised roughly $7 million in funding led by FinLab AG, with participation from Peter Thiel,, Stefan Wiskemann, Stefan Glanzer and Christoph Linkwitz.

Dibs Technology, a year-old, New York-based company that makes dynamic-pricing technology for the fitness club market, has raised $1 million in seed funding. Gree Ventures led the round, and was joined by Comcast Ventures‘ Catalyst Fund, Caerus and Dreamit Ventures.

MakeMyTrip, a 15-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based travel booking site, has received an investment of $180 million from Ctrip, a China-based travel booking site. TechCrunch has more here.

KidPass, a year-old, New York-based startup whoses membership passes help parents discover and book children’s activities, has raised $325,000 in seed funding from Rugged Ventures, Bionic Fund, CoVenture and individual investors.

MyMusicTaste, a four-year-old, Seoul-based startup that gauges fan interest to help figure out where to plan concerts, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Softbank Ventures Korea. Other participants in the round include Samsung Ventures, Formation 8, Golden Gate VenturesTimewise Investment, Partners Investment, Bokwang Ventures Investment, and DT Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

PierianDx, a year-old, St. Louis-based provider of genomic software and services for personalized medicine development, has raised $9.25 million in Series A funding led by Health Catalyst Capital Management, with participation from Ocean Road Advisors, Inova Translational Medicine Institute and ARUP Laboratories. More here.

Platzi, a two-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based online education startup that offers live streaming classes on design, marketing and code, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding from Omidyar Network, 500 Startups, Nazca Ventures and Amasia Ventures.

Scalr, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose enterprise cloud management platform is used by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, the FDA, Autodesk, and many others, has just raised $7 million from OpenView Venture Partners. More here.

StartEngine, a four-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based equity crowdfunding platform, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding from SE Agoura Investment. More here.

Xeris Pharmaceuticals, a 10-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that’s developing patient-friendly injectables for indications in diabetes, epilepsy, and immunology, has raised $41 million in Series C funding led by Redmile Group, with participation from Deerfield Management, Sabby Management, The McNair Group, and others. MedCity News has more here.

Zai Lab, a 1.5-year-old, Shanghai, China-based biopharmaceutical company, has raised more than $100 million in Series B funding led by Advantech Capital, with participation from OrbiMed and earlier backers Qiming Ventures, Sequoia Capital China, and TF Capital. More here.

Zymeworks, an 11-year-old, Vancouver-based developer of bi-specific antibodies and antibody drug conjugates for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, has raised $61.5 million in Series A funding co-led by BDC Capital and Lumira Capital. Other investors included Perceptive Advisors, Teralys Capital, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund,Brace Pharma Capital, Merlin Nexus and return backers Eli Lilly & Co.Celgene, CTI Life Sciences Fund, and the Fonds de solidarite FTQ. More here.


New Funds

Hamilton Lane, the 17-year-old investment firm, has raised $240 million for its fourth private equity secondaries fund, shows an SEC filing that lists a $1.25 billion target.

K2 Global, a seven-month-old, San Francisco-based venture firm that has partners in Silicon Valley and Singapore, is looking to raise up to $100 million for its debut fund, reports Dow Jones VentureWire. The firm is investing in software, Internet and mobile companies. More here.



The world’s most valuable company is considering an IPO. Fortune has more here.



Apple has acquired Emotient, a three-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based artificial intelligence startup whose technology is used to assess emotions based on people’s facial expressions. The company had raised $8 million from investors, including Intel Capital. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. The WSJ has the story here.

Germany company RNTS Media has officially acquired the mobile ad network Heyzap in a deal worth up to $45 million. Heyzap was incubated at Y Combinator and raised $8 million in total funding from investors including Founder Collective, Union Square Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.



Balderton Capital has promoted Rob Moffat and James Wise to partner. Balderton’s partnership now comprises eight investing partners. Moffat and Wise have been members of Balderton’s investment team for a combined total of eleven years.

Madrona Venture Group has brought aboard Bill Richter as a venture partner. Richter was most recently the president of the Isilon Storage Division of EMC.

Sequoia’s Michael Moritz will be speaking at Stanford on Wednesday, January 20th. The talk is open to the public. More here.



Salesforce is looking to add a manager/senior manager to its Salesforce Ventures team in London.

Redpoint Ventures is hiring a data scientist. The job is in San Francisco.


Essential Reads

San Francisco’s largest taxi company is edging toward filing for bankruptcy, claiming lawsuits from traffic collisions, as well competition from the likes of Uber and Lyft. The San Francisco Examiner has the story here.

The big data of bad driving.



52 places to go in 2016.

Back hair stylist. (Warning: You can not unsee this.)


Retail Therapy

personal robot from Segway.

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