StrictlyVC: January 21, 2016

Hi, happy Thursday, everyone. Great afternoon here in sunny, if freezing-cold, Davos. Among other highlights, our TC colleague Mike Butcher sat down with the very canny actor and investor Kevin Spacey, who also talked with CNBC (we’re sharing a space with them right now). Our favorite Spacey quote of the day: “Sometimes, a teacher, a parent, an adult, can say just the right thing at just the right time, and it can be life changing.” (So true, no?)

You can check out some of TC’s Davos coverage here.


Top News in the A.M.

Facebook just built its own game hub. Recode has the story here.

Uber says its expanding its meal-delivery service, positioning it to more directly compete with the likes of Postmates and DoorDash. The WSJ has more here.


Scale Venture Partners Raises New, $335 Million Fund

This morning, the Bay Area venture firm Scale Venture Partners is announcing the close of its newest fund,  Scale Venture Partners V, L.P., with $335 million, up from the $300 million fund it closed in May 2013.

Scale, once the venture arm of Bank of America (it split off from the bank 10 years ago), says its capital came from a wide array of pension funds, foundations, funds of funds, financial investors and family offices worldwide, including previous and new investors. (BofA is no longer an LP.)

The firm, which focuses primarily on enterprise investments, is run by longtime colleagues Stacey Bishop, Kate Mitchell, Rory O’Driscoll, and Andy Vitus, along with their newest partner, Ariel Tseitlin, a former director of cloud solutions at Netflix who was promoted from venture partner in 2014. It also recently announced the promotion of former tech banker Susan Liu to vice president from senior associate.

Like a lot of other firms able to raise funds right now, Scale has had a string of exits in recent years, including the IPOs of the online storage provider Box. We talked via email with several partners of the firm earlier this week to get a better handle on where it might be shopping next (among other things).

More here.


New Fundings

Botify, a 3.5-year-old, London- and Paris-based search analytics platform for digital marketers, has raised $7.2 million in Series A funding from Idinvest and Ventech.

Citymapper, a four-year-old, London-based app that helps users navigate their way around a growing number of cities, has raised $40 million in Series B funding, including from Index Ventures, Benchmark, Yuri Milner, Tom Stafford, and Michael Lynto. The company raised a $10 million Series A round led by Balderton Capital in April 2014. TechCrunch has more here.

CREO, a five-year-old, Bangalore, India-based company that wants to create a new Android-based operating system as well as produce its own smartphones, has raised $3 million from Sequoia India, Beenext Ventures, and India Quotient. TechCrunch has more here.

ForeScout, a security company that helps firms detect devices on their networks they might not know about, announced a $76 million investment led by Wellington Management. The company has now raised $121 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Jopwell, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based diversity and hiring recruiting platform dedicated to helping blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans get jobs in tech, has raised a $3.25 million seed round from Magic Johnson EnterprisesAndreessen Horowitz, Kapor Capital, Omidyar Network, Valar Ventures and others. The company has now raised $4.22 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Malwarebytes, an eight-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based cybersecurity company that helps safeguard its business customers from computer viruses, worms, trojan horses and more, has raised $50 million from Fidelity Management and Research Company. TechCrunch has more here.

MariaDB Corporation, a five-year-old, Espoo, Finland-based software vendor specializing in MariaDB and MySQL, has raised $9 million in funding from earlier investors Intel Capital and California Technology Ventures. The company has now raised just more than $40 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Olo, a 10-year-old, New York-based digital ordering engine for restaurant brands, has raised $40 million in funding from The Raine Group. TechCrunch has more here.

PieSync, a three-year-old, Belgium-based startup that creates deep integrations between web applications focused on business users, has raised $1.6 million in new funding led by Ark Angels Activator Fund and SOFI. TechCrunch has more here.

Qubole, a four-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based big data-as-a-service company, has raised $30 million in a Series C round that brings its total funding to $50 million. Institutional Venture Partners led the financing, with earlier backers CRV,  Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners participating.

QuizUp, a 2.5-year-old, Reykjavik, Iceland-based social trivia platform, is raising up to $7.5 million in funding from Glu Mobile. The company had previously raised $27 million. TechCrunch has more here.

Sentenai, a year-old, Boston-based developer of cloud infrastructure that applies machine learning techniques to automate data engineering, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding from Flybridge Capital Partners, Founder Collective, Project 11 Ventures, and Hyperplane Venture Capital.

WeLab, a three-year-old, Beijing- and Hong Kong-based online lending platform, has raised a whopping $160 million in Series B funding led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Malaysia’s strategic investment fund, with participation from ING Bank and Guangdong Technology Financial Group, which is run by the Chinese government. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

iNovia Capital, the nine-year old, Canada-based early stage venture firm, has raised its third fund with $175 million Canadian dollars (roughly $120 million). The WSJ has more here.



Delivery Hero, the online food delivery startup partly owned by Rocket Internet, has picked three banks including Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to advise it on an IPO this year, reports Bloomberg. More here.

Online lender Elevate Credit has postponed its IPO, which would have been the first this year, due to difficult market conditions, reports the WSJ. More here.



FireEye, a now-public company that makes appliances that protect computer networks, is spending $200 million to buy the nine-year-old, Dallas, Tex.-based threat intelligence company iSight Partners. According to CrunchBase, iSight has raised roughly $40 million from investors over the years. Boston Business Journal has more here.

Gawker Media plans to sell a minority stake to the investment company Columbus Nova Technology Partners, a move its founder, Nick Denton, said was driven by the need for funding for growth initiatives. The New York Times has more here.

IBM is reportedly considering a $130 million buyout of the nine-year-old, San Francisco-based company Ustream, which sells a live cloud-hosted video service. According to CrunchBase, Ustream has raised $60.3 million from its investors. Fortune has more here.



Honor, an elder-care startup, has just turned its contract workers into full-time employees with equity.


Essential Reads

Fortune examines Silicon Valley’s $585 billion problem.

The New York Times looks at Jack Dorsey’s battle to steer two companies that have been caught in the downdraft.



How “Making a Murderer” went wrong.

What are your odds of becoming a millionaire?

Millennial think-piece bingo.


Retail Therapy

ButterOnce corn buttering knife, where have you been all our life?

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