StrictlyVC: January 27, 2016

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

If you’ve reached out to us about volunteering at our next event, thank you! We haven’t forgotten you; it’s been a busy few days but we’ll get back to you shortly. (If you haven’t written us, note that we already have more interest than we can field.)


Top News in the A.M.

We now know what percentage of Apple customers have opted to stick with smaller iPhones (60 percent). More here.


The Surprisingly Not-Terrible Impact of All Those Late-Stage Rounds on IPOs

You’ve seen the headlines; you know that over the last couple of years, a growing number of startups has gone public at valuations below where they were valued as privately held companies (or sunk past them quickly).

You’ve also come to understand that a lot of late, and often lofty, private company valuations are getting set by investors who receive preferred shares in exchange for their checks. What that means: those investors receive downside protection in the form of rights to get paid ahead of other investors — or to get paid back more than other investors — in case the companies’ value declines.

There’s a silver lining, though. According to new research out of the law firm Fenwick & West, which has been actively tracking financing terms, of the 41 U.S.-based technology companies that went public either last year or 2014 and that had raised venture funding in the prior three years (life sciences companies were not included), just 20 percent — that’s eight companies — saw these so-called ratchets triggered.

More here.


New Fundings

Adicet Bio, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based developer of cell immunotherapies, has raised $51 million in Series A funding led by OrbiMed Advisors, with participation from Novartis Venture Fund and Pontifax.

Branch Metrics, a nearly two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based “deep linking” company, has raised $35 million in Series B funding led by Founders Fund, with participation from Madrona Venture Group and earlier backers New Enterprise Associates, Pejman Mar Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Zach Coelius, and Ben Narasin. TechCrunch has more here.

Cadre, a nearly two-year-old, New York-based real-estate investing marketplace, has raised $50 million in Series B funding from Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Founders Fund, Thrive Capital, Ford FoundationKhosla Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and SL Green Realty Corp., along with individual investors, family funds and college endowments. The New York Post has more here.

Civic, a new, Bay Area-based company whose technology uses the blockchain to secure consumer data, has raised $2.75 million in seed funding, reports VentureSource. The company was founded by Vinny Lingham, co-founder of mobile gift care platform Gyft, which sold to First Data in 2014 for $50 million. He’s taking the wraps off the service this spring.

HighQ, a 15-year-old, London-based maker of SaaS collaboration and content management solutions, has raised $50 million in growth equity funding from One Peak Partners, Morgan Stanley Merchant Banking and Goldman Sachs Private Capital. More here.

Lever, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based web app for hiring, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from earlier backers Matrix Partners and Index Ventures. Forbes has more here.

Moz, an 11-year-old, Seattle-based marketing software maker, has raised $10 million in Series C funding from earlier investor Foundry Group. The company has now raised $29.1 million altogether. More from its CEO, Sarah Bird, here.

PanOpen, a nearly three-year-old, New York-based open educational resource platform, has raised $4.5 million in funding fled by Zen Group. More here.

PitchBook Data, a nearly nine-year-old, Seattle-based data platform for private equity, venture capital, and M&A pros, has raised $10 million at a $160 million post-money valuation from earlier backer Morningstar, which now owns roughly 20 percent of the company. GeekWire has more here.

Savari, an eight-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based startup whose wireless sensor technology and software equips cars and roads with 360-degree situational awareness, even when objects are around corners, has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Delta Electronics Capital Corp, SAIC Capital, and an unnamed strategic investor. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

StatMuse, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that lets you search for basketball facts and statistics through ordinary “natural” language requests, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from the Walt Disney CompanyTechStars, Allen & Co., Greycroft Partners, Promus Ventures, Haas Portman, Deep Fork Capital, and Bee Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Tarveda Therapeutics, a three-year-old, Watertown, Ma.-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing a new class of targeted anti-cancer medicines to treat patients with solid tumor cancers, has raised $38 million in Series C funding co-led by Novo A/S and return backer New Enterprise Associates. Other investors include Flagship VenturesNanoDimension and Eminent Venture Capital. The company was known until now as Blend Therapeutics.

Vestorly, a four-year-old, New York-based content marketing platform for financial services, has raised $4.1 million in Series A funding led “significantly” by Sigma Prime Ventures. More here.

Wevorce, a three-year-old, Bothell, Wa.-based online platform that pairs spouses with trained divorce attorneys, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Techstars. More here.

The Zebra, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based platform that lets users compare auto insurance quotes in real time, has raised $17 million in Series A funding led by Ballast Point Ventures, with participation from Daher CapitalMark Cuban, Mike Maples Jr., Simon Nixon, and Silverton Partners. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

Rakuten Ventures, the investment arm of one of Japan’s largest Internet companies, has launched a 10 billion yen ($84 million) fund dedicated to the country’s startups. The Japan Fund will focus on promising early- and growth-stage tech companies that can potentially work with businesses in Rakuten‘s ecosystem, which include its e-commerce platform, an online bank, and messaging app Viber. More here.



Blue Coat Systems, the Internet security-software company backed by Bain Capital, will seek to raise as much as $500 million in an IPO this year, says Bloomberg. More here.

Tactile Systems Technology, an at-home compression wrap company, just became the inaugural med tech IPO filing of 2016. FierceMedicalDevices has more here on the company, which has so far raised $29.5 million in equity from shareholders, including Galen Partners and Radius Ventures.

Quick reminder: There have been zero, zilcho, no IPOs on U.S. exchanges this month. That hasn’t happened since December 2008.



AppDirect, the well-funded marketplace for selling cloud services, has acquired Radialpoint, a 19-year-old, Montreal-based tech support company. AppDirect isn’t disclosing the financial terms of the deal. Radialpoint had raised $123 million from investors, shows CrunchBase. TechCrunch has more here.

Publicly traded Juniper Networks is aquiring BTI Systems, a 16-year-old, Ottawa-based provider of cloud and metro networking systems and software to content and service providers. No financial terms were disclosed. BTI Systems has raised $121 million from investors, shows CrunchBase.



Michael Pao, who spent more than four years at the ride-hailing giant Uber, most recently as Head of Product on the company’s growth team, has joined the venture firm Greylock Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence. We talked with him yesterday.

Kevin Weil, a longtime Twitter executive whose resignation was among others announced over the weekend, will soon join the photo-sharing service Instagram, a company that many consider one of Twitter’s main competitors. The New York Times has more here.

Slack has hired former Foursquare SVP of product management Noah Weiss to lead its new Search, Learning, and Intelligence group. He’s opening the company’s first New York office, too. Fortune has more here.



Applied Materials is looking to hire an investment associate. The job is in Santa Clara, Ca.

Slack is hiring a fund manager for its $80 million, venture-backed app investment fund. The job is in San Francisco.



Dow Jones has just released its fourth-quarter venture capital report. You can get the full download right here.


Essential Reads

Inside Facebook‘s decision to blow up the “Like” button.

Chapter 14 of “France Hates Uber.”

Lyft said today that it agreed to pay $12.25 million to settle a pending worker classification lawsuit in California, but it will continue to classify its drivers as independent contractors, not employees. More here.



Why understanding space is so hard.

The weird psychology of returning stuff to the store.

Your beard may actually be good for you, according to “science.”


Retail Therapy

Andy Spade (husband of Kate Spade) is selling some stuff.

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