StrictlyVC: January 29, 2016

It’s Friday! [One-handed cartwheel. Back roll.]

We hope you have a terrific weekend, everyone.


Top News in the A.M.

Score another win for Carl Icahn. Last night, the WSJ reported the Xerox will split itself in two and give several board seats to the activist investor. More here.

A new White House proposal wants to see private companies submit salary data to the federal government in an effort to further reduce the pay gap between men and women.


BirdEye Swoops in on $8 Million Series A

BirdEye, a software company focused on helping its clients improve their business reputations and customer experiences in real time, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Trinity Ventures. As part of the investment, Trinity’s Ajay Chopra has joined the board.

Plenty of Silicon Valley luminaries also piled into the round, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff; Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang; Square’s project engineering lead Gokul Rajaram; Kevin Weil (the former Twitter product head who just hightailed itto Instagram); BranchOut founder Rick Marini; Haystack founder Semil Shah; and angel investor Ellen Levy.

To learn more about the company, we chatted earlier this week with CEO Naveen Gupta, who was formerly chief product officer at the telephony software company Ring Central, and whose BirdEye cofounder is his brother, Neeraj, a longtime technical lead at Yahoo.

More here.


New Fundings

BloomReach, a six-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based cloud personalization platform, has raised $56 million in Series D funding from Battery VenturesSalesforce Ventures, and earlier backers Bain Capital VenturesLightspeed Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. VentureBeat hasmore here.

College Avenue Student Loans, a two-year-old, Wilmington, De.-based student loan marketplace lender, has raised $20 million in new funding led by Comcast Ventures, with participation from DW Partners and Fenway Summer Ventures. More here.

Cronofy, a 2.5-year-old U.K.-based startup that offers a calendar API to help businesses and their customers synchronise calendars, has raised a $1.6 million seed round led by Firestartr and the Amsterdam-based venture capital firm henQ. TechCrunch has more here.

FreshMenu, a two-year-old, Bangalore, India-based online food-tech venture that delivers meals prepared at its kitchen facilities, has raised $17 million in Series B funding led by Zodius Technology Fund, with participation from earlier backer Lightspeed Venture Partners. VCCircle has more here.

nuTonomy, a two-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based maker of advanced software for autonomous vehicles, has raised $3.6 million in seed funding from Signal Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Fontinalis Partners and Steven LaValle, who is a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

RedMart, a four-year-old, Singapore-based online grocery company, is closing in on a $100 million Series C round, reports TechCrunch. To date, RedMart has raised over $50 million from investors that include Garena, SoftBank Ventures Korea, Visionnaire Ventures, and Facebook co­-founder Eduardo Saverin. More here.

Truebil, a year-old, Bangalore-based online marketplace for buying and selling secondhand cars, has raised Rs 35 crore ($5.1 million) in Series A funding from Kalaari Capital, Inventus Capital and Tekton Ventures, along with earlier backer Kae Capital. The Economic Times has more here.

True Potential, a nine-year-old, London-based integrated investor and wealth management technology platform, has sold a significant minority share of its business to FTV Capital, its first institutional investor. The transaction values True Potential at more than £150 million ($212.5 million). More here.

TurboAppeal, a year-old, Chicago-based startup that offers property tax appeal services, has raised $3 million in fresh funding led by KGC Capital, with participation from Hyde Park Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, and individual investors. Built in Chicago has more here.


New Funds

Susa Ventures, a 2.5-year-old, seed-stage firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, and L.A. , is looking to raise up to $50 million for a second fund, two years after raising a $25 million debut fund. More here.



Apple has acquired education-technology startup LearnSprout, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based software startup whose online data insights help K-12 educators track students’ performances. The company had raised $4.7 million from investors across two rounds, including Andreessen Horowitz, Formation 8, and Samsung Ventures. CrunchBase has the full investor list here. According to the outlet The Information, the deal closed last summer and returned investors’ money (just). More here.

Facebook is shutting down Parse, a toolkit and support system for mobile developers that it acquired for a reported $85 million in 2013. More here.



A 300-foot yacht belonging to Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen was just accused of destroying a huge swath of protected coral reef in the Cayman Islands.

Michael Heller has joined Oak HC/FT as a venture partner. Heller is the president and a board member of FactorTrust, an alternative credit bureau.

Kevin Morris, formerly VP of Goldman Sachs’ venture capital coverage group, has joined DLA Piper as the head of its Venture Pipeline practice for the West Coast.

Longtime VC Sonja Hoel Perkins talks with Fortune about what women entrepreneurs could do better. “I think women should just get up, stand up, straight posture, and just own it.”

Politico CEO Jim VandeHei and one of its best-known journalists, Mike Allen, plan to leave the company after the 2016 election. Jim VandeHei, who founded Politico more than eight years ago, is starting a new venture with Allen and several other top executives. The New York Times has more here.


Essential Reads

Apple is reportedly working on a phone that can be charged wirelessly.

Everything to know (for now) about Tesla‘s secret Model 3, whose big reveal comes in March.



The practical skills your kids should learn at every age.

Spite houses.


Retail Therapy

Stickable iPhone paperback notes.

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