StrictlyVC: February 11, 2016

Hi, everyone! Happy Thursday.

No column today. We had a fun but busy afternoon yesterday that included an on-stage sit-down with Tomasz Tunguz of Redpoint Ventures at the SaaStr Annual conference in San Francisco. An online commenter, “Bubba,” noted that we could have been better prepared, describing our performance as “moderating hack,” “weak,” “half-assed” and also “kind of clueless.” (Bubba, thank you for your copious feedback.) Worth noting: before our Q&A, Tunguz showcased some interesting information about the Series A fundraising landscape for SaaS businesses; you can find the presentation here.


Top News in the A.M.

Twitter yesterday reported its fourth-quarter earnings, and they weren’t great. The company missed revenue forecasts. It didn’t add any users, either. More here.


New Fundings

First Stop Health, a four-year-old, Chicago-based telemedicine company that serves employers, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding from unnamed angel investors and family offices. The company has now raised $5.6 million to date. MedCity News has more here.

Halo Neuroscience, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes headphones and a companion app designed to improve fitness performance through brain stimulation, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Lux Capital, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Jazz Venture Partners, SoftTech VC and Xfund. MedCity News has more here.

Hexadite, a Boston-based company that makes automated incident response software, has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Hewlett Packard Ventures, Ten Eleven Ventures and seed backer YL Ventures. More here.

NuuED, a year-old Oakland, Ca.-based whose mobile educational app promises to assist learning based on a user’s particular learning style, has raised $3 million in funding led by DuKlaw Ventures, with participation from Deutsche Gruppe. More here.

Payleven, a three-year-old, Berlin-based mobile payments startup, has raised $10 million in growth funding from earlier backers Holtzbrinck Ventures, ru-Net, B Cinque, New Enterprise Associates and MePay, along with new backer Seventure Partners. The company has now raised $51 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

SchoolMint, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose software helps families and schools manage their admissions process (from preschools through high schools), has raised $5.6 million in new funding led by Runa Capital. Other participants in the round include Maiden Lane Ventures, CSC Upshot, Crosslink Capital, Reach Newschools Capital, Fresco Capital, the Govtech Fund, and Kapor Capital.

Renew Financial, an eight-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based clean energy finance company, has raised $70 million in growth funding, including from Angeleno Group, Apollo Capital Management, Claremont Creek Ventures, LL Funds, NGEN Partners, and Prelude Ventures.

Sky-Futures, a 6.5-year-old, London-based drone startup that flies UAVs around oil rigs and gas pipelines and analyzes the captured data to spot things before they become a problem, has raised $3.8 million from Bristow Group, a helicopter service provider to the energy industry, and earlier investor MMC Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Statflo, a three-year-old, Toronto-based wireless customer service startup, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by Round13 Capital, with participation from Extreme Venture Partners, MaRS IAF, Globalive Capital, Rising Tide Fund, Garage Capital, Hedgewood and TIO Networks. More here., a four-year-old, London-based accommodation marketplace focused on the needs of international students, has raised $60 million in a combined Series B and C round led by VY Capital. Horizons Ventures, Expa, Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, and Hugo Barra from Xiaomi also participated in the round. TechCrunch has more here.

Toss Lab, a 1.5-year-old, Seoul, Korea-based company behind an enterprise communication tool that is tailored for companies in Asia called JANDI, has raised $2.5 million. TechCrunch has more here.

Veniam, a four-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that’s trying to build city-scale networks of connected vehicles that expand wireless coverage and bring terabytes of physical data to the cloud, has raised $22 million in Series B funding led by Verizon Ventures. Other investors include Cisco Investments, Orange Digital Ventures,  Yamaha Motor Ventures, and earlier backers True Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and Cane Investments. Veniam has now raised $27 million altogether. More here.

ZyBooks, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes interactive learning products for the higher education STEM market, has raised $4 million in funding led by Bialla Venture Partners. More here.


New Funds

BBVA,  the Spanish banking giant, is shutting down its in-house venture arm, BBVA Ventures, and taking its portfolio, along with the $100 million fund it had allocated to the group, and an additional $150 million, and putting all of it into a new venture called Propel Venture Partners in which BBVA will be a limited partner. TechCrunch has the story here.

Goodwater Capital, a two-year-old venture firm cofounded by former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Chi-Hua Chien, is looking to raise up to $200 million for its second fund, reports Fortune. The firm closed its debut fund with $130 million in the summer of 2014; some of its bet include the digital investment advisor Stash and the apartment rental platform Zumper.

IMJ, a venture capital firm based in Japan, has raised roughly $52 million for a new fund that it intends to invest in Japan-based startups that want to transform traditional industries like finance and healthcare, as well those that play in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and blockchain. TechCrunch has more here.

JetBlue Airways announced yesterday that it’s launching a Silicon Valley-based venture capital unit called JetBlue Technology Ventures. The aim: to invest in tech innovations that will evolve JetBlue’s customer experience and move forward the travel industry at large. Business Insider has more here.

Karma Ventures, a new pan-European VC firm, has closed its debut fund with €40 million ($45.4 million) in capital commitments. TechCrunch has more here.



Sensus Healthcare, a Florida-based biotech developing photon x-ray low energy superficial radiation therapy for non-melanoma skin cancer and keloids, just filed a prospectus for a $23 million IPO. MedCity News has more here.



Publicly traded Pocket Games has acquired Viximo, a Cambridge, Ma.-based social gaming platform, for $3.5 million in stock. Viximo had raised $5 million in 2009 from North Bridge Venture Partners and Sigma Partners.

Time Inc. is acquiring Viant, a 17-year-old marketing platform. TechCrunch has more here.



Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff owns a lot of Fitbit.

Former HP CEO Carly Fiorina dropped out of the U.S. presidential race yesterday (finally).



Google just posted an opening for a corporate development strategy manager. The job is in Mountain View, Ca.

Credit Karma is also looking for a corporate development manager. The job is in San Francisco.


Essential Reads

Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund each sold a portion of their stakes in Lyft to Saudi Arabia’s Prince al-Waleed bin Talal and his Kingdom Holding Co. in a December deal that coincided with Lyft’s $1 billion Series F round, which included Al-Waleed and General Motors. The WSJ has the story and some useful analysis about what’s up here.

According to a new report, Airbnb manipulated data about its business in New York to hide the fact that a lot of renters in New York City are businesspeople with multiple properties listed on the site. More here.

Delivery startups like DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart are facing all kinds of challenges, not that this will surprise many of you.



OK Go has just released the newest music video in a long line of its famously complicated productions.

Online dating among young adults has nearly tripled since 2013, says a new Pew report.

Rent-a-Minority. (Heh.)


Retail Therapy

Surfboards inspired by European art.

Filed Under:

Don’t Miss Out!

Sign up today to receive a free daily email with everything you need to start your day. Plus, keep track of the companies and personalities that will shape the industry in the months and years to come. Let StrictlyVC be your very own venture capital concierge.

StrictlyVC on Twitter