StrictlyVC: February 25, 2016

We are so excited to see nearly 200 of you tonight! [Tuck jump. Cartwheel. Backwards roll.] Just a quick reminder that doors open at 5; Autodesk CEO Carl Bass sits down with Ben Einstein of Bolt around 5:45.:)


Top News in the A.M.

Apple is reportedly at work on plans that would make it impossible for the company to comply with future demands for data from law enforcement.


Who Lives and Dies in a Down Economy

The Bay Area is well-acquainted with boom and bust cycles, and while it’s too soon to declare that the tech economy has turned, recruiters see early indicators that it’s happening.

Indeed, a handful of job placement executives confirms what recent headlines about layoffs already imply: The market is softening for numerous sectors of the startup world, as well as at publicly traded tech companies.

It hasn’t always been this way. Up until recently, recruiters have been working fast and furiously to place a whole range of executives.

Numbers from California’s Employment Development Department illustrate part of the story. In October, for example, the Bay Area accounted for 40 percent of all job growth in California, even though it represents less than 20 percent of the state’s population.

Data in December only hints at a shift, with the overall number of employed Californians down just 10,000 from November, according to the same state agency.

Still, recruiters largely believe the situation is starting to change, particularly for certain jobs.

“I think what we’re seeing is bigger than a small correction,” says Paul Gomory, an executive recruiter who’s been placing C-level professionals for more than 30 years and seen his share of cycles. “Everyone thinks it will be different this time, but it never is.”

More here.


New Fundings

AppCard, a four-year-old, New York-based marketing and loyalty program platform, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by German entrepreneurAlexander Rittweger, founder of Loyalty Partner and PLDT Capital. Earlier investors, including Founders Fund, Innovation Endeavors, and Jerry Yang also participated in the round. has more here.

Didi Kuaidi, the 3.5-year-old, Beijing, China-based ride-hailing giant, has received at least $1 billion in commitments for a new fundraising round, according to Bloomberg. Once the financing closes, the company will reportedly be valued at more than $20 billion.

EnSilo, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company behind a real-time targeted attack exfiltration prevention platform, has added $9 million to an earlier Series A round, which is now $19 million in size. The new funding comes from Rembrandt Venture Partners and includes previous investors Carmel Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Ibibo Group, a nine-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based company that claims to be India’s largest online travel group, has raised $250 million in new funding from majority stakeholder Naspers Group. TechCrunch has more here.

Overnight, a six-month-old, L.A.-based last-minute booking app that facilitates same-day stays with local hosts, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding, led by Accomplice and CrossCut Ventures. Other participants in the round includePaul Bricault and Elliott Bisnow. TechCrunch has more here.

Parkifi, a two-year-old, Denver-based provider of real-time, parking occupancy data that it sells to lot operators, cities and others, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Crosslink Capital and Grotech Ventures. More here.

REVL, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based smart action camera, has raised $2 million in funding led by venture capitalist Bill Tai. Other investors joining the round include Y Combinator, Frog Ventures, James Lindenbaum, and Lars Rasmussen. VentureBeat has more here.

ThousandEyes, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based network intelligence company, has raised $35 million in fresh funding led by Tenaya Capital, with participation from Google Ventures and earlier backers Sequoia CapitalSutter Hill Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.



BlackBerry has acquired Encription, a 40-person, nine-year-old, U.K.-based cyber security consulting business, as it looks to bolster sales of mobile security offerings. Encription appears to have been bootstrapped. The WSJ has more here.

Microsoft is acquiring Xamarin, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that allows developers to build fully native apps across several platforms from a single shared code base. Xamarin had raised a total of $82 million in funding from investors including CRV, Floodgate, Ignition Partners, Insight Venture Partners, and Lead Edge Capital, according to data from CrunchBase. TechCrunch has more here.



Yesterday, Andreessen Horowitz announced the appointment of its newest and ninth general partner: Martin Casado, the cofounder and CTO of Nicira and a pioneer of so-called software defined networking; Nicira was among the first companies to decouple software from networking hardware, allowing companies to see greater flexibility in managing their networking needs. We have more here.

KaloBios Pharmaceuticals is at it again, seeking bankruptcy court permission to buy rights to a drug that could be in line for a lucrative priority review voucher. (The WSJ explains this is ticket for a fast trip through the regulatory process.) Worth noting: ousted CEO Martin Shrekli remains a major shareholder in the company. The WSJ’s story is here.



Walmart eCommerce is looking for a director of corporate development. The job is in San Bruno, Ca.


Essential Reads

Google’s DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company, has formed a health unit to build medical software.

New research reveals surprising truths about why some work groups thrive and others falter.



All the Oscars’ Best Picture contenders in one delightful supercut.

The saddest wedding cake topper of all time.

Professional skier Candide Thovex knows how to show off.


Retail Therapy

Satellite Island.

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