StrictlyVC: March 15, 2016

Good morning, everyone! It is the Ides of March. Prepare yourself (for a whole lot of Ides of March references).


Top News in the A.M.

In the final game of their historic match this morning, Google’s artificially intelligent Go-playing computer system has defeated Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol, finishing the best-of-five series with four wins and one loss.


Michael Goguen’s Counter-Complaint Calls Accuser an “Exotic Dancer” Looking for a “Payday”

Michael Goguen, the longtime venture capitalist who was asked to leave Sequoia Capital following a stunning breach of contract complaint, yesterday filed a counter complaint in San Mateo County Court that proposes the accusations against him are a myth.

In reaction to claims that Goguen sexually and emotionally abused a woman named Amber Laurel Baptiste for more than a decade, and then failed to follow through on an agreement to pay her $40 million to keep her claims confidential, Goguen is now countersuing Baptiste for extortion.

He’s not holding any punches. In his countersuit, Goguen’s legal team paints a picture of a woman in love with him, and features a long list of text and email messages from Baptiste to underscore that depiction.

Among them: “The love that I hold in my heart for you was instant. It is a perfect love. And to me it is the perfect way to love someone. It is forever and unconditional;” “I love our visits. I feel so blessed to have met you and have been able to maintain a special relationship with you. I can only hope that it continues;” “I know it feels really good when we are together and to me it feels so perfect and I never want to let go of you;” and “I miss you so Much [sic]. My Body Misses you so Much. I love you so Much.”

The counter-complaint also features pictures that Baptiste, born in 1980, had allegedly sent to Goguen of herself dressed in lacy lingerie.

Goguen had joined Sequoia Capital in 1996, five years after getting his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford. (The now-52-year-old studied electrical engineering as an undergrad at Cornell.)

More here.


New Fundings

Arterys, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based cloud platform to enable clinicians to visualize and quantify blood flow non-invasively in the human body, has raised more than $12 million in Series A funding led by Emergent Medical Partners. Other participants in the round include GE Ventures, the Stanford-StartX Fund, Norwich Ventures, Asset Management Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures and Morado Ventures. More here.

ChartIQ, a four-year-old, Charlottesville, Va.-based startup that provides HTML5 financial charting for capital markets, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Illuminate Financial, with participation from ValueStream and Tribeca Angels. More here.

Couchbase, a seven-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based developer of Couchbase Server, an open-source, NoSQL, document-oriented database, has raised $30 million in Series F funding led by Sorenson Capital. Earlier backers also joined the round, including Accel Partners, Adams Street PartnersIgnition Partners, Mayfield, North Bridge Venture Partners and WestSummit Capital. Bitcoin Agile has more here.

Crate Technology, a three-year-old startup that’s been developing an open-source SQL database technology (from offices in San Francisco, Berlin, and Dornbirn, Austria), has raised $4 million in fund led by Dawn Capital. Other participants include Sunstone Capital, DFJ Esprit, Speedinvest and Solomon Hykes. TechCrunch has more here.

Forge, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile apps developer company, has raised $4.5 million in seed financing led by True Ventures and Resolute Ventures, with participation from WME Ventures. More here.

Kurio, a two-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based news reader app, has raised $5 million from another news reader app, Japan-based Gunosy. TechCrunch has more here.

Librestream, a 13-year-old, Winnipeg-based mobile video collaboration platform for end markets like energy and field services, has raised $8.2 million in funding from Emerald Technology Ventures, with participation from BDC Capital. More here.

Marley Spoon, a two-year-old, Berlin-based cook-at-home food delivery service that competes with the likes of Blue Apron, Plated, and HelloFresh, has raised $17 million in Series B funding from QD VenturesKreos Capital, the media-for-equity fund GMPVC, and earlier backers, including Lakestar. TechCrunch has more here.

Next Insurance, a three-month-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based online platform for helping small businesses find and obtain insurance, has raised $13 million in seed funding from Zeev Ventures, TLV Partners and Ribbit Capital. The company’s cofounders previously sold their bill-payment mobile app developer Check to Intuit for $360 million. VentureBeat has more here.

NimbeLink, a three-year-old, Plymouth, Mn.-based company that sells cellular modems, cellular gateway systems, and developer services, has raised $2.5 million in new funding from First Analysis. More here.

Outpost Medicine, a brand-new, Menlo Park, Ca.-based biopharma startup focused on treating urologic and gynecologic diseases and disorders, has raised $41 million led by Frazier Healthcare Partners, with participation from Adams Street Partners, Novo A/S, and Vivo Capital. Outpost was recently formed by Frazier Healthcare Partners and Japan’s largest drugmaker, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. More here.

PowerCore, a year-old, East Palo Alto, Ca-based online platform that pairs game players with digital rewards and merchandise, has raised $2 million in seed funding from 500 Startups, East Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, and Cherubic Ventures. The outlet e27 has more here.

Sight Sciences, a six-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based ophthalmic medical device startup, has raised $7 million in Series B funding led by Hicks Equity Partners, with participation from earlier backers Scientific Health Development and Allegro Investment Fund. FinSMEs has more here.

Skyport Systems, a three-year-old, Mountain View, Ca..-based enterprise security architecture company, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Google Ventures, with participation from Cisco Investments, Thomvest Ventures, Northgate Capital, InstantScale and earlier investors Index Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures and Intel Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Spirox, a four-year-old, Menlo Park, Calif.-based company developing minimally-invasive devices for patients with nasal obstruction, has raised $45 million in Series C funding led by KKR, with participation from HealthQuest Capital and earlier investors Aisling Capital, Aperture Venture Partners and Venrock. Reuters has more here.

Voke, a four-year-old, Pullman, Wa.-based virtual realty technology company that specializes in live streams of sports and music events, has raised $12.5 million led by Intel Capital. The cable network A&E and Nautilus Ventures also participated, along with the Sacramento Kings NBA team, which first announced its role as an investor and strategic partner in Voke last fall. GeekWire has the story here.


New Funds

Accel Partners, the 33-year-old venture firm, has pulled off a bit of a hat trick. In an increasingly uncertain economy, it has raised $2 million across two new U.S. funds. The Sand Hill Road outfit has closed a $500 million U.S.-focused early-stage fund to back mostly seed and Series A stage deals (its 13th); it also raised a new, $1.5 billion growth fund to back more mature companies that are already profitable enterprises thanks to their owners. Think Qualtrics, a 14-year-old online survey research platform company that was bootstrapped for its first decade. More here.

HealthQuest Partners, a three-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based early-stage fund that focuses on medical devices, diagnostics, health IT, mobile health, consumer over-the-counter products, and patient care products, has closed its second fund with $225 million, shows an SEC filing. The company, founded by former Sofinnova Ventures partner Garheng Kong, had raised $110 million for its debut fund in 2014.



Goldman Sachs has struck a deal to buy Honest Dollar, a 1.5-year-old Austin, Tex.-based startup that serves small businesses looking to set up retirement-saving programs for staff. According to CrunchBase, Honest Dollar had raised just $3 million, including from Expansive Ventures. Business Insider has the story here.

Payoneer, a 10-year-old, New York-based company that helps businesses and B2B marketplaces move money across borders, has acquired Armor Payments, a 1.5-year-old, Los Gatos, Ca.-based seed-funded digital escrow-as-a-service solution that aims to make B2B payments more secure. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

SpoonRocket, a three-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based food delivery service, ishitting the “reset” button, says its founder. The company has raised roughly $13 million from investors, including Y Combinator, Sherpa Capital, andFoundation Capital.

Trainline, a 19-year-old, U.K.-based ticket service for railway and long-distance bus journeys, has acquired Captain Train, a seven-year-old, Paris-based competitor that sells tickets for rail journeys on the continent, in what sources tell TechCrunch is a deal worth between €160 and €170 million ($178 million to $189 million), half in cash and half in shares. TechCrunch has more here.



Halsey Minor, a favorite serial entrepreneur who people love to hate, appears to be back in full form.



An undisclosed multi-billion charitable foundation is looking for an associate to help manage its investment portfolio. The job is in the Bay Area.


Essential Reads

Lyft is launching a car rental program for its drivers, courtesy of its new partnership with General Motors.

How Imgur became an image-sharing, meme-generating megacommunity.



The best private high school in every state.

Dogs annoying cats.


Retail Therapy

Stormtrooper bookends.

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