StrictlyVC: March 18, 2016

Hi, everyone, happy Friday! As always, we hope you have a terrific weekend; we’ll see you back here Monday.:)

No column today.


Top News in the A.M.

Uber just ordered 100,000 Mercedes S-Class cars, Manager Magazin reported earlier today. No word yet on what the company is up to. (Intrigue!)


New Fundings

Cumulus Funding, a five-year-old, Chicago-based consumer finance startup that provides funding to customers in exchange for a percentage of their future earnings, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Continental Investors, with participation from HC Technologies, D-W InvestmentsBridge Investments and Service Provider Capital. The company also secured $25 million in new debt financing commitments. More here.

HighGround, a four-year-old, Chicago-based cloud HR platform focused on employee engagement, has raised $7.6 million in new funding led by Chicago-based KDWC, with participation from earlier investors, including Columbus Nova Technology Partners and Lightbank. More here.

Kenandy, a six-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company whose enterprise resource planning software is built on the Salesforce platform, has raised $11.5 million in Series B funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & ByersLightspeed Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures and Wilson Sonsini Ventures. FinSMEs has more here.


New Funds

Atomico, a 10-year-old, London-based venture firm that invests across sectors and stages in startups that are largely located in Europe’s fastest growing tech hubs — particularly London, Stockhold, Helsinki and Berlin — is raising a $750 million fund, shows an SEC filing. (The firm has also confirmed the total to us). The team includes Niklas Zennstrom (who founded Atomico and cofounded Skype previously), Mattias Ljungman, Hiro Tamura, Haroldo Korte, Yann DeVries, as well as Siraj Khaliq, who previously founded The Climate Corporation and who recently joined Atomico. More here.

SV Angel, the seven-year-old, San Francisco-based seed-stage venture firm founded by renowned investor Ron Conway, is targeting $46 million in funding, shows a new SEC filing that states the first sale has yet to occur. The firm is currently managed by Conway’s son, Topher Conway, along with general partners Brian Pokorny, Kevin Carter, and Robert Pollack. It also employs one principal and two associates. SV Angel closed its last fund with $75 million in 2014. The Conways had said on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt last September that their next fund would be closer to $40 million. More here.

Union Square Ventures, a 13-year-old, New York venture capital firm founded by investor Fred Wilson, has raised a $166.8 million fund, according to an SEC filing first spied by Fortune. The fund is the company’s fourth early stage fund and roughly the same size as its third, which closed in 2012. At that time, USV had raised a separate, $175 million “opportunities fund” to make additional investments in its most promising portfolio companies. USV isn’t raising another later-stage fund this time around. More here.



Google’s parent company Alphabet isn’t happy with Boston Dynamics, its robotics subsidiary. According to a Bloomberg report, Alphabet executives think that Boston Dynamics is unlikely to generate substantial revenue in the next few years and is hard to work with. Toyota or Amazon could be interested in acquiring Boston Dynamics for their manufacturing or warehouse operations. More here.

Kickstarter has acquired Drip, a five-year-old, Brooklyn-based online music community that had shut down last month after raising $1.5 million in seed funding. No financial terms were disclosed. Engadget has more here.

WeWork, the co-working space headquartered in New York and valued north of $5 billion, is acquiring Welkio, a 1.5-year-old digital sign-in system for guests at an office. According to Crunchbase, Welkio had raised around $400,000 in seed funding. Terms of the acquisition aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.



Jack Dorsey says Twitter’s 140 character limit is here to stay.

Mark Zuckerberg just jogged through Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. He also posted a picture of his run on Facebook, which is blocked in China.



The Knight Foundation is hiring a venture investment associate for its in-house venture fund, the Knight Enterprise Fund. The job is in Miami, Fla.


Essential Reads

Dropbox, the cloud storage startup facing questions about its $10 billion valuation, is expected to authorize a sale of its common stock at a 34 percent discount to its most recent round of private funding, according to BuzzFeed News.

If the F.B.I. wins its court fight to force Apple’s help in unlocking an iPhone, the agency may run into yet another roadblock: Apple’s engineers.



Eleven of the most expensive villas in the world.


Retail Therapy

Fun. Clothes pins coat rack.

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