StrictlyVC: March 23, 2016

Hi, everyone. It is Wednesday! [Slowly rolls head from left to right, cracks knuckles.]

Quick mention: If you’re interested in hardware and seed investing, we’ll be moderating a related investor panel on Tuesday, April 5 at Highway1’s offices in San Francisco. Among the featured investors: Charles Hudson of Precursor VC, Semil Shah of Haystack, and Highway1’s Brady Forrest. Come if you can; it should be fun. More details here.


Top News in the A.M.

Cellebrite, an Israel-based maker of mobile forensic software, is reportedly helping the company that’s helping the FBI in its attemp to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California shooters. Reuters has the story here.


Former Apple Exec Launches At-Home Blood Test Startup

Bob Messerschmidt knows a little about health and wellness tech, having spent three years helping architect the Apple Watch platform after Apple quietly acquired his spectroscopy company, Rare Light, in 2010. (The terms were undisclosed.)

Messerschmidt also knew when he left Apple to found a new company that it would again involve smartphones. After all, he reasoned, they’re starting to help us track not just our general wellness but also our responses to medicine and other treatments. The bigger question was which chronic condition he would tackle and before long, he settled on Cor, a now two-year-old, San Francisco-based, consumer-facing startup that helps measure heart health, all with just a tiny drop of blood.

Before you start worrying that Cor is a young Theranos, the embattled blood testing company, it’s worth noting that there are many meaningful differences between the two companies. For one thing, Cor wants people to test themselves in their own homes, using an appliance the size of an electric toothbrush and disposable cartridges. Their blood chemistry information is then sent “into the cloud,” analyzed, and results are beamed backed to users within five minutes, along with helpful tips about how to improve them.

Which raises another important point: Cor isn’t trying to tell its users anything definitive. “Theranos is trying to provide diagnostic numbers,” notes Messerschmidt. “We’re not. We’re not a medical device company. We’re providing life style guidance.”

It’s trying to be as transparent as possible about how, too.

More here.


New Fundings

Aerin Medical,  a five-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based company that develops devices and procedures for improved nasal breathing, has raised $16.7 million in Series C funding from Targeted Technology Fund and KCK Group. FinSMEs has more here.

BetterWorks, a 2.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based cloud-based platform designed to help employees set and reach business goals, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Emergence Capital, with participation from earlier backers Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Joe Lonsdale’s 8VC. (Formation 8 was a Series A investor in the company.) Vator has more here.

Convoy, a year-old, Seattle-based on-demand service for local and regional trucking, has raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Greylock Partners. The company had raised $2.5 million in seed funding last fall. The Seattle Times has more here.

Domo, a 5.5-year-old, American Fork, Ut.-based data management platform company, has raised $131 million in additional Series D funding, pushing a $200 million round that it had initially closed last April to a whopping $331 million. The newest capital comes from BlackRock and unnamed family offices n Asia and Russia. The company, currently valued at $2 billion, has now raised $589 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

FOVE, a nearly two-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of an eye-tracking VR headset, has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by the Japanese game publisher Colopl. TechCrunch has more here.

GoCardless, a five-year-old, London-based payments company that makes collecting payments by direct debit easy, has raised a $13 million in new funding led by Notion Capital, with participation from earlier backers Balderton Capital, Accel Partners, and Passion Capital. TechCrunch hasmore here.

HomeUnion, a 6.5-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based online real estate investment management firm that specializes in single-family rental properties, has raised $16 million in Series B funding from Artiman Ventures, Colchis CapitalNorthgate Capital, and Tamarisc. HomeUnion has now raised $23 million in funding altogether. More here.

Polarsteps, a 1.5-year-old, Amsterdam-based company that makes an automated travel blogging app, has raised €500,000 ($563,000) in seed funding from Silver Point Ventures and TMG. TechCrunch has more here.

Quanterix Corporation, a nine-year-old, Lexington, Ma.-based diagnostic company whose device is able to test for proteins in the blood that correlate with a variety of different diseases, has raised $46 million in Series D funding led by three new strategic investors: Trinitas Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, and Arch Overage Fund. Existing investors also joined the deal, including ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, Tufts University and David Walt. Hercules Capital participated, too. More here.

Science Exchange, a nearly five-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based scientific research marketplace, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Maverick Capital, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, OATV, Collaborative Fund, YC Continuity Fund and individual angels. TechCrunch has more here.

Start A Fire, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company whose software enables individuals and brands to promote their social presence and content over any link they share, has raised $2.5 million in funding led by Canaan Venture Partners, with participation from Lool Ventures and Aleksandar Totic, who was one of the original developers of the Mosaic browser. More here.

Stratoscale, a three-year-old, Herzliya, Israel-based company that sells data center software, has raised $27 million in Series C funding from Qualcomm Ventures along with earlier backers Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cisco Investments, Intel Capital and SanDisk Ventures. More here.

Visionary VR, a 1.5-year-old, L.A.-based story creation software company that’s hoping to make it possible for people other than expert-level developers to create VR stories, has raised $6 million in Series A funding by DFJ Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

Last October, we told you about the newest early-stage fund of Frazier Healthcare Partners, a 25-year-old firm. Now, the firm is announcing that it has closed a companion fund, Frazier Healthcare Growth Buyout Fund VIII, at $525 million. The fund, which is run out of the firm’s Seattle office, was oversubscribed, according to its partners.



Power couple? Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is reportedly dating 23andme CEO Anne Wojcicki.


Essential Reads

All 60(!) companies that launched at Y Combinator’s Demo Day yesterday.

SpaceX’s big plan to launch rockets every few weeks.



Tesla is now offering Ludicrous Mode upgrades for older P90D models because why not.

The stars of “Silicon Valley” guess what real startups do.


Retail Therapy

Hahaha. Worst place ribbons.

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