StrictlyVC: March 21, 2016

Hi, everyone, welcome back! Hope you had a fun weekend.


Top News in the A.M.

A group of Johns Hopkins University researchers has found a bug in Apple’s vaunted encryption, one that would enable a skilled attacker to decrypt photos and videos sent as secure instant messages.

Speaking of Apple, it’s holding its smaller iPhone event today; here’s where towatch the live stream.

Also newly posted: How to reserve your Model 3.


How Goguen’s Suit Hurts Sequoia

The Friday before last, we told you that longtime Sequoia partner Michael Goguen had been slapped with a stomach-turning complaint. At its crux, it accused him of breaching an agreement he’d made to pay $40 million to a woman he’d known for years. Apparently, after paying her $10 million, Goguen concluded that he was within his rights to stop writing her checks. The woman then hired a lawyer.

Whether the case ever goes to trial is now beside the point for Goguen, who has enjoyed a lucrative career as a venture capitalist and who, fairly or unfairly, will now be publicly associated with that complaint and the person who filed it, despite his strongly worded counter-complaint.

Fairly or unfairly, it also does real damage to Sequoia Capital.

Entrepreneurs aren’t the immediate issue. It would take a lot more than this bizarre situation for most founders to be deterred from accepting a check from Sequoia, whose imprimatur can make everything easier, from assembling a team, to attracting press, to, later, luring the right investment bankers.

That Goguen is no longer a partner of Sequoia certainly minimizes the damage. (A spokesman didn’t elaborate when explaining to us last week why Sequoia decided Goguen’s departure was the “appropriate course of action.” But we suspect his original deal with his accuser was made without the firm’s knowledge, which would be a major no-no. That kind of financial agreement would be material information to a partnership.)

A much bigger problem for Sequoia will be recruiting female investing partners.

More here.


New Fundings

ApniCure, a nine-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based startup whose medical device aims to treat sleep apnea, has raised $15.8 million toward a $17.4 million financing, according to an SEC filing first flagged by VentureWire. The company previously raised capital from Capricorn Investment GroupKleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and U.S. Venture Partners. More here.

Atlantic Healthcare, a nine-year-old, U.K.-based specialty pharmaceutical company focused on gastrointestinal disorders, has raised $24 million in funding from LDC, Fullbrook Thorpe Investments, the founders of Salix Pharmaceuticals, and earlier investors. More here.

Distribusion Technologies, a 3.5-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based company that connects travel resellers like travel websites, travel agencies and tour operators, with intercity bus operators worldwide, has raised €6 million ($11.3 million) in funding from Northzone, Creandum, HR Ventures and seed investor Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg. TechCrunch has more here.

eGym, a five-year-old, Munich, Germany-based startup that offers cloud-connected gym equipment and supporting cloud software and apps for fitness training, has raised $45 million in Series C funding led by HPE Growth Capital, with participation from earlier backers, including Highland Europe. TechCrunch has more here.

Elliptic, a three-year-old, U.K.-based fintech startup whose blockchain forensics tool mines the public Bitcoin ledger to identify and flag suspicious transaction patterns, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Paladin Capital Group, with participation from Santander InnoVentures, KRW SchindlerDigital Currency Group, and earlier investor Octopus Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

FuboTV, a nearly two-year-old, New York-based TV service that’s focused on streaming and curating soccer content, has raised $15 million in Series B funding, according to an SEC filing flagged by Fortune. Earlier backers include 21st Century Fox, I2BF Digital, BAM Ventures and Luminary CapitalMore here.

Girnar Software, a nine-year-old, Rajasthan, India-based company that oversees several auto portals in India including, has raised an undisclosed amount of new funding from Google Capital, with participation from earlier backer Hillhouse Capital. This is the fourth Indian startup Google Capital has invested in. (Its other bets include Freshdesk, Commonfloor, and Practo.) TechCrunch has more here.

GreatHorn, a year-old, Belmont, Ma.-based cloud security platform startup focused on stopping phishing attacks, has raised $2.25 million in seed funding led by ff Venture Capital and SoftTech VC, with participation from Techstars Ventures, RRE Ventures, Zelkova Ventures, V1.VC and local investor Walter Winshall. More here.

Mattermark, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that examines public Internet data to provide investors, sales teams and others with search tools and other business intelligence, has raised $7.3 million in Series B funding at a $42 million valuation from inside investors. Foundry Group led the round. TechCrunch has more here.

Mirriad, an eight-year-old, London-based maker of in-video ad software, has raised $15 million in funding led by IP Group PLC, with participation from Parkway Funds and Unilever Ventures. More here.

Moat, a 5.5-year-old, New York-based online media analytics company, has raised $50 million in Series C funding led by Insight Venture Partners. The WSJ has more here.

Partender, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based app that reduces the time it takes bar managers and owners to assess their inventory by digitizing the process, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding, including, reportedly, from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s parents and 500 Startups.

ServisHero, a nine-month-old, Malaysia-based company that provides local services on-demand in Southeast Asia via a mobile app, has raised $2.7 million in funding led by Golden Gate Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

StreetShares, a 1.5-year-old, Reston, Va.-based online lender, has raised $4.5 million in in the first tranche of its Series A round. The venture firm Fenway Summer, founded by a former deputy director at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is leading the round. Endeavor Equity Holdings and Pivot Investments are also participating in the round, which is still open. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Tinkergarten, a 1.5-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup that enables a network of instructors to lead classes for young children in parks, has raised $1.6 million in a seed round led by Omidyar Network. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.


New Funds

Bronze Investments, a new, Palo Alto, Ca.-based firm founded by Stephen DeBerry, a former partner with Kapor Capital and Omidyar Network, is looking to raise a debut fund of $50 million, shows an SEC filing first flagged by Fortune.

Empire Angels, a 3.5-year-old, New York based angel group that invests in early-stage tech start-ups, has raised $450,000 for a fund, shows a new SEC filing.

Movac, an 18-year-old, Wellingon, New Zealand-based venture firm, aims to raise at least $80 million by June for a new investment fund, it tells a local outlet. Toward that end, it has already lined up a commitment of up to $20 milllion from the Crown-owned New Zealand Venture Investment Fund. has more here.

“Opportunity” funds are beginning to crop up in India, too, seemingly. Zodius Capital, a five-year-old, Mumbai, India-based venture firm, is  is raising a follow-on fund of up to $40 million to support its maturing portfolio companies, it tells LiveMint. According to managing director Gautam Patel, the firm has already held a first close of $30 million toward that end. Zodius raised a central fund, its $110 million Zodius Technology Fund, last year. More here.



Next Step Living, an eight-year-old, Boston-based company that sold home energy evaluations and software to individuals and organizations, has shut down, it announced Friday on its website. The company had reportedly raised more than $80 million in venture capital, including from Black Coral Capital,VantagePoint Capital Partners, and Braemar Energy Ventures. Xconomy has more here.

Indian transportation app Ola has acquired Qarth, a startup that has developed a mobile payments app called X-Pay. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The is the third acquisition announced by Ola, and the first to build out an aspect of its business beyond basic transportation. TechCrunch has more here.



Dave Engberg, Evernote’s founding CTO, is leaving the company in May.

Motorola President Rick Osterloh is leaving Lenovo amid a broad reorganization.

Jeff Williams, a former senior vice president of sales at the cybersecurity vendor FireEye, has joined Bain Capital Ventures as its first operating partner in California.



Yamaha is looking to hire someone willing to work double-duty as an accountant and venture analyst at its corporate venturing arm. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.


Essential Reads

Good news, cloud companies. Google is shopping for cloud companies.

What’s going on beneath the subprime auto loan turmoil.

Gawker is toast.



Laser shaming.

The Bay Area Airbnb for both Biebs and Beyonce.

“Silicon Valley” returns next month to HBO. Here’s the trailer.

The Obama doctrine.


Retail Therapy

A hoodie engineered to chill you out.

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