StrictlyVC: March 28, 2016

Hi, everyone, hope readers had a Happy Easter!

It’s spring break for our kiddos this week (maybe yours, too); the newsletter may reflect the fact that they’ll be running circles around us over the next five days.


Top News in the A.M.

The Tesla 3 is launching this week.


What Life Sciences VCs Got Right in This Last Boom

It’s long been the case that life sciences investors don’t get the attention that their more traditional tech counterparts do. They’re underrepresented on lists of top investors in venture capital. They’re also remarkably underfunded, according to institutional investors (or limited partners) who back venture firms.

It’s the “life sciences guys who are smart as hell,” says one LP who’s grown frustrated with some of the tech-focused firms he has backed because they’ve haven’t produced the cash-on-cash returns he expected, yet who’s exceedingly happy with bets on firms like Third Rock Ventures, a 10-year-old, Boston-based outfit that incubates biotech startups and which took many of those companies public before the IPO window largely slammed shut last fall.

Taking companies public is “exactly what the tech guys should have been doing,” says this person, who represents a sizable endowment.

Whether the LP is being completely fair is an open question. Certainly, in recent years, many more biotech startups have gone public than consumer or enterprise startups, with public investors seemingly drawn in part to unprecedented levels of innovation, including new machine therapies and other treatments for a variety of diseases that couldn’t be addressed earlier in time.

However, even healthcare investors are quick to point out that they took so many companies public in part because they didn’t have much choice.

More here.


New Fundings

Cyberpost, a young, Toronto, Canada-based online platform where “virtual mailboxes” are assigned to actual street addresses for use by marketers, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from a group of private investors. More here.

Emulate, a two-year-old, Boston-based company that aims to develop and sell organs-on-chips for testing drugs, has raised $28.8 million in Series B funding from earlier investors Hansjörg Wyss, NanoDimension and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Boston Business Journal has more here.

FixNix, a 3.5-year-old, Bangalore, India-based governance, risk management, and compliance platform, has raised $500,000 in seed funding led by former Tesla Motors CIO Jay Vijayan, along with other, unnamed, Silicon Valley-based angel investors. YourStory has more here.

Katerra, a six-month-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based startup that sells design services to the construction industry, has raised $75 million as part of what looks to be an $85 million round, shows an SEC filing. More here.

Permission Click, a three-year-old, Winnepeg, Manitoba-based digital permission slip platform that helps schools create registration forms and permission slips for field trips, fundraising programs, and more, has raised $1.75 million from investors including Friesens and Real Ventures. More here.

Venus Medtech, a seven-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based replacement heart valve maker, has raised $37 million from Goldman Sachs, with participation from Qiming Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital China and Dinova Venture Capital. MedCity News has the story here.


New Funds

Founders Fund made official on Friday what had earlier this month been whispered to the New York Times. According to a new SEC filing, the 11-year-old, San Francisco-based venture firm has raised $1.27 billion for its sixth fund. More here.

UniCredit evo, a new, $223 million joint initiative between Italian lender UniCredit and the London venture firm Anthemis Group, will invest in mid-stage fintech startups, as well as early-stage startups in Europe and North America. UniCredit is a bank with operations in 17 countries throughout Western, Central, and Eastern Europe that’s looking to ramp up the digitalization of its banking group. More here.

Zhuang Chenchao, co-founder and former CEO of the China-based online travel giant Qunar, has started up his own venture capital fund to invest in Chinese start-ups. Financial details of the fund haven’t been reported yet. More here.



Al Jazeera Media Network has reportedly fired about 500 people, with most of the layoffs occurred at Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha, Qatar, the country’s capital. Al Jazeera earlier this year announced plans to shut down its U.S. operations after failing to find an audience (though it plans to open new platforms here). Fortune has more.

Since 2014, there’ve been a dozen important departures from Verily, the life sciences subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet, and a new article in STAT suggests that Verily CEO Andrew Conrad is why. More here.

Writer Dan Lyons documents his “year in startup hell.”

Pandora cofounder Tim Westergren is taking over as CEO if the online radio service roughly a decade after he last ran it. The idea: the reverse its flagging stock price. Bloomberg has more here.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s “most important meeting of the day.”



Venture-backed Zymergen is looking for a business development analyst. The job is in Emeryville, Ca.



Between 2014 and 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the first and third largest occupational jumps to be personal care aides and home health aides. In case you were wondering why HomeHero, Hometeam, and Honor have raised a combined total of $86.5 million in the last year or so. MedCity News has more here.


Essential Reads

Last month, hedge funds participated in the fewest number of venture capital rounds in U.S. tech companies since 2013, inking just two deals, according to research firm PitchBook Data. Even Tiger Global Management has pulled back, and smaller firms are getting out altogether.

How Oculus cracked the impossible design of VR. (CEO Palmer Luckey hand-delivered the first edition to a surprised buyer in Alaska on Saturday, which you can see here.)

A would-be WiFi paradise, in Sri Lanka.



Do you live in a bubble?

How pushy parents ruined a giant Easter egg hunt in Connecticut yesterday.

Fascinating maps that show the different places locals and tourists go in 19 major cities.

Retail Therapy

When you’re single and ready to flamingle (though we do not endorse this look).

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