StrictlyVC: April 19, 2016

Hi, everyone, happy Tuesday!

We had a deliverability issue yesterday of indeterminate nature; if you missed the newsletter, it’s here.

Looking forward to seeing some of you a little later today at the Bridging the Gender Gap event in San Francisco, where we’re moderating one of two discussions. Apparently, it’s overbooked at this point, but there are always people who don’t show up, so don’t let that stop you from swinging by if you’re in the neighborhood.


Top News in the A.M.

Yahoo is expected to report first-quarter results after the end of trading today. Here’s what to watch, says the WSJ.

Bloomberg sees early warning signs of a recession in new U.S. jobs data.


Longtime Facebook VP Joins Sequoia Capital

Mike Vernal, a Facebook VP who has spent the last eight-plus years at the company, most recently leading its search, profile, local and developer platform product groups, is leaving the company to become a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital.

Before joining Facebook, Vernal spent nearly six years at Microsoft, first as a product manager and later as a development lead.

The Harvard grad (two degrees) wrote in a tweet yesterday afternoon that “Facebook is an exceptional company with amazing people. Thank you to Mark and everyone at @facebook for the past eight years. I’ll miss you.”

Vernal joins 10 other partners in Sequoia’s Menlo Park office.

One of those partners is Bryan Schreier, who joined Sequoia in 2008 after being a senior director at Google. In an email provided to us by a Sequoia spokesman, Schreier writes, “You don’t recruit people like Mike. They choose you and we are thrilled to have him join.”

Schreier says the firm got to know Vernal through his work fostering startups when he was leading Facebook’s platform initiatives. “His experience scaling engineering, product, and design teams at Facebook will be invaluable to Sequoia founders working to build similarly transformative companies.”

Like all Sequoia partners, Vernal is expected to be something of a generalist, but it’s likely he’ll be focusing on consumer and developer tech to start.

Sequoia recently parted ways with another longtime partner, Michael Goguen, when it was revealed that he was being accused of breach of contract in one of the more explosive lawsuits to hit Silicon Valley in a while.

More here.


New Funds

Betaout, a three-year-old, New York-based marketing automation platform for e-commerce companies, has raised $1.5 million in new seed funding that brings the amount of capital raised by the company to $2 million. Its investors includeBeenext, Stanford Angels, Letsventure, Chennai Angels, Hyderabad Angels, Mumbai Angels, and former Match Group CEO Sam Yagan. TechCrunch has more here.

Curbside, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company whose app searches real-time local inventory across retailers and alert stores when a customer is arriving for a pickup, has received an undisclosed amount of funding from the drugs store giant CVS. TechCrunch has more here.

Diamanti, a 14-month-old, San Jose, Ca.-based data center infrastructure startup led by former Cisco exec Jeff Chou, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding from Goldman Sachs, CRV, DFJ, and GSR Ventures. TechCrunch hasmore here.

FusionOps, an 11-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based company that makes a supply chain analytics tool, has raised $25 million in Series C funding led by the Canadian firm Georgian Partners, with particpation from earlier backers New Enterprise Associates and FusionOps Chairman Prabhu Goel. More here.

Gradescope, a two-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based cloud-based educational grading platform, has raised $2.6 million in seed funding from Freestyle Capital, Bloomberg Beta, The House Fund, and Reach Capital, with additional participation from earlier backer K9 Ventures. EdSurge has more here.

HomeLight, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based platform that matches homebuyers with real estate agents, has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Zeev Ventures, with participation from Dovi Frances of SGVC, Bullpen Capital, Montage Ventures, Krillion Ventures, Innovation EndeavorsOren Dobronsky, and Yariv Davidovich. To date, the company has raised $15 million in funding. Vator has more here.

Insightly, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based online CRM application for small businesses, has raised $25 million in Series C funding led by Scott Bommer, venture investor and former founder of SAB Capital, with participation from existing investors Emergence Capital Partners, Cloud Apps Capital Partners and Sozo Ventures. The company has now raised more than $40 million altogether. More here.

NestAway, a 15-month-old, Bangalore, India-based real estate startup that’s focused on furnished homes in cities, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Tiger Global Management, with participation from DST Global founderYuri Milner, IDG Ventures India, and Flipkart president Sujeet Kumar. The round brings NestAway’s total funding to about $43.2 million, according to CrunchBase. TechCrunch has more here.

Ninja Van, a two-year-old, Singapore-based plug-and-play logistics partner that gives e-commerce companies reach to customers across Southeast Asia, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by the Abraaj Group, with participation from B Capital Group, YJ Capital, and earlier backer Monk’s Hill Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Proteus Digital Health, a 16-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company whose sensor-enabled pills aim to help patients adhere to their medication regimens, has raised $50 million in Series H funding from undisclosed investors. Earlier backers in the company include Essex Woodlands, Novartis AG, and Medtronic. More here.

Rinse, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that picks up and cleans anything in its customers’ closets, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Javelin Venture Partners, with participation from Arena Ventures, CAA Ventures, Accelerator Ventures, Expansion VC, Structure Capital, Otter Rock Capital and Base Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Sharper Shape, a three-year-old, Helsinki, Finland-based that makes software for automated drone-based asset inspections, has raised $3.25 million in funding led by Straightforward Capital, with participation from the consulting firm Partners in Performance. FinSMEs has more here.

TapInfluence, a seven-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based platform that connects brands with influencer marketers to promote their content online, has raised $14 million in Series B-1 funding led by Noro-Moseley Partners, with participation from Knollwood Investment Advisory and earlier backers Grotech Ventures and Access Venture Partners. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.

Threat Stack, a 3.5-year-old, Boston-based maker of cloud security and compliance management software, has raised $15.3 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from all existing investors, including Accomplice and .406 Ventures. The company has now raised more than $26 million altogether. More here.

TrapX Security, a six-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based cyber security company, has raised $5 million from Strategic Cyber Ventures, bringing its total Series B round to $14 million. Earlier investors in the round include Intel CapitalLiberty Israel Venture Fund, BRM Group and Opus Capital. More here.

Waltz Networks, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup focused on automatic real-time network control, has raised $6.75 million in Series A funding from New Enterprise Associates, along with another $1.4 million in National Science Foundation grants. FinSMEs has more here.


News Funds

Biomatics Capital Partners has been launched as a Seattle-based venture capital firm by Boris Nikolic, a former Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation advisor, and Julie Sunderland, formerly director of program-related investments for the Gates Foundation. According to an SEC filing first flagged by VentureWire, the new firm is targeting up to $150 million for its debut fund.



Tyba, a Madrid, Spain-based recruitment platform that aims to help companies more efficiently hire university and college graduates and which had raised $4 million from investors, has been acquired for undisclosed terms by the six-year-old, Denmark-based career network Graduateland. Tyba appears to be acquiring the tech but not the team. TechCrunch has more here.

Verizon Wireless and Hearst Corp. are reportedly acquiring Complex Media, a  “video-first” lifestyle site that’s focused on pop-culture trends and general entertainment. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. Complex Media has raised more than $60 million, including from Hearst. The WSJ has the story here.



A growing number of Alibaba executives are choosing to retire in New Zealand; founder Jack Ma is reportedly looking to buy a house there, too.

Elon Musk earns just $40,000 in annual salary from Tesla Motors, but he’s fast working his way toward a $1.6 billion payday. Bloomberg explains how here.

Apple has reportedly hired former Tesla VP of Vehicle Engineering Chris Porritt for a “special [car] project.” Electrek has the story here.

Investors Chris Sacca sees a downturn coming, he tells Vanity Fair. (Like Bill Gurley, with whom we spoke last week, Sacca also hints that fund managers are racing to raise money before their paper returns evaporate.)



The first comprehensive study on women in venture capital and their impact on female founders, courtesy of CrunchBase. There’s a lot of interesting information here, including that: 7 percent of the partners are women at the top 100 venture firms; women hold 22 percent of the roles on the investment team at the associate, vice president and principal levels; and 16 percent of the venture and micro-venture firms founded in the last three years feature at least one female founder.


Essential Reads

Wired has more today on Magic Leap, the world’s most secretive startup.

Theranos, the embattled blood-testing laboratory, says federal officials are now conducting a criminal investigation into the company, adding to a series of questions from officials about its inner workings. The New York Times has more here.

Even Uber can’t quite figure out how to make quick food delivery add up. Yesterday, it announced that it’s killing off its instant food delivery option in New York City.



Ascension Island, where nothing makes sense.

The best undergraduate business schools of 2016.


Retail Therapy

Restocks, when you need those Yeezys now.

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