StrictlyVC: April 18, 2016

Hi, welcome back, everyone.:)


Top News in the A.M.

Silicon Valley’s legendary business coach, Bill Campbell, has passed away. Recode has more here.


Meet Jeremy Fiance, UC Berkeley’s 24-Year-Old Superconnector

Most 24-year-olds are still figuring out how their careers will take shape. Jeremy Fiance, a recent UC Berkeley graduate, knows he wants to be a venture capitalist. He isn’t waiting to rise through the ranks of someone else’s firm, either.

Instead, Fiance is today taking the wraps off his new firm, The House Fund, which just closed its debut vehicle with $6 million in capital commitments from an array of individual investors, many of them venture capitalists.

It’s easy to understand their interest in Fiance. He’s sharp. (He graduated with an interdisciplinary studies degree, having studied business, engineering, and design). He’s media savvy. (Within hours of our phone conversation last week, Fiance sent over a comprehensive package of media assets.)

Fiance also has a highly compelling pitch. The big idea: UC Berkeley has been overlooked for too long by angel investors and VCs alike, and Fiance is positioned as well as anyone to unearth its hidden gems.

It’s hard to believe when you think about the numbers. UC Berkeley has a half a million alums and a current student body of 37,000, including undergraduate and graduate students. But students and alums alike say that despite high-profile alums like Eric Schmidt, Steve Wozniak, and Chris Anderson — not to mention the many interesting startups created at the school (Caviar, acquired by Square is but one) — UC Berkeley still receives a small fraction of the attention that angel investors and venture capitalists pay Stanford students and alums.

As venture capitalist Pejman Nozad told us last summer, a big gating factor is simply location. Because UC Berkeley is 45 minutes from Palo Alto, where plenty of VCs still live and work, it “doesn’t get nearly as much attention despite that its computer science department ranks right up there with Stanford and Carnegie Mellon and M.I.T.”

Last year, Nozad’s firm, Pejman Mar, which is itself a stone’s throw away from Stanford, created a $250,000 startup competition at UC Berkeley to help it identify promising teams until it has more bandwidth to throw at the school.

Other firms have also crept up here and there.

More here.


New Fundings

ClassDojo, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based feedback platform that connects educators to students’ parents to communicate more consistently about student’s activities, social and behavioral development at school, has raised $21 million in Series B funding led by General Catalyst Partners, participation from GSV Advisors, Reach Capital and earlier backer SignalFire. TechCrunch has more here.

Jugnoo, a two-year-old, Chandigarh, India-based startup that provides an Uber-like service for auto-rickshaws in India, has raised $10 million in Series B funding from Snow Leopard,, the Alibaba-backed payments firm Paytm, and the CEO of Snapdeal-owned Freecharge, Kunal Shah. TechCrunch has more here.

Transactis, a 13-year-old, New York-based maker of electronic billing and payment software,  has raised $30 million in Series E funding from Capital One, Fifth Third, PNC, TD Bank, Wells Fargo and Safeguard Scientifics.


New Funds

Genomics company Illumina is committing $100 million to a new venture capital fund focused on early-stage companies pioneering new genomics products. The new Illumina Ventures fund is being run by Nicholas Naclerio, the company’s former senior vice president for corporate and venture development. Times of San Diego has more here.



The Capital Partnership in the U.K. has agreed to acquire Northgate Capital, a California-based venture capital and private equity fund-of-funds and direct investment manager that says it has $4.8 billion in assets under management. No financial terms were disclosed. Silicon Valley Business Journal has more here.

Mobify, a nine-year-old, Vancouver-based mobile customer engagement platform, has acquired four-year-old, Vancouver-based AI specialist Pathful. Pathful had raised $400,000 in seed funding, according to CrunchBase. In February, Mobify announced $10 million in Series A funding led by Acton Capital Partners. Fortune has the story here.

Oracle is spending roughly $50 million to acquire Crosswise, a three-year-old, Israel-based company that makes cross-device identification mapping software and that had raised $5 million from investors, including Pereg VenturesZhenFund, Giza Venture Capital, OurCrowd and Horizons Ventures. Business Insider has more here.



Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes talked with “The Today Show” this morning in a rare interview since her company came under fire for faulty results.

Gilt Groupe co-founder Alexis Maybank has a new fashion app that lets you shop from Instagram photos. Recode has more here.

On Friday night, nearly 200 Bernie Sanders supporters gathered with pots and pans outside the home of venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, who co-hosted a star-studded Hillary Clinton fundraiser alongside George and Amal Clooney. The protest reflected a growing rift in the city. The Guardian has more here.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is reinventing himself as an electronic dance music artist (sort of.)



Capital One Ventures is looking to hire a senior associate. The job is in New York.

Strava, maker of the popular social fitness app, is looking to hire a business development manager. The job is in San Francisco.



Globally, fintech startups raised $5.3 billion in funding in the first quarter of 2016, according to a new report from Accenture. That’s up 67 percent from the same period last year. Business Insider has more here.


Essential Reads

Alphabet is plotting a digital city full of Google cars, high-speed Internet and maybe more(!).

Amazon is taking on Netflix more directly as it aims to become a primary destination for streaming video. The WSJ has more on the company’s plans to offer streaming video as a standalone option, here.

Publicly traded tech companies that pay their employees generously with stock-based compensation are facing greater scrutiny. The New York Times explains why.



How spies keep their double lives secret.

Beloved New Yorker Elaine Benes interviews Bernie Sanders (on SNL). “You can’t yada, yada at a debate.”


Retail Therapy

The Aston Martin Vantage GT8. It’s the “Aston Martin you’ve been waiting for,” says the company, as if we would have refused a lesser Aston Martin(!).

Filed Under:

Don’t Miss Out!

Sign up today to receive a free daily email with everything you need to start your day. Plus, keep track of the companies and personalities that will shape the industry in the months and years to come. Let StrictlyVC be your very own venture capital concierge.

StrictlyVC on Twitter