StrictlyVC: May 16, 2016

Hi, welcome back, everyone! Hope your Monday is off to a fine start.:)


Top News in the A.M.

A new report from the San Jose Mercury News claims that Tesla used cheap foreign labor to build its newest facilities, paying workers as little as $5 an hour, according to one electrician who talked with the outlet.


New Fundings

AtScale, a three-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based startup that aims to make business intelligence work easily on Hadoop, has raised $11 million in Series B funding led by Comcast Ventures, with participation from UMC, AME Ventures, Storm Ventures and XSeed Capital. NetworkWorld has more here.

CircleCI, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based software platform that aims to help developers rapidly release code for web and mobile apps, has raised $18 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners. Earlier investors DFJ, Baseline Ventures, and Harrison Metal also joined the round. The company has now raised $28 million altogether. More here.

DalCor Pharmaceuticals, a year-old, Montreal-based developer of cardiovascular disease treatments that genetically targets patients, has raised $100 million in Series B funding from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Fonds de solidarité FTQ and CTI Life Sciences, along with earlier backers Sanderling Ventures and André Desmarais. The company had previously raised $50 million late last year. More here.

Irras, a four-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based commercial-stage med tech company whose devices aim to address a broad range of brain pathology therapeutic applications and procedures, has raised $11.3 million in funding from Serendipity/Ixora, The Vandel Group, and unnamed, individual healthcare investors in Sweden. More here.

PebblePost, a two-year-old, New York-based programmatic direct mail platform, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Greycroft Partners and Tribeca Venture Partners, with full participation from earlier individual investors. The company has now raised $8 million to date. New York Business Journal has more here.

Properati, a 3.5-year-old, Buenos Aires, Argentina-based online real estate platform, has raised $2 million in funding from Neveq II, NXTP Labs, and Telor International Limited. FinSMEs has more here.

Renovo Financial, a five-year-old, Chicago, Il.-based private lender that assists real estate investors who acquire, renovate and manage residential properties, has raised $25 million from earlier investor Victory Park Capital, which has now committed $75 million to the company altogether. More here.

Taobao Mobile, the two-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based online movie ticketing platform unit of Alibaba Group’s film and TV subsidiary, Alibaba Pictures, has raised $260 million in Series A funding led by Ant Financial (also an Alibaba affiliate), CDH Investments, and, with participation fromHehe Pictures, BONA Film and Huace Media. TechCrunch has more here.

Zeality, a two-year-old, Pleasanton, Ca.-based startup that’s creating an ecosystem for creators and brands that want to create virtual reality content for end-users, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Rothenberg Ventures; Paraag Marathe, chief strategy officer of the San Francisco 49ers; and Jason Khalipa, owner of NC Fit. More here.


New Funds

WI Harper Group, a 20-year-old, San Francisco-based venture firm focused on expansion-stage, cross-border investing between the U.S. and greater China, has raised $174.3 million for its eight fund, shows a new SEC filing. The firm last closed on two funds in 2011. Its seventh fund closed with $110 million; a fund that it co-manages with Innovation Works (called Innovation Works Development Fund), separately closed with $180 million in 2011.



Oncobiologics, a 5.5-year-old, Cranbury, N.J.-based developer of biosimilar therapeutics, raised $35 million in its IPO late last week. The company priced 5.8 million shares at $6 per share, down from the $11 to $13 per share where the company originally planned to price its shares. (The shares fell another 20 percent by the end of the day Friday.) The outlet 24/7 Wall St. has more here.



AT&T is acquiring Quickplay Media, a 13-year-old, Toronto-based provider of Internet-video streaming services, which it will use to launch three over-the-top DirecTV services later in 2016. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Quickplay was acquired in 2012 for $100 million by the private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. (QuickPay had raised roughly $43 million from VCs before that sale.) Variety has more here.

Pfizer is acquiring 14-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based Anacor Pharmaceuticals in a deal valued at $5.2 billion net of cash. Anacor’s most important product is a non-steroidal gel used to treat eczema that’s currently under review by the FDA. Under the terms of the agreement, a subsidiary of Pfizer will acquire Anacor for $99.25 a share in cash. That represents a 55 percent premium over Anacor’s closing stock price from Friday. Dealbook has more here.



Legendary investor Warren Buffett is putting his money behind a consortium of investors that’s bidding on Yahoo, reports Reuters. The group is led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, who’s being advised for former Yahoos Dan Rosensweig and Tim Cadogan, says Recode.

Watch: Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg‘s powerful and emotional commencement speech on building resilience.

The family office of Eric and Wendy Schmidt is building a new, 25,000-square-foot, ultra-green office building in Menlo Park, Ca., to house their various charitable endeavors.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has purchased a Brentwood, Ca., home with model Miranda Kerr for $12 million (down from its listing price of $12.5 million). Business Insider has more here.

Jason Spinell, former head of venture investing at the now defunct consulting firm Undercurrent, has joined Slack to help manage and invest the fund, per Spinell’s LinkedIn account. (H/T: Dan Primack of Fortune.)

Robby Stein, who has led mobile and video strategy in New York for Yahoo for the last several years, has accepted a role with Instagram’s product leadership team, reports Recode. More here.


Essential Reads

Amazon is preparing to launch more products — from food to detergent — under its own brand names, says the WSJ.

Google is facing record-breaking fine for monopoly abuse, as officials in Brussels finish a seven-year investigation of the company’s dominant search engine. The Telegraph has more here.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway took a new $1 billion position in Apple in the first quarter, according to a new regulatory filing.

A company that’s running itself without executives or managers or a board of directors has just raked in more than $107 million through a crowdfunding effort.



Why movie theaters smell like people’s feelings.

How long will a museum visitor typically stand before a masterpiece? About 28 seconds, according to a recent study.


Retail Therapy

A 1974 VW Bug with just 56 miles on its odometer.

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