StrictlyVC: May 24, 2016

It is Tuesday! (It’s kind of a relief after one verrrry long Monday.) Hope yours is going very well.:)


Top News in the A.M.

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L.A. Gets a Later-Stage Player with March Capital Partners

L.A. has a new later-stage funding source in March Capital Partners, a firm with a newly closed $240 million fund — and a few tricks up its sleeve. For starters, though it invests in both Southern and Northern California, it considers itself a global investor and has already made bets in India (in online payments company BillDesk) and Germany (Dojo Madness, which makes a digital coaching app for gamers).

It also writes Series B and Series C checks, which can’t be said of many other L.A.-based venture firms. And March Capital, which is primarily focused on business-to-business enterprises, has ties to three other enterprises that help with its deal flow. It’s a cofounder and an investor in two Bay Area accelerators that keep it abreast of new trends: The Fabric and Hive. More, one of its founding partners is Jamie Montgomery, a renowned investment banker who in recent years has launched an annual summit that introduces privately held companies to hundreds of investors and this year featured former Cisco CEO John Chambers, Atom Factory’s CEO Troy Carter, and designer Yves Béhar among others.

Montgomery isn’t the only familiar face at March, either. Others of March’s founding partners include longtime VCs Jim Armstrong, Sumant Mandal — both formerly of Clearstone Venture Partners — and Gregory Milken, a serial entrepreneur and board member of the Milken Institute.

We talked yesterday with Montgomery and Mandal about their new firm, which they quietly formed 20 months ago. (They spent the last 18 months fundraising.)

Sumant, you and Jim spent much of your careers at Clearstone. Is it shutting down?

More here.


New Fundings

Agari, a seven-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company that makes data-driven security software to eliminate email as a channel for cyberattacks, has raised $22 million in Series D funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from earlier backers Greylock Partners, Alloy VenturesBattery Ventures, First Round Capital, Scale Venture Partners and angel investor Scott Banister. Fortune has more here.

Apixio, a seven-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based data science company focused on healthcare, has raised $19.3 million in Series D funding led by SSM Partners, with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor, Farzad Nazem. More here.

AutoGrid Systems, a five-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company whose applications help utilities, electricity retailers, renewable energy project developers and energy service providers manage their distributed energy resources, has raised $20 million in new funding co-led by by Energy Impact Partners and Envision Ventures. Other participants in theround include Envision Energy, and previous backer E.ON, one of the largest utilities and renewable energy developers in the world. More here.

BigID, a seven-month-old, New York-based early-stage security company focused on helping organizations protect the privacy of their customer data, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding from Genacast Ventures, BOLDstart Ventures, and Deep Fork Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Bloomz, a two-year-old, Redmond, Wa.-based education tech startup whose app securely connects teachers and parents, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding from 8VC, ff Venture Capital, Founder’s Co-op, CorrelationVCWisemont Capital, Acequia Capital and individual angels. TechCrunch hasmore here.

Gett, a six-year-old, New York-based cab-hailing startup with operations across some 60 cities, is getting a $300 million investment from the German car giant Volkswagen. The round brings its total funding to $520 million. TechCrunch has more here.

Menu Next Door, a year-old, Brussels-based Airbnb-like platform that invites users to either cook for people nearby or to pick up food from a local home cook who’s featured on the platform, has raised $2 million (€1.75 million) from Index Ventures, Local Globe, Kima Ventures and TheFamily. TechCrunch has more here.

Nucleix, a nine-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based developer of urine tests for the monitoring of bladder cancer, has raised $3 million in new funding led by Aurum Ventures. More here.

nuTonomy, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based developer of software for self-driving cars, has raised $16 million Series A funding led by Highland Capital, with participation from Samsung Ventures, EDBI (the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board) and earlier investors Fontinalis Partners and Signal Ventures. The WSJ has more here.

Pattern, a year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based online “workspace” platform designed to make life easier for salespeople, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from First Round Capital, SoftTech VC, and Felicis Ventures. We wrote about the company here.

Sensifree, a four-year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based company that makes contactless sensors for wearables, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by TransLink Capital, with participation from UMC Capital and an undisclosed strategic investor. More here.

SigFig, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of tech-enabled financial advisory services products like reports, has raised $40 million from the venture investment arms of a slew of big banks in the form of $33 million in equity and $7 million in debt. Participants in the round include Santander Innoventures,UBS, Eaton Vance and New York Life. Previous investors Union Square Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, DCM, and NYCA Partners also joined the round, as did Comerica Bank, which provided SigFig with $7 million in debt. TechCrunch has more here.

Snapchat, the five-year-old, Venice, Ca.-based mobile app that began as an ephemeral messaging service, is raising new funding at a $20 billion valuation, says TechCrunch. The capital will follow a $175 million Series F round led by Fidelity earlier this year. More here.

TourRadar, a six-year-old, Vienna, Austria-based online marketplace for multi-day travel tours, has raised $6 million in funding co-led by Cherry Ventures and Hoxton Ventures, with participation from AWS Founders Fund and Speedinvest. TechCrunch has more here.

vArmour, a five-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based startup that offers security solutions specifically aimed at enterprises that run services and apps across multiple clouds, has raised $41 million in Series D funding led by Telstra, the large multinational carrier based out of Australia. Other investors include Redline Capital and numerous (unnamed) strategic investors. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds

According to Fortune, Andreessen Horowitz is nearing a close on a new, $1.5 billion fund, one that’s expected to close in a month or less. (We’d reported this was in the works in March.)



eBay has acquired Ticketbis, a seven-year-old, Bilbao, Spain-based ticket marketpace that will be rolled into eBay’s StubHub platform for $165 million. According to CrunchBase, Ticketbis had raised roughly $26 million in funding, including from Active Venture Partners and investor-entrepreneur Fabrice Grinda. TechCrunch has more here.

Goldman Sachs has acquired Honest Dollar, a 1.5-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based online retirement savings platform company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. According to CrunchBase, Honest Dollar had raised $3 million in funding from Expansive Ventures, Formation 8, Core Innovation Capital, and Mint founder Aaron Patzer.



Harvard Management Co. has a new, temporary leader while Stephen Blyth is on medical leave, and it’s Robert Ettl, a Pimco alum. Bloomberg has more here.

According to Fortune, Marc Michel is quietly moving on from Metamorphic Ventures, the New York-based venture firm firm he co-founded in 2006. His plan is to launch a new firm focused on providing seed extension rounds called Runway Venture Partners.

Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt admits he’s an iPhone user, but he insists Samsung is better.



Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is looking to hire a financial analyst. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.


Essential Reads

Startup employees are beginning to invoke an obscure law to compel companies that are incorporated in Delaware to open up their books to shareholders. It comes from section 220 of Delaware’s corporate law, and to take advantage of it, stockholders must prove that they own at least one share, then send the company an affidavit that states which documents they want and why, along with the magic words, “For the purpose of valuing my shares.” The WSJ has the story.

Facebook says an internal investigation found no evidence of systemic political bias in a section of its app called Trending Topics. Even so, the company is making some changes to Trending Topics, including no longer referring to a list of national news sources, including Fox News and The New York Times, to “boost” topics that appear. The New York Times has more here.

Facebook Live may soon let you skip to the good part (which could have a huge impact on how we view onine video).

How technology hijacks people’s minds (straight from a former design ethics and product philosopher at Google).



Delicate underwater portraits.

The worst things artificial intelligence could do, as imagined by top researchers.

“They were nice guys, they were d_cks.” Going behind the scenes with the ’90s band The Replacements.

An updated look at the U.S. airlines that the most (and the least) likely to lose your luggage.


Retail Therapy

Ha. Pop Tart phone case.

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