StrictlyVC: May 31, 2016

Hi, everyone, welcome back from what we hope was a wonderful long weekend!


Top News in the A.M.

Facebook and Twitter just pledged to remove hate speech within 24 hours. CNN has more here.


New Fundings

AutoFi, a year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes point-of-sale software for the auto industry, has raised $17 million in new funding led by Crosslink Capital, with participation from Lerer Hippeau Ventures. More here.

Codoon, a 5.5-year-old, China-based sports and wellness service startup that integrates mobile apps with wearables, has raised $50 million in fresh funding led by a new sports investment fund co-established by Focus Media and FountainVest Partners. Earlier backers SIG and SBCVC also joined the round. China Money Network has more here.

Lalamove, a three-year-old, Hong Kong-based last-minute, intra-city delivery technology company, has raised $10 million in new funding led by earlier backer MindWorks, with participation from Thailand’s Asia Plus and other previous backers Crystal Stream (in China), AppWorks (Taiwan), and Aria Group (Hong Kong). TechCrunch has more here.

Mosaicoon, a six-year-old, Palermo, Italy-based company whose software tackles end-to-end management of video campaigns, has raised €8 million ($8.9 million) in Series B funding from undisclosed investors. has more here.

Robin, a two-year-old, Boston-based company whose software helps offices organize, track, and monitor their spaces, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from earlier backers Accomplice, Boldstart Ventures, FundFire, Space Pirates, and Mike Germano (he’s the chief digital officer of Vice Media). TechCrunch has more here.

Twiggle, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based search technology company centered around e-commerce, is reportedly raising between $5 million and $10 million from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. Bloomberg has more here.

Tynker, a four-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based computing platform that creates apps and curricula that teach kids the basics of coding,  has raised $7.1 million in Series A funding led by Krishna Bharat, the Google researcher who created Google News. Other participants include Cervin Ventures, Felicis Ventures, New Ground Ventures, Reach Capital, and Relay Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

WalkMe, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that sells a cloud-based service to help marketing professionals engage prospects and complete online tasks, quietly raised $50 million in Series E funding in March, reports GeekTime(which doesn’t name backers). WalkMe, which has now raised roughly $92 million altogether, previously raised money from Greenspring AssociatesScale Venture Partners and Gemini Israel Ventures.

Whill, a four-year-old, Tokyo, Japan-based startup that’s focused on building better wheelchairs and mobility devices, has raised $17.5 million in Series B funding led by Eight Road Ventures, with participation from Mirai Creation Investment and Golden Asia Fund II. TechCrunch has more here.

WinView, an eight-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company that lets users compete in games that run at the same time as sports games, has raised $3.4 million in new funding led by two individual investors: Tom Rogers, chairman of TiVo and the former head of NBC’s cable division, and Hank Ratner, the vice chairman of Cablevision and the former chief of the Madison Square Garden Company. WinView has now raised $6.5 million altogether. Dealbook has more here.

Zoox, a two-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based autonomous-driving startup in Silicon Valley that’s been intentionally flying under the radar, is seeking to raise as much as $252 million in funding, according to an SEC filing flagged by Bloomberg. If the fundraising is successful, the investment could give Zoox a valuation of more than $1 billion, according to an analysis by the venture-capital research firm VC Experts. More here.


New Funds

5AM Ventures, a 14-year-old life sciences-focused venture firm, is looking to raise up to $285 million for its fifth fund, shows an SEC filing. The firm closed its fourth fund with $250 million in 2013.

Chrysalix Venture Capital, a Canadian venture firm focused on alternative energy opportunities, has partnered with the Dutch robotics commercialization center RoboValley to create a new €100 million ($111 million) fund focused on robotics. More here.

Indie.VC, an offshoot of O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures that focuses on companies’ cashflow and sustainability instead of traditional VC-like milestones, has raised its first dedicated fund for startups and plans to write initial checks of between $100,000 and $500,000 in each. The WSJ has more here.

Yesterday, Microsoft quietly unveiled Microsoft Ventures, a new arm that will focus on “Series A and beyond” investments in North America and Israel, with the first investments to be revealed in the coming weeks. Much more here.



Japanese messaging app operator Line is expected to launch a road show for its planned $2 billion to $3 billion IPO in New York and Tokyo on June 10. More here.



Marketo, the 11-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based marketing software giant that went public in 2013, is being taken private again. The private equity firm Vista Equity Partners has acquired the company for $1.79 billion in an all-cash deal. More here.



You already know people have complained about their Tesla Model X vehicles, saying their windows won’t shut and the doors have a mind of their own. This guy is taking things a step further and suing Tesla.

Y Combinator is moving forward with its so-called Basic Income Project. It just hired a PhD to lead its efforts, and it’s launching a short-term pilot program in Oakland. More here.

Far out. Tomorrow, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is planning to host Facebook Live’s first earth-to-space call with three astronauts who are currently in orbit on board the International Space Station. More here.



According to a new study on mobile app usage, about one in four mobile users only use an app they’ve installed one time. More here.


Essential Reads

Inside Uber‘s auto lease machine, where almost anyone can get a car.

Jawbone, the San Francisco-based consumer tech device maker, is seeking to sell off its  wireless speaker business and focus exclusively on wearables. Fortune has more here.

A group of computer scientists has released a paper describing numerous security vulnerabilities in a novel cryptocurrency crowdfunding project known as D.A.O. that has raised more than $100 million. Dealbook has more here.

Motion sickness for VR users isn’t going away any time soon — if ever — says someone who has worked in the field for several decades.



The top 10 metro areas for newly minted college graduates. (Surprise twist: California isn’t home to one of them.)


Retail Therapy

A new, old-school record console, replete with pull-out minbar. We think Don Draper would approve.

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