StrictlyVC: July 15, 2016

Hi, everyone. We’re so heavy-hearted about the news out of Nice today. What a terrible shame.

In case you missed the news earlier this week, we did want to let you know that, starting on Monday, our friend Semil Shah will be steering the ship around here for a couple of weeks; specifically, he’ll be bringing you your daily column (and has some fun stuff lined up). If you want to chat with him about anything, you can track him down here. Thank you, Semil.:)


Top News in the A.M.

It’s crunch time for Yahoo. Final bids for its services, which include Yahoo’s search, email, advertising and media operations, are due Monday, reports the New York Times.


Tesla’s Former VP of Production Just Became a VC

Greg Reichow, who in May left his post as Tesla’s vice president of production (and reportedly as one of its highest-paid executives), has joined Eclipse Ventures as an investor.

If the Eclipse brand isn’t entirely familiar, it may be soon, given its growing star power. Venture geeks might recall that Eclipse was originally part of Formation 8, a firm that has since disbanded but that, before doing so, raised a $125 million fund that was designed to invest exclusively in early-stage hardware companies. (Its original name was F8 Hardware Fund. Among its limited partners is Flex, the publicly traded contract design and manufacturing company formerly known as Flextronics.)

Former F8 partner Lior Susan now manages Eclipse, with a team that includes not only Reichow but longtime Sequoia Capital partner Pierre Lamond, who’d been an F8 advisor and joined Eclipse as a full-time partner last year.

It’s been active, too. The firm has already invested in 27 companies, including making an early bet on the computational photography startup Light, which last week announced $30 million in fresh funding led by GV.

According to a new SEC filing, Eclipse is also raising a new, $125 million fund.

More here.


New Fundings

Alphabet Energy, a maker of flare combusters for oil and gas companies, has raised $23.5 million in fresh funding from Osceola Capital ManagementClaremont Creek Ventures, TPG and GM Ventures. Fortune has more here.

Amplero, a months-old, Seattle-based company whose software attempts to predict the lifetime customer value of its customers’ customers, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Wildcat Venture Partners. Other participants in the round include Globys/Trilogy Equity Partners, Salesforce Ventures and Seven Peaks Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.

CyberGRX, a months-old, Denver, Co.-based cyber risk management platform, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Allegis Capital, with participation from The Blackstone Group, TenEleven Ventures, Rally Ventures, GV and MassMutual Ventures. Xconomy has more here.

Discors, a nearly two-year-old, Bay Area-based mobile app that presents news stories alongside columns and analysis, photos, and a timeline, all in one stream, has raised $1.2 million from angel investors, founders, and Matter Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Endotronix, a nine-year-old Woodridge, Il.-based company that makes miniaturized, wireless, implantable pressure sensors for use in interventional cardiovascular procedures, has raised $32 million in Series C funding, including from BioVentures Investors, SV Life Sciences, Lumira Capital, Aperture Venture Partners and OSF Ventures. MedCity News has more here.

Findo, a two-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based smart search assistant, is raising a $4 million seed round led by  Flint Capital. VentureBeat has more here.

GameOn, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile engagement platform for sports fans, has raised $2 million in new seed funding from Quest Venture Partners, XG Ventures, Next News Ventures, the DeBartolo family, former NFL quarterback Joe Montana and rapper-investor Snoop Dogg. More here.

ISI Technology, a 10-year-old, Charleston, S.C.-based company that makes a fully electronic water heater for residential and commercial applications, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Wave Equity Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

PureLifi, a four-year-old, Edinburgh, Scotland-based company that’s developing what it calls LiFi technology, an alternative to Wi-Fi that uses modulating LED light as a way of sending data from one LiFi-equipped device to another, has raised just over £7 million ($9.3 million) in Series B funding. Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek led the round. TechCrunch has more here.

Scope AR, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company that’s developing augmented reality smart instructions and live support video calling software,  has raised $2 million in seed funding, including from Susa VenturesPresence Capital Fund and New Stack Ventures. More here.



Atlassian said yesterday that it has acquired StatusPage, a Y Combinator-incubated service that allows online businesses to keep their users updated about the status of their online services. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.According to CrunchBase, StatusPage had raised just $100,000. TechCrunch has more here.

FlightCar, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that invited users to list and rent each others’ cars from airports around the country, announced yesterday that, effective immediately, it is closing operations at all 12 of its airport stations around the U.S.. It has also sold its technology platform to Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, where it will become part of Mercedes’ innovation lab for mobility services. Flightcar had raised more than $40 million from investors. Forbes has more here on the company’s closure. We’d first written about Flightcar’s woes last October.

Pinterest has acquired the team behind Highlight, a location-based social app that never quite broke through. Its parent company was five-year-old, San Francisco-based Math Camp. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. The Verge has more here.



An L.A. judge has dismissed former Hyperloop One CTO and co-founder Brogan BamBrogan’s restraining order against the company’s former head of legal, Afshin PishevarMore here.

The Tesla Model X that crashed in Pennsylvania on July 1 had Autopilot disabled at the time, Elon Musk announced yesterday Twitter. More here.

Yesterday, a group of more than 140 tech entrepreneurs and executives published a scathing online letter opposing Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency, saying he’d be truly terrible for innovation. As product manager Michael Gartenberg of Apple later tweeted, though, “Thing is, people likely to vote for Trump don’t read or care about stuff like this.”

In related news, just to be clear, “Peter Thiel is attending and speaking at the RNC in his personal capacity,” said Facebook of its famed board member in a statement yesterday. Recode has more here.



According to new data out of the NVCA and Thomson Reuters, VCs invested $15.3 billion in 961 deals in the second quarter. That’s a 20 percent increase in dollars over the first quarter, though total deal count was down 5 percent. More interesting (to us): this is the tenth consecutive quarter that more than $10 billion in venture capital invested was invested in a single quarter. More here.


Essential Reads

T-Mobile is offering free “Pokémon Go” data for a year, but not everyone is happy about it.



Ten completely over-the-top hotel butler services.

That spicy green paste is not wasabi, yo.

Mick Jagger is going to be a dad for the eighth time at age 72.


Retail Therapy

Nickelblock, the first app for your phone that will play Nickelback songs when you try to contact your ex or look at their photos on the Internet. (Haha. H/T: Lora K.)

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