StrictlyVC: August 9, 2016



Top News in the A.M.

Twilio late yesterday reported second-quarter revenue of $64.5 million, up 70 percent from the year earlier period. That beat consensus estimates and sent its shares soaring. More here.

Meanwhile, beleaguered LendingClub revealed that its losses widened to $81.4 million in the second quarter, compared with $4.1 million a year ago. More here.


Valuations Wilt

A year ago, startup valuations hit a 12-year peak as the numbers of companies joining the billion-dollar-plus club soared.

Today, those numbers are looking far more run of the mill. So suggests a new survey published by law firm Fenwick & West, which analyzed the venture financings of 195 Silicon Valley-based companies over the second quarter to draw its conclusions.

Among the survey’s findings: up rounds — in which a startup’s price per share increases over its previous funding round — are down slightly. Specifically, in the second quarter, they exceeded down rounds 74 percent to 13 percent, compared with the first quarter of 2016, when up rounds exceeded down rounds 78 percent to 11 percent. (The other funding rounds were flat.)

Valuations also dropped, and pretty dramatically. The average percentage change in the share price of companies funded during the quarter showed a 40 percent price increase for the quarter, but that’s down from the 53 percent jump in price that startups saw in the first quarter and the lowest amount since the third quarter of 2010.  Meanwhile, the median price increase of financings in the first quarter was 31 percent, down from 36 percent in the first quarter.

“It’s not like things are so horrible now,” says attorney Barry Kramer, who co-authored the survey. “But this is the third straight quarter of weakening valuations. They’ve fallen a great deal from where they were a year ago. And the question is: where do we go from here?”

Kramer warns against drawing comparisons to the downturns of 2002 and 2008.

(More here.)


New Funds

Cybrary, a 1.5-year-old, Greenbelt, Md.-based online cyber security training curriculum company, has raised $1.3 million in seed funding led by Arthur Ventures and Ron Gula, founder and chairman of Tenable Network Security. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Inner Loop Capital. More here.

Emotech, a two-year-old, London-based company that’s building a personality-adapting AI-powered robot assistant called Olly, has raised more than $10 million in Series A funding led by Lightning Capital (a new, Shanghai-based firm), with participation from Alliance Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Engagio, a 1.5-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based maker of marketing automation software, has raised $22 million in Series B funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from FirstMark Capital and Storm Ventures. CMS Wire has more here.

Kepler Communications, a year-old, Toronto-based startup that’s aiming to enable real-time communications access to other spacecraft by developing a constellation of data relaying satellites, has raised $5 million in seed funding from IA Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, TechStars, Globalive Capital, BDC, along with angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Koko, a two-year-old, New York-based cognitive therapy tech startup, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from Omidyar Network and Union Square Ventures. Fast Company has more here.

Kwippit, a two-year-old, Denver-based image-amplified messaging app, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from Wildcat Capital Management and FirstMark Capital venture partner Dave Leyrer. More here.

Farmers Business Network, a two-year-old, San Carlos, Ca.-based social network and data-sharing platform for farmers, has raised $20 million in new venture funding led by Acre Venture Partners, a food and agriculture specialized fund, with participation from GV, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and DBL Partners. The company has now raised $44 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Finexio, a year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based business-to-business payment network, has raised $1 million in seed funding from and numerous angel investors. More here.

FinTecSystems, a two-year-old, Munich-based company that sells data and analysis to the financial services industry, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding that it describes as in the “seven-figure range.” Littlerock and Ventech led the round, with participation from return backers MenschDanke Capital and Heilemann Ventures. More here.

Iconic Therapeutics, a 14-year-old, South San Francisco, Ca.-based clinical stage biopharma company that’s trying to develop and commercialize immunoconjugate proteins that trigger the immune system to destroy invader cells, has added $10 million to close its Series C funding with $48.5 million. Investors in the round include new investor Xeraya Capital, which joins MPM Capital, HBM Healthcare Investments, H.I.G. BioHealth PartnersLundbeckfonden Ventures, Cormorant Asset Management, and Osage University Partners. More here.

Innoviz Technologies, a months-old, Israel-based autonomous driving tools startup, has raised $9 million in Series A funding from co-founder Zohar Zisapel, along with Israeli VC firms Vertex Venture Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Amiti Ventures and local car retail company Delek Motors. TechCrunch has more here.

MapR Technologies, a seven-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based enterprise-grade, big data platform, has raised a fresh $50 million in funding led by Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund. Earlier backers also joined the round, including Google Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mayfield FundNew Enterprise Associates, Qualcomm Ventures, and Redpoint Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

NextVR, a six-year-old, Laguna Beach, Ca.-based live virtual reality broadcast technology, has raised $80 million in Series B funding from SoftBank, VMS Investments Group, Founder H Fund and Spectrum 28. Variety has more here.

OfferUp, a five-year-old, Bellevue, Wa.-based startup that allows users to buy and sell items through its mobile app, is in talks to raise $120 million in a round led by Warburg Pincus, says the WSJ.

Socius, a three-year-old, Berlin-based platform that’s helping digital publishers to tell stories using social media, has raised $400,000 in seed funding from 500 Startups and Raa Invest. TechCrunch has more here.

Woundtech, a 17-year-old, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based startup that brings wound care to patients, has raised $40 million in funding from Aldrich Capital Partners. More here.



Randstad Holdings, an Amsterdam-based human resources and recruitment specialist, is acquiring the publicly traded job-hunting portal Monster Worldwide for $429 million in cash. TechCrunch has more here.



Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has taken $1.42 billion of his money off the table in the last three months, including a record sale of $757 million last week. Very worth noting: Amazon’s stock has risen 14 percent during the same period. Fortune has more here.

A former bookkeeper for Skully — a startup that had promised consumers a motorcycle helmet using augmented reality and is now filing for bankruptcy — is suing founders Marcus and Mitch Weller, saying they used funding for the company as their “personal piggy banks.” She also says they fired her for wanting to blow the whistle on them. More, including the full lawsuit, here.



Redpoint Ventures, the early-stage venture firm, is looking to add an associate to its early-stage consumer investing team. The job is in the Bay Area.



The rich are getting richer, and fast. A new Wealth-X report says there are now 2,473 total billionaires in the world who represent a combined wealth of $7.7 trillion. Those figures are up 6.4 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, since 2014. More here.


Essential Reads

Facebook has found a way to block ad blockers.

GM is putting its acquisition of self-driving car startup Cruise to good use, trialling its tech on public roads in Scottsdale, Arizona, using Chevy Bolt all-electric cars. TechCrunch has more here.

It’s baaack. Fisker Automotive, the electric car company that tanked after tearing through $139 million in federal loans from the Department of Energy, is being revived in China as Karma Automotive. Fortune has more here.

Twitter, which is San Francisco’s second-largest tech employer but whose user growth has stalled, just listed over 183,000 square feet for sublease at its San Francisco headquarters. The San Francisco Business Times has the story here.



Just about 3 percent of the 11 million containers that arrive at U.S. ports are screened with X-rays, despite the security risks they could pose. (Wait, what?) More here. H/T: Significant Digits.


Retail Therapy

Paris wall mural.

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