StrictlyVC: August 11, 2016

Hi, everyone, happy Thursday!


Top News in the A.M.

Alibaba just announced record growth in the second quarter, as its Chinese retail marketplaces surged and revenue from its users on mobile overtook that of desktops for the first time. More here.

Russian antitrust officials just fined Google $6.8 million, a relatively small penalty that nevertheless represents the latest in a growing list of global regulatory problems for the search giant. More here.


Bill Maris Parts Ways with GV

Bill Maris, who founded GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) in 2009, is leaving the unit at the end of this week, according to a new report from Recode.

Maris, a neuroscience student at Middlebury who cofounded an early web hosting company before joining Google, is reportedly being replaced by David Krane.

Krane is a managing partner at GV; he joined the venture arm in 2010, after spending nearly 10 years as Google’s director of global communications and public affairs.

This is quite a bombshell, and, as Recode notes, comes on the heels of a string of other recent, high-profile departures within Alphabet, parent company to GV and several other units.

Android cofounder Rich Miner recently left GV to start an education project within Google.

Alphabet also recently parted ways with Tony Fadell, the cofounder of Nest Labs (acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in early 2014), and several executives at Google’s self-driving car unit, including CTO Chris Urmson.

Maris wielded a tremendous amount of power at GV, which, as he told this editor in an on-stage interview in February, currently invests $500 million a year.

Not everyone realizes that despite GV’s bench of investors, every decision fell to Maris.

As he explained the process during that sit-down: “[A]ll the investment decisions I make, going into a company or when and how to come out of it, is in collaboration with the partner who brings [the deal] forward. So we talk about all the opportunities as a team and everyone is invited to that discussion – not just the investing partners. And we don’t take a vote. It’s not like a democracy in any way. But everyone knows where people stand and we try and give each other good advice, and at the end of the day, the person who brings it forward and I decide whether to move forward or not.”

Asked why GV wasn’t run more democratically, he told me, ” I have no idea, because I’ve never worked as a venture capitalist before. I masquerade as one now . .  . But basically it started out with just me. The buck stops with me. So if we succeed, credit all goes to the team. If we fail, the blame should fall all on me; that’s how management should work.”

Whether that top-down process will change now remains to be seen.

More here.


New Fundings

Accolade, a nine-year-old, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.-based on-demand healthcare concierge for employers, health plans, and health systems, has raised more than $70 million in Series E funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Madrona Venture Group. Business Insider has more here.

Bynder, a 3.5-year-old, Amsterdam and Boston-based company that develops marketing software, has raised $22.3 million in Series A funding from Insight Venture Partners. More here.

CareSkore, a two-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based startup whose predictive analytics platform aims to help healthcare organizations better manage their patient populations, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding. Backers includeStorm Ventures, Cota Capital, Rising Tide Fund, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Y Combinator (whose program CareSkore passed through). TechCrunch has more here.

Glovo, a four-year-Barcelona, Spain-based company that operates a local on-demand delivery service similar to Postmates in the U.S., has raised €5 million ($5.6 million) in Series A funding from Antai Venture Builder, Spain’s Seaya Ventures, Entreé Capital, Caixa Capital Risk, and Bonsai Venture Capital, along with numerous previous investors. TechCrunch has more here.

iFood, a five-old, São Paulo, Brazil-based on-demand food delivery company, has raised $30 million in new funding from earlier backers Movile and JUST EAT. TechCrunch has more here.

InnovAccer, a four-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based research acceleration company, has raised $15.6 million in funding led by Westbridge Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Refinery29, a 12-year-old, New York-based fashion and style website, has raised $45 million in fresh funding led by Time Warner’s Turner unit, with participation from Scripps Networks Interactive. Recode says the funding was pegged to a valuation of about $500 million. More here.

Yroo, a two-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based  shopping search engine, has raised $11 million in seed-stage funding from unnamed individual investors who have ties to the retail space in the United States, Canada and Europe, it says.More here.

Zenoti, a six-year-old, Mercer Island, Wa.-based cloud-based management platform, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from returning investor Accel Partners. The outlet e27 has more here.


New Funds

Not exactly a new fund, but: Toyota Research Institute, a Toyota R&D organization headquartered in Silicon Valley, is providing $22 million over four years in an initial research grant with the University of Michigan. The funding is earmarked for artificial intelligence research specifically. More here.



The Flex Company, a young, Y Combinator-backed startup, has acquired Softcup, a 20-year-old, Venice, Ca.-based maker of a flexible menstrual disc, for an undisclosed amount. TechCrunch has more here.

Microsoft has acquired Beam, a Seattle-based interactive game streaming service that lets viewers play along with streamers as they watch. (Its CEO also happens to be a teenager.) You can see Beam’s technology is action here. More on the acquisition here.

The privately held data analytics company Palantir has acquired five-year-old data visualization startup Silk for an undisclosed amount. The deal is being characterized as an acqui-hire. Silk had raised three small rounds totaling $3.66 million from New Enterprise Associates and others between 2011 and 2013. Palantir has reportedly raised around $2.3 billion to date. TechCrunch has more here.



Arianna Huffington, who co-founded the Huffington Post 11 years ago, says she will be leaving the company in the coming weeks to focus on a soon-to-launch startup dedicated to issues of health and wellness. The WSJ has more here.

Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer on selling a company while trying to turn it around.

How Adeo Ressi‘s Expansive Ventures completely unraveled, in Fortune.

Nick Triantos is joining Ignition Partners as a venture partner. Triantos was most recently a managing director at SRI International.



Hearst Health Ventures is looking to hire an associate to focus on health care IT and IT-enabled health care services. The job is in San Francisco.


Essential Reads

Airbnb wants its homeowner hosts to do much more than provide accommodations to visitors, according to a new report in The Information. It says a program rolling out in November will encourage hosts to make more money by recommending restaurants or giving tours around neighborhoods for their visitors and even for locals. More here. (Subscribers only.)



Self-service checkouts can turn shoppers into thieves, says a new study.

Your dog is secretly kind of a selfish jerk, says another study.

This 16-year-old is making millions selling rare sneakers.

Michael Phelps won his 12th individual Olympic gold medal this week. The last time an Olympian did that was oh, just 2,168 years ago.


Retail Therapy

Voice-transforming karaoke machine, when you’re serious about pretending you’re a pop star.

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