StrictlyVC: August 19, 2016

Oh, sweet Friday, is it really you at long last? [Collapses.]


Top News in the A.M.

Vevo, the online music video service owned by the world’s largest record labels, has hired Goldman Sachs to raise up to $500 million from new investors, says the Financial Times. More here.


Quero Education Looks to Educate U.S. VCs

Much has been written about Brazil during the Rio Olympics. But one facet of the country that’s relatively unknown to foreigners is how 9 percent of the population – or the roughly 17 million Brazilians between the ages of 15 through 19 – can get a decent, affordable college education.

If U.S. investors were to take an interest, says Quero Education, they might be rewarded for it.

We chatted with Quero’s co-founder and CEO Bernardo de Pádua about his six-year-old, online college marketplace and the opportunity it’s chasing.

TC: You say the education industry is very different in Brazil versus the U.S. What are some of the biggest differentiators?

BDP: About 20 years ago, for-profit colleges took over the market, and now almost 85 percent of students are attending them. A company called Kroton this year acquired the second-largest college on the stock market in Brazil and it’s now the world’s largest school corporation, with 1.6 million students and more than $3 billion in annual revenues. And they only own a small share of the market — around 10 percent.

TC: Quero is helping match students with these for-profit schools. Is that correct?

BDP: Yes. These [for-profit] colleges have been fighting for new students and partnering with companies that have large databases and giving them discounts in exchange. Or, for example, if you have a church or soccer team, you can partner with a college and [because you’re sending multiple people to the school], you’ll get a 10 to 50 percent discount on tuition. But there’s a great mismatch of information that exists for the students.

TC: So you’re saying these colleges suffer from oversupply?

BDP: That’s right. There are six million seats open every year, and three million people enroll, so something like 50 percent of the seats are available. Some schools get oversubscribed. Public colleges are a very different story. They’re free to attend but have a limited number of seats [so it’s very competitive to attend them] and just 10 percent of people who take a national exam are really eligible for those slots. Medical schools are very heavily regulated. But there’s an oversupply in most other fields of study.

More here.


New Fundings

CellSavers, a year-old, Bay Area-based on-demand mobile repair platform, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Carmel Ventures, with participation from earlier backer Sequoia Capital. Reuters has more here.

DevMynd Software, a five-year-old, Chicago-based digital strategy firm, as raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Motorola Solutions Venture Capital. More here.

Dexter, a year-old, New York-based bot-building platform, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding led by Rakuten Ventures, with participation from Social Starts and Betaworks. TechCrunch has more here.

Ecobee, a nine-year-old, Toronto, Ontario-based smart thermostat maker, has raised $35 million in funding from the Amazon Alexa Fund, Thomvest, and Relay Ventures. The company has now raised more than $51 million altogether. VentureBeat has more here.

Histogen, a nine-year-old, San Diego-based regenerative medicine company, has raised $6 million in Series D funding led by Pineworld Capital, an affiliate of Huapont Life Sciences. More here.

KRY, a two-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based health startup that connects patients with healthcare professionals for consultations via video, has raised €6.1 million ($6.9 million) in seed funding  led by Index Ventures and Creandum, with participation from Berlin-based Project A. TechCrunch has more here.

NVBots, a three-year-old, Boston-based company whose 3D printing technology that can print multiple metals in the same build, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by Woodman Asset Management. BostInno has more here.

SmartFile, a seven-year-old, Indianapolis, In.-based secure enterprise file management and sharing platform, has raised $1.1 million led by VisionTech Angels, with participation from Elevate Ventures. More here.


New Funds

Darwin Ventures, a 12-year-old, San Francisco-based venturee fund of funds, is looking to raise $100 million for its fourth fund, shows an SEC filing. Darwin closed its last fund with roughly $60 million in early 2014.

London’s Octopus Ventures just launched a new accelerator — Octopus Labs — to capitalize on the financial tech boom. Details here.



Foodpanda, the food delivery startup backed by Rocket Internet, is selling its operations in Indonesia and evaluating its presence in the rest of Southeast Asia as part of a push towards profitability. TechCrunch has more here.

Rakuten has acquired the assets of Bitnet, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based bitcoin wallet startup that was reportedly struggling. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but according to CrunchBase, Bitnet had raised $14.5 million, including from Rakuten, ARTIS Ventures, Commerce VenturesWebb Investment Network, and Highland Capital Partners. More here.



Uber CEO Travis Kalanick talks with Business Insider about his vision of our self-driving future, where “a million fewer people are going to die a year. Traffic in all cities will be gone. Significantly reduced pollution and trillions of hours will be given back to people . . .”

Remember Eric Martin, who won a contest whose prize was 100,000 shares? Media outlets seemed to think he was in line for up to $20 million following Jet’s sale to Walmart. Turns out it’s closer to $900,00 — pre tax, says Fortune. (We’d take it!) More here.


Essential Reads

A legal battle is escalating between the venture-backed software startup Domo and one of its former managers who’s fighting the company for financial information. The WSJ has more here.



They’re calling this the most lavish dorm room in America.

The strange brain of the world’s greatest solo climber.


Retail Therapy

Extreme Series Roof Top Tent. (Extremely sweet.)

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