StrictlyVC: September 23, 2016

It is Friday! Afternoon! (We know, we know, but it’s been one call after another today.) Hope you have a most wonderful weekend, everyone! See you back here Monday.:)


Top News in the A.M.

Google and Salesforce are reportedly interested in buying Twitter; TechCrunch sources say Microsoft and Verizon have been kicking the tires, too. Bloomberg notes the stock is surging on the reported talks.


New Fundings

Aceable, a four-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that delivers drivers’ education in a mobile app, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from Silverton Partners and Floodgate Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Airbnb, the popular, eight-year-old, San Francisco-based marketplace for people to discover and book accommodations around the world, has raised $555 million in new funding at a $30 billion valuation co-led by Google Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures. Neither received board seats. Fortune has more here.

Gfycat (as in “Jiffy Cat”), a year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based startup whose site is a Webm host that lets people convert videos into short-form, shareable, looping and fast-loading clips, has raised $10 million in seed funding led by Alsop Louie Partners, an early backer of Other participants in the round include Pear, You & Mr Jones Brandtech Ventures, and the Stanford StartX fund, as well as individual investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Kahoot!, a nearly five-year-old, Oslo, Norway-based game-based educational platform, has raised $10 million from Creandum, Northzone and Microsoft Ventures. More here.

Linio, a four-year-old, Mexico City, Mexico-based ecommerce marketplace for Latin America, has raised $55 million in funding from LIV Capital, Northgate Capital and Kinnevik. More here.

Tealium, an eight-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based company that makes website data management software, has raised $35 mllion in new funding led by earlier backer Georgian Partners. Other previous investors also joined the round, including Bain Capital Ventures, Battery Ventures, Silver Lake Partners and Tenaya Capital. The San Diego Union-Tribune has more on the company here.

Zero, a months-old, San Francisco-based mobile banking startup, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by ENIAC Ventures, with participation from New Enterprise Associates, Nyca Partners, Lightbank, and Middleland Capital. More here.


New Funds

GE Healthcare has taken the wraps off a healthcare accelerator called five.eight that will invest $50 million in startups dedicated to improving healthcare in emerging markets. MedCity News has more here.

SignalFire, a venture firm that mines data on moves by top startup employees for investing signals, is in the process of raising a $300 million to $350 million for its second fund, according to WSJ sources. (We’ve heard this, too.) The WSJ has more here. We walked readers through how the firm works last fall.



Apptio, a nearly nine-year-old, Bellevue, Wa.-based company that makes cloud-based business management software, jumped 44 percent in its trading debut this morning. Investors Business Daily has more here.

Coupa Software, a 10-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based corporate spend management platform, just set its IPO terms to 6.7 million shares being offered at between $14 and $16 per share. In the middle of that range, it would have a market cap of $711 million, or less than the unicorn valuation that its private investors had assigned it. Silicon Valley Business Journal has more here.



Cuff, a smart jewelry maker that promised a line of fashion wearables capable of sending emergency alerts to family and friends, shut down earlier this year; now it’s being named in a bankruptcy suit filed by five of its manufacturing partners. The company was funded by New Enterprise Associates, Tandem Capital, and Tugboat VenturesMore here.



Zander Farkas, a former investor at Greycroft Partners who just nabbed his MBA from Wharton, has joined Tribeca Venture Partners as a principal.

Sarah Hodges has joined Boston-based Pillar Companies, a venture firm, as a partner. Hodges previously cofounded of, a four-year-old, Boston-based learning campus that connects experts with entrepreneurs and others who want to hone their skills.

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is reportedly funding a Trump group that’s dedicated to circulating internet memes maligning Hillary Clinton. “I’ve got plenty of money,” Luckey tells the Daily Beast. “Money is not my issue. I thought it sounded like a real jolly good time.”



Tribeca Venture Partners is looking to hire an associate. The job is in New York.


Essential Reads

Facebook says that for two years, it systematically overestimated the time its users spent watching videos on the site by ignoring views that lasted less than three seconds. The WSJ has more here. (And here, Facebook VP David Fischer apologies for what the company is calling a miscalculation.)

Apple’s interest in McLaren likely centers on its five-year-old consulting arm, McLaren Applied Technologies. TechCrunch has more here.

UPS is beginning to test drone deliveries, and it’s turning to its longtime partner, venture-backed CyPhy, to do it. BostInno has more here.

Google will reportedly launch a new Wi-Fi router similar to that of Eero and Luma in October.

Inside MIT‘s $60 million-per-year lab for geniuses.

An era in Hong Kong is ending, thanks to China’s tight embrace.



Why your handwriting keeps changing, even in adulthood.

New research shows grown children would rather live at home and play video games than find gainful employment. (In the Washington Post, people, not The Onion!)


Retail Therapy

The estate of the late, renowned VC Tom Perkins has come on the market in Belvedere in Marin County for $16.5 million.

AutoCamp. Ideal for glamping with pals.

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