StrictlyVC: October 24, 2016

Hi, everyone, welcome back and happy Monday!

(Busy morning; no column today.)


Top News in the A.M.

After days of speculation, the deal became official Friday: Pending regulatory approval, AT&T is acquiring Time Warner for $85 billion in a mix of cash and shares, paving the way for another behemoth in the converged media horizon. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson would head the new company, and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes would stay for an interim period following the close of the deal to help with the transition. Already, though, there’s plenty of opposition to the deal. More here and here and here.


New Fundings

Blackthorn Therapeutics, a three-year-old, South San Francisco-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that’s developing targeted treatments for neurobehavioral disorders, has raised $40 million in Series A funding from Arch Venture Partners, Johnson & Johnson Innovation and a cast of other venture investors. Forbes has more here., a two-year-old, Philippines-based online payment startup that delivers financial services over mobile to people in Southeast Asia who aren’t served by traditional banks, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund. A long list of investors also participated in the round, including Wavemaker Labs, Global Brain, BeeNext, Rebright Partners, Kickstart Ventures, Ideaspace Foundation, Innovation Endeavors, Pantera Capital, and Digital Currency Group. Tech in Asia has more here.

Eaze, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that offers medical marijuana delivery on demand, has raised $13 million in Series B funding from Fresh VC, DCM and Tusk Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Honeycomb, a two-year-old, London-based TV and video ad management platform, has raised £3 million ($3.7 million) in Series A funding led by Beringea, with participation from numerous individuals from the worlds of television and advertising. TechCrunch has more here.

New Dada, a China-based online grocery and delivery company that’s owned in part by, has raised $50 million in fresh funding from Walmart. Reuters has more here.

Nozomi Networks, a three-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based maker of cybersecurity and operational visibility for industrial control systems, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding co-led by GGV Capital and Lux Capital, with participation from existing investor Planven Investments SA. More here.

TurboAppeal, a two-year-old, Chicago-based startup whose software helps property owners appeal their taxes, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Guaranteed Rate, a Chicago-based mortgage company. The Chicago Tribune has more here.

Verdigris, a five-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based maker of cloud analytics software for enterprise facilities managers and large commercial buildings — it aims to allow them to increase facility uptime and save on energy costs — has raised $6.7 million led by Jabil, with participation from Verizon Ventures, Stanford StartX Fund, and existing angel investors. VentureBeat has more here.


New Funds

Blume Ventures, a six-year-old, Mumbai, India-based seed-stage venture fund, has closed its second fund with $60 million; the firm’s debut fund had closed with roughly $20 million in 2011. More here.

Initialized, the seed-stage venture firm led by former Y Combinator partner Garry Tan, has officially closed on $102 million for its new fund. (We’d mentioned this one to you in June, when the firm first filed with the SEC.) More here.



The IPO quiet period for Coupa Software expires one week from today. Seeking Alpha has more on what that means here.



The New York Times is buying The Wirecutter, a bootstrapped, five-year-old online consumer guide. The Times will pay more than $30 million, including retention bonuses and other payouts, according to Recode’s sources. More here.



Gawker founder Nick Denton is selling his Soho loft, one of his only assets, as part of a privacy judgment against him. In August, Denton tried renting out the flat, now on the market for $4.25 million; a bankruptcy judge wouldn’t allow it.

“Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail talks with reporter Kara Swisher about hackers, VR, and much more in a new podcast.

Politico looks at Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz’s unexpected and abrupt rise to the top rung of Democratic party mega donors.



You might think otherwise, but government data shows a decades-long slowdown in entrepreneurship. More on what it means here.

Smartwatch sales are tanking, according to a new industry report by IDC. More here.


Essential Reads

Sweden just became one of the first countries to ban camera drones.

Here are all the companies China is buying up around the globe.

The tech bubble didn’t burst this year, but VC Bill Gurley thinks we’re in a “slow correction. You might see a unicorn go down once a quarter,” instead of a crash taking them all down at once, he tells Bloomberg.

Netflix has proposed a new offering of $800 million in senior notes, with the stated aim of using the cash to acquire content, make investments, acquire targets and engage in strategic transactions. More here.



Living in China’s expanding deserts.

Leonard Cohen makes it darker. (Great profile. We also could have listened all day to this 10-year-old “Fresh Air” interview with Cohen, replayed on Friday.)


Retail Therapy

Frightful drinks recipes your Halloween party. Mmmmwhahaha.

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