StrictlyVC: November 15, 2016

Hi, all, hope you’re having a happy Tuesday.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Mary Jo White, the head of the SEC, announced yesterday that she’ll step down two years before the end of her term, clearing the way for Donald Trump to reshape the way Wall Street is regulated. What will that mean? Basically, the opposite of the coming crackdown on Silicon Valley startups that we’d foreseen last month. Now, the only thing stopping errant startups will be their investors — and we know how that usually goes.

The FBI has reportedly signed a contract with Dataminr, a company that sifts through the Twitter newsfeed to identify issues and trends in real time. The Stack, which has the story here, reports that only an estimated 1 percent of tweets are made available to the public through Twitter’s API, but using Dataminr,the FBI will now have access to all messages written on Twitter. (If you aren’t familiar with Dataminr, we talked with CEO Ted Bailey earlier this year about his business.)

Spark Capital just closed on $1 billion for the first time

Spark Capital, whose investments have included Twitter and Cruise Automation, has closed on $1 billion in commitments, it revealed yesterday. The 11-year-old firm, which has offices in Boston, San Francisco, and New York, closed its fifth early-stage fund with $400 million, down slightly from the $450 million it had raised for its fourth-early stage fund, which closed in 2013.

Spark also garnered $600 million in commitments for its second growth fund, just two years after launching its debut growth fund with $375 million in capital. Like a lot of early-stage funds that have raised so-called opportunity funds in recent years, Spark uses the capital to invest in its breakout portfolio companies. Among the startups it has funded are the Brazilian real estate portal VivaReal and the automated investing platform Wealthfront.

Spark has enjoyed a string of hits in its relatively short existence. Among its exits: headset maker Oculus was sold to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014; Twitter went public in 2013; Wayfair, an online home furnishings company went public in 2014; and the autonomous driving tech startup Cruise Automation sold earlier this year to General Motors for a reported $1 billion.

The firm also holds stakes in the highly valued messaging service Slack and the still-private eyeglasses retailer Warby Parker.

Spark is among a growing spate of early-stage venture funds that are suddenly managing far more money than they ever had previously. Other firms that have raised significantly higher amounts than in past years include Forerunner Ventures, a young, San Francisco-based firm that focuses primarily on e-commerce opportunities and has raised at least $122 million this year, up from its last, $75 million fund; and decades-old Accel Partners, which closed on $2 billion across two new funds earlier this year, up from two funds that totaled $1.45 billion just three years earlier.

New Fundings

Ava, a two-year-old, Zurich-based startup that makes fertility-tracking wearable devices, has raised $9.7 million in Series A funding led by Polytech Ventures, with participation from Blue Ocean Ventures, Global Sources, Swisscom, and ZKB. TechCrunch has more here.

CareCloud, a nearly eight-year-old, Miami, Fl.-based company that makes cloud-based healthcare software for physicians, has raised $31.5 million in Series C funding led by Blue Cloud Ventures, with participation from PNC Financial Services Group and First Data Corporation. Earlier backers Norwest Venture Partners, Intel Capital, Tenaya Capital and Adams Street Partners also joined the round. TechCrunch has more here.

eOriginal, a 20-year-old, Baltimore-based software firm whose digital transaction management tools are used in the post-execution of financial asset documents, has raised $26.5 million from the Philadelphia-based private equity firm LLR Partners. More here.

Genetesis, a three-year-old, Cincinnati, Oh.-based medical device startup that helps physicians detect and characterize cardiac rhythm disorders, has raised $1.2 million in seed financing co-led by CincyTech and Radical Investments. The Cincinnati Enquirer has more here.

Gluru, a three-year-old, London-based task management platform, has raised $2 million in seed funding from British Sussex Place Ventures, SaatchInvest, Gecad, and Playfair Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Kit, a year-old, New York-based company created inside the startup studio Expa, has raised $2.5 million from Social CapitalPrecursor VenturesApril UnderwoodEllen PaoAuthentic VenturesBlack Angel Tech Fund, and Expa. Kit is a site where users can discuss and purchase interesting products that are grouped into kits for all sorts of activities, like, say, vlogging. Users who create “kits” for the benefit of others can also make money through affiliate links (a la Wirecutter). TechCrunch has more here., a two-year-old Israel-based startup that aims to simplify log analysis by using machine-learning algorithms to predict critical events, has raised $16 million in Series B funding led by OpenView, with participation from 83Northand Giza Venture Capital. SiliconAngle has more here.

MacroPoint, a seven-year-old, Cleveland, Oh.-based company that makes automated location tracking software, just raised $44 million in funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity. More here.

Midaxo, a five-year-old, Helsinki, Finland-based company that makes mergers and acquisitions software, has raised $4 million in Series A funding co-led by EOC Capital and Finnish Industry Investments. FinSMEs has more here.

Musement, a four-year-old, Milan, Italy-based company that provides information and ticketing services pertaining to museums, archaeological sites, and opera theaters around the world, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by the family fund Micheli Associati, with participation from P101, and 360 Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Orbital Shift, a seven-year-old, Missoula, Mt.-based workforce management software company, has raised $1.25 million in funding led by Next Frontier Capital, with participation from unnamed angel investors. More here.

PlaySimple Games, a two-year-old, Bangalore, India-based mobile social gaming startup, has raised $4 million in Series A funding co-led by SAIF Partners and earlier backer IDG Ventures India. LiveMint has more here.

Procurify, a four-year-old Vancouver, Canada-based maker of cloud-based procurement software, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Runa Capital, with participation from Point Nine Capital, Nexus Venture Partnersand the Business Development Bank of Canada. TechCrunch has more here.

Prynt, a 2.5.-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that builds printers for smartphone cases, raised $7 million in Series A funding led by GGV Capital. More here.

Sauce Labs, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes cloud-based testing software for mobile and web applications, has raised $70 million in funding from Centerview Capital Technology, Institutional Venture Partners, and Adams Street Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Siemplify, a year-old, New York-based online information security platform, has raised $10 million in funding led by 83North and G20 Ventures, with participation from a couple of investors. More here.

xAd, a seven-year-old, New York City-based location marketing and advertising platform, raised $42.5 million in Series E funding. Eminence Capital led the round, with participation from W Capital, Institutional Venture Partners, and Emergence Capital. Part of the new capital is being used to buy WeatherBug, a weather app. TechCrunch explains why here.

Zefo, a year-old, Bangalore, India-based refurbished furniture marketplace, has raised roughly $5.9 million in funding led by Sequoia India, with participation from Beenext and Helion Ventures. The Tech Portal has more here.

New Funds

Boldstart Ventures started off with $1 million in 2010 as a kind of experiment. Could a New York-based outfit find enough seed-stage, enterprise-focused, East Coast opportunities to rationalize a bigger fund? The answer, seemingly, is yes. Boldstart, founded by longtime VC Ed Sim (who’d spent the previous decade-plus an investor with Dawntreader Ventures), just closed its third fund with $47 million. That’s $30 million more than the $17 million Boldstart had raised for its second fund in 2013, says Sim, who now works alongside general partner Eliot Durbin. The two have also more recently brought in Work Market cofounder Jeff Leventhal as a venture partner. More here.


Trivago, an 11-year-old, Düsseldorf, Germany-based online hotel search aggregator, has revealed plans to raise up to  $400 million in an public offering on Nasdaq. Skift has more here.


Estee Lauder is buying Too Faced, an Irvine, Ca.-based makeup brand that’s backed by General Atlantic, for about $1.45 billion. Bloomberg has more here.

GE Digital has acquired, a machine-learning powered service that helps businesses find patterns and trends in their vast data stores. The companies aren’t disclosing terms of the deal. had raised $3.6 million. It also participated in the Alchemist Accelerator and Citrix Startup Accelerator programs. TechCrunch has more here.

Hulu has bought the assets The Video Genome Project (The VGP), a three-year-old, Santa Monica-based company that maintains one of the largest structured databases of video content. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, and Hulu says only a small team from The VGP will join the company. The VGP was backed by Segal Group Limited. TechCrunch has the story here.


America’s biggest pension fund just revealed what it pays its PE managers.


The law firm Fenwick & West quietly released its third-quarter venture capital survey this past Friday, and its findings aren’t exactly shocking. At the same time, they hint at problems to come for some startups. More here.

The gender pay gap by tech job, courtesy of Glassdoor.

Essential Reads

Apple is reportedly exploring Google Glass-like augmented reality digital glasses that connect wirelessly to iPhones, as it comes under pressure to deliver new products. Bloomberg has the scoop here.

BuzzFeed’s sources say that a group of Facebook engineers has formed an unofficial task force to review company’s role in promoting fake news, despite CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s public stance that the concern is vastly overblown. More here.

Uber might have the last laugh over China. Here’s why.


The spy who added me on LinkedIn.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg wows in opera debut.

Retail Therapy

French Toast Double Brown Ale. It’s what’s for breakfast if you’re still trying to get over this election. (We’re kidding! Okay, not really. We promise we’ll stop soon.)

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