StrictlyVC: November 17, 2016

One more day, guys, hang in there!

Top News in the A.M.

In her first public remarks since last week’s election, Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen just said the economy remains in good health for now, suggesting the central bank will go ahead and raise its benchmark interest rate at its next meeting in December.

YC Tries a New Experiment: Temporary Partners

Y Combinator has developed a reputation under its president, Sam Altman, for iterating — a lot. The accelerator program’s newest twist? Temporary or “visiting partners” who will be asked to become highly involved with a particular “batch” or YC class based on their particular expertise.

The partners will be a bit like YC’s “part-time partners,” a role the program created in 2011, except that part-time partners — who are invited to stay for six months — operate on renewable terms, and most tend to renew their position.

To kick off its newest initiative, YC is welcoming three of these visiting partners, two of whom are YC alums: Aaron Epstein, Gustaf Alströmer, and Lyle Fong.

Epstein founded Creative Market, a marketplace for digitally designed content that passed through YC in 2010. It was acquired for undisclosed terms by Autodesk in 2014.

Alströmer is a product lead for growth at Airbnb. He previously worked as VP of growth at the communications app company Voxer and cofounded Heysan, a messaging service that graduated from YC in 2007 and was acquired for undisclosed terms by Good Technology in 2009.

Meanwhile, Fong is the cofounder and CEO of mobile video game studio Hobo Labs. He also founded Lithium Technologies, a social media software company that’s best known in some circles for acquiring the social web startup Klout in 2014.

Before it kicks off its winter batch in January in Mountain View, Ca., YC is also bringing aboard three new “part-time partners” to add to more than the dozen of so already operating within the network.

More here.

New Fundings

CodeFights, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based company that brings together coding challenges and skills-based recruiting, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by, with participation from SV Angel, Felicis Ventures, A Capital and Granatus Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

CoverWallet, year-old, New York-based online insurance management platform, has raised $7.8 million in Series A funding led by Union Square Ventures, with participation from Index Ventures and previous investorsHighland Capital Partners, Two Sigma Ventures and Founder Collective. More here.

Domino Data Lab, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that’s building a data science platform to help companies maximize the impact of their quantitative research, has raised $10.5 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from earlier backers Zetta Venture Partners, Bloomberg Beta, and In-Q-Tel. More here.

Glycomine, a San Francisco-based biotechnology company developing a new generation of replacement therapies for rare diseases, just raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Sanderling Ventures, with participation from Chiesi Ventures, along with unnamed angel investors and patients. More here.

GuestReady, a year-old, Trogen, Switzerland-based service that helps homeowners who use Airbnb and other services manage their properties professionally, has raised $750,000 in seed funding led by existing investorSwiss Founders Fund. TechCrunch has more here.

Heal, a two-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based platform for scheduling on-demand medical house calls, raised $14.8 million in Series B funding fromFidelity Management and Research Company. More here.

Helpster, a 10-month-old, Bangkok, Thailand-based company that matches employers with people seeking blue-collar jobs, has raised $2.1 million in funding led by Jakarta-based Convergence Ventures, with participation from Wavemaker Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Heptio, a months-old, Seattle-based company that’s being built to support and advance the open Kubernetes ecosystem (an explainer of Kubernetes here), has raised $8.5 million in funding led By Accel Partners and Madrona Venture Group. TechCrunch has more here.

Hotbody, a two-year-old, Beijing, China-based fitness mobile app that combines fitness plans, video demonstrations, and social networking, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Haodao Capital, with participation fromAmeba Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Jongla, a seven-year-old, Finland-based messaging startup, has raised €5 million ($5.4 million) in Series B funding, including from its founder Arto Boman, Circlion Capital, Kontino Invest, Takoa Invest, Ingman Finance, and JSH Capital. Artic Startup has more here.

M87, a four-year-old, Seattle-based wireless infrastructure company that aims to deliver better coverage to the edge of the network, has raised $5 million from Madrona Venture Group, Qualcomm Ventures and Trilogy Equity Partners. More here.

Particle, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based development platform for the Internet of Things, has raised $10.4 million in Series A funding led by Root Ventures, with participation from OATV and Rincon Venture Partners. More here.

Petuum, a months-old, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based startup that’s building an artificial intelligence and machine learning development platform, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Advantech Capital, with participation from Tencent Holdings, Northern Light Venture Capital, and Oriza Ventures. More here., a four-year-old, London-based platform that makes it easy for anyone to build and share SaaS integrations, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by London-based Mosaic Ventures, with participation from True Venturesand earlier backers Redpoint Ventures, Passion Capital, Angelpad and Huddle co-founder Andy Mcloughlin. TechCrunch has more here.

Uplevel Systems, 1.5-year-old, Tigard, Ore.-based company that sells managed IT services to small business IT consultants, has raised $1.2 million in funding from undisclosed sources. More here.

New Funds

Slow Ventures, the early-stage venture firm cofounded by early Facebook employees Dave Morin and Kevin Colleran, has officially closed Slow Ventures III with $145 million — a huge jump from the $65 million fund that the team raised in the spring of last year. The firm reportedly raised the fund from more than 100 CEOs, tech founders, executives, VCs, university endowments, and foundations. More here.


Facebook could one day build facial gesture controls for its app thanks to the acquisition of a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff company calledFacioMetrics. More here.

New York marketing tech firm Sprinklr, a New York-based marketing tech firm, has acquired five-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based LittleBird for undisclosed terms. LittleBird helped researchers quickly find the top experts and influencers on any given subject via Twitter. It had raised $4.8 million in funding, including from Mark Cuban, Jason Calacanis, Oregon Angel Fund and other individual investors. More here.

Verizon has acquired SocialRadar, a mapping startup founded by Blackboard co-founder Michael Chasen that aims to provide users with more accurate location data for businesses. Terms aren’t being disclosed. SocialRadar launched its mapping SDK earlier this year. When the company was first founded, its central idea was to cross-reference the location beacons in our pockets – our smartphones – with the billions of social profiles online to create real-time information about the people around us. More here.


AOL CEO Tim Armstrong just announced internally that there will be layoffs across AOL’s global workforce. More here.

Hours after VC Tim Draper defended Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes on CNBC yesterday, his daughter, Jesse, a childhood friend of Holmes, took to Twitter to flame the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist who revealed the depth of the company’s troubles in the WSJ. “43 articles and you’ve never spoken to founder of Theranos but congrats on ruining someone’s life. Hope you feel good,” Draper tweeted to the reporter, John Carreyrou. Carreyrou responded by noting he’d begun asking for an interview with Holmes more than five months before writing his first article — and that he’s “still asking.”

In related news, Theranos’s whistleblower — who happens to be former Secretary of State George Shultz‘s grandson — talked to the WSJ and Carreyou yesterday about trying to expose Therano’s overinflated claims, and his isolating ordeal afterward. (Amazing read.)

It’s a big day for Elon Musk. SpaceX has asked the U.S. government for permission to launch an internet network powered by thousands of satellites above the Earth. Meanwhile, shareholders of Tesla Motors and SolarCity are voting on the companies’ controversial proposed merger today.

Renaud Laplanche, who was ousted earlier this year from the company he founded and took public — LendingClub — is planning a comeback. According to the WSJ, his new startup, Credify Finance, will make loans via the internet, just like Lending Club.

Essential Reads

In the U.K. police and intelligence agencies can now legally hack into your electronic devices remotely.

New analysis shows that in the final three months of the presidential election campaign, fake election news stories generated substantially more engagement on Facebook than stories from legitimate news outlets.

Baidu began testing its self-driving cars in California earlier this year; now it’s testing them out in China.


Nice reflexes, kid.

Stephen Hawking thinks we humans have maybe 1,000 years left.

Drake and Dave Chappelle lose it over a truly insane David Blaine trick.

Retail Therapy

The Awesomatic, for your holiday party.

Three $25 million beach houses on different islands.

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