StrictlyVC: November 22, 2016

Happy Tuesday! No column today. Also, StrictlyVC is taking a teensy break for the rest of the week to enjoy our favorite American holiday. (U.S. readers, we hope you’ll be enjoying a little down time this week, too.)

We know it’s not ideal for our readers outside of the U.S., but we’ll be back and completely re-energized on Monday! Also, if anything truly crazy breaks — holidays are ideal for burying ugly developments — we’ll hop online to share the news with you.

Take care, everyone; see you soon, and happy Thanksgiving.:)

Top News in the A.M.

After abruptly canceling a meeting with the New York Times, then rescheduling it, Donald Trump is meeting right now with reporters, editors, and other writers from the outlet, who are using Twitter to report on what’s happening.

New Fundings

Apptopia, a five-year-old, Boston-based app analytics company, just raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, with participation from Mark Cuban, 500 Startups, RTA Ventures and Full Tilt Capital. BostInno has more here.

Aye Finance, a two-year-old, New Delhi, India-based startup that specializes in micro-loans in India, has raised $10.3 million in new funding led LGT, with participation from earlier investors SAIF Partners and Accion. TechCrunch has more here.

Barefoot Networks, a 3.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup that sells ultrafast chips for switching systems, has added $23 million to what is now an $80 million Series C round. Alibaba and Tencent led the financing. More here.

Findo, a months-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based smart search assistant across all personal cloud, emails, files, and contacts, has raised $7 million in funding from ABBYY, Flint Capital and Foxit. More here.

Getui, a six-year-old, Beijing, China-based, third-party push-notification-service provider that enables app developers to set up and send notifications to users across Android, iOS, and other platforms, says it has raised $58 million in Series D funding from (unnamed) returning investors. DealStreetAsia has more here.

Helpshift, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile customer service platform for businesses, has raised $1.8 million in additional Series B funding from Cisco, says Fortune. Back in June, the startup had raised $23 million in Series B funding from Microsoft Ventures, Salesforce and earlier backers Intel Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, True Ventures, and Visionnaire Ventures. More here.

LifeRobotics, a nine-year-old, Tokyo, Japan-based company whose “co-robots” help businesses to automate their production processes, has raised $9 million in Series B funding from Global Brain, Mitsui Fudosan, Koden Holdings, Mizuho Capital, Golden Asia Fund and several unnamed investors. The startup’s product, “Coro,” is being developed for small manufacturing spaces. DealStreetAsia has more here.

PayKey, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based peer-to-peer payments company, has raised $6 million in Series A funding co-led by and Gaby Salem, with participation from CommerzVentures, Mastercard, Santander InnoVentures, Digital Leaders Ventures, and Magma VC. More here.

Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a three-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based drug discovery company focused on rare genetic diseases, has raised an additional $2.2 million in Series A funding that brings the total round to $15.1 million. The fresh capital came from Felicis Ventures and several angel investors. Lux Capital led the round. More here.

SafeDK, a two-year-old, Herzliya, Israel-based startup that offers a mobile SDK management platform that helps app developers stay on top of the multiple SDKs their apps may rely on, has closed $3.5 million in Series A funding. Investors include Samsung Next Tel Aviv, Marius Nacht, StageOne Ventures, Kaedan Capital, and angel investor Leon Waisbein. TechCrunch has more here.

True Link Financial, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based financial services provider for seniors, has raised $3.6 million in funding from Kapor Capital,Initialized Capital, Symmetrical Ventures, and the Ziegler Link-Age Longevity Fund. VentureBeat has more here.

Vymo, a three-year-old, Bangalore, India-based company that builds web and mobile applications to automating sales force activities and drive sales, raised $5 million in Series A funding from Sequoia India.The Economic Times has more here.

New Funds

Biomatics Capital Partners, a two-year-old, Seattle-based life sciences venture firm founded by Boris Nikolic — who spent five years as a chief advisor for science and tech to Bill Gates — has raised $200 million for its first fund. FinSMEs has more here.

Caffeinated Capital, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based venture capital firm founded by Raymond Tonsing, has raised $17 million in capital for a new fund that’s targeting $75 million, shows an SEC filing. The firm’s bets include Wish, Optimizely, and Docker, among others, shows Tonsing’s LinkedIn profile. (Caffeinated’s site is pretty bare bones.)
Information Venture Partners, a Toronto-based early-stage venture fund focused on fintech and enterprise SaaS, has closed its second fund with $106 million. More here.

Telescope Partners, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based growth equity firm, is targeting $75 million for its debut fund, shows an SEC filing. The firm was founded by Mickey Arabelovic, who previously spent close to eight years as a partner with Sequoia Capital, where he focused on growth-stage tech and healthcare companies. Arabelovic also logged a couple of years as a senior associate with Summit Partners earlier in his career.


Google has acquired Qwiklabs, a four-year-old, hands-on learning platform for those who want to become more familiar with operating cloud environments and writing applications that run on them. Terms weren’t disclosed. Quiklabs doesn’t appear to have raised outside funding. TechCrunch has more here.


VC Marc Andreessen seems to think flying cars are highly likely, though he says we’ll need to see a fundamental breakthrough in battery technology first. Much more here.

Investor Peter Thiel has reportedly been approaching other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in recent days, asking them to advise the President-elect and possibly join his administration. He isn’t finding many takers, though — yet.

Actress Reese Witherspoon appears to be launching a media startup called Hello Sunshine that will be “devoted to, and passionate for, telling female-driven stories” for “film, tv & mobile,” she writes on Twitter.


Crikey. Researchers, including at Northeastern University, are finding racial and gender disparities in just about every corner of the on-demand labor market. More here.

Essential Reads

Xiaomi’s push into smart appliances could lay the foundation for the creation of a manufacturing conglomerate. But it’s unclear if that’s enough to justify its last valuation, reports The Information.

NextEV yesterday unveiled its record-breaking electric supercar, the first product under the Chinese-backed startup’s new NIO brand, and it is not slow.

Renaissance Technologies: Why this hedge fund is a money-making machine like no other.


A look inside today’s most cutting-edge superyachts.

The states that college graduates are most likely to leave.

An animated map that shows how population density has changed over the last two centuries.

Retail Therapy

Nine great gifts for your favorite twentysomething.

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