StrictlyVC: December 19, 2016

Hi, everyone! Happy Monday from cold-but-lovely Washington, D.C., where we’re camping out for a bit.

Two quick housekeeping notes: We will not be publishing StrictlyVC next week when we enter full-blown holiday mode. (We’ll send out another reminder about this later in the week.)

Also, we’re so happy that a growing number of you are coming on February 8 to our upcoming INSIDER event at the Autodesk Gallery, including from Javelin and Mayfield and IVP and Stripe and SanDisk and Redpoint and GGV and Bessemer and General Catalyst and Scale and IDEO and Andreessen Howoritz and Lightspeed and DFJ and Sapphire and TCV and the Thiel Foundation and Wing and Relay Ventures and Adams Street and the WSJ and Bloomberg (among others).

If you want to come, too, and we hope you will, maybe don’t wait until the last minute to grab a seat. For insurance reasons, Autodesk can’t be super flexible when it comes to headcount.

Top News in the A.M.

Apple is going to war with the European Union over its record-breaking $14 billion tax bill — with senior executives claiming that the regulators ignored tax experts and corporate law to maximize the penalty. Business Insider has more here.

New Fundings

Airbnb, the nine-year-old San Francisco-based home-sharing company, has authorized the sale of an additional $153 million in equity that looks to be an extension to to its $555 million round of a few months ago. Earlier backers in that round reportedly included CapitalG and Technology Crossover Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Careem, a 4.5-year-old, Dubai-based ride-hailing company, has raised $350 million in new funding led by Rakuten and Saudi Telecom. The round reportedly values the company at more than $1 billion. TechCrunch has more here.

Dragonera, a months-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based AI-powered software development platform, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Singulariteam. Globes has more here.

Lumus, a 16-year-old, Rehovot, Israel-based maker of augmented reality wearable displays, has raised $30 million in additional Series C funding, including from HTC and the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Quanta Computer. The round now stands at $45 million. TechCrunch has more here.

NoBroker, a two-year-old, Bangalore-based real estate marketplace, has raised $7 million in additional Series B funding led by KTB Ventures, with participation from earlier backers SAIF Partners, Beenext, and Digital Garage. The round now stands at $17 million. TechCrunch has more here.

Marketing Evolution, a 16-year-old, El Dorado Hills, Ca.-based company that makes marketing software, has secured a $4 million credit line from SaaS Capital, an outfit that provides credit facilities expressly to SaaS companies. More here.

OneWeb, a four-year-old, Arlington, Va.-based company that’s developing a network of satellites to provide affordable internet access, has raised $1.2 billion, including a whopping $1 billion of it from SoftBank. (The remaining $200 million came from earlier investors.) TechCrunch has more here.

Starry Internet, a two-year-old, Boston and New York-based startup that’s building what it describes as a radical wireless internet service, along with easy-to-use WiFi products (it was cofounded by Chet Kanojia, whose last startup, Aereo, famously lost a Supreme Court case), has raised an additional $30 million in funding. The company isn’t revealing who its backers are, but it says the new capital brings its total funding to $63 million. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Gomif Partners, an early stage investment advisory network co-led by Malaysian investor Tey Por Yee (Larry), is launching a startup fund called Socialpreneur Growth Fund that aims to close with roughly $200 million in commitments and to invest in startups in Europe, as well as within the Asia Pacific region. More here.


Thundersoft, a company out of China that designs operating systems for drones and other connected devices, is paying roughly $68 million for Rightware, a Helsinki-based company that develops graphical user interfaces for connected devices, with a special focus on automotive. Rightware looks to have raised roughly $9.5 million altogether, including from Nexit Ventures and Inventure. TechCrunch has more here.


More bad news for Stanford: Michelle Karnes says Stanford professor and former dean Stephen Hinton refused to leave her alone while she was working at the university as an untenured professor. When she complained of sexual harrassment, the school protected him and pushed her out, she says. More here.
Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was found guilty today of criminal charges linked to the misuse of public funds during her time as France’s finance minister, a verdict that could force her out of her post. The verdict is likely to destabilize the fund, says Dealbook.
Elon Musk says he’s getting into the business of boring tunnels now, too. (Maybe after spending the last couple of years on the sidelines, he decided it’s time to build his own underground hyperloop?)

“I will apply for Indian citizenship” if necessary in order to compete in India, says Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.


Cambridge Associates is looking to hire a research investment associate. The job is in San Francisco.

Essential Reads

DraftKings and FanDuel popularized daily-fantasy sports contests but they’re starting to lose customers who’ve grown wary of longshot odds and a regulatory crackdown on the young industry. The WSJ has the story here.

California’s top cop is threatening legal action against Uber over its self-driving vehicle program in San Francisco. CBS News has more here.

Facebook just added group video chat to Facebook Messenger, says TechCrunch. (So did the increasingly popular chat app Kik, says TechCrunch.)

Airbnb is developing a service for booking air travel as the home-rental startup looks to compete with Priceline and Expedia for more of people’s online travel spending. Bloomberg has the story here.


Yipes. A sixth mass extinction event be closer than you think.

The first official trailer for “Blade Runner 2049.” That’s right, babies; thirty years later, it’s back.

You can’t filter him out entirely, but this Google Chrome extension will change every picture of Donald Trump to kittens.

Retail Therapy

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class dreamy Night Edition. (Its somewhat hilarious tagline: “Even more exclusive.”

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