StrictlyVC: December 23, 2016

And we are outta here (for the next week). Thank you so much for reading, everyone. We wish you very happily holidays and a joy-filled new year.

Good riddance, 2016, you lousy, yella’, good for nothin’, filthy animal.

Top News in the A.M.

Google is coming out with two smartwatches of its own.

New Fundings

CrowdCow, a 1.5-year-old, Seattle-based startup that invites users to “buy a cow with friends,” has raised $2 million in seed funding, shows an SEC filing. The startup was founded by Ethan Lowry and Joe Heitzeberg. Lowry co-created the Urbanspoon mobile app; Heitzeberg worked at SnapVine, MediaPiston and Whitepages previously. More here.

Koubei, 12-year-old, Hangzhou, China-based on-demand services company that’s owned by Alibaba (it deals in local services, including food delivery), is reportedly close to securing $1.2 billion in fundingfrom first-time investors Silver Lake Management and China’s sovereign wealth fund. Bloomberg has more here.

Nutmeg, a six-year-old, London-based online investment service, has raised $14.6 million in additional funding for its Series D round. The new infusion comes from Taipei Fubon Bank, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s second largest financial services firm. Earlier backers in the now $51 million round include Convoy, which is Hong Kong’s largest listed independent financial advice firm, and previous investors Balderton Capital, Pentech, Armada Investment Group and Nigel Wray. Nutmeg has now raised roughly $86 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Plutora, a four-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based enterprise release, test environment, and software quality management platform, has raised $13.4 million in funding from Macquarie Capital. FinSMEs has more here.

Polychain Capital, a six-month-old, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency hedge fund, has raised $10 million from Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. Business Insider has more here.
Shaper, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based robotics company that integrates computers with handheld power tools to make it easier to create stuff, has raised $13.3 million in new funding, shows a new SEC filing. According to CrunchBase, the company had raised $3 million in seed funding as of August, including from Root Ventures, SOSV, and Eniac Ventures. More about the company here.

New Funds

Algebra Ventures, an eight-year-old, Cairo, Egypt-based venture capital firm that invests in regional startups, has held a first held a first close on its latest fund with $40 million in commitments. Its LPs include International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund; and Cisco. The fund, which aims to close with $50 million, reportedly writes checks that range from $500,000 to $4 million. Wamda has more here.

Felicitous Investors, a four-year-old, L.A.-based wealth management firm cofounded by Bonar Chhay (formerly an investment manager with J. Paul Getty Trust), is aiming to raise up to $75 million for a secondaries fund and is roughly $14 million toward its goal, shows an SEC filing. More here.
Lightbox India Advisors, a Mumbai, India-based venture capital firm, has tacked on $54 million to it second fund, which had closed with $100 million in 2014. DealStreetAsia has more here.
SignalFire, a San Francisco-based seed-stage venture capital firm, has raised at least $101.5 million so far for its second fund, shows an SEC filing. The firm was reportedly seeking to raise up to three times that amount. (Its debut fund had closed with $53 million.) We profiled founder Chris Farmer last year.


Blue Apron has put its IPO plans on hold; it needs to focus on improving its financials first, sources tell Bloomberg.

Stripe, the world’s most valuable privately held financial tech company, also as “no plans” for an IPO in the foreseeable future, it tells Business Insider. Here’s why.


ClusterHQ, an early player in the container DevOps ecosystem, is shutting down operations immediately. The company had raised $12 million in a Series A round led by Accel Partners London last year. TechCrunch has more here.


An Uber employee has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of misleading employees about their equity compensation. Uber “devised a fraudulent scheme to recruit highly sought software engineers,” according to the case. TechCrunch has much more here.

Lisa Suennen, a VC focused on digital health, has been snapped up by GE Ventures. Her title is managing director, focused on healthcare. Suennen had previously spent sixteen years with Psilos Group. Healthcare IT News has more here.


Google‘s corporate development team is hiring an analyst. The job is in Mountain View. Ca.


The U.S. wearables marketing is doing meh, show a new report from eMarketer that says the market was expected to grow more than 60 percent year-over-year from 2015 to 2016 but probably grew closer to 25 percent. More here.

Essential Reads

Just one day after California’s DMV revoked the registrations of Uber‘s 16 autonomous cars following reports of continual traffic violations in San Francisco, the cars are headed to . . . the streets of Phoenix.

The Apple Watch may get slimmed down, judging by a new patent application.
As a result of legal actions relating to the Freedom of Information Act, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has released thousands of pages of email correspondence from a private account, and the documents are providing an unusual glimpse at how influential Silicon Valley figures get work done.


The thief who steals only silver.

Who’s wasting the most vacation days?

Almost 40 percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 were living with parents, siblings, or other relatives as of last year — the largest percentage since 1940.

Retail Therapy

A stocking stuffer for your favorite VC.

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