StrictlyVC: January 3, 2017

Happy New Year, best readers in the world! No column today. Like a lot you, we’d guess, we’re playing catch-up this morning.

Note: we’re looking for fresh story ideas after a couple of weeks of family time; if you’re tracking a trend that we should be covering or sitting on something juicy, we’re all ears.:)

Top News in the A.M.

The Consumer Electronics Show kicks off in Las Vega$ this week. Here are five trends to expect this year.

New Fundings

Byte Foods, a year-old, San Rafael, Ca.-based startup that makes smart vending machines and runs a delivery service stocking them with healthy food from local vendors, has raised $5.5 million in seed funding led by Spring Creek Investment Management, a family fund based in Philadelphia. Other investors in the round include Bolt and Bessemer Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
Flytrex, a three-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that’s building personal delivery drones capable of transporting small packages, has raised $3 million in funding led by the Swiss-based venture firm Armada VC, angel investors Daniel Gutenberg and Joey Low, and several unnamed individuals. TechCrunch has more here.
Intarcia Therapeutics, a 20-year-old, Boston-based biopharmaceutical company, has raised $206 million in a second close of the Series EE equity financing. FinSMEs has more here.

Integrated Diagnostics, a seven-year-old, Seattle-based company whose diagnostic test identifies which patients are most likely to need an invasive lung biopsy, has raised $6.1 million in Series C funding from Baird Capital and InterWest Partners. Puget Sound Business Journal has more here.

NA-KD, a 1.-5-year-old, Gothenburg, Sweden-based fashion ecommerce company, raised €14 million ($14.5 million) in a funding led by Northzone, with participation from eEquity. has more here.

Minerva Surgical, an eight-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company that’s developing technologies to treat abnormal uterine bleeding, has raised $16.7 million in new funding and wants to raise $10 million more. Mass Device has more here.

Monese, a three-year-old London-based fintech startup whose mobile banking app aims to make it easier for immigrants and expats to open a bank account, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Backers include Anthemis Exponential Ventures, STE Capital, and Korea Investment Partners, along with earlier backers Smartcap and Seedcamp. The company has now raised $15.8 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Proterra, a 12-year-old, Burlingame, Ca.-based maker of zero-emission electric buses, has raised $140 million in new funding led by an undisclosed investor who contributed $40 million. Other participants in the round include Tao Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, GM Ventures, Constellation Technology Ventures, 88 Green Ventures, and Edison Energy. Fortune has more here.

Rent the Runway, a seven-year-old, New York-based startup that enables women to rent high-end apparel and accessories, has raised $60 million in Series C funding led by Fidelity Investments. Technology Crossover Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Advance Publications also participated in the round. Recode has more here.

Tattoodo, a three-year-old Copenhagen, Denmark-based online forum for artists and tattoo lovers looking to share custom designs and personal stories, has raised $8.5 million in fresh funding from mostly earlier backers, including AOL executive Jimmy Maymann. Nordic 9 has more here.

New Funds

Data Collective, a Palo Alto and San Francisco-based seed and early-stage venture firm that bets on big data and IT infrastructure-focused startups, has tacked on $35 million to its fourth fund, which held a close of $177 million back in May. Here’s the SEC filing. FinSMEs has more here.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has cofounded a new venture firm calledLoup Ventures and is targeting $20 million for its debut fund. He talks here with TechCrunch about where he’ll be based, and what he’s looking to invest in.

Trifecta Capital, a 2.5-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based venture debt firm — the first in India, says the firm — is looking to close its debut fund with $73.5 million by the end of the first quarter. Cofounder Rahul Khanna was previously a managing director with Canaan Partners India. DealStreetAsia has more about the outfit and the opportunity it’s chasing here.


Last week, AppDynamics, a company that sells software for application performance management, submitted its S-1 regulatory filing, kicking off the process to go public. The company is looking to raise $100 million in the deal. VentureBeat has more here.


After opening to much fanfare three years ago, Coca-Cola is shutting down its incubator, The Founders program. TechCrunch has more here.

Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei has made its second acquisition of an Israeli company in three weeks, buying Israeli database security and compliance startup Hexatier for $42 million, according to the Calcalist. Hexatier had raised $14.4 million, shows CrunchBase. Its backers include Jerusalem Venture Partners and Magma Venture Partners. Geektime has more here.

Oculus has paid an undisclosed amount to acquire The Eye Tribe, a Danish startup that had developed eye-tracking software which enables eye movements to control consumer devices.The Eye Tribe had raised around $3 million from investors including Startup Bootcamp, and it received a $2.3 million grant from The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. TechCrunch has more here.

PayByPhone, a 15-year-old, Vancouver-based startup whose app lets users pay for parking and parking tickets with a smartphone, has been acquired for undisclosed terms by Volkswagen Financial Services.  TechCrunch has more here.

Snapchat sewed up its first acquisition in Israel over the holidays, buying four-year-old Cimagine, whose augmented reality platform lets consumers instantly visualize products they want to buy in their intended location. The price was reportedly between $30 million and $40 million. CrunchBase shows that Cimagine had raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding, including from iVentures Asia, OurCrowd, and PLUS Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.


Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and tennis superstar Serena Williams are engaged. Williams announced the engagement last week on none other than Reddit. More here.

Jason Shellen, who has served as Slack’s head of product for its platform efforts since February, has left the company, Recode reports. Shellen previously spent less than a year working on product at Pinterest. Earlier in his career, beginning in early 2003, he spent 4.5 years with Google. More here.
When Snapchat goes on the road next year to market its IPO, cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel is expected to figure prominently in conversations with investors during the roadshow, according to the WSJ. More here.
Forty female founders who had a very good 2016.

Forbes just published its annual “30 Under 30” list, though it actually features 20 categories with 30 nominees, so find a comfortable seat before you scroll through this one.


Madison Square Garden Company, the live sports and entertainment giant (its portfolio of sports teams includes the New York Knicks), has a new venture arm called MSG Ventures and it’s looking to hire a principal. The job is in New York.


Nontech companies spent nearly $10 billion buying venture-backed U.S. startups in 2016, nearly double the amount in 2015 and the highest total in at least five years, according to PitchBook. The WSJ has more here.

Essential Reads

This San Francisco startup is putting everything you need for a two-acre farm in a shipping container, with hopes to deploy farm kits to governments, NGOs, schools and individuals.

Thirty-one companies poised to go public this year.

The eight most valuable startups in the U.S. right now.


Early proponents of the 401(k) meant for them to supplement pensions, not replace them. Now, they say they regret how their creation turned out.

Universal basic income is here. Well, not here, but in Finland, which just launched a radical experiment to give 2,000 people a guaranteed income for at least the next two years.

Retail Therapy

Shower Beer for introverts. “Never show surprise. Never lose your cool.” (Better yet, maybe never drink beer in the shower before you head out!)

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