StrictlyVC: January 9, 2017

Hi, everyone, hope you’re having a great Monday. Sorry we’re publishing so late — busy morning.

Before we get into the newsletter, we have a lot of great news! First, Amy Chang, long the global head of product at Google and now founder and CEO of Accompany — considered among the most promising startups to publicly launch last year — is now coming to speak at our upcoming StrictlyVC event; she’ll be talking with the Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures. (You might have read most recently about Chang’s appointment in November as Cisco’s youngest board member.)

Also(!) coming to speak at our upcoming event: Vivek Ramaswamy, a millennial who has been shaking up the biotech world since creating his New York-based company, Roivant, to acquire drug candidates that have been forgotten or abandoned. Investors love him for it; they’ve given him more than $1 billion in funding to date. In exchange, Ramaswamy has delivered them the biggest biotech IPOs in 2015 and 2016 through two spin-off companies created by Roivant. Come learn more about what he’s trying to pull off.

And there is more! Emily Weiss, founder of the super hot cosmetics company Glossier, is also coming in from New York and you will not want to miss her (especially if, like us, you have become addicted to her beauty products). She’ll be sitting down with general partner Eric Liaw of IVP to talk about how Glossier has managed to build a cult following — and what happens next.

We have a limited number of seats left with 30 days to go. If you don’t yet have a ticket, please do not wait. In addition to our newest guests, Brad Feld of Foundry Group and political strategist and investor Bradley Tusk will be speaking at the event. It’s going to be amazing evening, people. We’re so excited!

Top News in the A.M.

Trello, a five-year-old, New York-based maker of visual project management software, has been snapped up by publicly traded Atlassian for $425 million, including $360 in cash. The company had raised just $10.3 million from its investors, including Index VenturesSpark Capital and BoxGroup. TechCrunch has more here.

A Startup that Makes Every Day a Payday Just Raised a $22M Series A

What if you didn’t have to wait every two weeks to receive a paycheck?

What if you could be wired the money you earned almost immediately after a shift?

What if, unlike with payday lenders, you didn’t have to pay interest on those payments? Instead, you were merely encouraged to donate a kind of tip to the company providing you with this service?

That’s the proposition of Activehours, a four-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based financial services startup that aims to turn the payroll process on its head — and which just raised $22 million in Series A funding toward that end, led by Matrix Partners.

The company basically serves as kind of ATM, letting consumers who’ve accrued earnings pay for transactions like an unexpected car repair or an overdue bill without being charged onerous overdraft fees from their bank or else a high-interest payday lender. Activehours doesn’t charge interest, either, but rather invites people to provide it with a non-obligatory tip that they think is fair for the service.

Activehours doesn’t take into consideration a person’s credit history. It doesn’t ask for a social security number. Anyone who has a checking account and a job can use the service, regardless of their employer, though Activehours has struck partnerships with companies, including Sears Holdings (which owns Sears and Kmart), to make it easier for its employees to access their accrued pay before their paychecks arrive. The company also also teamed up with Uber, whose drivers need only connect their bank information and Uber account information with Activehours in order to cash out after a shift.

In another interesting twist, anyone on the platform can also “tip” on behalf of someone else on the platform, an act that’s done entirely anonymously. Think of it like paying a toll booth operator for your own car, as well as for the car that’s behind you.)

“This is a service for the barista, or the person working in bookstore, or a teller at a bank,” says Matrix general partner Dana Stalder who led the deal for his firm. “It is the 50 percent of [the U.S. population] that has revolving debt on their credit cards — plus another big cross section of those who don’t.”

But no fees? No interest? How can this possibly work as a business, especially as the company scales?

More here.

New Fundings

Blue Pillar, an 11-year-old, Indianapolis, In..-based maker of distributed energy asset management software, has raised $10 million in funding from GXP Investments, Elevate Ventures, EnerTech Capital, Allos Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners, and Claremont Creek Ventures. More here.

Cavion, a 13-year-old, Charlottesville, Va.-based clinical stage pharmaceutical company that’s developing cancer-treatment drugs, has raised $26.1 million funding co-led by Lilly Ventures and Novartis Venture Fund, with participation from Enso Ventures and earlier investors. More here.

CiVi Biopharma, a year-old, San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing treatments for cardiometabolic diseases, has raised $40 million in Series A funding from Tavistock Group’s Boxer Capital. More here.

Eleven James, a three-year-old, New York-based startup that rents out high-end watches for an annual membership fee, has raised $9 million in fresh fund, according to an SEC filing first flagged by Fortune. The company’s earlier investors include BoxGroup, WGI Group, and numerous individual investors.

MatriSys Bioscience, a two-year-old, La Jolla, Ca.-based company that’s developing microbiome skin care treatments, has raised $1.5 million in funding led by Tech Coast Angels. More here.

Microbion, a 35-year-old, Bozeman, Mo.-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections, has raised $25 million in funding from the Vancouver-based healthcare investor Quark Venture and Hong Kong bank GF Securities. More here.

MyTomorrows, a four-year-old, Amsterdam-based online platform that helps patients and physicians track treatments, has raised €10 million ($10.5 million) in funding co-led by EQT Ventures and Octopus Ventures, with participation from Balderton Capital and Sofinnova Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Satsuma Pharmaceuticals, a new, San Francisco-based pharmaceutical company that’s focused on treating acute migraines, has raised $12 million in Series A funding co-led by RA Capital Management and TPG Biotech. The company was just spun out of Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories. More here.

SiteOne, a six-year-old, Bozeman, Mo.-based developer of a pain medication alternative to opioids, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Amgen, with participation from Next Frontier Capital, 2M Companies, Mission Bay Capital, Sears Capital Management, Biobrit, and Z Investments. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has more here.

Team8, a 2.5-year-old, Israel-based cybersecurity startup studio based, has an undisclosed amount of funding from Microsoft and Qualcomm. Fortune has more here.

New Funds

Cendana Capital, the San Francisco-based fund of funds that invests in a wide number of “micro VC” funds, including Forerunner Ventures, Bowery Capital, and Engineering Capital, has raised $10 million for a new fund called (for now) Cendana Kendall. The SEC filing is here.

PivotNorth Capital, a Menlo Park, Ca.-based seed-stage venture firm, has closed its third fund with $35 million, according to a report in peHUB. The firm had closed its second fund with $35 million, as well. More on the new fund here.

(Other) Exits

Amazon Web Services has quietly acquired a two-year-old, San Diego-based cyber security firm called that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze user behavior around a company’s key IP tostop targeted attacks before valuable customer data can be swiped. The price, reports TechCrunch: $19 million. The company had raised just $2.3 million from investors. More here., now a subsidiary of Walmart Stores, last week acquired ShoeBuy, a Boston-based ecommerce site selling shoes, apparel and accessories for a reported $70 million. ShoeBuy was previously owned by IAC. The idea is to help challenge Amazon in online apparel sales. GeekWire has more here.


Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma met with Donald Trump today to discuss Ma’s plans to create 1 million U.S. jobs by growing trade between U.S. small businesses and Chinese consumers. USA Today has more here.

Essential Reads

Uber has taken the wraps off a new website that will offer access to its data around traffic flow in cities where it operates, intended for use by city planners and researchers looking into ways to improve urban mobility. TechCrunch has more here.

Facebook is going to start showing ads in the middle of its videos and sharing the money with publishers


How to stay at Four Seasons resorts for less than $350(ish) a night.

Here’s where Goldman Sachs is telling clients to invest in equities.

What a hard hit can do to a player’s brain.

The cost of raising a kid? On average, it’s 233,610, says new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Retail Therapy

Leopard-print reflective stickers for your bike. Lurve.

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