StrictlyVC: January 23, 2017

Hi, everyone, what a weekend! We weren’t able to march on Saturday, but we’re still amazed and moved by the siblings, cousins, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, (grandchildren!), friends and readers who joined marches all over the U.S. and the world. Here are pictures from every continent.

No column today. (We officially have the flu at this point.)

Top News in the A.M.

President Trump formally abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership earlier today, pulling away from Asia and scrapping President Obama’s most significant trade deal on his first full weekday in office. Dealbook has more here.

In news that probably won’t endear Silicon Valley to the rest of the country, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman estimates that half of tech billionaires have a secret home to which they can escape if American political stability falls to shambles.

New Fundings

Adaptemy, a three-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based adaptive learning startup, has raised more than €3 million ($3.2 million) in funding. Backers included Folens Publishers and Enterprise Ireland. More here.

Atlas Genetics, a 12-year-old, Bath, England-based company that develops ultra-rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests for infectious diseases, has raised $35 million in Series D funding from earlier backers Novartis Venture Funds, Consort Medical, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, LSP, BB Biotech Ventures, RMI Partners and Technology Venture Partners. Wondfo Biotech, a Chinese in-vitro diagnostic company, also joined the round as a first-time investor. FierceBiotech has more here.

Cuemath, a five-year-old, Bangalore, India-based education company that pairs students with Cuemath teachers across what it hopes will someday be a network of 5,000 centers, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by CapitalG and earlier backer Sequoia IndiaMore here.

EasyMile, a 2.5-year-old, Toulouse, France-based start-up that’s developing an electric driverless shuttle (and, notably, is a joint venture between vehicle manufacturer Ligier Group and the services robotics company Robosoft), has raised €$14 million ($15 million) from Alstom, an integrated railways systems company. More here.

Habito, a London-based digital mortgage broker, has raised £5.5 million ($6.9 million) in Series A funding led by Ribbit Capital, with participation from existing investor Mosaic Ventures. Tech City News has more here.

Lobster, a three-year-old, London-based content marketplace where ad agency customers can buy or license social media created by individuals, has raised £1 million in Series A funding, including from KL10CH, a tech hub co-working space in Moscow, and Nikolay Katorzhnov, the former CEO of Otkritie Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Lumus, a 16-year-old, Israel-based augmented reality lens maker, has raised $6 million from Alibaba. GeekTime has more here.

The Noodle Companies, a 6.5-year-old, New York-based family of education technology companies, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from SWaN & Legend Venture Partners. The company was founded by John Katzman, who helped build the Princeton Review, among other companies. EdSurge has more here.

Pitchero, a 10-year-old, Leeds, England-based startup that makes it easy for amateur and grassroots sports clubs to build a web presence and move their communities online, has raised £3.1 million ($3.9 million) in Series A funding led by ICM, a global fund manager with other sports interests. TechCrunch has more here.

Raze, a young, Beverly Hills, Ca.-based digital media company that plans to produce “Latin-centered” content across multiple platforms, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from UTA, Greycroft Partners and Raine Ventures. Raze was cofounded by actress Sofia Vergara, her longtime business partner Luis Balaguer, and Emiliano Calemzuk, a former president of Fox Television Studios. Variety has more here.

Talentoday, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based human resources tech startup, has raised $3.49 million in Series A funding led by The Adecco Group, a maker of workforce software. More here.

Tricentis, a 10-year-old, Vienna, Austria-based startup that helps enterprise development teams automate software testing, has received $165 million in funding from Insight Venture Partners. More here.

TrustPilot, a 10-year-old, Copenhagen, Denmark-based multi-language online merchant review community, has raised $6.9 million (£5.5 million) in fresh funding from earlier backer Draper Esprit. The company had previously raised at least $116 million in funding, shows Crunchbase. More here.

Whistle Sports, a three-year-old, London-based digital entertainment media company, has raised $27.5 million in Series C funding from Beringea, TEGNA, NBC Sports Ventures, Sky and Emil Capital. More here.

New Funds

Atomic Management, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup studio that comes up with ideas and then builds and funds its startups from scratch, has raised $20 million for its first fund, including from investors Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel. Already, says the WSJ, the firm has created six startups that employ 300 people and which have collectively raised $100 million in follow-on funding, including the Wi-Fi marketing startup Zenreach. More here.

China has set up a $14.6 billion fund to support investment in the internet sector, said official news agency Xinhua on Sunday. The fund, backed by China’s cabinet, is designed to help turn China into a major player in internet technology. Reuters has more here.


Bang With Friends, a controversial dating app that was later rebranded as Down, has been acquired by the Singapore-based dating startup Paktor for what TechCrunch says is several million dollars. Down had raised just $1 million from investors, including Tim Draper. Paktor has raised more than $50 million. More here.

IBM Security announced this morning that it has purchased Agile 3 Solutions, a San Francisco-based company that has developed a security analytics dashboard aimed at helping executives understand cyber-security risks inside an organization. Terms aren’t being disclosed. In the meantime, we’re not seeing funding information for Agile 3. (If you’re an investor, let us know.) TechCrunch has more here.


Amplify Partners, an enterprise-focused early-stage venture firm in Menlo Park, Ca., has promoted David Beyer to partner and brought aboard Lenny Pruss as partner. Beyer joined Amplify in 2013 as principal; Pruss was most recently a principal with Redpoint Ventures. More here.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is losing its head of international, Hugo Barra, who says he’s goin’ back to Cali. More here.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: We’re erasing our gender pay gap—again. More here.

On Jared Kushner’s first full day as senior White House advisor to his father-in-law Donald Trump, his younger brother, venture-backed entrepreneur and investor Joshua Kushner, was attending the Women’s March on Washington. The younger Kushner said he was there “observing.” More here.

Jay Leek, former managing director and chief information security officer at Blackstone, has quietly joined ClearSky, a low-flying venture firm based in Palm Beach, Fl., where he will be managing a $300 million fund dedicated to cybersecurity. More here.

Serial enterpreneur Elon Musk is back at the White House today.

Investor Keith Rabois says he’s skeptical of the “fake news” debate. More here.


LaunchCapital, a nine-year-old, seed and early-stage investment firm, is looking to bring aboard an investment analyst. The job is in New Haven, Ct.

Essential Reads

Can Sprint save Tidal? The telecom giant, which is itself owned by Softbank, says it’s taking a 33 percent stake in the struggling streaming music startup that’s majority acquired by Jay-Z. TechCrunch has more here.

Samsung says it isn’t giving up on the Note brand, despite that customers now associate the name with exploding phones. The company plans to bring out a successor to the phone, the Galaxy Note 8. Cnet has more here.

Snapchat is taking a harder line with publishers when it comes to misleading and explicit images.


When your loved ones voted the other way.

How traveling to a foreign country can change your sense of morality.

Letters to the White House.

Retail Therapy

Skateboard bookends. (Fun.)

Filed Under:

Don’t Miss Out!

Sign up today to receive a free daily email with everything you need to start your day. Plus, keep track of the companies and personalities that will shape the industry in the months and years to come. Let StrictlyVC be your very own venture capital concierge.

StrictlyVC on Twitter