StrictlyVC: January 24, 2017

Hi, happy Tuesday, everyone!

We’re still running a fever over here, so if we aren’t responding to your emails, this is why. We fully hope/plan to be back in top shape for our upcoming StrictlyVC event on February 8. We ran out of seats about 10 days ago, but we’ll be posting plenty of content for those of you who can’t make it. Giant thanks again to sponsors Rosebud Communications, Crunchbase and Bolt, without whose help the night would not be possible.

Earlier that same week, we hope to see some of you at TechCrunch’s annual Crunchies awards ceremony, happening in San Francisco. It’s always a fun night. (We’re especially excited to be giving away the award for best VC of 2016 with renowned brainiac Sebastian Thrun.) You can buy tickets for that show right here.

Top News in the A.M.

Publishers are receiving far less money than you might guess from placing their content on the third-party distribution platforms owned by companies including FacebookGoogle, and Snapchat, according to a new report by Digital Content Next. Business Insider has more here.

Cowboy Ventures Adds Longtime Attorney Ted Wang as a Partner

Ted Wang has spent his career helping startups make important decisions, from Facebook, to Twitter, to Dropbox, to Jet. He’s done it as a partner with the law firm Fenwick & West over the last decade. Now he’s betting his skills can translate as an investor. Indeed, today, Wang joins the seed-stage venture firm Cowboy Ventures as a full-time investment partner.

Firm cofounder Aileen Lee, who remains Cowboy’s only general partner, sounded highly enthusiastic about Wang when we chatted about his new appointment yesterday. Lee and Wang met a dozen years ago at an election night party, and they became fast enough friends that they’ve taken family vacations together, including in Buenos Aires, where Wang and his family were based for some time.

Beyond their friendship, Lee says, Wang has alerted her to companies he has found particularly interesting in the past (including a young Twitter). She has also steered numerous portfolio companies to him owing to his strong track record with startups. (As Wang himself is quick to note, founders are careful in picking both investors as well as lawyers. “In both cases, the founder is looking for who can help the most and with whom they have have the best chemistry.”)

Wang also authored Series Seed Documents, a set of open-sourced financing documents posted on Github.

Asked yesterday if Wang thought he was prepared to dive right into investing, or whether there’s a learning curve to manage first, he laughed. “I always advise people going in to the industry to take their time. We’ll see if I can follow my own advice.”

More here.

New Fundings

EquipmentShare, a 2.5-year-old, Columbia, Ms.-based startup that helps contractors rent out their under-utilized equipment, has raised $26 million in Series B funding led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Romulus Capital and Y Combinator. The round included $6 million in shares that converted from an earlier Series A round, and $20 million in new capital. More here.

LiquiGlide, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company whose patented coatings ensure a permanently wet, slippery surface, has raised $16 million in new funding from Structure Capital, Valia Investments, Struck Capital, Pilot Grove and others who the company isn’t naming. LiquiGlide has raised $25 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.

Prattle, an eight-month-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based startup that sells sentiment data analysis to research analysts, traders and other finance professionals, has raised $3.3 million in seed funding led by GCM Grosvenor. New Enterprise Associates, Correlation Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures and numerous unnamed angels also joined the round. More here.

Redox, a three-year-old, Madison, Wi.-based integration platform for digital healthcare applications, has raised $9 million in Series B funding led by RRE Ventures, with participation from earlier backers .406 Ventures, HealthX Ventures, and Flybridge Capital Partners. More here.

Secret Double Octopus, a 1.5-year-old, Israel-based network security company, has raised $6 million in Series A funding from Jerusalem Venture Partners, Liberty Media’s Israel Venture Fund, Iris Capital, Benhamou Global Ventures and angel investor Yaniv Tal. TechCrunch has more here.

Voodoo Manufacturing, a 1.5-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup that’s building a virtualized manufacturing service atop a networked cluster of low-end 3D printers, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from Y Combinator and KPCB Edge. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Merus Capital, a nine-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based early-stage venture firm focused on enterprise opportunities, has raised $85 million for its third fund — roughly twice what its raised for its last fund. Fortune has more here.

Origin Ventures, a 17-year-old, Chicago venture capital firm, has raised $65.9 million toward a $100 million target for its fourth fund, shows a newly amended SEC filing. More here.


Airbnb is nearing a deal to buy Venmo-competitor Tilt for its expertise in payments, reports the Information. Tilt has raised at least $62 million from investors. The Information’s sources peg the price at between $10 million and $20 million; meanwhile, TechCrunch is reporting the price is north of $50 million (so apparently, a few things are still being negotiated!).

Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization made its first acquisition, buying Meta, a website that makes it easier for scientists to find the latest academic research. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative intends to improve Meta’s product, which reads all scientific research and uses an algorithm to provide it to clients based on relevance. Terms aren’t being disclosed. Meta has raised $7.5 million, according to Crunchbase. Bloomberg has more here.


John Lee who joined the venture firm Osage University Partners in 2012 as a senior associate, has been promoted to principal. Osage, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.,  invests in university startups.

Kevin Scott, the senior vice president of infrastructure for LinkedIn, is now Microsoft’s CTO, reporting directly to CEO Satya Nadella. ZDNet has more here.

Another senior executive hightails it out of Juicero. This time it’s Kristina Simmons, the company’s former head of marketing and business development. TechCrunch has more here.

Ford has hired Apple marketing exec Musa Tariq as a VP and its chief brand officer. MacRumors has more here.


Revolution Growth is looking to add an analyst to its team in Washington, D.C. To apply, reach out to VP Chris Hughes, at

Essential Reads

Investors have slashed the price they’re willing to pay for Magic Leap shares in the secondary market by about 20 percent in recent weeks, say stockbrokers, a turnabout for one of last year’s most coveted private tech stocks. The Information has more here.


White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says he churns through and swallows 35 pieces of Orbital cinnamon-flavored gum before noon every day.

No, really?

Oscar Nominations 2017: See the full list.

Retail Therapy

This takes the coffee-as-jet-fuel meme a little far, but fun concept.

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