StrictlyVC: February 2, 2017

Hi, happy Thursday, everyone.:)

Top News in the A.M.

A Dallas jury decided yesterday that Facebook will need to shell out $500 million to tech company ZeniMax in a lawsuit that questioned the origins of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. The jury found that cofounder Palmer Lucky did not comply with a non-disclosure agreement he had signed; it also said that Oculus did not steal trade secrets, as alleged by ZeniMax in its suit. More here.

Dropcam Cofounder Aamir Virani Joins Felicis

Last week, we learned that Dropcam cofounder Greg Duffy has headed over to Apple. Today, Felicis Ventures, the early-stage venture firm, is disclosing it has brought aboard Dropcam’s other cofounder, Aamir Virani, as its newest partner.

The move seems a perfect fit for both sides. Felicis wrote one of the earliest checks to Dropcam, an internet-connected security camera company that was sold to Nest Labs in 2014 for $555 million, months after Nest was itself acquired by Google for $3.2 billion.

As StrictlyVC reported in late 2014, the acquisition proved far from a seamless fit, and by last year, Duffy had gone public about his regrets over selling Dropcam to Nest, which he left in 2015.

For his part, however, Virani — who also left Nest in 2015 — stayed mum, calling Google “one of the great companies” of the world during a call earlier this week. Explaining his departure, he said simply that “I wasn’t really a big company person. I just don’t think that mentality is right for me. I like trying to figure out how to make something useful for customers, then figuring out how to create a business that will ensure it survives.”

It largely explains why, over the past year or so, Virani has chosen to do a limited amount of angel investing and to advise a small group of startups, many of them through his network, which includes friends from Rice University, where the Houston native nabbed his undergraduate degree, and Stanford, where he went to grad school.

More here.

New Fundings

Against Gravity, a year-old, Seattle-based virtual reality company that makes a social VR app called Rec Room, has raised $5 million in seed funding from Sequoia Capital, First Round Capital, Acequia, Vulcan Capital,Maveron, Anorak, Betaworks, and the Venture Reality Fund. More here.

Airware, a 5.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose cloud-based software and services aim to help large enterprises use drones throughout their operations, has raised an undisclosed amount of money from the venture arm of Caterpillar, the construction and mining equipment company. TechCrunch has more here.

ApcinteX, a young, Cambridge, England-based spin-out of the University of Cambridge that’s developing a new therapy for haemophilia, has raised £14 million ($17.6 million) in Series A funding led by Medicxi and Touchstone Innovations Group. More here.

Aquilon Energy Services, a six-year-old, Lisle, Il.-based cloud platform that enables energy companies to settle financial energy transactions, has raised $19 million in Series B funding from investors (and, the company says, customers) Citi, Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments, Invenergy, and Macquarie Group. More here.

Disruptor Beam, a six-year-old, Framingham, Ma.-based community-centric games company, has raised $8.5 million in Series B funding from earlier investor GrandBanks Capital and Romulus Capital. GrandBanks, which participated in Disruptor Beam’s $3.2 million Series A, says it bought out another early investor, Midverse Studios, as part of the deal. TechCrunch has more here.

GAN Integrity, a 2.5-year-old, Brooklyn, New York-based maker of compliance management software for managing corporate risk, third-party due diligence, and whisteblower concerns, has raised $9 million in funding led by Edison Partners. Other participants in the round include NorthCap, Chicago Ventures, MissionOG, and Cultivation Capital. has more here.

GoldenKey, a three-year-old, Raleigh, N.C.-based service that unbundles real estate services and gives buyers a three percent rebate when they buy a home through the startup, has raised $1.75 million from Lowe’s Ventures, NFX Guild (whose accelerator program it passed through last year), and others. The company has now raised $3.4 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

MapAnything, an eight-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based software service built on top of Salesforce for developing location-based workflows, has raised $33.1 million in Series B funding led by Columbus Nova, with participation from ServiceNow Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Opti, a 2.5-year-old, Boston-based IoT company that monitors and controls stormwater infrastructure in real-time, has raised $5.5 million in funding led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund, with participation from earlier investors MissionPoint Partners, the Renewal Funds, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and Geosyntec Consultants. More here.

PointClickCare, a 22-year-old, Mississauga, Canada-based maker of cloud-based software for the senior care industry, has raised $85 million in funding led by Dragoneer Investment Group, with participation from JMI Equity. BetaKit has more here.

Scytl, a 16-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based company that develops secure electronic voting technologies, has raised €12 million ($13 million) in funding from earlier investors Vulcan Capital, Balderton Capital, Nauta Capital, Spinnaker Invest, Sapphire Ventures, Vy Capital, Industry Ventures, and Adams Street Partners. has more here.

SIM Partners, an 11-year-old, Chicago-based location marketing company, has raised $5 million in funding led by River Cities Capital Funds, with participation from Jump Capital. More here.

Suplari, a year-old, Seattle-based stealthy enterprise “intelligent app” company, has raised $3.1 million in funding led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation from Amplify Partners. GeekWire has more here.

Tarveda Therapeutics, a 4.5-year-old, Watertown, Ma.-based cancer drug developer, has raised $30 million in fresh funding led by Versant Ventures, with participation from earlier backers New Enterprise Associates, Novo A/S, NanoDimension, and Flagship Pioneering. Xconomy has more here.

Text IQ, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based platform that streamlines the document review process for attorneys, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Floodgate. Forbes has more here.

Vividion Therapeutics, a 2.5-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based biotech company whose drug discovery platform applies chemical proteomics to expand the druggable proteome, has raised $50 million in Series A funding co-led by ARCH Venture Partners and Versant Ventures. Cardinal Partners also participated in the funding. FierceBiotech has more here.

Wity, a year-old, Paris, France-based AI-driven virtual assistant that aims to help small businesses with their accounting and other administrative needs, has raised €4.7 million ($5.1 million) in funding from M Capital Partners. has more here., a young, Seattle-based company bringing AI computational frameworks to mobile devices, raised $2.6 million in funding led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (from which the company spun off). TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Grab, the Singapore-based ride-sharing service, has created a $100 million fund to invest in Indonesian startups. TechCrunch has more here.

In a boost for the European life sciences start-up ecosystem, Dublin, Ireland-based venture capital firm Seroba has closed a third life sciences fund with €100 million ($107.9 million). Silicon Republic has more here.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise has acquired Niara, a 3.5-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based security analytics company, for an undisclosed sum. According to Crunchbase, Niara had raised around $30 million from investors, including Venrock, New Enterprise Associates, and Index Ventures. eWeek has more on the deal here.

OpenSky, a marketplace for small businesses that’s backed in part by the juggernaut Alibaba, has spent a “few hundred thousand dollars” to acquire the assets of Dot & Bo, a San Francisco-based online furniture retailer that had raised $18.5 million from investors before shutting down in September. Recode has more here.

Salesforce, which is looking to sell more services to its customers that complement the software they are already buying, has acquired Sequence, a 12-year-old, user experience design agency based out of San Francisco and New York. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but according to Crunchbase, Sequence had raised less than $1 million. TechCrunch has much more here.


Hamilton Lane, the 26-year-old, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based alternative asset manager, filed to raise up to $200 million in an IPO yesterday. Renaissance Capital has a bit more here.


Carl Schachter, a Google VP who was one of the public faces of its cloud computing business under Diane Greene, is leaving the company, reports The Information. No word yet on where he’s headed. The story is here.

The 10 people who know everybody in New York’s startup scene.


The early-stage venture capital firm White Star Capital is looking to hire an associate. The job is in Montreal.

Essential Reads

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and other U.S. companies are circulating an open letter to President Trump expressing concern about his recent order on immigration and offering their help. Bloomberg has the story here.

Samsung Electronics may build a manufacturing base in the U.S. for its home appliances business amid growing concerns about protectionist policies pursued by the Trump administration. Reuters has more here.

Facebook had another strong quarter at the end of last year. TechCrunch has much more here on its newest earnings report.


Ron Hill ran every day for 52 years . . . until Sunday. The decision ended the longest-recorded streak of running every day.

What a bunch of turd balls.

Why Silicon Valley’s young elite won’t invest in art.

Retail Therapy

The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection is now available for pre-order. (Just mentioning.)

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