StrictlyVC: February 3, 2017

This will sound familiar, but we are again racing out the door to a doctor’s appointment — this time to see our friendly neighborhood dentist. Why do we make appointments in the morning, the worst possible time of the day for us to do this? We may well contemplate this today while our gums are being prodded.

No column today, but happy Friday, everyone; we’ll see you back here Monday.:) (Speaking of which, if you were thinking of coming to the Crunchies awards on Monday night in San Francisco, it’s not too late to grab a ticket here.)

Top News in the A.M.

Yesterday, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down from the new administration’s economic advisory council. In an email to employees, he said his participation was being interpreted as a sign that he had endorsed the president and the administration’s agenda, when in reality, he thinks the  immigration order is hurting many people across America. (The New York Times looks at the various factors that drove Kalanick’s eventual decision here.) The conversation in Silicon Valley almost immediately shifted focus to another tech entrepreneur on the council: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. But Musk says he’s staying on.

New Fundings

Ceres Nanosciences, a nine-year-old, Manassas, Va.-based life sciences company developing a diagnostic test for Lyme disease, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by GreyBird Ventures. Washington Business Journal has more here.

Hutch, a 5.5-year-old, London-based startup that makes free-to-play mobile games, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures and Backed VC. TechCrunch has more here.

Jobaline, a four-year-old, Kirkland, Wa.-based company behind an engagement platform for hourly workers, has raised $3.5 million from investors, including Madrona Venture Group, Trilogy Equity Partners, Founder’s Co-op and Rudy Gadre, as well as new Pacific Northwest angel investors. More here.

LendingFront, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based platform for business lending, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a Fort Lauderdale, Fl.-based investment firm, Las Olas Venture Capital.

Litify, a months-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based developer of software for law firms, raised $5 million in funding from Fortress Investment Group. More here.

SparkFund, a 3.5-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based financial technology company that lets businesses pay over time for energy efficient products and services (it partners with utilities and others), has raised $7 million in Series B funding led by Energy Impact Partners, with participation from Vision Ridge Partners and undisclosed strategic partners. More here.

Taxfyle, a 1.5-year-old, Miami, Fl.-based on-demand tax and accounting marketplace, has raised $2 million in seed funding from individual investors. More here.

VisCardia, a 1.5-year-old, Beaverton, Or.-based medical device company that’s developing a chronic heart failure therapy, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by Kinetic Capital Partners. It simultaneously obtained the assets and technology rights from Inovise Medical. More here.

New Funds

Legend Capital, the venture and growth capital arm of China’s Legend Holdings Corporation, has raised $243 million for its seventh venture capital fund, according to an SEC filing that shows a target of $375 million. China Money Network has more here.


Worth noting: Teen-focused retailer Wet Seal sought chapter 11 protection yesterday the latest victim of market headwinds—declining traffic, changing consumer preferences and the popularity of online shopping. The WSJ has more here.


Mozilla is laying off around 50 people. Cnet has more here.


Engineering Capital, the early-stage venture firm founded by former Foundation Capital investor Ashmeet Sidana, is looking to bring aboard an associate. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.

Essential Reads

Snap‘s IPO prospectus was made public yesterday, and reporters have been chewing through the numbers since. Among the many data points worth noting: Snap lost $515 million on $404 million in revenue in 2016, compared with the $373 million it lost on sales of $59 million in 2015.

Snap has a lot of users, but maybe less than you might have guessed: 158 million at the end up last year, up from 107 million in 2015, and growth appears to be slowing. The number of users rose 7 percent between the second and third quarters but grew just 3.3. percent in the last quarter of 2016.

Assuming the company is still valued out of the gate at between $20 billion and $25 billion, a select group of folks will make out exceedingly well. Among them, Benchmark, which owns 12.7 percent of the company, Lightspeed Venture Partners, which owns 8.3 percent, and cofounders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, both of whom own 21.8 percent of the company. (Turns out Reggie Brown, a third cofounder who was bounced out of the company early on, has done okay, too, having received a $157.5 million settlement after he sued Spiegel and Murphy for his fair share of the business.)

More here and here and here.

Apple will begin assembling iPhones in India by the end of April, a regional minister says, heightening its focus on the world’s fastest-growing major smartphone market as growth slows elsewhere. Bloomberg has more here.


Why the feds are losing the war on fake Super Bowl merchandise.

The most popular Super Bowl ads of all time.

An easy way to get your coworkers to trust you more.

Retail Therapy

A 295-foot yacht with a nightclub, hot air balloons, and its own submarine. (Now to snag an invite.)

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