StrictlyVC: January 31, 2017

Hi, everyone! Quick mention: we’re genuinely sorry we can’t accommodate everyone for our upcoming StrictlyVC event next week; we’re already over capacity. For what it’s worth, we’re looking at putting together another event in San Francisco in early May, so if you miss this one, we hope you can make it to the next.

In separate news, we’ll be sitting down with AngelList cofounder Naval Ravikant in a fireside chat at an event, the SaaStr conference, that’s also taking place in San Francisco next week. The organizers have given us three seats to the event and we’re happy to pass them along to readers on a first-come-first-served basis. Just let us know if you’d like to go.

Top News in the A.M.

Sequoia Capital, the storied venture firm, informed its LPs today that partner Roelof Botha will now lead its U.S. business. Jim Goetz is stepping aside from his leadership responsibilities but will continue to invest and represent Sequoia on boards, according to a spokesman. (More on this soon.)

Apple‘s cash hoard just reached a record high.

In Silicon Valley, Plotting to Get Foreign-Born Workers to Vancouver

For many U.S. startups and their foreign-born employees, a kind of back-up plan may be starting to sound like a good idea right about now.

Yesterday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that administration officials have drafted a new executive order aimed at overhauling, among other things, the H-1B work-visa program that U.S.-based tech companies have long relied on to bring top foreign engineering talent into their ranks. Spicer said the possible executive order is “part of a larger immigration effort” related in part to Friday’s hot-button immigration ban targeting immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

According to Bloomberg, the draft proposal states that: “Our country’s immigration policies should be designed and implemented to serve, first and foremost, the U.S. national interest. Visa programs for foreign workers … should be administered in a manner that protects the civil rights of American workers and current lawful residents, and that prioritizes the protection of American workers — our forgotten working people — and the jobs they hold.” (The shorter version: companies have to try hiring U.S.-born employees first.)

Whether and when that executive order gets signed is an open question, but at least one small group of cofounders has banded together to make it easier for U.S. companies to create subsidiaries in Canada and to move their U.S.-based employees to a new, Vancouver-based office, and all within what they describe as weeks, not months. They haven’t created a nonprofit. They’ve instead formed a new company called True North that’s right now offering a $6,000 package that includes airfare for one person to Vancouver, two nights of accommodations, and a day with “world-class immigration professionals who will walk you through the process and answer any questions you have.”

The package is somewhat rich.

More here.

New Funds

Comparably, a 1.5-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based job placement service, has raised $7.25 million in funding led by Greycroft Partners, with participation from Comcast Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Upfront Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Alpha Edison, Cornerstone on Demand, Accelerator Ventures, and Rincon Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.

Earnix, a 16-year-old, Ramat Gan, Israel-based developer of predictive customer analytics software for financial institutions, has raised $13.5 million in new funding from Israel Growth Partners, with participation from earlier backers JVP and Vintage Investment Partners. Globes has more here.

Feedvisor, a nearly six-year-old, New York-based algorithmic repricing platform for Amazon sellers, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by General Catalyst Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

GoKid, a 1.5-year-old, Detroit-based startup helping parents coordinate carpools for their kids, has raised $1 million in seed funding, according to Fortune. InMotion Ventures led the round, with participation from Fontinalis Partners. More here.

Qvivr, a 2.5-year-old, Fremont, Ca.-based company whose programmable card and smartphone app combines all of a user’s credit, debit, gift and loyalty cards to create an easy way to pay and organize money, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Radish, a year-old, San Francisco-based application for reading bite-sized chunks of serialized fiction, has raised $3 million in seed funding, including from Greylock Partners, Lowercase Capital, Softbank Next Media Innovation Fund, Sherpa Capital and numerous individual investors, including author Amy Tan. TechCrunch has more here.

SoundHound, an 11-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based developer of voice-enabled AI and conversational intelligence technologies, has raised $75 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the SharesPost 100 Fund, MKaNNm, NVIDIA, GPU Ventures, Samsung Catalyst Fund, Nomura, Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance and Recruit Holdings. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Global Catalyst Partners, Walden Venture Capital and TransLink Capital. Bloomberg has more here.

TeamSnap, a six-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based maker of mobile and web-based team and group management software, has raised $25 million in funding led by Foundry Group, with participation from Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. The Denver Post has more here.

YouEarnedIt, a four-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based SaaS platform for employee engagement, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding co-led by IDG Ventures USA and Silverton Partners, with participation from earlier investors WPP, Social Starts, the Motley Fool and Capital Factory. Austin Business Journal has more here.

Third Kind Venture Capital, a New York-based firm led by longtime angel investor and Andreessen Horowitz board partner Shana Fisher, has raised $44.3 million for its first fund, shows an SEC filing.

Centerfield, a five-year-old, El Segundo, Ca.-based ad tech and search engine marketing company, has raised $156 million from investors that include H.I.G. Growth Partners and Falcon Investment Advisors. The capital is being used, in part, to purchase Qology Direct, a nine-year-old, Florida-based performance-based marketing company. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. MediaPost has more here.


Eventbrite, the 10-year-old, San Francisco-based event ticketing platform, has acquired Ticketscript, a 10-year-old Amsterdam-based event ticketing platform. No financial terms were disclosed. Eventbrite has raised roughly $200 million in funding over the years, including from Sequoia Capital, Tenaya Capital and Tiger Global. Ticketscript had raised £7 million from Fleming Family & Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Radware, a publicly traded, Tel Aviv, Israel-based cybersecurity company, has acquired Seculert, a six-year-old, Israeli cloud-based cyber security company. Seculert raised $15.6 million in venture funding from investors including Sequoia Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. Globes has more here.

Razer, a 12-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based maker of gaming hardware and wearable devices, has acquired the assets of smartphone developer Nextbit. According to Crunchbase, Nextbit had raised $18 million from investors, including from Accel Partners, GV and Dentsu. Razer has meanwhile raised more than $125 million, including from LianLuo, Intel Capital, IDG Capital, Temasek and Accel Partners.

Return Path, a 16-year-old, New York-based email marketing service, has acquired ThreatWave, a 1.5-year-old, Louisville, Co.-based email data firm. No financial terms were disclosed. The Denver Post has more here.

SmartRecruiters, a 6.5-year-old, San Francisco-based talent acquisition platform that has raised roughly $55 million from investors, acquired Jobspotting, a three-year-old, Berlin-based job-discovery engine that had raised $705,000 in investors, shows Crunchbase. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.

Upworthy, a five-year-old, Brooklyn-based viral news and video site, is merging with 10-year-old, L.A.-based media and consulting firm Good Worldwide. No financial terms are being disclosed. According to Crunchbase, Upworthy raised $12 million in funding, including from Spark Capital. Politico has more here.


Snap chooses the NYSE. The WSJ has more here. Meanwhile, The Information reminds readers that tech stocks don’t tend to do so well their first year as public companies. More here.


More than 2,000 employees of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, walked out of work yesterday afternoon to protest Donald Trump’s recent executive orders curtailing immigration from predominantly Muslim countries. Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Google cofounder Sergey Brin were out there with them, with each delivering a strong rebuke to Trump’s orders. Forbes has the video here.

Elaine Chao is officially the new U.S. Secretary of Transportation. TechCrunch has more here.

Jim Dai, formerly the CTO of Coupang, has joined Oakland, Ca.-based early-stage firm Illuminate Ventures as a venture partner.

Ted Price, founder and CEO of the independent games publisher Insomniac Games, has taken to YouTube with some of the company’s employees to encourage gamers to stand in opposition to Trump’s immigration policy. “Is discriminating based on religious faith or national origin American? Absolutely not.”

Political strategist and investor Bradley Tusk has launched a new bi-monthly podcast called “Firewall” on iTunes that will feature him in conversation with investors, policy makers and entrepreneurs about the latest trends in the venture space, tech world and political arena. More here.

Rashaun Williams, a founding partner with Queensbridge Venture Partners, has joined merchant bank Manhattan Venture Partners to launch a new secondaries fund. TechCrunch has more here.


Cambridge Associates is looking to hire an investment associate. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.

Cisco is looking to add a senior manager to its corporate development unit. The job is in San Jose, Ca.

Essential Reads

Washington-based companies Amazon and Expedia have joined the attorney general of Washington state in a lawsuit that challenges Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order. BuzzFeed has more here.

Uber and Germany’s Daimler AG — maker of the luxury Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks — announced a partnership this morning. In the coming years, Daimler plans to incorporate its own self-driving Mercedes-Benz into Uber’s growing fleet of self-driving cars. Reuters has more here.

Y Combinator just added the ACLU to its winter 2017 batch of companies. The idea: to help it put to effective use the $24 million it raised this weekend.


The five personality traits that make for a better life.

The right way to say, “I’m sorry.”

Angry voicemails to Congress, or texts to a cheating boyfriend?

Retail Therapy

Bed Tents.

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