StrictlyVC: February 9, 2017

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Thanks very much to those of you who made it to our StrictlyVC event last night. We had so much fun, and the speakers — all of them — were outstanding. Giant thanks again to Aileen Lee, Amy Chang, Brad Feld, Emily Weiss, Bradley Tusk, Vivek RamaswamySemil Shah, and Eric Liaw for making the time for readers. Thanks, too, to our wonderful sponsors: Bolt, Crunchbase, and Rosebud Communications. You can still get half off a Crunchbase annual subscription, btw. Use the code “strictlyvc” here through the end of this month. You can also sign up for Accompany, Chang’s new company, by visiting People are raving about it, and it’s free (at least for now).

We should have pictures of the event ready for you tomorrow.

Also! Save the date: We’re hosting our next SVC event Thursday, May 4.

Also, also! We hope to see some of you at the SaaStr conference in a short while; we’ll be talking with Naval Ravikant of AngelList around 1:30. (We need to prep, which is why you’re receiving a short newsletter today.)

Top News in the A.M.

Twitter revealed its fourth quarter earnings earlier today. The big takeaway: its ad business is stalling.

What Software Engineers Around the World are Being Paid

new study published by the data science team at Hired, a jobs marketplace for tech workers, shows why it’s becoming harder for software engineers to afford life in San Francisco, even while they make more money than their peers elsewhere in the U.S. and the world.

Based on 28,000 interview requests and job offers provided by more than 5,000 companies to 45,000 job seekers on Hired’s platform, the company’s data team has determined that the average salary for a software engineer in the Bay Area is $134,000. That’s more than software engineers anywhere in the country, through Seattle trails closely behind, paying engineers an average of $126,000. In other tech hubs, including Boston, Austin, L.A., New York, and Washington, D.C., software engineers are paid on average between $110,000 and $120,000.

Higher salaries don’t mean much with jaw-dropping rents and other soaring expenses associated with life in “Silicon Valley,” and San Francisco more specifically. Indeed, factoring in the cost of living, San Francisco is now one of the lowest-paying cities for software engineers, according to Hired’s lead data scientist, Jessica Kirkpatrick. According to her analysis, the $110,000 that an Austin engineer makes is the rough equivalent of being paid $198,000 in the Bay Area, considering how much further each dollar goes in the sprawling capital of Texas. The same is true of Melbourne, Australia, where software engineers are paid a comparatively low $107,000 on average, but who are making the equivalent of $150,000 in San Francisco.

More here.

New Fundings

Better Mortgage, a three-year-old, New York-based tech-driven mortgage bank, has raised $15 million in Series B funding, including from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Goldman Sachs, and Pine Brook Partners. The WSJ has more here.

Exactuals, a nearly six-year-old, L.A.-based SaaS platform for complex payments, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by City National and TTV Capital. Other participants include Stanford-StartX Fund, S-Cubed Capital, Palo Alto Venture Partners, Skyview Fund, The Strand Partners, Temerity Capital, and numerous angel investors. More here.

Float, a 2.5-year-old, L.A.-based fintech startup that offers instant access to small dollar credit lines, has raised $3 million in seed funding. Backers included Camp One Ventures, Funders Club and 500 Startups. FinSMEs has more here.

New Funds

Greycroft Partners, with offices in New York and L.A., has closed a second growth equity fund with $250 million. Greycroft Growth II will focus on participating in later-stage rounds in companies already in the firm’s portfolio; it will also make first-time later-stage investments in companies outside the fund.

Airbnb is in talks to buy Montreal-based Luxury Retreats — a company with more than 4,000 properties around the world — to help it expand in high-end vacation rentals and travel services, reports Bloomberg. A sale is expected to fetch no more than $300 million in cash and stock, said one of its sources. More here.


Ousted Hyperloop One founder Brogan BamBrogan just started a new company called Arrivo. The Verge has more here.

Snapchat’s parent company has corrected the record after it first appeared that board member Joanna Coles was making significantly less than her male peers.

Apparently no longer under investigation by the SEC, investor Mike Rothenberg, who’d rebranded his firm Frontier Ventures last summer, has renamed it Rothenberg Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Greylock Partners, the Silicon Valley venture firm, has hired a growth advisor in residence to help goose growth at its portfolio companies. Casey Winters — who spent nearly three years at Pinterest, and nearly three years at GrubHub before that — will be working with Greylock exclusively for the next six to 12 months.

Zenefits is laying off roughly 430 employees — roughly half the company — in its single largest round of cuts, showing how the embattled startup fell far short of its lofty expectations. Buzzfeed has the story here.

Essential Reads

It’s not just Google — Snap has a $1 billion cloud services deal with Amazon, too.


Steve Young is an athlete who’s actually good at finance.

Retail Therapy

Star Wars Land. It’s coming, fellow dorks.

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