StrictlyVC: February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day, cherubs!

Top News in the A.M.

Apple is launching its first TV show, “Planet of the Apps.” Here’s the trailer.

Facebook is coming to a TV near you.

A new regulatory filing shows Berkshire Hathaway quadrupled its stake in Apple in the fourth quarter.

This VC Firm Just Produced One of the First Detailed Equity Reports About Snap

Many things that used to be true primarily of the public market now happen within the world of private company investing, including the participation of mutual fund investors.

Now, you can add equity research reports to that list.

Goodwater Capital — a two-year-old, consumer-tech-focused venture firm is today taking the wraps off a detailed snapshot of pre-IPO Snap, parent of the disappearing-message app Snapchat. In doing so, the San Mateo, Ca., firm hopes to differentiate itself from its venture peers while also seizing on an underserved opportunity: producing research that helps Wall Street understand tech companies — before their own banking analysts do the job.

It’s a role that has largely been left to the media, which has been dutifully poring over Snap’s roughly 200-page S-1 since it was made public on February 2. Many reporters have done an excellent job, too.

Still, it’s nice to be able to review slightly more comprehensive, particularly if you missed a lot of the coverage that emerged in the days after Snap’s S-1 was first spied in the SEC’s giant electronic filing bin. It’s particularly worth examining if you’re not a Snap aficionado and want to become one quickly, given that the company’s roadshow could reportedly begin this coming Friday.

Goodwater’s report was overseen by Eric Kim, a former investor with Maverick Capital, who launched the consumer-tech focused firm with his former Stanford MBA classmate (and former Kleiner Perkins partner) Chi-Hua Chien in 2014.

Kim, who previously worked on numerous high-profile deals for Maverick like the the multi-platform texting app KakaoTalk and the e-commerce platform Coupang, clearly took the task seriously, too. In addition to its own analysis, Goodwater last month surveyed 2,076 participants who were evenly distributed across geography, age, and income, to produce some of its findings.

Says Kim of what motivated him, “I saw KakaoTalk evolve from a 15-person company into a very valuable public company and there was suddenly this huge gap to bridge, with Wall Street looking at very different metrics than we were accustomed to discussing. Our [Goodwater] report [on Snap] aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the company that both Silicon Valley and Wall Street can understand.”

Indeed, Kim says he doesn’t think people (i.e., reporters) are looking at the company in the same way that Wall Street is liable to evaluate it. For example, Kim notes that plenty of editorials have compared Snapchat with Instagram, but he asserts that even more than Instagram owner Facebook, Snap is “trying to take on the entertainment world and replace TV.”

In other words, a better comparison for Snapchat are entertainment companies.

More here.

New Fundings

8i, a nearly three-year-old, Wellington, New Zealand-based virtual reality company that’s focused on creating life-like humans in VR, has raised $27 million in Series B funding led by Time Warner investments, with participation from Baidu Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Verizon Ventures, One Ventures, Seen & Speed Ventures and some of the firm’s previous investors. TechCrunch has more here.

AirTrunk, a three-year-old, Singapore-based data center startup, has raised $400 million in funding from Goldman Sachs and TPG Capital. DealStreetAsia has more here.

BirdEye, a five-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based maker of customer feedback management and monitoring software, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. The round was led by World innovation Lab and Trinity Ventures. Other participants in the financing include Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, Square’s product engineering lead Gokul Rajaram, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. TechCrunch has more here.

Dedrone, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that develops drone detection technology, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Felicis Ventures, with participation from Cisco’s executive chairman, John Chambers. TechCrunch has more here.

Gamalon, a 3.5-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based startup whose technology writes and rewrites its own Bayesian programs (it ostensibly requires orders of magnitude less computation and training data relative to today’s state-of-the-art deep machine learning), has raised $4.5 million in seed funding from a long list of familiar names, including Felicis VenturesAdam D’Angelo, Andy Bechtolsheim, Steve Blank, Ivan Chong, and Georges Harik, among others. More here.

Intuition Robotics, a 1.5-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based maker of an elder care assistant robot, has raised $6 million in funding from iRobot and the equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd. More here.

IntSights, a 1.5-year-old, Herzilya, Israel-based security platform for cyber threats, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Investors in the round include Vintage Investment Partners and earlier backers Glilot Capital Partners, Blackstone, Blumberg Capital, and Wipro Ventures. GeekTime has more here.

Miyoko’s, a 3.5-year-old, Fairfax, Ca.-based line of non-dairy cheeses, has raised $6 million in funding led by JMK Consumer Growth Partners, with participation from CircleUp Growth Fund, Stray Dog Capital, and Obvious Ventures. You can learn more about the company here.

Nova Sciences Holdings, a recently established, Wakefield, Ma.-based industrial instrumentation company, has raised $100 million from Pamplona Capital Management and Ascent Venture Partners. More here.

Samanage, a 10-year-old, Cary, N.C.-based maker of enterprise service management software, has raised $20 million in new funding, including from Carmel Ventures, Gemini Israel Ventures, Marker LLC, Salesforce Ventures and Vintage Investment Partners. TechCrunch has more here., a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based maker of a virtual nursing app, has raised $8 million in Series B funding led by Chengwei Capital, with participation from the Mayo Clinic, Bioved Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital and the Stanford StartX fund. TechCrunch has more here., a nearly three-year-old, London-based mobile app with a points-based game to incentivize “micro” learning, has raised $5.5 million in funding led by Notion Capital and Hong Leong Group. Individual investors also joined the round, including Bebo cofounder Michael Birch and Jawbone cofounder Alex Asseily. TechCrunch has more here.

Wiivv, a 2.5-year-old, Vancouver, Canada-based company that’s making and selling 3D-printed shoes and insoles, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from earlier backers Eclipse VC, Evonik Venture Capital, Real Ventures and Asimov Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Wiretap, a 2.5-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based security intelligence platform, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Draper Triangle Ventures and Ohio Innovation Fund. More here.


Staffjoy, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that aimed to help small businesses manage their workflow schedule, is shutting down, it announced today. The company raised at least $1.2 million in seed funding, including from Caffeinated Capital. It had also received a $12,000 grant as a part of Y Combinator’s now shuttered Fellowship program.


Frazier Healthcare Partners has promoted Philip Zaorski to vice president and hired Ryan Lucero, also as vice president. Zaorski joined the the firm in 2012 as an associate; Lucero previously worked at Kohlberg and Company.

Jon Ma, an investor with Insight Venture Partners, has left to join the young, San Francisco-based early stage venture firm SignalFire. (We’d written about SignalFire here.)

Walt Disney cut ties yesterday with YouTube star PewDiePie, a 27 year-old Swede whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, for a series of videos he posted that features anti-Semitic or Nazi content. Fortune has more here.

Fred Wang has joined Adams Street Partners as a partner and member of its venture and growth equity unit. Wang was previously a general partner with Trinity Ventures. He starts at Adams Street on April 1.


GE Ventures is looking to hire an analyst. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.

Essential Reads

Twitter plans to trim down its ad products.

Dubai plans to introduce flying drone taxis as early as this summer(!).

AWS yesterday announced Chime, cloud-based software designed to let business customers make voice or video calls, converse in chat rooms, and hold web conferences from their mobile or desktop devices. Fortune has more here.

Don’t look now, but the great “unbundling” has spun into reverse, with consumers merely swapping one bundle for another.


The 13 best beaches in America.

Why ugly, janky, old-school Craiglist is unbeatable.

Kellyanne Conway’s interview style, explained.

Retail Therapy

Books door mural, to go with your electronic reading devices. (It’s okay, we aren’t judging.)

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