StrictlyVC: March 6, 2017

Hoping you’re having a productive Monday, everyone!

Top News in the A.M.

Snap shares cratered for the first time today, dropping 7 percent at one point. CNBC has more here.

NFX Takes the Wraps of 21 New Startups

Last week, two-year-old, NFX Guild, a Silicon Valley-based, invite-only accelerator program, hosted its newest demo day before 200 venture investors from Sand Hill Road and San Francisco.

The outfit — which is backed by the venture firms CRV, Shasta Ventures, Greylock Partners, and Mayfield and works only with startups that have been referred to it through a network of scouts — might have surprised attendees. NFX’s last two batches have featured 16 and 13 companies, respectively. Its newest class wound up featuring 21 companies — a meaningful jump in size. The good news: with startups focused on health care, augmented reality, shopping and more, there was seemingly something for everyone.

For those of you who didn’t make it to NFX’s presentation, here are the companies it introduced (and that we assume are actively fundraising).

More here.

New Fundings

AgroStar, a 3.5-year-old, Pune, India-based mobile-commerce firm that helps farmers place orders for pesticides and fertilizers, among other things, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from earlier backers IDG Ventures and Aavishkaar. Time of India has more here.

Atom Bank, a three-year-old, U.K.-based mobile-based banking services company, has raised £83 million ($102 million) in funding at a post-money valuation of £261 million ($320 million) led by the Spanish bank BBVA. Others participating in the round include previous backers Woodford Investment Management and Toscafund Asset Management. TechCrunch has more here.

Brayola, a four-year-old, New York-based online marketplace that sells lingerie for women, has raised $5 million in funding led by Firstime Fund. The Globes has more here.

Busybusy, a six-year-old, St. George, Ut.-based maker of mobile time tracking software, has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Caterpillar Venture Capital. World Cement has more here.

Factory, a five-year-old, Lisbon-based network of work spaces for entrepreneurs, has raised €1 million in funding from Round Hill Capital, 500 Startups, Elkstone Capital (it’s a private fund that manages the wealth of clients like supermodel Elle Macpherson), and numerous angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.

InGeneron, an 11-year-old, Houston, Tx.-based regenerative medicine and cell therapy company, has raised $20 million in Series D funding from healthcare provider Sanford Health. More here.

NextEv, the three-year-old, Shanghai, China-based smart vehicle startup, is reportedly talking with the Internet firm Baidu about an investment of up to $100 million. China Money Network has more here.

Raken, a 2.5-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based SaaS application for the construction industry, has raised $2 million in funding led by Rincon Venture Partners, with participation from Eniac Ventures and Spider Capital. The San Diego Business Journal has more here.

New Funds

Comcast NBCUniversal is getting into the startup accelerator game with a program called LIFT Labs for Entrepreneurs.  TechCrunch has more here.


Answers Corp.  the St. Louis-based owner of and the customer survey service ForeSee, among other properties — filed for bankruptcy on Friday. The company had been acquired by the European private equity firm Apax Partners for around $900 million in 2014. Reuters has more here.

Okta, a San Francisco-based identity management startup for enterprises that’s rumored to be preparing for an IPO this year, has acquired Stormpath, an early mover in helping developers implement authentication, authorization and user management into web and mobile apps by way of a few lines of code. Financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has the story here.


Four rich millennials are setting up a new venture firm called RHL to create Southeast Asia’s leading indendent investment group. Says one of them, Rachel Lau, whose father built his fortune in real estate: “We look at Southeast Asia and there is no brand that stands out. There is no KKR, there is no Fidelity.” Bloomberg has more here.

A special prosecutor in Seoul has accused Samsung’s top banana, Jay Y. Lee, of disguising millions in dollars in bribes to South Korea’s president in order to cement his control of the company. Reuters has more here.

China will be left behind in the autonomous cars race if it doesn’t put new regulations and financial subsidies in place, says Baidu’s billionaire CEO, Robin Li. Bloomberg has more here.

Jay Z‘s entertainment company is adding startup investing to its repertoire. Roc Nation, which Jay Z cofounded in 2008, is launching a fund called Arrive to invest in early-stage startups and help them build their brands. Business Insider has more here.


F-Prime Capital Partners, a venture capital arm run on behalf of the Johnson family (which launched Fidelity Investments seven decades ago), is hiring an associate. The job is in Boston. Interested parties can reach out directly to firm principal Gaurav Tuli:

Seagate, the data storage giant, is looking to add an analyst to its corporate development team. The job is in Cupertino, Ca.


According to a new Gartner survey of nearly 10,000 consumers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, just 10 percent of households have connected home products and three-quarters of respondents said they’re happy to manually adjust the temperature and lighting in their homes. More here.

Essential Reads

Mark Zuckerberg gave employees two months to roll out Facebook Live. A year later, it’s wrestling with how to censor violence and has lackluster viewership, some video partners say. The WSJ has more here.

According to the South China Morning Post, local copycats are beating Airbnb at its own game.

The 50 most promising startups you haven’t heard much about (yet).


Cursive writing is making a comeback.

MLB power rankings: Where every team stands four weeks before opening day.

Retail Therapy

The $500,000 SUV is coming.

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