StrictlyVC: March 8, 2017

Happy International Women’s Day, sisters!

No column today.

Top News in the A.M.

According to the Financial Times, Japan’s SoftBank is selling an $8 billion stake in ARM — or 25 percent of the the U.K.-based chip designer that it purchased only six months ago — to its new $100 billion Vision Fund. (Put another way, Vision Fund is buying the stake.) According to Bloomberg, the transaction will be separate from the $25 billion that SoftBank plans to contribute separately to the fund. The FT says the decision was made as Vision Fund looks to hit its fundraising goals and secure the backing of Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi state-backed investment group that wanted the fund to own a portion of Arm. More here (subscribers only). A source familiar with WeWork told us recently that funding for the valuable venture-backed company hinges in part on the Vision Fund securing more money from Middle East sources.

New Fundings

Anchor FM, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based free iPhone app that makes it easy to broadcast short audio clips to a mass audience, has raised $2.8 million in new venture funding from Omidyar Network, the Chernin Group, and audio artist Mick Batyske. TechCrunch has more here.

Caicloud, a 1.5-year-old, Shanghai, China-based Kubernetes-based cluster management service, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners China, with participation by Cybernaut. More here.

Dialogue, a year-old, Montreal-based telemedicine platform that provides a range of employee-focused healthcare services and benefits, has raised $4 million in seed funding led by Diagram, with participation from BDC Capital, Hacking Health Accelerator, and others. More here.

Farmer’s Business Network, a 2.5-year-old, San Carlos, Ca.-based platform where farmers anonymously share data about things like seed performance and chemical pricing, has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by GV and DBL Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Garrison Technology, a 2.5-year-old, London-based cybersecurity firm, has raised £12 million ($14.6 million) in Series A funding led by Touchstone Innovations, with participation from BGF Ventures, NM Capital, and earlier angel investors. Tech City News has more here.

Gobi, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based social network that lets users create public and private groups where they can share snaps that lasts for three days, has raised $500,000 at a $15 million valuation from numerous angel investors, including Olympic gold medalist Petter Northug and billionaire salmon farming heir Gustav Witzøe. TechCrunch has more here.

Hubble, a nearly-year-old, New York-based e-commerce startup focused on daily disposable contact lenses, has raised $16.5 million in Series A funding led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from seed backers Greycroft Partners, Wildcat Capital Management and Two River. TechCrunch has more here., a 6.5-year-old, McLean, Va.-based digital identity network that empowers parties to grant access or benefits based on verified identity and attributes, has raised $19 million in Series B funding led by FTV Capital. More here.

Instacart, the 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based grocery delivery startup, has raised another $400 million in a new round of financing at a valuation of $3.4 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported that early investor Sequoia Capital contributed $100 million to Instacart’s latest round of funding. According to Instacart, other investors in the round include Wellcome Trust, Y Combinator Continuity, Andreessen Horowitz, FundersClub, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Initialized Capital, Thrive Capital and Valiant CapitalMore here.

Isotropic Systems, a three-year-old, London-based developer of satellite antenna technology for mobile and high throughput satellite applications, has raised $5 million in funding led by the London-based venture firm Waterlow Management. More here.

Liven, a 3.5-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-based membership club that offers offers from Melbourne’s top restaurants and entertainment venues, is poised to raised AUD $10 million ($7.6 million) from undisclosed venture investors, but the funding comes with a catch, reports Financial Review. More here.

LoopMe, a five-year-old, London-based digital advertising firm that uses artificial intelligence to optimize mobile video advertising, has raised $10 million in funding led by Impulse VC and Harbert European Growth Capital, with participation from Holzbrinck Ventures and Open Ocean Capital. VentureBeat has more here.

Qapital, a 4.5-year-old, New York-based personal finance app company, has raised $12 million in Series A funding from backers that include Northzone, Anthemis Exponential Ventures, Industrifonden and Rocketship VC. TechCrunch has more here.

Quidd, a nearly two-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based platform for one-of-a-kind digital goods (users can trade and share animated, science-fiction, and fantasy characters, for example), has raised $6.8 million in funding from unnamed angel investors. More here.

Veem, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based payment services company that was known until now as Align Commerce, has raised $24 million in funding led by strategic investor National Australia Bank Ventures. Other participants in the round include GV, Softbank’s SBI Investment Co., Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and Silicon Valley Bank. TechCrunch has more here.

Velano Vascular, a four-year-old San Francisco-based medical device company focused on needle-free blood draws, has raised $17 million in funding from First Round Capital, Griffin Hospital, Kapor Capital, Safeguard Scientifics, Sutter Health, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and White Owl Capital. VentureBeat has more here.

Virta Health, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that aims to reverse type 2 diabetes, is launching publicly today and disclosing it has raised $37 million in funding so far. Investors include Venrock, Allen & Company, Obvious Ventures, Redmile Group, PayPal and Max Levchin’s Scifi VC. TechCrunch has more here.

Wrapify, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that pays drivers to wrap their cars with advertisements, has raised $3 million in seed funding from Avery Dennison, the global manufacturer of adhesive materials. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Last year, investors David Lee (formerly of SV Angel) and Zal Bilimoria (formerly of Andreessen Horowitz) teamed up to launch Refactor Capital, a new seed-stage venture capital firm. Today they’re officially launching the platform and announcing a $50 million debut fund. Axios has more details here.


Amazon has quietly acquired Do, a startup that had built a platform to make meetings more productive by doing things like managing notes in preparation for them. Amazon is rolling it into Chime, a new communications suite for businesses that it launched last month and offers via AWS. Terms aren’t being disclosed. Crunchbase shows Do had raised $2.4 million from investors, including New Enterprise Associates. TechCrunch has more here.

Google is acquiring Kaggle, a 6.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company behind a community platform that hosts data science and machine learning competitions. Details about the transaction aren’t yet known, but according to Crunchbase, Kaggle has raised roughly $13 million from investors, including Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. Techcrunch has the scoop here.

Localytics, an eight-year-old, Boston-based mobile engagement platform, has acquired two-year-old, Berlin-based Tapglue, which offers mobile app developers an API and backend service to enable them to easily add social features to their apps. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. Both companies are Techstars Boston alums. Localytics has raised roughly $60 million from investors, according to Crunchbase; Tapglue had raised just $100,000, shows Crunchbase. TechCrunch has more here.

Earlier this week, MeetMe agreed to acquire If(we), a San Francisco app developer, for $60 million in cash. If(we) had raised $23.7 million in venture funding from Leader Ventures and Lighthouse Capital Partners, among others. MeetMe, a social networking service formerly known as MyYearbook, has raised at least $30 million over its 12-year history, shows Crunchbase. TechCrunch has more here.


Joseph Huang is the new CEO of StartX, a non-profit business incubator associated with Stanford University. Huang is an alumn of the program who sold his company, WiFiSLAM, to Apple for $20 million in 2013. He replaces founder Cameron Teitelman, who becomes the organization’s chairman. TechCrunch has more here.

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and a critic of the U.S. government’s new travel ban, is meeting with the president at the White House today to speak her mind. (Notably, Jobs’s father was a Syrian political refugee.) Bloomberg has more here.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told employees at an all-hands meeting yesterday morning that the company is seeking a No. 2 executive to help him manage the troubled car-hailing company. Recode has more here.


Late last year, audio giant Bose announced the limited release of its hearing-assisting Hearphones. Now, in a new lawsuit, startup Dopper Labs accuses Bose of “unfair and deceptive business practices.” The problem: Doppler believes Bose incorporated a modified version of Doppler’s own sound-isolating technology for its own product, and it’s pointing the finger at Bose exec Chris Miller, who became one of Doppler’s earlier backers on Kickstarter. TechCrunch has the skinny here.

Essential Reads

Alphabet’s Nest, seeking a bigger share of the connected home market, is developing a cheaper version of its flagship thermostat, says Bloomberg, which also reports that a  home-security alarm system, a digital doorbell and an updated indoor security camera are also in the works. More here.

Didi Chuxing isn’t resting on its momentum in China. Today, the ride-hailing juggernaut officially launched DiDi Labs in Mountain View, Ca., where it says it plans to focus on AI-based security and intelligent driving technologies with the aim of attracting top engineering talent. Recode has more here.

Apparently, there’s a secret, celebrity and supermodels-only version of Tinder. (But do they use it?)


How to remember anyone’s name.

What to look for when you go in for a job interview.

Power dressing.

Retail Therapy

Good cookies.

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