StrictlyVC: May 10, 2017

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The Three Things One Silicon Valley VC Wants to Hear on Snap’s First Earnings Call Tomorrow

Goodwater Capital, a two-year-old, San Mateo, Calif.-based early-stage venture firm, has been trying to stake out new territory for itself by publishing a steady stream of research and tools that help inform both competing firms and startup founders. One of those pieces of research was a detailed snapshot of the tech company Snap, which Goodwater published in early February, shortly before the company went public. (We wrote about it here.)

Three months later, armed with fresh survey data of 3,000 Americans across the country who Goodwater recently polled using a third-party service, firm co-founder Eric Kim — who isn’t a shareholder — says he’ll be listening for three things on Snap’s very first earnings call tomorrow:

1) Snapchat’s competitive response to Facebook’s steady stream of attacks on its core platform.

“Snapchat’s stories platform has maintained market share over the last six months, but during that same period, Facebook has converted a whole lot of non users into users of its own [stories] platform,” notes Kim. “While Snapchat had and still has 12 percent market share of the story user base, Facebook has now grabbed 14 percent market share,” with Instagram Stories now claiming 200 million daily active users versus Snapchat’s 158 million users.

It matters how Snap plans to respond, of course, because Facebook’s success and Snapchat’s future are more directly correlated than Snap might like. Which raises the second issue that Kim will be focused on, and that is:

2) Snap’s daily active user outlook. 

“The expectation for this quarter is that Snap will add anywhere from seven to nine million users from the previous quarter,” says Kim. What Goodwater sees in its survey data might concern shareholders, however.

“Fifty-nine percent of respondents under age 30 said they use Snapchat, and 81 percent said they use Facebook, so the [two platforms] aren’t mutually exclusive,” he notes. That’s the good news. Here comes the problem:

More here.

New Fundings

Ceres Imaging, a three-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based startup that uses cameras, sensors, and software to pinpoint crop stress in the field for farmers, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Romulus Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Cockroach Labs, a two-year-old, New York-based open-source database service that’s optimized to reduce downtime, has raised $27 million in Series B funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with participation from Benchmark (which led the company’s Series A in 2015), GV, Index Ventures, and FirstMark Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Dropoff, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based on-demand, same-day delivery service for businesses, has raised $8.5 million in Series B funding led by Fulcrum Equity Partners in Atlanta. Other participants in the round include earlier backers Greycroft Partners and Correlation Ventures. The Austin American Statesman has more here.

eRelevance, a nearly four-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based maker of customer marketing automation software, has raised $5.1 million in funding led by Rally Ventures, with participation from Chicago Ventures, Miramar Venture Partners, Martin Investment Holdings, and Capital Factory. Silicon Hills has more here.

G-Banker, a four-year-old, Beijing-based online-to-offline gold-trading platform, has raised $29 million in Series C funding. BOC International led the round and was joined by Guangkong Zhongying Capital, SBCVC, and Radiant Venture Capital. Asian Venture Capital Journal has more here. (Subscription required.)

Gainsight, a 5.5-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based maker of so-called customer success software, has raised $52 million in Series E funding led by earlier backer Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Cisco, along with all of the company’s previous backers. Gainsight has now raised more than $150 million altogether. Forbes has more here.

Hesai, a four-year-old, Shanghai-based developer of LiDAR sensors, has raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Pagoda Investment, with participation from Grains Valley Venture Capital, Jiangmen Venture Capital and LightHouse Capital Management. China Money Network has more here.

Kreditech, a five-year-old, Hamburg, Germany-based company that creates credit ratings and provides finance to people without credit histories, has raised $120 million from PayU, a payments company that’s owned by Naspers and known by some as the “PayPal of emerging markets.” TechCrunch has much more here.

Latch, a three-year-old, New York-based smart lock maker, has added $10 million in addition funding to a previous closed Series A round. The new capital comes from RRE Ventures, with earlier backers participating. The company has now raised $26 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Microf, a seven-year-old, Albany, Ga.-based company that provides rental purchase financing options to a wide range of customers, has raised $96.7 million in equity and debt from Atalaya Capital Management and BrandBank. More here.

Mya Systems, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based startup behind a recruiter chatbot that uses artificial intelligence to automate outreach to job candidates, has raised $11.4 million in funding. The entire round came from Emergence Capital. VentureBeat has more here.

Nutrafol, a three-year-old, New York-based nutraceutical company focused on combatting hair loss, has raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from Unilever Ventures. More here.

Remix, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based planning platform for public transit (it says it’s used by more than 200 transit agencies worldwide already), has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital. More here.

Revolution Prep, a 15-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based education and tutoring platform, has raised $4 million in funding led by earlier backer Kennet Partners, which had also provided the company with its very first institutional funding — $15 million — back in 2010. More here.

Selery Fulfillment, a three-year-old, Dallas-based logistics company that specializes in warehousing and fulfillment for e-commerce companies, has raised $1 million from investors including Mark Cuban and Deep Space Ventures. D Magazine has more here.

SiFive, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes open-source-enabled semiconductors, has raised $8.5 million in Series B funding led by Spark Capital, with participation from Osage University Partners and return backer Sutter Hill Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.

Territory, a five-year-old, Alexandria, Va.-based prepared meal service company, has raised $6.7 million in new funding from Upfront Ventures, NRV, Lewis & Clark Ventures and The Motley Fool Holdings. More here.

Vera, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup that aims to enable businesses to easily secure and track any digital information across all platforms and devices, has raised $15 million in strategic funding led by Hasso Plattner Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Battery Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, Clear Venture Partners, Amplify Partners and Leslie Ventures. The company has now raised a little more than $50 million altogether. More here.

New Funds

500 Startups, the global venture firm and accelerator program, says it has closed on $15 million in capital commitments fund to back founders in the Middle East and North Africa. TechCrunch has more here.

Early-stage firm Obvious Ventures has a sense of humor that any math nerd can appreciate. The three-year-old, San Francisco-based firm — which had closed its debut fund with $123,456,789 — just announced the close of its second fund, and this time, it closed the vehicle with $191,919,191. We have a little more here.

OMERS Ventures, the Toronto, Ontario-based private equity and venture capital firm, has raised $300 million for its third fund. BetaKit has more here.

Two years after it closed its last fund, the Gurgaon, India-based venture firm SAIF Partners India has hit the market again to raise its third India-dedicated fund, and the Economic Times says it’s targeting between $350 million and $400 million. More here.

Softbank is nearing a close of $95 million on its Vision Fund, reports Bloomberg.


Apple has acquired an app and sleep monitoring device called Beddit that was founded in 2007 and had raised around $3.5 million in funding. TechCrunch has more here.


Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is on a quest to save the world’s most endangered animals with the help of sensors, drones and . . . luxury resorts.

Former Accel Partners GP Fred Destin is teaming up with podcast host Harry Stebbings to form a new venture firm.

Former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is now a VC, having joined the early-stage, Radnor, Pa.-based venture capital firm SeventySix Capital as a partner.

According to Dan Primack of Axios, Dropbox’s head of corporate development strategy, Xuezhao Lan, has left the company to launch a new venture capital firm with two corporate development pros from a different Silicon Valley company.

Bowery Capital has promoted Nic Poulos from a principal to a general partner. Poulos was earlier an associate at AOL Ventures and went on to cofound a small nonprofit organization Impact NYC before joining Bowery in the spring of 2013.

Stripe, the payments startup valued at $9 billion, has hired famed hacker and security expert Peiter “Mudge” Zatko as its new head of security, says Recode. More here.

Essential Reads

Amazon invested millions in the startup Nucleus — then cloned its product for the new Echo. Recode has the story here.

Hackers came, but the French were prepared. More in the New York Times.


There are now more than 40 colleges and universities in the U.S. where a degree costs more than $250,000.

This robot is livestreaming all the gnarly stuff it’s seeing in the deep sea.

Has former president Barack Obama taken things one button too far?

Retail Therapy

Good news: You can pre-order those cool Tesla solar tiles starting today.

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