StrictlyVC: June 16, 2017

Well, hello!

Today’s StrictlyVC is being brought to you courtesy of Rosebud Communications: Media attention is often showered on one company in any given space. If this company is yours, congrats. If it’s not, consider using Rosebud. We’ll get you the press you deserve, and for roughly half the $10K-plus per month that the bigger guys charge. Send us an email, operators are standing by:

Top News in the A.M.

Perhaps you’ve heard? Amazon — the everything store —  announced this morning that it’s buying 431 actual stores across the country by purchasing upscale grocer Whole Foods for a whopping $13.7 billion in cash.

Meanwhile, Walmart  – which has more than 5,000 stores and clubs nationwide — just snapped up the online men’s retailer Bonobos for $310 million in cash.

Investor Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz summed up the situation nicely in a tweet: “Amazon buys Whole Foods, Walmart buys Bonobos. Tanks on the lawn.”

Our colleague over at TechCrunch, Sarah Perez, has also chimed in with a smart piece, writing that Amazon wants to become Walmart before Walmart can become Amazon.

Other grocers’ stocks have plummeted on the news of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. Observers think this is also bad news for Blue Apron and Instacart.

The Atomico Partner Who U.S. Founders Should Know

If you’re a U.S.-based founder and you’ve ever wondered how to pitch the London-based firm Atomico or, more specifically, who to pitch, Hiro Tamura is someone you might get to know better. Though he’s based in London, Tamura is the general partner who spends the most time in the U.S. — about one week a month on average.

How does it  work? Tamura says he gets ample help from Atomico’s executive-in-residence, Carter Adamson, who lives in Brooklyn and formerly cofounded one of the first modern music streaming services, Rdio. (Atomico backed the company, which shut down in 2015.) Adamson was also formerly the head of product at Skype, which was famously cofounded by Atomico founder Niklas Zennstrom.

Earlier this week we talked with Tamura about leading a fresh, $64 million investment in Clutter, an L.A-based on-demand storage company. We also asked what else Atomico has cooking stateside.

You’ve been with Atomico for the past decade — so since its start, essentially. How did land at the firm?

It’s an equal opportunity employer; I’m a Japanese guy. [Laughs.] I’ve been in different markets doing tech since 1996; I worked on Asian internet companies like at Lehman in New York; afterward, a bunch of us left and launched a pan-Asian investment firm [focused on media and telecom] that covered Tokyo, Seoul, Greater China. I then started my own investment firm in Tokyo and I started working with Niklas and the board of Skype as an adviser [given that] I knew something about the region and how to help make scalable Internet companies effectively grow and navigate regulatory issues.

After eBay acquired Skype [in 2005], Niklas asked a few us to come along with him to focus on Atomico. In 2010, I moved from Tokyo to London to permanently reside in the U.K. and help grow the business.

For some reason, I thought you actually ran a Silicon Valley outpost for Atomico.

No, I love living in London, though I’m frequently seen in airports, hopping on and off flights to the U.S.

While Atomico looks at the European opportunity as being incredibly robust, we have a heritage of being global investor by virtue of who we were in our past lives, and there’s obviously a lot of innovation still happening in Silicon Valley and L.A. and New York and a number of other U.S. hubs that have emerged over the last five, six years. We feel like those trends will have a long-lasting impact, and we should be a part of them.

How does a VC from London cover the U.S.?

More here.

New Fundings

Atrium LTS, a new, San Francisco-based company that was founded by serial entrepreneur Justin Kan and aims to “disrupt the legal industry” (the company isn’t being much more specific for that right now), has raised $10.5 million in funding in a gigantic party round that includes dozens of firms and investors. TechCrunch has much more here.

Bright Greens, a 1.5-year-old, Rockville, Md.-based frozen smoothie company, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Eighteen94 Capital (a unit of Kellogg Co.), with participation from Blue Venture Investors. Fortune has more here.

Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, a 2.5-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based immunotherapy company focused on treating skin cancer, has raised $27 million in Series B funding led by F-Prime Capital Partners, with participation from earlier backers Sofinnova Ventures and VenBio Partners. Xconomy has more here.

Codota, a four-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based maker of workflow optimization software for developer communities, has raised $2 million in seed funding from Khosla Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Common Networks, a year-old, San Francisco-based wireless internet service provider, has raised $7 million in Series A funding from Eclipse Ventures and Lux Capital. More here.

Covr Financial Technologies, a four-year-old, Boise, Idaho-based digital personal insurance platform, has raised $5 million in funding from Nyca Partners, Commerce Ventures, Connectivity Capital Partners and Contour Venture Partners. More here.

Dingxiang Technology, a Beijing-based cybersecurity startup focused on risk control systems, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital China. China Money Network has more here.

Entelo, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based recruiting software company, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by U.S. Venture Partners, with participation from Battery Ventures, Shasta Ventures and Correlation Ventures. More here.

Evasc Neurovascular Enterprises, a nine-year-old, Vancouver, Canada-based medical device company focused on treating cerebral aneurysms, has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding led by Yonghua Capital. More here.

Fairy, a year-old, San Francisco-based startup that offers 30-minute, daily, “hotel like” cleanings, has raised $4.1 million in funding from investors that include CrunchFund, Naval Ravikant, Flight Ventures’ Gil Penchina, Cyan and Scott Bannister, and others. TechCrunch has more here.

FraudScope, a year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based enterprise SaaS platform aimed at reducing healthcare billing claims fraud, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, including from Spider Capital, GRA Venture Fund, TechSquare Labs, and Mosley Ventures. More here.

Goodera, a three-year-old, Bengaluru, India-based company that connects businesses with nonprofits that help them reach their sustainability goals, raised $5.5 million in Series A funding from Nexus Venture Partners and Omidyar Network. The Economic Times has more here.

HLTH, a year-old, New York-based industry event focused around how healthcare companies can reduce costs, has raised $5 million in funding led by Primary Venture Partners and Launch Capital. More here.

Mindstrong Health, a 2.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.- based maker of mobile-based cognitive-function diagnostic tests, has raised $14 million in Series A funding led by Foresite Capital and ARCH Venture Partners. Other partipants in the round include Optum Ventures, Berggruen Holdings, and the One Mind Brain Health Impact Fund.

Mobike, a 1.5-year-old, Shanghai-based on-demand bike rental company, has raised $600 million in Series E funding led by Tencent Holdings, with participation from Sequoia Capital, TPG, and Hillhouse Capital, BOCOM International, ICBC International, and asset manager Farallon Capital. TechCrunch has the story here.

Regroup Therapy, a six-year-old, Chicago-based company that enables mental health professionals to virtually meet with patients at a variety of institutions, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by OSF Ventures, with participation from Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, HLM Venture Partners, Furthur Fund, and Impact Engine. The Chicago Tribune has more here.

Scopely, a six-year-old, Culver City, Ca.-based mobile game publisher, has raised $60 million in Series C funding at a valuation north of $600 million led by Revolution Growth. Other participants in the round include Greenspring Associates, Sands Capital Ventures, Cross Creek Advisors, and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. Variety has more here.

Spry Health, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company that makes health management technologies and remote patient monitoring software, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Grove Ventures, with participation from Stanford-StartX Fund, OVO Fund, and Think+. More here.

Voiceitt, a five-year-old, Ramat Gan, Israel-based startup that develops apps for people with speech impairments, has raised $2 million in funding, including from Cahn Capital, Technion, Quake Capital Partners, Dreamit Ventures, and Buffalo Angels. More on the company here.

ZineOne, a three-year-old, Milpitas, Ca.-based analytics platform that aims to help brands engage with their customers contextually, has raised $2.5 million in funding led by Golden Seeds Angels and Hyderabad Angels. More here.

New Funds

Medicxi Ventures, a London-based early-stage venture capital firm focused on early- to later-stage biotech companies, has raised $300 million for its latest fund, says FierceBiotech. Among its limited partners: Novartis and Verily. More here.

Middle East Venture Partners is set to raise a new and much bigger fund than the vehicle its current investing. According to The National, founding partner and chief executive Walid Hanna said yesterday that the firm, which right now has $120 million under management, is poised to triple that amount with its next fund, noting that venture capital had “taken off” as an asset class regionally. (Hanna also pointed to the announcement last month that Saudi Telecom’s STC Ventures is creating a $500 million fund.) More here.


Samsung quietly bought a New York-based startup called VRB, which has developed several apps to capture and view 360-degree content. Sources tell TechCrunch that Samsung, an investor in the company, paid $5.5 million in the deal. (VRB never publicly disclosed exactly how much it raised or from whom.) TechCrunch has more here.

Tencent is considering a takeover of “Angry Birds” maker Rovio for close to $3 billion, according to The Information. More here.

Also Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is also sponsored today by the Financial Solutions Lab at CFSI, which just announced the eight winning startups selected for its 2017 FinLab class. Each gets $250,000 plus other resources most startups only dream of, including executive-level mentors at CFSI and JPMorgan Chase. FinLab’s first two classes of innovators have collectively raised more than $110 million in follow-on capital since joining the program, and today serve more than 1.2 million American consumers. Who made the cut this year? Blueprint Income, Dave, EverSafe, Grove, Nova, Point, Token Transit, and Tomorrow.


Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is looking for some ideas about where to focus his shorter-term philanthropic efforts.

After dipping its toe into the water with “Planet of the Apps,” Apple is apparently pushing more aggressively into original content, hiring Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, who since 2005 had been co-presidents of Sony Pictures Entertainment. More here.

Alda Leu Dennis has joined Initialized Capital as an investing partner and its COO. Dennis was last an investor with the secondaries firm 137 Ventures; she was also previously the COO of Airtime, general counsel at Founders Fund, and assistant general counsel at Clarium Capital Management. We talked with her yesterday.

Astasia Myers has joined the early-stage enterprise team of Redpoint Ventures as an associate. Prior to Redpoint, Myers worked at Cisco Investments, where she focused on cloud-infrastructure M&A and investments. She also spent two years as an equity research analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co.

These Twitter VPs are leaving the company.


23andMe, the genetic testing company, is looking for a corporate development associate. The job is in Mountain View, Ca.

Essential Reads

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma may team up with SoftBank Group Corp.’s Masayoshi Son in a $1.5 billion investment in ride-hailing startup Grab, according to Bloomberg. The investment would be part of Grab’s previously reported $1.5 billion fundraising, led by SoftBank and aimed at giving the Singaporean startup cash to battle Uber in Southeast Asia.

Slack, the popular business communications company, is in the midst of raising $500 million at a $5 billion post-money valuation, an effort that has attracted several potential buyers interested in taking out the company ahead of the funding (including, as reported yesterday, Amazon). Recode has more here.

Oh, the irony. Amazon was recently granted a patent that could be used to prevent in-store shoppers from comparing prices to what’s available online. TechCrunch has more here.


The U.S., where the rich are the richest.

The stylish, sophisticated Ibiza that even club kids can’t ruin.

Fingers crossed.

Retail Therapy

“Die Hard,” the coloring book. Yippee ki yay, %#@&*s.

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