StrictlyVC: July 10, 2017

Hi, hope you had a wonderful weekend, everyone!

No column today (it’s not ready quite yet), but quick mention: one week from today, we’ll be in Boston for TechCrunch interviewing the “father of robotics,” Rodney Brooks. If you’re a robotics investor or work for a robotics startup or just happen to have some questions you’d like us to ask him, shoot them our way; we’re happy to get you answers if we can.

Top News in the A.M.

New SEC rules went into effect today to permit any company, no matter how large, to file paperwork for an initial public offering without immediately disclosing the fact to the public. Fortune has more here.

Recode reported this morning that Amazon is quietly rolling out its own Geek Squad to set up gadgets in your home. Best Buy has since lost $1 billion in value.

Other interesting news on the regulatory front: The nation’s consumer watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is adopting a rule today that will allow class-action lawsuits against financial firms, rather than forcing customers into arbitration and blocking them from banding together. Lawmakers have 60 legislative days to overturn the rule, which would take effect next year.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by First Democracy VC, a new, registered equity crowdfunding portal formed through a partnership between Indiegogo and MicroVentures, crowdfunding and investing pros. Equity crowdfunding is a great way for startups to raise money from their community of customers and fans and can augment a raise from other institutional investors. Moreover, First Democracy VC gives anyone, yep anyone, the ability to invest in startups and growing companies. Interested in raising money for your startup?  Apply now.  Interested in investing?  Check out current investment opportunities here.

New Fundings

AutoLotto, a 2.5-year-old. San Francisco-based mobile Powerball app that allows users to buy tickets from their smart phone, has raised $17 million in Series A funding from a long roster of investors, including angel backer Jason Port, venture capitalists Bruce Gibney and Ben Narasin, Causecast CEO Ryan Scott, and Aurum Partners. CNBC has more here.

Cargo Systems, a year-old, New York-based monthly subscription service for ride-share drivers wanting to offer additional products to their passengers like candy and Kind bars, has raised $1.75 million in funding from Techstars VenturesRosecliff VenturesFontinalis Partners, and Detroit Venture PartnersMore here.

CellTrak Technologies, an 11-year-old, Schaumburg, Ill.-based company that makes care delivery management software for home and community-based health organizations, has raised more than $11 million in new funding from Boathouse Capital and return backer MK CapitalMore here.

CerebrEX, a five-year-old, Osaka, Japan-based maker of IP blocks and display controllers for flat panel displays, has raised roughly $7 million in funding from Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and Fortune Venture CapitalMore here.

Chengjia Apartment, a two-year-old, China-based apartment rental platform, has raised $50 million in funding from earlier backers IDG Capital and Huazhu Hotels Group. China Money Network has more here.

Choice Pet, a Stamford, Conn.-based pet retailer with 17 stores, has raised $2.7 million in funding from Petros PartnersMore here.

Matcherino, a two-year-old, Seattle-based eSports crowdfunding platform, has raised $1.5 million in funding, including from Madrona Venture GroupVulcan Capital, and Seven Peaks VenturesMore here.

Movile, a 19-year-old, São Paulo, Brazil-based mobile marketplaces company that claims more than 100 million monthly active users, has raised $53 million in funding led by earlier backer Naspers, with participation from Innova CapitalMore here.

NewLeaf Symbiotics, a five-year-old, St. Louis-based agricultural biologicals startup, has raised $24 million in Series C funding. Monsanto Growth Ventures and Otter Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Lewis & Clark VenturesRockport CapitalPangaea Ventures and Open Prairie Ventures. The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch has more here.

SignUpGenius, a nine-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based online sign up site for event and volunteer management, has raised a strategic majority investment of an undisclosed amount by Providence Strategic Growth, the growth equity affiliate of Providence Equity Partners. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal represents the first round of funding for the company. More here.

Sunrate, a year-old, China-based company offering both cross-border payments and exchange rate risk management, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by China Growth Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Yamibuy, a four-year-old, City of Industry, Ca.-based e-commerce site for Americans wanting to purchase popular Asian snacks, beauty products, health supplements and home appliances, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by GGV Capital, with participation from New Oriental Education & Technology Group and K2VCMore here.

New Funds

CRV, a 46-year-old, venture firm formerly known as Charles River Ventures, looking to raise up to $450 million for its 17th early-stage venture firm and $400 million for an opportunity fund that would back its breakout companies, shows two SEC filings, here and here.

Partech Ventures, the 35-year-old, Paris-based venture firm (with partners also in San Francisco and Berlin) has  closed on $450 million in capital commitments for its Partech International Ventures VII fund. The capital will be used to fund mostly Series A- and B-stage companies. Limited partners include NokiaL’Oréal, and Cisco. TechCrunch has more here.

UBS has raised $325 million from its clients for The Rise Fund a private equity impact investment fund co-founded by Bono and led by TPG Growth. (We’d written about it here last year.) Reuters has more on the news here.


Kala Pharmaceuticals, a Waltham, Ma.-based developer of ophthalmic products based on muscle-penetrating particle technology, announced its IPO terms this morning. More here.

YogaWorks, a Culver City, Ca.-based yoga studio operator owned by Great Hill Partners, has set its IPO terms today, too. More here.


mySugr, a five-year-old, Vienna, popular digital diabetes management platform, has been acquired by health giant Roche. It now becomes the heart of Roche Diabetes Care’s new patient-centered digital health services. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. More here.


A U.S. magistrate judge has ruled that Uber lawyers can depose Alphabet CEO Larry Page, and perhaps Alphabet Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, in connection to Waymo’s lawsuit that alleges theft of trade secrets.

Brian Pham has stepped down as a principal with Sherpa Capital, reports Axios. Pham has joined the firm soon after it was founded in 2013.

Fund of funds firm Fairview Capital has promoted Cynthia Tseng to partner from principal. Prior to joining Fairview, Tseng was an investment banking associate at JPMorgan.


First Round Capital is looking to fill two roles that it describes as “part associate/part community builder.” Both jobs are in New York.


We’re halfway through 2017 and already seven startups that together raised $1.48 billion have shut down.

Detroit has 50 percent more venture-backed startups than it did three years ago. So says the Michigan Venture Capital Association, which says there are now 35 active venture-backed startups in Detroit. More here.

Essential Reads

Big news for Stripe, which just partnered with digital payment providers Alipay and WeChat Pay to enable merchants using its platform globally to accept payments from hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers.

The first Model 3 rolled off the production line on Friday (and straight into the posession of Tesla CEO Elon Musk). The next several thousand cars are reserved for other Tesla employees.

Crikey. An unknown cryptocurrency trader known only by a number just made over $200 million in one month.


Volkwagen’s “The Button.”

Epic wipeouts.

Retail Therapy

Oculus Rift VR. On Sale. Second time in four months. Six weeks only.

Take that, dirty laundry, and that!

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