StrictlyVC: July 14, 2017

Friday! Hope you have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

We’ll be writing you on Monday from Boston, where, among other things, we’re excited to be interviewing several top robotics investors, including Helen Zelman of Lemnos, Josh Wolfe of Lux Capital, and SRI Ventures President Manish Kothari. We’ll report back to you what they say in case it’s useful for your own work.

We also wanted to offer a quick bit of advice to the one Binary Capital portfolio CEO who has expressed his enthusiasm to us regarding keeping Jonathan Teo at the helm, and who we have been very responsive to(!), yet who keeps writing usMarc Kasowitz style.

You’d think a CEO might know better, but it’s not a good idea to talk to a reporter like this, or anyone for that matter.

Dear impassioned CEO, we understand that you are very important, with a very important startup to run. We looked it up; we wish you luck. And now, goodbye . . . forever. [Smoke machine envelops speaker. End scene.]

No column today.:)

Top News in the A.M.

AlphaBay, an online marketplace that sold illegal goods on the so-called Dark Web, was shut last week following action by international authorities, reports the WSJ, which says that unlike Silk Road, whose primary focus was on drug sales, AlphaBay was more diverse, selling guns, stolen credit card numbers and more.

Uber’s biggest rival in Southeast Asia , GrabTaxi, is poised to raise as much as $2 billion from Softbank and China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, in a deal that would value the company at more than $5 billion. The deal would make the company the region’s most valuable startup. The WSJ has the story here.

DraftKings and FanDuel, the two biggest daily fantasy sports platforms that originally announced their intention to merge last year, have called it quits. TechCrunch has more here.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC has been brought to you this week by First Democracy VC, a registered equity crowdfunding portal formed through a partnership between Indiegogo and MicroVentures. It’s worth checking out. Due to recent changes in U.S. law, startups can now raise money from anyone, not only accredited investors (i.e. wealthy individuals). Moreover, startups can use an equity crowdfunding raise to carve out a piece of a current raise with VCs and/or other institutional investors for their community of customers and fans.  Interested in raising money for your startup?  Apply now. Interested in investing? You can see a list of current investment opportunities here.

New Fundings

Actinobac Biomed, an eight-year-old, New Brunswick, N.J.-based biopharmaceutical company that’s developing therapeutics for multiple indications, including blood cancers, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and HIV, is raising up to $4.4 million from Kairos VenturesMore here.

Assent Compliance, a 12-year-old, Ottawa-based company that helps enterprises collect the data needed to keep their global supply chains in compliance with local and international regulations, has raised roughly $31.4 million. Greenspring Associates led the round; other participants include earlier investors Volition CapitalOpen Text Enterprise Application FundBusiness Development Bank of CanadaNational Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, and Royal Bank of Canada. TechCrunch has more here.

Bespin Global, a two-year-old, Seoul- and Beijing-based cloud IT solutions company, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Legend Capital, with participation from Premier PartnersAltos VenturesHyosung ITX, and other investors. More here.

Bevi, a four-year-old, Boston-based “smart” water cooler that makes custom beverages, has raised $16.5 million in Series B funding led by Trinity Ventures, with participation from Horizons Ventures and Tamarisc. The company has now raised $27.5 million altogether. Xconomy has more here.

Collectly, a year-old, Walnut Creek, Ca.-based app that aims to provide people who owe money with repayment solutions that enable lenders to recoup some of their losses, has raised $1.9 million in seed funding. GoAhead Ventures led the round, with participation from Lightspeed Venture PartnersIndex VenturesWTIIT-FarmCabra.vcGranatus Ventures, and OnWave Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Imsight Medical, a months-old, Beijing-based start-up developing artificial intelligence-assisted medical imaging analysis tools, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Lenovo Group’s venture capital arm. China Money Network has more here.

Insticator, a five-year-old, New York-based startup that allows online publishers to add quizzes, polls, and other interactive elements that can include advertising, has raised $5.2 million in Series A funding led by Associated Venture Management. Other participants include Mintz & Co. and The Beatson Companies. Insticator has now raised more than $8 million total. TechCrunch has more here.

Plum, a 2.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup whose appliance preserves, chills and serves wine by the glass, has raised $9 million in Series A funding led by Khosla VenturesLas Olas Venture Capital and angel investors across the tech, wine and hospitality industries also joined the round. More here.

Synthio, a six-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based software company that automates the data cleansing process for B2B marketing contacts, has raised $8.5 million in growth funding from Fulcrum Equity PartnersMore here.

Vroom, a four-year-old, New York-, Dallas and Houston-based online auto retailer that delivers reconditioned vehicles to customers’ door, just raised $76 million in Series F funding. Backers include certain funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price AssociatesL CattertonGeneral Catalyst Partners and PICO Venture Partners. The company has now raised $295 million altogether. More here.

New Funds

Flagged by Axios: Longtime VC Warren Weiss is raising $35 million for a new venture fund called WestWave Capital. Weiss has spent the past 17 years with Foundation Capital. You can find the SEC filing here.


Roku, maker of a streaming media player, is reportedly planning an IPO by year end and seeking a valuation of roughly $1 billion.

Since its IPO, Snap did exactly what it said it would, so why is its stock struggling?


Another member of Congress is urging fellow lawmakers to take a closer look at Amazon and its $14 billion bid to buy Whole Foods. (The first was U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California.)

A Goldman Sachs co-president and a leading contender to become the investment bank’s CEO has a surprising hobby.

Here’s who reportedly doesn’t want the Uber job.


Index Ventures is looking to hire two pre- or post-MBA associates. One role is in San Francisco, the other in London.


Investments in China-based companies more than tripled in the second quarter, hitting $10.7 billion up from the $3.5 billion recorded in the first three months of the year. The huge difference reflects in part two massive deals, notes China Money Network: Didi Chuxing’s $5.5 billion funding round from SoftBank and others, and Toutiao’s $1 billion founding round from Sequoia Capital and CCB International. More here.

Essential Reads

Amazon‘s next Echo will be more like Apple’s HomePod.

Tesla is offering a secret special deal to some owners.

If you care about sexual harassment and female founders, you may want to watch this Sunday night. (It’s worse than we’d realized.)


What Disney’s “Star Wars Land” will look like.

How to protect your kid from identity theft.

Fake news articles may just be the tip of the iceberg. New research shows it’s possible to create fake news videos, too.

Retail Therapy

Cool! The NES Power Glove. Apparently it doesn’t work very well, but who cares?

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