StrictlyVC: July 24, 2017

Hi, happy Monday, everyone! No column today — we’ve been on back-to-back calls — but more tomorrow.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Online health publisher WebMD Health said earlier today that it has agreed to be bought by the private equity firm KKR in a deal valued at about $2.8 billion. More here.

Sponsored By . . .

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New Fundings

Aire, a three-year-old, London-based AI-powered credit scoring startup, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Sunstone Capital, with participation from earlier backer White Star CapitalMore here.

BentoBox, a four-year-old, New York-based startup that helps restaurant owners quickly build full-featured sites for their businesses, has raised $4.8 million in Series A funding. Bullpen Capital led the round, with participation from Launch Capital, Seamless founders Jason Finger and Paul AppelbaumRiverPark Ventures, and Invision CEO Carl Valberg. TechCrunch has more here.

Colorescience, a 16-year-old, Carlsbad, Ca.-based aesthetic makeup products line, has raised $15 million in funding from undisclosed investors. More here.

eFFECTOR Therapeutics, a five-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based company whose technology modifies how proteins are manufactured according to instructions carried in DNA, has raised $38.6 million in Series C financing. The round was led by Pfizer Venture Investments, with participation from Alexandria Venture Investments and earlier backers U.S. Venture PartnersAbingworthNovartis Venture FundSR OneThe Column GroupAltitude Life Science VenturesSectoral Asset ManagementAbbvie Biotech VenturesBioMed Ventures, and Astellas Ventures. The San Diego Union-Tribune has more here.

Epet, a nine-year-old, e-commerce platform for pet products that’s based in China’s Heilongjiang Province, has raised $53 million in Series B funding led by IDG Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Expert360, a four-year-old, Sydney, Australia-based online marketplace that provides access to freelance consultant talent for enterprises, has raised $10 million in fresh funding, led by AirTree Ventures, Australia’s largest VC fund. The company has now raised $21 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Exporo, a three-year-old, Hamburg, Germany-based real estate crowdfunding startup, raised an €8 million ($9.3 million) in funding, including from e.venturesHoltzbrinck VenturesSunstone Capital and BPO CapitalMore here.

Grab, the five-year-old, Singapore-based ride-sharing company competing with Uber for dominance in Southeast Asia, is closing on $2.5 billion in a new funding, including a combined $2 billion from Didi and SoftBank that will reportedly value Grab at more than $6 billion. (As says the New York Times, “In East Asia, Uber’s biggest rivals smell blood.”) More here.

Hinge Health, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that provides health kits to people suffering from musculoskeletal injuries, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Atomico. Earlier seed investors Eleven Two CapitalThe Vertical Group, and SwiftKey CEO Jon Reynolds, also participated. Business Insider has more here.

Niuniuqiche, a two-year-old, Shanghai-based business-to-business new car transaction platform, has raised $17 million in funding led by Kaitai Capital, with participation from earlier backer Zhongjun Fund. China Money Network has more here.

Nyotron, a five-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-and Herzliya, Israel-based cyber-security company, has raised $21 million in fresh funding led by DGB Investments, with participation from numerous individual investors. More here.

Power Survey and Equipment, a 69-year-old, Montreal, Canada-based manufacturer of power factor correction and harmonic filtering products and services, has raised $24 million in Series A2 funding led by EnerTech Capital and Investissement Québec, along with participation from Cycle Capital ManagementFonds de solidarité FTQ and BDC CapitalMore here.

Rimilia, a 10-year-old, U.K.-based maker of cash management software for enterprises, has raised $25 million in funding co-led by Kennet Partners and Eight Roads Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Tamara Mellon Brand, a four-year-old, New York-based lifestyle brand that sells shoes and handbags, has raised $13 million in fresh capital, shows an SEC filing. The company had previously raised a little more than $15 million from investors, including New Enterprise Associates and Arab Angel Fund.

The Town Kitchen, a two-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based industrial catering company that services corporate customers and employs urban youth, has raised $1 million in seed funding. Urban Innovation Fund led the round and was joined by Better VenturesRose Culinary VenturesSlow Money, and SheEOMore here.

Vixiar Medical, a three-year-old, Annapolis, Md.-based company that’s developing non-invasive devices and systems for monitoring cardiopulmonary diseases, has raised roughly $1.5 million in seed funding, including from the Abell Foundation, and the Maryland Technology Development CorpMore here.

New Funds

Venktesh Shukla, a former TiE chairman and the founder of the three-year-old, early-stage venture firm Monta Vista Capital, is looking to raise up to $30 million for his second fund, shows an SEC filing.

Also Sponsored By . . .

Draper University, a residential entrepreneurship bootcamp founded by Tim Draper, is accepting applications for its Fall Hero Training Class, a seven-week residential program located in downtown San Mateo that allows students to develop a product and pitch to 80+ investors. Our next class kicks off September 11th; two blockchain companies, and, have pledged to give crypto tokens to those who apply, as well as those who attend the program.

The program looks for entrepreneurially minded founders who run pre-seed companies who are between the ages of 18 and 28. Draper University has launched 280+ startups that have raised $50M+, and a number of them have since been acquired. Apply by August 11th at


Ben Horowitz is helping define the modern tech age. His father shaped the ’60s radical left — before taking a hard right turn.

Larsen Jensen has joined Lightspeed Venture Partners as a partner, reports Axios. Jensen was previously a summer associate at both Andreessen Horowitz and (the following summer) Lightspeed. He was also a Navy SEAL officer for four years, which is not a claim that most VCs can make.

Sarah Kunst, a female entrepreneur who is among others who’d accused 500 Startups founder Dave McClure of sexual misconduct, has joined the board of the Michigan State Foundation. The idea is to help it identify both promising venture firms that are also diverse and focused on ethics, she tells Axios.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is joining parent company Alphabet’s board of directors.

SoFi’s chief revenue officer, Michael Tannenbaum, just became the latest exec to leave the company, following a string of departures in its senior ranks.

While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg continues his listening tour around the U.S., struggling cafeteria workers at Facebook wonder whether he knows what’s happening in his own backyard.

Essential Reads

Why America’s tech giants should be broken up.

How Venmo breeds pettiness.

VCs wanting to dive into the digital currency market are facing a novel challenge: the hottest tech startups that sell the coins don’t need their money.


Some of the coolest trailers from Comic-Con 2017.

How St. Andrews became a top American school.

The accent whisperers of Hollywood.

Retail Therapy

Perfect for when you finally sell your company.

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