StrictlyVC: June 21, 2017

Friday!  [Shoots streamers from office confetti cannon.] Hope you have a wonderful weekend, everyone.:)

No column today.

Top News in the A.M.

Y Combinator is reportedly raising up to $1 billion for a new fund.

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New Fundings

Arzeda, a nine-year-old, Seattle-based protein design company, has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by OS Fund, with participation from Bioeconomy CapitalSustainable Conversion Ventures and WRF Capital. Xconomy has more here.

Betterment, a nine-year-old, New York-based online financial advisor, has raised $70 million in funding as an extension of last year’s Series E round. Kinnevik led the round, with participation from Bessemer Venture PartnersMenlo Ventures, and Francisco Partners. The company is reportedly now valued at $800 million. Business Insider has more here.

Entier, a nine-year-old, Westhill, Scotland-based catering company that serves meals to more than 4,500 people on oil and gas rigs and other remote installations around the world, has raised £6.5 million ($8.4 million) in funding from Business Growth FundMore here.

Fox Rent A Car, a 28-year-old, L.A.-based rental car company, has raised $25 million in funding from NewSpringKemper Corp, and Star Mountain CapitalMore here.

Genicon, a 19-year-old, Winter Park, Fla.-based medical device maker focused on minimally invasive instruments (it makes a disposable clip to facilitate wound closures, for example), has raised $6.6 million in funding, including from Rand CapitalAdvantage Capital and Coastal EnterprisesMore here.

Lvl5, a year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based developer of crowdsourced HD maps and computer vision software for self-driving vehicles, has $2 million in seed funding, including from Max Altman’s 9Point Ventures and Y Combinator partner Paul Buchheit. (The company had passed through YC earlier year.) More here.

Klarna, a 12-year-old, Stockholm-based company that works with e-commerce businesses and retailers to provide financing and other payment services, has sold a 10 percent stake in its business to Permira, the private equity firm whose shopping habits we’d discussed earlier this year. Klarna and Permira are not confirming the size of the investment, but TechCrunch was told that it’s more $225 million. The capital comes on the heels of another cash injection worth at least $225 million from Brightfolk, an investment firm tied to fashion retail magnate Anders Holch Povlsen, which closed in early June. More here.

NeuroVia, a 1.5-year-old, Bay Area-based biopharmaceutical company that’s working on treatments for a range of rare genetic neurological diseases, has raised $14 million in Series A funding co-led by Novartis Venture Fund and Sanofi-Genzyme BioVenturesMore here.

Playkey, a three-year-old, Moscow-based game streaming service, has raised a fresh $2.8 million from Russia’s Internet Initiatives Development Fund. TechCrunch has more here.

TickSmith, a five-year-old, Montreal, Canada-based company whose data platform is used by trading and risk groups, regulators, exchanges and data vendors who need to accumulate, transform, analyze and disseminate larger scales of financial data from multiple sources, has secured C$2 million ($1.6 million) in funding. The capital comes from Illuminate Financial ManagementMore here.

Xiaomai, a three-year-old, Beijing-based automated convenience store operator that lets users scan their face or phone to enter the store, has raised $18.5 million in Series A funding led by Aplus Capital, with participation from Chenshan Capital. It’s the latest in a series of cashier-free convenience store chains to be funded or created recently in the country. China Money Network has more here.

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ADT, the home-security company, is reportedly preparing for an IPO, just 17 months after being taken private by Apollo Global Management. Apollo paid $6.9 billion for the company. The WSJ said the IPO could come at the end of this year and value the company at more than $15 billion, which is kind of amazing. (How has a Nest not made a dent in this company by now?) The WSJ has more here., the 34-year-old, Lehi, Utah-based genealogy website that filed for a confidential IPO in June, is close to hiring banks to lead the deal, says Bloomberg.

PetIQ, a seven-year-old, Eagle, Id.-based pet medication maker that was named True Science until last year, priced 6.3 million shares at $16 last night, the high end of its proposed range; they closed above $23 on their first day of trading today. More here.


Shyp, the on-demand shipping service launched in 2013, has announced that it’s withdrawing from all but one city and “reducing headcount at headquarters” in an effort to  prove its business model. The company will suspend operations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, and only operate in San Francisco. TechCrunch has more here.

Rapid7, a two-year-old, Boston-based startup provides software tools for automating security tasks, has acquired Komand, a 1.5-year-old, Boston-based security orchestration and automation platform company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Xconomy has more here.


Aditya Agarwal, who joined Dropbox in 2012 and was given the CTO role just nine months ago, is leaving the company.

Bank of America Vice Chairman Anne Finucane has reportedly been approached about the role of Uber CEO.

AngelList cofounder Babak Nivi says he left the outfit recently to work on something new, though TechCrunch’s Josh Constine suggests that there’s more to the story.

Vinod Khosla suggests that he’s dubious when it comes the growing claims of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley: “It’s a reality because it’s perceived as a reality.”

Richard Liu, CEO of Chinese e-commerce leader, says he expects revenue to soar 1,000 percent of the next ten years; he also thinks headcount will fall from 120,000 employees to 80,000 over the same period, thanks to unmanned warehouses, self-driving trucks, delivery robots and more.

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says she doesn’t want to become a full-time investor; she wants another CEO role.

Longtime TechCrunch writer Catherine Shu reports that in 2015, she was aggressively groped and propositioned by 500 Startups venture partner Tristan Pollack, who remains with the investment group following an investigation that was led by . . . ousted founder Dave McClure.

Arielle Zuckberberg has left Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which she had joined as an associate partner in late 2015, reports Axios. Her next move is seemingly TBD.


Publicly traded New Relic is looking for a corporate development manager. The job is in San Francisco.

Spotify is looking for a corporate development manager. The job is in New York.

Essential Reads

Verizon says it has been capping traffic as part of a temporary video optimization test. The move is considered by many to be a violation of net neutrality laws that (for now) outlaw throttling.

Lyft has launched a new self-driving division, where it plans to develop its own autonomous ride-hailing technology.

Apple is reportedly working on electric car batteries with China’s biggest battery maker.


Where the world’s elite get their shirts made.

Adios, Sean Spicer.


Retail Therapy

The five best language learning apps.

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