StrictlyVC: July 26, 2017

Hello and happy Wednesday! No column today — we just wrapped up an interesting interview but don’t want to publish too ridiculously late in the day so look for it tomorrow. More soon.:)

Top News in the A.M.

The SEC finally weighed in on ICOs publicly yesterday, determining that a specific token sale in May of last year constituted the sale of unregistered securities. The decision highlights that the SEC is paying attention to what’s happening in the market; still, every token has different properties and the development doesn’t mean that all tokens will be considered securities going forward. Reuters has more here.

Twitter heads into its quarterly earnings report tomorrow with a stock that has risen more than 40 percent since April, when much of Wall Street was ready to write off the tech company. Reuters has more here.

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New Fundings

6 River Systems, a two-year-old, Boston-based company whose mobile robot and cloud-based enterprise software aim to improve warehouse staff productivity and simplify training, has raised $15 million in fresh funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from Eclipse Ventures, among others. More here.

Aiqudo, a months-old, San Jose, Ca.-based startup that uses voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to control smartphone apps with pre-made or customizable voice commands, has raised $5.2 million in funding from Atlantic Bridge Capital. VentureBeat has more here.

August Home, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based smart home product company whose flagship product was its smart lock home access system, has raised $25 million in Series C funding. Earlier backers Bessemer Venture PartnersComcast VenturesMaveron, and Qualcomm Ventures teamed up with new investors, including Liberty Mutual, private equity firm SPDG, and Australian utility company AGL, to provide the funding. TechCrunch has more here.

Circulation, a year-old, Boston-based on-demand non-emergency healthcare transportation startup, has raised $10.5 million in Series A funding. The capital comes from Flare Capital PartnersThe Providence Service Corporation,Boston Children’s HospitalEcho Health VenturesIntermountain Healthcare Innovation FundHumanaNextGen Venture Partners and an unnamed healthcare diagnostics company. More here.

IonQ, an 11-month-old, College Park, Md.-based company wanting to bring general-purpose quantum computers to market by late next year, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by New Enterprise Associates and GV, with participation from new strategic investors. More here.

LifeFuels, a three-year-old, Reston, Va.-based startup at work on creating personalized functional beverages (with different dietary supplements that users can mix together), has raised $5 million in seed funding in a round led by healthcare entrepreneur Trenor Williams. BevNET has more here.

Momenta, a 10-month-old, Beijing-based startup that’s developing high-resolution digital maps and machine vision technology for autonomous driving, has raised $46 million in Series B funding led by NIO CapitalSequoia Capital China and Hillhouse Capital. Other participants in the round include Shunwei CapitalSinovation VenturesUnity Ventures and Daimler. TechCrunch has more here.

Rebagg, a three-year-old, New York-based luxury goods reseller, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding led by General Catalyst Partners and Novator. Other participants in the round include FJ LabsCrosslink CapitalBig Sur Ventures-NecotiumKloof Capital and U-Start. The company has now raised $28 million altogether. More here.

Shelf, a two-year-old, Stamford, Ct.-based startup whose software centralizes a company’s content onto one platform, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding from SeedInvestCT Innovations, and NY Angels. VentureBeat has more here.

Signal Vine, a four-year-old, Alexandria, Va.-based enterprise text messaging platform used by higher education institutions to improve student retention, has raised $2 million in Series A funding led by New Markets Venture PartnersMore here.

Vicarious, a 6.5-year-old, Union City, Ca.-based artificial intelligence startup that competes with Google’s DeepMind, has raised $50 million in a round led by Khosla Ventures. The capital brings the company’s total funding to date to $120 million. VentureBeat has more here.

WalkMe, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose cloud-based platform for businesses make their web and mobile interfaces easier to navigate with on-screen guidance and prompts, has raised $75 million led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from other, undisclosed investors. The company has now raised nearly $168 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.<

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-plus startups that have raised more than $50 million, and a number of them have since been acquired. Apply by August 11th (just two weeks away) at

New Funds

Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures are backing yet another hedge fund focused on cryptocurrencies (in addition to Polychain Capital). According to Fortune, AH, USV, and others have backed MetaStable Capital, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based hedge fund that invests only in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. (We think Polychain invests in a broader array of digital assets.) Fortune has much more here.

A new investment vehicle aimed specifically at mobility startups just closed its debut fund with $42 million in commitments, including from the crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, the automotive supplies giant Valeo, and inMotion Ventures, an investing unit created last year by Jaguar Land Rover. The fund, called Maniv Mobility, aims to back seed-stage and Series A stage companies in Israel and the U.S. The fund announcement comes hot on the heels of another, transportation-focused fund — Autotech Ventures — that announced its debut fund last week. We’d written about Autotech Ventures here. You can learn more about Maniv Mobility here.


Consumer robot maker iRobot, maker of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, is acquiring its largest European distributor, Robopolis, in a cash deal worth $141 million. TechCrunch has more here.

OpenText, a content management company based in Waterloo, Ontario, announced today that it’s buying Guidance Software, a publicly traded forensic security and eDiscovery vendor. The deal is for $222 million in cash. TechCrunch has more here.

The British enterprise software company Sage Group has agreed to purchase Intacct, a 19-year-old accounting software company, for $850 million, in a cash-and-stock deal meant to help build out Sage’s cloud financial management offerings. According to Crunchbase, Intacct had raised at least $130 million from investors over the years, including Battery VenturesBessemer Venture PartnersEmergence Capital Partners, and Split Rock Capital. TechCrunch has more here.


In the latest hearing to define the scope of the upcoming trial between self-driving technology rivals Waymo and Uber, District Judge William Alsup said Anthony Levandowski, the star engineer at the center of the affair, could be called to testify in court. TechCrunch has more here.

In related news, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has hired former San Francisco U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and one of her colleagues at Orrick to represent him when he heads to trial in Waymo’s trade-secrets lawsuit over driverless technology. Bloomberg has more here.

Blue Apron announced several changes at the executive level yesterday, including co-founder Matthew Wadiak stepping down from the COO role to become a senior advisor. The move follows Blue Apron’s widely reported IPO and subsequent performance, which has been kind of abysmal. TechCrunch has more here.

According to Recode, HP Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman is on the short list for Uber’s open CEO role. She also just stepped off HP’s board today, which certainly seems like interesting timing. According to Bloomberg, Uber’s head of human resources, Liane Hornsey, has told employees she believes the company could hire a new CEO within six weeks.

In a set of tweets this morning, Donald Trump announced that he is banning transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S., reverse an Obama-era ruling. Tech leaders, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, quickly chimed in, noting that people who are willing and able to serve their country should be allowed to do so.

Essential Reads

LedgerX just became the first regulated bitcoin options exchange.

Apple could be building factories in the U.S.— or maybe not.

Facebook‘s first TV episodes are reportedly coming next month.


How tattoos might affect your workout.

Why being a woman puts you at greater risk of having anxiety.

dating app for journalists (basically).

Retail Therapy

Now your deck, too, can look like scenery from “The Bachelor.”

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