StrictlyVC: August 15, 2017

Hi, everyone! Hope you’re having a stellar Tuesday. (Sorry we’re a bit late in sending this out — busy day.)

Top News in the A.M.

Uber just settled an FTC investigation into data mishandling, privacy and security complaints that date back to 2014 and 2015, agreeing in to put in place a comprehensive privacy program, including undergoing regular independent privacy audits. The FTC’s order extends for a period as long as 20 years. TechCrunch has more here.

Snap employees were able to sell their stock yesterday for the first time since the company went public back in early March. Unsurprisingly, it was the fourth biggest day of trading volume so far. Recode has more here.

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This Founder Wants to Find Biz Dev Jobs for One Million Americans

Fahim Fazal grew up in government housing. He worked, as do many students, at McDonald’s during high school. He didn’t go to college.

These aren’t the kinds of details that might excite a recruiter at a big tech company, yet Fazal has done just fine, including co-founding a company a decade ago that sold to Oracle, where he spent the next two and a half years; becoming an advisor at CodeNow, which works with underrepresented youth to teach foundational computer programming; and more recently, cofounding SVAcademy. What it does: find people like Fazal himself who are under-resourced but have no shortage of grit, and training them how to work in a professional tech setting. It’s getting them jobs, too, including at places like Salesforce, Box, and the still-private Zuora, which is a software company for subscription businesses.

Fazal, who cofounded SVAcademy with Joel Scott, an operator who spent the last decade with HP, leaving as VP of operations at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, is taking the wraps off the company today. He’s also disclosing that SVAcademy recently raised $2 million in funding from Bloomberg Beta, Rethink Education, Precursor Ventures, Uprising Ventures, 500 Startups and WTI, along with numerous angel investors. We talked with him yesterday to better understand how the outfit is working with employers to get nontraditional candidates into their workforces — and why they want to.

You say you want to give a million women, minorities, and under-resourced Americans high-paying jobs in sales, or business development. 

Yes, the types of students we’re looking for are incredibly diverse. So far, 60 percent of the roughly 1,000 people who’ve been qualified for the program have been first-generation college students, 50 percent have been women, and one-third have been African American or Latino.

What does your platform, or your programming, involve?

It’s entirely virtual. We want to provide access to students wherever they might be while also exporting Silicon Valley mentorship and experience throughout the country. It’s 15 months long. Once you get into the program, you spend the first three months working on the skills needed in field. That’s 250 hours spent with your class and a teacher and a mentor, learning the technical skills and social and emotional skills you need to perform business development and sales at a SaaS company.  If you pass, you get connected with a growing number of employers who are partnering with us, then we continue to coach and mentor you and help you close your skill gap for the first 12 months on the job.

Who pays for this programming?

More here.

New Fundings

Apli, a year-old, Mexico City-based on-demand talent-as-a-service platform, raised $1.5 million in funding, including from AllvpSocial CapitalSoldiers Field AngelsIgnia Partners and accelerator Numa MexicoMore here.

CellSavers, a two-year-old, on-demand smartphone and tablet repair service, has raised $25 million in funding led by Red Dot Capital Partners, with participation from Samsung NextMaverick VenturesKreos Capital and earlier backers Sequoia Capital and Carmel Ventures. The company, which is renaming itself as Puls, has now raised $43 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Claim it!, a three-year-old, New York-based mobile social marketplace, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Newark Venture Partners, with participation from Infor, former Saks CEO Steve Sadove and NBA players Thaddeus Young and Al HarringtonMore here.

Filld, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based mobile fueling startup, has raised $9.65 million in Series A funding led by Shea Ventures, with participation from Cendana Capital and earlier backers PivotNorth CapitalJavelin Venture PartnersLightspeed Venture Partners and Lucas Venture GroupMore here.

Happify Health, a five-year-old, New York-based platform that combines emotional health interventions with engagement and gaming technology, raised $9 million in funding. TT Capital Partners led the round. MobiHealthNews has more here.

HomeLight, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company looking to connect home sellers with the top real estate agents in their area, has raised $40 million in new funding led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from Citi Ventures. The company has now raised $55 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Minibar Delivery, a four-year-old, New York-based marketplace for wine, beer and spirits that delivers on demand, has raised $5 million in funding led by Corigin Ventures, with participation from Female Founders FundWinklevoss CapitalLaunchCapital and RiverPark Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

NuOrder, a six-year-old, West Hollywood, Ca.-based online wholesale platform and marketplace for the fashion industry, has raised $8 million in funding led by Argentum, with participation from Upfront VenturesGreycroft PartnersCowboy VenturesNovel TMT, and Box Group. VentureBeat has more here.

One Signal, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that enables developers to easily add personalized push notifications to their apps, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by SignalFire. The company has now raised $9.5 million altogether, including from Rakuten Ventures, Factual CEO Gil Elbaz, Safegraph CEO Auren Hoffman, and Drawbridge CTO Devin Guan. TechCrunch has more here.

Poshmark, a six-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based online marketplace for  buying and selling second-hand clothing, is in talks to raise more than $50 million in a funding round that could value the startup at roughly $600 million, says Reuters. More here.

Smilo, a year-old, Wayland, Ma.-based maker of baby feeding and soothing products, has raised $3.25 million in seed funding, including from Norwest Venture Partners and Brand Foundry Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

WebLinc, a 23-year-old, Philadelphia, Pa.-based digital commerce technology company that sells its software to online retailers, has secured $5 million in venture debt from Horizon Technology Finance Corporation, a publicly traded specialty finance company. More here.

New Funds

Base Partners, a 10-month-old, São Paulo, Brazil-based investment firm, has raised $75 million for its debut fund, says Fortune. More here.

Carmel Ventures, a 17-year-old, Israel-based venture capital firm, is raising a fifth fund, shows an SEC filing that does not list a target. The firm closed its fourth fund with $194 million in 2014, including from LPs that included the China-based companies Baidu, Ping-An, and Qihoo360. More here.

Quest Venture Partners, a nine-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based seed-stage venture firm, is raising up to $40 million for its third fund, shows an SEC filing. The outfit closed its sophomore fund with $45 million three years ago. More here.


Microsoft is buying Cycle Computing, a 12-year-old, Stamford, Ct.-based company that develops software for orchestrating workloads in the Azure, Amazon, and Google clouds. Terms aren’t being disclosed. Cycle Computing had raised “non-equity assistance” from Microsoft previously. ZDNet has more here.

Pattern Technologies, a two-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based software company that helps salespeople manage their customer relationships, has been acquired by publicly traded WorkDay for undisclosed terms. CEO Derek Draper announced the news on LinkedIn yesterday, though reached for more information, he told us he isn’t at liberty to disclose more details. (Don’t worry, we’re still working on it!) Pattern had raised $2.5 million from investors, including First Round CapitalSoftTech VCFelicis Ventures and numerous angel investors. We’d talked with the company last year.

Target has acquired Grand Junction, a four-year-old, 13-person San Francisco-based transportation technology company, to better compete in the same-day and local-delivery wars. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Fortune has more here.

Transplace, a 17-year-old, Frisco, Tex.-based provider of transportation management and other third-party logistics services, has been acquired by TPG Capital and the company’s management for undisclosed terms. They purchased the outfit from Greenbriar Equity Group.


Yesterday morning, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier‘s quit Donald Trump’s manufacturing business council following Trump’s response to the violent “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend. By late afternoon, two others had followed Frazier out the door: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, who says he’ll serve the administration when it stands up for “equality and other cherished American values,” and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who issued a statement, saying his company engages in “innovation and sports, not politics.” (Trump is handling the departures just as you might imagine.)

Bill Gates made his largest gift since the turn of the century, giving 64 million of Microsoft shares valued at $4.6 billion on June 6, according to an SEC filing. More here.

Pandora has appointed Robert Lynch as its new president and CEO. Lynch was the founding CEO of Dish’s Sling TV. More here.

Netflix’s cofounder has a crazy plan: let people visit the movie theater as often as they want each month — for the price of a single ticket.

Essential Reads

Travis Kalanick’s and Anthony Levandowski’s texts tell the tale of what Uber knew about Waymo‘s tech.

Amazon wants to cut delivery times down to mere minutes, allowing shoppers in select areas to pick up their items almost immediately after ordering them.


From emo meme to EDM king: James Van Der Beek.

Jim Carrey’s art.

Retail Therapy

The Klipsch Capital One speaker. Classic looks, modern components!

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