StrictlyVC: August 22, 2017

Hi, happy Tuesday.:) SO MANY CALLS TODAY. (We didn’t forget you.)

Top News in the A.M.

Sonos says its customers won’t be given an option to opt out of its new privacy policy, leaving them with sound systems that may eventually “cease to function.”  They don’t seem too happy about the development.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Rosebud Communications. Everybody’s still talking about the solar eclipse today. We’d say the sun did a good job of “getting the word out.” Smart, on-message media coverage = higher valuations. We’re the hardest-working PR firm in the business. Send us an email; operators are standing by:

This 23-Year-Old Just Closed Her Second Fund with $22 Million

Laura Deming is not your typical venture capitalist. Then again, she isn’t typical in many ways.

For starters, the 23-year-old, New Zealand native was home schooled, developing a love of math and physics and, perhaps most interestingly, the biology of aging, along the way. In fact, she became so preoccupied with the last that at age 11, Deming wrote to Cynthia Kenyon, a renowned molecular biologist who specializes in the genetics of aging, asking if she could visit Kenyon’s San Francisco lab during a family trip to the Bay Area. Kenyon said yes. When, soon after the visit, Deming asked if she could work in the lab, Kenyon said yes again.

Deming’s family moved to the U.S. to make it possible, and it’s highly doubtful they regret the decision. Indeed, by age 14, Deming was a student at MIT, and two years after that — at the tender age of 16 — she was a college drop-out, having been accepted into Peter Thiel’s two-year-old, Thiel Fellowship program, which gives $100,000 to young people “who want to build new things.”

Often, those “new things” evolve along the way. Not for Deming, who pitched the idea of a venture fund that would support aging-related startups, and has since turned that early concept into Longevity Fund, an early-stage venture outfit that just closed its second fund with $22 million.

Earlier today, we caught up with Deming, who’s now 23, to learn more about her path — and which technologies she’s betting on to extend the human lifespan.

It’s incredible that this all started with an email to a UCSF professor.

[Cynthia Kenyon] is the most amazing person I’ll ever meet.

What did you do in her lab, exactly?

We were working with tiny, see-through worms. You put them on plate of jelly and you see what happens if you change their genetic material. Do they live longer or die faster? If you starve them, they live longer. If you starve worms and also turn off certain genes, could you get them to live even longer? I was naïve, but I really wanted to make the longest-living worms ever. [Laughs.]

More here.

New Fundings

Animusoft, a three-year-old, Miami, Fl.-based software platform for drones, has raised $1 million from investors, including from Accelerated Growth Partners, a South Florida network of angel investors. The Miami Herald has more here.

CommandScape, a newly launched, Delray Beach, Fl.-based company that offers control centers, video surveillance and security for buildings, has raised an undisclosed amount funding from founder Jim Clark, who is best known for cofounding Netscape but who moved to Florida years ago to jump into real estate investing. USA Today has more here.

Databricks, a nearly four-year-old, San Francisco-based machine learning and analytics platform that was founded out of the UC Berkeley AMPLab, has raised $140 million in Series D funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, less than a year after raising $60 million led by New Enterprise Associates. The company has now raised $247 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Druva, a nine-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based cloud-based data protection provider, has raised $80 million in fresh funding led by Riverwood Capital. Other participants include Sequoia Capital IndiaNexus Venture PartnersNTT FinanceTenaya Capital and other, earlier backers. The company has now raised $200 million altogether. VC Circle has more here.

Elucida Oncology, a three-year-old, New York-based clinical development stage company whose technology aims to identify and treat an array of solid tumor cancers, has raised $10.9 million in funding, shows an SEC filing.

GoodTime, a year-old, San Francisco-based startup that uses employee data to schedule interviewers faster and more cost effectively, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Big Basin Capital and Walden Venture Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Hyper Anna, a two-year old, Sydney, Australia-based startup that has created a kind of virtual, AI-powered data analyst, has raised $16 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital China, with participation from seed investors Reinventureand AirTree Ventures. Australia’s Financial Review has more here.

Julive, a three-year-old, China-based online-to-offline real estate agency, has raised “tens of millions of U.S. dollars” in a round led by Vertex Venture Holdings, with participation from earlier backer Source Code Capital. China Money Network has more here.

ShoCard, a two-year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based blockchain-based identity management system, has raised $4 million in funding. Morado and AME Cloud Ventures led the round with participation from Storm VenturesDanhua CapitalCorrelation VenturesRecruit Strategic Partners and Robert Tinker, the founder and former CEO of MobileIron. More here.

Sigstr, a four-year-old, Indianapolis, Ia.-based cloud platform for employee email personalization, has raised $5 million in Series A funding. Hyde Park Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Battery VenturesHubSpotGrand Ventures and High Alpha CapitalMore here.

Skytap, an 11-year-old, Seattle-based company that runs its own cloud with the goal of helping enterprises that want to modernize their infrastructure bring their existing applications to its service, has raised $45 million in Series E funding. Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing led the round, with participation from existing investors. The company has now raised $109 million, altogether. TechCrunch has more here., a four-year-old, Toronto-based startup whose mobile software allows sales associates and retailers to engage more effectively with customers, has raised $40 million in new funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The WSJ has more here.

New Funds

1confirmation, a fund that plans to invest in blockchain-based companies, is looking to raise $20 million for its debut fund, says Bloomberg. Mark Cubanand the venture capital firm Runa Capital is among its investors, and its technical advisors include investor-founder Balaji Srinivasan and programming language JavaScript founder Brendan EichMore here.

Unshackled Ventures, a three-year-old organization that funds and helps foreign entrepreneurs who want to base their startups in the U.S., is raising a targeted $25 million for a second fund, according to an SEC filing. Axios has more here.


Crystal Biotech, a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based gene therapy company at work on treatments for dermatological diseases, is planning to raise up to $35 million in an IPO, shows a new filing.  Marketwatch has more here.

Meanwhile, Blue Apron has been hit with multiple class-action lawsuits over its sinking share price. TechCrunch has more here.


GoDaddy has named chief operating officer Scott Wagner its new CEO, announcing earlier today that current CEO Blake Irving will retire at the end of this year.

Veteran media executive Ross Levinsohn was named publisher and CEO of the 135-year-old L.A. Times yesterday.

The newest board seat for VC Mary Meeker: it’s with the PGA Tour Policy Board, a council that governs the tour.

Also Sponsored By . . .

Today’s StrictlyVC is also brought to you by the Financial Solutions Lab at CFSI, which would like to gently remind you that if you’re lucky, you’re going to get old. But your parents will first — and if they’re lucky, their money will last the rest of their lives. But what if there was a way to keep an eye on your folks’ financial lives, without taking away their financial independence? There is — it’s EverSafe, one of this year’s Lab companies. Here’s their story.


Nextworld Capital is looking to hire an associate. The job is in San Francisco. (We hosted our May event at NextWorld; you can get a feel for its digs here.)


Parents are maybe not great role models when it comes to texting and driving, suggests a new survey.

Essential Reads

Why big business is racing to build blockchains.

All 50 startups from day one of Y Combinator‘s Demo Day.

Coinbase’s individual customers get burglarized—with surprising and unsettling frequency — and fraud protections are mostly unavailable.


The next step after a bad first impression at work.

Foiling fast in Silicon Valley.

JayBey just shelled out $88 million for a new L.A. mansion — the most expensive home sale of the year in L.A.

Retail Therapy

The Plaza Hotel. Now it can be yours (for around $500 million).

Filed Under:

Don’t Miss Out!

Sign up today to receive a free daily email with everything you need to start your day. Plus, keep track of the companies and personalities that will shape the industry in the months and years to come. Let StrictlyVC be your very own venture capital concierge.

StrictlyVC on Twitter