StrictlyVC: September 1, 2017

Friday! StrictlyVC is publishing Monday, Labor Day, but don’t hate us if it’s highly condensed (which, let’s face it, is what’s going to happen).

Happy long weekend, everyone. If you haven’t already, please do send a little something to the folks in Houston, who have a long road ahead. We know that WeWork is still matching gifts to the Harvey Relief Fund, for what it’s worth. Your company may well match the organization of your choice, too.

Top News in the A.M.

The chief executives of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google joined roughly 300 business leaders urging President Donald Trump late yesterday to continue protecting children brought illegally to the United States from being deported. Reportedly, Trump isn’t make any announcements about it today.

Sponsored By . . .

StrictlyVC is brought to you this week by Studio Science, a leading design and innovation consultancy that specializes in building and launching ambitious brands, services and products for some of the world’s leading technology companies. Studio Science partners with world-class VCs, startups and founders to design compelling brand experiences, explore emergent business models and innovate new products and services. To learn more about Studio Science’s customers, results, and work, we invite you to visit

New Fundings

7shifts, a four-year-old, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based maker of restaurant scheduling software, has raised $3.5 million in new  funding from Tandem Capital and earlier investor Relay VenturesMore here.

8th Wall, a year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based provider of augmented reality platform that works on iOS and Android phones and integrates with ArKit (Apple) and Google’s Tango, has raised $2.4 million in funding. Its investors included Norwest Venture Partners, the VR FundSV AngelGreylock PartnersBetaworks, and Third KindMore here.

Abcfintech, a year-old, China-based startup whose AI-driven analysis products for the financial industry aim to improve how investment decisions are made, as well as to predict future trends., has raised $30 million in a combined angel and Series A round. Qiming Venture Partners led the financing; other participants Source Code CapitalSIG Asia Investment and Welight Capital. China Money Network has more here.

Cara, a year-old, Berlin-based precision medicine company focused on chronic digestive disorders, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Atlantic Labs, with participation from numerous angel investors. More here.

Citybox, an eight-month-old, China-based smart vending machine operator, has raised $15 million in Series A funding from Blue Lake CapitalGGV CapitalYunqi Partners and Zhen Fund. China Money Network has more here.

Good Feeling Group, a four-year-old, Shenzhen, China-based fitness club chain, has raised $14 million in Series B funding led by China Merchants Bank, with participation from Century Golden Resources Corp.

Teckro, a two-year-old, Limerick, Ireland-based life sciences company that uses machine-learning technologies to improve the speed and accuracy of clinical trials, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. Investors include Bill Maris’s Section 32; the company has now raised $17.8 million altogether. The Irish Times has more here.

Weekly Shirts, a year-old, Seoul, South Korea-based shirt rental service for men, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by K Cube Ventures, with participation from D.Camp and The Yoonmin FoundationMore here., a seven-year-old, Fort Worth, Tex.-based programmatic advertising platform, has received a majority investment from GTCR, a private equity firm based in Chicago. The amount of money changing hands isn’t being disclosed. More here.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group, an operator of streaming music and karaoke apps that is controlled by China’s Tencent, is looking to raise additional funding at a $10 billion valuation ahead of IPO, reports Bloomberg. (Tencent Music was created last year, when Tencent agreed to acquire a controlling stake in China’s then leading music-streaming company, China Music Corp. As of last year, it owned roughly 60 percent of the company.) More here.

New Funds

Joanna Rees, whose firm VSP Capital imploded among infighting roughly ten years ago, is raising a new $100 million fund under the brand West, shows an SEC filing. Her partner in the fund is the head of a marketing agency that operates under the same brand. Rees was once a rising star in the venture industry and one of the first women to launch her own venture firm, though LPs later asked for their money back. Rees subsequently ran unsuccessfully for mayor of San Francisco.


Lightstar Therapeutics, a London-based biotech company with a choroideremia gene therapy (choroideremia, which primarily affects men, causes untreatable progressive vision loss), has filed to raise up to $86 million in a IPO on Nasdaq. New Enterprise Associates and Wellington Management are two of the company’s biggest outside shareholders. FierceBiotech has more here.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise just completed the $8.8 billion sale of much of its software business to Micro Focus International.


Billionaire and native Texan Michael Dell has pledged $36 million of his foundation’s money to help disaster relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. It’s the largest donation to date aimed at recovery efforts.

David Famolari has joined Hearst Ventures as a managing director in New York. Famolari was previously a director with Verizon Ventures.

Blake Ross, the founder of Firefox and a former Facebook executive, will join Uber to develop product strategy, he said yesterday.

Whether Uber employees will want to leave under the company’s new leadership is one thing, but the company has made it far easier for them to do so — which wasn’t always the case. According to Axios’s Dan Primack, Uber earlier this year extended the time employees have to exercise their stock options to a healthy seven years (up from a typical 90 days that employees have after leaving a company). With an IPO now seemingly now coming in the next one to three three years, you may well see some departures.


Stanford produces the most startup founders (still). Axios has more here.

Essential Reads

Samsung can start testing self-driving cars in California.

Yes, it’s true. Benevolent Google uses its power to quash ideas it doesn’t like.

Co-living buildings are just getting started.


Inside New York City’s priciest rentals.

The average dad is getting older. (Not George Clooney older, but older.)

We don’t know about you, but we’re growing a little worried about the future.

Retail Therapy

Quite a home concept! (H/T: Uncrate.)

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