StrictlyVC: September 6, 2017

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Top News in the A.M.

3andMe, the 11-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based genetic testing and analysis company, is raising roughly $200 million at a $1.5 billion pre-money valuation led by Sequoia Capital. Fidelity is also part of the mix. TechCrunch has the scoop here.

Mark Zuckerberg is answering questions about Dreamers and immigration on Facebook Live right now.

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CNN. TechCrunch. WSJ. Forbes. Bloomberg. Business Insider. These are a fraction of the outlets where our clients have appeared — and they’ve paid us a fraction of the price most PR firms charge them for our efforts. We’re Rosebud Communications. Find out just how scrappy we are, at

This Startup Just Raised $2 Million to Analyze Drone Footage for Insurers

Betterview, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose software can analyze detailed aerial footage captured by drones to help insurers better understand a property’s condition, has raised $2 million in funding from a long list of investors.

Compound led the round; other participants include Maiden Re, 645 Ventures, Arab Angel, Winklevoss Capital, Chestnut Street Ventures, Pierre Valade (who co-founded the calendar application Sunrise), angel investor Edward Lando and earlier backers Haystack and MetaProp.

It’s easy to understand the appeal of the company, which currently supports DJI drones and says its special sauce is the more than one million photos of roofs and properties in its database. That data set has been analyzed on an individual photo basis by claims adjusters, roofers and other experts and it ostensibly continues to grow and improve via machine learning with every new image it processes.

Though co-founder and CEO David Lyman isn’t at liberty to disclose the company’s customers publicly, there’s clearly a market bubbling up here. Insurance companies Travelers and Allstate have said they now use drones to take pictures and video — and for fairly straightforward reasons, like the ability to keep their inspectors out of harm’s way, and to view areas where it might be harder for a human to see. Insurers are also deciding that it’s faster to send up an image-capturing drone rather than have someone traipse around a property looking for damage and taking notes.

A year-old FAA rule that makes it easier for drone operators to fly legally as long as their drone is within sight doesn’t hurt, either.

Betterview is chasing a sizable market. There are more than 8 million commercial properties in the U.S.. More than 300,000 of these buildings are valued at more than $5 million, which is the segment that Betterview — which sells it software on a subscription basis — is targeting right now. Should it enter into the business of helping to inspect single family homes, charging perhaps on a one-off basis, the market opens up even further. According to the latest U.S. census data, there are more than 76 million single family homes in the U.S., and 83 percent of them are insured.

More here.

New Fundings

Aras, a 17-year-old, Andover, Ma.-based maker of product lifecycle management software meant to help engineers adapt to changing business practices, has raised $40 million in funding led by Silver Lake Kraftwerk, with participation from GE VenturesMore here.

Axonius, a months-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based open platform looking to help enterprises manage their fast-growing number of mobile, compute and IoT devices, has raised $4 million in seed funding from YL Ventures, with participation from Vertex Ventures and Emerge Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Dataiku, a four-year-old, Paris-based startup whose analystics software aims to help data analysts communicate with data scientists to build more meaningful applications, has raised $28 million in Series B funding led by Battery Ventures, with help from FirstMark CapitalSerena Capital and Alven. The company has now raised nearly $45 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

DivvyCloud, a four-year-old, Arlington, Va.-based startup whose software automates the lifecycle management of IT resources across a company’s public and private cloud technologies, has raised $6 million in funding led by RTP VenturesMore here.

Elastifile, a three-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based enterprise hybrid cloud data management company, has raised $16 million in funding led by Western Digital Capital, the venture unit of Western Digital Corp. Other participants in the round include CE Venture and earlier backers Lightspeed Venture PartnersBattery VenturesDell Technologies Capital and Cisco Investments. The company has now raised roughly $65 million altogether. More here.

Fanatics, a 15-year-old, Jacksonville, Fla., and San Mateo, Ca.-based sports e-commerce firm, has officially closed $1 billion in funding led by SoftBank Group‘s Vision Fund. Reuters has more here.

FiveAI, a two-year-old, Cambridge, England-based company that’s building its own autonomous driving system to take on Uber and other transportation services, has raised two tranches of funding totaling roughly $35 million from investors that include Lakestar CapitalAmadeus Capital PartnersNotion Capital and Kindred. TechCrunch has more here.

Guild Education, a two-year-old, Denver-based education benefits company, has raised $21 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Ventures, with participation from Redpoint VenturesHarrison Metal, and Cowboy Ventures. The company has now raised $31.5 million altogether. We talked with founder Rachel Carson last fallMore here.

Labster, a 5.5-year-old, Copenhagen-based company whose software platform enables virtual simulations of laboratories in order to teach life sciences to students, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Balderton Capital led the round; other participants include Northzone and Unity Technologies founder David Helgason. TechCrunch has more here.

Notable Labs, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based drug-testing service that helps oncologists identify the most appropriate combination of drugs for individuals with blood cancers, has raised  $10 million in Series A funding led byBuilders VC, with participation from existing investors. FierceBiotech has more here.

Tenka Labs, a two-year-old, Sausalito, Ca.-based startup whose simple kits help young students create small gadgets with the use of motors and other bits that connect to legos, has raised $2 million in seed funding from undisclosed sources. TechCrunch has more here.

Truveris, an eight-year-old, New York-based healthcare technology company that aggregates data and insights from across the pharmacy ecosystem to deliver cost savings and patient access to its clients (which include employers, unions, and government entities, among others), has raised $25 million in Series D funding. McKesson Ventures led the round, with participation from Canaan PartnersNew Leaf Venture PartnersTribeca Venture Partners, and New Atlantic VenturesMore here.

Turo, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based car-rental marketplace that invites travelers to use nearby cars, has raised an undisclosed amount tof funding from automaker Daimler as part of a new, $92 million Series D round. In addition to Daimler, other investors in the round include Liberty Mutual Strategic VenturesFounders Circle Capital, and earlier investors. TechCrunch has more here.

Vericool, a two-year-old, Livermore, Ca.-based developer of sustainable cold chain packaging, has raised $5 million in funding led by BillerudKorsnäs Venture ABMore here.

Zipwhip, a 10-year-old, Seattle-based company that’s built a texting platform for businesses to send and receive texts (and more) via their landlines, has raised $22.5 million in Series C funding led by OpenView, with participation from previous backers Voyager Capital and Microsoft Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

According to Axios, ConsenSys, a company that develops apps and tools based on Ethereum, has launched a $50 million venture capital fund that will provide pre-seed and seed capital to blockchain technology startups. It will be led by Kavita Gupta, who most recently led mission investing for Eric Schmidt’s family foundation, with the involvement from ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin (also Ethereum’s cofounder). More on ConsenSys Ventures here.

OrbiMed Advisors has closed its third Asia-focused life sciences VC fund with around $551 million in capital commitments. FierceBiotech has more here.

Speciale Invest, a new venture fund looking to fund deep tech startups, has launched with a $20 million target that it hopes to reach within six months’ time.  The firm’s cofounders are Vishesh Rajaram, who used to be a principal investor at VC firm Ventureas, and Arjun Rao, who worked with Yahoo! and Ibibo before co-founding the 10-year-old, venture-backed bus booking portal Travelyaari. Tech in Asia has more here.

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Earlier this year, Amazon launched its business in the Middle East by paying $580 million to acquire, an Amazon-style marketplace based out of Dubai. Now, Amazon and Souq are making another acquisition to build out the logistics that will underpin that operation’s growth: Souq has acquired, a startup that is building out a network for Prime-style same-day and next-day deliveries for various e-commerce marketplaces. TechCrunch has the rest of the story here.


NuCana, a Edinburgh, U.K.-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that’s looking to fund late-phase trials of its reformulated cancer candidates, has filed to raise $115 million in a Nasdaq IPO. FierceBiotech has more here.


Institutional Venture Partners has brought four new people aboard: Kelly O’Kane, who joins as VP of biz dev; Parsa Saljoughian, who joins as a VP; Chloe Breider, a new associate; and Jason Kong, who was also named an associate. (Click through to see their LinkedIn profiles.)

Kendra Ragatz has joined Aspect Ventures as a general partner and the COO of the firm. Ragatz, who will focus on the growth and development of the firm, including recruiting and finance, was formerly a venture partner with DAG.

Tom Wehmeier, Atomico’s head of research, has been named a partner with the venture firm. More here.


These countries do not love your ICO plans.

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Essential Reads

Gulp. Hackers have gained “switch flipping” access to U.S. power grid control systems.

Cancer’s invasion equation.


Twenty-five women making some of the best rock music today.

Where 50 celebrities went to college.

So American, we know, but pass.

Retail Therapy

Martin Shkreli, the “pharma bro” who’s now facing 20 years in the big house, looks to be selling his one-of-a-kind, 128-minute-long Wu-Tang album on eBay. (Fwiw, he paid $2 million; the starting bid last night was $100K.)

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