StrictlyVC: September 18, 2017

Happy Monday, all! We’re at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in San Francisco today through Wednesday, so these newsletters might be a little on the skimpier side over the next few days. (We’re not so great at multitasking.) We expect to have plenty of interesting coverage for you coming out of the show, though.

More soon.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Slack yesterday closed on $250 million in funding led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The round values the workplace chat company at $5.1 billion, up from the $3.8 billion its investors assigned it during its last round. Bloomberg has more here.

The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into whether top officials at Equifax violated insider trading laws when they sold stock before the company disclosed that it had been hacked, according to Bloomberg. More here.

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From deep dives into key areas animating AI conversations from leading technical experts to introductory courses in machine learning and game theory for AI, the Future Labs AI Summit features offerings for scholars, technologists, and investors alike. Attendees will also get a first look at demos from the second cohort of startups in the AI NexusLab, the accelerator program run by Future Labs, NYU Tandon, and ff Venture Capital. Get tickets here.

Sallie Krawcheck’s Ellevest Just Landed a Big New Round of Funding

Ellevest, a nearly three-year-old, New York-based digital investment platform built for women and led by former Wall Street titan Sallie Krawcheck, has raised $34.6 million in fresh funding.

The round — which was led by Rethink Impact, and includes participation from PSP Growth, Salesforce Ventures, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, LH Holdings, SK Impact Fund, Morningstar, Khosla Ventures, Mellody Hobson, Ulu Ventures, Contour Venture Partners and Astia Angels — brings the company’s total funding to $53.6 million.

Ellevest has plenty of competition from other, earlier digital wealth management platforms, including Betterment and Wealthfront, but it caters to women and thinks it can win marketshare by attracting female clients. Indeed, its tagline,”Invest like a woman,” is a nod to the often different financial reality for women, who tend to live longer then men, as well as have different salary arcs.

More here.

New Fundings

Brandfolder, a nearly five-year-old, Denver, Co.-based digital asset management platform for brands, has raised $5 million in funding led byTelescope Partners, a new Bay Area firm led by Mickey Arabelovic, a former partner at Sequoia. Brandfolder is the firm’s first investment. More here.

Cofactor Genomics, a nine-year-old, Saint Louis, Mo.-based company that’s trying to turn machine learning-based encoding of RNA data into a new searchable and indexable format, has raised $18 million in Series A funding. Menlo Ventures led the round; other participants include DCVCAscension VenturesiSelectY CombinatorWilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Stanford. TechCrunch has more here.

ComparaOnline, an eight-year-old, Santiago, Chile-based startup that pitches financial educational tools to consumers in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia, has raised $14 million in funding from the private equity firm Bamboo Capital Partners and the International Finance Corp., the investment arm of the World Bank Group. TechCrunch has more here.

LifeMine Therapeutics, a 1.5-year-old, Boston, Ma.-based drug discovery company, has raised $55 million in Series A funding led by WuXi Healthcare Ventures. Other investors in the round include Foresite CapitalGVArch VenturesBoyu CapitalBlue Pool CapitalMerck Ventures, and Alexandria Venture InvestmentsMore here.

LimeBike, a nine-month-old, San Francisco-based dockless bike sharing company, has closed a new round of funding in the “tens of millions,” according to Forbes, whose sources say the deal values that company at roughly $200 million. Forbes is also reporting that DST Global, an early backer, is not a part of this Series B. More here.

Matroid, a 1.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based computer vision company that uses machine learning to help its customers monitor video streams in real time, has raised $10 million in Series A co-led by New Enterprise Associates and Intel Capital. The company has now raised $13.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Panoply, a 2.5-year-old. San Francisco and Tel Aviv, Israel-based send to end data management platform for analytics on the cloud, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by C5 Capital, with participation from earlier backers Intel CapitalBlumberg Capital and 500 StartupsMore here.

Rodin Therapeutics, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotechnology company that’s developing therapeutics to boost synaptic resilience, has raised $27 million in funding from GVHatteras Venture PartnersRemeditex VenturesThird Point Ventures, and earlier backer Atlas Venture. FierceBiotech has more here.

Sonendo, an 11-year-old, Laguna Hills, Ca.-based dental company that’s developing what it calls a multisonic ultracleaning technology, has raised $50 million in growth funding. Investors include General Atlantic, along with earlier backers Fjord VenturesOrbiMed AdvisorsMeritech Capital PartnersCVF LLC, and NeoMedMore here.


ZhongAn, a four-year-old, Shanghai, China-based company that became China’s first online-only insurer, said yesterday that plans to raise up to $1.5 billion in an IPO that could value the company at around $10 billion. Softbank Group will be a cornerstorne investor in the offering.

Restoration Robotics, a 15-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based company that’s developing a robotic device that assists doctors during a part of a hair restoration procedure, is planning to go public, offering 3.125 million share priced at between $7 and $9 a share. The company’s biggest outside investors include Sutter Hill VenturesClarus LifesciencesAlloy Ventures, and InterWest Partners. MarketWatch has slightly more here.

Roku just more than doubled its IPO target.

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How Satya Nadella rewrote Microsoft’s code.

Sanjay Sharma, who has led Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital hip-hop and urban-youth-culture media startup for the last three years as CEO, is leaving to start his own digital media venture, says Variety. More here.

“Every so often I get like the odd sort of flashback where it jolts me a little bit, but it’s only ever a snippet, that fraction of a second before I actually hit the car. I don’t really remember much about the actual accident”. Hiroki Takeuchi, the cofounder and CEO of the London-based finch company GoCardless, gives his first interview since a serious road accident left him paralyzed last year. (Great, inspiring read.)


Video was the fastest-growing ad format in recent months, according to a new report from mobile ad company SmaatoMore here.

Essential Reads

Netflix and HBO cleaned up at last night’s Primetime Emmys.

With Uber reportedly nearing a deal with SoftBank and Lyft having held discussions with Alphabet, alliances are shifting quickly in the industry.

This is interesting. In a blow to China’s cash-burning, richly funded dockless bike sharing companies like Mobike and Ofo, the city of Beijing just banned commercial advertising on the bikes. China Money Network has more here.


Government bodies are increasingly turning the tables on citizens who seek public records.

A new study will make you feel better about those bad Tinder dates.

This hotel will send an orchestra to wake you up.

Retail Therapy

Mission E. Oh!

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