StrictlyVC: September 26, 2017

Hi, happy Tuesday, all! Excited to see some of you tomorrow night in San Francisco!

Top News in the A.M.

Twitter says it’s going to try giving some of us 280 characters to see how that goes.

Dyson, known for its vacuums and fans and also sometimes for over-engineering things, is planning to sell an electric car in 2020. TechCrunch has more here.

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Roivant Receives Bad News — and So Does SoftBank

Last month, SoftBank, through its massive Vision Fund, led the single biggest private financing round for a healthcare company ever — funneling $1.1 billion into the drug holding outfit Roivant Sciences.

Today, the Japanese conglomerate might be regretting that decision. The reason: despite hundreds of millions of dollars poured into one of Roivant’s publicly traded subsidiaries — Axovant Sciences — the company just received news that its much-hyped, experimental Alzheimer’s drug, intepirdine, doesn’t work.

It’s a devastating outcome for Axovant, which was taken public in 2015 in what was then the biggest biotech IPO ever in the U.S., and whose shares have plummeted nearly 75 percent today on the news.

The outcome is also a black mark against Roivant, which focuses on developing and commercializing a wide range of therapies and has numerous other subsidiaries, all of which involve the word “vant.”

More here.

New Fundings

Dreamscape Immersive, a 1.5-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based maker of full-body motion capture VR technology, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by movie theater chain AMC. TechCrunch has more here.

Drift, a three-year-old, Boston-based sales platform, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by General Catalyst Partners, with participation from CRVHubSpot, and Sequoia CapitalMore here.

Efinix, a five-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based programmable technology, raised $9.5 million in funding co-led by Xilinx and Hong Kong X Technology Fund, with participation from Samsung Ventures Investment CorporationHong Kong Inno Capital, and Brizan InvestmentsMore here.

Eligo Bioscience, a three-year-old, France-based biotech company that’s developing precision drugs to try to prevent and treat microbiome-associated diseases, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from Seventure Partners. TechCrunch has more here.

Fairphone, a four-year-old, Amsterdam-based company that designs modular smartphones with the aim of supporting repairability and encouraging sustainability, has raised $7.7 million in new funding from Pymwymic Impact Investing Cooperative, which invests in companies with an environmental or social purpose, along with another social impact investor, DOEN Participaties. TechCrunch has more here.

Fusion Pharmaceuticals, a three-year-old, Ontario, Canada-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has raised $21 million in Series A funding, including from Adams Street PartnersSeroba Life Sciences and Varian Medical SystemsMore here.

Indigo, a four-year-old, Boston-based company aiming to create these to “modern seeds” to increase crop productivity and resilience in the face of stress, has raised $156 million in Series D funding at a $1.4 billion post-money valuation. Investors include Baillie GiffordActivant Capital and earlier backers Flagship Pioneering and the Alaska Permanent FundMore here.

Koho, a three-year-old, Canada-based financial services platform, raised $8 million in funding from Portag3 Ventures. BetaKit has more here.

Lively, a year-old, San Francisco-based health savings account platform company that aims to make it easier for users to get their money in and out of their accounts to pay for deductibles, raised $4.2 million in funding. Investors include Transmedia CapitalStreamlined VenturesY CombinatorSV Angel, and The Durant Company (cofounded by NBA star Kevin Durant). TechCrunch has more here.

Picniic, a year-old, Vancouver, Canada-based app that aims to help keep families organized, has raised $2 million in funding, including from Norway-based Telenor. BetaKit has more here.

ProsperWorks, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that provides a customer relationship manager (CRM) for G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work), has raised $53 million in Series C funding. Norwest Venture Partnersled the round, and was joined by GVIndustry VenturesNext World CapitalStorm Ventures and True Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.

Ritual Technologies, a three-year-old, Toronto-based startup whose app allows restaurant customers to order ahead for takeout food, has raised $43.5 million in Series B funding led by Insight Venture Partners. The WSJ has more here.

Transit, a four-year-old, Montreal, Canada-based transportation app that helps users more easily compare and combine different transport services, raised $5 million in funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from Real VenturesAccomplice, and BDC. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

IVP, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture capital and growth equity firm, just closed on $1.5 billion in capital commitments for its newest fund, IVP XVI. The fund is the firm’s largest yet, but only by a smidge. It closed its last fund with $1.4 billion in 2015. TechCrunch has more here.

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iQiyi, a Chinese Netflix-style streaming company that’s majority owned by Baidu, is targeting a U.S. IPO as early as 2018, reports Bloomberg, which says it may be seeking a valuation as high as $10 billion. Baidu wants to continue holding a controlling stake in iQiyi upon the IPO via dual-class shares, it adds. More here.


Doorman, a San Francisco-based package delivery startup, is shutting the door on its operations. (Sorry.) The company, which had raised more htan $3 million from VCs — includng Motus Ventures500 Startups, and Matrix Partners  says it’s joining forces with a larger (undisclosed) team. TechCrunch has more here.

Google today announced it is acquiring five-year-old Bitium, which sells identity and access management services that let its customers give their employees a single login for multiple cloud service Financial details were not disclosed, but Bitium had raised a total of $14.9 million from investors, including Polaris Ventures and VentureBeat has more here.

Managed by Q, a New York City-based on-demand office services startup, has acquired Hivy, a year-old, Paris-based task management office tool. Hivy doesn’t appear to have raised (or, at least, disclosed) outside funding. According to Crunchbase, Managed by Q has raised at least $72.4 million in funding, including from GVGreycroft Partners, and RRE Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Personify, an eight-year-old, Chicago-based management software provider that’s raised around $27 million from investors, is acquiring Wild Apricot, an 11-year-old, Ontario, Canada-based web-based management software provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. More here.

Temasek will acquire a minority stake in CAA, a provider of entertainment and sports agency services (and another new investor gets slaughtered in Hollywood). TPG Capital will remain the agency’s biggest shareholder. The New York Times has more here.

After abandoning its plans to launch a subscription video-on-demand business earlier this year, IAC-owned streaming video site Vimeo announced today that it’s acquiring the live video streaming platform, Livestream, and launching its own live streaming product, Vimeo Live. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. According to Crunchbase, Livestream had raised roughly $15 million from investors. TechCrunch has more here.


Equifax‘s CEO is “retiring.”

Viviana Faga has joined Emergence Capital Partners as an operating partner. She previously led marketing for enterprise social at Microsoft.


NextWorld Capital is looking to hire an operations associate/VP to help build and maintain its U.S. corporate relationships, as well as oversee an enterprise platform that connects these companies with the firm’s startups. The job is in San Francisco.

Essential Reads

The FDA wants to make regulations on Apple a little easier.


Saudi Arabia will finally allow women to drive.

Are you a psychopath? Let’s look at your playlist and find out!

Retail Therapy

For when you build your own franchise.

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