StrictlyVC: October 4, 2017

Hello! Hope you’re having a wonderful Wednesday.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Uber had its big board meeting yesterday and it sounds like some progress was made. Reportedly, the 11-person board agreed to switch to a new, “one share, one vote” type structure, which reduces the clout of former CEO Travis Kalanick along with some other earlier investors, including Benchmark. (Investor Shervin Pishevar, who held an observer role for a couple of years, is threatening to launch a class-action lawsuit over the decision, writing to the board yesterday that its actions were “unfair and illegal” and threatening to “be relentless in rectifying this wrong. We will hold these people accountable under the law.” Pishevar added that the company is “robbing” both “employees and advisors” of their “hard-earned shareholder rights worth billions in value.” (We’re not sure how hard the advisors worked, but . . .)

Meanwhile, SoftBank, whose modus operandi we wrote about yesterday, looks to get getting its wish. According to reports, the Japanese conglomerate, alongside the U.S. investment group Dragoneer, can move forward and invest up to $1.25 billion in Uber at the $68 billion valuation  it was assigned in late 2015 — as long as it can find sellers. The syndicate is also looking to buy up to $10 billion worth of secondary shares at a valuation of $50 billion, says Recode. Again, this is contingent on its ability to find shareholders who are ready to cash out ahead of an expected 2019 IPO.

Not last, Uber’s directors voted to add six new seats to make a 17-member board, reports the New York Times. SoftBank would get two of the new seats, with another going to an independent chairman or chairwoman and three going to new independent directors. That should safely make any kind of meaningful individual participation completely impossible. (For what it’s worth, the WSJ ran some interesting data last year on the boards of the biggest U.S. companies.)

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Roofstock, a Marketplace for Single-Family Homes with Tenants, Raises $35 Million

Roofstock is a two-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based marketplace for buyers and sellers of single-family homes that have tenants residing in them. The rather specific idea behind it is appealing on a couple of levels, including because both institutional and retail investors can buy and sell homes without forcing renters to leave the property during a transaction — a big problem for many families in the Bay Area, for example.

Buyers also avoid the hassle of finding renters, gaining a property that will presumably generate cash flow from the outset.

Perhaps it’s no wonder that VCs like it, too. In fact, today, the 65-person company is announcing $35 million in Series C funding led by Canvas Ventures that brings its total funding to just less than $70 million altogether. Other participants in the round include earlier backers Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Nyca Partners, QED Investors, and FJ Labs.

Yesterday, to learn more, we had a quick exchange about the round with Roofstock cofounder and CEO Gary Beasley, who was previously the co-CEO of Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, one of the largest publicly traded single family rental (SFR) companies in the U.S. Earlier in his career, Beasley also spent more than two years as CEO of Waypoint Homes, an operating company that acquires, renovates, leases and manages a portfolio of rental homes in markets around the country.

How many properties have sold on Roofstock so far?

We don’t disclose the absolute number of properties sold on the platform, but it represents hundreds of millions of dollars in value this year alone.

How, or where, does the company drum up inventory?

Properties are broadly sourced, from small retail sellers to mid and large institutions.

Is there anything preventing new landlords from increasing the rent of tenants as soon as a property changes hands?

Landlords need to honor existing leases and follow local laws and regulations when contemplating rent increases.

Where does Roofstock operate — in what markets?

We have listings in 15 markets across the U.S., each of which is unique and presents different characteristics and opportunities for investors to gain real estate exposure.

Do you have partnerships with other real estate brokers?

More here.

New Fundings

Bluecore, a four-year-old, New York-based SaaS company that aims to help retail marketing organizations make smarter decisions, has raised $35 million in Series C funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from earlier investors Georgian Partners, FirstMark Capital and Felicis Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Clearsurance, a two-year-old, Newburyport, Ma.-based crowdsourced review, rating and educational platform for the insurance industry, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by the company’s founder and CEO, Michael Crowe, with participation from other investors, including Davis Capital Partners. More here.

Fuel50, a six-year-old, Redondo Beach, Ca.-based company whose “career path” software aims to boost engagement and retention at big companies, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding, including from Rincon Venture Partners and Bonfire Ventures. More here.

Glovo, a nearly two-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based on-demand delivery company similar to Postmates in the U.S., has  €30 million ($35 million) in Series B funding led by Rakuten Capital, and Cathay Innovation. Earlier investors Seaya Ventures, Entreé Capital, Caixa Capital Risk, and Bonsai Venture Capital also participated. TechCrunch has more here.

Grateful Ventures, a three-year-old, Phoenix, Az.-based online media company that focuses on lifestyle content, including videos about food and cooking, has raised an undisclosed amount of less than $10 million from Gannett Co, says Reuters. More here.

Grow, a two-year-old, New York-based company at work on a “smart planter” for gardening, has raised $2.4 million in seed funding led by Resolute Ventures. More here.

Immatics, a 17-year-old, Tübingen, Germany-based developer of cancer immunotherapies, has raised $58 million in Series E funding from Amgen, along with earlier backers Dievini Hopp Biotech and Wellington Partners. FierceBiotech has more here.

Infinidat, a six-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based data-storage firm led by EMC co-founder Moshe Yanai, has raised $95 million in Series C funding at a $1.6 billion valuation. Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing led the round, with participation from earlier backer TPG Growth. Xconomy has more here.

Numetric, a two-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based business intelligence tools company, just raised nearly $13 million in funding from investors, including Insight Venture Partners, EPIC Ventures, Tim Draper, and Aaron Skonnard of Pluralsight. More here.

PatientWisdom, a two-year-old, New Haven, Ct.-based digital application that collects and curates patient stories, has an undisclosed amount of funding, including from OSF Ventures. More here.

Pensa, a four-month-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based cloud platform that enables the adoption of virtual data centers, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by March Capital Partners. More here.

Radar, a 1.5-year-old, New Yor-based location platform for mobile apps, raised $2 million in seed funding led by Accel Partners, says Fortune. Other investors in the round include Expa and Fuel Capital. More here.

TripActions, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based travel management software startup, has added $12.5 million to a Series A round that’s now closing with $27.1 million altogether. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by other investors, including Zeev Ventures. More here., a 4.5-year-old, Vienna, Va.-based digital roadside assistance platform, has raised $10 million in Series B funding, including from American Tire Distributors, Verizon Ventures and Forté Ventures. More here.

Vestwell, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based maker of software for registered financial advisors, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by F-Prime Capital Partners, with participation from Commerce Ventures, FinTech Collective and Primary Venture Partners. Built in NYC has more here.

New Funds

The Rise Fund, a social impact private equity fund from TPG Capital, has closed with $2 billion in capital commitments, according to Bloomberg The brainchild of TPG Growth’s head honcho Bill McGlashan, the team had announced it would begin raising this vehicle last December.

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Apple has acqui-hired the team from a two-year-old, New York-based messaging assistant called to work on Siri. (Please, God, let them improve Siri.) The company had raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding last year, including from Boldstart Ventures, Danmar Capital and Techstars. TechCrunch has the scoop here.

Boston Scientific Corp is acquiring Apama Medical, a Campbell, Calif.-based medical device firm, for $300 million, which includes $175 million in cash upfront. According to Crunchbase, Apama had raised more than $34 million in funding, including from Ascension Ventures, Medvance Incubator Partners, ONSET Ventures and Incept. It also secured $6.5 million in debt last year from Silicon Valley Bank. Mass Device has more here.


Laurene Powell Jobs has agreed to acquire around a 20 percent stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, a Ted Leonsis-led sports empire that owns the Washington Wizards, among other things. The deal puts Jobs in a very small group of female NBA owners. CNBC has more here.

Mark Kraynak has joined San Francisco-based Aspect Ventures as an entrepreneu-in-residence. Kraynak was previously an executive at the publicly traded cybersecurity company Imperva for nearly 13 years; he’ll help support Aspect’s portfolio companies, particularly those focused on cybersecurity. (These now account for one-fourth of the firm’s portfolio.)

The venture firm Relay Ventures announced some moves last week that we’d forgotten to share, adding Spiros Michalakis, a professor of quantum physics at Caltech, as a “professor-in-residence”; Jessica Tsoong, whose company, WiFSLAM sold to Apple in 2013, as an entrepreneur-in-residence; and Kady Srinivasan, who is the head of digital market at Dropbox, as a venture advisor. The firm also promoted Jake Cassaday, who works in its Toronto office, to associate partner.

Vanity Fair is hosting its “New Establishment Summit” in L.A. today, for the second day in a row. You can catch the live stream here.


Crunchbase just released its second “women in ventures” report, and the update is encouraging.

Essential Reads

Google held a press conference today in San Francisco, where the company announced everything from new phones to wearable cameras. You can check out what you missed right here.

Jack Dorsey returned to Twitter two years ago, but many believe he hasn’t moved quick enough.

A look at Apple and Qualcomm‘s billion-dollar war over an $18 part.


Every Harrison Ford performance ranked.

Ten Instagram hacks to up your game.


Retail Therapy

An electric tire pump that fits in your pocket.

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