StrictlyVC: October 19, 2017

And it is Thursday! Hi, everyone.:)

Top News in the A.M.

Ride-hailing company Lyft has raised a new $1 billion funding round, putting its post-money valuation at $11 billion. The financing was led by Alphabet’s CapitalG, its growth-focused investment fund, with CapitalG partner David Lawee joining Lyft’s board as part of the transaction. More here.

Assa Abloy, the $23 billion Swedish lock giant that owns Yale and many other brands, announced this morning that it’s buying smart lock maker August Home to double down on new technology. Terms aren’t being disclosed, but August had raised $73 million from a whole lot of investors, including Cowboy VenturesMaveron, and Bessemer Venture PartnersMore here.

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Tony Fadell’s Newest Product? An Investment Firm Called Future Shape

Tony Fadell is starting yet a new chapter.

Fifteen months after leaving Nest Labs, a maker of digital thermostats and smoke detectors that Fadell cofounded and sold to Google for $3.2 billion in 2014, Fadell is taking the wraps off a new investment and advisory firm that’s working with engineers and scientists called Future Shape.

The firm’s site, which appears to have gone live very recently, explains that Future Shape is not relying on outside investors for its capital. It also states that the idea is to provide “seed funding, and sometimes A” to companies no matter where they are.

In fact, it says its portfolio is already based mainly in Europe, as well as the U.S., and that it has some “great companies in Asia and the Middle East, too.”

Fadell, who is living at least part time in Paris, has already funded more than 100 companies over the years, including Rohinni,  a four-year-old, Idaho-based startup that makes LED Lighting products andreportedly pitched Fadell while he was still managing Nest. Others of his investments include CashShield, a nine-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based online fraud risk management company, and Turvo, a three-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based logistics management startup.

Future Shape appears to be a way for Fadell to create more structure around these bets.

More here.

New Fundings

Coda, a 3.5-year-old, Bay Area-based startup whose next-generation spreadsheets aim to make Excel a thing of the past, has quietly raised $60 million across two rounds of fundraising. Its investors include Greylock PartnersGeneral CatalystKhosla VenturesNew Enterprise Associates, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers. The Verge has more here.

Feather, a 10-month-old, New York-based company aiming to rent modern furniture to millennials from 3 to 12 months to accommodate their itinerant lifestyles, has raised $3.5 million in seed funding from Kleiner PerkinsBain Capital VenturesSV Angel and others. TechCrunch has more here.

Forty Seven, a 1.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based immuno-oncology startup, has raised $75 million in new funding led by Wellington Management, with participation from earlier investors Clarus,Lightspeed Venture PartnersSutter Hill Ventures and GV. The company has now raised $150 million altogether. FierceBiotech hasmore here.

GuiaBolso, a five-year-old, Sao Paulo, Brazil-based personal finance management platform, has raised $39 million in funding led byVostok Emerging Finance, with participation from Ribbit Capital,IFCQED InvestorsEndeavor Catalyst and Omidyar Network. TechCrunch has more here.

Hiya, a 1.5-year-old, Seattle-based company that aims to provide customers with important context about the people they are calling (and from whom they receive calls), has raised $18 million in Series A funding led by Balderton, with participation from Nautilus Venture Partners and Lumia Capital. TechCrunch has more here.

Meituan-Dianping, a seven-year-old, Beijing, China-based provider of a wide array of on-demand services, has raised a whopping $4 billion in new funding at an even more stunning $30 billion valuation. Earlier backer Tencent led the round and was joined by Sequoia CapitalGIC and Tiger Global. Tech in Asia has more here.<

Mya Systems, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of an AI-recruiter, has raised $18 million in Series B funding led byFoundation Capital, with participation from Emergence Capital, among other investors. More here.

Movinga, a two-year-old, Berlin-based online relocation service company, has raised €22 million ($26 million) by Santo Venture Capital, the venture arm of the Strüngmann family office, with participation from earlier backers Earlybird Venture Capital andRocket Internet. The capital will be called over two tranches, reports TechCrunch. More here.

PayKey, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv-based company whose smartphone keyboard lets bank customers access financial services without having to log onto a banking app, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. MizMaa led the round, with participation from other investors that include SBI GroupSiam Commercial Bank’s financial tech subsidiary Digital Ventures, SixThirty and FinTech71. The company has now raised $16 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

New Funds

Guardian Media Group is planning to launch a new, independent £42 million ($55 million) venture capital fund called GMG Ventures. The idea is to support the development of GMG’s core news business by funding early-stage startups focused on developing the next generation of media technology.  The Guardian has more here.

Plenty of investors have broken their picks, trying to find gold in education technology. That doesn’t seem to concern the limited partners of Owl Ventures, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based venture firm that’s focused only on edtech, and which just closed on $185 million — nearly twice the $100 million it raised for its debut fund in 2014. TechCrunch has more here.

SparkChain Capital is a new outfit that’s planning to raise $100 million in an ICO so it can invest in blockchain and cryptocurrency-related companies. (Expect to see a lot more of these, for good or bad.) More here.


MongoDB made its public debut with a bang, jumping more than 25 percent today after spending the past several days revising expectations upward. TechCrunch has more here.

SendGrid, the eight-year-old, Denver-based email marketing platform (that happens to power StrictlyVC), has filed for a $100 million IPO. The company, which reported a $3 million net loss on $38 million in revenue for the first half of this year, has raised more than $80 million from VCs, including Foundry GroupBessemer Venture PartnersHighway 12 Ventures, and Bain Capital Ventures, each of which have sizable pre-IPO stakes in the bidness. The Denver Post has more here.


Atlas Informatics, a 1.5-year-old, Seattle-based encrypted personal search engine whose tool helps users quickly locate information within files, emails, and other sources, is somewhat abruptly shutting down for undisclosed reasons. It had raised more than $20 million in funding from investors, including Microsoft Ventures and Aspect Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.

Cisco said today that it’s acquiring Perspica, a machine learning-driven operations analytics firm that has raised $8.5 million. Terms aren’t being disclosed, but Cisco intends to fold Perspica’s team intoAppDynamics, the company it purchased earlier this year for $3.7 billion. TechCrunch has more here.

Hearst is buying publisher Rodale, the family-owned publisher of magazines like Women’s Health, Men’s Health and Prevention. The deal is priced at roughly one times revenue — which is roughly $225 million these days (down from $600 million in 2008). The WSJ has more here.

Jinn, a London-based startup that offers a same-hour “shop on your behalf” delivery app that operates similarly to Postmates in the U.S., has shut down. TechCrunch has more here.


Meal-kit seller Blue Apron said yesterday that it’s laying off 6 percent of its staff as part of “a company-wide realignment of personnel to support its strategic priorities.” The company went public four months ago. TechCrunch has more here.

As far as Jeff Bezos is concerned (apparently), there are some things you’ve just gotta do yourself.

Comcast Ventures has named Gil Beyda as a managing director and promoted Daniel Gulati to partner. Beyda previously founded a seed venture fund called Genacast Ventures. Gulati, who joined Comcast Ventures in 2014, was previously an analyst with Boston Consulting Group.

Benjamin Erhart has joined Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners as a partner. Previously, Erhart was an investment director at High-Tech Gruenderfonds, a seed fund in Europe.

Tom Willerer, who has spent the last four years with the online education company Coursera — the last two as its chief product officer — is joining the venture firm Venrock to seek out consumer deals. More here.


Trident Capital Cybersecurity, a sector-focused, early-stage venture capital firm, is looking to hire an associate. The job is in San Mateo, Ca.

Essential Reads

Everyone’s mad at Google, and Sundar Pichai has to fix it.


From assistants to executives, at the Weinstein Co., everyone is playing the grim Hollywood parlor game of who knew what, and when.

Retail Therapy

Tiny shipping container house. (If you’d otherwise be living in someone’s backyard in Palo Alto right now, this doesn’t look so terrible.)

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