StrictlyVC: November 13, 2017

November 13, 2017


Hi, happy Monday, everyone.


Early send today. We’re in Washington, D.C., for a memorial service to celebrate one of StrictlyVC’s very first readers, and one of its most beloved. We hope she knew how much we idolized her, and how much she will be missed.



Top News


Softbank’s Uber deal took a major step forward this weekend.


Bitcoin buyers are returning to the market this morning following a 29 percent plunge from the cryptocurrency’s record high. Speculators had seemingly freaked out over a tech upgrade getting cancelled.



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New Fundings


Ecological Service Partners, a 1.5-year-old. Dallas- and Washington, D.C.-based company that’s engaging in the large-scale restoration of wetlands by purchasing land or interests that can generate significant restoration yields, has raised $250 million in equity funding from undisclosed investors. More here.


Enveil, a 1.5-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based data security company, has raised $4 million from Thomson Reuters, the insurance firm USAA, and Bloomberg Beta. The Washington Post has more here.


Graphcore, a 1.5-year-old, U.K.-based chipmaker, has raised $50 million fromSequoia Capital as it angles to become Britain’s biggest maker of artificial intelligence hardware. Sequoia has made only made a handful of investments in Europe but sees Graphcore competing with industry giants Nvidia and Intel, reports the Financial Times. More here.


Loft Orbital, a months-old, San Francisco-based startup that aims to lease space on satellites for any organization wanting to collect information about the Earth, has raised $3.2 million in seed funding. Uncork Capital led the round; other participants include MDI VenturesV1 VCMercuria Investment Japan and The Remote Sending Tech Center of Japan. More here.


Malong Technologies, a three-year-old, Shenzhen, China-based artificial intelligence company that focuses on product recognition, has raised $33 million in Series B funding led by SoftBank China Capital. China Daily has more here.


Pretty Green, an eight-year-old, U.K-based menswear brand originally conceived by former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher, has raised £10 million ($13 million) in funding from the private equity firm Rockpool InvestmentsMore here.


TrackStreet, a six-year-old, Santa Barbara, Ca.-based automated brand protection platform, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Okapi CapitalMore here.


Trouva, a two-year-old, London-based curated online marketplace for boutique homeware and lifestyle items, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by BGF Ventures, with participation from Index Ventures and Octopus Investments. VentureBeat has more here.





Entera Bio, a seven-year-old, Jerusalem-based clinical-stage biomedical company developing drugs for osteoporosis, bone disorders, and the orphan disease hypoparathyroidis, has filed for a $50 million IPO. The company, whose shares will trade on Nasdaq, had tried going public in 2015 but decided to pull back after biotech deals ground to a halt in the fall of that year. More here.


Boku, a carrier billing mobile payments company that partners with Facebook, Sony, Spotify, and Apple, among others, expects to raise £45 million ($60 million) on a post-money valuation of £125 million ($164 million) when it goes public on November 20. That might sound like a modest amount, but it’s intentional, explains TechCrunch. More here.


Razer, the gaming hardware maker backed by Intel and Hong Kong’s wealthiest man Li Ka-shing, rose as much as 41 per cent in debut trading in Hong Kong on Monday, after receiving an oversubscription of 290 times for its public offering. South China Morning Post has more here.





Hasbro has made a takeover offer for rival Mattelaccording to the WSJ. The combination would unite the two biggest U.S. toy makers, valued at $11 billion and $5 billion, respectively.





Nathan Benaich has joined Point Nine Capital, the Berlin-based early-stage venture capital firm, as a venture partner. He comes from Playfair Capital, where he led investments in numerous deals that leverage data and intelligent systems.


Bill Gates is adding Alzheimer’s to the roster of causes he has put his money behind. The billionaire is investing $50 million of his personal money in the London-based Dementia Discovery Fund, a private-public collaboration that invests in innovative dementia research. He plans to invest at least another $50 million into other startups that are working on “less mainstream” approaches, but these have not yet been identified. Fortune has more here.


Stan Laurent, who spent 10 years in charge of the photo-printing consumer company PhotoBox, has joined Highland Europe as a partner. Laurent had spent the previous year as a entrepreneur-in-residence with the firm. TechCrunch has more here.


Tim Berners-Lee confronts his creation in the era of fake news.


Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma shows off his martial arts skills in a new Jet Li movie. You can catch the trailer here.


MakeSpace, a four-year-old service that picks up, stores, and delivers items to storage units for its customers for a monthly fee, has replaced its CEO with its COO, reports Wired. More here.


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees two reasons for deep political division: opioids and technology. The Financial Times has more here (sub required).





Flex (formerly Flextronics) is looking to hire a corporate strategy director.





A flood of Chinese companies is driving the biggest world-wide surge of initial public offerings in a decade. More than 1,450 companies globally have gone public so far in 2017, putting this year on track to become the busiest for new listings since 2007, according to Dealogic data, and roughly two-thirds of them were in the Asia-Pacific region. The WSJ has more here.



Essential Reads


Buoyed by China’s plans to build a ubiquitous CCTV surveillance network, Chinese and some foreign investors are pouring money into start-up technology firms that specialize in facial recognition software. Reuters has more here.


Fashion’s interest in alternative fabrics keeps growing, reports the New York Times.


Why Wish, the shopping app taking over the world, spent more than $30 million to sponsor the L.A. Lakers jersey.





How to host a dinner party.


Academic job market or terminal illness?


Red Hot Chili Peppers, played with red hot chili peppers.



Retail Therapy


What is the only Da Vinci painting on the open market worth? We’ll find out Wednesday, when it goes under the hammer at Christie’s.




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