StrictlyVC: November 15, 2017

November 15, 2017


Hi, happy Wednesday, all! We’re still a little busy in Washington this week; more tomorrow.:)



Top News


SoftBank plans to invest as much as $25 billion in Saudi Arabia over the next three to four years as it deepens investment ties with the kingdom, says Bloomberg. More here.


That was fast. The Senate Finance Committee just dropped from its tax reform legislation language that would have seriously screwed up the way that startups compensate their employees. (The National Venture Capital Association is breathing a sigh of relief in light of this development.)



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New Fundings


The BOW Group, a four-year-old, Geneva, Switzerland-based maker of IoT products, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by PM Equity Partner and NextStage, an investment company listed on the Euronext Paris. More here.


Choozle, a five-year-old, Denver, Co.-based self-service programmatic ad platform, has raised $6 million in Series B funding from unnamed investors. More here.


Collective Medical Technologies, a 12-year-old, Salt Lake City-based care coordination business, has raised $47.5 million in Series A funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers. Other participants in the round include Bessemer Venture PartnersMaverick VenturesKaiser Permanente Ventures,Providence VenturesPeterson Ventures, and Epic Ventures. MedCity News has more here.


EBR Systems, a 14-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based wireless cardiac pacing system provider for heart failure, has raised $50 million in funding. M.H. Carnegie & Co. and Brandon Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Split Rock PartnersAscension Ventures and Emergent Medical PartnersMore here.


Health IQ, a three-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based life insurance startup for the health conscious, has raised $34.6 million in Series C funding led byAndreessen Horowitz, with participation from CRVFirst Round Capital,Foundation Capital and others. TechCrunch has more here.


United Masters, a year-old, New York-based record label that’s just emerging from stealth today and is headed up by former Interscope Records president Steve Stoute, secretly raised $70 million last year. The round was led by Alphabet, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and 20th Century Fox. TechCrunch has much more here.



New Funds


Arrowroot Capital Management, a three-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based growth equity firm focused primarily on software-as-a-service companies, has closed its third fund with $177 million. More here.


Geoff Lewis, one of the general partners at the elite Founders Fund, has officially kicked off his own venture capital firm, reports Recode. Lewis is partnering with Eric Stromberg, the founder of Oyster, a Founders Fund-backed startup that sold to Google in 2015. Their fund, Bedrock Capital, has apparently raised $118 million in capital commitments and promises “capital for one-of-a-kind companies,” according to its website. More here.





SendGrid, the Denver-based marketing email company (that delivers StrictlyVC to you every weekday), raised $131 million after pricing its IPO at $16, above the expected range of $13.50 to $15.50. The company also upsized its IPO, selling 8.2 million shares, instead of 7.7 million. The company begins trading today on the NYSE. TechCrunch has much more here.





Cloudflare, a well-funded San Francisco-based web performance and security platform, has acquired Neumob, a Sunnyvale, Ca-based startup focused on speeding up mobile apps and increasing conversions. According to Crunchbase, Neumob had raised roughly $11 million in funding, including from Accel Partners,Lightbank, and Shasta Ventures, among others. TechCrunch has more here.


Go-Jek, a seven-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesian-based ride-hailing company, has acquired a majority stake in local payment services provider Kartuku for around $50 million. Kartuku was founded 16 years ago. Go-Jek backers include DST, and Lombard Investments. DealStreetAsia has more here.





Disgraced VC Justin Caldbeck is attempting a comeback, setting out to educate young men about the dangers of “bro culture” in the workplace. Bloomberg has more on this true and surprisingly-not-from-The-Onion story here.


Steve Jurvetson of DFJ defended himself on Facebook yesterday, drawing a line between an ongoing sexual harassment investigation and his sudden departure from DFJ, where Jurvetson has worked for the last 22 years. Wrote Jurvetson, “I left DFJ because of interpersonal dynamics with my partners,” he wrote. “It’s incredibly sad to see how things broke down, and the acrimony that arose between us.” Jurvetson added that his departure from DFJ isn’t related to any conduct issues. Of “allegations about sexual predation and workplace harassment,” wrote Jurvetson, “Let me be perfectly clear: no such allegations are true.” Recode has more here.


DJ Patil, the chief data scientist under President Barack Obama, has joined the venture firm Venrock as an adviser. TechCrunch has more here.


Forbes has published a “30 under 30” list focused narrowly on the world of venture capital. You can read about the up-and-comers it spotlights here.





Google spent $5.5 billion to acquire traffic in the third quarter of 2017, or roughly 23 percent of its ad revenue. Bloomberg has more here.



Essential Reads


Lyft is using its own rulebook to developing self-driving cars, suggests The Information. For example, it’s using open-source software developed by Baidu and hiring engineers who haven’t worked in the field before. More here.


Tesla is acknowledging alleged racist behavior at the company, while defending Elon Musk.





A flawless 163-carat clear diamond just fetched $34 million at Christie’s in Geneva; it was the largest of its kind ever auctioned.



Retail Therapy


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