StrictlyVC: November 21, 2017

November 21, 2017


Hi. Happy Tuesday.:)



Top News


The Trump administration earlier today set in motion its plan to repeal virtually all of the U.S. government’s existing net neutrality rules — a move that will soon deliver another major deregulatory win to telecom giants like AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon. Perhaps unsurprisingly, FCC Chair Ajit Pai didn’t mention anything about the 22 million comments that the proposal had attracted, the majority of them against it.


John Lasseter, the chief creative office of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios, is taking a leave of absence from Pixar after acknowledging “painful” conversations and unspecified “missteps,” in his behavior toward employees and others in the entertainment community, he wrote in a memo to staff earlier today. More here.


Both PBS and CBS News have fired Charlie Rose, veteran interviewer of many in tech and beyond, after it was reported yesterday that he has routinely worked around young female employees while in various states of undress, amid other sexual misconduct.


And Meg Whitman is leaving her role as CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. More here.



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New Fundings


GreenRush, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based online marketplace for legally purchasing cannabis, has raised $3.6 million in Series A funding from numerous individual investors. More here.


LightStep, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based provider of application performance management for enterprise software, says it has quietly raised $29 million in funding, including from Redpoint VenturesSequoia CapitalCowboy Ventures and Harrison Metal. (Redpoint led the Series A; Sequoia led the Series B, according to the company.) More here.


HopSkipDrive, a three-year-old, L.A.-based ride service designed expressly for kids, has raised $7.4 million in fresh funding led by Student Transportation Inc., a school bus transportation company. Earlier investors Upfront Ventures andFirstMark Capital also joined the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $21.5 million. TechCrunch has more here.


Medigate, a months-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based medical device security platform, has raised $5.35 million in seed funding, including from YL Ventures andBlumberg CapitalMore here.


Natilus, a 2.5-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based maker of large autonomous aircraft drones that aim to reduce the cost of global air freight, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding, including from Starburst VenturesSeraph GroupGelt VCOutpost Capital and Draper AssociatesMore here.


Quantum Circuits, a two-year-old, New Haven, Cn.-based company whose long-term goal is to develop, manufacture, and sell the first practical and useful quantum computers, has raised $18 million in Series A funding. Canaan Partners andSequoia Partners co-led the round, with participation from Tribeca Venture PartnersMore here.


Pet Circle, an Australia-based e-commerce provider of pet food, raised funding of an undisclosed amount from investors including Francisco Partners and AirTree VenturesMore here.


Pixvana, a two-year-old, Seattle-based mixed reality production platform, has raised $14 million in Series A funding led by Vulcan Capital, with participation fromRaine VenturesMicrosoft VenturesCisco InvestmentsHearst Venturesand earlier investor Madrona Venture Group. GeekWire has more here.


SAM Labs, a four-year-old, London-based edtech startup that provides teachers with lessons plans about “complex skills of the future,” has raised $6.75 million in Series A funding co-led by Touchstone Innovations and E15 VenturesMore here.


Shippeo, a three-year-old, Paris-based supply chain visibility platform, has raised roughly $11.8 million in Series A funding led by Partech Ventures and Otium VentureMore here.


Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur, a China-based offshoot of the state-owned Shouqi Group (which was Beijing’s first licensed ride-hailing app), has raised $195 million in Series B funding led by the Chinese internet giant BaiduNIO Capital, the investment arm of billion-dollar electric car startup NIO, and Silk Road Huachuang, also joined the round, which adds to $88 million in Series B funding that the company had announced in July. TechCrunch has more here.


TuSimple, a two-year-old, China-based maker of autonomous truck software company backed by Nvidia, has raised $55 million in Series C funding. Fuhe Capital led, and was joined by earlier shareholders Sina Corp. and Zhiping Capital. China Money Network has more here.


VidMob, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based video creation platform that pairs marketers with video creators, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding, including from Manifest Investment PartnersInterlock PartnersStampede VenturesAcadia Woods Partners and Macanta InvestmentsMore here.


The Wing, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based women-only club and co-working space, just raised $32 million in Series B funding from WeWork and New Enterprise Associates. Forbes has more here.



New Funds


Crosslink Capital, an 18-year-old, San Francisco-based stage-independent venture firm, is raising up to $250 million for its eighth fund, shows an SEC filing. The firm closed its seventh venture fund with $170 million in 2015. More here.





Boku, a U.S. company, just went public in London. Crunchbase looks at why, and what other U.S. companies can learn from the move.


Denali Therapeutics, a two-year-old, South San Francisco, Ca.-based neurodegenerative disease treatment maker, has filed to raise up to $100 million in an IPO. Its biggest outside shareholders include Bratton CapitalARCH Venture Fund and Flagship Venture FundMore here.


Odonate Therapeutics, a year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based oral chemotherapy drug maker, has filed to raise up to $173 million in an IPO. The company’s biggest outside shareholders include Tang Capital PartnersBoxer Capital, and Janus Capital Management. FierceBiotech has more on Denali and Odonate here.





DMM, one of Japan’s largest Internet and e-commerce conglomerates, is poised to pay about $62.2 million for pawn shop app Cash. Launched this summer, Cash’s software automatically appraises an item’s value based on user photos and offers a cash advance using it as collateral. TechCrunch has more here.


Marvell Technology, a publicly traded producer of storage, communications and consumer semiconductor products, has agreed to buy rival Cavium for about $6 billion as it tries to expand beyond semiconductors that control hard disk drives. More here.


Publicly traded Upland Software is paying $50 million to acquire Qvidian, a 40-year-old, Chelmsford, Ma.-based cloud RFP and sales proposal automation software platform. Qvidian had raised roughly $31 million in venture funding over the years, including from North Bridge Venture PartnersHillStreet CapitalKodiak Ventures, and Commonwealth Capital. Austin Business Journal has more here.





SoulCycle co-founder Julie Rice, who resigned from the spin startup in 2016, is joining WeWork as their chief brand officer. She’ll focus on promoting community at the billion-dollar company. Axios has more here.


HTC’s top female design leader, Nichole Rouillac, who helped create several of the mobile giant’s smartphones (along with designing Vive and Fitbit), has left to found her own San Francisco-based consultancy, level design.


Janet Yellen will leave the Federal Reserve’s board once her term as chairwoman expires in February. NPR has more here.


Lessons in knuckle-headed CEO behavior.



Essential Reads


Amazon Web Services has launched a product that’s allowed to handle material that is classified at the “secret” CIA level.


TED, the company made famous for its viral 18-minute talks, has for years been wrestling with sexual harassment at its flagship conference and within the company,The Washington Post reports. (Business Insider has more here, for those of you who aren’t Post subscribers.)


Uber is rolling out ride-hailing for people without smartphones.


A $2.5 billion stake in Nvidia stock has vanished into thin air.





The science of Thanksgiving.


Meet a man who has lived alone on an island for 28 years.


Here’s exactly how much money you need to be happy.



Retail Therapy


Move over Hawaii, here comes Okinawa.


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