StrictlyVC: November 29, 2017

November 29, 2017


We heart you, readers. Thanks very much to the many of you who offered up great suggestions regarding where to host our next StrictlyVC event. It’s so appreciated. We’ll have more for you once we lock up one of these spots and get a date on the calendar.:)


No column today; also, StrictlyVC may arrive really early tomorrow (or really late) as we have to jump on an all-day flight fairly early and never know if we’ll have WiFi on these things.



Top News


Apple released a security update for macOS High Sierra this morning, and you should update right now if you haven’t already.


Benchmark and Menlo Ventures, two firms that this summer pushed for the ouster of former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, will sell some of their positions in the company as part SoftBank‘s tender offer, a SoftBank spokesperson told media outlets late yesterday. But the deal, which values Uber on secondary markets at 30 percent less than its last private fundraising round, has already driven away one buyer that had been expected to be part of SoftBank’s consortium, says Recode, and that’s General Atlantic, which felt the price of the deal was still too high, among other concerns.


One of these concerns may center on Uber‘s growing losses As TechCrunch reports, the company lost $1.46 billion in just the third quarter — which compares to a $1.06 billion lost in the second quarter.



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New Fundings


ALO7, a 13-year-old, Shanghai, China-based online tutoring company specializing in English language learning products, has raised $37.5 million in Series D funding.Legend Capital led the round; other participants include GuoHe CapitalUG InvestmentQualcommNew Oriental and Vickers Venture Partners. DealStreetAsia has more here.


Drawbridge Health, a new, Menlo Park, Ca.-based developer of a single device for drawing, collecting and stabilizing blood samples, has been launched by GE Ventures. No financial information is being disclosed right now. TechCrunch hasmore here.


ElectroCore, a 12-year-old, Basking Ridge, N.J.-based developer of a bioelectronic device for treating pain associated with episodic cluster headaches, has raised $70 million in Series B funding led by Core Ventures. Other participants in the round include Merck Global Health Innovation FundGakasaAmerican Investment Holdings and the Vinik Family FoundationMore here.


Enjoius, a two-year-old, L.A.-based online platform that aims to make it easier for hosts to plan their events, from weddings to dinner parties, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from a long list of individual investors, including Nancy Tellem, a former president at CBS; Angela Mathes, a former president at ABC; and Dollar Shave Club’s CFO, Daniel Murray. TechCrunch has more here.


Seebo, a five-year-old, Israel-based Iot platform for launching “smart products,” has raised $8 million in additional Series A funding that brings the round to $16.5 million altogether. Its newest investors include TPY CapitalViola Ventures,Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Global IoT Technology Ventures.


SenseTime, a three-year-old, Beijing, China-based artificial intelligence company specializing in facial and image recognition technology, has just received $227 million in funding from Alibaba Group Holdings, reportedly at a post-money valuation of $3 billion. That number is double the valuation the company was assigned when it raised $410 million in Series B funding just four months ago. DealStreetAsia has more here.


Spot.IM, a six-year-old, New York-based provider of social engagement solutions for publishers, has raised $25 million in Series C funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round, with participation from earlier backers Altair VC andNorma Investments.


Terbium Labs, a four-year-old, Baltimore, Md.-based dark web intelligence company, has raised $6 million in financing led by Glasswing VenturesMore here.


Thrive Global, a year-old, New York-based “behavior change media and technology company” founded by entrepreneur Arianna Huffington, has raised $30 million in Series B funding led by IVP, reportedly at a $120 million valuation. Other participants in the round (and warning, there are many!), include Salesforce CEOMarc Benioff and earlier backers Lerer Hippeau VenturesGreycroft Partners,Blue Pool CapitalAdvancit CapitalCanvas VenturesFemale Founders Fund, Indigo founder and CEO Heather Reisman, Oak Investment Partners’ Fred Harman, Bridgewater founder Ray DalioMichael Huffington and entrepreneurSean Parker. Also joining the round as a new investor is Marketo co-founder and former CEO Phil Fernandez. The company has now raised $37 million altogether. Recode has more here.



New Funds


Lux Capital, the 17-year-old venture firm known for making bets on emerging technologies in the physical and life sciences, is raising a $300 million  co-investment fund, shows a filing with the SEC. Lux closed its fifth early-stage fund with $400 million earlier this year.





A favorite food stub at tech startups is worth a whole lot of money, according toMars Inc., which just acquired a minority stake in Kind, the maker of those ubiquitous snack bars, at a valuation of more than $4 billion. Dealbook has more here.





Maina Bhaman has joined the Paris-based venture firm Sofinniva Partners as a partner. She was previously the director of healthcare investments for London-based Touchstone Innovations.


Facing a significant revenue shortfall this year, BuzzFeed is laying off about 100 employees — or 8 percent of its staff — and reorganizing its advertising sales and business operations as it moves away from relying purely on native advertising. The WSJ has more here.


General Catalyst Partners has added another managing director to its West Coast offices: Kyle Doherty. He joins from Coatue and will be focused on making investments in later-stage companies, in areas including financial services, e-commerce, deep tech, and healthcare IT.


Former Golden State Warrior David Lee is reportedly in talks to join the venture capital firm Social Capital, whose cofounder Chamath Palihapitiya, owns a stake in the NBA team.


Elon Musk’s tunnel through L.A. just happens to go from his house to his office.


Refinery29, an online publisher that targets millennial women, has hired Sarah Personette, a top Facebook marketing executive, to be its chief operating officer.


Andy Rubin, the widely admired creator of Android and a key executive at Google for nine years, left the company in 2014 shortly after an internal investigation determined that he had carried on an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, reports The Information. Rubin has taken a leave of absence from his current smartphone startup, Essential, following calls from The Information (for, yes, more information). More here. In an unsurprising aside: Rubin has hired Mike Sitrick, the damage control expert, who we profiled last year.)





Impossible Foods (whose CEO, Patrick Brown, came to one of our events last year), is looking to hire a VP of corporate development. The job is in Redwood City, Ca.



Essential Reads


Expect GM Cruise self-driving vehicles to arrive in “quarters, not years,” says the company.


Snap is “separating the social from the media” to fight fake news, says CEO Evan Spiegel.


An Uber lawyer says an ex-employee who made allegations about the company’s security practices was trying to extort the company. Uber went on to pay the employee as a consultant. Recode has more here.





The official trailer for “Avengers: Infinity War.”


At the Department of Homeland Security, the cops, say authorities, became the robbers.


Both Garrison Keillor and Matt Lauer are out of jobs today, and surprise, our commander-in-chief has weighed in on the development. (If you voted for thisasshat, please never tell us. We’ll still love you, but, like, a lot less.)



Retail Therapy


For those of us who don’t have AirPods just yet.


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