StrictlyVC: December 18, 2017

Happy Monday, everyone!:) No column today.


Top News


Well, now you’ve done it. Global venture capital investment has hit an all-time record, with more than $142 billion already disbursed in 2017, according toPitchBook. Axios has more here.


Sponsored By …


No one understands startups like Silicon Valley Bank. Unlike other banks, our solutions are tailored for busy founders, and they include startup lending to fuel growth, business credit cards, and deposit and payments solutions. In fact, half of all VC-funded tech startups in the U.S. choose Silicon Valley Bank. Let’s talk to discuss what’s right for your business. Contact us. Terms and conditions apply. Silicon Valley Bank, Member FDIC.


New Fundings


Aptinyx, a two-year-old, Evanston, Ill.-based developer of therapeutics for treating neurologic disorders, has raised $70 million in Series B funding. Bain Capital Life Sciences led the round and was joined by Adage CapitalAgent Capital, andHBM Healthcare Investments, among many others (which is why we aren’t listing them all!). Crain’s Chicago Business has more here.


AxleHire, a two-year-old, San Francisco and L.A.-based last-mile logistics startup that facilitates deliveries for companies like HelloFresh, Freshly, Sunbasket, La Boulangerie and others, has raised $4.3 million from Acorn PacificRGA Venturesand others. TechCrunch has more here.


Fano Labs, a two-year-old, Hong Kong-based maker of AI-based call center software, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Horizons Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.


Fiit, a nine-month-old, London-based startup that provides users real-time performance feedback and live leaderboards that let them challenge friends anywhere in the world, has raised $3.2 million in seed funding. London-basedConnect Ventures led the round, with participation from Rooks Nest Ventures,Westminster Capital and others. TechCrunch has more here.


Leadspace, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based B2B audience management platform for marketing and sales, has raised $21 million in Series C funding co-led by Arrowroot Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners. Globes has more here.


Quinyx, a 12-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-headquartered company that offers cloud-based software to help businesses manage employee scheduling, communication, task-management and payroll integration, has raised $12 million in fresh funding from Battery Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.


Reniac, a 5.5-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based maker of data-aware architecture for applications, servers, and data centers, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Intel CapitalMore here.


Respicardia, an 11-year-old, Minnetonka, Mn.-based med tech company focused on treating moderate to severe central sleep apnea in adults, has raised $58.5 million in funding, two months after receiving FDA approval. The round was led byZoll Medical Corporation, a maker of medical devices and related software, with participation from unnamed earlier investors. More here.


Springboard, a seven-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based educational platform focused on helping people advance their tech skills, has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding. Costanoa Ventures led the round, with participation from Learn Capital and AppDynamics cofounder Jyoti Bansal, as well as earlier investors, including Blue Fog, and Moneta Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.


Tovala, a four-year-old, Chicago-based startup that sells smart ovens and meals to go with them, has raised $9.2 million in fresh funding led by Origin Ventures, with participation from Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Morningstar founder Joe Mansueto, restaurant and real estate entrepreneur Larry LevyY Combinatorand others. Crain’s Chicago Business has more here.


Univercells, a four-year-old, Belgium-based maker of  biomanufacturing production units that are aimed at increasing the availability and affordability of biologics, has raised $3.56 million in Series A funding, including from Takeda VenturesMore here.


Virgin Hyperloop One, the three-year-old, L.A.-based company promising to shuttle cargo and passengers at super fast speeds through giant pneumatic tubes, is reportedly raising $50 million in new funding from earlier investors Caspian Venture Capital of Russia and DP World of Dubai. It also plans to name Richard Branson as chairman. Axios has the story here.



Amazon is in advanced talks to buy Sqrrl, a Cambridge, Ma.-based cyber “threat hunting” company whose founders used to work for the NSA. Sqrrl has raised nearly $30 million in funding to date, including from AccompliceMatrix PartnersRally Ventures and Spring Lake Equity Partners. Axios originally reported the news here.


Oracle  has agreed to acquire publicly traded Aconex, an Australian maker of collaboration software for the construction market, for $1.2 billion. The deal represents a 47 percent premium over Aconex’s Friday closing price. TechCrunch has more on the deal here.


Tencent and have agreed to pay $863 million for a 12.5 percent stake in the publicly traded Chinese e-commerce company Vipshop. The duo are paying a 55 percent premium for the stock, which will give Tencent a seven percent share and a 5.5 percent share, respectively. TechCrunch has more here.




HQ has become an enormously popular trivia app in a short amount of time, but investors are loath to invest in its founders, who are looking to raise a new round that values the company at up to $100 million, reports Recode. More here.




Bitcoin mania is driving rival coins to record highs.





Gradient Ventures, Google’s new AI-focused venture fund, is looking to hire an associate. The job is in Mountain View, Ca.



Essential Reads


Twitter has a new hate policy, and it appears to make an exception for Donald Trump.


Do good companies ICO?


Berkshire Hathaway’s class A shares have climbed above $300,000 for the first time.





“Sunday Night Football” is coming to your mobile phone next year.


Why trying new things is so hard to do.


In conversation: Eminem.


The political year in photos.


Retail Therapy


The Echo Spot hits the . . . dot.


Porsche dealership play set, for the little wheeler dealer in your life.


Filed Under:

Don’t Miss Out!

Sign up today to receive a free daily email with everything you need to start your day. Plus, keep track of the companies and personalities that will shape the industry in the months and years to come. Let StrictlyVC be your very own venture capital concierge.

StrictlyVC on Twitter