StrictlyVC: December 19, 2017

Hi, happy Tuesday, everyone!


First and foremost, we’re very excited to let you know that we’re starting to figuring out our next StrictlyVC event. We’ll have more on the agenda soon, but note that it will be hosted at the beautiful offices of New Enterprise Associates in San Francisco’s South Park on Tuesday evening, February 27. (Thank you, NEA!). You can start nabbing your seats here. Also, if you’re interested in partnering with us on this one as a sponsor, we’d love to talk.


Also important: we wanted to start noting that we’re shutting down the works for two weeks, beginning this coming Monday. As longtime readers know, we usually turn off the lights for one week in December, but it’s been an atypically busy year, and we just kind of want to shower our kids with our undivided attention over their school break so they don’t grow up to be criminals. We’ll miss writing SVC, but we’ll look forward to seeing you back here January 8.


More tomorrow.:)


Top News


House Republicans just passed a sweeping tax overhaul puts President Donald Trump one step away from his first major legislative victory, despite it being widely viewed as a p.o.s. for everyone other than corporations and private equity and real estate executives. Bloomberg has more here. So does Dealbook.


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New Fundings


Ample Hills Creamery, a six-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based chain of ice cream shops, has raised an $8 million Series A funding led by Rosecliff Ventures and joined by BullishLerer Hippeau VenturesRiverPark VenturesThe Allana GroupCharles Cohen of Cohen Media and others. The company has raised $4 million in funding in 2015, a round we’d written up here.


Anodot, a three-year-old, Ra’anana, Israel-based AI-powered analytics company, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Redline Capital Management, with participation from earlier backers Aleph Venture Capital and Disruptive Technologies Venture Capital. The company has now raised $23 million. More here.


Asimov, a months-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based startup that says it’s using computer-aided design platform enables it to precisely engineer genetic circuits for customers in diverse sectors, has raised $4.7 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation by Data CollectivePillar, and AME Cloud VenturesMore here.


Bigfinite, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that sells data analytics aimed at optimizing the pharmaceutical manufacturing process, has raised $8.5 million in seed funding led by Crosslink CapitalUncork Capital and La Famiglia, with participation from Industry Ventures and KrohneMore here.


Bima, a seven-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based startup that builds and sells “microinsurance” services for low-income consumers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, has raised $96.6 million in a strategic investment from Allianz X, the digital investment unit of the insurance giant. TechCrunch has more here.


Convercent, a five-year-old, Denver, Co.-based company that provides ethics and compliance software to businesses, has raised a $25 million funding round led byRho Ventures, with participation from Sapphire Ventures and Tola Capital. TechCrunch has more here.


Daily Harvest, a two-year-old, New York-based subscription service specializing in frozen, plant-based, one-step-prep foods, has raised $43 million in Series B funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from VMG Partners,M13, chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay, Olympic gold medalist Shaun White, and actress Haylie Duff. Earlier investors also joined the round, including Rubicon Venture CapitalMore here.


Dev/Con Detect, a 1.5-year-old, Tampa, Fla.-based cybersecurity company, has raised $1.29 million in seed funding led by Newfund US, with participation fromGolden SeedsInnova MemphisOff The Grid VenturesThe JumpFundGAN VenturesLas Olas Venture CapitalStart Co., and individual investors. More here.


Dgraph Labs, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based open-source distributed graph database that uses a version of Facebook’s GraphQL as its default query language, has raised $3 million in funding. The round includes Bain Capital Ventures, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-BrookesBlackbird Ventures and AirTree. TechCrunch has more here.


DigitalGenius, a four-year-old, London-based AI-based customer service startup, has raised $14.75 million in Series A funding led by Global Founders Capital, with participation from MMC VenturesPaua Ventures and earlier investorsSalesforce VenturesRuna CapitalRRE VenturesLumia CapitalCompoundand Lerer Hippeau Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.


Fyusion, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that’s applying 3D computer vision and machine learning to make images intelligent, has raised $22 million in Series B funding, including from New Enterprise AssociatesPresence Capital;2020NTT DOCOMO Ventures; a publicly traded Japanese gaming company called Colopl; and Gionee, which is a Chinese smartphone company. More here.


Heretik, a months-old, Chicago, Il.-based legal software company that uses machine learning to make the contract review process smarter, has raised $2.4 million in seed funding led by Corazon Capital, with participation from existing investors Chicago Ventures and Relativity. Crain’s Chicago Business has more here.


Label Insight, a nine-year-old, Chicago, Il.-based data company that breaks down product packaging information for a wide spectrum of customers, has raised $21 million in Series C funding led by Delta-v Capital, with participation from River Cities Capital FundsMore here.


Lemonade, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based tech-based insurance company, has raised $120 million in Series C funding led by SoftBank, with participation from earlier investors, which include AlephAllianzGeneral CatalystGV (Google Ventures), Sequoia CapitalSound VenturesThrive CapitalTusk Ventures, and XL Innovate. TechCrunch has more here.


Skymet Weather Services, a 13-year-old, Noida, India-based weather forecasting services startup, has closed an undisclosed amount of Series C funding from theInsuResilience Investment Fund, which is acquiring 26.8 percent of the company. The InsuResilience Investment Fund was set up on behalf of the German government. The Economic Times has more here.


New Funds


Inventure, the 10-year-old Nordic seed- and early-stage venture firm, says it has held a first close on its third fund with €110 million ($130 million) in commitments. TechCrunch has more here.


In November, the popular lip-syncing app announced its acquisition by Chinese social media giant Toutiao (itself owned by Bytedanc). Now, is launching a $50 million “Creator Fund” that will be used to invest in education, training and community enrichment on its platform, as well as to aid in the discovery and development of new talent. TechCrunch has more here.




Ola, the Uber rival in India, is entering the food delivery space with a deal to acquire Foodpanda’s India business from its parent company, DeliveryHero. Terms of the all-stock deal aren’t being disclosed, but TechCrunch suspects a willingness to sell. More here.




Google has suspended a senior artificial intelligence researcher for alleged sexual misconduct, reports Bloomberg.


Lauren Kolodny has been promoted to partner at Aspect Ventures, the three-year-old, early-stage venture firm cofounded by longtime VCs Theresia Gouw and Jennifer Fonstad. Kolodny, who’d previously worked in product marketing at Google, focuses on the future of work, fintech, cybersecurity, AI and autonomy. TechCrunch has more here.


“Silicon Valley” star T.J. Miller is being accused of sexually assaulting and punching a woman while a college student at George Washington University. He denies the allegations. The Daily Beast has more here.


More terrible news for Uber: A man suspected of strangling and killing a young British diplomat in Lebanon who’d booked a ride following a work party, is an Uber driver. According to sources who spoke to a daily paper in Lebanon, he had a criminal record, too.




Of the 3,000 largest companies in the U.S., there are 624 of them with no women on their boards. (Psst, companies, it may be time to check this out.)




Reach Capital, an early-stage ed tech venture firm, is looking to hire an associate. The job is in Palo Alto, Ca.


Essential Reads


The SEC today temporarily suspended trading of securities of The Crypto Company, a California-based firm whose shares have skyrocketed more than 17,000 percent since it first began trading in September.


Facebook can now find your face, even when it’s not tagged.


Go, Microsoft. The software giant said today that it has eliminated forced arbitration agreements with employees who make sexual harassment claims. It’s also supporting a proposed federal law that would widely ban such agreements.


Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne says more than 2,000 accredited investors have committed more than $100 million on the first day of pre-sale of tokens for its SEC-registered tZERO alternative trading platform. (More background on that platform here.)





Retiring early might just kill you.


Twenty people we will miss.


How to make a shoe.



Retail Therapy


Last-minute stocking stuffers (that should reach your place in time).

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