StrictlyVC: December 21, 2017

Hi, happy Thursday, all!


Some more great news about our new event, coming together on February 27th, in San Francisco; in addition to Tina Sharkey of Brandless, we’ve just added Marten Mickos of HackerOne to the agenda. Mickos’s company is helping a growing number of companies fight increasingly virulent strains of ransomware, not to mention other bugs that are putting them at risk of seeing their sensitive information leaked. We’ll talk with Mickos about the biggest battles brewing, how companies come to grips with hiring people they don’t know — hackers — to fight cybercriminals, and a lot more.


Other announcements to come. In the meantime, readers have snapped up a little less than half of these tickets since we first mentioned the evening on Tuesday, so don’t wait too long if you want to come. (And if you’d like to partner with us on the event, let us know.)


More tomorrow!


Top News


Instagram now lets you share live videos through direct messages. More in TechCrunch. 


Sequoia is going big, says Recode, which reports the storied venture firm may be raising up to $6 billion from its investors to better compete with SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund.


China’s Didi Chuxing, the country’s top ride-hailing company, said yesterday it has raised $4 billion in new capital from undisclosed sources to support a range of new initiatives including international expansion. The company had already raised $13 billion from investors, including Alibaba, Tencent and Apple; it says its newest round will go toward developing its artificial intelligence technology, as well as international expansion. TechCrunch has more here.


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New Fundings


Aura Biosciences, a 10-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotech company aimed at preventing blindness in cancer patients, has raised $30 million in Series C funding co-led by Lundbeckfonden Ventures and Arix Bioscience, with participation from earlier backers Advent Life SciencesChiesi VenturesYsios Capital,Alexandria Venture InvestmentsColumbus Venture Partners and LI-COR Biosciences. Endpoints News has more here.


conDati, a months-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based maker of marketing analytics software, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding led by The Entrepreneurs’ FundMore here.


Framer, a two-year-old, Amsterdam-based startup behind a visual design prototyping tool, has raised $7.7 million in Series A funding led by Accel Partners, with participation from Foundation CapitalDesigner Fund and AngelList. VentureBeat has more here.


FLX Bio, a two-year-old, South San Francisco, Ca.-based developer of cancer immunotherapies, has raised $60 million in Series C funding from GV, along with earlier backers The Column GroupKleiner PerkinsTopspin Partners andCelgene CorpMore here.


iRecommend Software, a 1.5-year-old, Tulsa, Ok.-based startup that’s developing a recommendation engine for the retail, recruiting, real estate, entertainment, and healthcare industries, has raised $1.85 million in Series A funding led by i2E, with participation from the Warren FoundationFalcon Partners and other unnamed investors. More here.


Nuritas, a three-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based data mining biotech startup, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Cultivian Sandbox Ventures. The Irish Times has more here.


Nylas, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based company providing APIs for email, calendars, and contacts, has raised $4 million in funding led by 8VC, with participation from RubiconGreat Oaks and CrunchfundMore here., a two-year-old, Mexico City, Mexico-based company whose Android lock screen app lets users earn free mobile airtime, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding from Archipelago GlobalMore here.


PrecisionLender, an eight-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based pricing platform for commercial banks, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding fromInsight Venture Partners and earlier investor Georgian PartnersMore here.


Radar Relay, a five-month-old Fort Collins, Co.-based decentralized crypto currency exchange, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Blockchain Capital, with participation from SV AngelDigital Currency GroupReciprocal VenturesCollaborative FundKindred VenturesKokopelli CapitalNotation CapitalSparkland Capital, and V1.VC. Coindesk has more here.


Ripcord, a two-year-old Hayward, Ca.-based company that uses machine vision, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to digitize all of an enterprise’s records, has raised $25 million in what it’s calling B1 funding. (The round comes on the heels of a $40 million Series B round that closed in August.) GV led the new round, with participation from Telstra Ventures and earlier backers Icon VenturesKleiner PerkinsLux Capital, and Silicon Valley Bank. VentureBeat has more here.


SendBird, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company behind a chat API and messaging SDK for in-app chat and messaging, has raised $16 million in Series A funding. Shasta Ventures and August Capital co-led the round; other participants include earlier backers Y Combinator and FundersClub. More here.


SolidEnergy Systems, a five-year-old, Woburn, Ma.-based lithium-metal battery company, has raised $30 million in Series C funding from earlier backers Temasek,Applied VenturesGeneral Motors and Vertex Ventures China. China Money Network has more here.


Stitch Health, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based company that helps manage patient health data through care checklists, team chat rooms, and patient conversations, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding. Benchmarkled the round, and was joined by the Y Combinator Continuity Fund among others. Business Insider has more here.


Streem, a five-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based startup pitching customers on unlimited cloud storage for all their media, has raised more than $1.7 million in funding, including from GVR FundFlying FishColumbia Ventures CorpRogue Venture PartnersCurious Capitalbetaworks VenturesGreycroft Partners,GGV Capital and General Catalyst AR Fund. GeekWire has more here.


Tessa Therapeutics, a 16-year-old, Singapore-based developer of virus-specific T cell immunotherapies for cancer, has raised $80 million in new funding led byTemasek, with participation from EDBIKarst Peak CapitalHeliconiaand Heritas. DealStreetAsia has more here.



New Funds


Fly Ventures, a 1.5-year-old, Berlin-based seed-stage venture firm, has closed its debut fund with $41 million in capital commitments, including from the European Investment Fund, Korelya Capital, and a number of unnamed family offices from Europe and the U.S. TechCrunch has more here.


Industry Ventures, a 17-year-old, San Francisco-based investment firm that makes both primary and secondary investments, is raising up to $250 million for its fifth fund-of-funds, per an SEC filing first flagged by Axios. More here.




The music streaming company Spotify is expected to receive approval from the SEC to move forward with a listing of its shares on the NYSE, says the WSJ. The Journal first reported back in April that Spotify was contemplating an IPO that’s not an IPO.





Daimler has acquired a majority stake in Chauffeur Privé, a French app that provides ride hailing services in Paris, Lyon and the Côte d’Azur. The ownership stake means that Daimler now has controlling interests in a number of smaller Uber competitors, particularly operating in Europe and MENA, including MyTaxi and Careem. TechCrunch has more here.





Emil Oldenburg, co-founder and CTO of, one of the largest “one-stop shop” sites for Bitcoin, says Bitcoin is “the riskiest investment you can make” at the moment, so he’s trading all his Bitcoin for Bitcoin Cash.


Snap just lost more talent.




57 startups became unicorns this year and seven lost their horns. More here.


Essential Reads


Facebook may be helping advertisers discriminate against older workers in their jobs listings, shows an investigation by the New York Times and ProPublica. Facebook says it isn’t doing anything wrong.


Facebook and Universal Music Group just announced a global, multi-year partnership that will allow users to upload and share videos containing licensed music and personalize their music experiences on Facebook, Instagram and Oculus. Variety has more here.


And more Facebook, with Bloomberg arguing that the company is “no bystander in global politics,” that, on the contrary, it’s eagerly enabling the dark art of digital propaganda.




Netflix spent $90 million on a Will Smith movie, and critics hate it.


Why you should never take your car to a carwash.


The biggest breakups of 2017 (sniffle).


Retail Therapy


Game of Thrones beer, because, yes, winter is (still) coming.


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