StrictlyVC: December 7, 2017

Hi, happy Wednesday, everyone.:)


We’re back from our travels and have had a phone glued to our ear since waking, so no column today, though we’re working on something for you. Also, we know we owe a growing number of you an email back about advertising and job listings (among other things). We promise to respond in the next day or two(!).


In separate but related news, VCs, jeebus, slow down on the new fundings already. You’re killing us. It’s December. See your families. Decorate something.


Top News


Laura Fitton, a Boston-based entrepreneur and social marketing executive, is now the sixth woman to accuse venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar of sexual misconduct. Axios has more here.


Holy. Bitcoin just zoomed past $14,000.


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New Fundings


18Birdies, a three-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based mobile golf technology startup, has raised fresh funding led by Peter Gotcher and Milwaukee Bucks’ Head CoachJason Kidd. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The company had raised a separate round of funding in summer that included participation from golf great Ernie Els. Sport Techie has more here.


Avora, a three-year-old, London-based machine learning firm, has raised £1.5 million ($2 million) led by Crane Venture Partners, and was joined by investorsPeter Simon, founder of retailer Monsoon; and Steve Garnett, former chairman of Salesforce EMEA. More here.


BitPay, a six-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based blockchain payments technology platform, says it’s raising $30 million in Series B funding led by Aquiline Technology Growth. In 2014, BitPay raised a $30 million Series A round from Index Ventures, Founder’s Fund, Felicis Ventures, RRE Ventures, and Sir Richard Branson. More here.


Burrow, a year-old, New York-based online direct-to-consumer furniture startup that’s centered (first) around a modular sofa, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding led by Red & Blue Ventures. Other participants in the round include Interplay Ventures and notable angel investors, including founder Justin Kan, Y-Combinator CEO Michael Seibel, and veteran retail executive Ken PilotMore here.


Cedar, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based medical billing platform for healthcare providers, has raised $13 million in Series A funding from new and earlier backers, including Founders FundThrive CapitalMartin Ventures and SV AngelMore here.


Chattermill, a two-year-old, London-based startup that uses so-called deep learning to help companies make better sense of customer feedback, has raised £600,000 (roughly $800,000) in seed funding from Entrepreneur First,Avonmore Developments, and numerous angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.


Clora, a 1.5-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based startup platform that aims to match life science companies with on-demand expertise, has raised $3.3 million in seed funding led by Spark Capital, with participation from Social CapitalLudlow VenturesNotation CapitaliSeed Venturesv1 VC, and KohFounders. TechCrunch has more here.


Contrast Security, a three-year-old, Los Altos, Ca.-based security company that says its tech enables software applications to protect themselves against cyberattacks, has raised an undisclosed amount of new Series C funding from AXA Strategic Ventures and Microsoft Ventures. This tops off an earlier $30 million close led by Battery Ventures in October. SilconAngle has more here.


Compass, a five-year-old, New York-based company whose real estate platform supports the entire buying and selling workflow, has raised $450 million in fresh funding led by the SoftBank‘s Vision Fund in a deal that values the company at $2.2 billion post-money. (That’s up from $1.8 billion just four weeks ago, for those keeping track.) TechCrunch has more here.


Fetch Robotics, a three-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based platform for collaborative mobile robots, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Sway Ventures, with participation from earlier backers O’Reilly AlphaTech VenturesShasta Ventures and SoftBank. Forbes has more here.


ForceManager, a six-year-old, Barcelona-based mobile customer relationship management platform, has raised $12 million in Series B funding led by AXA Strategic VenturesMore here.


Graduway, a four-year-old, London-based maker of alumni software, has raised $12.7 million in funding from Susquehanna Growth EquityMore here.


Indigo Agriculture, a four-year-old, Boston-based startup developer of microbes that help its customers improve their crop yield, has tacked on $47 million in new Series D funding at nearly a $1.5 billion post-money valuation. The round now stands at $203 million altogether. New investors on the second close includeInvestment Corporation of Dubai. Reuters has more here.


Maxwell Financial Labs, a 2.5-year-old, Denver, Co.-based B2B digital mortgage cloud software maker, has raised $3 million in funding led by Anthemis Group and was joined by investors including Route66 Ventures and AssurantMore here.


Metacrine, a 14-month-old, San Diego, Ca.-based biotech startup focused on liver, GI and metabolic diseases, has raised $22 million in Series B funding. New Enterprise Associates led the round, with participation from earlier backers Arch Venture PartnersPolaris PartnersvenBio and Alexandria Venture Investments. FierceBiotech has more here.


Modsy, a nearly three-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based home decor firm, has raised $23 million in Series B funding led by Advance Venture Partners. Other participants include new backers NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment andComcast Ventures and earlier investors Norwest Venture PartnersBirchmere VenturesAme Cloud VenturesBBG Ventures, and GVMore here.


Movile, a 19-year-old, Brazil-based online marketplace company, has raised $82 million in new funding from longtime backer Naspers and Innova Capital. Most of the proceeds will be used to increase Movile’s stake in Latin American food delivery company iFood, a Latin American food delivery vendor. TechCrunch has more here.


Mswipe, the six-year-old Mumbai, India-based point-of-sale company, has raised $10 million in fresh funding from B Capital, the investment firm of Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin. The capital adds to a Series D round that was largely raised in summer. TechCrunch has more here.


Neumentum, a months-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based developer of non-opioid pain products, has raised $6 million in Series A funding from undisclosed investors. Drug Delivery Business News has more here.


Ofo, the three-year-old, Beijing, China-based bike-share company, has raised at least $1 billion in new funding from firms that include Alibaba, says the Financial Times. It reports that the company is being valued at $3 billion in the deal —  the same as bike-sharing rival Mobike, with which it dominates the fast-growing market.More here.


Overhaul, a 1.5-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based  real-time visibility and on-time performance management system for the trucking industry, has raised $4.5 million in funding led by Abbey International Finance GroupMore here.


ParaGen Technologies, a 1.5-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based biotech focused on tissue engineering, has raised $4.1 million in seed funding led by Ikove Venture Partners (also of Columbus). More here.


PerceptIn, a 1.5-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based full-stack visual intelligence company, has raised $11 million in funding from Samsung VenturesMatrix Partners and Walden InternationalMore here.


Prevoty, a four-year-old, L.A.-based automation application security startup, has raised $13 million in Series B funding led by Trident Capital Cybersecurity, with participation from earlier backer USVPMore here.


PullRequest, a months-old, code-review-as-a-service startup, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding led by Google’s new AI fund, Gradient VenturesThe Slack FundFika VenturesDefy VenturesLynett CapitalFundersClub and Joe Montana’s Liquid2 Ventures also participated. TechCrunch has more here.


Sanctuary, a months-old, Venice, Ca.-based digital media company that will focus on astrology and tarot for millennial audiences, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by Advancit Capital, with participation from Broadway Video VenturesGreycroft PartnersKEC Ventures and Blue CollectiveMore here.


WorldRemit, the seven-year-old, London-based digital money transfer service focused on emerging markets, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. LeapFrog Investments led the round, with participation from earlier backers Accel Partnersand TCV. Bloomberg has more here.


New Funds


Acceleprise, a five-year-old, an Francisco-based B2B SaaS-focused accelerator, has raised $7 million for its second fund; it’s also expanding to New York City and Melbourne. CNBC has more here.


Sama Fund, a Philadelphia-based firm, plans to raise a $150 million venture fund, according to an SEC filing. The firm’s cofounders include local businessmen Darwin Beauvais and Gerald Jones.


Viola, the Israel-based technology investment group, is launching new independent venture fund that will be targeting fintech startups from anywhere in the world. Dubbed Viola FinTech, the cross-stage venture fund has held an initial close of $100 million but will reportedly raise up to $150 million. TechCrunch has more here.


Vida Ventures, a new Boston-based venture firm, has raised $254.8 million in capital commitments for its debut effort, shows an SEC filing. Among the firm’s cofounders is Arie Belldegrun, formerly the CEO of Kite Pharma. (Kite sold to Gilead Sciences for a whopping $11.6 billion in August.)



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Payday lenders aren’t getting much traction on Wall Street. Curo Financial, which operates controversial loan firms like Speedy Cash that typically target lower-income borrowers, had a middling start to its IPO today, as unresolved regulatory concerns still loom in Washington. The New York Post has more here.


Bay Area drug developer Denali has upped the number of shares available in its IPO by more than 6 million, translating into a potential $303 million offering before the shares hit the market tomorrow. The San Francisco Business Times takes a look at why the IPO could be huge — or another flop for Alzheimer’s and ALS.





Sounds like the venture-backed media company TheSkimm is looking for a buyer.


The publicly traded, London-based medical manufacturing company Smith & Nephew has acquired Rotation Medical, a Plymouth, Mn.-based maker of medical devices for treating rotator cuff diseases, for upwards of $210 million (including $125m upfront in cash). Rotation Medical had raised $56 million in funding, shows Crunchbase. Its backers include Pappas VenturesNEA and Life Sciences PartnersMore here.





Jo Bertram, who recently stepped down as UK head for Uber, has joined EQT Ventures as an executive-in-residence. The Telegraph has more here.


It’s been six months since The Information published an explosive report about investor Justin Caldbeck, and he wishes everyone would just let bygones be bygones. But his rehabilitation campaign continues not to go so well, note Quartz.


Pinterest today said it is hiring a new head of corporate and business development, bringing on former Facebooker Gary Johnson as it looks to continue to expand. TechCrunch has more here.


Tencent CEO Pony Ma had some tough words for his Chinese Internet company rival Alibaba  yesterday, suggesting Alibaba behaves like an all-powerful landlord that can raise the rent any time it wants. Fortune has more here.


A group of women investors who are determined to increase funding to female founders and are partners who actively lead deals at firms like NEA and Union Square Ventures, are launching the first ‘Female Founder Office Hours’ in New York on January 9. Learn more here.


Following Lyft’s recent $1.5 billion funding round, the company has decided to bring on board Kristina Omari as its first-ever vice president of corporate development and investor relations as it continues to grow. Omari is now the highest-ranking black female executive at Lyft. TechCrunch has more here.


Essential Reads


Instagram is testing a standalone messaging app.


Facebook, come on.


America’s top airlines are taking a stand against smart luggage. In a rare bit of solidarity, a number of the country’s top carriers have announced rules that would limit the use of high-tech bags, over fear of potential battery combustion. More here.





How to spot fake Amazon reviews.


Denis Leary always though Matt Lauer was a creep.


The second season of “The Crown” returns tomorrow. So we guess we know what we are doing tomorrow.


Retail Therapy


Whoa. This, you’ve got to see.


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