StrictlyVC: February 2, 2018

Friday! [Behind-the-back dribble; shoots.] Hope you have a wonderful weekend, everyone.


Quick mention: seats are very nearly sold out at this point for our evening event, coming up a little more than three weeks from now on Tuesday, February 27, at New Enterprise Associates‘ space in San Francisco’s South Park. If you RSVP’d on our event page, just a reminder/clarification that this doesn’t secure a ticket.


If you can’t make it, don’t worry; we’ll have coverage about what goes down afterward. In the meantime, much thanks again to NEA for generously playing host. We’re also very thankful for the support of Mofo, the global law firm, and Anduin, the platform focused on making private market transactions safe.


Top News


Yikes. As of a bit ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was on track today to shed more than 1,105 points for the week. That’s the steepest weekly slide since Oct 2008, when it shed 1,874 points. An upbeat jobs report (and related fears over inflation) appears to be the culprit. MarketWatch has more here.


HQ Trivia, the 2.5-year-old, New York-based popular trivia gameshow app, plans to raise money in a new round of financing that values the company north of $100 million, according to Recode. Founders Fund, the venture firm founded by controversial billionaire Peter Thiel, is expected to lead the $15 million round, and though firm partner Cyan Banister is spearheading the investment, the mere association with Thiel had some deleting the app today. More here and here.


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Science, the L.A.-based Incubator, Just Closed its First Official Venture Fund with $75 Million 


Science Inc, the Santa Monica, Ca.-based incubator and investment firm, has closed a new venture capital fund with $75 million in commitments, shows a new SEC filing.


According to the six-year-old firm, the vehicle is its first official venture fund — with traditional limited partners, including a fund of funds, sovereign wealth funds, foundations, and other institutional investors.


The capital will be used to back breakaway companies coming out of its incubators, as well as to co-invest in deals that were not seeded by Science, and it comes on the heels of a few other vehicles that Science has raised over its relatively short history.


Those other entities include its Science Incubator, which raised $40 million from investors; its Science Incubator II, which raised $8.2 million; and Science Blockchain, which raised $12.3 million from roughly 400 individuals through an initial coin offering last fall. (Science Blockchain is an incubator focused on creating and funding companies in the blockchain space. In December, for example, Science announced that it planned to use some of the capital raised to launch Blockchain Delta, a renewable energy bitcoin mining operation headquartered in the U.S.)


The new venture fund will be used to co-invest alongside other venture investors, as happened recently when Science teamed up with Greylock Partners to provide Series A funding to Mammoth Media, a company Science incubated at its offices.


We weren’t able to talk last night with Science’s team, which includes Mike Jones, Peter Pham, Greg Gilman and Tom Dare. But the fund is a bit of a departure for the ambitious outfit.


More here.


(Other) New Fundings


BigBasket, a six-year-old, Bangalore, India-based online grocery company, has raised $300 million in new funding at a $950 million post-money valuation led by Alibaba Group, with participation from Abraaj Group and Bessemer Venture Partners. Bloomberg has more here.


Blueday, a year-old, Boston-based company whose software aims to help retail store managers meet their daily revenue goals, has $6 million in funding, including from Radian CapitalMore here.


Bustle, the nearly five-year-old, New York-based online media company for millennial women, is reportedly trying to raise $30 million in fresh funding. TechCrunch has more here.


Figma, a 5.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based  open design platform, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Kleiner Perkins, with participation fromGreylock Partners and Index Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.


Furnishare, a three-year-old, New York-based furniture sharing service, has raised $2 million in seed funding, including from Lerer Hippeau VenturesCorrelation Ventures and Max Ventures. AlleyWatch has more here.


Harmless Harvest, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based food and beverage company that markets refrigerated coconut water and probiotic drinks, has raised $30 million in funding led by Danone Manifesto Ventures. BevNet has more here.


Honeycomb, a two-year-old, Bay Area-based startup that helps users find out where things are going wrong with their web services, has raised  $11.5 million in funding led by, with participation from earlier investor Storm Venturesand new investors NextWorld Capital and Merian Ventures. The company has now raised $15.5 million altogether. GeekWire has more here.


Joby Aviation, a nine-year-old, Santa Cruz, Ca.-based maker of so-called air taxis, has raised $100 million in Series B funding led by Intel Capital. Other investors in the round include EDBIJetBlue Technology VenturesToyota AI Ventures,Allen & Co., AME Cloud VenturesRon ConwayCapricorn Investment Group8VC, and entrepreneurs Sky Dayton and Paul Sciarra. Bloomberg has more here.


Lambda School, a year-old,San Ramon, Ca.-based startup that provides free computer science education training until someone is hired (graduates then pay back a percentage of their salary), has raised $4 million in seed funding, including from Y Combinator and Tandem Capital. More here.


Lightelligence, a six-month-old, Boston-based startup that’s trying to accelerate artificial intelligence workloads with a new technology based on light, has raised $10 million in seed funding led by Baidu Ventures. SiliconAngle has more here.


Moderna Therapeutics, a nearly eight-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based mRNA drug discovery and development company, has raised $500 million, at a valuation of $7.5 billion, says Pitchbook. Investors Abu Dhabi Investment AuthorityBB BiotechJulius BaerEDBI and Sequoia Capital China were joined by earlier investors FidelityPictetViking Global InvestorsArrowMark Partners andAlexandria Venture Investments. Xconomy has more here.


nCino, a six-year-old, Wilmington, N.C.-based cloud banking startup, has raised funding of an undisclosed amount led by Salesforce Ventures. The company, spent out of Live Oak Bank, has raised $140 million altogether to date. More here.


Nuro, a Mountain View, Ca.-based developer of a self-driving delivery vans, raised $92 million in Series A funding co-led by Banyan Capital and Greylock Partners. Reuters has more here.


Owl, a 1.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company that’s making an automobile security camera, has raised $18 million in funding, including defy.vcKhosla VenturesMenlo VenturesSherpa CapitalMoment VenturesManiv Mobility and CSAA Insurance Group. Fortune has more here.


QuVa Pharma, a 2.5-year-old, Sugar Land, Tex.-based platform for sterile compounding pharmacy services, has raised $40 million in debt and equity funding. The financing ncludes $15 million from investors, including Bain Capital Private Equity; a $20 million loan from Silicon Valley Bank; and a $5 million lease facility from Farnam Street FinancialMore here.


SaaSOptics, a nine-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based B2B subscription management platform, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Fulcrum Equity PartnersMore here.



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(Other) New Funds

8VC, the San Francisco-based venture firm led by Joe Lonsdale, is raising $640 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing. We talked with Londsdale last year about the firm’s debut fund and approach.




Shutterfly says it’s acquiring Lifetouch, the leader in school photography, for $825 million in cash. TechCrunch has more here.


Soothe, an L.A.-based on-demand massage service, has acquired another L.A.-based rival called Melt. L.A. Biz has more here.




Talia Goldberg has been promoted from vice president to principal at Bessemer Venture Partners. Goldberg joined the firm more than five years ago after brief stints with First Round’s Dorm Room Fund and as a business development associate at Foursquare.


Kazuoa Hirai is stepping down as the CEO of Sony five years after taking the job.


Softbank just poached Sequoia Capital’s longtime head of communications, Andrew Kovacs. Before jumping into the venture world, Kovacs spent more than five years as a senior communications manager at Google.


David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of Messaging Products, responded to the backlash against Messenger Kids when he spoke at the Upfront Summit in Los Angeles yesterday. “Families will be better off because it exists,” said Marcus. “I firmly believe that it is a good product.”




Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) is looking to hire an analyst to its team. The job is in New York.


Essential Reads


A growing number of big U.S. credit-card issuers are deciding they don’t want to allow cryptocurrency transactions on their credit cards.


There’s a disconnect among investors eyeing what could be the largest initial coin offering ever. Some of the biggest venture capital firms have signaled interest in an ICO from Telegram, while long-time cryptocurrency investors are skipping it.


Airbnb’s CFO quit after he didn’t get the strategy role he sought, but some investorshave questions.


How WeChat came to rule China.




How our fixation with capturing the perfect image has homogenized our creativity.


Now you can skip the Super Bowl without missing the commercials.


What your favorite composer says about you.


Retail Therapy


How to leave an impression (on your bathroom visitors).


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