StrictlyVC: February 26, 2018

Monday! Hope you’re enjoying yours.:) (No column today.)


Top News


Apple is planning to release the largest iPhone ever later this year.


Facebook has agreed to pay $35 million to settle claims that its officers and directors misled investors in the company’s 2012 initial public offering. Facebook didn’t admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, whose court filing was made public today.


Sponsored By . . .


Today, StrictlyVC is sponsored by the Financial Solutions Lab at the Center for Financial Services Innovation, which will unveil its 2018 class of startups at EMERGE in Los Angeles this June. Want to see who they’ll be — and mingle with all kinds of fintech and finserv influencers? Register now for EMERGE and save $150 off current rates with code: STRICTLYVC.


New Fundings


Danke Apartment, a three-year-old, Beijing, China-based online apartment rental platform, has raised $100 million in Series B funding led by CMC Capital and Banyan Capital, with participation from Bertelsmann Asia InvestmentsVision Plus CapitalYoujin Capital, and Joy Capital. The company reportedly raised $14 million in Series A funding last year. China Money Network has more here.


Food by Rail, a 10-month-old, Orlando, Fl.-based maker of refrigerated boxcars for moving food and beverages by rail, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from undisclosed investors. More here.


Joberate, a nearly four-year-old, Nashua, N.H.-based startup whose software as a service aims to help companies find and recruit talent faster and more cost effectively, has raised $1.2 million in fresh seed funding led by Falmouth VenturesMore here.


Kaliti, a seven-year-old, Paris-based property development and renovation project management tool provider, has raised €4 million ($4.9 million) in funding, including from Entrepreneur Venture and Capital & Dirigeants Partenaires.


May Mobility, a year-old, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based autonomous vehicle company at work on self-driving micro-shuttles, has raised $11.5 million in seed funding co-led by BMW iVentures and Toyota AI Ventures. Other investors in the company include Maven VenturesSV AngelTandem VenturesTrucks Ventures, and Y CombinatorMore here.


PawnGuru, a three-year-old, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based online marketplace connecting pawn shops and consumers, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Impact America Fund and Invest Detroit Ventures, with participation from angel investors. More here.


Prodsmart, a nearly six-year-old, San Francisco-based real-time process tracking platform for production lines and job shops, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, including from Join CapitalCaixa CapitalInnovation Nest, and numerous Portuguese angel investors. More here.


ZEDEDA, a two-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based startup that’s aiming to make it easier for companies to deploy and run real-time edge apps at “hyperscale,” has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Wild West Capital, with participation from Almaz CapitalBarton Capital, and former Motorola CEO Ed ZanderMore here.


ZenBusiness, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based startup that provides free business formation services, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures, with participation from GreycroftSlow Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest fund and Founders FundMore here.



New Funds


Causeway Media Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm that focuses on sports media and sports tech-related companies, says it has closed its second fund with $211.3 million in capital commitments, exceeding its $175 million target. We’d talked with firm cofounder Bob Higgins about the firm when it first hit the scene in 2014. More on what it’s up to now here.


East Ventures, an Indonesia and South East Asia-focused venture capital firm that’s been active in the region since 2010, is planning a $100 million seventh fund that it will begin raising this year, according to DealStreetAsia. If successful, the vehicle will be more than three times as big as the outfit’s last fund, which it closed with $30 million last fall.


MPM Capital, the 22-year-old, Boston-based early-stage life sciences investment firm, is looking to raise a new $400 million venture fund, according an SEC filing.More here.


RRE Ventures, the 24-year-old, New York-based venture firm, has raised $218.75 million for its seventh fund, shows a new SEC filing that lists $250 million as the fund’s target. The firm had closed its sixth fund with $280 million in 2014. Steve Schlafman, a younger partner who joined the firm in 2013, announced last fall that he was leaving, though he hasn’t yet disclosed publicly what’s next.




500px, a photo-sharing site that was once poised to take on Flickr and Getty, has been acquired by Visual China Group, a strategic investor in 500px via previous financings. Publicly traded VCG, which is sort of like China’s Getty, bought Corbis in 2016 and is now the world’s third-largest visual content provider. TechCrunch has much more here.


Circle, a cryptocurrency-focused financial-services firm, announced today that it is buying crypto exchange Poloniex—a move that “immediately makes Circle one of the largest and most influential companies in the industry,” says Fortune. More here.


Nokia is acquiring Unium, a 16-year-old, Seattle, Wa-based software company that specializes in solving complex wireless networking problems for use in mission-critical and residential Wi-Fi applications. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed but according to Crunchbase, Unium had raised roughly $27 million from investors. TechCrunch has more here.


A bit afield but still notable: Weinstein Co. is planning to file for bankruptcy following the collapse of sales talks with an investor group, says Dealbook.





You may soon be able to “own Aston Martin” even if you can’t afford to own anAston Martin. The British luxury brand said today that it’s considering an IPO after turning its first profit since 2010.


Sunlands Online Education Group, a 15-year-old, China-based online education service, has filed to raise up to $300 million in an IPO on the NYSE. China Money Network has more here.




Changes are afoot at BGF Ventures, the young, London-based early-stage venture fund of BGF, with three partners leaving the outfit, says TechCrunch.


CNBC caught Ravjeev Misra, the CEO of the SoftBank Vision Fund, at Mobile World Congress today and asked him about Uber’s global domination plans. Misra suggested that he supports them, despite earlier hints that Softbank would prefer that Uber to steer clear of Asia. Video here.


Reports last month that rapper 50 Cent had forgotten about $7 million or so in bitcoin he owned have been given the lie by the man himself, who declares in court documents that he “has never owned, and does not now own, a bitcoin account or any bitcoin.” TechCrunch has the story here.




G2VP, a new fund led by four partners (Ben Kortlang, Brook Porter, David Mount, Daniel Oros) who have worked together for the last ten years as partners at Kleiner Perkins’s $1 billion Green Growth Fund, are looking to hire an analyst or associate. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.



Essential Reads


A file that Apple updated on its website last month provides the first acknowledgment that it’s relying on Google’s public cloud for data storage for its iCloud services.


The success or failure of Dropbox will likely reflect on Y Combinator and its status as a Silicon Valley kingmaker.




How to raise more grateful children.


Where the world’s highest-paid expats live.


Monica Lewinsky in the age of #MeToo.


Retail Therapy


Eleven pre-made Easter baskets. (Never fear, Easter Bunny. We won’t tell anyone.)


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