StrictlyVC: March 1, 2018

Well, hello! Great hearing from so many of you yesterday.:) We’re sorry to say our T-shirts are all gone (well, they are accounted for; we’ll be shipping them out this weekend). But we promise to keep the rest of you in mind for future spillover swag.


We also have photos from the event coming soon and some coverage below, with much more on the way. Hope you’re having a good Tuesday.


Top News


U.S. stocks plunged today after Donald Trump promised to impose substantial tariffs on foreign metals.


DoorDash has gotten the Softbank Vision Fund treatment. The San Francisco-based food delivery company just sealed up $535 million in Series D funding at a whopping $1.4 billion post-money valuation, says TechCrunch. (Recode says it was only looking for a measly $200 million.) Along with Softbank, earlier backers Sequoia CapitalGIC and Wellcome Trust also joined the round.


Here’s where else Softbank has invested its $100 billion fund so far.


Sponsored By . . .


Fintech startups, how does $250K sound? What about unparalleled access to the banking, financial services, and nonprofit areas where your customers are? Yes? Then be sure to apply for the next class of the Financial Solutions Lab. This highly influential virtual accelerator (today’s StrictlyVC sponsor) has helped the likes of Dave.comPoint, EarnUp, Nova Credit and more to scale their products and navigate the complicated side of fintech. Apply now!



Caterina Fake on Turning Down VC Role a Decade Ago: “I Just Kind of Didn’t Fit In”


Ten years ago, not long after Yahoo had acquired Flickr,  its cofounder, Caterina Fake, bounded up and down Sand Hill Road taking meetings with venture firms that were interested in hiring her. She knew most of them. In fact, she already knew a lot of investors at that point. Flickr was created out of a photo-sharing feature for another product that Fake and cofounder Stewart Butterfield had been working on that she calls “an abysmal failure.” And “when you have a failed pitch,” says Fake, “you meet many more venture capitalists than you really want to.”


When Flickr was acquired — as Fake told an audience of founders and investors at a StrictlyVC event earlier this week —  “I figured I’d have a sniff around and see, Is this my world? Would I like it? Is venture for me? I never really considered this as a career opportunity.” The answer became apparent pretty quickly. “I’d go in and it was like, ‘One of these things is not like the other.’ I’d look around at all of these dudes and I was like, ‘I don’t know if this is for me. I’m feeling like this is not my place. . .  I don’t dress like ya’ll. I have an English degree.’ I just kind of didn’t fit in.”


It’s because “everything has changed since then — everything,” she says, that Fake, who has cofounded four companies altogether, is now jumping into the venture game full time. As we reported in January, after years of investing as an individual —  including in Etsy  (whose board she chaired for many years), Kickstarter, and Coursera  — Fake and partner Jyri Engeström are currently raising up to $50 million from institutions and family offices, including that of Nokia’s chairman Risto Siilasmaa.


She has largely been inspired by the growing numbers of women in both entrepreneurship and venture capital, suggested Fake. But her interest in turning pro, so to speak, seems even more rooted in the faith that Fake has in her own instincts. It paid off with Etsy, for example, which she recognized early as part of a burgeoning social movement toward craftsmanship and away from big-box retail, whereas “people in the Valley” that she introduced to the deal “were like, ‘So this is a bunch of people knitting and selling scarves?’”


Right now, Fake said she sees an opportunity to get in front of the next parade.


More here.


New Fundings


Astranis, a nearly three-year-old, San Francisco-based company that’s building wine-cooler-size satellites that are capable of delivering broadband internet services around the globe, has raised $13.5 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Other participants in the round include Y CombinatorRefactor CapitalIndicator Fund, and Fifty Years. Forbes has more here.


Blueprint Income, a four-year-old, New York-based fintech startup that’s building a way for consumers to more easily buy what has notoriously been a hard sell — annuity contracts, has raised $2.75 million in seed funding co-led by NextView Ventures and Green Visor Capital. Other participants in the deal include the Center for Financial Services Innovation FinLabCore Innovation Capital,Kairos VenturesJean Chatzky, and Plug ’n PlayMore here.


Bugcrowd, a 5.5-year-old, San Francisco-based bug bounty platform, has raised $26 million in Series C funding led by Triangle Peak Partners. Other investors in the round include HostplusFirst State Super and earlier backers Blackbird VenturesCostanoa VenturesIndustry VenturesPaladin Capital Group,Rally VenturesSalesforce Ventures and Stanford. TechCrunch has more here.


Coalition, a year-old, San Francisco-based cyber insurance startup, has raised $10 million in Series A funding, including from Vy CapitalRibbit CapitalValor Equity Partners, and Y Combinator’s Sam AltmanMore here.


Cota, a New York City-based oncology-focused startup that relies on real-world evidence to deliver precision medicine, has closed on $40 million in Series C funding led by IQVIA. Other participants included EW Healthcare PartnersMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterBoston Millennia PartnersHorizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New JerseyHackensack Meridian Health and Atoc Holdings. MedCity News has more here.


Credy, a year-old, Bengaluru, India-based online lending platform that graduated from Y Combinator’s winter class last year, has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from YCKhosla VenturesVy Capital and numerous individual investors. Inc. 42 has more here.


Helix, a three-year-old, San Carlos, Ca.-based startup focused on personal genomics, has raised $200 million in Series B financing led by DFJ Growth, with participation from other investors that include IlluminaKleiner Perkins Caufield & ByersMayo ClinicSutter Hill Ventures and Warburg PincusMore here.



Hi Guides, a three-year-old, China-based ride-hailing and tour-guide company, has raised $50 million in Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital China, with participation from Concord Investments and Matrix Partners China. China Money Network has more here.


Perfect Day, a four-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based animal-free dairy, has raised $24.7 million in new funding led by Temasek, with participation from Continental GrainIconiq CapitalHorizons VenturesLion Ventures and Verus International. Forbes has more here.

Rubius Therapeutics, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotech that’s trying to turn our own red blood cells into new medicines, has raised $100 million in new funding from unnamed mutual funds and institutional investors. The company had raised $120 million last summer, with only Flagship Pioneering — which incubated the company —  as its only disclosed investor. Business Insider has more here.


Smartcar, a 4.5-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based under-the-radar connected car platform, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, which had previously given the company $2 million in seed funding. VentureBeat has more here.


TCGplayer, a 19-year-old, Syracuse, N.Y.-based online marketplace for collectible gaming items (rare Pokemon and Magic cards, etc.), has raised $10 million from Radian CapitalMore here.


Virtualitics, a 1.5-year-old Pasadena, Ca.-based company that’s developing data visualization and analytics tools for AR/VR developers, has raised $7 million in Series B funding led by Centricus, with participation from earlier investor The VR Fund. TechCrunch has more here.


Woebot Labs, a year-old, San Francisco-based startup whose chatbot who helps monitor moods, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from the AI FundMore here.


Zomato, a 10-year-old, Gurgaon, India-based food delivery company, has raised $150 million from Alibaba at a valuation north of $1 billion. Your Story has more here.





German carmaker Daimler has been steadily investing in a stream of new transportation services as it positions itself for the next generation of car ownership and travel, reports TechCrunch. Today, it consolidated its position in one of those business, paying €70 million ($85 million) to buy the remaining 25 percent of car-sharing company car2Go that it didn’t already own. The deal values car2Go at €280 million ($342.5 million). More here.


LittleThings, a 4.5-year-old, New York-based digital publisher focused on inspirational and how-to content for women, shut down yesterday, a move it traces to an algorithm change at Facebook. The startup had raised an undisclosed amount of debt funding from City National Bank. TechCrunch has more here.


Venture-backed has acquired for undisclosed terms a Chicago-based company called SIM Partners that specializes in location marketing technology. SIM Partners’s backers included River Cities Capital Funds and Jump Capital. Reputation, which tries to track and improve online reviews, social media and more for its clients, is backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, August Capital, and Icon Ventures, among others. More here.




China wants one of its biggest tech unicorns to go public at home, says the WSJ. Authorities have reportedly asked smartphone maker Xiaomi, which is already planning a Hong Kong IPO, to list its shares on the mainland, too. More here.




With some smartphone models pushing $1,000, people aren’t upgrading their phones nearly as quickly as they once did. “Smartphones now resemble the car industry very closely,” a spokesman for B-Stock Solutions, the world’s largest platform for trade-in and overstock phones, tells the WSJ. “I still want to drive a Mercedes, but I’ll wait a couple of years to buy the older model. Same mentality.”



Essential Reads


The SEC “has issued dozens of subpoenas and information requests to technology companies and advisers involved in the red-hot market for cryptocurrencies,”reports the WSJ. Digital tokens are rising in price anyway.


Uber just launched a new business line called Uber Health to provide ride-hailing services specifically to healthcare providers wanting to more easily assign rides for their patients and clients from a centralized dashboard, whether or not these rider have the Uber app or even a smartphone, says TechCrunch.


Morale at Snap isn’t so great, reports Bloomberg.




Cable TV at its finest.


How you wind up with a $1,635.93 Uber fare.


What the world’s largest family tree tells us about marriage and death in the West.


Retail Therapy


Porsche 911s. (Skiers not included.)


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