StrictlyVC: March 6, 2018

What? You say you’ve been wanting to see a new picture of StrictlyVC’s mascot, Brodie the Wonder Dog, who is now seven months old! You’re in luck, thanks to our friend of many years, photographer Bart Nagel. We would like to make clear that this was taken at a social outing, not a formal photo shoot of Brodie. We aren’t that crazy.

Happy Tuesday, everyone.:)


Top News


The NYSE and its sister markets were just fined $14 million by U.S. securities regulators for a series of infractions including missteps in dealing with a three-and-a-half hour trading halt in July 2015 and a wild trading session that roiled exchange-traded funds a month later. Bloomberg has the story here.


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A Tale of Two Superstores with Superstore Ambitions: Robinhood and Cadre


The buzzy startups Robinhood and Cadre are known for different things. Five-year-old Robinhood has established its reputation by offering commission-free stock trading, while three-year-old Cadre burst onto the scene with a real estate investing platform. Yet both have developed similar ambitions to become financial “superstores,” using the Amazon playbook of starting in one place, and quickly expanding into other terrain.


“If you think about Amazon, they took the book model, built brand equity, trust, credibility, and now they are a superstore for any retail product,” Cadre’s cofounder and CEO Ryan Williams told attendees at a StrictlyVC event in San Francisco last week. “We’re doing the same for the investments world.”


Robinhood’s cofounder and CEO, Vlad Tenev, speaking at the same event later in the evening, had much the same messaging. “Five years from now,” Tenev told the crowd, Robinhood will be a “full service financial institution” with every product one can find at a “local bank branch and more.”


Whether either startup or both will realize their dream is something we won’t know for years, but certainly both are already being watched closely by competitors, many of which find themselves playing catch-up these days. In fact, throwing the old guard off balance is largely the modus operandi of both companies.


It’s something they share in common with the company they are most trying to emulate — yet could ultimately find themselves competing against. As the WSJ reported just yesterday, Amazon is now in talks with big banks, including JPMorgan Chase, about building a checking-account-like product.


You can guess it would be just the first of many financial products to come.


More here.


New Fundings


The Athletic, a two-year-old, Bay Area-based subscription-based sports media startup, has raised $20 million led by Evolution Media, the growth-stage investment company founded by TPG Growth and Creative Artists Agency. Before this round, the Athletic raised $10 million in two rounds led by Courtside Ventures. The WSJ has more here.


Automox, a three-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based patch management and cybersecurity company whose cloud-based platform aims to help its customers gain more control and visibility into their client and server infrastructures, has raised $2 million led by Blue Note Ventures, with participation from individual investors. More here.


Corvus, a year-old, Boston-based commercial insurance startup, has raised $4 million in funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. The Boston Globe has more here.


Grabr, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based peer-to-peer community marketplace for travelers needing extra storage space in others’ luggage (it’s all explained here), has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Foundation Capital, with participation from individual investors, including Square’s engineering lead, Gokul Rajaram.


HQ, the nearly three-year-old, New York-based live trivia game-show app, has raised $15 million in new  funding at a $100 million valuation led by Founders Fund and joined by earlier investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.


Kr Space, a four-year-old, Beijing, China-based co-working space company, has raised $94.6 million in funding from undisclosed investors. DealStreetAsia has more here.


Mighty, a New York-based outfit that makes software for personal injury litigation finance companies, says it has raised $114 million in funding. It isn’t naming its investors. More here.


Nubank, a nearly five-year-old, São Paulo, Brazil-based digital finance company that received regulatory approval to become a bank last month, has raised $150 million in Series E funding led by DST Global, with participation from Founders FundRedpoint VenturesRibbit CapitalQED Investors, and Dragoneer. Reuters has a bit more here.


Snyk, a three-year-old, London-based based company whose product aims to help developers and enterprise security to continuously find and fix vulnerable dependencies without slowing down, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led byBoldstart Ventures and Canaan Partners, with participation from Heavybit,FundFire, and individual investors. The company has now raised $10 million to date. More here.


TeraPore Technologies, a five-year-old, South San Francisco, Ca.-based developer of advanced nanofiltration membrane systems for bioprocess and other applications, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Anzu Partners, with participation from RA Capital Management and Artiman Ventures, as well asWilson Sonsini Goodrich & RosatiMore here.


UiPath, a 13-year-old, New York-based maker of robotic process automation software, has raised $120 million in Series B funding, including from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers. TechCrunch has more here.


Upskill, an eight-year-old, Herndon, Va.-based company that makes enterprise augmented reality software, has raised $17.2 million in funding from Accentureand Cisco Investments, as well as earlier backers Boeing HorizonXGE VenturesNew Enterprise Associates, and other unnamed investors. DC has more here.


Wecash, a four-year-old, Beijing, China, and Freemont, Ca.-based online credit rating platform, has raised $160 million in Series D funding co-led by ORIX Asia Capital and SEA Group, with participation from Sagamore InvestmentsSIG AsiaForebright CapitalLingfeng Capital and Hongdao Capital. DealStreetAsia has more here.


Whoop, a Boston-based maker of a fitness tracker for serious athletes, has raised $25 million in Series C funding led by UAE71 Capital, with participation from theNational Football League Players Association, (Kevin) Durant Company,Thursday Ventures, and earlier backers. The latter includes Two Sigma VenturesAccomplice, Mousse PartnersPromus Ventures and NextView Ventures. Bloomberg has more here.


New Funds


Liquid 2 Ventures, a three-year-old, seed-stage firm that was cofounded former football great Joe Montana, is raising up to $50 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing that states fundraising began last year. More here.




Co-working juggernaut WeWork is acquiring Conductor, a 13-year-old, New York-based company that’s best known for search engine optimization. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed but reportedly, Conductor is a longtime customer of WeWork and its founder, Seth Besmertnik, went to college with WeWork CEO Adam Neumann. TechCrunch has more here.




ARTIS Ventures has named Vasudev (Vas) Bailey as its newest partner. He was formerly a senior VP at the software company Quid. It also promoted Austin Walne, who has been a venture partner with the firm for three years, to partner.


Sarah Cannon has joined Index Ventures as a partner. Previously, Cannon spent three-and-a-half years as a principal with CapitalG, Alphabet’s growth equity fund.




How Uber spent $10.7 million in nine years.


Traditional VC rounds — convertible notes seed, angel, Series A, Series B, etc. — now pale in comparison to ICOs in terms of dollar volume.


Essential Reads


Facebook‘s political nightmare is about to get worse.


When to report a cyberattack? For companies, that’s still a dilemma.




How to be lazy.


A complete guide to protein powder supplements.


Retail Therapy


The Cyclone V10. It’ll spiral around your house effortlessly, they say.

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