StrictlyVC: March 16, 2018

Happy Friday, everyone! [High-dive cannonball.]


No column today. Hope you have a terrific weekend.:)


Top News


The IRS is moving to crack down on cryptocurrency scofflaws, collecting data on about 13,000 Coinbase account holders who bought, sold, sent or received digital currency worth $20,000 or more between 2013 and 2015. The WSJ has the story here.


Sponsored By . . .


Your parents (and you) are getting older. They’d like to think their money will last the rest of their lives. But who’s really looking out for them? EverSafe enables you to keep an eye on loved ones’ financial lives without taking away their financial independence– so they’re aging with dignity, but not without caution. EverSafe is part of the Financial Solutions Lab, now seeking its next class of startups working to improve Americans’ financial health. Apply now!



New Fundings


180 Health Partners, a two-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based company that works with pregnant mothers who are battling opioid addiction, has raised $8 million in Series B funding led by Spring Mountain Capital, with participation from Frist Cressey VenturesResolute Venture Partners and Altitude Ventures. The Nashville Post has more here.


Andie, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based e-commerce brand for women’s one-piece swimwear, has raised $2 million in seed funding co-led by Two River Capital and Sonostar Ventures, with participation from individual investors, including actress Demi MooreMore here.


Detectify, a 4.5-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based company that focuses on website vulnerabilities, has raised €5 million (about $6.1 million) in funding led byInsight Venture Partners, with participation from earlier backers Paua Ventures and InventureMore here.


Drover, a three-year-old, London-based marketplace that gives users access to cars of their choice for a monthly subscription price (its partners include Avis and Budget, among others), just raised £5.5 million ($7 million) in funding. Cherry VenturesPartech Ventures and BP Ventures led the round, with participation from earlier backers Version One and Forward PartnersMore here.


Fortem Technologies, a two-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based company that sells a miniaturized detect-and-avoid radar system for drones, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Data Collective led the round, and was joined by investors including BoeingMubadala Investment CompanyManifest Growth,New Ground Ventures and Signia Venture Partners. GeekWire has more here.


Hazel Technologies, a three-year-old, Chicago-based startup that designs and manufactures packaging to reduce the spoilage of fruits and vegetables, has raised $3.26 million in Series A funding led by S2G VenturesMore here.


Medinas Health, an eight-month-old, San Francisco-based marketplace that aims to help healthcare organizations buy and sell their surplus and short-date medical supplies and equipment, has raised $1 million in funding, including from Sound VenturesRough Draft VenturesPrecursor VenturesTrammell Ventures and Angels.


PieSync, a six-year-old, Ghent, Belgium-based data synchronization platform for organizations’ apps, has raised $3.5 million in funding. Fortino Capital led the round, with participation from Ark Angels Activator FundPMV and Dirk VermunichtMore here.


SeamlessDocs, a seven-year-old, New York-based e-signature engine built for all levels of government, has raised $7.5 million in funding. SJF Ventures led the round. Other participants include Motorola SolutionsEntrepreneur Roundtable AcceleratorNY State Innovation Ventures and CapRockMore here.


Serious Factory, a six-year-old, Suresnes, France-based company whose authoring tool aims to help design virtual reality simulations, has raised €3 million ($3.7 million) in its second round of funding, which comes from Odyssée Venture and earlier backers, including the Paris Region Venture FundMore here.


Strix Leviathan, a new Seattle, Wa.-based company that’s building a crypto-trading platform for enterprises and institutions, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding led by Liquid 2 Ventures, with participation from Founders’ Co-op,Future\Perfect Ventures and 9Mile Labs. GeekWire has more here.


Virtuos, a 13-year-old, Shanghai, China-based game developer with more than 1,200 employees, has raised $15 million in new funding led by 3D Capital Partners. DealStreetAsia has more here.


New Funds


Age 1, a newly established accelerator established by The Longevity Fund and backed by Marc AndreessenFelicis Ventures, and others, is launching today. The program will connect startups committed to addressing late-onset medical conditions related to Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes and more, to key investors, prominent scientists, and tech entrepreneurs at the forefront of life extension. The four-month-long accelerator program will invest $500,000 in each startup. You can apply to the accelerator here. And if you’re interested in learning more about The Longevity Fund, we’d interviewed its brainiac founder Laura Demming back in August.


Village Global, a seed and pre-seed early stage venture capital fund looking to connect entrepreneurs to both cash and all-star mentors, says it has officially closed on $100 million in capital commitments, including from Fidelity’s Abigail Johnson, Activision’s Bobby Kotick, 23andme’s Anne Wojcicki, and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. The outfit — cofounded by early Product Hunt employee Erik Torenberg — says that founders can tap such mentors as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg,  Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, and many others. More here and here and here.




The first post-billion, big tech IPO of the year just opened with a bang. Zscaler, a security startup that confidentially filed for an IPO last year, started trading this morning at $27.50 per share — a leap of 71.9  percent over its opening price of $16. As of this writing, in fact, it’s trading at around $58, giving it a market cap (for now) of $7.4 billion. TechCrunch notes that it’s a bullish moment for security startups and potentially public listings for tech companies in general.




Cosmetics giant L’Oreal said today that it’s acquiring ModiFace, a 12-year-old, Toronto, Canada-based beauty technology company, as L’Oreal looks to roll out more digital services like virtual make-up tests. ModiFace got its start in 1999 at Stanford, where founder Parham Aarabi was conducting research on automatic face analysis. We can’t figure out how much ModiFace might have raised from investors over the years, beyond $500,000 in seed funding from the publicly traded pharmaceutical giant Allergan. (It looks like not much if any.) Either way, terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. Reuters has more here.


Here we go again. Media company Meredith has hired advisers to explore a sale of its Time, Fortune, Money, and Sports Illustrated magazines, just two months after shelling out $1.84 billion acquisition to acquire Time Inc. According to Reuters, Meredith sees the titles as not playing to its core strength in women’s magazines. More here.




Alex Bell, a computer scientist living in Harlem, is doing what he can to make life better in the bike lane.


Adrian Lamo, a well-known hacker, has passed away at age 37. He was best known for high-profile hacks of companies like Microsoft, and later for turning in Chelsea Manning to the FBI after receiving leaked documents from her.


Vanity Fair profiles Janet Pierson, the brains behind the South by Southwest Festival. (“We’re not like other places,” she says.)




Lyft is looking to hire a corporate development manager. The job is in San Francisco.


Essential Reads


Lyft is testing a Netflix-style monthly subscription plan, says the Verge.


Traders who look for future price direction in chart patterns are finding more indicators suggesting Bitcoin may have further to fall, reports Bloomberg. From its report “Bitcoin’s 50-day moving average has dropped to the closest proximity to its 200-day moving average in nine months. Crossing below that level — something it hasn’t done since 2015 — signals fresh weakness to come for technical traders who would dub such a move a ‘death cross.’” More here.


In its race to catch Amazon, Walmart issued misleading e-commerce results and fired a former corporate development executive who complained the company was breaking the law, shows a  a whistle-blower lawsuit, reports Bloomberg. Walmart is dismissing the claims as unfounded, calling the exec a “disgruntled former associate,” who was let go as part of a broader workforce restructuring. More here.


China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year.




A guide to which Trump staffer is getting fired next.


Should some species be allowed to die?


My life in eavesdropping.



Retail Therapy


Sushi art. (You can make it, too, with a little help.)


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