StrictlyVC: March 9, 2018

Friday! Hope you have a terrific weekend, everyone!

Also, thanks very much to Spark PR for showing some SVC love. That color suits you! (Tim, you especially.) We like the added touch of the unicorn piñata.


Top News


Bird, the young Santa Monica, Ca.-based electric scooter company that we profiled less than a month ago, is raising as much as $100 million in new funding at a $300 million valuation, according to TechCrunch. More here.


Lloyd Blankfein is preparing to step down as Goldman Sachs CEO as soon as the end of the year, capping a more than 12-year run that has made him one of the longest-serving bosses on Wall Street. According to the WSJ, Goldman isn’t looking beyond the firm’s two co-president to replace him.


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LawTrades provides vetted corporate attorneys — each of whom have been General Counsel or senior in-house counsel — to provide on-demand assistance at a remarkably low monthly subscription. The platform provides clear transparent prices with low fixed hourly rates of below $200 per hour, and there is no minimum use requirement. Companies get the benefit of a dedicated project manager to monitor their progress and ability to work with the same LawTrades lawyer over time. For a limited time, you can sign up for one month free. Learn more here.


Another New Survey Underscores That Skilled Workers Can Live Pretty Much Wherever They Want


If want to live outside an expensive city like San Francisco or New York, it pays to have specialized knowledge. So suggests a new survey out of Upwork, the freelancing platform created from the 2013 merger of Elance and oDesk that connects businesses and independent contractors.

According to feedback from more than 1,005 workforce hiring decision-makers conducted on Upwork’s behalf by the company Inavaro, skilled workers can pretty much live wherever they want and employers will come to them. The reason: companies say they are struggling to find talent, with the average position open for 36 days and some engineering jobs vacant for up to 45 days.

In fact, though the majority of organizations surveyed — 57 percent — don’t support a work-from-home policy, those that do say they’ve become increasingly inclusive of people who work outside the office, and five times as many hiring managers expect more of their team to work remotely in the next decade than expect less. Put simply, they say the most skilled person for the job outweighs that person’s ability to work in the same location as the rest of the team.

The survey’s findings aren’t a huge surprise for a number of reasons, including that it’s in Upwork’s interests to promote the idea that freelancing is where it’s at. (The more freelancers it has to choose from, the better for its platform.)

It’s also the case that mobility has slowed dramatically, with slightly more than one in ten Americans (11.2 percent) moving between 2015 and 2016 — roughly half the rate that it was 60 years ago, when the Census began tracking American mobility. In some situations, people simply can’t move, particularly in cases where their homes act as a kind of tether. But many more are choosing not to move, including because the cost of living is higher elsewhere and because they are finding job opportunities where they are.

That’s especially true if they’re more educated.


More here.


New Funds


Allegion, an Ireland-based publicly traded global security products and software company, has launched a $50 million corporate venture fund, after partnering with the corporate venture capital firm Touchdown Ventures, which will help manage the effort. More here.


The high-end audio technology company Bose is getting into the augmented reality game with a new product and a $50 million fund devoted to startups that will develop services for its new platform. TechCrunch has more here.


Mars Petcare, a pet nutrition and healthcare company based in Brussels, Belgium, has created a $100 million venture capital fund called Companion Fund in partnership with Digitalis Ventures, an investment firm with offices in L.A., New York, San Francisco, and London. The fund will provide capital and support to startups that are addressing the needs of pets, pet owners and vets. More here.


Multicoin Capital, a new, Austin, Tex.-based cryptofund that invests in blockchain tokens, says that David SacksMarc AndreessenChris DixonElad GilVy Capital and Passport Capital are among its investors and that it expects to close its debut fund with $250 million by the end of the second quarter of this year. As CoinDesk notes, Civic founder Vinny Lingham joined the fund as a general partner last December. More here and here.




Boxed, a 5.5-year-old, New York-based bulk-buying site for food and household items, reportedly rejected a $400 million acquisition offer from grocer Kroger. The company has raised more than $130 million in funding from firms that includeEniac VenturesGGV CapitalDST Global and FJ Labs. Bloomberg has the story here. (And more here in TechCrunch.)




Twitter says it has appointed a new chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal. Agrawal had joined the company in 2011 as an ads engineer. The role was previously held by Adam Messinger, who left in late 2016. CNBC has more here.


Longtime tech journalist Cory Johnson says he has left Bloomberg TV to join the crypto company Ripple as its chief market strategist. Johnson, who helped found and has worked for CNBC, among other media organizations, had also logged a bit of time as a hedge fund manager and private investor earlier in his career.


Former President Barack Obama is in advanced negotiations with Netflix to produce a series of high-profile shows that will provide him a global platform, according to the New York Times.


Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical industry’s enfant terrible, was sentenced today to seven years in prison.


Essential Reads


Billionaire investor Peter Thiel just landed a fresh victory in Washington. His data-mining startup, Palantir Technologies, has won a much-contested contract to provide software to the U.S. Army.


The FCC says tiny satellites from a still-in-stealth-mode startup called Swarm Technologies could endanger other spacecraft.




The lucrative art of chicken sexing.


The Sopranos are coming back.


A college student explains modern dating to his mother.


Retail Therapy


No. Sorry. This should be illegal.


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