StrictlyVC: April 5, 2018

Thursday! So tantalizingly close to Friday!


Top News


Stocks are rising for a third day. (Phew.)


Sponsored By . . .


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Benchmark Just Funded Chainalysis, the Intelligence Company That Helped Crack the Mt. Gox Case


When the virtual currency exchange Mt. Gox collapsed into bankruptcy in 2014 following the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of bitcoins and tens of millions of dollars, those who lost money were understandably furious.


For a small group of people, however, the theft — likely masterminded, we now know, by a Russian cybercrime suspect who was arrested in Greece this past summer — would prove auspicious.


Specifically, Michael Gronager, who was then COO of the Kraken bitcoin exchange, spied an opportunity to team up with a new friend, Jonathan Levin, a post-graduate economist from Oxford who’d written academic works on crytpocurrencies. The two were already discussing intelligence software that could trace specific transactions on the blockchain and be sold to law enforcement. Before long, their young company, Chainalysis, was the official investigator on the Mt. Gox case, hired by its bankruptcy trustee to find all those missing coins.


Its small team “cracked the case probably two months in,” Levin says now.


It was a far bigger credit than most companies start off with, and Chainalysis  smartly ran with it, signing up customers like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and Europol to help them catch criminals.


But Chainalysis — which now employs 75 people and has offices in New York, Washington and Copenhagen — isn’t interested in forensics alone.


More here.


New Fundings


Arkera, a three-year-old, London-based AI platform for wealth managers, has raised £4 million co-led by XTX Markets and Alan HowardMore here.


Arvinas Therapeutics, a five-year-old, New Haven, Ct.-based pharmaceutical company that’s focused on protein degradation approaches to developing drugs that treat cancer and other diseases, has raised $55 million in Series C funding. Nextech Invest led the round, and was joined by investors including Deerfield ManagementHillhouse Capital and Sirona Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.


BetterCloud, a six-year-old, New York-based SaaS operations management platform, has raised $60 million in Series E funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. Earlier investors also re-upped, including AccelGreycroft Partners Flybridge Capital PartnersTribeca Venture Partners and New Amsterdam Growth Capital. Forbes has more here.


Careship, three-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based marketplace for in-home senior care, has raised €6 million in further funding led by Creandum. TechCrunch has more here.


CoinList, a year-old, San Francisco-based platform for connecting accredited investors to blockchain projects, has raised $9.2 million from Polychain CapitalDigital Currency GroupFBG CapitalLibertus CapitalBlockchain Capital and CoinFund. The platform was first incubated at venture firm AngelList. Coindesk has more here., a 14-month-old, New York-based company that allows data scientists and developers to more easily monitor, compare and optimize their machine learning models, has raised $2.3 million in seed funding. Trilogy Equity Partners led the round and was joined by investors Two Sigma VenturesFounders Co-OpFathom CapitalTechstars Ventures, and angel investors. TechCrunch has more here.


The Hotels Network, a 2.5-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based hotel software maker, has raised $3.7 million in funding led by Seaya Ventures, with participation from SeedRocket 4Founders. HospitalityNet has more here.


Instacart, the six-year-old, San Francisco-based grocery delivery company, is closing on $150 million in new funding from earlier backers, including Coatue Management, says Axios. The money is reportedly part of a Series E round that was first disclosed last month and now totals $350 million at a $4.35 billion post-money valuation. More here.

ITBMed, a two-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based developer of a drug to improve organ transplant outcomes, has raised up to $67 million in new funding led by Pablo Legorreta, the CEO of Royalty Pharma. Other investors in the round weren’t named. FierceBiotech has more here.


Knowhere, a three-year-old, San Francisco and London-based startup that uses machine learning to write what it calls unbiased news stories, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding, including from CrunchFundDay One VenturesDanhua CapitalStruck Capital, and Abstract VenturesMore here.


Qmerit, a three-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based startup that helps companies vet, onboard, manage and measure their contractors, has raised $11.75 million in funding, including from Strandview CapitalSchneider Electric, and Innogy VenturesMore here.


RefleXion, a nine-year-old, Hayward, Ca.-based cancer treatment firm focused on positron emission tomography, has raised $100 million in Series C funding led by TPG’s The Rise Fund. Others in the round include T. Rowe Price AssociatesGT Healthcare Capital Partners, and earlier investors Sofinnova PartnersKCK GroupVenrockPfizer Venture Investments, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. FierceBiotech has more here.


ShopShops, a three-year-old, New York-based platform that connects brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. with consumers in China, has raised $6.1 million in seed funding led by Forerunner Ventures, with participation from Union Square VenturesFounder CollectiveSV AngelGGV CapitalThird Kind Venture Capital and XRC LabsMore here.


Sigilon Therapeutics, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotech startup that just partnered with Eli Lilly to develop cell therapies for the potential treatment of Type 1 diabetes, has also taken $63 million in funding from the pharma giant, with up to another $410 million in additional royalties on the table, pending the meeting of certain milestones. FierceBiotech has more here.


Suplari, a two-year-old, Seattle, Wa.-based procurement insights platform, has raised $10.3 million in Series A funding led by Shasta Ventures, with participation from Two Sigma VenturesWorkday Ventures and earlier investors Madrona Venture Group and Amplify Partners. GeekWire has more here.


Welltok, a nine-year-old, Denver-based health software firm that says it uses machine learning to analyze healthcare needs for individuals, then connects them to health-focused programs, has raised $75 million in funding, including from Future Fund Management AgencyZiff DavisNF Trinity Capital and ITOCHU Corporation. MobiHealthNews has more here.


Zilingo, a three-year-old, Singapore-based e-commerce fashion marketplace for Southeast Asia, has raised $54 million in Series C funding led by Sofina, with participation from earlier backers BurdaSequoia IndiaSIGVenturraBeenextand Tim Draper. TechCrunch has more here.


New Funds


Panacea Venture, a healthcare-focused venture firm founded by KPCB China managing director James Huang, is reportedly close to raising $150 million. Huang’s new fund will focus on early-stage healthcare opportunities in China. According to an earlier report in Private Equity International, Huang will continue to oversee his portfolio of KPCB companies until 2022.




The business software company Domo, founded by serial entrepreneur Josh James and last valued at over $2 billion, is moving to go public, Recode has learned. More here.




MoviePass is saying “Hello — and welcome to Moviefone!” reports Variety. Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY), an IT services management company and the majority owner of MoviePass, announced the acquisition of Moviefone from Verizon’s Oath subsidiary. Under the terms of the deal, Helios and Matheson is paying Verizon $1 million in cash and granting 2.55 million common shares (worth less than $8 million at HMNY’s current stock price) — substantially less than the $388 million that AOL paid to acquire Moviefone in 1999. More here.


A Montreal-based fashion site called Ssense is acquiring Polyvore from Verizon’sOath, but the site will not live on. Ssense has already shut down the Polyvore  site, taking its user data and redirecting traffic from the site’s main URL. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here.




JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon — who once called himself “barely a Democrat” — has Wall Street guessing again whether he might run for U.S. president in 2020.


Stefan Glaenzer, a prominent European VC and former chairman of, has quit his role as partner at Passion Capital, the London-based firm he co-founded seven years ago with partners Eileen Burbidge and Robert Dighero. His resignation ties to Glaenzer’s arrest and subsequent conviction in 2012 for sexually assaulting a woman on the London Underground Tube network. He claimed to be high on cannabis at the time. TechCrunch has more here.


FourSquare’s former president Steven Rosenblatt has partnered with Facebook’s former director of sales Joshua Rahn and recruiting veteran Glenn Handler to launch a new company called Oceans that will mentor founders in exchange for a mix of cash and equity. Fortune has more here.


Redpoint Ventures his hired Annie Kadavy, formerly of the venture firm CRV and, more recently, Uber, to be its first female partner. Forbes has more here.


Michael Liberty said his startup Mozido, which once boasted a valuation of $5.6 billion, would revolutionize mobile payments. Now the SEC says that $55 million of the capital he raised toward that end, including from Google billionaire Eric Schmidt’s venture fund, went into Liberty’s own pocket. Forbes has more here.




Humanity United, part of the Omidyar Group, is looking to hire an associate for its Working Capital Fund. The job is in San Francisco


Essential Reads


Facebook had asked several major U.S. hospitals to share anonymized data about their patients, such as illnesses and prescription info, for a proposed research project. The project has been put on pause, following news of that Cambridge Analytica leak, but as CNBC notes in a new report, it could have, and may still, raise new concerns about the massive amount of data Facebook collects about its users and how it’s used.


Wall Street’s big banks are waging an all-out technological arms race.


You can now use your Echo smart speaker as a one-way intercom system! More here.




A woman whose memorable middle-finger salute to Donald Trump’s motorcade last year got her fired, is suing her employer.


See how Montblanc makes its famous pens.


Always at the Carlyle.”


Retail Therapy


The Pupreme stainless steel dog bowl, for trend setters who happen to also eat poop sometimes.


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