StrictlyVC: March 27, 2018

Hi, happy Tuesday, all.:)


Top News


Uh oh. Tech stocks are tumbling again in a wave of afternoon sell-offs.


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Lightspeed Just Filed for $1.8 Billion in New Funding, as the Race Continues


Just a day after General Catalyst, the 18-year-old venture firm, revealed plans in an SEC filing to raise a record $1.375 billion in capital, another firm that we’d said was likely to file any second has done just that.


According to a fresh SEC filing, Lightspeed Venture Partners, also 18 years old, is raising a record $1.8 billion in new capital commitments from its investors, just two years after raising what was then a record for the firm: $1.2 billion in funding across two funds (one early stage and the other for “select” companies in its portfolio that had garnered traction).


Still on our watch list: news of bigger-and-better-than-ever funds from other firms that announced their latest funds roughly two years ago, including Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, and Accel Partners.


The supersizing of venture firms isn’t a shock, as we wrote yesterday — though it’s also not necessarily good for returns, as we also noted. Right now, venture firms are reacting in part to the $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund, which SoftBank has hinted is merely the first of more gigantic funds it plans to raise, including from investors in the Middle East who’d like to plug more money into Silicon Valley than they’ve been able to do historically.


The game, as ever, has also changed, these firms could argue. For one thing, the size of rounds has soared in recent years, making it easy for venture firms to convince themselves that to “stay in the game,” they need to have more cash at their disposal.


Further, so-called limited partners from universities, pension funds and elsewhere, want to plug more money into venture capital, given the lackluster performance some other asset classes have produced. When they want to write bigger checks to the funds in which they are already investors, the funds often try accommodating them out of loyalty.


More here.


New Fundings


Adagene, a seven-year-old, Suzhou, China-based antibody discovery and development company, has raised $50 million in Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital China, with participation from New World TMTAVIC TrustKing Star Capital and Gopher Asset Management. China Money Network has more here.


Canopy, a nearly four-year-old, Lehi, Ut.-based maker of cloud software for tax and accounting practice management, has raised $30 million in new funding led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Wells Fargo Strategic Capital,Pelion VenturesUniversity Growth Fund and EPIC Ventures. Crowdfund Insider has more here.


Circular Wave Drive, a Columbus, Oh.-based technology company that makes compact speed-reducing gears for robotics and applications, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by regional investor Ikove Venture Partners. Crunchbase News has more here.


Dandelion, an 11-month-old, New York-based clean energy startup that’s selling ageothermal heating and cooling system for homes and was originally incubated inside Google parent Alphabet, has raised $4.5 million led by New Enterprise Associates. Other backers in the deal include BoxGroupDaniel YatesGround Up, and previous investors Borealis VenturesCollaborative Fund, and ZhenFund. Dandelion has now raised $6.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.


Intercom, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based company that sells a suite of messaging-first products aimed to help sales teams accelerate business, has raised a $125 million in Series D funding at a post-money valuation of $1.275 billion, reports TechCrunch. Kleiner Perkins led the round; earlier backers to participate include Bessemer Venture PartnersIndex VenturesJack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg. TechCrunch has more here.


Kloudless, a seven-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based company that makes it easier for developers to connect their applications to a variety of third-party tools for file storage, customer management, and other services through a unified API, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Aspect Ventures. Other participants in the round include Bow CapitalAlibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs FundHeavybit, and Ajay Shah. Kloudless had raised its seed funding from investors David Sacks and Tim Draper. TechCrunch has more here.


Mydream+, a three-year-old, Beijing-based co-working space company, has raised $48 million in Series B funding led by Ocean Link, with participation from earlier backers Joy Capital and M31 Management Fund. China Money Network has more here.


Opentrons, a four-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based startup whose robots help biologists automate lab experiments that would otherwise be done by hand, has raised $10 million in seed funding led by Khosla Ventures. Other participants in the round include Lerer HippeauYC Continuity Fund and Jeff KindlerMore here.


PreVeil, a three-year-old, Boston-based startup that sells end-to-end encryption software to protect email and files for businesses, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Spark CapitalMore here.


Relativity, a two-year-old, L.A.-based company that’s developing an automated, 3D printing process meant to design rockets quickly and with reduced complexity, has raised $35 million in Series B funding led by Playground Global. Earlier backers Social CapitalY Combinator Continuity and Mark Cuban also joined the round. TechCrunch has more here.


Remesh, a five-year-old, New York-based software company using AI to help organizations conduct research (they engage with customers, employees, or their target market via a chat interface that can analyze and segment their responses), has raised $10 million in Series A funding. General Catalyst led the round, with participation from earlier investor LionBird VenturesMore here.


Root Insurance, a three-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based startup selling personalized car insurance, has raised $51 million in Series C funding led byRedpoint Ventures, with participation from Scale Venture PartnersRibbit Capital and Silicon Valley Bank Capital PartnersMore here.


Sentieo, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based financial research platform, has raised $6 million in funding co-led by Clocktower Ventures and Long Focus Capital, with participation from individual investors, including Howard Lindzon and Scott BelskyMore here.


Spring Labs, a year-old, Marina del Ray, Ca.-based blockchain-based data exchange network, has raised $14.75 million in seed funding. August Capital led the round, with participation from Victory Park CapitalGreatPoint VenturesPritzker Group Venture CapitalMulticoin CapitalWavemaker Genesis andJump Capital. VentureBeat has more here.


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New Funds


Bedrock Capital, cofounded last year by Geoff Lewis, formerly of Founders Fund, has raised $135 million for its debut fund. You can read all about the outfit, which is based in New York, here.


Harrison Metal, a 10-year-old, San Francisco-based seed-stage venture fund, has closed its fifth vehicle with $68 million, founder Michael Dearing tweeted out yesterday. TechCrunch has more here.




Rackspace, a cloud-computing company that was taken private in a $4.3 billion deal in August 2016 by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, is in consideration for an IPO by the firm, says Bloomberg. More here.


Forget what was said about 2019. Saudi Aramco, the Saudi oil giant, is back on track for an IPO in the second half of 2018, according to its CEO. Bloomberg has more here.




Shyp, a nearly five-year-old, San Francisco-based shipping services startup, is shutting down after raising $62 million from investors, including HomebrewSherpa CapitalSlow Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, among others. Fast Company has more on its rise and fall.


A unit of Foxconn Technology Group has agreed to buy smartphone and electronics accessories maker Belkin International or $866 million. More here.


Google is acquiring Tenor, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that powers a variety of GIF keyboards on phones and messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger. Tenor will continue to operate as a separate brand within Google, says TechCrunch. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed; Tenor had raised$32 million from investors, including Cowboy VenturesRedpoint Ventures and Menlo Ventures, among others. More here.


MariaDB is best known as a drop-in replacement for the popular MySQL database. But the MariaDB Corporation has its sights set on a bigger market, announcing today that it’s acquiring MammothDB, a big data business analytics service based in Bulgaria. TechCrunch has more here.




So much for being accountable? Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has declined a summons from a UK parliamentary committee that’s investigating how social media data is being used, and, as recent revelations suggest, misused, for political ad targeting. He says he will testify before Congress, however.




The U.S. is still a tech innovation hub, but other regions are on the rise, according to KPMG’s annual survey of tech leaders. While Silicon Valley and San Francisco are together viewed as the top hub, Shanghai ranks as the biggest rival when it comes to innovation. More here.


Essential Reads


Nvidia, which supplies chips for Uber’s self-driving cars, said it’s temporarily suspending all of its self-driving tests on public roads to learn more about last week’s crash in Arizona. The state itself separately suspended Uber’s ability to test and operate autonomous vehicles on Arizona’s public roadways.


In separate but related news, the United States National Transportation Safety Board is conducting an investigation into a fatal car crash involving a Tesla Model X car on Friday. It isn’t yet clear if Tesla’s automated control system, Autopilot, was active at the time of the accident.


Waymo and Jaguar say they’re building a fleet of all-electric self-driving cars for customers who’d like a little pizzazz in their autonomous ride.


Apple is looking to bite into Google’s stranglehold on the education market. How: with a cheaper new iPad and pencil.




HODL on to your artwork. An American couple bought a sculpture directly from the artist in 1955 for $5,000. Christie’s estimates the piece will fetch more than $70 million.

Retail Therapy


tandem hammock. When you want to be close, but not *that* close.

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