StrictlyVC: April 10, 2018

Happy Tuesday! As many of you know, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is right now delivering his Senate congressional testimony and you can catch the live-stream here. We’ve been watching closely and we’re not shocked to see Facebook shares are up more than four percent today. No matter what you think of the company, Zuckerberg has been masterful at addressing the senators’ questions and navigating around those with more contentious approaches, like Senator Lindsey Graham, who’d asked him if Facebook is a monopoly. (“It doesn’t feel that way to me,” Zuckerberg had answered, to laughter in the room.) Interestingly, Zuckerberg also just hinted that Facebook might one day offer a paid, premium version of its social network. Much more tomorrow. We’ve been squeezing in calls and have a couple of interesting young companies to tell you about.
Top News
Facebook announced a bug and data abuse bounty program today that will pay up to $40,000 to people who catch large data leaks. It’s believed to be the first program of its kind in the tech industry. CNBC has more here
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s financial-technology business, Ant Financial, is about to vault into the ranks of the world’s most valuable companies, says the WSJ. According to its sources, Ant, which owns the mobile payments network Alipay and is among China’s largest non-bank lenders, is preparing to raised $9 billion in private funding at a valuation of $150 billion. More here.
New Fundings
Alan, a two-year-old, Paris, France-based health insurance startup, has raised $28.3 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures, with participation fromXavier NielCNP AssurancesPartech and Portag3 Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

BayoTech, a three-year-old, Albuquerque, N.M.-based chemical reactor company, has raised $12.5 million in Series B funding from an undisclosed strategic investor and earlier backers Cottonwood Technology Fund and Sun Mountain Capital. More here

Chargifi, a nearly five-year-old, London-based company behind a wireless power charging platform, has raised $7 million in funding led by Accelerated Digital Ventures, with participation from Hewlett Packard Enterprise and firstminute capitalMore here

CloudMargin, a five-year-old, London-based web-based collateral management platform, has raised $10 million in funding, including from Leucadia National Corporation; the parent company of investment banking firm JefferiesIHS Markit; and Illuminate Financial ManagementMore here

CoinTracker, a nine-month-old, San Francisco-based portfolio and tax manager for cryptocurrencies, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by Initialized Capital, with Y Combinator and numerous angel investors. TechCrunch has more here

Directly, a seven-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based customer-service startup, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Northgate, with participation fromMicrosoft and earlier backers Costanoa Ventures and True VenturesMore here. 

Eporta, a 3.5-year-old, London-based business-to-business interior marketplace startup, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Canvas Ventures, with participation from LocalGlobeOxford Capital PartnersTalis Capital, andSamos Ventures. TechCrunch has more here

Expel, a two-year-old, McLean, Va.-based cybersecurity company, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Scale Venture PartnersMore here

Fleetsmith, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based cloud-based Mac management product that automates the management of apps and settings, has raised $7.7 million in Series A funding, including from Upfront VenturesIndex Ventures andHarrison Metal. TechCrunch has more here

InsightFinder, a three-year-old, New York-based cloud monitoring and system analytics startup, has raised $2 million in pre-Series A funding led by Eight Roads Ventures, with participation from The Propel(x) NetworkMore here

Karamba Security, a three-year-old, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based company at work on endpoint security software designed to protect connected cars from cyber attacks, has raised $10 million in funding led by Western Technology InvestmentMore here

Knotel, a two-year-old, New York-based startup that’s competing with WeWork in the flexible-office-space business and planning a service that will use blockchain to track space listings, just closed on $70 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Newmark Knight Frank and The Sapir Organization, with participation from The Wolfson GroupThe Moinian Group, and Wainbridge Capital. The WSJ has more here

Say, a New York-based startup seeking to upend the proxy-voting process, has raised $8 million in seed funding led by Point72 Ventures, with participation fromQuiet CapitalStruck CapitalCore Innovation Capital, and other investors. Barron’s has more here. (Sub required.) 

Spectral Edge, a four-year-old, Cambridge, U.K-based startup with a mathematical technique for improving  photographic imagery in real time, has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding from earlier backers Parkwalk Advisors and IQ Capital. TechCrunch has more here

StackRox, a four-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based startup that provides security for containerized cloud-native applications, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with participation from follow-on investments from Sequoia Capital and Amplify PartnersMore here

Veerum, a four-year-old, Calgary, Canada-based artificial intelligence platform that aims to predict and resolve issues on construction projects, has raised $3.9 million in seed funding led by Brick & Mortar Ventures, with participation from Blackhorn Ventures and Creative Ventures.
New Funds
Conductive Capital, a new Bay Area-based expansion-stage venture firm, has secured $100 million from electronics giant Panasonic for its debut fund. The firm’s cofounders are Carey Lai, who previously worked at Intel Capital and IVP, and Paul Yeh, formerly of Kleiner Perkins. The two were previously roommates, says TechCrunch. More here

The European Investment Fund and the European Commission have launched VentureEU, a pan-European venture capital funds-of-funds program to boost investment in innovative startup and scale up companies across Europe. The idea is to close the investment gap with the U.S. VentureBeat has more here.
Carbon Black, a Waltham, Ma.-based maker of endpoint security software, has filed for a $100 million IPO. Its biggest outside shareholders include Accomplice,Highland Capital PartnersSequoia CapitalKleiner Perkins.406 Ventures and The Blackstone Group. TechCrunch has more here

Huya, a six-year-old, Guangzhou, China-based company that says it’s the largest live-streaming gaming platform in the country, is planning to raise $200 million through the sale of American Depository Shares on the NYSE, according to a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The pricing of the ADS and exact timing of the listing were not included in the filing. China Money Network has more here

Zuora, the 12-year-old Foster City, Ca.-based subscription billing software company, boosted its IPO pricing today, from an initial $9 to $11, to $11 to $13. It still plans to offer 10 million shares. Nasdaq has more here.
Footwear and clothing giant Nike announced last night that it has acquired a Tel Aviv, Israel-based computer vision company called Invertex to strengthen its digital technology platforms. Financial details weren’t disclosed, but as the outlet Globes notes, but the acquisition is likely for a small sum. Last year, Invertex raised $2 million in a seed funding led by OurCrowd. More here

An investor group led by tech-focused private equity firm Francisco Partnersagreed to acquire payments technology company VeriFone Systems for $3.4 billion, including debt. Francisco is paying a 54 percent premium over the company’s closing share price yesterday. As Bloomberg notes, VeriFone, which makes point-of-sale card readers, has struggled against increased competition from Silicon Valley upstarts like Square. Bloomberg has more here.
Jack Dorsey’s fight against twitter trolls has gotten personal, in ways that Twitter insiders describe as both promising and fraught

Todd Jackson, a former product manager with Dropbox and Twitter, has joined First Round Capital as a founder-in-residence. 

Uber rolled out a new app for its drivers today that aims to make their lives easier, and their work more lucrative. Dara Khosrowshahi talked today to Uber drivers in L.A. about the new app; you can catch his presentation here if you’re curious. 

Former hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz was sidelined by Goldman Sachs, then Fortress Investment Group. Now he’s searching for redemption in cryptocurrencies. (Great New Yorker piece.) 
Good Deeds
Last week, the crowdfunding website featured more than 35,000 requests from teachers seeking cash for field trips, computers, musical instruments, and the like, and all the teachers’ needs were answered by a single outfit — Ripple — the San Francisco cryptocurrency company. Ripple’s donation — $29 million in XRP, the cryptocurrency it developed — is the largest gift in the 18-year history of DonorsChoose. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has more here. (H/T: Axios for flagging.)
The venture firm IVP is hiring a financial analyst. The job is on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Ca. Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange, is hiring a business operations and strategy associate. The job is in San Francisco.
American teenagers continue to deeply prefer Apple’s iPhone to phones running Android,  according to Piper Jaffray‘s new “Teens Survey,” which questioned thousands of kids across 40 states and found that 82 percent of them own an iPhone, up from 78 percent last fall. Business Insider has more here.
Essential Reads
Japan wants to allow crypto ICOs. Big banks like Wells Fargo and Citigroup are using a back door to finance subprime loans.
The richest zip code in America

The best tweets from Zuckerberg’s big day before Congress. 

This may be our favorite story ever
Retail Therapy
The Otto fan. (“Makes wind!”)

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