StrictlyVC: April 20, 2018

Friday! [Rolls a spliff in celebration of 4/20 day and also because we need it for medical reasons.] Hope you have a wonderful weekend.:) See you in a few days.
Top News
The Justice Department has reportedly opened an antitrust investigation into potential coordination by AT&T, Verizon and a telecommunications standards organization to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers. The New York Times has the skinny here.
Startup Ecosystem Report: China is Rising, Women Founders Have More Connections, and More
Startups are a gamble, but it’s possible to better understand why some thrive and many more die by looking at the ecosystems in which they operate. Such is the mission of eight-year-old Startup Genome, comprised of a group of researchers and entrepreneurs who, every year, interview thousands of founders and investors around the world to get a better handle on what’s changing in the regions where they operate, and what remains stubbornly the same. 

The larger objective is to figure out how to help more startups succeed, and the outfit — which this year surveyed 10,000 founders with the help of partners like Crunchbase and Dealroom — produced some data that should perhaps concern those in the U.S. To wit, China looks positioned to overtake U.S. dominance when it comes to numerous tech sectors. Consider: In 2014, just 14 percent of so-called unicorns were based in China. Between the start of last year through today, that percentage has shot up to 35 percent, while in the U.S., the number of homegrown unicorns has fallen from 61 percent to 41 percent of the overall global number. 

You could argue that investors are simply assigning China-based startups overly lofty valuations, as happened here in the U.S., and we partly believe that to be true. But China is also clearly “in it to win it,” based on a look at patents, with four times as many AI-related applications and three times as many crypto- and blockchain-related patents registered in China last year. With so much of the tech industry now focused on deep tech, it’s worth noting. In fact, as much as we loathed the January Financial Times column penned by famed VC Michael Moritz, who suggested that U.S. companies follow China’s lead, his underlying call to arms was probably, gulp, prescient in its own way. 

What else should startups know? 

More here.
New Fundings
Chai Point, an eight-year-old, Bengaluru, India-based chain of tea and snacks stores, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by new investor and private equity firm Paragon Partners. LiveMint has more here

Contessa Health, a three-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based home recovery care firm, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Health Velocity Capital, with participation from BlueCross BlueShield Venture PartnersNoro-Moseley Partners, and Sandbox Advantage FundMore here

DroneSense, a three-year-old, Austin, Tx.-based unmanned aircraft systems maker focused on public safety, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from publicly traded FLIR Systems, an Oregon-based sensor maker. More here

Emboline, a six-year-old, Santa Cruz, Ca.-based company that makes a medical device for use during percutaneous heart valve repair and replacement procedures and other cardiovascular procedures, has raised more than $10 million in Series B funding, including from SV Tech Ventures and Shangbay CapitalMore here

FlexyBeauty, a three-year-old, Paris, France-based SaaS solution for hairdressers and beauty salons, has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Serena Capitaland earlier backer Newfund CapitalMore here

FuboTV, a nearly four-year-old, New York-based startup that sells a cable-TV-like bundle of live TV that can be streamed to laptops, phones or actual TVs, has raised $75 million from investors that include AMC Networks21st Century Fox,DiscoveryNorthzone and Luminari Capital. Recode has more here

Inocucor, an 11-year-old, Montreal-based developer and producer of biological crop inputs, that’s been raising (and making announcements around) its Series B round for months, has finally closed the financing with $15.9 million. The capital comes from Cycle Capital ManagementDesjardins InnovatechTPG ART, andPontifax AgTechMore here

Point, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based startup that buys equity in American homes, landed its largest financial commitment to date this week through a $150 million boost from New York hedge fund Atalaya Capital Management. Specifically, Atalaya will buy as much as $150 million of home-equity investment instruments from Point over the course of three years. Bloomberg has more here

RealSelf, a 12-year-old, Seattle-based online community where people can ask questions and connect with doctors who provide cosmetic treatments, has raised $40 million in new funding — its first round of financing since the $2 million raised in 2008, two years after its founding. The round was led by Elephant, the venture firm co-founded by Warby Parker co-founder Andy Hunt. TechCrunch has more here

Saviynt, an eight-year-old, L.A.-based cloud access governance and intelligence services firm, has raised $40 million in Series A funding from Carrick Capital PartnersMore here

Scriptation, a nearly five-year-old, L.A.-based film and TV script reader and annotation app, has raised funding from individual investors, including actor Rob Morrow and producer Kenya BarrisMore here

Zimplistic, a 10-year-old, Singapore-based product design company at work on intelligent kitchen appliances, has raised $30 million in Series C funding co-led byCredence Partners and EDBI. Tech in Asia has more here.
New Funds
Red Sea Ventures, a seven-year-old, New York-based early stage venture firm, is looking to raise upwards of $50 million for its second fund, shows an SEC filing first flagged by Axios. More here.
Laser maker nLight could hit the public markets next week, says Renaissance Capital. The Vancouver, Wa.-based company last month filed the paperwork declaring its intent to go public. Another regulatory filing Monday indicated that it intends to price 5.4 million shares between $13 and $15 per share, giving it a market cap of $462 million at the midpoint. Portland Business Journal has more here

Pivotal Software, the cloud-native app development platform majority owned by Dell Technologies, raised $555 million in its IPO. The company priced 37 million shares at $15 for a market cap of around $4.3 billion. It began trading earlier today, and things went so-so so. Forbes has more here

Surface Oncology, a Cambridge, Ma.-based immuno-oncology company, raised $108 million in its IPO after pricing 7.2 million shares at $15. Its biggest shareholders include Atlas VentureNovartisEli LillyNew Enterprise Associates, and F-Prime Capital Partners. Xconomy has more here.
Cognizant, a publicly traded multinational IT services company, has picked upBolder Healthcare Solutions, a five-year-old, Louisville, K.Y.-based maker of revenue cycle management software for medical practices and hospitals.  Financial terms weren’t disclosed. More here.
AI researchers are making giant boatloads of money

Travis VanderZanden keeps telling media outlets that cities are receptive to his Bird scooters, and media outlets keep reporting that this is not true

Dobbs Ferry residents remember a young Mark Zuckerberg
Essential Reads
Google is “pausing” development of its messaging app, Allo, since not enough people download it to make it a serious threat to Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. 

Facebook is reportedly using some questionable tactics to enroll users in a facial recognition test in Europe. 

Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures met with officials at the SEC late last month, arguing that Washington oversight could slow innovation based on the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
How close are we to real-life “Westworld” robots? 

We’re almost starting to feel sorry for Michael Cohen.
Retail Therapy
Buy sake.

Filed Under:

Don’t Miss Out!

Sign up today to receive a free daily email with everything you need to start your day. Plus, keep track of the companies and personalities that will shape the industry in the months and years to come. Let StrictlyVC be your very own venture capital concierge.

StrictlyVC on Twitter