StrictlyVC: May 29, 2018

Hi, happy Tuesday, all, and welcome back. So much amazing basketball this weekend!  

We’re catching up on all and getting very excited about our drinks event next month in San Francisco. Giant thanks again to Lightspeed Venture Partners and investor Semil Shah for helping us put this one together. If you’re on the list to come but realize that you won’t be able to make it, please do let us know. We maxed out on headcount a few hours after announcing this get-together and have a lot of other readers who’d like to come.
Top News
A start-up company based in the Cayman Islands is on track to raise more than $4 billion(!) through a yearlong sale of digital tokens—the largest fundraising of its kind, reports the WSJ. What buyers of the tokens still don’t know, it adds: how the company,, will use the bulk of the windfall from its so-called initial coin offering. 

Stocks plummeted today as unease surrounding political turmoil in Italy spread across global markets. 

Bye, Roseanne.
New Fundings
Acko, a two-year-old, Mumbai, India-based digital insurance startup, has raised $12 million in funding led by Amazon, which had separately invested in a lending startup, Capital Float, last month. Others participants in the round include Ashish Dhawan, who founded the private equity firm ChrysCapital, and earlier backer Catamaran Ventures. Acko has now raised $42 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.

Azimo, a 5.5-year-old, London-based digital money transfer service, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by Japan’s Rakuten Capital, the investment arm of Rakuten. Other participants in the round include e.venturesFrog CapitalGR Capital PartnersGreycroft PartnersMCIQuona Capital and Silicon Valley Bank. Forbes has more here

CTRL-Labs, a year-old, New York-based startup that’s making an armband that reads electrical impulses sent from users’ brains to their fingers (and, by the way, was cofounded by one of the creators of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser), just raised $28 million in new funding. Lux Capital led the round, with participation from GVVulcan CapitalFounders Fund, the Amazon Alexa Fund and earlier backers Spark CapitalMatrix PartnersBreyer Capital, and Fuel Capital. Dealbook has more here

Comet, a two-year-old, Paris-based startup that’s building a marketplace of talented tech and data freelancers as well as companies that are looking for engineers and teams for a specific project. The company just raised a $12.8 million funding round (€11 million) with Otium Venture and Daphni. TechCrunch has more here

CoreView, a four-year-old, New York-based provider of Office 365 management software that handles reporting, monitoring, and security auditing, has raised $20 million from Insight Venture PartnersMore here.  

Flock, a nearly two-year-old, London-based startup that sells customized, on-demand insurance for drone flights (the insurance is underwritten by Allianz), has raised £2.25 million in seed funding. Anthemis led the round, with participation from Plug and PlaySeed and Speed, and Downing Ventures and numerous angel investors. TechCrunch has more here

Saranas, a seven-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based company that last month submitted an FDA application seeking de novo classification for its internal bleeding detection device, says it has raised $2.8 million in Series C funding, though it did not disclose any investors. More here

SocialChorus, a 10-year-old, San Francisco-based workforce communications platform, has raised $12.5 million in growth funding co-led by Arrowroot Capital and Kohlberg Ventures, with participation from Western Technology Investment. TechCrunch has more here

Waggl, a four-year-old, Sausalito, Ca.-based employee feedback platform, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by First Analysis, with participation from other institutional and individual investors including LaboraFunder’s Club, andRob Bernshteyn, who is the CEO of Coupa. Vator has more here

ZTO Express, a nine-year-old, Shanghai, China-based express delivery company that says it is among the country’s largest, has raised $1.38 billion in funding from Alibaba Group Holding Limited and its logistic arm Cainiao Network in exchange for an approximately 10 percent stake in the company. China Money Network has more here.
New Funds
Caffeinated Capital, a nine-year-old, San Francisco-based early-stage venture fund, is raising up to $75 million for its third flagship fund, shows an SEC filing. Caffeinated was founded by Raymond Tonsing, a longtime investor and formerly a partner with the secondary firm Akkadian Ventures. Interestingly, the firm, which has closed two substantially smaller funds previously, is also looking to raise a $150 million “opportunity fund,” shows a separate SEC filing. Crunchbase News has more here

Collaborative Fund, an eight-year-old, New York-based venture firm providing seed and early stage funding to technology companies, just closed its fourth fund with $100 million in capital commitments, including from Quora founder Adam D’Angelo, former Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow. TechCrunch has more here

Genesis Capital, a three-year-old, Hong Kong-based growth equity fund that was cofounded by Richard Peng, a former corporate vice president and head of investment at Tencent, and his former Tencent Kurt Xu,  is raising up to $600 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing. The outfit had closed its debut fund with $400 million in 2016. DealStreetAsia has more here

High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), the 13-year-old, public-private venture capital investment firm based in Bonn, Germany, has held a second close on its third fund with €316.5 million ($365 million). More here

XSeed Capital, a 12-year-old, Portola Valley, Ca.-based early-stage venture firm, is raising up to $100 million for a new fund, shows an SEC filingMore here.
Avrobio, a three-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based clinical stage gene therapy firm focused on rare diseases, has filed for a $86.2 million IPO. Its biggest outside shareholders include Atlas VentureClarus Life Sciences and SV Life Science. More here

NIO, the Shanghai, China-based electric car startup backed by Tencent, has filed confidentially for an U.S. IPO that could raise up to $2 billion says Bloomberg. More here

SoulCycle, the 12-year-old, New York-headquartered business known for its spin workouts, withdrew its IPO registration on Friday. It cited market conditions, though several related press accounts also note increased competition, including from New York-based Peloton, which sells stationary bikes and streams cycling classes and is rumored to be gearing up towards an IPO later this year. CNN has more here.
JAB, the privately held owner of Krispy Kreme and Panera Bread, is deepening its bet on prepared food with plans to buy Pret A Manger, the British sandwich chain that has been expanding in the U.S. The WSJ reports the price is $2 billion, including debt. More here.
Emily Calkins was promoted to senior associate at Mainsail Partners, two years after joining the firm. Calkins worked previously as a banking analyst at Credit Suisse in New York. 

Arjun Singh, a fresh graduate of Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, has joined next47 (Siemens’s venture arm) as an associate. 

A former Snap employee just went on the record to describe the company’s culture as “sexist” and “toxic.” 

The father of the four-year-old boy who was rescued in that viral “Spiderman rescue” video was off playing “Pokemon Go” at the time.
Playground Global, the early-stage venture firm cofounded by Android creators Andy Rubin and Matt Hershenson, among others, is looking to hire an investment associate. The job is in Palo Alto, Ca.
Essential Reads
Imgur just launched video

De Beers is getting into lab grown diamonds

Apple‘s HomePod smart speaker will finally be able to play in multiple rooms simultaneously and in stereo mode

Russia has now asked Apple to remove Telegram from the App Store, saying it will give the company one month to comply before it enforces punishment for violations

The Department of Defense is reportedly reviewing the process that won the well-funded cybersecurity startup Tanium hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts.
How Anna Delvey tricked New York

The luxury Bay Area neighborhood that’s giving San Francisco a run for its money

The suspense builds: where is she?
Retail Therapy
Don’t let your kids blow out their eardrums; try these.

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