StrictlyVC: June 21, 2018

Hi! We’re a little late here today (podcast recording, calls), but so fun to see some of you last night at Trou Normand in SF! We love our INSIDER events, but SVC is a ridiculously small operation as many of you know, so it’s hard for us to actually relax at these things. Last night was different and we’d love to do it again. 

Special thanks to our friend Semil Shah for suggesting we throw the event. Giant thanks to Lightspeed Venture Partners for buying everyone drinks and bringing this community together.

We also very much want to thank those friends who helped us out last night, including Gené TeareVanessa BurnsSophie Bousset, Oona RokytaAsh Archibald, and Yiting Zheng. Not last, thanks so much to those of you who come to SVC’s outings. (We should have pics tomorrow, by the way.)
Top News
The Supreme Court today freed states and local governments to start collecting billions of dollars in new sales taxes from online retailers, overturning a 1992 ruling that had made much of the internet a tax-free zone and put traditional retailers at a disadvantage. Bloomberg has more here. Meanwhile, Wired posits that the decision will likely be troublesome for smaller online retailers — and actually benefit Amazon.
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New Fundings
Aaptiv, a three-year-old, New York-based startup whose app offers users a selection of audio-based, personal-trainer-led workouts, has raised $22 million in fresh funding. Millennium Technology Value Partners led the round, with participation from 14WInsight Venture PartnersAmazon’s Alexa Fund, DisneyWarner Music Group and NWS Holdings. TechCrunch has more here

Bossa Nova Robotics, a 13-year-old San Francisco-based company whose robots roam the aisles and scan shelves to figure out what’s in stock and what’s selling well, has raised $29 million in new funding, including from LG ElectronicsCota Capital and China Walden Ventures. The company has now raised $70 million altogether. CNBC has more here

Cylance, a five-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based cybersecurity startup that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to combat online attacks, has raised $120 million in Series E funding led by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities, with participation from other unnamed investors. VentureBeat has more here

Roblox, the 12-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based online gaming company that your kids won’t stop talking about, is raising up to $150 million, says Pitchbook, which estimates the round could value the company at upwards of $2.4 billion. More here

Silexica, a four-year-old, Cologne, Germany-based startup that optimizes how disparate applications work together on autonomous cars, has raised $18 million in Series B funding led by EQT Ventures in Stockholm. Earlier backers Merus CapitalPaua VenturesSeed Fonds Aachen and DSA also joined the round round. The company has now raised $28 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

Swiggy, a three-year-old, India-based startup competing in the country’s ongoing food delivery race, has landed $210 million in fresh funding led by earlier backer Naspers, with participation from return investor Meituan Dianping and new investor Coatue Management. TechCrunch has more here

Tiller Systems, a four-year-old, Paris-based company that makes point-of-sale software for restaurants, has raised $13.9 million in new funding from Ring Capital, with participation from Omnes Capital and earlier backer 360 Capital Partners. TechCrunch has more here

Truepic, a four-year-old, La Jolla, Ca.-based startup that makes a camera feature that shoots photos and adds a watermark URL leading to a copy of the image it saves, so viewers can ensure the version they’re seeing hasn’t been altered, has raised $8 million in Series A funding. Dowling Capital Partners invested in the round, along with numerous individual investors, including HBS professor William Sahlman. TechCrunch has more here

Urban Airship, an eight-year-old, Portland, Or.-based company behind a digital customer engagement platform, has raised $25 million in Series F funding led by earlier backer Foundry Group, with participation from True VenturesAugust CapitalIntel CapitalVerizon VenturesQuestMark Partners and Franklin Park Associates. TechCrunch has more here

VIPKID, a five-year-old, Beijing, China-based company that connects Chinese children with North American tutors, has officially closed on $500 million in Series D+ funding at a valuation of more than $3 billion. (Reports said this round was coming back in April.) Four companies co-led the deal, including Coatue ManagementTencentSequoia Capital and Yunfeng Capital, which is Alibaba chief Jack Ma’s investment company. TechCrunch has more here.
New Funds
Chevron Technology Ventures, the 19-year-old venture arm of the energy giant, says it’s setting aside $100 million for a Future Energy Fund that will look to back technologies from across the energy landscape. The Houston Business Journal has more here (sub required). 

Matrix Partners China , a 10-year-old, Beijing, China-based early-stage venture firm, has raised $750 million for its fifth fund, shows an SEC filing. The outfit had raised $500 million for its fourth fund in early 2016. More here

Mercury Fund, a 12-year-old, Houston, Tex.-based early-stage venture firm, is looking to raise up to $125 million for its fourth fund, shows an SEC filing. The outfit had closed its third fund with $105 million in capital commitments back in late 2014. Crunchbase News has a bit more here

The Urban Innovation Fund, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based, seed-stage fund that’s invest in startups that are shaping the future of cities, has closed its debut fund with $22.5 million. The outfit has been investing as it has been fundraising, with 14 companies in its portfolio. Among these: Chariot, the shuttle bus service that was acquired last year by Ford. More here.
Microsoft is acquiring Bonsai, a San Francisco-based startup that helps enterprise companies add machine learning and AI capabilities into their existing operations. The company had raised $13.6 million from investors; terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. TechCrunch has more here

Twitter this morning announced it has agreed to buy San Francisco-based technology company Smyte, which describes itself as “trust and safety as a service.” Founded in 2014 by former Google and Instagram engineers and backed by $6.3 million in venture funding, Smyte offers tools to stop online abuse, harassment, and spam, and protect user accounts. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but this is Twitter’s first acquisition since buying consumer mobile startup Yes, Inc. back in December 2016, notes TechCrunch. More here

PayPal continues apace with its acquisitions streak, saying today that it’s buyingSimility, a fraud prevention specialist, for $120 million in cash. PayPal was an investor Simility (it owns three percent of the company, it says), along with Accel,Trinity Ventures and others. The startup had raised just under $25 million and was last valued at $52.75 million, according to figures from PitchBook. TechCrunch has much more here.
Legendary editor Graydon Carter is reportedly launching his own media company and he’s talking with TPG Capital about funding it

In a press release earlier today touting “another record year,” Intel dropped a bombshell, announcing that CEO Brian Krzanich is resigning amid revelations of a “past consensual relationship” with an employee. TechCrunch has more here

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is touring of America’s heartland, and he’s uploaded his first related vlog, which he has labeled as “comedy.” Gizmodo asks you to kindly leave a comment on his YouTube page. 

More than five dozen Github contributors today signed a letter threatening to abandon the website unless Microsoft canceled its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contract. More here.
Essential Reads
YouTube will soon offer content creators the chance to sell subscription services

This Tesla story keeps getting weirder.
How the biggest sports star on the planet, Cristiano Ronaldo, makes and spends his millions

Live out “Westworld” with your Amazon Echo

This is effed up.
Retail Therapy
Sticky notes for your wrists.

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