August 15, 2019


Top News

Cloudflare, one of the companies that ensure that websites run smoothly on the internet, has filed to go public. It’s still unclear how it will price it shares or how much it plans to raise in the offering.

Sponsored By …

Busy sports fan? We got you. Your time is valuable, and efficiency is everything. Few have time to read and watch hours of sports news and highlights every day, and that’s why there’s The Sportsletter. Our daily newsletter cuts through the noise to bring you the important info in less than five minutes every morning. It’s absolutely free, and you’ll be able to talk sports (like a genius) with your friends, family, and colleagues. Sign up here to receive The Sportsletter and become sports smart in less than five minutes a day.

Cloudflare, in Its IPO Filing, Thanks a Little-Known Cofounder 

Not every cofounder is acknowledged at the companies that they help to launch. Sometimes, they quit or they’re elbowed out. Often, they’re conveniently written out the company’s history. 

In the case of Cloudflare, a third cofounder who began the company with its higher-profile CEO, Matthew Prince, and its COO, Michelle Zatlyn, is little known outside the company for a very different reason. As Cloudflare states in an S-1 filing IPO filing that it made public today, “Tragically, Lee stepped down from Cloudflare in 2015, suffering the debilitating effects of Frontotemporal Dementia, a rare neurological disease.” 

Frontotemporal dementia impacts between 50,000 and 60,000 Americans, according to a rough estimate cited by the Alzheimer’s Association, and it tends to impact younger people, often beginning in their 40s. 

Though the cause isn’t known, a person’s risk for developing frontotemporal dementia — wherein the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain shrink — is higher if there’s a family history of dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Cloudflare did not respond today to questions about Holloway, but Prince and Zatlyn, in a section of the filing addressed to potential shareholders, credit Holloway as the “genius who architected our platform and recruited and led our early technical team.” In fact, they write, when picking a code name for the company’s IPO, they chose “Project Holloway” to honor his contribution because the “technical decisions Lee made, and the engineering team he built, are fundamental to the business we have become.” 

Holloway’s beneficiaries will be rewarded for that work. 

More here.

Massive Fundings  

D&D Pharmatech, a five-year-old, Maryland and Korea-based developer of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and fibrosis, has raised $137 million in Series B funding. Octave Life Sciences and Smilegate Investment co-led the round, joined by earlier investors InterVest, Magna Investment, and LB Investment. FierceBiotech has more here

ShareChat, a four-year-old, India-based social network that serves tens of million of people in regional languages, has raised $100 million in Series D funding led by Twitter. Other investors in the round include TrustBridge Partners and earlier backers Shunwei CapitalLightspeed Venture PartnersSAIF CapitalIndia Quotient and Morningside Venture Capital. The company has now raised $224 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings  

Buoy Health, a five-year-old, Boston-based personalized digital health tool for checking symptoms, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by famed former investment banker Bill Hambrecht. with participation from earlier backers F-Prime and Optum Ventures. BuiltinBoston has more here

Commsignia, a seven-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based company focused on creating cooperative intelligent transport systems that improves road safety by using remote sensor data from other vehicles, infrastructure cameras, and other sources, has raised $11 million in funding. Karma Ventures led the round, with participation from Samsung Catalyst FundPartechInventure, and earlier backers Credo Ventures and Day One Capital. EU Startups has more here

FlyHomes, a four-year-old, Seattle-based home buying-and-selling platform, just raised $21 million in Series B funding, along with $120 million in new debt financing. Canvas Ventures led the equity piece, with participation from earlier investor Andreessen Horowitz. Fortune has more here.

Incorta, a six-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based real-time business analytics startup, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Sorenson Capital led the round, joined by earlier investors GVKleiner PerkinsM12Telstra Ventures, and former Oracle EVP Ron Wohl. The company has now raised $75 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here

Klang, a six-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based game studio that’s making a large-scale persistent virtual world, has raised $22.33 million in funding led by Novator Partners. Other participants in the round include Lego Ventures, the investment entity of the Lego brand, and earlier backers NorthzoneNeotenyFirstminute CapitalMakers Fund, and New Life Ventures. To date, the company has raised $37.42 million. VentureBeat has more here.  

Nurx, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based birth control delivery startup, has raised $32 million in Series C funding co-led by earlier investors Kleiner Perkins and Union Square Ventures. It also secured $20 million in debt funding. The company has now raised roughly $90 million altogether in equity and debt funding. TechCrunch has more here

Renovacor, a young, Philadelphia, Pa.-based developer of gene therapy treatments for cardiovascular disase, raised $11 million in Series A funding form NovartisBroadview VenturesBioAdvanceNew Leaf Venture Partners, and Innogest Capital. FierceBiotech has more here.  

Two Chairs, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based mental health therapy platform, has raised $21 million in Series B funding led by Amplo, with participation from Maveron and GoldcrestMore here.

Vuori, a four-year-old, Encinitas, Ca.-based athletic clothing brand, has raised $45 million in growth equity Norwest Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here

Smaller Fundings  

CoachHub, a year-old, Berlin-based platform for connecting employees with business coaches, raised €6 million from HV Holtzbrinck VenturesPartech, and Speedinvest. EU Startups has more here

Fitz Frames, a 3.5-year-old, L.A-based company that’s selling affordable, custom-made glasses for families, and children in particular, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. The company isn’t disclosing its backers. TechCrunch has more here

Miko, a four-year-old, Chennai, India-based robotics company that makes a learning robot that educates and entertains kids, has raised $7.5 million in series A funding from Chiratae VenturesYourNest Venture Capital, a family office connected to Chiratae, and a group of angel investors. The Times of India has more here

Talview, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based talent assessment and hiring platform, has raised $6.75 million in Series A funding from Storm VenturesInventus CapitalEileses Capital, and Emergent VenturesMore here

VeriSIM Life, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based developer of digital animal and human simulations as drug testing alternatives, has raised $5.2 million co-led by Susa VenturesIntel Capital, and OCA. VentureBeat has more here

Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings  

TuSimple, a four-year-old, Tucson, Az.-based company working on commercial-ready self-driving trucks, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from UPS. The world’s largest package delivery company has been testing the startup’s trucks since May on a busy freight route in Arizona, reports Reuters.

New Funds 

Croatia is about to get a shot in the arm with the arrival of a home-grown dedicated venture outfit, Fil Rouge Capital. The firm has closed on commitments of more than $46 million for its debut fund, reports TechCrunch, and it plans to invest the capital in Croatian entrepreneurs, startups and scale-up companies. More on what it’s shopping for here.  

Pear, the six-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based, seed- and early-stage venture firm formerly known as Pejman Mar (its founders and general partners are Pejman Nozad and Mar Hershenson), is looking to raise up to $155 million for its third fund, shows a new SEC filing. Pear closed its second fund with $75 million in 2016 so this is a big jump, though the outfit has notably made some smart, early bets on companies. Among them is the highly valued delivery service DoorDash and the cancer diagnostics company Guardant Health, which went public last year. More here.


Luckin Coffee, China’s fast-growing Starbuck’s competitor, appears to be cooling off. The company’s shares plunged dramatically yesterday after it issued earnings for the first time as a public company. It blamed its disappointing numbers on trade tensions and the slowing Chinese economy. Bloomberg has more here

Samoyed, a Chinese online lending platform for credit card balance transfers, withdrew registration for an $80 million IPO in the U.S., citing unfavorable market conditions. DealStreetAsia has more here.


Coinbase, the cryptocurrency exchange, has acquired the institutional business of Xapo, a six-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca., company that has built a network of underground vaults on five continents in order for its wealthy customers to more safely store their bitcoin. Coinbase is paying $55 million. Meanwhile, Xapo will reportedly hang onto its exchange business, which lets ordinary consumers buy and sell Bitcoin. Fortune has more here.


Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne was romantically involved with Maria Butina, the young woman serving 18 months in prison after being accused by federal prosecutors of trying to infiltrate powerful U.S. political circles in service to the Russian government. What’s crazier about this revelation is that came from Byrne himself, in the form of a news release. More here

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio think there’s a 40 percent chance of a US recession before the 2020 election. 

Joseph Tsai, the billionaire co-founder of Alibaba, is close to signing a deal to buy the 51 percent of the Brooklyn Nets he does not already own from Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, sources tell the NY Post. The Nets signed three big stars over the summer: Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, and Kyrie Irving. The $2.35 billion transaction would mark the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise. 

Essential Reads 

Amazon uses a Twitter army of employees to fight criticism of warehouses. They love working there. It’s great. They love it. It’s great. They love it.  

Apple  is suing virtualization software company Corellium, says TechCrunch. Corellium allows customers to create and interact with virtual iOS devices — a software iPhone, for example, running actual iOS firmware, all within the browser. Apple says this is copyright infringement, and is demanding Corellium stops “all uses” of its iOS virtualization products and that it pays Apple unspecified “damages and lost profits.” 

According to The Information, the venture-backed digital media publisher Axios is planning to begin selling software, including to help companies create newsletters for their employees, including within communications and HR. As it notes, Vox Media and The Washington Post already sell software they use to publish their publications to others.


Here’s what could happen to Jeffrey Epstein’s fortune

summer camp for the next generation of NSA agents. 

How to listen to every minute of the original Woodstock festival.

Retail Therapy 

giant cone you can sleep in, made of space-grade technologies.

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