Inside Venture Capital - May 9th, 2017

Inside Venture Capital (May 9th, 2017)

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--VC Reads--

-- Micro-VC — Smaller is better, but the math is still really hard: Angel investor Samir Kaji discusses the trend towards smaller funds, and why the notion that they are easier to manage is misguided.

-- Zero Barriers Moonshot: Could $1 trillion restore the American Dream?: Ross Baird and Bryce Butler of Village Capital discuss the entry cost problems in entrepreneurship, and possible solutions.

-- The Empire Strikes Back: New York & Boston Are Unstoppable Tech Hubs: Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge Capital contradicts recent claims that the cities should give up on competing with Silicon Valley.

-- The Peer Fund: A new way to fix employee retention: Ben Finkel, founder and angel investor, claims the method could prevent employees leaving in order to hedge their bets while waiting for IPOs.

-- Live Office Hours with Adora Cheung and Avichal Garg: The YC partner and former director of product management at Facebook discuss Edmission,, and Almabase. (Video)

-- Has Uber Killed Off Its Self-Driving Trucks?: Backchannel digs into the recent controversy surrounding Uber, Waymo, Otto, and Google.

--Consumer Internet--

-- Sea (Singapore), gaming platform, e-wallet: $550M from undisclosed investors. Rebranded from Garena.

-- Territory (Alexandria, CA), prepared food delivery for dieting: $6.7M from Upfront, NRV, Lewis & Clark, Motley Fool Holdings. Rebranded from Power Supply.

-- Smule (San Francisco, CA), collaborative creation/expressive sharing music app: $54M led by Tencent, participation from Adams Street, Bessemer, Floodgate, Franklin Templeton, Shasta. CEO Jeffrey Smith is a serial entrepreneur and former EIR at Bessemer.


-- Kobalt Music (New York, NY), global rights management platform for musicians and publishers: $75M D led by Hearst Entertainment, participation from Balderton, MSD.  Received $775M evaluation.

-- Xiaodian (Beijing, China), paid public charging services using powerbanks: $51M B led by Sequoia Capital, Banyan Capital, participation from Tencent.

-- MariaDB (Menlo Park, CA), cloud distributed open source database: $27.3M from European Investment Bank. Plans EU expansion. CEO Michael Howard’s previous company C9 was acquired by InsideSales.

-- BlueCart (Mountain View, CA), automated wholesale purchasing: $10M from undisclosed investors.

-- Dropoff (Austin, TX), same-day delivery for businesses: $8.5M led by Fulcrum Equity Partners, participation from Greycroft, Correlation. CEO Sean Spector is an angel investor, former TechStars mentor, and investor at NextGen Ventures.

--AI/Machine Learning--

-- Grammarly (San Francisco, CA), AI assistant for personal/professional document management: $110M led by General Catalyst, participation from Breyer, IVP, SignalFire, Spark. CEO Brad Hoover was formerly an investor at General Catalyst.


-- Cannabaco Pharmaceutical (Canada), marijuana for medical, recreational, export, and medical industrial uses: $24M from undisclosed investors.

-- Aadi Biosciences (Pacific Palisades, CA), nanoparticle albumin-bound mTOR inhibitor: $23M A led by Hermed Capital, participation from Celgene, Vivo, Decheng, Helsinn, Star Summit.

-- Vizunex Medical (Fremont, CA), optical systems for pediatric eye disorders: $20M B from undisclosed investors.

-- Luxexcel (Belgium), 3D printing for prescription eyeglasses: $10M from KLA-Tencor, SET, Munich Ventures, PMV.

-- Artemis Health (Salt Lake City, UT), data analytics to maximize health benefits while minimizing spend: $8.3M A led by Maverick Ventures.


-- SimpleReach (New York, NY), data platform for branded content: $13M B led by Spring Mountain Capital.

-- Falcon Computing (Santa Clara, CA), acceleration solutions for big data programs: $8M led by Intel Capital, participation from Baidu, Clear, SV Tech, Sierra.

-- Perspecticum (San Diego, CA), connects data producing apps to their data consuming counterparts: $8M A led by TVC Capital.

-- Twine Data (Los Angeles, CA), data activation and monetization for app publishers: $4.5M A led by Aligned Partners.


-- SiFive (San Francisco, CA), customized semiconductors based on the free and open RISC-V: $8.5M B led by Spark Capital, participation from Osage University, Sutter Hill. Chief Architect Krste Asanovic is a professor of computer science at UC Berkeley.

-- Flex Logic (Mountain View, CA), configurable RTL in chip and system designs: $5M B led by Lux Capital, Eclipse Ventures, participation from Tate Family Trust.


-- Revolution Prep (Santa Monica, CA), software/service for ACT, SAT prep tutoring: $4M led by Kennet Partners.


-- Polyverse (Kirkland, WA), proactive cybersecurity based on varying applications attack surfaces: $2M from undisclosed investors.

E-commerce funding rounds began falling in early 2014, though total funding continued a general upward trajectory until late 2015.

Average funding round has increased substantially over the last year, though increases began in early 2013.

Series A/B gained ground until late 2015, and have recently lost most of their position to late-stage rounds.

--Funding Breakdown--

--Consumer Internet--

3 Deals: $610,700,000


5 Deals: $171,800,000

--AI/Machine Learning--

1 Deal: $110,000,000


5 Deals: $85,300,000


4 Deals: $33,500,000


2 Deals: $13,500,000


1 Deal: $4,000,000


1 Deal: $2,000,000

--M&A and IPO Recap--


-- Home appliance maker Whirlpool acquires recipe aggregator Yummly, terms undisclosed. Yummly was most recently valued at $100M.

-- Quotient Technology to acquire customer service company Crisp Media, $57.5M.

-- Malaysian media company Media Prima acquires media startup Rev Asia, $24.2M. Will integrate the company to form the country’s largest media company.

-- Airbnb acquires design collaboration company team of Deco Software, terms undisclosed. Deco will continue as an unsupported open source product.

-- Germany ERP company godesys acquires German project and resource company Collinor, terms undisclosed.

-- Caterpillar acquires construction tech company Yard Club, terms undisclosed. Yard Club focuses on worksite communications.

-- Electronics manufacturer Hubbell acquires technology-network company iDevices, terms undisclosed.

-- Scripps to acquires online food publication Spoon University, terms undisclosed. Reports claims Spoon was valued at $10M.


-- Biohaven Pharmaceuticals pops on IPO, raising $168M. Closing price $17.91 following issue of 9.9M shares at $17.

-- Chinese edtech company Bright Scholar prices IPO: 15M shares priced between $8-$10.

-- Advantage Solutions prices IPO for up to $100M.

-- Ovid Therapeutics tumbles 7% on first day of trading. Priced 5M shares at $15.


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