Tech Weekly Newsletter: June 12, 2016

Another day, another mass shooting. Scary times in the country.Thoughts and prayers with Orlando.

Last week, today

  • 6/1 – French tax authorities are seeking €356M from (a subsidiary of Priceline) in unpaid taxes (Reuters)
  • 6/4 – New York state sent inquiries to 28 companies regarding their online lending activities, which probably isn’t a great thing for the industry (Reuters)
  • 6/4 – Facebook has found a way to force more people to use the Messenger App. It is disabling messaging in the standard Facebook mobile app (TechCrunch)
  • 6/5 – Online lender, Vouch Financial, is shutting down according to the WSJ. The Company had raised $11M from Greylock, First Round and Data Collective (WSJ)
  • 6/6 – Typing Twitter org/product changes is starting to get to be very repetitive, but Jeff Seibert who took over running Twitter’s core product in September is no longer running it. Seibert will go back to running Twitter’s developer product suite Fabric. No replacement is in place (Re/Code)
  • 6/6 – Blue Apron is said to be having preliminary talks with bankers about a potential IPO that would value the business around $3B (Bloomberg)
  • 6/6  – Bloomberg has more details of Line’s IPO that is planned this year. The Company is expecting to raise between $1-2B at a valuation between $5-6B. They also have revenue details for the last 10 quarters (Bloomberg). VB also confirmed that it will be on or around July 14, 2016 and will be a dual IPO in the US and Tokyo (Venture Beat)
  • 6/6 – Buzzfeed kills its $1.3M advertising deal with the RNC. In an internal memo, CEO Jonah Peretti said, “we don’t run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won’t accept Trump ads for the exact same reason” (Re/Code)
  • 6/6 – In protest to an apparent re-org, the famed MPLS team at Cisco that helped incubate companies has all resigned (WSJ)
  • 6/6 – Spotify has hired music manager Troy Carter (who is best known for managing Lady Gaga, but has quietly made his name over the years both managing and investing) and he will serve as “global head of creator services” (Re/Code)
  • 6/6 – According to The Telegraph, Deliveroo is reportedly expecting to hit £130M this year, which will be more than 1,000% growth (Business Insider)
  • 6/6 – Facebook is looking to take on Twitch (Amazon) in the e-sports streaming and viewing space (Business Insider)
  • 6/6 – Microsoft is making a big commitment to Apache Spark. The Company launched a number of Spark-based services out of preview and announced that the on-premises version of R Server for Hadoop is now powered by Spark (TechCrunch)
  • 6/6 – Assemble (the new VC firm started by former North Bridge partner Michael Skok, former Demandware CEO John Pearce and former NEVCA President C.A. Webb) is now called _Underscore.VC (not a typo. That’s actually the name) and has raised $75M (Bostinno)
  • 6/7 – Another day, another person accusing a company of building “slideware.” This time its Google’s smart contact lens that’s being accused by a former manager (Business Insider)
  • 6/7 – SoftBank announced that its selling almost all of its stock in games firm GungHo for $685M (TechCrunch)
  • 6/7 – An SEC filing shows that ff Ventures is looking to raise a new $150M fund (
  • 6/7 – Ousted Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche has been speaking with private equity firms and banks about a potential buyout of the Company he co-founded (Reuters)
  • 6/7 – Ellen Pao has a book deal for “Reset,” which is a memoir about her experience in Silicon Valley’s “toxic culture” (Re/Code)
  • 6/7 – F5 Networks has hired Goldman Sachs to help it deal with takeover bids. The Company spiked 12.6% on the news (Fortune)
  • 6/7 – After investing in $504.5M in software companies in 2015, Salesforce is officially launching a $50M fund targeting developers building on its platform (Bloomberg)
  • 6/7 – Snapchat redesigned its publisher section incorporating the ability to subscribe to certain channels (Re/Code)
  • 6/7 – Uber is starting to test giving a guaranteed arrival time for Uber Pool rides in LA (as a pilot). You will be given a refund of $2 if it fails to occur in that amount of time (Business Insider)
  • 6/7 – The founder of Secret, a company that got known for all the wrong reasons including raising $35M in venture funding and then shutting down, is back with a product for internal long-form company posts (with a bot to help make suggestions to improve the article). Like a B2B internal Medium (Business Insider)
  • 6/7 – Yahoo is going to sell a portfolio of 3,000 patents (which date back to its IPO in 1996 and include the patent around its original search technology). Google and Microsoft are among the logical buyers of the patents (WSJ)
  • 6/7 – Amazon plans to invest an additional $3B into India (after announcing a $2B investment in 2014).  Bezos declined to provide details on how the money would be allocated or over what time period (MarketWatch)
  • 6/8 – Avaya is meeting with creditors this week as it looks to rein in its debt load. The Company has hired Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to help determine ways to alleviate its $616M debt (Fortune)
  • 6/8 – SoftTech VC raises $100M for its fifth seed fund and $50M for a “breakout” fund to support its winners (TechCrunch)
  • 6/8 – Accel appoints ex-Facebooker Nir Blumberger as a venture partner to focus on Israel (TechCrunch)
  • 6/8 – Arianna Huffington is looking to launch a new media company called Thrive, that will be backed by Jack Ma and Lerer Hippeau (Bloomberg)
  • 6/8 – Ricky Van Veen, either College Humor’s co-founder, Allison William’s husband or Brian William’s son-in-law depending on your proclivity, has been hired by Facebook as head of global creative strategy (which is a newly created position) (Re/Code)
  • 6/8 – New Nest CEO says that the Company is definitely not for sale (Business Insider)
  • 6/9 – And Spotify is definitely not for sale either according to their co-founder (Fortune)
  • 6/9 – CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, says that they want to work with autonomous carmakers, not build autonomous cars themselves (Bloomberg).  Kalanick also had some funny quotes about his plans to go public saying, ” we are going to IPO as late as humanly possible. It’ll be one day before my employees and significant others come to my office with pitchforks and torches. We will IPO the day before that” (Business Insider)
  • 6/9 – Yahoo’s core business has fetched more than one bid for over $5B, although Verizon only bid $3.5B (Fortune)
  • 6/9 – Sherpa Capital, which has backed companies like Uber, Airbnb, Pillpack and Slack, raises $470M across two funds (Re/Code)
  • 6/9 – Marc Benioff reportedly considered an investment in Pivotal, which is somewhat newsworthy as Salesforce has two development platforms in and Heroku (Fortune)
  • 6/9 – Larry Page has been secretly funding two flying cars companies (one with $100M invested). Bloomberg has a detailed and fascinating story about the efforts to keep this project quiet (Bloomberg)
  • 6/9 – Twitter has somehow managed to create their own version of Murphy’s law. The Company has notified users that 33 million usernames and passwords are for sale (WSJ)
  • 6/9 – Mobile adtech company, Smaato, has been acquired by a Bejing-based offline marketing company called Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communications Group for $148M. The Company had raised $47M (TechCrunch)
  • 6/9 – Tencent is weighing an acquisition of Supercell (the maker of Clash of Clans) for $9B (Bloomberg)
  • 6/10 – Tom Perkins, co-founder of Kleiner Perkins, passed away with little notice after the bridges burned and unusual statements he made over the last 15 years (NYT)
  • 6/10 – Hollywood is making a movie about Theranos that will star Jennifer Lawrence as Elizabeth Holmes (VentureBeat)
  • 6/10 – Because we need another one, Amazon is preparing to launch a paid streaming subscription music service (Reuters)
  • 6/10 – Garrett Van Wagoner, who previously ran a historically bad small cap and mid-cap growth/hedge fund is launching a $250M socially responsible fund (FINSMES)
  • 6/10 – Propeller is attempting to launch a four affiliated venture funds (IoT, insurance-tech, fintech and women-led businesses) at once (TechCrunch)
  • 6/10 – 4chan founder Chris Poole has actually been hired at Google to assist on the new in-house incubator, Area 120 (Business Insider)
  • 6/10 – Andreessen Horowitz has raised $1.5B for its fifth fund (TechCrunch)
  • 6/11 – Gawker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and put itself up for auction after the court ruling for Hulk Hogan. Ziff Davis led with an opening bid of $90-100M (TechCrunch). Nick Denton, the founder and leader of Gawker, was at the Code Conference last week on stage with Kara Swisher. It’s a 45 minute long video, but interesting into his thoughts on all of this (Re/Code)
  • 6/12 – Demandware released a proxy statement that details the play-by-play that led to the acquisition by Salesforce. Unsurprisingly, a bidding war led up to the Salesforce acquisition with CRM pitted againist “Party X” (likely Adobe) (

None of note this week


  • 6/6 – Cloudability, a five-year-old, Portland, Ore.-based maker of cloud cost management software, has raised $24 million in Series B funding led by Foundry Group
  • 6/6 – Qadium, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based company that continuously scans servers, routers, CCTV cameras, power plant control systems and any other device connecting to the public internet, then reports back vulnerabilities to customers before malicious hackers get there first, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by New Enterprise Associates
  • 6/6 – Recharge, a year-old, San Francisco-based company whose app enables users to book a stay in a hotel for just 67 cents a minute, or $40 an hour, has closed on $2.3 million in seed funding. Binary Capital led the round
  • 6/7 – Bunker, a year-old, San Francisco-based insurance technology startup, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Comcast Ventures and Route 66 Ventures
  • 6/7 – Convercent, a 3.5-year-old, Denver-based company that makes enterprise compliance management software, has raised $11 million in Series C funding led by Tola Capital
  • 6/7 – CrowdFlower, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose platform enables users to create large-scale datasets for machine learning and data categorization, has raised $10 million in Series D funding led by Microsoft
  • 6/7 – DocPlanner, a 4.5-year-old, Warsaw-based online booking platform for healthcare appointments, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by Target Global
  • 6/7 – Helpshift, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile help desk that helps software companies build a chat bridge between their mobile apps users and their customer service teams, has raised $23 million from Microsoft and Salesforce
  • 6/7 – Hibob, a year-old, London-based startup whose cloud platform helps companies manage employee perks, staff engagement, and employee enrollment in retirement savings plans, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners
  • 6/7 – iContainers, a nine-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based freight forwarding company that provides online ocean and air quotes and bookings, has raised $6.7 million in new funding led by Serena Capital
  • 6/7 – Instabug, a three-year-old, Gizah, Egypt-based mobile bug app reporting service, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by Accel Partners
  • 6/7 – Jiff, a five-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based enterprise health benefits platform, has raised $17.7 million in Series C funding from undisclosed backers
  • 6/7 – Moogsoft, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes real-time IT operations analytics software, has raised $30 million in Series C funding from Northgate Capital  (among others)
  • 6/7 – SMS Assist, a 21-year-old, Chicago-based company that makes property management software, has raised $150 million in Series D funding from Goldman Sachs Investment Partners
  • 6/7 – Zimperium, a nearly six-year-old,  San Francisco-based mobile threat management platform, has raised $25 million in Series C funding led by Warburg Pincus
  • 6/8 – Amplitude*, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based web and mobile analytics company, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Battery Ventures
  • 6/8 – Building Robotics, a three-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based company better known as Comfy, has raised $12 million in Series B funding for its automation software that helps companies save energy on office air conditioning. Emergence Capital led the investment
  • 6/8 – Buildium, a 12-year-old, Boston-based startup that sells software for rental property managers, has raised $65 million in funding from Sumeru Equity Partners
  • 6/8 – Celonis, a five-year-old, Munich-based business-to-business optimization software company, has raised $27.5 million in Series A funding led by Accel Partners and 83North
  • 6/8 – Cylance, a four-year-old Irvine, Ca.-based cybersecurity company that leverages artificial intelligence and algorithmic science, has raised $100 million in Series D funding co-led by The Blackstone Group and Insight Venture Partners
  • 6/8 – Midokura, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based software network virtualization company, has raised $20.4 million in Series B funding from the Japanese fintech company Simplex
  • 6/8 – Nuxeo, a 16-year-old, New York-based open source content management platform for business applications, has raised $10 million in fresh capital from Kennet Partners
  • 6/9 – Aktana, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that provides decision support services to life sciences companies, has raised  $17.5 million in new funding led by Safeguard Scientifics
  • 6/9 – Aquicore, a 3.5-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based startup that sells analytics to commercial real estate companies for the purpose of energy management, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Kiddar Capital
  • 6/9 – Embotics, a 10-year-old, Ottawa, Ontario-based company that sells virtualization management and private cloud automation software to enterprises, has raised $12.1 million in funding from Arrowroot Capital
  • 6/9 – ePatientFinder, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based healthcare startup that connects physicians with clinical trials for their patients, has raised $8.2 million in Series B financing from a “strategic healthcare technology investor syndicate”
  • 6/9 – Forge, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company that enables gamers to find short clips of action and share them on different social networks (the company was founded by YouTube cofounder Jared Kim), has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. True Ventures led the round
  • 6/9 – Freenome, a year-old liquid biopsy diagnosis platform that detects the cell-free DNA sequencing of cancer, has landed $5.5 million in seed funding led by Andreessen Horowitz
  • 6/9 – Hireology, a six-year-old, Chicago-based hiring platform that targets franchises and retail-automotive industries, has raised $12 million from Baird Capital
  • 6/9 – RetraceHealth, a 2.5-year-old, Minneapolis, Mn.-based company that delivers primary care through in-home and video visits, has raised $7 million in Series A funding from earlier investors McKesson Ventures, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and HealthEast Care System
  • 6/9 – SundaySky, a 10-year-old, New York-based company whose platform creates personalized videos for brands, has raised $30 million in Series D funding led by Viola Private Equity
  • 6/9 – Tradeshift, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based startup whose platform helps companies simplify and improve their expensing systems with external contract partners, has raised $75 million in Series D funding led by Data Collective
  • 6/9 – TravelPerk, a 1.5-year-old, Barcelona-based business travel booking platform, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital
  • 6/9 – When I Work, a six-year-old, Saint Paul, Mn.-based employee scheduling and communication app, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Drive Capital
  • 6/10 – Lux, a year-old, San Francisco-based mobile shopping app for home décor, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding from IDG Capital Partners and FREES Fund
  • 6/10 – BitTitan, a nine-year-old provider of cloud services for email, sales software, and other business functions, has raised $15m in Series A funding from TVC Capital

Random, long reads
Is Donald Trump’s Hair a $60,000 Weave? A Gawker Investigation (Gawker) – So Gawker filed for bankruptcy this week, which is just the latest in a series of either self-inflicted or maliciously-inflicted blows (depending on your point of few) that the Company has taken.  Regardless of your stance on Denton vs. Thiel, there is a lot of fantastic stuff that the Company and its affiliates do (I’m personally particularly fond of Deadspin). The tile of this article sounds so ridiculous that I didn’t take the time to actually read it when it first appeared on my screen and I figured it was a joke of sorts/not an actual interesting article that required detailed investigative journalism. I finally took the time to read it and it is absolutely fantastic. Ashley Feinberg actually makes a great case that Donald Trump’s hair is actually a weave – ticking and tying over 15 years of information to build the case. Ignore how ridiculous the title sounds (and kind of how absurd of a subject it is), and enjoy this read on how it’s somewhere between possible and definite that the title is true
How “Silicon Valley” nails Silicon Valley (New Yorker) – Nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but it is interesting to hear just how deep the television show Silicon Valley goes to accurately depict the start-up ecosystem. The show actually has 200 consultants that it will turn to for various things to ensure that it is accurately creating satire based on true events and has even hired Dick Costolo part time.  There’s a number of funny anecdotes in there great but I enjoyed this one in particular
“Some Valley big shots have no idea how to react to the show,” T.J. Miller told me (an actor on the show. “They can’t decide whether to be offended or flattered. And they’re mystified by the fact that actors have a kind of celebrity that they will never have—there’s no rhyme or reason to it, but that’s the way it is, and it kills them.” Miller met Elon Musk at the after-party in Redwood City. “I think he was thrown by the fact that I wasn’t being sycophantic—which I couldn’t be, because I didn’t realize who he was at the time. He said, ‘I have some advice for your show,’ and I went, ‘No thanks, we don’t need any advice,’ which threw him even more. And then, while we’re talking, some woman comes up and says ‘Can I have a picture?’ and he starts to pose—it was kinda sad, honestly—and instead she hands the camera to him and starts to pose with me. It was, like, Sorry, dude, I know you’re a big deal—and, in his case, he actually is a big deal—but I’m the guy from ‘Yogi Bear 3-D,’ and apparently that’s who she wants a picture with.”
What Happened to ‘The Most Liberated Woman in America’? (Atlas Obscura) – In the 1970s, Barbara Williamson and her husband John Williamson founded the Sandstone Foundation for Community Systems Research. The Sandstone Retreat was a nudist community that promoted freedom through open marriage and group-sex parties. It ran for seven years with 300 members, over 8,000 visitors, was featured prominently in a book by Gay Talese and inspired a documentary.  This article re-tells the story of Sandstone and gives an update on what Barbara Williamson, now 78, is up to today. Hint: it involves living with fourteen wild cats including three cougars, one lion and one tiger.

*Battery portfolio company. For a list of all Battery portfolio companies, please click here.