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01/09/2019
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StrictlyVC - January 8, 2019

January 8, 2019

Hello! Happy Tuesday. We've been on the phone most of today; we'll catch you up tomorrow if we missed anything major.:)
Top News

Aurora, the self-driving car tech startup whose cofounder and CEO, Chris Urmson, is joining us next month, is reportedly closing on a round of at least $500 million at a valuation of more than $2 billion, led by Sequoia Capital. It would be the biggest bet yet on self-driving technology for Sequoia. Recode has the skinny here.

The Wing, a women's only social club that also recently raised a meaningful amount of funding from Sequoia, will now accept all genders, including, men. The startup happens to be facing a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by a 53-year-old fun killer but insists the decision is unrelated. The New York City Commission on Human Rights had also opened an investigation into The Wing's membership practices in late 2017.

A bankruptcy judge decided today to give Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert another chance to buy the retailer out of bankruptcy and save roughly 50,000 jobs.
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Bowery Valuation Raises $12 Million More to Automate the Real Estate Appraisal Process

Bowery Valuation, a New York-based company that we told you about last year, has raised $12 million in Series A funding for its tech-enabled real estate appraisal platform. The 3.5-year-old company raised the capital from Corigin Ventures, Camber Creek, Navitas Capital, Fika Ventures and Builders.

Bowery caught our attention initially because, like a lot of real estate technology companies, it’s tackling some clunky processes that you might imagine would have been solved long ago. For example, its mobile app enables appraisers to tick off items, rather than write everything down. It automatically pulls in public record data so that appraisers needn’t surf the web to find what they need. It enables passive databasing, meaning that rental and sales comps that are often lost today can be found via a map-based search. It also uses natural language generation to help its appraiser clients produce reports.

What has changed since we last talked: the company was beginning to sell a white-label version of its app to customers, and it has since shifted toward focusing its entire product and engineering team on its own internal software.

It has also expanded its footprint more slowly than it thought it might.

More here.
Other New Fundings

Apollomics, a 2.5-year-old, Foster City, Ca-based developer of oncology combination therapies that was headquartered until recently in China, has raised $100 million in Series B funding. CMB International led the round, with participation from earlier backer OrbiMed Asia. FierceBiotech has more here.

BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology Co., an 18-year-old, China-based biopharmaceutical company, has raised roughly $80 million in later-stage funding led by Sequoia China and HighLight Capital, with participation from GF Qianhe Investment. China Money Network has more here (subscription required).

Cabaletta Bio, a 1.5-year-old, Radnor, Pa.-based biotech startup that's trying to develop T cell therapies for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, has raised $50 million in Series B funding. Investors include Deerfield Management Company, Boxer Capital of Tavistock Group, Redmile Group, Cormorant Capital, Adage Capital Management, and 5AM Ventures. MedCity News has more here.

Carson, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based real estate tech startup that provides services to unstaffed residential buildings, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by BuildingLink, an online property management platform. According to the Real Deal, the biggest tech player in the virtual doorman/property management space is Latch, which raised $70 million in Series B funding in August. More here.

Dorae, a four-year-old, London-based blockchain-enabled physical commodities cloud (we do not know what this means), has raised $50 million in Series B funding from undisclosed investors, reports Axios. More here.

Exscientia, a six-year-old, Oxford, England-based drug discovery startup, just raised $26 million in Series B funding from Celgene, GT Healthcare Capital Partners and earlier investor Evotec. More here.

Flytrex, a five-year-old, Tel Aviv-based drone logistics startup, has raised $7.5 million in Series B funding led by Benhamou Global Ventures. More here.

Headset, a 3.5-year-old, Seattle-based analytics service provider to the cannabis industry, has raised $12.1 million in Series A funding co-led by Poseidon Asset Management and AFI Capital Partners. More here.

Humatics, a 3.5-year-old, Waltham, Ma.-based developer of micro-location software, has raised $28 million in Series A-1 funding led by Tenfore Holdings, with participation from Blackhorn Ventures, JCI Ventures, Fontinalis Partners, Airbus Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures and Presidio Ventures. Robotics Business Review has more here.

Keros Therapeutics, a three-year-old, Lexington, Ma.-based drug startup that's developing therapies for neuromuscular diseases, has raised $23 million in Series B funding from Global Health Sciences Fund and earlier investors Pontifax, Arkin BioVentures, Partners Innovation Fund and Medison Pharma. More here.

Lambda School, a 1.5-year-old, San Ramon, Ca.-based coding school, just raised $30 million in Series B funding at a $150 million post-money valuation led by Bedrock Capital, with participation from Vy Capital, GGV Capital, Google Ventures, Y Combinator and Sound Ventures. Dealbook has more here.

LendingFront, a four-year-old, New York-based maker of small business lending software, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Information Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Newark Venture Partners, Revel Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Struck Capital, ValueStream Ventures and Las Olas VC. More here.

Managed By Q, a four-year-old, New York-based office management platform that launched back in 2013, has tacked on $25 million more to its Series C round led by earlier backers RRE and GV, with participation from new investors DivCo West, Oxford Properties and others. The fresh capital brings the total round to $55 million. TechCrunch has more here.

RainFocus, a 4.5-year-old, Lehi, Ut.-based online event marketing platform, has raised $40 million from the growth equity firm JMI Equity. More here.

Scape Technologies, a two-year-old, London-based computer vision startup, has raised $8 million in seed funding from LocalGlobe, Mosaic Ventures, Fly Ventures and Entrepreneur First. TechCrunch has more here.

Stelexis, a year-old, New York-based drug developer focused on targeting pre-cancerous stem cells, has raised $43 million in Series A funding led by Deerfield Management. More here.
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Exits

Amazon has reportedly acquired the 6.5-year-old Israeli disaster recovery startup CloudEndure. While some outlets have been reporting the deal was worth $250 million, TechCrunch hears it’s closer to $200 million. CloudEndure had raised roughly $18 million from investors. More here.

Healthgrades, a once-public, now privately held online resource for information about physicians and hospitals. has acquired Influence Health, a Birmingham, Ala.-based developer of customer relationship management for hospitals for undisclosed terms. Influence Health had raised approximately $11.5 million from investors, including Eastside Partners.

Plaid, a company that securely transmits banking data online, has acquired Quovo, a market platform for wealth and brokerage data. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, though Bloomberg's sources say the deal could be worth roughly $200 million after performance bonuses. Quovo had raised roughly $21 million in venture funding. More here.
IPOs

Under the leadership of Genentech veteran Arnon Rosenthal, San Francisco-based biotech Alector is planning a $150 million IPO, as it develops a crop of drugs designed to weaponize the immune system to fight neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. More from EndPoints News here.
People

EQT Ventures has brought two new investors into its London office: Johan Svanström and Lyle Fong. Over the last 18 months, EQT Ventures has set up teams in in San Francisco, Berlin and Paris, in addition to its offices in Stockholm, London and Amsterdam.

East Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm that focuses on Southeast Asia and Japan, has appointed Melisa Irene as the first female partner. Irene started working at the firm as an associate in 2015 and was promoted to principal last year.

Mark Zuckerberg just announced his new, yearly personal challenge. More on what it all means here.