Snoop Dogg’s venture firm just closed its debut fund with $45 million

 Snoop Dogg, the rapper, entertainer and businessman, can claim another small victory in a long string of career highlights. The venture firm that he co-founded a couple of years ago, Casa Verde Capital, has closed its debut fund with $45 million. The money was raised in earnest last year, says managing partner Karan Wadhera, an alum of both Goldman Sachs and Nomura Securities who joined… Read More

A tale of two startups with ‘superstore’ ambitions: Robinhood and Cadre

 “If you think about Amazon, they took the book model, built brand equity, trust, credibility, and now they are a superstore for any retail product,” Cadre’s cofounder and CEO Ryan Williams told attendees at an industry event in San Francisco last week. “We’re doing the same for the investments world.” Robinhood’s cofounder and CEO, Vlad Tenev, speaking… Read More

Caterina Fake on turning down VC roles a decade ago: ‘I just kind of didn’t fit in’

 Ten years ago, not long after Yahoo had acquired Flickr, its co-founder, Caterina Fake, bounded up and down Sand Hill Road taking meetings with venture firms that were interested in hiring her. She knew most of them. In fact, she already knew a lot of investors at that point. Flickr was created out of a photo-sharing feature for another product that Fake and co-founder Stewart Butterfield had… Read More

UpWest Labs just raised $18 million to bring Israeli founders to the U.S.

 The micro venture firm UpWest Labs was founded nearly six years ago in Palo Alto with one mission in mind: to bring Israeli founders to the U.S. when their companies are still nascent and provide them with enough financial and other resources to get going. Why do this? UpWest’s founders, Shuly Galili and Gil Ben-Artzy, say it’s because startups can lose their shot at greatness if… Read More

Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky has joined Y Combinator as a partner

 If you follow the startup industry, you likely know the story of smartwatch maker Pebble, including that famous Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that sought $100,000 but wound up raising more than $10 million instead. You might also remember thinking that Pebble’s fate was sealed once Apple launched its own now-ubiquitous smartwatch in 2014. You were right if so. By late 2016, Pebble was… Read More

Want to be a founder? Go get a job, says venture capitalist Joe Kraus of GV

 Yesterday, at Startup Grind, an event series that’s aimed at new founders and people contemplating becoming entrepreneurs, we sat down with Joe Kraus, a partner for the last eight years with Google’s early-stage investing arm, GV. Kraus, who’d earlier cofounded two companies — Excite and Jotspot — shared a range of founder-friendly advice, including what GV and… Read More

This former Uber (and Lyft) exec just raised $15 million for his controversial e-scooter startup: Bird

Travis VanderZanden. If you’ve been following the fast-changing transportation industry, it’s a name that may sound familiar. Until September 2016, VanderZanden was VP of growth at Uber and before that, COO of its fierce rival Lyft, which had acquired his on-demand car wash company, Cherry, in 2013. It was a dramatic few years for VanderZanden, once he joined the ride-hailing race.… Read More

Battery Ventures ups the ante, raising $1.25 billion across two new funds

 Battery Ventures is a 35-year-old, global investment firm that tends to keep its nose down. Its bench of 10 general partners have mostly been operating quietly in the business for many years if not decades, yet none are household names. Partly, that owes to the fact that Battery prefers to promote from within — often after many years of service. General Partner Neeraj Agrawal, who… Read More

In “Brotopia,” sex parties are the least of Silicon Valley’s problems

 Two years ago, Bloomberg TV journalist Emily Chang set out to write a book about gender discrimination in Silicon Valley. It wasn’t specifically prompted by that now-famous post of former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, wherein Fowler calmly recounted the many ways that Uber’s internal controls were either very messed up or nonexistent. But the national movement that Fowler… Read More

Science, the L.A.-based incubator, just closed on $75 million for its first real venture fund

 Science Inc, the Santa Monica, Ca.-based incubator and investment firm, has closed a new venture capital fund with $75 million in commitments, shows a new SEC filing. According to the six-year-old firm, the vehicle is its first official venture fund — with traditional limited partners, including a fund of funds, sovereign wealth funds, foundations, and other institutional investors.… Read More

ICO “rounds” are coming

 Last summer, the news came in dribs and drabs about initial coin offerings, the crowd sales of new cryptocurrencies that give entrepreneurs access to funding. A warning here that some coins sold in ICOs could be considered securities. An alert there that celebrity endorsements of ICOs might be unlawful. Fast forward, and the warnings are starting to come with the kind of velocity that should… Read More

Founders Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström make it official with a new venture fund, Yes VC

 Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström have much in common beyond the home and family they share. Each has started — and sold — two companies. Fake famously cofounded the photo sharing site Flickr, which sold to Yahoo, before cofounding Hunch, which sold to eBay. Engeström cofounded Jaiku, a mobile social network that sold to Google, before cofounding Ditto, a mobile local… Read More

Attention L.A.: Don’t miss this pitch day for female founders, happening in March

 On Tuesday, March 13, some of the most well-regarded venture capitalists on the West Coast will converge in L.A. to hear pitches from women-led startups.  The day is part of a growing series of events that was originally spearheaded by investor Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures, who along with her women friends in venture, wanted to work more closely with the far larger — and growing… Read More

Another short-lived, overfunded startup is shutting down: Primary Data

 A startup that’s operating in stealth mode raises an almost stunning amount of money before it releases a product. Investors write outsize checks to the outfit anyway because of the people involved in it, but before you know it, poof, the company is imploding, and the capital is gone. It’s a story that industry watchers know well at this point. Clinkle — the payments… Read More

Katalyst.Ventures, a new firm led by Susan Choe, has raised $34 million

 There aren’t a lot of venture funds that are led by a single general partner who happens to be a woman. Sonja Hoel Perkins is one. The longtime Menlo Ventures managing director founded her own venture firm two years ago. Cindy Padnos, who spent four years with Outlook Ventures as a director before founding her own firm, Illuminate Ventures, nine years ago, is another. Now Silicon Valley… Read More

Moritz sabotages Sequoia, again

 Michael Moritz is legendary for many of the investments he has led throughout his long career with the venture firm Sequoia Capital. But Moritz has placed a target on Sequoia’s back — again — by publishing a controversial opinion piece comparing Silicon Valley unfavorably to China. To say it is extreme is an understatement. Read More

Sequoia Capital just closed a giant new seed fund — and here’s how it works

 Sequoia Capital, the top-tier venture firm, has just closed on a $180 million new fund called Sequoia Scout III that’s focused exclusively on seed-stage opportunities. It’s a development startup founders will be watching closely, no doubt, which is why we caught up yesterday with Bryan Schreier, a Sequoia partner who sits on the boards of Dropbox, Thumbtack and Qualtrics among… Read More

Howard Lindzon’s Social Leverage is looking to raise up to $50 million for its newest fund

 Social Leverage, a seed and early-stage venture outfit, is looking to raise up to $50 million for its third fund, shows a new SEC filing. It’s of interest in large part because of cofounder Howard Lindzon, a kind of Internet celebrity and serial entrepreneur known for creating WallStrip, an online video show that took a satirical approach to financial news and was acquired by CBS in… Read More