Defending startup honor. Targeting the next billion. Top insurance startups. 
CB Insights celebration
Trying to catch me ridin' dirty

Hi there,

Got a mini-scoop at the bottom of this newsletter about what could be a stealth Twitter competitor started by a celeb. Keep reading.

Saving great talent from mediocre companies

In this current market correction, most of the advice for startups, besides being banal and trite, has centered on them fortifying their cash position in anticipation of leaner times.

The advice is mostly defensive.

Some VCs, however, are seeing this as a time to encourage and help their best portfolio companies go on offense.

Yes, the old "best time to buy is when there is blood in the streets" mantra.

And one of the ways they go on offense is by identifying struggling startups and poaching talent from them. It's not often discussed, but it goes on in all markets and has intensified of late.

Here's how they're doing it.

If you are a startup founder looking to go on offense in this downturn, is your VC helping you recruit talent at scale? Shouldn't they be?


Stephen Curry's 3 point shooting percentage actually increases as the shot clock goes down.


If you aren't at this, you're not serious about FinTech

(Note: Early bird rates end today)

I'm excited to announce that Bertrand Schmitt, the CEO of AppAnnie (backed by Sequoia Capital), will be joining us at the Future of FinTech Conference.

He along with Jeff Glueck, the CEO of Foursquare, will be discussing how alternative data sources like AppAnnie's mobile app market data and Foursquare's foot traffic data are being used by hedge and mutual funds to generate alpha.

Here's a quick snapshot of some of the other amazing speakers:
  • C-level leadership from OnDeck, American Express, and Prudential
  • Partners from Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed, Bain Capital Ventures, and Canaan
  • The founders/C-level execs from Prosper, Betterment, Klarna, and Lemonade
  • The heads of corporate venture and R&D from Capital One, Santander, BBVA, American Family Insurance, and Samsung
And we've got some big surprises in store as well.

Get your tickets here.

Big funding to insurance

We highlight the five most well-funded insurance tech startups. Four of them are operating in the health insurance space, and together they have raised $2.5B in aggregate funding to date.

The industry standard.

Last year, CB Insights data was quoted 1500+ times by the media. In the first 2 months of this year, 337 articles have referenced CB Insights data on emerging industries, venture capital, or startups.  

I'm really proud of our team who has grinded for 6 years to create the industry's best data as well as work hard to respond to media requests. We've done it with no PR firm and when we started, we didn't have a clue, either :)

But it's great to see folks starting to notice.

Targeting the next billion

We often hear talk about how startups are only catering to the wealthy or those with 'first world problems'. 

That they are, in fact, not changing the world.

So we dug into CB Insights and identified 21 companies that are targeting underserved populations with healthcare, financial, or energy services tailored to these consumers' specific needs.

We hope the stories of some of these companies, their founders and their teams get told more widely.

Once you go Airbnb, you don't go back

An interesting survey by Goldman Sachs that appeared in Bloomberg shows that once folks try P2P accommodations (a la Airbnb), their preference for traditional hotels declines.

Another reason why Airbnb's massive valuation seems reasonable.

Active early stage VCs

We identify and rank the 10 VC investors who were most active at the early-stage (seed/Series A) in 2015 globally.

If you're an early stage startup, these are firms you should probably know.

We see you rollin'

On Friday, CB Insights' machine learning software that captures data on financings, M&A, and IPOs (The Cruncher) found a filing for a company called X Empire, Inc. that was signed by Hakeem Seriki.

The company had raised $1.5M of a $3M offering.

Why is this notable?

Hakeem is better known by his stage name, Chamillionaire. He is a rapper, entrepreneur and angel investor.

The website is just a landing page but a trademark application filed by Morrison & Foerster for X Empire (appears to be the same firm) reveals a bit more about what Chamillionaire is working on:

"Downloadable software applications for streaming communications with entertainers, politicians, and celebrities"

Is this a Twitter (Periscope) or Meerkat competitor?

We're fans of Chamillionaire and his moves into tech and angel investing. Looking forward to learning more.

It's Feb 29th. I leapin' love you.


P.S. I'll be speaking at the Montgomery Summit in LA next week. Let me know if you'll be around.

The most well-funded insurance tech startups

Together, the five most well-capitalized insurance tech startups including Zenefits and Oscar have raised $2.5B in aggregate funding. See the data.
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Startups serving the underserved

It's not always about privileged consumers or the 1%. These are private companies tackling real problems disenfranchised citizens and consumers face around the globe. See the list.
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The most active early-stage VC investors of 2015

These were the investors writing the seed/Series A checks to the most companies around the world. See the list.
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Notable Deals From This Past Week

We tracked 485 financings and exits totaling $4.07B in the last week. Here are 10 notable deals. To see them all, login to CB Insights or create an account here.

1. RimRock Oil & Gas raises $500M round
Warbug Pincus provided the capital to the Montana-based startup looking to invest in unconventional oil and gas plays across North America.

2. Silver Run Acquisition Corp raises $450M at "rare" IPO
In the largest IPO so far this year in the United States, valued at $500M, is for a special purpose acquisition entity with no assets of its own. The company plans to use the proceeds to buy assets in oil and gas companies underperforming due to current commodity prices.

3. Oscar Health Insurance raises $400M Series C round
The health insurance startup raised from Founders Fund, General Catalyst, Thrive Capital, and Kohsla Ventures, among many other institutional investors. The deal puts the company at a $2.7B valuation.

4. Ibibo Group raises $250M round
The India-based online travel group raised from previous investor Naspers, a South Africa-based multinational internet and media company.

5. D&J Industrial Property raises $220M round
The China-based company manages business parks
and industrial facilities. Sun Dongping and Warburg Pincus provided the capital.

6. Colgate Energy raises $75M Private Equity round
The Midland, Texas-based firm is an exploration and production company focused on acquiring and developing oil and gas properties in the Permian Basin.

7. Razer announces $75M Series C round
The PC and gaming hardware company raised the round at a $1.5B valuation from Digital Grid subsidiary of IT company Hangzhou Liaison Interactive.

8. Forty Seven raises $75M Series A round
The clinical-stage immuno-oncology company spun out of Stanford University and raised the round from Clarus Ventures, Google Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Sutter Hill Ventures.

9. Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri raises $72.71M Private Equity round
The Italy-based private hospital operator raised from Trilantic Capital Partners at a $213.8M valuation.

10. Health Catalyst raises $70M Series E round
The data warehousing & analytics raised from Leerink Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, and Sorenson Capital.

The Blurb

A curated mix of articles on private companies, venture capital, emerging industries, and innovation.

Spotting, nurturing, and mentoring talent. Mark Suster (@msuster) dives into discussion with Troy Carter to talk about what he does and why he believes it is applicable to venture capital.
Both Sides of the Table

When failure is good. Jeffrey Carter (@pointsnfigures) says companies that fail show that someone, somewhere is trying, and it is better to try and fail than do nothing at all.
Point and Figures

Infrastructure is everything. In this podcast, new Andreessen Horowitz general partner Martin Casado (@martin_casado) shares what he thinks are the key trends in networking, what's coming next, and his thoughts on the impact of infrastructure.

What Google learned from its quest to build the perfect team. Charles Duhigg (@cduhigg) discusses new research that reveals surprising truths about why some work groups thrive and others falter.
The New York Times

Disrupting the classroom. Doug Bierend (@dougbierend) writes about how the sharing economy is creating a marketplace for cheating.

Is the lean startup dead? Luke Fitzpatrick (@iamwormify), founder of ShushNote, questions whether the notion of the lean startup is always correct.
Startup Daily

Evolving leaders. Eric J. McNulty (@richerearth) dives into the three critical shifts in thinking for the evolving leader.

Memoirs of junior VC. Matt Wichrowski (@mattwichrowski) shares ten lessons he learned as a young VC, from sharing ideas to playing to your strengths.
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