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Mithril Capital Management, cofounded by Ajay Royan and Peter Thiel, is leaving the Bay Area

From its glass-lined offices in San Francisco’s leafy Presidio national park, six-year-old Mithril Capital Management has happily flown under the radar. Now it’s leaving altogether and relocating its team to Austin, a spot that, among others the firm had considered, has “enough critical mass of a technical culture, an artisanal culture, an artistic culture, and is not necessarily looking to Silicon Valley for validation,” says firm cofounder Ajay Royan. The move isn’t a complete surprise. Royan, who cofounded the growth-stage investment firm in 2012 with renowned investor Peter Thiel, hasn’t done much in the way of public relations outside of  announcing MIthril’s existence . Thiel and Royan — who’d previously been a managing director at Clarium Capital Management, Thiel’s hedge fund — largely travel in social circles outside of Silicon Valley. The firm has always prided itself on finding startups that don’t fit the typical ideal of a Silicon Valley startup, too. One of its newer bets, for example, is a nine-year-old dental robotics company in Miami, Fla. that says it performs implant surgery faster and more effectively, which is a surprisingly big market. More than  500,000  people now receive implants each year.  “It was a hidden team, because it’s in Miami, and it was a field that was under invested in,” says Royan, noting that one of the few breakthrough companies in the dental world in recent years, Invisalign , which makes an alternative to braces, caters to a much younger demographic. Even still, Mithril’s departure is interesting taken as a data point in a series of them that suggest that Silicon Valley may be losing some of its appeal for a variety of reasons.

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Entrepreneurs: It’s time to put corporate VCs back on your short list

Gil Beyda Contributor Gil Beyda is a partner at Comcast Ventures . The startup media is awash with stories of corporate venture capital prioritizing their own interests over those of their portfolio. While acknowledging that some of these stories may have a basis in truth, it’s critical to recognize there is much more to the story . It’s time the whole story is told. The truth is that not all corporate venture capital firms are the same. And in fact, some have a strategic advantage because they have access to proprietary insights from dozens of markets and technologies that are simply unavailable to other venture capital firms. Further, corporate venture capital firms can create synergies between portfolio companies and their parent companies to help accelerate business, an opportunity unavailable to most venture capital firms. Choosing between strategically focused and financially focused corporate venture capital There are two types of corporate venture capital, and it’s essential to understand the difference between them. The first type, strategically focused corporate venture capital , provides significant benefits to all parties if done well. These firms can help accelerate portfolio companies with revenue, market/customer insights and technology/roadmap development. The second type is financially focused corporate venture capital . These firms are run like typical venture firms and are primarily driven to maximize financial returns, and the firm’s partners are rewarded for making profitable investments

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Amplify Partners locks in $200 million to transform technical founders into people who can actually lead a startup

Sunil Dhaliwal has had a solid run in his 20 years so far as a VC. Just two years out of Georgetown, Dhaliwal landed at Battery Ventures, a highly regarded venture firm. Fifteen years later, in 2012, he struck out on his own, creating  Amplify Partners . It wasn’t so easy at first. His first fund required 18 months of on-again, off-again fundraising before closing with $49.1 million in capital commitments. But things have picked up substantially since. In fact, today, Amplify, once a micro fund, is taking the wraps off a third fund that it just closed with $200 million. Some early bets made this newest fund much easier to raise than even its second fund, which closed with $125 million in 2015. In addition to Dhaliwal’s personal track record, which includes leading deals at Battery like Netezza,  acquired by IBM , and CipherTrust,  acquired by Secure Computing ,  Amplify has already seen four of its portfolio companies get acquired, including: the breach-detection software company LightCyber, which sold last year to Palo Alto Networks for $105 million ; the sale of Conjur, which made DevOps security software, to publicly traded CyberArk Software last year for $42 million in cash;  the sale of the app development service Buddybuild to Apple (for undisclosed terms); and the sale of AppNeta, an end-user experience performance monitoring startup, to the private equity firm Rubicon Technology Partners. Two others portfolio companies, which represent the firm’s biggest bets, look like they could eventually represent even bigger outcomes for the firm: Fastly , which operates a content delivery network to speed up web requests, is already talking about going public , after raising $220 million from investors over the last few years. Meanwhile, DataDog , which offers monitoring and analytics for cloud-based workflows, said five months ago that it had already surpassed $100 million in recurring revenue and that it has been doubling that amount every year so far. A growing team has helped, too. In addition to David Beyer, a cofounder of  Chartio  who joined as a principal early on and is today a partner with Amplify, the firm features general partner Mike Dauber, who, like Dhaliwal, previously worked at Battery; partner Lenny Pruss, who was previously principal with Redpoint Ventures; principals Lisha Li and Sarah Catanzano. Li has a PhD from UC Berkeley and worked previously as a data scientist at both Pinterest and Stitch Fix; Catanzano was previously head of data at Mattermark and, before that, as a data partner at the venture firm Canvas Ventures

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Three former Social Capital partners are reportedly raising a $200M fund

Tribe Capital , the venture capital firm launched by Arjun Sethi, Jonathan Hsu and Ted Maidenberg, a trio of former Social Capital partners, is reportedly raising $200 million for its first flagship venture capital fund.  This story is developing. We’ve reached out to the firm for comment. Tribe was said to be focusing on cryptocurrency and blockchain startups, recently leading the $22.7 million round for crypto trading platform SFOX. Though The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that capital from the fund will be deployed across multiple industries. The news is a kick in the gut for former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya‘s venture capital firm Social Capital, which has been bleeding partners as of late — so much so that the firm has removed the page on its website that listed its team. Social Capital, one of the most closely-watched VC firms in Silicon Valley, has removed the team page from its website after bleeding 7 partners over the summer. https://t.co/NSrIih46dA pic.twitter.com/xaVH5IhLav — Melia Russell (@meliarobin) August 31, 2018 Last week, we highlighted two notable exits in Ashley Mayer, a partner and VP of marketing since 2015, and Mike Ghaffary, a partner since August 2017, who said he was leaving to focus on his angel investing career. The mass exodus at Social Capital continues Since then, Axios is reporting Social Capital associate Tejinder Gill has been hired by Collaborative Fund as a principal and that Alex Chee, who headed up product development, is leaving too  — whereabouts unknown. It’s quite possible he’s joining Tribe. The firm, after all, is made up of three former Social Capital investors, and the only other person to list Tribe Capital as their employer on LinkedIn is Georgia Kinne, who’s in charge of operations at the firm and was previously an executive assistant at Social Capital. Other high-level Social Capital employees to head out the door this year include growth equity chief Tony Bates and vice chairman Marc Mezvinsky.

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Apple is now a $1 trillion company

Apple's success hit a new milestone today: It's the first publicly traded trillion-dollar American company. Yesterday the firm announced an adjusted (higher) share count, and by this morning the stock price was rising with news that the company had a...

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Felicis Ventures has a new, $270 million fund, and a new managing director: Victoria Treyger

Felicis Ventures , the early-stage, San Francisco-based venture firmed founded a dozen or so years ago by former Googler Aydin Senkut, has closed its sixth fund with $270 million. It’s Felicis’s biggest vehicle to date (the firm closed its last fund with $200 million in 2016). Yet even bigger news for the team may be its new managing director, Victoria Treyger, who spent the last six-plus years as the chief revenue office of the online lending company Kabbage and before that, spent a couple of years as the chief marketing officer of RingCentral, the cloud phone system company. It’s easy to understand the attraction on both sides. Treyger gives the firm greater strength when it comes to marketing and fintech know-how. According to Senkut, Treyger is also acutely interested in health-related opportunities, which, not coincidentally, is a growing area of interest for the firm. Indeed, he argues, persuasively, Treyger was being courted aggressively from operating companies wanting to tap her experience as a C-level executive at two separate but fast-growing companies. That Treyger decided to pursue venture capital surely speaks to an interest in the industry broadly. But Felicis seems like a particularly good fit for her, too. For one thing, Treyger “basically has an equal spot at the table,” according to Senkut. This isn’t always the case with a new hire into a venture firm, even at the most senior level. Treyger also joins a now four-person leadership team — including Senkut, Sundeep Peechu, and Wesley Chan — that has, in the parlance of the startup world, been crushing it

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Huawei overtakes Apple in smartphone shipments

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei is now the second biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world according to new reports from IDC and Canalys , as The Verge initially spotted. In IDC’s latest report , the firm says that the overall market has shrunk by 1.8 percent in Q2 2018. But the biggest surprise is that Huawei now has a 15.8 percent market share with 54.2 million smartphones shipped in Q2. It doesn’t mean that Apple is performing poorly. The company is shipping slightly more smartphones this year compared to last year. Apple also has a slightly bigger market share with 12.1 percent of the market. Samsung is shipping 10.4 percent less smartphones but still remains the leader with 20.9 percent market share, or 71.5 million smartphones. In other words, many Samsung buyers are now buying Huawei devices, or other Android devices. Canalys confirms this trend with the same order — Samsung, Huawei and then Apple. But the firm also highlights that Apple suffers from seasonability compared to its competitors. Samsung and Huawei sell many different devices and release new phones all year long. Apple usually releases new devices in September, which creates a huge spike during the last quarter of the year.

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Connie Chan breaks the mold at Andreessen Horowitz, becoming the first general partner to be promoted from within

Investor Connie Chan has made such an impact on her colleagues at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) since joining the firm in 2011 that today, they’re announcing Chan’s appointment to general partner. It’s a big deal for the Sand Hill Road venture firm for numerous reasons. First, Chan becomes just the second woman in the firm’s nine-year history to be appointed to the role of general partner. As readers may recall, a16z announced the first female general partner in its history late last month , bringing aboard former federal prosecutor Katie Haun to help lead its new cryptocurrency fund. According to Jeff Jordan — himself an a16z general partner and the former CEO of OpenTable — the nine-year-old firm has also never before promoted someone from within to the post of general partner, instead pulling in people like Jordan himself with senior operating experience. (Jordan also distantly held posts as the president of PayPal, the CFO of Hollywood Entertainment, and the CEO of Reel.com.) The “policy was not to promote internally,” says Jordan. Yet such thinking has changed recently as 16z has grown and the operating functions that it uses to support its portfolio companies have matured. Indeed, when it came to Chan, a Stanford alum who logged four years with the private equity firm Elevation Partners and another two years in product management roles at HP and Palm, a lack of direct experience in scaling a business was eventually outweighed by her ability to identify and support talented founders, Jordan says. He credits Chan, for example, with the firm’s initial investment in the digital scrapbook site Pinterest. “It wasn’t a contentious discussion, but Connie really pounding the table is what led to our investment in the company,” he says. Pinterest was most recently valued at more than $12 billion . When a16z led a $27 million round in the company back in 2011, it was reportedly valued at $200 million . Chan also brings to the table two other things desperately needed at Andreessen Horowitz: an understanding of China’s market and key contacts there. From her earliest days with the firm, Chan has spearheaded its Asia network, helping the firm’s portfolio companies navigate regional opportunities through quarterly visits to the country, as well as gaining a “one- to four-year advantage in understanding consumer mobile” trends in the U.S., which often start first in China, she notes. Consider that Chan pushed a16z to invest in the electric bike and scooter company  Lime last year after studying the unit economics of Lime’s China-based predecessors Ofo and Mobike

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Tinder user photos are now encrypted

In January, a security firm discovered that photos exchanged on Tinder weren't encrypted. If the firm connected to the same network as someone using the dating app, pics could be intercepted on their way between the app and the service's servers. Sen...

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New York’s RRE Ventures raises $265M for its new fund

RRE Ventures has raised $265 million for its latest fund. The firm was founded back in 1994, and this is its seventh fund (eighth if you include a separate “opportunity” fund for making follow-on investments). Exits in the last few years include Bitly ( acquired by Spectrum Equity ), Business Insider ( acquired by Axel Springer ) and TapCommerce ( acquired by Twitter ). General Partner Raju Rishi said that RRE will continue to follow its current investment strategy. That means putting about 60 percent of its money into Series A investments, 5 to 10 percent into seed deals and the rest in B or C rounds. It also means investing making about half its investments on the East Coast — mostly New York City, where RRE is based. Rishi suggested that with the growth of “a very virtualized tech community of developer from around the world,” New York makes more sense for startups, thanks to the density of industries like media and fashion: “The ecosystem question has become, ‘Where can I be closest to my customer?'” RRE invests beyond New York too. In those cases, Rishi said it’s usually based on specific sectors that the investment team has researched deeply. Currently, those sectors include healthcare IT, space technology, blockchain, robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality. In contrast, there are some other sectors that RRE sees as “a little bit waning.” “A great example is, we made the initial investment in 3D printing — we were the original investors in MakerBot,” Rishi said. “Now, we don’t see a striking amount of innovation that space. That doesn’t mean we cut it off at the knees and not invest in it, but it’s not something we’re actively looking at.” Vice President of Business Development Maria Palma added that the firm has also been growing its platform strategy to support portfolio companies in the last couple years. “You can’t pick a platform strategy that’s unique, but you can pick a platform strategy that your firm can uniquely execute,” she said.

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