The Strand 🌴 - April 7, 2019

Snap has unveiled its new gaming platform, B Capital Group is raising a new $400M fund, former Pandora / Snap exec Tom Conrad is joining Quibi, and Forbes released both the Midas and Midas Brink List.

Welcome to the twenty-ninth edition of The Strand, a weekly-ish newsletter covering venture capital, private equity, and general business news from around the Los Angeles area. My name is Brendan Boken, a native of Southern California. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, send deals/news to brendanboken@gmail.com.

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Venture Capital Funding

Giblib, a three-year-old, Los Angeles, California-based startup creating a library of medical lectures and high-definition, 360-degree surgical videos, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding, including from The Mayo Clinic, as well as the Venture Reality Fund, USC Marshall Venture Fund, Wavemaker 360, and Michelson 20MM. Med City News

Lucid Sight, a nearly four-year-old, Los Angeles, California-based developer of blockchain-based games, has raised $6 million from Salem Partners, The Galaxy EOS VC Fund, Digital Currency Group, Breakaway Growth, Frontier Venture Capital, and Animoca Brands. Venture Beat

Vertical Companies, a 4.5-year-old, Los Angeles, California-based vertically integrated company in the legal medical cannabis industry, has closed its Series A round with $58 million, including from Merida Capital Partners. The company has now raised $65 million altogether. Benzinga

Private Equity Funding

Kellermeyer Bergensons Services, an Oceanside, California-based portfolio company of GI Capital Partners, acquired Capital Contractors, an Islandia, New York-based provider of contract cleaning and related facility services, from Palladium Equity Partners. PE Hub

Stir Foods, an Orange, California-based portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, acquired Van Law Food Products, a Fullerton, California-based contract and private-label manufacturer of custom sauces, dressings, and beverage products. WPP Press Release

Liquidity / Exits / M&A

H.I.G. Capital acquired Carlsbad, California-based weight loss company Jenny Craig from North Castle Partners. Wall Street Journal

New Funds

B Capital Group, the venture capital firm co-founded by Facebook billionaire Eduardo Severin and partner Raj Ganguly, has raised $406 million in a first close of its second fund. The SEC Filing shows that the capital commitments have come from 62 investors since late March. Forbes

IPOs

No Los Angeles-based companies filed for public offerings this past week.

On The Move

Former Pandora and Snap executive Tom Conrad has joined Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s new media startup, Quibi, to lead product and customer support, becoming the latest addition to the ambitious short-form video venture’s senior management team. Variety

Featured Jobs

Fair, an innovative FinTech company revolutionizing the car buying experience, is hiring a Director of People & Culture in the company’s Santa Monica office.

ServiceTitan, a leading business management software platform, is hiring a Product Marketing Manager in the company’s greater LA office.

Sweetgreen, a company on a mission to build healthier communities by connecting people to real food, is hiring a Director of Retail Space Design in the company’s greater LA office.

News, Resources, & Required Reading

The 2019 Midas List: Tech’s Top Investors.

The 2019 Midas Brink List: Meet Venture Capital’s Up-And-Comers.

5 LA tech companies investing in innovative thinkers. Built in LA

Actor, writer, and producer Seth Rogen has teamed up with long-time partner Evan Goldberg on a new cannabis company. Dubbed Houseplant, the marijuana company is being developed in partnership with Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. In a statement, Rogen and Goldberg said that Houseplant cannabis was developed after years of research and its first strain, called Houseplant Sativa, will launch in April. Fortune

Fundings of the month: These 5 LA tech companies raised the most venture money in March. Built in LA

How the team at LA-based Beyond Limits is using NASA-developed AI to make Earth a better place. Built in LA

Morgan Stanley, which is underwriting Uber’s IPO, is denying reports that it marketed a short-selling product to Lyft investors. Lyft reportedly threatened Morgan Stanley with legal action earlier this week, demanding in a letter the investment bank stop marketing a short-selling product that the ride-hailing firm believed was disrupting trading in its stock, according to four people familiar with the situation. The Information

Snap unveiled its new Snap Gaming platform at its first-ever press event, the Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles, where it also announced an augmented reality utility platform called Scan, an ads network, and a way to put its Stories in other apps. Snap’s game platform has huge potential to boost time spent in the app and the ads views that generates because gaming is well suited for Snap’s majority user base of 13 to 34-year-olds. If you’re looking for some more in-depth commentary on the Snap Partner Summit, Turner Novak put together a great thread on Twitter you can read here. TechCrunch

Softbank, the Japanese conglomerate which has reshaped the technology startup landscape with its Saudi-backed Vision Fund, is in talks with investors to add $15 billion more (!) to its already-massive fund, said people familiar with the discussions. Softbank wants to keep up with its current deal spree, while leaving enough assets in reserve to continue buying shares in companies it already backs. Bloomberg

The Alliance of American Football, also known as the AAF, has reportedly suspended operations and will not finish its inaugural season. It’s been just six weeks since Tom Dundon, a former subprime lending executive who went on to found Dundon Capital Partners, committed to invest $250 million in the league. Pitchbook

Tesla’s Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have two weeks to work out their differences and come to a new resolution, a U.S. judge said Thursday at the conclusion of a hearing held to determine whether the automaker’s CEO should be help in contempt for his Twitter use. TechCrunch

Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz - whose agency-like model has been replicated by a number of other venture firms across the industry - is turning itself into a registered investment adviser. As an early believer in cryptocurrencies, marketplaces, and applications, the firm apparently grew frustrated over its inability to invest more of its flagship fund into crypto startups. By becoming a registered investment advisor, Andreessen Horowitz will no longer have to limit these stakes, including in its general fund. In addition, the firm will also have the freedom to invest any percentage of its fund that it wants into larger high-growth companies, buy shares from founders and early investors, as well as trade public stocks, as Forbes notes. Forbes

Take a Break

A colorful twist on the Rolex Daytona.

Are bankers and venture capitalists really getting fleeced by Patagonia?

The Best Things to do (and taste) at the 2019 L.A. Food Bowl.

The Masters 2019: Caddie confidential - 11 questions that uncover the secrets to this year at Augusta National.

We are one week away from Game of Thrones Season 8. Are you ready? Here’s the official trailer for the final season in case you missed it.

What I’m Listening To

@OverheardLA Posts of the Week

Unsplash Photos of the Week

@matthew_t_rader

@wesleyphotography

@ts_imagery

@amgee88