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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Siren, a maker of "smart socks" designed for early detection of diabetic ulcers, yesterday announced nearly $12 million in venture funding led by Anathem Ventures.

Why it matters: This plays into the burgeoning remote health care trend, as people at risk of diabetic ulcers typically require regular foot temperature checks from podiatrists.

  • It's also a twist on a recent VC legal drama between Anathem founder Crystal McKellar and her former firm, Mithril Capital.

The company: Siren continuously monitors the temperature on the bottoms of a user's feet, and transmits that data to an app that's available to both the patient and physician.

  • The connected "visits" are reimbursable under Medicare, and basically act as an early warning system to stave off something that can result in hospitalizations and, at worst, amputations.
  • Expect to see a surge in these sorts of deals. Including from Anathem, which just backed FocusMotion, a connected recovery system for patients who've undergone orthopedic surgery.

The legal drama: McKellar previously was general counsel for Mithril, a growth equity firm co-founded by Peter Thiel. She also was a whistleblower, informing a Mithril portfolio company and the FBI about alleged financial misconduct.

  • Mithril sued McKellar, whom some of you might remember as "Becky Slater" from The Wonder Years. She countersued.
  • The two sides quietly dismissed their complaints, although a California court document suggests they subsequently entered arbitration.

Notable in McKellar's complaint was a claim that Peter Thiel was horrified by the goings-on at Mithril, going so far as to consider shutting the firm down.

  • Thiel hasn't publicly commented on the dispute, but the Siren deal might hint at his sentiments. His better-known firm, Founders Fund, was an existing Siren investor and re-upped in this new round, knowing that McKellar was lead investor via Anathem.

McKellar tells Axios: "My parents raised me to do the right thing always, and when you witness your employer engaging in fraud you've got to do something to protect your investors. ... Peter is great. I have a ton of respect for him and am thrilled to be investing alongside him."

Go deeper

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Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

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Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.

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