Top News in the A.M.
Apple and Samsung have agreed to attend a mediation session to be held on or before February 19, as they prepare to clash in court in March over smartphone patents.
Pricing in Deception
Yesterday, TechCrunch reported that a 2.5-year-old Boston-based social shopping startup, Kickscout, is being acquired by another shopping app, Mobee, for an undisclosed “combination of cash and stock.” TechCrunch wrote that as part of the arrangement, Kickscout’s founder (and sole employee), Michael Sheeley, is joining Mobee as its chief product officer.
Most likely, the story would have gone unnoticed, but Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner tweeted soon after the piece was published, “Sorry, TechCrunch, this story is actually: Boston-based Mobee hired a smart guy whose startup didn’t take off.” Kirsner continued on Twitter, “If your app is being shut down and you are going to work for someone else’s company, that means you got HIRED, not ACQUIRED.” Kirsner – who seems to have a healthy sense of humor — then added, “Deal was a ‘combination of cash & stock’ – yeah, like [taxi] fare to Mobee’s office and some stock options.”
Assuming that Kirsner is right – that Sheeley was just plucked from a bad situation – it’s easy to understand his aggravation. Silicon Valley’s compulsively sunny, rah-rah spirit can be nauseating. Talk to an entrepreneur or VC, and everything is proceeding as planned.
Still, it’s hard to see the downside in allowing someone to save face in this situation or the many others we’ve seen in recent years, where struggling founders have been swooped up by another company that’s looking to lock in their talent for a while. I like that a person who has tried and failed can receive a fresh set of cards instead of shutting down their business with nothing but debt (which, by the way, still happens with the vast majority of startups).
As for the argument that it’s unhealthy to portray face-saving maneuvers as successes, I’d argue that by now, we’re all acclimated to the culture of spin in which we live. We’ve basically been in an arms race of good news since TechCrunch was founded in 2005.
Anyone following the industry is already pricing in some deception, so why bother getting upset about it?
Aereo, a two-year-old, New York-based company whose customers access live broadcast TV on Internet-connected devices via its remote integrated antenna/DVR technology, has raised $34 million in Series C financing. Previous investors IAC, Highland Capital Partners, andFirstMark Capital were joined by new investors Himalaya Capital Management and Gordon Crawford, long the chief media stockpicker for the L.A-based money-management firm Capital Research & Management Co. Aereo has now raised nearly $100 million altogether.
Chromatin, a 13-year-old, Chicago-based agricultural technology company, has held a first close on its Series E financing round, which is expected to total $36 million. Wood Creek Capital Management led the round, joined by GE Capital. Previous investors BP Alternative Energy, IllinoisVentures, the State of Wisconsin Investment Boardand Adventures IV also participated. With the Series E round, Chromatin has raised more than $70 million, says the company.
Compliance Science, a 10-year-old, New York-based company that sells online regulatory compliance technology and services, has raised $8.25 million in Series A funding from Edison Ventures. It’s the first outside capital that Compliance Science has received.
FlatFrog Laboratories AB, a seven-year-old, Lund, Sweden-based maker of a patented in-glass touch technology, has raised $10 million in Series C funding from Invus, Sunstone Capital and Intel Capital, all of whom participated in the company’s Series B round. FlatFrog has raised $53.4 million altogether, according to Crunchbase.
Forus Health, a three-year-old, Bangalore-based medical device company that focuses on the ophthalmology space, has raised $8 million from Asian Healthcare Fund and its existing investors Accel Partnersand IDG Ventures. Forus is looking to develop affordable technology that can be used by minimally trained technicians. It has raised $13 million to date.
Immedia Semiconductor, a five-year-old, Andover, Mass.-based company that develops semiconductor-based ISP and video compression technology for consumer electronics applications, has raised $11.9 million, shows an SEC filing. Listed on the form are David Aronoff of Flybridge Capital Partners and Louis Toth of Comcast Ventures.
Intellinote, a year-old, Reston, Va.-based note taking app that incorporates social collaboration, project management, and e-mail integration, has raised $4.3 million in Series A led by Grotech Venturesand Boulder Ventures.
Lumiata, a year-old, San Mateo, Calif.-based healthcare IT startup that applies big data to patient data to optimize health care interactions, has raised $4 million from Khosla Ventures.
Maverix Biomics, a two-year-old, San Mateo, Calif.-based software company focused on analysis of next-generation genomic sequencing data, has raised $6 million in Series A funding from Asset Management Ventures, Andreas Bechtolsheim and Andrew Yang, among others.
MobStac, a Bangalore-based startup that helps publishers build and manage their mobile websites and apps, has raised $2 million in Series B funding from Accel Partners and Cisco. The round brings MobStac’s total venture financing to $3.1 million.
Mswipe, a three-year-old, Mumbai-based maker of mobile, point-of-sale technologies, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding from Matrix Partners and Axis Bank, both of which have provided Mswipe with (an also undisclosed amount of) funding previously.
QingCloud, a two-year-old, Beijing-based company that operates an on-demand real-time cloud computing platform, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Lightspeed China Partners with participation from Matrix Partners China. BlueRun Ventures, QingCloud’s Series A investor, also participated in the round.
Renrendai, a 3.5-year-old, Beijing-based Internet banking service platform where borrowers can get credit ratings on all loans, has raised $130 million in Series A funding from Trustbridge Partners andHonghe Venture Capital.
Yotpo, a three-year-old, Israel-based company that enables e-commerce sites to add a social layer for product reviews, has raised $10.7 million led by Blumberg Capital. Participating in the round were prior investors Rhodium, Gandyr Group, Oliver Jung, 2B Angels,Magna Capital Partners, Plus Ventures, Zohar Gilon and other investors. The company has raised $13 million to date.
Silicon Valley venture capitalist Asha Jadeja, who founded the small venture firm Dot Edu Ventures in 2000, has reportedly “set aside” a fund of “around $8 million” that she intends to invest specifically in India across a period of six years, says the Business Standard.
Jadeja, who was born in Ahmedabad, has already invested about $100,000 in regional companies, including GridAnts in Ahmedabad, which makes a location-based application, and Gaatha in Gujurat, an e-commerce site that sells handcrafted goods. Indeed, she tells Business Standard that she’s seeing a “lot of start-ups emerging out of Gujarat and India” that can become a “powerful force in social impact.”
Jadeja had earlier founded and run iScale, a networking company. She was also married to Raveej Motwani, the famed computer science professor at Stanford who was among Google’s earliest advisors. Motwani passed away in 2009.
Prashant Shah, who spent nearly a decade at the San Francisco-based venture firm Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, is now managing TiE LaunchPad, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based accelerator for enterprise-focused startups. Shah has raised $4.8 million to invest seed funding in those companies, too, shows an SEC filing. For more details, click here.
Square’s CFO, Sarah Friar, has joined the board of New Relic, an application performance management company that’s eyeing an IPO. Before joining Square in 2012, Friar worked as a managing director at Goldman Sachs and as a senior VP of finance and strategy at Salesforce.com.
David Nosal, a former Korn/Ferry executive who infiltrated his former employer’s computer system after leaving to form his own firm, has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison.
Elliott Sigal has joined NEA as a venture partner and senior advisor. Sigal is a former EVP and director for Bristol-Myers Squibb. He served as the company’s chief scientific officer and president of R&D from 2004 to 2013.
Paul Sloan, most recently editor in chief at CNET, has joinedCoupons.com as head of communications, reports the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Coupons.com — which has raised approximately $230 million over its 16-year history — is valued at more than $1 billion and is widely expected to go public this year.
Flexion Therapeutics, a seven-year-old, Burlington, Ma.-based company that’s developing injectable pain therapies for osteoarthritis, plans to raise up to $86 million in an IPO, shows an SEC filing. Pricing terms weren’t disclosed. The company has raised at least $62 million over the years. Versant Venture Capital owns 29.7 percent of the company; Sofinnova Capital owns 19.3 percent; Pfizer owns 17.3 percent; 5AM Ventures owns 15.5 percent; and Novo A/S owns 11.2 percent.
Facebook is looking to hire a manager of corporate development in Menlo Park, Calif. The job requires four to six years of experience, with two to three years of experience in venture capital, banking, consulting, or corporate development at a top consumer Internet company.
Pitchbook has some new data on the funnel effect we’re seeing in startup financings. According to its findings, the Bay Area saw a 10.6 percent drop in deal flow last year, with 1,225 rounds completed compared with 1,370 financings closed in 2012. Meanwhile, investors pumped more money into that smaller pool of Bay Area companies, committing $13.4 billion last year up from $12.5 billion in 2012. More on the trend here.
Israel is apparently booming. According to a report about the high tech sector released this week by IVC Research, the combined value of Israeli high-tech start-ups that were sold in 2013 reached $6.64 billion last year, a 10-year high. Here’s more on the report.
The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group said yesterday it won’t allow the sale of Bitcoins on its platform, “in the interest of consumer protection,” a spokeswoman told the New York Times.
Reddit’s Ask Me Anything format: How a weird Internet thing became a mainstream delight.
Of the saying that children grow up too fast, Jerry Seinfeld tells fellow dad Louis C.K, “I feel like I can only take one year of each year. [It’s like] ‘No more of you as a nine-year-old. I’ve had it.'”
Improv Everywhere’s “No-Pants Subway Ride” is planning its 12th installment in New York this Sunday. Plan accordingly.
Floor plan porn: The Swigs of 740 Park Avenue.
This Chronos safe is constructed of “true military-grade ballistic armor plate.” Because you want to know that while you’re tweeting from CES, some lousy crumb isn’t getting into your cherished collection of Swiss timepieces.
You love your new(ish) iPad Air. Treat it right by carrying it inside thissupple leather case constructed from two solid pieces of vegetable-tanned English bridle. (Disclaimer: This simple piece that’s truly “ready for years of wear,” has no padding. Dropping it to the ground from a standing position may cause horrified gasps, followed by sickness and nausea.)
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