Hi, everyone, we don’t have a column today (kid stuff). Hope you have a great morning! Web visitors, here’s an easier-to-read version of what you see below.
Top News in the A.M.
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy. “Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t ‘monetize’ the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you,” Google, cough.
Scotland heads to the polls. (Related: Nine questions about Scottish culture answered.)
Augmate, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based wearable platform that accelerates the development of digital eyewear applications, has raised $2.8 million in seed funding from Tim Draper and others.
Beyond Verbal, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company whose technology can extract, decode, and measure a full spectrum of human emotions in a person’s voice over any voice-enabled device, has raised $3.3 million in Series A funding, reports Venture Capital Dispatch. The company, whose earlier investors include Genesis Angels and angel investor Kenges Rakishev, has raised $7.1 million to date.
Chobolabs, a two-year-old, mobile gaming startup that brings competitive synchronous multiplayer gaming to smartphones and tablets, has raised $1.3 million in funding led by Innovation Endeavors, with XG Ventures and numbers angel investors participating. Chobolabs is part of Stanford’s StartX community. (Meanwhile, here is a list of 11other startups that are just emerging from the StartX accelerator program.)
ClassPass, 1.5-year-old, New York-based membership program for fitness classes across multiple gyms and studios, has raised $12 million in Series A funding, led by angel investors Fritz Lanman (who led ClassPass’s seed round) and Hank Vigil. Other investors in the round include SV Angel, Gordy Crawford, Owen van Natta, and Blake Krikorian. The company has now raised $14 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.
Colorescience, a 14-year-old, Carlsbad, Ca.-based makeup company that sells through medical and resort spa channels, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Longwood Fund, with existing investors contributing half the capital. The company had previously raised $10 million in Series A funding from Montreux Equity Partners and Split Rock Partners.
CrowdFlower, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based platform to help data scientists collect, clean and label data to make it useful, has raised $12.5 million in Series C financing led by Canvas Venture Fund, with participation from earlier investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures. The company has raised $25.7 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
CyActive, a 1.5-year-old, Be’er Sheva, Israel-based cybersecurity company takes existing malware strains and mutates them into every possible format to predict and head off future attacks, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Siemens Venture Capital. Venture Wire Dispatch has more on the company here.
EatWith, a two-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company whose community marketplace offers dining experiences in people’s homes around the world, has raised $8 million in funding from Greylock Partners. Part of the funding will be used to relocate the 18-person company to San Francisco, says the company, which currently has 500 “hosts” on the platform who’ve cooked for guests in more than 160 cities worldwide.
HowGood, an eight-year-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based app that rates grocery products according to both their nutritional content and how sustainably they were created, has raised $2 million in funding from FirstMark Capital, Highline Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Serious Change LP, Jake Lodwick and Joanne Wilson.
Jack Erwin, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based men’s footwear company, has raised $9 million in Series B funding led by the footwear companyBrown Shoe Co., with participation from earlier investors CrossLink Capital, Shasta Ventures and FundersGuild. StrictlyVC talked with the company in February, when it raised $2 million in Series A funding. The company had raised $750,000 in seed funding in 2013.
JW Player, a seven-year-old, New York-based online and mobile video platform and player technology company, has received $20 million in Series C funding led by Greycroft Growth and Greenspring Associates, with participation from Cue Ball Capital and e.ventures.
LightSpeed Retail, a nine-year-old, Quebec-based company that makes point-of-sale software for retailers, has raised $35 million in funding led by iNovia Capital, with participation from earlier Accel Partners. The company has now raised a total of $65 million.
PeerSpace, a year-old, San Francisco-based startup whose online platform facilitates the rental of short-term space (from offices to theaters to exercise studios), has raised a seed round of $1.5 million led by Structure Capital. Individual investors, including Ran Makavy, Michael Horowitz, and Ron Pizzuti, also participated.
Ping Identity, a 12-year-old, Denver-based company that sells cloud-based identity management software to companies and government organizations, has raised $35 million in new funding led by KKR, with participation from Ten Eleven and numerous earlier investors. The company has now raised $110 million to date, including from SAP Ventures, DFJ Growth, W Capital Partners, Avista Partners, Triangle Peak Partners, General Catalyst Partners, and Appian Ventures.
Porch, a two-year-old, Seattle-based startup that helps homeowners make decisions regarding home improvements, has raised $27.6 million in Series A funding from Lowe’s, the home improvement giant told Dow Jones yesterday. Porch had previously raised $6.25 million in seed funding from SV Angel and a long list of individual investors.
SocialChorus, a 6.5-year-old, San Francisco-based brand marketing company that puts employees and “brand ambassadors” to work to share a company’s content, has raised $7.5 million in Series B funding led by earlier investor Kohlberg Ventures. The company has raised $15.5 million to date, including from Windforce Ventures.
Splice, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based music production storage and collaboration startup, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding led by True Ventures, with participation from Union Square Ventures. The company was founded by Steve Martocci, who previously cofounded the messaging app GroupMe. (As a reminder, GroupMe was acquired by Skype in 2011 for a reported $68 million, including earn-outs.)
Swrve, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose app marketing platform helps mobile product teams optimize their applications and games, has raised $10 million in Series B Capital from Acero Capital, with participation from earlier investors, including Intel Capital and Atlantic Bridge. The company has now raised $22 million from investors.
TouchPal, a six-year-old Shanghai-based company whose keyboard app is among several third-party keyboards coming to the iOS for the first time, has raised “significantly” more than $20 million in new funding, reports TechCrunch. Sequoia Capital led the deal, with earlier investor Qiming Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures participating. The company had previously raised $5 million in funding.
Lowe’s, the 68-year-old, North Wilkesboro, N.C.-based home improvement company, is in the early stages of forming a venture arm,says VentureWire. The company has already made four bets, including on smart energy and home monitoring startup AlertMe; membership-based workshop TechShop; the solar services company Sungevity; and Porch. (See more about the last above, in New Fundings.) “We are starting to build the capacity for a fund,” a company executive tells the outlet. “We don’t have a dollar amount attached to it.”
Nova Founders Capital, a two-year-old, Hong Kong-based firm that builds and invests in companies, has raised $50 million from Pacific Century Group, one of Asia’s leading investment groups. The firm, run by Mads Faurholt-Jorgensen and Raphael Strauch, two former partners of Rocket Internet, has disclosed a handful of investments to date, including GlassesGroupGlobal, a two-year-old Asia-Pacific online eyewear retailer that has so far raised $3 million, and Lion & Lion, a year-old, Jakarta-based digital advertising company that has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding.
Top Tier Capital Partners, the San Francisco-based fund-of-funds manager, has raised $202 million for its seventh fund, which is targeting $404 million, according to an SEC filing. The company held a $441 million final close on its sixth fund just earlier this year, in January.
About $8 billion worth of Alibaba shares are not locked up and could be sold as soon as the e-commerce company goes public later this week,reports the WSJ.
FeedHenry, a four-year-old, Waterford, Ireland-based provider of a platform for mobile app developers, specifically for enterprises to build apps, has been acquired by Red Hat, the open source company, for $82 million in cash. TechCrunch has more here. FeedHenry had raised $9 million in funding from Kernel Capital Partners, Intel Capital, VMware,Enterprise Ireland, and ACT Venture Capital.
Metacloud, a three-year-old, Pasadena, Ca.-based company that powers enterprise-grade cloud platforms for its corporate customers, has been acquired by Cisco. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Metacloud has raised at least $25 million in funding over the past few years, including from Pelion Venture Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, UMC Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Canaan Partners, and Storm Ventures.
GitHub, the six-year-old, San Francisco-based web-based repository hosting service company, is shutting down the Easel website-designing service it acquired back in January. VentureBeat has more here.
Stonestreet One, a five-year-old, Louisville, Ky.-based developer and licensor of Bluetooth software, was acquired yesterday by Qualcomm Atheros, the networking and connectivity subsidiary of Qualcomm. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but a Stonestreet investor tells StrictlyVC it was a “great strategic exit.” The company has raised $3.4 million from local angels and seed funds.
Ubersense, a three-year-old, Boston-based company specializing in interactive video analysis and instruction, has been acquired by the privately held sports video software company Hudl. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Ubersense had raised a small amount of seed funding from BDS Venture Fund, Google Ventures, Atlas Venture, and Boston Seed Capital. Recode has more here.
Apple CEO Tim Cook talks with BusinessWeek in what’s a must-read profile. Reports BW: “Cook says he wishes he could make [Apple Watch, which starts at $349] more affordable, particularly since the company boasts of its potential to help customers manage their health and wellness (‘that’s the humanitarian coming out’), but he won’t compromise Apple’s large profit margins to make it happen.”
Uber has David Plouffe. Now former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt’s lobbying group is working with Lyft to “advocate for the removal of barriers that inhibit ride sharing,” according to Recode.
Hightail, the cloud storage and file-sharing company that last week parted ways with CEO Brad Garlinghouse and brought back cofounder Ranjith Kumaran to run the show, is cutting roughly 100 people, which is roughly half its employees, reports Recode.
Microsoft is also reportedly laying off a lot of people today.
Sequoia Capital’s Michael Moritz talks with the WSJ, telling the paper that Sequoia owns shares in Alibaba (news to us) and that he thinks U.S. companies have a disadvantage right now to their China-based counterparts. “Over the next decade, to some extent, I think the advantage lies with the Chinese companies. The Chinese companies will have an easier time competing in the West then the Western companies will have competing in China.”
Google cofounder Larry Page has a lot of things on his to-do list, including creating a second major research lab alongside Google X and, well, also building a model airport and city. The Information has more here.
Bill Pescatello has been promoted from principal to partner at Lightbank, the Chicago-based investment fund started by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. Pescatello had joined the firm in 2011 from NBCUniversal in New York, where he was a VP and founding member of Peacock Equity Fund, NBCUniversal’s venture capital arm.
Uh oh. Roughly one week into his new post as chief strategy officer at Hampton Creek, serial entrepreneur Ali Partovi has abruptly left the company, which has raised $30 million from Founders Fund and Khosla Ventures and others (including Partovi and his brother, Hadi) to develop egg-free food alternatives. The WSJ has the story here, including an email that Partovi sent friends, confirming his departure. “This will surely come as a surprise to you, and I’m sorry for waiting so many days to share the news,” he wrote. “We parted ways with mutual respect. The people at Hampton Creek are incredible, and we’ll continue to wish each other well.”
Investor Peter Thiel doesn’t think Alibaba is such a great long-term investment. He tells CNN: “Alibaba is sort of this protected Chinese company – it will do well, but it is fundamentally a political entity that is somehow very deeply connected with the Chinese government . . .You’ll get a pop and you’ll do well if it continues to stay in the good graces of the Chinese government, but it’s fundamentally a political investment.”
George Zachary of CRV had talked with investor Semil Shah about Silicon Valley bubbles on the eve of Facebook’s May 2012 IPO, and it’s an interesting discussion — particularly in light of the current bubble chatter. Shah just reposted it here if you’re interested in browsing the transcript.
The most powerful people in tech at every age, including an eight-year-old who is clearing more than a million dollars a year by reviewing games and toys on YouTube(!).
Credit Suisse is looking for an equity capital markets analyst in New York.
Prosper, the peer-to-peer lending marketplace, is looking for a senior business development manager. The job is in San Francisco.
Apple has partnered with everyone who’s anyone in the payments world for its new Apple Pay service, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Then there’s Stripe, the five-year-old, San Francisco-based payments company.
Even San Francisco International Airport has startup fever. It just opened a “place for travelers to innovate and collaborate while waiting for their flights,” reports Government Technology. Adding the space just made sense, according to the airport’s public relations officer, who was presumably not joking.
The scourge of “relatability.”
The 20 colleges with the most billionaire alumni.
The best first-class airline seats in the world.
Do you need a $199 e-reader? Because Amazon thinks you do.