Hi, everyone, no column today — busy Thursday — but we hope you have a terrific weekend! See you back here Monday. (Web visitors, for an easier-to-read version of today’s email, click here.)
Top News in the A.M.
Apple introduced the newest version of its flagship tablet yesterday, and with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor and a dramatically thinner form factor, it looks like a winner, reports the Verge.
Yesterday, CBS announced its own, immediately available Hulu-like streaming video service, just one day after Time Warner’s HBO announced it would start selling a version of HBO via the Internet next year. Showtime, a CBS property, isn’t part of the package yet, but it’s coming, says the company.
Google reported its third-quarter earnings yesterday, revealing a 20 percent jump in revenue to $16.5 billion. Still, analysts worry that its search advertising business is starting to slow and that it has yet to nail its mobile ad strategy.
Users of the anonymous social media app Whisper might not be so anonymous after all. According to explosive allegations against the company in the Guardian yesterday, Whisper can and sometimes does track the location of users via GPS or their smartphone IP addresses, even when they’ve opted out of the service’s geolocation feature. Says the report: “When Guardian reporters visited Whisper last month, [Whisper’s editor in chief, Neetzan] Zimmerman and another executive said that when they wanted to establish the location of individual users who are among the 20 percent who have opted out of geolocation services, they simply asked their technical staff to obtain the ‘latitude and longitude’ of the phones they had used.” The Guardian also reports that Whisper’s “threshold” for turning over users’ identities to law enforcement officials is lower than at other tech companies. Zimmerman has called the report “a pack of vicious lies.” But the Guardian has published a second piece this morning reiterating that the “evidence is clear.”
Arago, a 19-year-old, Frankfurt, Germany-based company that develops artificial intelligence software to replace information-technology workers, has raised $55 million from KKR in exchange for a minority stake in its business. The WSJ has more here.
Idibon, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose software helps enterprises analyze natural language in emails and less structured data, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding, including from Altpoint Ventures, Morningside Ventures, Samsung Corp., Inventec Corp., and earlier investor Khosla Ventures. The company has raised $6.9 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
Limelight Health, a months-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company that provides a mobile-based quote service for health insurance agents, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from the accelerator program Launchpad Digital Health.
Mailcloud, a year-old, London-based service that promises to organize users’ existing email accounts into easily digestible folders and timelines, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding led by Octopus Investments, with Bessemer Venture Partners, Kima Ventures, Seedcamp, and a long list of angel backers participating. The company has now raised $2.8 million altogether.
MedAvail Technologies, an eight-year-old, Toronto-based startup that makes automated, drug-dispensing kiosks that can release medication with a pharmacist’s approval, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by Pura Vida Investments, Deerfield Management Company andAdage Capital Management, with participation from earlier backers Redmile Group, Walgreens, and Alliance Boots. The company has now raised at least $37.1 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
OneEnergy Renewables, a five-year-old, Seattle-based maker of distributed, utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects, has raised $5 million in Series B funding led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund, with participation from earlier investors, including members of the Seattle-based cleantech angel group, Element 8.
Paintzen, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based on-demand painting services platform for homeowners and businesses, has raised $1.81 million in seed funding from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Nextview Ventures, Quotidian Ventures, Angelpad and Barbara Corcoran. The company passed through the AngelPad accelerator program last spring.
Technisys, an 18-year-old, Miami-based startup that powers Latin American banks delivering services to people via mobile, ATMs, and online, has raised $13 million in Series B funding from Intel Capital, Alta Venture, KaSZeK Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst and existing investor Holdinvest, which had previously invested $1 million in the company. Venture Capital Dispatch has the story here.
Waterline Data Science, a 10-month-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that automates some of the work of finding data in Hadoop, has raised $7 million in funding from Menlo Ventures, which incubated the company, and Sigma West. Other investors include James Markarian, currently an entrepreneur in residence at Khosla Ventures; Anthony McCusker, a partner at Goodwin Proctor; and Deep Nishar, senior vice president of products and user experience at LinkedIn. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.
Canaan Partners, the 27-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based venture firm, made it official yesterday, announcing that it has closed on $675 million for its 10th fund, beating its $600 million target — the same amount it raised for its ninth fund in 2012 — by a wide margin.
Shenzhen Co-Win Venture Capital Investments, a 14-year-old, Shenzhen, China-based firm, has held a $75 million first close for its first U.S. dollar fund, according to China Money Network. The fund, whose LPs include Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., is targeting a final close in the neighborhood of $150 million. The company manages nine other funds, mostly denominated in RMB.
Atara Biotherapeutics, a two-year-old, Brisbane, Ca.-based company that’s developing therapies for muscle wasting conditions, kidney disease and cancer, made its debut on the Nasdaq yesterday and it wasn’t great but it wasn’t a disaster, either. After pricing the stock at $11 per share — below the $14 to $16 range that the company had initially estimated — Atara, which made $55 million from the IPO, saw its shares close at $10.65.
Zayo Group Holdings, a seven-year-old, Denver-based dark fiber company, priced its IPO last night at $19 a share, below its expected $21 to $24 price range. It begins trading today. The WSJ has much more here about its prospects.
You’ve already read that Box and Good Technology are likely delaying their public market debuts until next year because of current market conditions. Now others, including the online-dating site Zoosk and the Internet domain marketplace GoDaddy, are also contemplating pushing their deals into 2015, reports Bloomberg.
Yahoo’s new head of sales, Kevin Gentzel, is seen as an important hire for the company, and everyone is already gossiping about whether or not he’ll fit in.
Bill Wafford has left Walgreen Co., where he led the company’s in-house venture capital and growth equity investment business, says Fortune. Wafford had joined the organization in 2009. Earlier in his career, he was a consultant at Archstone Consulting.
Apple has built a SIM card that let’s users switch between AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
Tagged, a social-networking site that has struggled to attract users and boost revenue since its founding a decade ago, is changing its name and trying a new approach, reports the WSJ. The company, now called if(we), plans to develop a variety of new mobile and social apps.
Can enough exercise make up for junk food?
Threats to Americans, ranked by actual threat instead of media hype.
Mountaintop cube lodge.
An artist puts a Sharpie to good use.
The Ninja Suit. It “won’t make you better at karate. It won’t make you invisible at night. It doesn’t even come with any specially designed pockets for ninja vanish pyrotechnics.” But it will keep you warm and toasty. (Also, it comes in four colors.)