Good Wednesday morning, everyone! (Psst, web visitors, this version of our a.m. newsletter is easier on the eyes.)
Top News in the A.M.
Uber drivers are staging protests today in front of Uber offices across the U.S. and in London over fares driven so low the drivers say they’re actually losing money now.
The good news: Yahoo reported strong third-quarter results yesterday, with revenue up 1 percent over the third quarter of 2013, thanks in part to mobile revenue that’s up 17 percent from a year ago. The bad news if you’re an antsy Yahoo shareholder: CEO Marissa Mayer said the company is still deciding how to use its $43 billion in holdings in the Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. More on the numbers here from the New York Times. And, here, a rare-earnings day interview that Mayer gave the WSJ.
Spikes Security Raises $11 Million to Stuff Your Browser Elsewhere
Branden Spikes didn’t set out to become an entrepreneur. Straight out of high school, he jumped instead into work as a security consultant, eventually working at Elon Musk’s first company, Zip2, then at PayPal, then SpaceX, where, as the Musk’s fourth employee and CIO, Spikes was tasked with keeping the computers of “extremely brilliant Ph.D.’s with access to sensitive IP” from being hacked.
Spikes also needed to ensure his boss had unfettered access to the Web while operating in a safe environment. (“You can imagine Elon Musk trying to get online and having problems. I’d have found myself fired if I messed that one up,” says Spikes with a laugh.)
Spikes’s big idea — one he decided to spin into a standalone business in 2012 — is a technology that runs browser software on a separate server, catching nasty bits of malicious code that could otherwise make their way onto users’ laptops. The technology then streams a video of the browser to users’ computers so seamlessly that they don’t know the software is running elsewhere.
The concept, called browser isolation, isn’t entirely new, and Spikes’s company, Spikes Security, isn’t the only one to offer it. In addition to going up against Authentic8, a Mountain View, Ca.-based startup backed by Foundry Group, two of Spikes’s biggest competitors are Citrix and Microsoft.
The other companies’ execution leaves much to be desired, though, say Spikes, who calls browser isolation “pretty technically challenging and, if not done properly, really problematic and burdensome for the IT people deploying it and the actual people browsing the web.”
A growing number of customers appears to agree with Spikes. Spikes Security already has more than two dozen large enterprises as clients, some of which are running the software through Spike Security’s data center, some of which are opting to run the software in their own data centers for privacy reasons. All are “helping us stretch the product and develop the technology at the right pace,” says Spikes.
Investors like the vision of the 27-person, Los Gatos, Ca.-based company, too. In fact, the startup — which had originally raised $2 million from Javelin Venture Partners, Spikes himself, and other angel investors – is today announcing $11 million in new funding from Javelin, Benhamou Global Ventures, and Lakewood & Company.
Spikes says the money will go a long way toward helping the company meet growing demand — which is but one of numerous challenges he’s learning to tackle as a first-time entrepreneur.
In fact, Spikes says he now understands his former boss much better. “For many years, I was puzzled by Elon’s actions and decisions and disagreements, about why $5,000 for this or that purchase wasn’t wise, or why hiring this guy would have been a mistake or why firing this person was a good idea. Now, I find I understand them a lot more.”
B2X Care Solutions, a seven-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based company that creates software for handset makers and carriers so their customers can identify, report and fix problems with their devices, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by previous investor Earlybird Venture Capital. (Earlybird and Grazia Equity had provided the company with an undisclosed amount of funding in 2012.) In related news, the company acquired India-based The Service Solutions (TSS), a company that provides managed customer care services. TechCrunch has more here.
Benu Networks, a four-year-old, Billerica, Ma.-based company whose real-time subscriber management platform is used by fixed and mobile operators, has raised $27.7 million in Series C funding. Liberty Global Ventures and Arris Group participated in the round alongside earlier investors Spark Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Comcast Ventures. The company has now raised $59.3 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.
CareSync, a three-year-old, Wesley Chapel, Fl.-based care coordination company whose app enables users, their families, and their care teams access, filter, and share health information, has raised $4.25 million in Series A funding led by Tullis Health Investors, Clearwell Group, CDH Solutions, and CareSync founder and CEO, Travis Bond.
Crowdcare, a 2.5-year-old, Toronto, Ontario-based company that helps companies deliver automated tech support via mobile apps to subscribers, has raised $3.5 million in funding led by Extreme Venture Partners, with participation from earlier investors, including Mantella Venture Partners. Crunchbase shows the company had raised an undisclosed amount of funding in 2012.
DOZ, a year-old, San Francisco-based marketing-as-a-service startup, has raised $1.5 million from Nexus Ventures, the French public bank Bpifrance, 500 Startups, Kima Ventures, Structure Capital and individuals.
KnowRe, a four-year-old, New York-based company developing adaptive digital learning platforms around mathematics, has raised $6.8 million led by earlier investor SoftBank Ventures Korea, with participation from KTB Network Co. Partners Investment, SparkLabs Global Ventures, and other unnamed new investors.
Lytics, a two-year-old, Portland, Or.-based digital marketing startup that sells software-as-a-service to marketers, has raised $7 million in new funding led by Comcast Ventures, with participation from earlier investors Rembrandt Venture Partners and Voyager Capital. Lytics had previously raised $2.2 million in seed funding. Venture Capital Dispatch has much more on the company here.
MedRobotics, a three-year-old, Raynham, Ma.-based surgical products company that makes a robot-assisted flexible endoscopic platform, has raised $20 million from earlier, unnamed shareholders.
Moogsoft, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose software detects and repairs outages that its customers’ IT monitoring systems can’t see, has added $3 million to its Series B round, capital that comes from Cisco Investments and an undisclosed public company. The company had initially closed its Series B round in late July, with $11.3 million in funding led by Wing Venture Capital, which was joined by earlier backers, including Redpoint Ventures. The newest capital infusion brings Moogsoft’s total funding to more than $23 million, it says.
Navera, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based company that sells a cloud-based service for engaging and educating consumers about health-care choices, has raised $8 million in Series B funding led by Mohr Davidow Ventures with earlier investor Emergence Capital Partners participating. The company has raised $13.5 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
Orchard Platform, a year-old, New York-based startup that links institutional investors with dozens of peer-to-peer platforms, including Lending Club and Prosper, has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital and Canaan Partners, along with roughly half a dozen prominent individuals from the financial services industry. They include former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack; former Visa president Hans Morris; Capital One cofounder Nigel Morris; and PayPal cofounder Max Levchin.
SnapLogic, a five-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company whose software integrates cloud applications with applications that run inside enterprises, has raised $20 million in Series D funding led by Ignition Partners. Pharus Capital Management and H. Barton Asset Management also joined the round, alongside earlier investors Andreessen Horowitz and Triangle Peak Partners. The company has now raised $60 million altogether, it says.
Tipalti, a four-year-old, Agoura Hills, Ca.-based cloud-based service that automates mass payouts, has raised $13 million in Series B funding led by Wicklow Capital.
Tokopedia, a five-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based e-commerce marketplace that allows individual vendors to set up shop, has raised $100 million in funding led by SoftBank Internet and Media, with participation from Sequoia Capital and earlier investor SB Pan Asia Fund. The company has raised four previous rounds of undisclosed sizes, including from East Ventures, Softbank Ventures Korea, and CyberAgent Ventures, shows Crunchbase. TechCrunch has more here.
Unum Therapeutics, a newly formed, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that hopes to develop cellular immunotherapies to treat cancer, has raised $12 million in funding led by Fidelity Biosciences and Atlas Venture, with participation from Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures. The Boston Globe has more here.
Viamet Pharmaceuticals, a nine-year-old, Durham, N.C.-based company that develops antifungal agents, has raised $60 million in Series D funding from Brandon Point Industries and Woodford Investment Management. In July, Viamet filed for an IPO to raise up to $75 million. It withdrew its registration to go public earlier this week. Its earlier investors include Novartis Venture Fund, Lilly Ventures, Hatteras Venture Partners, Intersouth Partners, Lurie Holdings and Astellas Venture Management.
Carmel Ventures, a 14-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based early-stage venture firm, has closed its fourth fund with $194 million, capital it will use to invest in enterprise software, data center infrastructure, big data, cyber security, fintech, digital media and consumer applications companies. Carmel says it began investing out of the new fund in January and has already assembled five portfolio companies, including the content site PlayBuzz and the social games company LuckyFish. The firm’s LPs include returning and new investors, including the search giant Baidu; Ping-An, a China-based insurance company; and Qihoo360, known for its antivirus software. The firm’s six partners are Shlomo Dovrat, Avi Zeevi, Ori Bendori, Ronen Nir, Daniel Cohen and Itzik Avidor.
Tallwave Capital, a year-old, Scottsdale, Az.-based outfit has raised a $13.2 million seed fund, money it will invest in increments of between $125,000 and $400,000 in early-stage consumer and enterprise businesses. In a news release, the firm said it focuses on software-as-a-service, mobile applications, digital media, ad technology and e-commerce.
Firebase, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based backend service that helps developers build real-time apps for iOS, Android and the web (as well as sync and store their data), has been acquired by Google for undisclosed terms. Firebase had raised roughly $7 million across two founds, from investors that include Union Square Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Data Collective, Expansion Venture Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and Greylock Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
Macheen, a four-year-old, Austin, Tx.-based mobile cloud application service provider, has been acquired by the mobile-device security provider Good Technology. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Macheen had raised $34.4 million altogether, including from GemVentures, Mercury Fund, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Mike Maples, Sr.
Seegrid, an 11-year-old, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based company that makes camera-guided vehicles, has filed for Chapter 11 protection. The company had raised at least four debt rounds, show SEC filings. More here.
As part of his settlement last year with the state Coastal Commission over his wedding at Big Sur, entrepreneur-investor Sean Parker is working on mobile app that will help users find access to California’s sometimes hard-to-locate public beaches, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Parker is using the commission’s data to build the app, which will belong to the commission. Sarah Christie, a spokesperson for the commission, calls the relationship an “example of lemons turning to lemonade.”
Facebook is looking to hire a manager of mobile partnerships. The job is in Menlo Park, Ca.
Google quietly bought a startup in May for $120 million, turning a third of the company’s 70 employees into millionaires. Business Insider takes a look at the biggest New York exit that no one knows about.
San Francisco has two more Michelin-ranked three-star restaurants than it did last week. Check out a full list of the city’s starred venues here.
Ben Bradlee, the legendary Washington Post editor, passed away yesterday at age 93. The Post has published his life in pictures.
SkyMaul 2: Where America Buys His Stuff.