Hi, everyone, happy Wednesday! No column today. (We were buried under an avalanche of funding and other news.)
Web visitors, you might want to read this version of this morning’s email; it’s easier on the eyes.
Top news in the A.M.
Numerous minivans mounted with camera equipment have been spied in California, leading Apple watchers — who’ve traced the registration of one van to Apple — to wonder if Apple is working on its own Street View-like mapping system.
The FAA is beginning to regulate business on the moon. No joke. (“What do you think of that new restaurant on the moon? The food’s great, but it has no atmosphere!”)
Brickell Biotech, a 6.5-year-old, Miami, Fla.-based pharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing, and commercializing therapies for skin diseases, has raised $10 million in Series C funding led by its chairman, Charlie Stiefel, former chair and CEO of Stiefel Laboratories. Other, unnamed investors and members of the management team participated. The company has raised at least $25.4 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
BucketFeet, a four-year-old, Chicago-based startup that sells canvas shoes featuring designs by artists from all over the world, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding from Jumpstart Ventures and Crate & Barrel founder Gordon Segal, among others. The company has collected $13.4 million altogether, including from Trunk Club CEO Brian Spaly and Bonobos cofounder Andy Dunn.
Casetext, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based social network and site for annotating legal documents, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Union Square Ventures. Other participants include Formation 8 and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer, along with earlier backers SV Angel, A-Grade Investments and BoxGroup. The company has now raised $8.8 million all told.
Derby Games, a four-year-old, New York-based legal online gambling company, has raised $6.5 million in financing led by Bullpen Capital, with participation from angel investors Martin Lautman, partner at Muskateer Capital, and Bill Pescatello, a partner at LightBank. Earlier backers also participated, including Andlinger & Company and Alexis Ohanian. The company had raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding in March 2013.
DesignCrowd, an eight-year-old, Syndey, Australia-based marketplace that connects freelance designers with clients and potential projects, has raised $6 million in Series B funding led by the new Australia VC firm AirTree Ventures, with participation from earlier backer Starfish Ventures. The company has now raised $12.3 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.
Fixed, 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile app that scans users’ parking tickets for mistakes, then contests the tickets on their behalf (this is also not a joke — the company say it wins these cases between 20 and 30 percent of the time), has raised $650,000 in seed funding from investors, including Slow Ventures, Structure VC, Paul Buchheit and Queensbridge Venture Partners. Altogether, the company has raised $1.8 million to date.
Graylog, a five-year-old, Hamburg, Germany-based company whose platform helps users collect, index and analyze structured and unstructured data from IT infrastructures and applications, has raised $2.5 million in funding led by Mercury Fund, with participation from Crosslink Capital, Draper Associates, and High-Tech Gründerfonds. With its new funding, the company is planning to relocate to Houston.
HourlyNerd, a two-year-old, New York-based online marketplace for M.B.A. students looking for freelance consulting work, has raised $7.8 million in Series B funding led by return investor Highland Capital Partners, with participation from Greylock Partners, GE Ventures,Haystack, the Kraft family, and Intuit founder Scott Cook. The company has raised $12.6 million to date.
kCura, a 14-year-old, Chicago-based maker of e-discovery software, has raised $125 million in minority equity funding from ICONIQ Capital, the part wealth-management firm, part venture firm founded by Divesh Makan, who Forbes described last year as the consigliere to Silicon Valley’s brightest billionaires.
LabMinds, a 5.5-year-old, Boston, Ma. and Oxford, England-based maker of next-generation lab equipment, has raised $3.2 million in funding from the equity crowdfunding platform VentureFounders and Angel CoFund.
Liftoff, a 2.5-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based mobile market app and retargeting platform that helps companies retain users who actually spend money, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Baseline Ventures, with participation from Harrison Metal, Sage Venture Partners, Core Ventures Group, Tim Koogle (who was Yahoo’s CEO long ago) and Ilya Sukhar, who sold his mobile infrastructure company Parse to Facebook in 2013.
Lysosomal Therapeutics, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company working on new treatment options for patients with severe neurological diseases, has raised $20 million in Series A funding from Atlas Venture, Hatteras Venture Partners, Lilly Ventures, Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures, Roche Venture Fund, Partners Innovation Fund and several angel investors.
MightySignal, a seven-month-old, San Francisco-based company whose sales intelligence tool tells B2B SaaS sales teams who they should be selling to, has raised $1.2 million from investors, including Draper Associates, Vulcan Capital, Queensbridge Venture Partners, WTI, and numerous angels, including Techstars Seattle managing director Andy Sack. (The company passed through the TechStars Seattle program late last year.)
MiTú, a nearly three-year-old, Culver City, Ca.-based media company exclusively dedicated to Latino content, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Upfront Ventures, with participation from AMC Networks, Daher Capital, Northgate Ventures and other unnamed investors. The company has raised $23 million to date.
Molio, a months-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based video marketing and ad technology company that was spun out of Orabrush, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Greycroft Partners, with particpation from True Ventures, Subtraction Capital, Advancit Capital and Peak Ventures.
NeuCoin, a year-old, Isle of Man-based digital currency designed for micropayments (it describes itself as a user-friendly version of bitcoin), has raised $2.25 million of funding from a long list of angel investors, including Rob Goldman, the head of growth at Facebook, and Emil Michael, Uber’s SVP of business.
nToggle, a seven-month-old, Boston-based maker of programmatic advertising software, has raised $5.6 million in Series A funding co-led by Sigma Prime Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners.
Qumulo, a three-year-old, Seattle-based stealth data storage startup whose appliance is made from commodity hardware, has raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Earlier backers Highland Capital, Madrona Venture Group and Valhalla Partners, also participated in the round.
Revolution Medicines, a new, Redwood City, Ca.-based company that will be developing drugs derived from complex chemical compounds found in nature, has received $45 million in Series A funding from Third Rock Ventures, where it was incubated. San Francisco Business Times has more here.
Sera Prognostics, a seven-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based diagnostics company, has raised $5 million in new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing the total size of its recent Series B funding to $25 million. Altogether, the company has raised roughly $75 million, including from Chione, Upstart Life Ventures, Catalyst Health & Technology Partners, InterWest Partners, and Domain Associates.
SketchDeck, a two-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company that enables businesses to outsource their presentations to professional designers, has raised $500,000 in funding from Y Combinator, HubSpot CTO Dharmesh Shah, Justin.tv cofounder Michael Siebel and other angel investors.
Skimlinks, a nine-year-old, London-based content-monetization service for digital publishers, has raised $16 million in Series C funding led by Frog Capital, with participation from earlier backers Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Greycroft Partners, Sussex Place Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. The company has now raised $24 million in equity, it says.
SoFi, a nearly four-year-old, San Francisco-based peer-to-peer lender that specializes in student loans, has raised $200 million in funding at a $1.3 billion valuation. Third Point Ventures led the round, with participation from Wellington Management Company, Institutional Venture Partners, and existing investors.The company has now raised roughly $766 million across 10 rounds, shows Crunchbase.
Taboola, an eight-year-old, New York-based content recommendation platform, has raised $117 million in Series E funding led by Fidelity Investments. Other participants in the round include earlier backers Marker Financial Advisors and Steadfast Capital and new strategic investors, including Advance Publications; Comcast Ventures; Groupe Arnault, the controlling shareholder of French luxury-goods company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton; and Yahoo Japan. The company has now raised $157 million altogether. Venture Capital Dispatch hasmuch more here.
Tracx, a seven-year-old, New York-based social media management platform, has raised $18 million in Series C funding led by Edison Partners, with participation from earlier backers Flybridge Capital, Mousse Partners, Klingenstein, and Fields & Co. The company has now raised $25.9 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
YellowPepper, an 11-year-old, Miami, Fl.-based mobile virtual wallet startup aimed at the Latin American market, has raised $19 million in Series C funding round led by LIV Capital, a Mexican venture capital firm; Mexico Ventures, a program managed by Sun Mountain Capital; Fondo de Fondos; IFC/ World Bank Group; and other, strategic investors. The company has raised $39 million to date.
Zoom Video Communications, a four-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based software company centered around Web and video conferencing, has raised $30 million in Series C funding rom earlier investors Qualcomm Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. The company has now raised $45.5 million altogether. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.
Cultivation Capital, the St. Louis-based venture capital firm, has begun raising money for its second tech-focused fund, reports the St. Louis Business Journal. According to an SEC filing flagged by the outlet, Cultivation has raised $4.75 million toward a targeted $40 million. Among its investments: LockerDome, a six-year-old, St. Louis-based interest-based social media platform; and Adarza BioSystems, a six-year-old, St.Louis-based company whose immunoassay technology can identify proteins and genetic markers in medical samples like blood.
Walden Venture Capital, the 41-year-old, San Francisco-based early-stage venture capital firm, has closed on its eighth fund with $107 million. The firm began fundraising in August 2013 with a $100 million target. Walden was an early investor in the streaming music service Pandora, which went public in 2011.
Hootsuite Media is holding off on an initial public offering for at least 18 months, Bloomberg reports.
MaxPoint Interactive, a hyperlocal advertising startup, has filed to go public. Madrona Venture Group owns 23.6 percent of the company’s shares; Trinity Ventures owns 32.3 percent.
Three firms created by Third Rock Ventures went public last year, and they now have a combined value of more than $8 billion, their shares outpacing other life sciences stocks “by a great deal,” reports the Boston Globe. Much more here.
Clarity.fm, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that connects entrepreneurs with mentors over the phone, has been acquired by the business crowdfunding platform Fundable for undisclosed terms. Clarity had raised $2.7 million from investors, including Baseline Ventures, Mark Cuban, Venture51, Howard Lindzon, Freestyle Capital, Real Ventures, and 500 Startups. TechCrunch has more here.
Disclipline.eu, a startup based in Italy that produces and sells furniture and other objects designed by independent studios, has been acquired by Hem, the Berlin-based home furnishings company that Jason Goldberg created out of the e-commerce portal Fab.com. TechCrunch has more here.
RoomHunt, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based service that aggregates apartment listings, has been acquired by RentLingo, a three-year-old apartment review and listing site. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Neither company has made public any financial backers. TechCrunch has more here.
Schoolwires, a 15-year-old, State College, Pa.-based company that develops and hosts K-12 school district websites, has been acquired by Blackboard for an undisclosed amount. Schoolwires had raised at least $12 million from Kennet Partners in a 2009 round. Blackboard, once public, is now owned by Providence Equity Partners.
Alan Eustace, Google‘s SVP of Knowledge, is leaving the company 13 years after joining it, reports TechCrunch. Its sources say that Eustace is retiring, though one guesses that his retirement will not look like most.
Thirty-one-year-old Andrew McCollum, the forgotten member of Facebook‘s original team, is ready for the spotlight.
Kaiser Permanente Ventures is looking to hire a senior director. The job is in Oakland, Ca.
As Silicon Valley’s economy chugs along, it’s leaving a stunning 30 percent of the population incapable of meeting their basic needs without public assistance, according to a new report Joint Venture Silicon Valley. The report shows the median income for the region’s high-skilled workers is $118,651, while the median wages for low-skilled workers is $28,847. The income gap between the sexes is also worse in Silicon Valley than elsewhere, with the median income for men a whopping 61 percent higher than women. (H/T: WSJ)
“He’s hit all the low-hanging fruit . . . but now he has to address all the long-term issues.” — Brad Silverberg, a former Microsoft executive-turned-venture capitalist, on why Satya Nadella‘s second year as Microsoft CEO will be far harder than his first.
Testosterone is the drug of the future, evidently.
This man — a hero, some call him — has made 47,000 edits to Wikipedia since 2007, almost all to root out exactly one grammatical mistake.
Larry David’s new Broadway play about the ultimate nothing is pretty, pretty, pretty good, say fans.
If you own a Tesla, this looks like a must-have.