Good Wednesday, dear readers.
We have some news!
We are so very excited to announced our next INSIDER Series event. Guest speakers include:
Zenefits cofounder and CEO Parker Conrad;
Lightspeed Venture Partners partner Jeremy Liew;
Thumbtack cofounder and CEO Marco Zappacosta;
Sequoia Capital partner Bryan Schreier;
Pantera Capital Management founder Dan Morehead;
and seed-stage investor and venture advisor Semil Shah.
The evening event takes place Wednesday, May 13, at the beautiful Gallery Wendi Norris in San Francisco. We’ll also have yummy hors d’oeuvres and drinks for everyone.
(We’re still hoping to get out to Boston in early June, too. Stay tuned for more details.)
Top News in the A.M.
Japan says iie to Uber.
Tech companies are scrambling to fix a security flaw that left users of Apple and Google devices vulnerable to hacking when they visited supposedly secure Web sites.
Alation, a 2.5-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company whose enterprise software remains largely in stealth mode, has raised $9 million in funding led by Costanoa Venture Capital and Data Collective, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Bloomberg Beta, and General Catalyst Partners. VentureBeat has more here.
Bhakti Chai, an eight-year-old, Boulder, Co.-based maker of chai tea, has raised $3 million from Colorado Impact Fund, a fund that’s managed by an affiliate of Vestar Capital Partners.
Blueprint Medicines, a four-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that’s developing targeted cancer therapies (and has raised $115 million from investors toward that end), has formed a $265 million collaboration with publicly traded Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Boston Business Journal has more here.
BookKeeping Express, a 31-year-old, Tysons Corner, Va.-based company that sells web-based financial-reporting software, has raised $5.8 million in Series A funding led Paulson Investment Co.
Brite Semiconductor, a seven-year-old, Shanghai-based ASIC design services firm, has raised $8 million in Series C funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, Gobi Partners, and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation. The company has now raised $30.6 million altogether.
ChipCare, a six-year-old, Toronto-based company that has developed a hand-held cell analyzer, just raised a $5 million Series A round led by Dallas-based Puffin Partners, with participation from Winfield Venture Group, Epic Capital and returning investors MaRS Innovation and Maple Leaf Angels.
CloudMine, a nearly five-year-old, Philadelphia, Pa. company whose technology helps businesses securely deploy mobile apps, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Safeguard Scientifics, with participation by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, DeSimone Group Investments, DreamIt Ventures, MentorTech Ventures, Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, Robin Hood Ventures, and individual investors.
Culture Amp, a four-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-based employee engagement software company, has secured $6.3 million in Series A funding led by Blackbird Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Index Ventures.
Daktari Diagnostics, a 6.-5-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that makes medical diagnostics products, has raised $15.5 million in Series D funding led by Eastern Capital and the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, with participation from earlier backers Norwich Ventures and Partners Innovation Fund. The company has now raised $52.1 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.
Eccrine Systems, a two-year-old West Chester, Oh.-based company that uses disposable electronic patches to collect biomarker data, has raised $1.5 million in funding led by CincyTech.
Farfetch, a 7.5-year-old London-based online marketplace for high-end fashion retailers, has raised $86 million led by DST Global. Other investors in the round, which gives the company a valuation of $1 billion, include earlier backers Conde Nast and Vitruvian Partners. Farfetch has now raised $194.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has the story here.
Greenhouse Software, a three-year-old, New York-based recruitment optimization platform, has raised $13.6 million in Series B funding led by Benchmark, with participation from earlier backers Social+Capital Partnership, Felicis Ventures, and Resolution Ventures. The company has now raised roughly $25 million altogether.
Nextdoor, a 4.5-year-old, San Francisco-based private social network that lets members communicate with their neighbors, has raised $110 million in venture capital, including from Redpoint Ventures and Insight Venture Partners, reports the New York Times. The new investment values the company at about $1.1 billion, adds the Times’s report. Nextdoor has now raised roughly $210 million altogether.
Options Away, a nearly four-year-old, Chicago-based startup that allows consumers to lock-in flight prices before buying tickets, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding led by OCA Ventures, with participation from Thayer Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and some individual investors. The company has now raised $5.6 million altogether.
PeachWorks, a 10-year-old, Southfield, Mi.-based company whose cloud-based technology helps restaurants track and manage their inventory, staff scheduling and more, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Allos Ventures, with participation from Arsenal Venture Partners, Huron River Ventures and Invest Detroit.
Pressly, a 3.5-year-old, Toronto-based publishing platform that automatically transforms online content into interactive web apps for tablet web browsers, has raised $2.1 million in funding led by Gibraltar Ventures, with participation from earlier backers iNovia Capital and OMERS Ventures. The company has now raised $3.6 million altogether.
Pulmokine, a 7.5-year-old, Rensselaer, N.Y.-based biopharmaceutical company whose lead drug candidate treats pulmonary arterial hypertension, has raised $1 million in seed funding from Broadview Ventures.
REscour, a two-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based commercial real estate data visualization and intelligence startup, has raised $1.3 million in seed funding led by Jason Calacanis’s Launch Fund and AngelList syndicate, along with TechSquare Labs. The round also included other individual investors.
Seven Lakes Technologies, a five-year-old, Westlake Village, Ca.-based enterprise software company focused on the oil and gas industry, has raised $20 million in Series A funding from Carrick Capital Partners.
Spredfast, a seven-year-old, Austin, Tx.-based company whose software helps marketers manage the companies’ brands, including across social media, has raised $24 million in growth funding from Silver Lake Waterman. (Silver Lake Waterman, if you’re curious, provides companies with “growth debt.”) The company has now raised $88.1 million altogether, including from Austin Ventures, InterWest Partners, Lead Edge Capital, and OpenView Venture Partners.
Tradiio, a year-old, Lisbon-based music discovery platform, has raised $975,000 in seed funding from Espirito Santo Ventures.
WorldStores, a 12-year-old, London-based online retailer and flash sales platform that sells furniture and other home products, has raised £25 million ($38.3 million) led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from earlier backers Balderton Capital, Serena Capital, and Advent Ventures.
YouMail, an eight-year-old, Irvine, Ca.-based company whose users download a so-called digital personal assistant that helps them better manage incoming phone calls, has raised $5.5 million in Series B funding from undisclosed investors. The company has now raised at least $20 million, shows Crunchbase.
Draper Triangle Ventures, the 16-year-old, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based early-stage venture firm, is hoping to raise $125 million for its newest fund and has raised $68.2 million toward that end, shows a new SEC filing.
Frontier Capital, a 16-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based investment firm focused on software and service companies, has closed its newest fund with $390 million. The firm closed its last fund with $250 million in 2012, according to VentureWire. The Charlotte Observer has more here.
MediaTek, Taiwan’s largest chip designer launched, has launched a venture group called MediaTek Ventures that’s aiming to invest $300 million across startups in China, Japan, North America and Europe. The company reportedly wants to compete more directly with the world’s biggest chip manufacturer, Qualcomm, which has its own active venture arm.
Amplidata, a 6.5-year-old, Belgium-based maker of object storage software for public and private cloud data centers, has been acquired by HGST, a subsidiary of Western Digital (which had previous invested in Amplidata). Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. According to Crunchbase, Amplidata had raised $44.1 million from investors, including Swisscom Ventures, Hummingbird Ventures, Endeavour Vision, and Intel Capital.
Consumr, a three-year-old, New York-based platform for ratings and reviews of consumer products, has been acquired by Purch, a 12-year-old, Ogden, Ut.- based digital content company with a portfolio of properties designed to ease complex buying decisions. Purch has raised $40.5 million from investors, including Highway 12 Ventures and Village Ventures; Consumr had raised roughly half a million dollars in seed funding from IA Ventures, MESA Ventures, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures. VentureBeat has more here.
deCarta, a 19-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based mapping and search company, is being acquired by the ride-sharing company Uber for an unspecified amount, reports Mashable. The company had raised at least $56 million from investors, shows Crunchbase. Its backers include Cardinal Venture Capital, Mobius Venture Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, and Translink Capital.
Earth Class Mail, an 11-year-old, Beaverton, Or.-based startup that converts paper mail into electronic correspondences, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a deal to sell its business to a company called Xenon Resources for $5 million. The company had raised at least $21.4 million, shows Crunchbase. Its backers include Ignition Partners and Keiretsu Forum. Geekwire has more here.
HotSpot Tax, a seven-year-old, Greenwood Village, Co.-based company that provides tax compliance solutions to the vacation rental industry, has been acquired by the venture-backed sales tax automation startup Avalara. GeekWire has more here.
Forbes released its newest billionaires list earlier this week, naming Silicon Valley home to 23 new billionaires. Among them: Elizabeth Holmes, director of the Silicon Valley-based blood-testing firm Theranos; Uber cofounders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp; and Uber’s global head of operations, Ryan Graves. Two new billionaires a little farther south, in Venice, Ca.: Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel — who at 24 is now the youngest billionaire on Forbes’s list — and his 25-year-old cofounder, Bobby Murphy.
In an interview at the Launch Festival earlier this week, early Twitter investor Chris Sacca said that he “can’t wait” for the industry’s inevitable crash. “I think this whole Valley has gotten way ahead of itself, and I’m excited for the crash, and for all the pretenders to clear out and for the people who are the die-hards, the builders, the people who have been hustling and selling candy in their high school cafeteria, who have been going door-to-door their whole lives, who are built for this game, I can’t wait until it’s just them again.”
In 2012, former Kleiner partner Ellen Pao alleged she had received a “demotion” when she wasn’t made a general partner at the firm that year, court documents revealed yesterday. “Unfortunately,” she’d written in a letter to her then-mentor, venture capitalist John Doerr, “it does not seem to be a coincidence that Trae and I — the two people who have made recent complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation — have been kept off the committee and are relegated to more junior status.” Doerr, who spent more than five hours on the witness stand yesterday, defended his decision to give a key board seat to general partner Randy Komisar and not to promote Pao. He also said he “couldn’t remember” if he ever considered Pao to be like a “surrogate daughter,” as Pao referred to herself (and others at the firm apparently viewed her).
Markus Persson — creator of Minecraft, the best-selling computer game of all time — sold his company, Mojang, to Microsoft three months ago for $2.5 billion cash. Since then, he’s been spending money like a drunken sailor and trying to figure out exactly who he is. The results so far are “unimpressive,” reports Forbes in an exclusive interview with him.
Venture capitalists have been plowing money into human-friendly robots. Here is where some of it has gone.
Watch your back, Amazon. Alibaba is bringing its cloud computing services to the U.S.
Facebook is reportedly working on a competitor to Twitter mobile-advertising distributor MoPub.
“I’m sorry to all the mothers I used to work with.”
Play your best hand with these, political mastermind.