Good morning, dear readers!
We’re happy to announce that Charles Hudson of SoftTech VC has just joined our upcoming program on May 13 in San Francisco, making an already terrific line-up even better. Thank you, Charles! And giant thanks to Personal Capital, Amazon Web Services, and Galvanize for helping us produce the evening. We’re getting excited to see everyone.
No column today. (Busy morning.)
Top News in the A.M.
Chip maker Qualcomm is under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners to consider a breakup to boost its sagging stock price.
Twitter is reportedly encouraging its celebrity users to dump the live broadcasting app Meerkat and use its product, Periscope, instead.
Yesterday, the first four episodes of the “Game of Thrones” were leaked and promptly downloaded more than 100,000 times in just the first few hours following. As Forbes notes, the leak is bad news for HBO, which just rolled out a standalone streaming service that costs customers $15 per month.
4i, a six-year-old, Amsterdam-based TV app development company, has raised $2 million in funding from investors, including Newion Investments.
CradlePoint, an 11-year-old, Boise, Id.-based wireless networking company, has raised $48 million in Series B funding from new investorsSorenson Capital, Delta-v Capital and the Caprock Group, reports VentureWire. The company has raised $65.5 million altogether over the years, shows Crunchbase. Earlier backers include OVP Venture Partners and Highway 12 Ventures.
Crowd Supply, a 2.5-year-old, Portland, Oregon-based crowdfunding and product development platform for hardware engineers and product designers, has raised $585,000 in seed funding led by Portland Seed Fund, with participation from SOSVentures, Inspiration Ventures, and a consortium of angels. The company had previously raised $500,000 in seed funding.
Embera NeuroTherapeutics, a 10-year-old, Sudbury, Ma.-based development-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing treatments for smoking cessation and other addictions, has raised $2 million in A-2 funding from earlier investors and HRA Pharma, a Paris-based specialty pharmaceutical company. The company has now raised at least $7 million from investors, including Louisiana Ventures and Themelios Ventures.
Estimize, a four-year-old, New York-based startup that crowdsources estimates from more than 4,500 hedge funds, brokerages and independent analysts, has raised $3 million in Series B funding led by WorldQuant Ventures, with participation from Agilic Partners, numerous individual investors, and earlier backer Contour Venture Partners. The company has now raised roughly $5.6 million altogether, shows Crunchbase.
Fliptu, a two-year-old, L.A. company whose suite of social aggregation tools help brands curate their best brand and fan social content into visualizations, has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Scout Ventures and numerous angel investors.
Khorus, a three-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based company that makes business management software for CEOs, has raised $4 million in seed funding from company founder Joel Trammel and angel investor Tom Greig, a senior managing director at the New York-based private equity firm Liberty Partners. The company has raised $6 million altogether. Austin Business Journal has more here.
Magency Digital, a four-year-old, Paris, France-based company that makes event apps for everything from small training seminars to large conferences, has raised €3M ($3.7M) in Series A funding led by Alliance Entreprendre and Sigma Gestion.
ScoreStream, a three-year-old, San Diego, CA-based platform for crowdsourcing scores and photos for local sporting events, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Sinclair Digital Ventures, with participation from previous investors Avalon Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, Sagamore Ventures, and Paul Palmieri.
Spotify, the nine-year-old, Stockholm, Sweden-based music streaming service, is nearing a deal to raise $400 million at a $8.4 billion valuation, according to the WSJ, which says that Goldman Sachs and an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund have agreed to invest in the round.
Stem, a six-year-old, Millbrae, Ca.-based startup that uses batteries and software to help businesses reduce their electricity bills, has raised $12 million in Series C funding from Mitsui & Co. The company tells VentureWire that it expects to raise between $25 million and $30 million before closing the round, which also includes participation from earlier backers Angeleno Group, Constellation Energy, Iberdrola SA, and General Electric.
UCloud, a three-year-old, Shanghai, China-based cloud service provider, has reportedly raised roughly $100 million in Series C funding led by Legend Capital, with the participation from VMS Legend Investment Fund, DCM, Bertelsmann and GX Capital. The company, founded by former Tencent executives, had previously raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding in 2013 and $50 million in Series B funding last year.
UgenTec, a year-old, Hasselt, Belgium-based laboratory software developer whose products aim to trace respiratory infections and certain types of cancer, among other things, has raised $1.4 million in funding led by an unnamed Belgian investor group; IWT, a government agency; and the Belgian investment company LRM (which provided provided $105,000 in debt).
UXP Systems, a four-year-old, Toronto, Ontario-based company whose software helps telecommunication and cable operators simplify user registration from any screen and for any member of their customers’ households, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from cable and media veterans John Malone and John Risley.
Vacatia, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based resort marketplace for vacationing families, has raised $7 million in funding led by Javelin Venture Partners. The company has now raised $12 million altogether, shows Crunchbase. Earlier backers include Maveron, Bee Partners, Peterson Ventures, and operator-investor Erik Blachford.
Videoo, a six-month-old, Miami-based company that plans to sell crowdsourced video products to brands and advertisers, recently raised $1.6 million in seed funding, including from the Miami-based angel network Accelerated Growth Partners. The Miami Herald has more here.
Voyager Therapeutics, a year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that focuses on treatments for fatal and debilitating diseases of the central nervous system, has raised $60 million in Series B funding led byBrookside Capital and Partner Fund Management, with participation from Wellington Management, Casdin Capital and two undisclosed investment funds. Voyager spun out of Third Rock Ventures last year, raising $45 million in Series A funding from Third Rock in the process.
Wingz, a 16-month-old, San Francisco-based ride-sharing app that invites users to book prescheduled rides to and from the airport, has raised $2 million in funding led by Binux Capital, Blue Angel Ventures and Florence Venture Partners, with participation from Ocotea Holdings, Big Bloom Investments, Olive Tree, and investor Larry Marcus of WaldenVC.
Zeemi.tv, a year-old, Indonesia-based live-streaming video platform, has raised $1 million in seed funding from DeNA and 500 Startups. TechCrunch has more here.
New Atlantic Ventures’s managing partner John Backus and True Ventures’s cofounder John Burke are raising a $300 million fund together, according to Washington Business Journal. From its report: “People familiar with the plans behind the fund say it would effectively make a proxy investment in a company on behalf of a smaller fund, but only when the smaller fund lacked the capital for a follow-on investment. The investment would be in exchange for half of the profits. In theory, this means the smaller fund would have the opportunity to earn additional returns without having to put down any additional money.”
OrbiMed, a 26-year-old, New York-based investment firm that backs both private and publicly traded life sciences companies around the world, is raising a second Israel-focused fund and it’s targeting $200 million to $250 million for the effort, reports the Globes. OrbiMed raised its first, $203 million, fund in Israel in 2010. According to documents obtained by the Globes, it has since invested that capital across 19 companies and exited (or partially exited) from six of them, establishing a current internal rate of return of 21.4 percent.
Pelion Venture Partners, a 29-year-old, Salt Lake City, Ut.-based early-stage venture firm that focuses primarily on enterprise software and cloud computing startups, is looking to raise up to $200 million for its sixth fund, shows an SEC filing that states its first sale has yet to occur.
SWaN and Legend Venture Partners, a three-year-old Leesburg, Va.-based venture capital firm, is looking to raise up to $150 million for a third fund, according to an SEC filing that states its first sale has yet to occur. The firm was cofounded by longtime colleagues Fred Schaufeld, Clifford White and Anthony Nader and has already made dozens of bets, among them Optoro, which helps retailers get rid of their distressed inventory; SocialRadar, which makes a location-based social app (StrictlyVC featured it out of the gate), and Tango Card, a rewards platform company. With the new fund come apparent changes. White is no longer listed anywhere at the site; meanwhile, David Bosserman has recently joined as a managing director and the firm’s chief financial officer.
There’s a new fintech accelerator on the scene called the TCF-PnP Program. The effort is a joint venture between The Co-Foundry, a venture accelerator in Singapore, and Plug and Play, the Silicon Valley-based accelerator. It aims to support financial tech startups with up to $200,000 (if they’re truly nascent), and up to $1 million if they’re further along. The startups, which will spend between 6 and 12 months with the program, can work out of either Singapore or Sunnyvale, Ca. Much more here.
Aduro Biotech, a 15-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based company that’s developing drugs that aim to teach the body’s immune system to fight cancer, expects to raise up to $93 million in an IPO this week by issuing 5 million shares at $14 to $16 per share. (It’s offering another 750,000 shares to underwriters.) Aduro has raised roughly $140 million from investors over the years. Some of its biggest shareholders include Morningside Ventures, which owns 37.8 percent of the company; Fidelity Investments, which owns 7.9 percent; and Johnson & Johnson, which owns 6.6 percent.
Etsy, the 10-year-old, Brooklyn-based marketplace for mostly handmade and vintage items, and Virtu, the seven-year-old, New York-based high-speed trading firm, are planning to go public this week. Virtu is the better bet, argues Crain’s New York, which has more details about both.
KemPharm, a nine-year-old, Coralville, Ia.-based specialty pharmaceutical company, plans to raise $60 million in IPO this week by issuing 4.6 million shares at between $12 and $14 per share.
Elto, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based online marketplace that pairs business owners with web developers and marketers to help them grow their online presence, has been acquired for undisclosed terms by by GoDaddy, the now publicly traded web hosting company. Elto reportedly raised less than one million dollars, including from the Australian fund Blackbird Ventures. More here.
Sunstorm Games, a six-year-old, Las Vegas-based maker of casual gaming apps for kids, has been acquired for by TabTale, an Israel-based kids’ gaming and educational app publisher that has raised $13.5 million from Qualcomm Ventures, Magma Venture Partners, and Vintage Investment Partners. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but TechCrunch sources peg it at $6 million.
Bessemer Venture Partners is looking to hire an associate for its Menlo Park, Ca., office.
European and Israeli VC trends in the first quarter of this year.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced a major reorganization of the company’s product teams on Friday. More here.
Venture-backed DataSift faces a new, and very big, problem — along with other third parties that have been reselling firehose data from Twitter.
More on the burgeoning battle over home services. (Tweeted venture capitalist Bill Gurley last night: “This will be messier than everyone realizes.”)
Why people care more about their pets than other humans.
The Terminator is back. Again.
Gym membership packages: an overview.
A new toothbrush subscription service. (Unlike GoodMouth, this one focuses on electric toothbrushes.)