Hi, everyone! Hope you’re having a fine Wednesday.
Top News in the A.M.
Recode, the news website led by the veteran journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, is being acquired in an all-stock deal by Vox Media, a move that “reflects the turmoil among digital organizations focused on covering the tech industry,” notes the New York Times. No one is talking about the price, but Quartz notes that the two digital publishers already shared an investor in Comcast, which could wind up owning them outright.
A new SEC filing reveals that the Chinese microblog Weibo is investing $142 million in China’s dominant taxi-hailing firms Didi Taxi and Kuaidi Taxi, presumably to fend off their aggressive U.S. rival Uber. Reuters has more here.
Investment-banker-turned-VC Mary Meeker released her newest Internet Trends report this morning. You can view it here.
With $2.5 Million from VCs, Mapsense Charts Its Next Steps
Mapsense, a 12-person, San Francisco-based company that’s been quietly producing map analytics tools for corporate customers, is today revealing that it has raised $2.1 million in funding led by General Catalyst Partners, with participation from Redpoint Ventures, Formation 8 and Amplify. LA.
The announcement is interesting for a few reasons, starting with what Mapsense is at its core: a modern API for geo data visualizations. Indeed, according to the company, it can cater to any customer wanting to make better sense of the many billions of location-based data points being streamed constantly from a wide variety of sources, including smartphones, connected cars, cheap satellites, commercial drones and smart grids, to name a few.
Mapsense co-founder and CEO Erez Cohen puts it in perspective, noting that “there was more location data produced in 2014 than in all of time until then.”
Mapsense counts as customers, for example, two publicly traded credit card companies that respectively see 10 percent and 50 percent of the transaction data in the U.S. While they’re (hopefully) mindful of using the data they collect in a responsible way, Mapsense is helping them help their customers. For instance, they can show restaurateurs what people are paying for Thai food in certain neighborhoods, and how their competitors down the street fared last Tuesday (and how they fared the next town over, and around the country, if they really want to know).
Others of Mapsense’s customers include mobile ad companies looking to better target potential customers.
Obviously, Mapsense is well-timed, particularly given growing corporate interest in mapping technologies. (Nokia’s mapping division has become a particularly hot commodity of late.)
Starting today, Mapsense — which charges its enterprise customers a yearly average of “six figures” based on the amount of data they push to Mapsense — is also hoping to sell its analytics tools to developers.
They won’t be paying as much to use Mapsense’s technology, but it’s a way to accelerate its growth, says Cohen, who adds that anyone can upload their data for free if they’re willing to make it public.
Worth flagging, particularly for StrictlyVC readers: Mapsense is announcing its newest funding today but actually sealed up the round a year ago. (It has raised $2.5 million to date.)
Cohen – a former Palantir Technologies engineer – insists the company’s funding announcement has nothing to do with its future fundraising plans. If it did, Mapsense would be among a growing number of companies to go public with their funding just as they begin looking to the next round.
(By the way, here’s a rough video demonstration of how Mapsense’s technology works.)
Campanda, a two-year-old, Berlin-based booking site for motor homes and trailers, has raised €5 million ($5.4 million) in Series A funding led by the European investment fund Ecomobility Ventures, with participation from Ringier Digital Ventures, Accel Partners, Groupe Arnault, and previous investors Atlantic Labs, and b-to-v.
DocuSign, the 12-year-old, San Francisco-based end-to-end document management company, has raised an additional $45 million from the venture arms of Dell and Intel, just weeks after closing funding from growth investors at a $3 billion valuation. The money brings the company’s Series F round to $278 million and its overall funding to $508 million. Venture Capital Dispatch has the story here.
eGifter, a four-year-old, Huntington, N.Y.-based e-gifting company, has raised $3.5 million in funding from the Long Island Angel Network, BDS Capital, Angel Dough Ventures, 94Bits and several angel investors.
Enervee, a three-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based, smart data and commerce platform designed to help consumers compare energy products, has raised $3.7 million in funding led by Obvious Ventures, with participation from angel investors in the U.S. and Europe. Enervee had previously raised $1 million in seed funding. Vator has more here.
EverCompliant, an eight-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that sells security risk and compliance management software, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding from Carmel Ventures, Nyca Partners and earlier investor Joey Low of Star Farm Ventures.
Jobandtalent, a six-year-old, Valencia, Spain-based recruitment startup that uses linguistic analysis to alert candidates to jobs they might otherwise have missed, has added $25 million in funding to its previously closed Series A round, bringing its total to $39 million. The newest infusion was led by earlier investor, Percacer CEO Pelayo Cortina Koplowitz, with participation from Qualitas Equity Partners, Kibo Ventures, Fundación José Manuel Entrecanales, and business angel Nicolás Luca de Tena.
Kantox, a four-year-old, London-based currency exchange marketplace that says it offers small and mid-size businesses better rates than banks or traditional brokers, has raised $11 million in Series B funding led by Partech Ventures and IDinvest Partners, with participation from Cabiedes & Partners. All three are already investors in the company, which has now raised $19 million altogether.
Mapi Pharma, a seven-year-old, Ness Ziona, Israel-based pharmaceutical company focused on treating multiple sclerosis, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Shavit Capital, with participation from chairman and CEO Ehud Marom.
MatterFab, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based metal 3D printer manufacturing company, has raised $5.75 million in Series A funding from GE Ventures and earlier backer Innovate Indiana Fund. MatterFab had received an undisclosed amount of previous funding, including from Lemnos Labs and Kima Ventures.
Notion, a two-year-old, Denver, Co.-based company that makes sensors for in-home monitoring, has raised $2 million in seed funding from Draper Nexus Ventures, Gabriel Investments, Galvanize Ventures, Foundry Group Angels and TechStars. The startup, a TechStars Boulder alum, raised just over $280,000 in crowdfunding last year. More here.
Omadi, a four-year-old, Provo, Utah-based company whose app offers paperless reports, on-duty task assignments, photo management and GPS tools to provide visibility into the operations of distributed workforces, has raised $700,000 in funding led by Peak Ventures. More here.
Pryynt, a two-year-old, London-based in-app photo printing platform for iOS and Android apps, has raised $2 million in seed funding from undisclosed investors. More here.
QR Pharma, a seven-year-old, Berwyn, Pa.-based biopharmaceutical company developing therapies to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, has raised $5.7 million in Series A funding led by QR Pharma’s chairman, Michael Hoffman, with participation from Robin Hood Ventures, earlier angel investors, and additional angel investors from Delaware Crossing and from Keiretsu Forum.
Rani Therapeutics, a three-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based maker of a “robotic pill” that could deliver drugs like insulin without the use of a needle, has raised roughly $25 million in Series C funding led by the pharmaceutical giantNovartis, with participation from returning investors Google Ventures, InCube Ventures and VentureHealth, among others. Venture Capital Dispatch has more here.
Shift Messenger, a months-old, San Francisco-based online communication tool designed to help coworkers manage their schedules, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding led by Version One Ventures. Other investors in the round include Golden Venture Partners, Kapor Capital, Commerce Ventures, NewGenVenture Partners, Venrock, and QueensBridge Venture Partners.
Si-Bone, Inc., a seven-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based medical device company that makes a titanium implant system for the sacroiliac joint, has raised $21 million infunding led by Redline Capital Management, with participation from all existing major investors. According to Crunchbase, the company has now raised roughly $82 million altogether, including from OrbiMed Advisors,Montreux Equity Partners, Skyline Ventures, and Novo A/S.
Ubimo, a three-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup that uses location-based data to make mobile ads more relevant, has raised $7.5 million in Series B funding led by Pitango Venture Capital, with participation from OurCrowd and Yahoo Japan Capital. The company has now raised $9.7 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
VitalFields, a four-year-old, Estonia-based farm management startup, has raised $1.2 million in Series A funding from investors, including SmartCap, the investment arm of taxpayer-funded Estonian Development Fund, and an unnamed Bay Area venture firm. TechCrunch has more here.
Airware, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based platform for developing and operating commercial drones, has announced the Commercial Drone Fund, which the company says will be used to invest anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million in dozens of nascent startups. In fact, says the company, it has already backed two companies: RedBird, a Paris-based drone data processing startup, and Sky-Futures, a London-based company that builds drone sensors for monitoring oil and gas infrastructure. Airware has itself raised roughly $40 million from investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Google Ventures. TechCrunch has much more here.
Kurma Partners, a six-year-old, Paris, France-based venture firm, has held the first closing of its third venture capital fund at €33 million ($35.9 million). The firm, which acts as a venture accelerator, helping to develop Europe-based diagnostics startups, counts The European Investment Fund, Fonds National d’Amorçage, Institut Pasteur and BNP Paribas as limited partners. It has raised two funds previously: Kurma Biofund I (€51M) & Kurma Biofund II (€75M).
Rockaway Capital, a venture firm focused on internet startups in emerging markets, has entered the U.S. market with its first office in San Francisco. The firm has invested $28 million so far in seed-stage start-ups; its first offices were in Prague and São Paulo.
Aberdeen Asset Management, the Philadelphia-based asset management giant, is acquiring the fund of funds firm FLAG Capital Management. More here.
The publicly traded data storage giant EMC has purchased seven-year-old Virtustream, a cloud management firm, for $1.2 billion, to incorporate into its newly formed cloud managed services business. Virtustream had raised $129.6 from investors, shows Crunchbase, including TDF Ventures, QuestMark Partners, Columbia Capital, Noro-Moseley Partners, and Intel Capital.
Knowingly, an Austin, Tex.-based Internet startup, announced yesterday that it has acquired a portion of the assets of the shuttered tech blog Gigaom, including its website and content library. Talking New Media has more here about the deal, terms of which were not disclosed. Meanwhile, Mathew Ingram, a former writer for GigaOm, has more about Knowingly here.
The 17-year-old French tech company Mandriva is being liquidated. Business Insider has the story here.
Oculus VR has acquired the eight-month-old, London-based (seemingly bootstrapped) startup Surreal Vision to sharpen its expertise in recreating real-time 3D representations of the outside world. Terms were not disclosed. PC Gamer has more here.
Time Inc. has acquired Missouri-based FanSided, a (seemingly bootstrapped) eight-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based sports, entertainment and lifestyle network of several hundred websites. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A Siberian Husky owned by Wang Jianlin, the son of China’s richest man, is reportedly being “hounded” on the social network Weibo for owning not one but two gold Apple watches. (Is it so wrong for a dog to want to know its heart rate?)
Ken King, who advises companies as head of the Silicon Valley law office of the Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, says he now spends about 30 percent of his time advising tech companies on investor activism, up from about 5 percent three years ago. His tactics reportedly include writing mock letters from potential activists.
Cameron Lester — a former Credit Suisse investment banker who cofounded the San Francisco-based venture firm Azure Capital Group in 2000 — is back at Credit Suisse, this time as its new global head of internet banking. He replaces Imran Khan, Credit Suisse’s former top internet banker, who joined Snapchat as chief strategy officer last December. No word on how Lester’s move impacts Azure. (StrictlyVC reached out to the firm yesterday but hasn’t heard back yet.) The WSJ has the story here.
Cisco is looking to add an associate to its venture investing unit. The job is in San Jose, Ca.
It isn’t just Twitter that’s kicking the tires at Flipboard. In recent weeks, reports the WSJ, Google and Yahoo have also held early discussions with the newsreader app maker.
Four-year-old Snapchat plans to go public, its cofounder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, disclosed yesterday at the popular tech summit Code Conference. Spiegel didn’t offer a timeframe for an IPO, but he said Snapchat now has nearly 100 million users logging onto the platform daily. (Here’s some video from his appearance.)
You’re kind of a jerk behind the wheel. Here’s why.
A new report says the billionaire boom may be ending.
Finally, all-in-one software. (Business Edition. Gold. Plus.)
Brilliant bikes (founded by two former VCs, Adam Kalamchi and Kane Hsieh).