Good morning, everyone, happy Tuesday!
Top News in the A.M.
Apple had plenty to announce yesterday at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Among other reveals, Apple finally took the wraps off its music service, called (what else) Apple Music. One of our favorite newsletters, The Skimm, summed it up well, noting that it “costs $10 a month. Cough, like Spotify, cough. It has a 24-hour radio station. Cough, like Pandora, cough. And it lets artists directly upload content. Cough, like SoundCloud, cough.” (SoundCloud and Spotify aren’t publicly traded yet, but Pandora’s shares took a hit yesterday.)
Here are the nine other most important announcements to come out of Apple‘s WWDC yesterday.
Meanwhile, it’s looking like Hewlett-Packard‘s doomed acquisition of software maker Autonomy will cost it another $100 million as it prepares to settle class-action litigation tied to the 2011 deal. The Associated Press has more here.
Brit + Co Raises $20 Million More, Shifting Gears in the Process
Brit + Co, a nearly four-year-old, San Francisco-based lifestyle site dedicated to all things D.I.Y., has often been likened to a next-generation Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
It’s looking like Udemy, an online educational marketplace taught by experts who are not university professors, may be as apt a comparison.
Indeed, fueled with $20 million in new Series B funding – from Intel Capital, Liberty Media, and retail veteran Ron Johnson, among others — the company is now planning to shower almost as much effort on educating visitors as it does on entertaining them. We caught up with founder (and former Googler) Brit Morin yesterday to learn more about the company’s evolution. Our chat has been edited for length.
People think of Brit + Co as a media company. What’s changing?
For more than three years, we’ve really focused on building out the media arm for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted to do one thing at a time. We also really wanted to build the foundation of the brand and understand from our audience what type of commerce they’d want from us. Although women were into it from an aspirational and inspiration standpoint, they said, ‘I have no idea how to do this,’ and it opened our eyes. So we launched into online education last year and we’ve since sold 15,000 classes and kits [required as part of the classes].
How many classes versus kits is that?
We don’t break that out but we have 15 different classes right now, and we’ll have more like 60 to 70 by year end. Our community of makers are the ones teaching the classes. [Editor’s note: classes range from 20 minutes to 60 minutes in length and from $9.99 to $19.99 in price, not including the kits.]
How big is the media side of the company at this point?
On the media side, we now have 12 million visitors every month. We have roughly 100 advertisers, with a 74 percent retention rate. And we’re doing millions in revenue, 99 percent of which is native advertising, meaning our content and videos somehow include the products of our sponsors, though our readers know it’s advertising. We’ll partner with Starbucks for example, and teach you how to make your own coffee ice cream.
You also just acquired Snapguide, a free iOS app that lets users create and share step-by-step guides. Snapguide had raised $10 million from investors. Are you breaking out how much you paid? As important, what drove the deal?
We aren’t disclosing price, but there are a number of cool things about Snapguide, including [the ways it helps a third aspect of the business, a year-old, Etsy-like marketplace where people can sell their homemade goods]. If you [as a participant of that marketplace] are creating your own step-by-step guide, you can use a photo or a video or a hybrid [thanks to Snapguide].
You recently raised $20 million from investors, bringing your total funding to $27.6 million. Will you be in the market again any time soon?
The way I approach is it: it’s great to be in a position where you don’t have to raise money, but we’re very opportunistic whether it be a great investor or [something else that provides] great option value for the company. We’re not opposed to raising money earlier.
Arcadia Data, a three-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based company whose software aims to make the big-data repository Hadoop easier for businesses to use, has raised $11.5 million in Series A funding led by Mayfield, with participation from Intel Capital and Blumberg Capital.
Adents, an eight-year-old, Massy, France-based company that makes product unit identification and traceability software for various industrial industries, has raised €8.5m ($9.5 million) in funding from NAXICAP Partners, CapHorn Invest, Omnes Capital and members of the company’s management team. More here.
Blue Apron, a three-year-old, New York-based startup that delivers meal kits to the homes of people who subscribe to its service, has officially raised $135 million in new funding led by Fidelity Management and Research Company. The company has now raised $193 million altogether, shows Crunchbase; earlier backers include First Round Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners. More here.
Brandtone, a five-year-old, Dublin, Ireland-based mobile marketing company, has raised €18.5 million ($20.9 million) in funding led by Ares Capital, with participation from earlier investors Unilever, Syngenta, Verlinvest and Vision Private Equity. More here.
Celtaxsys, an eight-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based clinical-stage drug development company focused on inflammatory diseases (its once-daily oral medicine is designed to preserve lung function in people with cystic fibrosis), has raised $40 million in Series D funding led by Domain Partners, with participation from Lumira Capital, RMI Partners, Masters Capital Management and the Georgia Research Alliance Venture Fund. More here.
eFileCabinet, a 14-year-old, Lehi, Ut.-based maker of document management software, has raised $14 million in Series B funding led by Allegis Capital and Signal Peak Ventures. More here.
Envelop VR, a year-old, Bellevue, Wa.-based still-in-steath company whose enterprise software promises to allow users to create, work and play in a virtual reality environment, has raised $2 million in in seed funding from a long of investors, including Howard Morgan of First Round Capital and Shana Fisher of High Line Venture Partners.
Illusive networks, a year-old Tel Aviv, Israel-based cyber security company that’s focusing on so-called advanced persistent threats, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Team8, a cyber security foundry. More here.
JethroData, a three-year-old, New York-based company behind an index-based SQL engine for Hadoop, has raised $8.1 million in Series B funding led by Square Peg Capital, with participation from earlier investor Pitango Venture Capital. The company has now raised $12.6 million to date, shows Crunchbase.
Maker Media, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based platform centered on content and commerce (including the online publication Makezine, Make magazine, Make books and the Maker Faire event series) has raised $5 million from a syndicate of investors including Obvious Ventures, Raine Ventures, Azure Capital, and previous investors OATV and Floodgate. The company has also raised debt funding from Square 1 Bank. Rafe Needleman, most recently editorial director of Yahoo Tech, has joined as editor-in-chief.
Mesitis, a two-year-old, Singapore-based trading and portfolio “visualization” platform that caters to high-net-worth individuals and startup funds, has raised $3 million in Series A funding from an undisclosed backer. More here.
NeoChord, an eight-year-old, Eden Prairie, Mn.-based medical technology company whose device is used for minimally invasive mitral valve repair, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by Deerfield Management, with participation from Baird Capital and earlier backers Hopen Life Science Ventures, CHV Capital, TGAP Ventures, and Heron Capital.
Outset Medical, a five-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based company that has created a simple, at-home device that treats kidney failure (it’s been cleared by the FDA for use in acute and chronic care settings), has finished raising a round of $91 million in equity and debt funding. The $51 million in equity was led by new investor Fidelity Research and Management Company, with participation from Partner Fund Management, Perceptive Advisors and CRG. Earlier backers Warburg Pincus and The Vertical Group also joined the round. Meanwhile, CRG led the $40 million debt financing.
Practo, a seven-year-old, Mumbai, India-based online platform for scheduling appointments with doctors, is reportedly in advanced talks with global investors, including Google Capital and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, for a funding round estimated at Rs 400 crore ($74 million). The company has already raised at least $34 million from Sequoia Capital and Matrix Partners across two rounds, shows Crunchbase; its newest round was closed in February of this year. The Economic Times has more here.
Pie, a two-year-old, Singapore-based enterprise messaging service, has raised $1.2 million in Series A funding led by GREE Ventures, with participation from earlier backers Koh Boon Hwee, Wavemaker Partners, Dennis Goh, and YSS Capital. The company had previously raised $800,000 in seed capital. Deal Street Asia has more here.
PropertyGuru, a nine-year-old, Singapore-based online property portal group, has raised S$175m ($129.5 million) from investors, including TPG, Emtek Group and Square Peg Capital, in a deal that it’s calling the biggest investment in a Southeast Asian company this year. In conjunction with the funding, Scout24, an earlier backer, has sold its shares in the company.
Ralali, a two-year-old, Jakarta, Indonesia-based business-to-business ecommerce marketplaces focused on industrial products (think generators, safety equipment, medical devices), has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from Beenos Plaza, CyberAgent Ventures, and earlier investor East Ventures. Tech in Asia has more here.
Rancher Labs, a year-old, Cupertino, Ca.-based startup developing Docker infrastructure software, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Mayfield and Nexus Venture Partners. More here.
Rinse, a year-old, San Francisco-based on-demand laundry startup that dispatches drivers who pick up and return customers’ clothes (and who use third parties, like traditional dry cleaners, in between), has raised $3.5 million in seed funding from a long list of investors, including Accelerator Ventures, Arena Ventures, Base Ventures, Expansion Venture Capital, ff Venture Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital, MESA Ventures, Otter Rock Capital, Rothenberg Ventures and Structure Capital. Last December, the company raised $2 million in seed funding from investors.
Roomi, a year-old, New York-based startup whose mobile app promises to simplify roommate and housing searches, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by DCM Ventures. Crunchbase shows the company had previously raised roughly $650,000 in seed funding, including from Wasabi Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, and Sand Hill East. More here.
Swiggy, a 10-month-old, Bangalore, India-based on-demand delivery platform, has raised $16.5 million in new funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from earlier backers Accel Partners and SAIF Partners. The company has now raised $33.5 million across three rounds, all in 2015. TechCrunch has more here.
Talkdesk, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based call center software maker, has raised $15 million in Series A funding led by DFJ, with participation from earlier investor Storm Ventures. The company has now raised $18 million altogether, including from 500 Startups, shows Crunchbase.
Clarus Ventures, a 10-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based venture firm focused on life sciences, has raised a new, $500 million fund, “well above its $375 million target,” the company announced this morning. More here.
SEED Capital, an 11-year-old, Denmark-based venture firm focused on both IT and med tech, has held a first close on its third fund with $75.2 million. Backers in the fund, which has a final target of roughly $113 million, include ATP, Dansk Vækstkapital, The Danish Growth Fund and Augustinus Fonden. Five companies in its portfolio were acquired in the last year, including wireless speaker maker Libratone, which sold to a Hong Kong-based investor group for an undisclosed amount. Another of its companies, Windar Photonics, went public on the London Stock Exchange.
Luis Hanemann has joined e.ventures as partner. Hanemann, who is based in Berlin, was formerly the chief marketing officer at Rocket Internet.
Neal Mohan is expected to join Dropbox as its head of product, reports Recode. Mohan — dubbed Google’s $100 million man for the amount of money Google is said to have paid to keep him from earlier going to Twitter — joined Google via its DoubleClick acquisition in 2007. His current title at Google is VP of Display Advertising Products.
Gilles Stephan, formerly Amazon’s Europe talent acquisition director and its EU head of next generation leaders, has joined Balderton Capital as talent director. In his new role, Stephan is expected to help the firm’s portfolio companies help scale their teams.
David Strasser has joined SWaN & Legend Venture Partners as a managing director. Previously, Strasser worked at Janney Montgomery Scott, where he served as a managing director in equity research for the retail sector. He has also been a managing director at Banc of America Securities and cofounded Moda Partners, a retail- and consumer-focused hedge fund.
In case you’re curious, Recode has published the full video of its interview with Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel at its recent Recode conference.
VCs spend an average of three minutes and 44 seconds on each pitch deck they read. That tidbit and other great data here.
Indian startups are attracting billions of dollars from venture and private equity firms, but it’s mostly flowing into a handful of large companies. Quartz has the stats here.
Uber is making serious inroads in China by undercutting competitors on pricing, providing generally more luxurious cars than cabs, and paying drivers remarkably well — with bonuses up to three times the amount of their fares, reports the New York Times.
Encouraged by investors like Sequoia Capital, growing numbers of Indian entrepreneurs are “making a beeline to startup hubs in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou to pick up tips in the art of scalability from their peers in the world’s largest e-commerce market.” Economic Times has the story here.
Yikes. (Don’t get sick.)
The rise of the “hijabster.”
Good news: A bike light that’s as bright as an actual car headlight. (The bad news: it costs $300.)