Happy Tuesday, dear readers!
Top News in the A.M.
SurveyMonkey has a new CEO this morning: It’s former Hewlett-Packard executive Bill Veghte. Recode has the scoop here.
Eric Vishria on Year One at Benchmark
In July of last year, Eric Vishria, a longtime Opsware executive who became co-founder and CEO of the social browsing startup Rockmelt, joined the Sand Hill Road firm Benchmark as its fifth general partner. It’s an enviable position, given the reputation of the 20-year-old firm, which has backed Uber, Snapchat, and the publicly traded companies Twitter, Hortonworks and Zendesk, among many others.
At Benchmark, which famously sticks to its early-stage knitting, with recent funds all closing at $425 million, general partners also have an equal share in the firm. That’s rather unlike most venture firms, where older partners typically receive outsize economics (and younger partners often hightail it for greener pastures).
That’s not to say the work is easy, exactly. We talked with Vishria yesterday about his first year on the job. Our chat has been edited for length.
How’s it going one year in?
It’s been really amazing. Don’t tell entrepreneurs this, but it’s the best job ever. Every meeting you walk into, you’re learning something. You’re meeting with an entrepreneur, learning about a new space or idea . . . It’s just such an intellectually stimulating job. I find it very inspiring.
How do you keep from getting overly excited about the new ideas you’re seeing? We’d think that would be tricky at first.
I’ve now seen about 180 companies – I track it – and in the first few weeks, I was like, “Oh my God, all of these ideas are investable!” And they weren’t.
Bugsnap, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company whose automated crash-detection platform helps developers quickly see and understand what’s causing “exceptions” to their service, has raised $7.2 million in Series A funding led by Benchmark, with participation from earlier investor Matrix Partners. The company had earlier raised $1.4 million in seed funding. More here.
Doppler Labs, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based maker of volume-reducing earplugs, has raised $17 million in Series B funding led by The Chernin Group,Wildcat Capital Management and Acequia Capital. Other participants in the round include Live National Entertainment, Universal Music Group and WME. TechCrunch has more here.
GlassesGlobalGroup, a two-year-old, Kuala Lumpur-based eyeglass retailer founded by a former Rocket Internet executive, has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Caixa Capital and Nova Founders Capital, with participation from angel investors. The company has now raised $4.5 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Harry’s, a 3.5-year-old, New York-based direct-to-consumer men’s razor company, has raised $75.6 million in Series C funding led by Wellington Management. A source tells TechCrunch that the company raised the round at a post-money valuation of $750 million. Harry’s has now raised around $287 million altogether.
Hector Beverages, a six-year-old, New Delhi, India-based maker of beverages for Indian consumers, has raised roughly $28.7 million in Series C funding led by the Belgian investor Sofina and by China’s Hillhouse Capital. Earlier backers Sequoia Capital and Catamaran Ventures also joined the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $36.7 million, shows Crunchbase. The Economic Times has more here.
Hotel Urbano, a three-year-old, Rio de Janerio, Brazil-based hotel search and booking platform, has raised $60 million in strategic funding from the discount travel outfit Priceline Group. The company had previously raised $75 million from Tiger Global Management and Insight Venture Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
Liases Foras, a 16-year-old, Mumbai, India-based intelligence company focused on regional real estate data (it sells to banks, real estate developers, and government entities, among others), has raised $5 million in funding from Dmgi, the venture capital arm of Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), a publicly traded company. More here.
Saavn, an eight-year-old, New York-based streaming music service for Indian, Bollywood and international content, has raised $100 million in Series C funding led by Tiger Global Management. A spokesperson tells TechCrunch that the round values Saavn at between $300 million and $400 million. More here.
SlimPay, a five-year-old, Paris, France-based payment service provider, has just raised $16.6 million from Prime Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Talent.io, a months-old, Paris-based recruiting company focused on pairing clients with engineering talent, has raised $2.2 million from Alven Capital, Elaia Partners, Ventech, and angel investors, including Thierry Petit of Showroomprive. TechCrunch has more here.
Transifex, a six-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based company whose open-source software helps developers translate websites and apps into multiple languages, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Toba Capital, with participation from earlier backers New Enterprise Associates, Arafura Ventures, and angel investors, including Parse founder Ilya Sukhar. The company, originally founded in Athens, Greece, has now raised $6.5 million altogether. More here.
Whipclip, a year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based company whose mobile application lets users quickly and legally share clips from their favorite TV shows and music videos, has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Eminence Capital, with participation from earlier backers Institutional Venture Partners and Raine Ventures. More here.
Costanoa Venture Capital, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based early stage investor in cloud-based services for businesses and consumers leveraging data and analytics, has closed its second fund with $135 million, bringing its total capital under management to $325 million. Costanoa was founded by Greg Sands, who was previously a longtime managing director at Sutter Hill Ventures. The firm has made four bets from its new fund, including Alation, Apptimize, Bugcrowd, and Directly. (Winter Mead, a senior associate at Sapphire Ventures, talked with Sands recently about the new fund and Sands’s specific approach to VC. You can check that out here.)
Unicorn Capital Partners, a seven-month-old, Hong Kong-based venture firm that apparently aspires to fund billion-dollar companies in China, has raised $12 million in capital committments per an SEC filing flagged by Fortune. More here. The firm is reportedly led by Kah Fai Low, most recently the executive director of Singapore-based Eagle Asia Partners, and Tommy Yip, previously head of North Asia for the private equity fund-of-funds manager Emerald Hill Capital Partners.
So, how serious is that SEC probe of pre-IPO shares?
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is taking a seat on the board ofSurveyMonkey, her late husband’s online survey and polling company, reports the New York Times. Goldberg, who passed away while on vacation in May, spent six years as CEO of SurveyMonkey, which is considered likely to go public soon. The company has also appointed David Ebersman to its board. Ebersman is the co-founder and current CEO of Lyra Health and was previously CFO of Facebook. (As noted in “top news in the a.m.,” the company just named a new CEO, too.)
A look at the “insanely successful life” of Uber‘s billionaire CEO, Travis Kalanick, via Business Insider.
Notable angel investors, per the New York Times.
Lightbank, the venture firm founded by serial entrepreneurs Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, is looking to hire an associate. The job is in Chicago.
For startups, how many angels is too many?
Probing the dark side of Google’s ad-targeting program.
The mob’s IT department.
Greece’s debt crisis explained.
A world of driverless cars would reduce emissions by 90 percent, says Lawrence Berkeley National Labs.
Calvin Klein’s Miami beach house. It can be yours for $16 million (though note, its “Zestimate” is $10.5 million). H/T: Uncrate.