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Top News in the A.M.
Drone Maker CyPhy Works Raises $22 Million for Two-Prong Strategy
iRobot maker iRobot has long had two major lines of businesses: its famous disc-shaped vacuum cleaning robot called the Roomba; and another robot that, well, disposes of bombs.
Cofounder Helen Greiner says iRobot — now a publicly traded company currently valued at $940 million — “wouldn’t been able to have struggle through” without both.
No wonder Greiner is again focusing on disparate lines of business at her seven-year-old drone company, CyPhy Works in Danvers, Mass, a startup that has just raised $22 million in Series B funding.
On the one hand, CyPhy is about to start mass producing its Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) drones, which can fly as high as 500 feet in the air and hang there for 100 hours at a time. How? They’re tethered to the ground with a highly specialized microfilament that both powers them and acts as a secure communications link. As an added bonus, the tether keeps the robots from flying away in sandstorms and other harsh conditions.
The PARC drones have mostly been used to date by the U.S. military, which employs them at combat posts to monitor compounds. The drones can also accept a variety of payloads. But now that the FAA has begun more freely authorizing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles for non-governmental purposes, Greiner is expecting enterprise customers of all kinds to start ordering them, from mining to port security to construction to even media companies.
Bizongo, a year-old, Mumbai, India-based B2B marketplace for industrial goods like plastics, chemicals, and packaging materials, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Accel Partners. Iamwire has more here.
Cape Productions, a 1.5-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based drone photography and video service startup, has raised more than $10 million in funding, reports VentureWire, including a recent (and very quiet) $7.7 million Series A round led by New Enterprise Associates. Other investors in the company include Madrona Venture Group, XSeed Capital, S:Cubed Capital, and the Commercial Drone Fund. More here.
Cybereason, a three-year-old, Boston-based cybersecurity firm with an R&D center in Tel Aviv, has raised $50 million in funding led by SoftBank, with participation from earlier backers CRV and Spark Capital. The company had raised a separate, $25 million from defense contractor Lockheed Martin back in May. The WSJ has more here.
DataVisor, a nearly two-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based cybersecurity company that aims to protect consumer-facing sites and mobile apps from cyber criminals, has raised $14.5 million in Series A funding led by GSR and New Enterprise Associates. VentureBeat has more here.
Doctolib, a two-year-old, Paris, France-based platform that aims to make it easier for doctors to schedule appointments with patients and vice versa, has raised €18 million ($20.4 million) led by the London team of Accel Partners. The company has now raised roughly $26 million altogether. Business Insider has more here.
EverString, a three-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based marketing startup that sells software for personalizing business-to-business sales outreach, has raise $65 million in Series B funding led by LightSpeed Venture Partners, with participation from Sequoia Capital, IDG Ventures, and Lakestar. The company had previously raised $13.7 million in seed and Series A funding. Fortune has more here.
InvestCloud, a five-year-old, L.A.-based maker of of cloud-based front and middle-office software for investment managers, has raised $45 million in growth equity funding led by FTV Capital. More here.
K4Connect, a two-year-old, Raleigh, N.C.-based startup whose connected home technology aims to integrate consumers’ disparate devices, has raised $1.9 million in seed funding from Sierra Ventures and Better Ventures, along with North Carolina-based Lowe’s Companies and Florida’s Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners. Individual investors also joined the round. American Underground has more here.
Marfeel, a four-year-old, Barcelona, Spain-based ad tech platform focused around mobile publishers, has raised $3.5 million in funding led by Nauta Capital, Elaia Partners and BDMI. More here.
Mubble Networks, a two-year-old, Bangalore, India-based start-up that helps smartphone users track their spending on calls, SMSes and mobile data, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Accel Partners. LiveMint has more here.
Optimizely, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based site optimization company whose A/B tests compare two versions of a webpage to determine which performs better, has raised $58 million in Series C funding led by Index Ventures, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Bain Capital Ventures and Citi Ventures. The company has now raised $146 million altogether. Reuters has more here.
SentinelOne, a two-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based security software maker that attacks security threats at the kernel of devices, has raised $25 million in new funding from the hedge fund Third Point, along with earlier backers Tiger Global Management, Data Collective, Granite Hill Capital Partners, and the Westly Group. TechCrunch has more here.
ShopWell Labs, a seven-year-old, San Carlos, Ca.-based personalized nutrition app, has raised $3.4 million in funding led by Finistere Ventures, with additional funding from Fairhaven Capital, Munich Venture Partners, S2G Ventures and ATA Ventures. The company has now raised $11.4 million altogether. More here.
Thistle, a two-year-old, Berkeley, Ca.-based healthy meal delivery startup that once focused on fresh juices, has raised $1 million from various, unnamed individual investors. TechCrunch has more here.
Vipkid, a two-year-old, Beijing, China-based online education startup that provides one-on-one video teaching sessions for Chinese children with teachers based in North America, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Northern Light Venture Capital led the round, with participation from earlier backers Matrix Venture Partners, Innovation Works and Sequoia Capital. China Money Network has more here.
Voodoo, a five-month-old, Delhi, India-based startup that aims to help Indian consumers save money by enabling them to compare services in different apps without installing a bunch of them, has raised $1 million in seed funding from SAIF Partners. TechCrunch has more here.
Zugata, a 1.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based software service that provides employees regular performance feedback on their iPhones, has raised $3.2 million in seed funding from General Catalyst Partners, Formation 8 and Redpoint Ventures, along with numerous angel investors. Fortune has more here.
Coatue Management has secured more than $543 million for its second private equity fund, according to SEC filings first flagged by Fortune.
IDC forecasts that Europe’s public cloud software market will grow almost 12 times faster than other IT segments to reach $37.8 billion by 2019, and Salesforce Ventures has noticed. TechCrunch has more here on its plans to plug a fresh $100 million into European startups.
Qualcomm has sold its Vuforia augmented reality platform for $65 million to PTC, a Needham, Mass.-based Internet-of-Things company. Recode has the story here.
RetailNext, an eight-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based developer of in-store data analytics for retailers, is acquiring the mobile content startup Pikato, according to VentureWire. No financial terms are being disclosed. RetailNext has raised $184.5 million in funding from a long list of investors, including Activant Capital Group, August Capital, and Star Vest Partners, shows CrunchBase. Two-year-old Pikato, based in Chicago, doesn’t appear to have raised institutional funding.
Google Ventures has brought aboard former Symantec COO Stephen Gillett as an “executive in residence.” TechCrunch has more here.
YouTube star Michelle Phan and L’Oréal USA have ended their partnership after a little over two years, WWD reports. The pair created a massive line of beauty products that reportedly never met the expectations of L’Oréal. More here.
Who wore it better? The Evan Spiegel Vogue photo shoot edition.
EMC CEO Joe Tucci could make about $30 million for selling his company to Dell.
That was fast: Six months ago, Snapchat hired Marcus Wiley — former co-head of comedy development at Fox Broadcasting — to run original content programming for its Snap Channel. Now, it has “done a course correction on its original content strategy, opting to shut down its Snap Channel permanently, leading to the departure of a number of executives” including Wiley, reports Deadline. More here.
Facebook Messenger: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s app for everything.
New media companies — including BuzzFeed, Vice Media and Huffington Post — are increasingly venturing into the older medium of television.
Tesla’s batteries aren’t just for cars anymore. They’ll be used in battery farms at buildings around California.
How America’s biggest for-profit college fleeced the U.S. military and taxpayers.
Soft rock is alive and well and, evidently, now called “yacht rock.”
Stephen Colbert shares rejected TED talks.
The 21.5-inch iMac gets a major update.
A pomade for every occasion.