Hi, happy Wednesday, all. Fun seeing a number of you at various events yesterday.:)
Top News in the A.M.
Yahoo is reportedly lining up bids for about 3,000 patents. More here.
Short-term rental sites like Airbnb will have to play by a much tougher set of rules in San Francisco under legislation approved by its Board of Supervisors yesterday. More here.
SoftTech VC Goes Big with Two New Funds Totaling $150 Million
Back in January, we told you that SoftTech VC, a San Francisco-based seed-stage fund founded 11 years ago by investor Jeff Clavier, had promoted two of its senior investors to full partners: Andy McLoughlin and Stephanie Palmeri. The move seemed geared to bolster the firm during a time when it was out seeking more capital from its own investors.
Fast forward to today, and SoftTech is announcing that it has raised $100 million for its fifth and newest seed-stage fund. The firm has also gathered up another $50 million in capital commitments for a “breakout” fund that it will use expressly to invest in between 12 to 15 deals involving its successful portfolio companies. (Palmeri notes that the firm will never lead these deals but rather join them as follow-on investors.)
The funds effectively double the amount of money that SoftTech has been actively managing. Its last fund closed with $85 million. Its second-to-last fund closed with $55 million.
That limited partners were willing to write the firm larger checks isn’t a big surprise. SoftTech saw its biggest exit ever when the wearable fitness company Fitbit went public a year ago. It was a seed and Series A investor in the company, alongside True Ventures, another early-stage San Francisco venture firm.
Others of SoftTech’s most recent exits include Gnip, a data company that was acquired by Twitter for $134 million in 2014; Brightroll, a video ad platform acquired by Yahoo for $640 million in 2014; and LiveRamp, a maker of data onboarding software that was acquired by data management firm Acxiom for $310 million in 2014.
In a call with Clavier and Palmeri yesterday, both suggested that little will change at SoftTech, despite that it’s managing more money than in past years. The firm will still aim to secure between 7 percent and 10 percent ownership of the companies it funds. Initial checks — of between $750,000 and $1 million — will remain unchanged in size, though the firm is likely to invest in a few more companies this time around.
Amplitude, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based web and mobile analytics company, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Battery Ventures, with participation from Benchmark Capital. The company has now raised $26 million altogether. More here.
Blow, a 2.5-year-old, London-based startup that provides beauty services on demand, has raised £500,000 from Unilever Ventures, as well as via a crowdfunding campaign on the Seedrs platform. More here.
Building Robotics, a three-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based company better known as Comfy, has raised $12 million in Series B funding for its automation software that helps companies save energy on office air conditioning. Emergence Capital led the investment, with participation from Microsoft Ventures and the real estate services company CBRE.
Buildium, a 12-year-old, Boston-based startup that sells software for rental property managers, has raised $65 million in funding from Sumeru Equity Partners. Fortune has the story here.
Celonis, a five-year-old, Munich-based business-to-business optimization software company, has raised $27.5 million in Series A funding led by Accel Partners and 83North. TechCrunch has more here.
Cylance, a four-year-old Irvine, Ca.-based cybersecurity company that leverages artificial intelligence and algorithmic science, has raised $100 million in Series D funding co-led by The Blackstone Group and Insight Venture Partners. Earlier backers DFJ Growth, KKR, Dell Ventures, Capital One Ventures and TenEleven Ventures also joined the round. VentureBeat hasmore here.
Ginko Bioworks, an eight-year-old, Boston-based biotech startup that launched out of Y Combinator in 2014 and makes all sorts of scents and flavors from microbugs, has raised $100 million in Series C funding, including from YC’s Continuity Fund, Senator Investment Group, Cascade Investment, Baillie Gifford, Viking Global Investors and Allen & Company. TechCrunch has more here.
Midokura, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based software network virtualization company, has raised $20.4 million in Series B funding from the Japanese fintech company Simplex, with participation from earlier backers Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and Allen Miner, who is a member of Midokura’s board of directors. The company has now raised more than $44 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
Nuxeo, a 16-year-old, New York-based open source content management platform for business applications, has raised $10 million in fresh capital from Kennet Partners. More here.
Omicia, a seven-year-old, Oakland, Ca.-based maker of clinical genome interpretation and reporting software, has raised $23 million in Series B funding from UPMC Enterprises, Roche Venture Fund, LDV Partners, and Ping An Ventures, along with earlier backers ARTIS Ventures, Acadia Woods Partners and Buchanan Investments. More here.
Longitude Capital, a life science investment firm targeting mostly mid- to late-stage companies, has held a first close on Longitude Venture Partners III, raising a total of $525 million, according to the company. MedCity News has more here.
Y Combinator President Sam Altman was denied entry into the Ritz hotel in London yesterday because of his “sport shoes.” (Rulez.)
Nir Blumberger, a former corporate development executive at Facebook, has joined Accel’s London office as a venture partner. TechCrunch has more here.
Secret cofounder David Byttow is back with a new startup called Bold. More here.
Ousted Lending Club CEO and co-founder Renaud Laplanche has been speaking to private equity firms and banks about a potential buyout of the online lender, according to Reuters. More here.
Ellen Pao, the former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner who unsuccessfully sued the venture firm for gender discrimination, has just landed a book deal with Random House to write about the tech industry’s culture. Recode has more here.
A quick look at who’s voting for which U.S. presidential candidate in Silicon Valley.
The Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is having to scale back its global ambitions.
For good or bad, Austin denizens have come up with their own way to fill the void left by Uber and Lyft.
The best CEOs in the U.S., according to the people who work for them.
What Tesla just showed us about the future of car crashes.
Beard Bib. (No returns, obviously.)