Archive for the ‘norwest venture partners’ tag
Venture capital attempted to solve national crises today, from the Great Mobile Developer Shortage of 2012 to the obesity epidemic plaguing data storage to the disintegration of communities across America. Where would we be without them?
Tintri raises $25M for trippy-sounding infrastructure: virtualized flash storage
Tintri, a startup that produces flash storage appliances for virtual machines, announced today that it’s closed an oversubscribed $25 million round of funding. Tintri compresses information using solid state disks, rather than bulky hard drives, and makes use of flash technology so data storage is more compact and cost-effective.
This is the company’s fourth funding round. It was led by Menlo Ventures. Existing investors NEA and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated, bringing the company’s total capital raised to over $60 million. Read more on VentureBeat.
Apigee raises another $20M to expand its powerful API platform
API management startup Apigee has raised $20 million in its fifth round of funding to help it expand into new markets, the company announced today. More than 100 billion API calls per month run through Apigee’s platform. Notable Apigee clients include Walgreens, Netflix, eBay, Pearson, Gilt Groupe, Bechtel, and Getty Images. The new round of funding was led by Focus Ventures, with participation by prior investors Bay Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, SAP Ventures, and Third Point Ventures. Read more on VentureBeat.
StackSocial grabs $800K to bring stores to tech publications
Startup StackSocial has raised $800,000 to help take its tech deals platform public, the company announced today. StackSocial basically provides a white-label daily deals-like store for news publications to place within their website.
StackSocial is part of the first batch of companies from the LA-based startup accelerator Amplify. The new seed fund includes investments from 500 Startups, Tim Draper, Paige Craig, Siemer Ventures, EchoVC Partners, and others. Along with the funding news, StackSocial also announced partnerships to bring its platform to a number of other tech sites, such as TechRadar, MacLife, Maximum PC, and GamesRadar. Read more on VentureBeat.
Xamarin takes $12M to solve the mobile developer shortage
In order to address the mobile developer shortage of 2012, investors threw $12 million at Xamarin, the company that houses Mono, a project that allows for cross-platform development between multiple operating systems and code bases. Charles River Ventures, Ignition Partners, and Floodgate all contributed to the effort to solve this crisis. This is Xamarin’s first institutional round of funding. Read more on VentureBeat.
Nextdoor takes $18.6M to strengthen communities across America
Nextdoor, a private social network for the neighborhood, announced today that it has raised $18.6 million in funding. The site provides a trusted and protected online space for neighbors to engage with each other, with the overarching goal of making communities across America safer and stronger.
This recent round of funding is the first explicitly invested for Nextdoor and was led by Benchmark Capital as well as DAG Ventures, Greylock Partners, and Shasta Ventures.
The money will be used to scale the network, which Nextdoor founder Nirav Tolia believes should (and will) be present in every one of the 20,000 communities across the US. Read more on VentureBeat.
Angel investor floats down from above (Canada) to bestow $15M on entrepreneurs
Version One Ventures, the micro-VC fund spearheaded by angel investor Boris Wertz, established a new $15 million pool to provide seed and first round financing for startups. Wertz will use the capital to make $250K and $500K investments in consumer Internet, e-commerce, software-as-a-service, and mobile companies across America.
Version One began after Wertz met with notable success as an angel investor, making over 35 investments, including six exits and acquisitions by big players like Google, Twitter, Salesforce, and Groupon. This recent fundraising was led by former President and COO of Yahoo Jeff Mallett and has already gone to support five companies: Top Hat Monocle (interactive learning platform), Julep (multi-channel beauty brand), Jobber (business management software for contractors), Instacanv.as (Instagram artist marketplace) and Sunnytrail (social intelligence platform). Read the press release.
Mitre Media packs $8.6M in heat, shows off significant assets
Mitre Media, a provider of financial content and tools for well-endowed investors (I am referring to net worth — get your mind out of the gutter) raised $8.6 million led by iNovia Capital. This financial media startup was founded by Tom Hendrickson, a former partner at Investopedia.com, and targets financial advisors and decision makers. As this segment of the population tends to have money under its belt (there you go again), Mitre Media has thousands of paying users who help bring in millions of dollars in revenue. In addition to raising capital, Mitre Media also announced its first two acquisitions: Dividend.com and ETFdb.com.
Chute reaches $2.7M rung on investment ladder
Chute, a startup that helps developers quickly and easily bring multimedia content into their apps, today sealed a $2.7 million funding deal led by Freestyle Capital with participation from Battery Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, and a handful of corporations and individuals, including Salesforce.com, Klout co-founder Joe Fernandez.
The startup makes it simple for developers to get images into their apps with “a cloud-based backend for image uploading, processing, moderation, third-party API integrations, and user authentication,” all with a few lines of code. So far, the young company’s client base includes a wide range of big-name brands, from NBCNews.com and Lucky Magazine to Havaianas flip flops and House of Blues. Read more on VentureBeat.
Filed under: deals
More than 100 billion API calls per month run through Apigee’s platform. Notable Apigee clients include Walgreens, Netflix, eBay, Pearson, Gilt Groupe, Bechtel, and Getty Images. Just a week ago, the company acquired assets from Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) to help it expand its tech further.
“There will soon be a trillion mobile devices connected to the Internet, and consumers are spending more time on mobile apps than on the Web,” Apigee CEO Chet Kapoor said in a statement. “Every business — from technology startups to brick-and-mortar giants — needs an API to compete in a digital economy that is increasingly dominated by apps as the primary vehicle for communicating, connecting, and e-commerce.”
The new round of funding was led by Focus Ventures, with participation by prior investors Bay Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, SAP Ventures, and Third Point Ventures.
Palo Alto-based Apigee was founded in 2004 and has raised about $72 million total to date.
After a long delay, travel search site Kayak finally started trading on the NASDAQ this morning and saw its stock jump 14 percent to $30.10.
Kayak last night priced its IPO at $26, above its prior range of $23 to $25, Bloomberg reports. Trading this morning reached a high of $33.65 at the time of this post (and it’s still rising), according to NASDAQ’s figures.
The company managed to raise $91 million by selling 3.5 million shares, and with this morning’s trading performance it’s now worth $1 billion. The IPO was led by Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank Securities, with underwriters Piper Jaffray, Stifel Nicolaus, and Pacific Crest.
Eight-year-old Kayak offers a way to easily search for cheap flights, hotels, and car rentals. The company faces competition from other travel sites like Microsoft’s Expedia, Travelocity, and hot travel startup Hipmunk. Judging from recent LinkedIn updates, it also looks like the company is eyeing an expansion into Russia.
Kayak originally filed to go public back in November 2010, but it held off due to shaky markets and earnings. Later rumors indicated it would follow Facebook’s public offering, but the controversy around that stock forced yet another delay. As the first Internet company to go public after Facebook, the company’s stock will be closely watched by analysts and technology firms alike.
Norwalk, Conn.-based Kayak previously raised $223 million from investors including Accel Partners, Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Lehman Brothers, Norwest Venture Partners, and Aol.
Photo via Shutterstock
Lightspeed Venture Partners has had a phenomenal run in the next generation storage market. In the past 12 to 14 months, four of its portfolio companies have been acquired and one has gone to IPO. Here they are:
- XtremIO sold in May to EMC for an estimated $430 million.
- In June, SK Hynix said it will acquire Link-a-Media.
- Portfolio company IO Turbine sold for $95 million to Fusion-io.
- Fusion-IO, also a Lightspeed investment, had an IPO last summer. It is now valued at $1.7 billion.
- Lightspeed sold its investment in Pliant Technology when SanDisk bought the company for $327 million last May.
This week the venture capital firm made an investment in storage provider Avere Systems. The Series C funding round was led by Lightspeed and also includes previous investors Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and Tenaya Capital. Avere has now received $52 million in overall funding.
Avere Systems gives a window into the disruptions facing storage companies and why Lightspeed has had such success by investing in the sector.
Lightscale Partner Chris Schaepe says flash, virtualization and the cloud are the big disruptors in the storage market.
Flash makes data available far faster than hard disk, which relies on mechanical parts to spin its discs. That’s increasingly important in this age of big data. Hard disks don’t spin fast enough to manage the new deluge of data that runs in and out of the enterprise.
Virtualization has allowed companies to consolidate its servers but with a storage cost. It often means finding new ways to keep the apps running at the same performance level. Servers get overloaded as virtualization taxes the system. New storage environments are needed to accommodate virtual machine loads.
Cloud computing has changed the way IT views the enterprise. Over the next few years, we will see continued focus on how companies turn IT into a service. They will need ways to bridge its existing infrastructure with public, scaled out architectures from providers such as Rackspace and Amazon Web Services.
Schaepe says that Avere is at the center of this disruption. It has hardware that speeds up performance by caching data and integrating a hierarchy of storage media from DRAMthrough Flash memory and disk drives. This allows the most frequently accessed data to be served quickly. Less frequently accessed data is migrated to slower and cheaper storage tiers such as storage disk systems.
For Schaepe, it makes for a compelling story. Avere’s “edge filers,” helps an enterprise provider get better performance. Capacity issues are handled by traditional disk-based storage. That means companies don’t have to keep adding storage boxes to optimize performance. Performance is managed by the edge filers. Avere is also well-suited to companies adopting the cloud as the technology is designed to integrate on-premise and off-premise infrastructure.
Looking from the outside, it’s the data story Avere offers that I find most compelling. Avere’s products helps IT organizations consolidate the management of distributed data across different locations and vendors. The data is pooled, That solves a key challenge. Data is often left in solos. By pooling it, a company can capitalize on its data assets.
Schaepe said Lightspeed identified disruptive trends in the storage about five years ago. They saw the price of Flash and DRAM begin to drop. That became a critical factor for the innovation cycle. It helped startups innovate with next generation storage architectures that fit well with the maturing trends in IT around virtualization and scale-out architectures. Other Lightspeed portfolio companies:
- Tintri combines Flash and disk media. it has developed a storage management software that is customized for the needs of needs of virtual machines.
- Nimble combines primary storage and backup in a system with Flash and disk media.
- Nutanix combines compute and storage. That allows for consolidation of infrastructure environments – a huge priority as companies seek to shed their data centers.
Data is the disruptor. Lightspeed seems to understand this by investing in companies that will be crucial in shaping next generation architectures for the new age of data.
Music-focused startup The Echo Nest has raised $17.3 million in its fourth round of funding, a move that will help it improve its music platform, which powers many popular music apps around the web and on mobile devices.
Some of the coolest apps The Echo Nest powers include Spotify Radio, VEVO’s “match” iTunes scanner, iHeartRadio’s customized radio stations, Thisismyjam, and MTV Music Meter. It recently also supercharged its music platform with data from JamBase and SongMeanings to keep getting smarter. The company charges each company it works with to use its powerful “data-as-a-service.”
“We spend a ton of time trying to understand music identity and give insights to music fans,” Echo Nest CEO Jim Lucchese told VentureBeat. “We’ll help you understand your music better and make the music understand you.”
The new round of funding was led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation by former investors Matrix Partners and Commonwealth Capital Ventures. With the new round, the company has raised about $27 million total. The new funds will mostly go toward expanding the company’s sales and marketing team but will also go toward improving its platform further.
“We’ve had a big engineering team, but a relatively small sales team,” Lucchese said.
Somerville, Mass.-based Echo Nest was founded in 2005 and has 40 employees. Lucchese said the company is now “hiring aggressively.”
Image credit: Anna Paff/Shutterstock
The company’s software-as-a-service detects back doors in your network, discovering malware attacks that have previously gone undetected.
As much as the cloud is for developing cool apps, it is also a place for botnets. The botnet culture thrives upon our daily immersion into the online world. The botnets are mostly networks of personal computers overtaken by malicious software that is controlled by a master program. The master directs the slaves to act on its behalf, in the industry terminology. People will click on a link in Twitter, on the Web or in email. The malware will then attack and take control.
It could not be a better time to be in this criminal world. There are just too many endpoints out there. By an endpoint I mean that tablet in your purse, the smartphone you look at all day and the laptop back at the house where you do your work.
People work at home. People have lots of devices. And we all spend far more time online. For a lot of us, IT is in some distant place.
That means we need new ways to protect the network. Other new startups like Bromium are cropping up — it sees a future with security built deep into the devices with micro-virtualization capabilities that isolates malware without the user even knowing there was an attack.
Seculert takes a different approach, actually monitoring botnet traffic. It will look for your IP addresses in the botnet itself. If it finds one, it knows you are under attack. If it finds relevant data, it uploads the information to the Seculert Cloud. You are then given access to that information through a secure Web-based dashboard, as well as through email alerts, and RESTful APIs.
For additional advanced persistent threat detection, you can upload your log files, such as Blue Coat, Squid or others, to Seculert Cloud. It will then analyze your logs with Hadoop to identify advanced threats to your organization.
Seculert will use the funding to open an office in the Bay Area and add more people to develop its technology. The company received a seed round in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.
The eight-year-old flight-, hotel-, and car-reservation service originally filed for its IPO back in Nov. 2010, but shaky financial markets and earnings gave the company pause. There were reports that Kayak would IPO weeks after Facebook debuted its record-setting IPO, but Facebook’s highly disappointing start made Kayak delay further.
Kayak now plans to offer 4 million shares while raising a maximum of $100.6 million, according to its S-1, and it wants to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol “KYAK.” The IPO will be led by Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank Securities, with Piper Jaffray, Stifel Nicolaus, and Pacific Crest acting as underwriters.
In January, Kayak redesigned its popular site. Kayak’s financial position recently got brighter as well, with a decent performance in the quarter ending March 31. Kayak said that it earned $4.15 million profit on revenue of $73.3 million, which is much better than the $6.9 million loss on $52.6 million in revenue in the year-ago quarter.
Norwalk, Conn.-based Kayak has raised $223 million to date from investors including Accel Partners, Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Lehman Brothers, Norwest Venture Partners, and AOL.
Photo credit: MarchCattle/Shutterstock
Filed under: deals
Extole is announcing a new version of its marketing platform today. The big new feature: “Social expressions” that integrate with the Facebook Open Graph.
Founder and CEO Brad Klaus says that the new stuff, in particular, taps into a larger marketing trend, where brands are finding new ways to communicate with consumers: “The landscape is shifting from brand-to-consumer to consumer-to-consumer.” That means that the most effective form of promotion isn’t traditional advertising or its online equivalent, but instead turning fans into advocates for the company.
Extole already helps businesses manage social promotions and referrals, such as offering a discount to anyone who refers a certain number of friends to their website. Now those businesses can create special actions that tap into the Facebook Open Graph.
TastingRoom.com has already been using the new feature. When oenophiles visit one of TastingRoom’s wine listings, they’ll see they now have more options than simply “liking” the wine — they can say they “want it”, “tried it”, or “recommend” it. Klaus says it’s not simply a matter of giving fans more verbs to use, because when someone clicks one of those options, they’re also asked to install TastingRoom’s Open Graph app, giving the company more data about potential advocates. And TastingRoom could further promote itself by paying to turn that fan activity into Sponsored Stories.
We’ve already covered tons of Open Graph apps, but now Extole is giving that power to brands and businesses. Any Extole customer an create its own Social Expressions, though the company needs to get Facebook approval before implementing new ones. In addition to TastingRoom, launch partners include T-Mobile, Vogue, Zazzle, Seamless, and Folica.
Extole has raised $22 million from Norwest Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Trident Capital, and Shasta Ventures.
Blue Jeans Network, a video conferencing company founded by a serial entrepreneur who has sold two companies to Cisco, is adding another $25 million to its coffers from NEA, Accel and Norwest Venture Partners.
Interestingly enough, quite of bit of that capital will be going toward a marketing campaign meant to woo enterprise customers away from other video conferencing providers. Such is the nature of enterprise-focused companies, which often needs a more marketing and sales-intensive strategy to acquire customers.
The company’s already got a billboard in San Francisco (pictured above) and the goal is to get more companies to switch from pure audio conferencing to video conferencing. Blue Jeans counts Facebook, Match.com and Stanford among its clientele. Today’s round brings the company’s total funding to just shy of $50 million.
Paired with the funding today are a few product updates. Blue Jeans recently launched a browser-based conferencing solution that’s inter-operable with everything from Skype to Google Hangouts, Cisco or Polycom. Then there are some minor feature releases like the ability to build customized log-in pages and single sign-on for employees.
The company recently released a new product meant to kill those expensive video conferencing units called MCUs or multipoint control units, that can cost north of $250,000. Blue Jeans’ video-conferencing service starts at $299 per port (or per party involved in calls).
The Rafter Course Materials Network is a suite of cloud-based software that helps colleges improve how they distribute course materials, making them more affordable and effective for administrators, educators, and students alike, the company claims. HubEdu provides textbook adoption data, comparison shopping, and analytics in an effort to help schools manage their pricing. The integration of HubEdu technology into the Rafter network will give more than 500 colleges and universities the tools to make education less expensive.
“The majority of students who begin college don’t graduate, and the reason they don’t graduate is cost,” said Rafter CEO Mehdi Maghsoodnia. “Course materials are the second highest college expense behind tuition. We’re empowering our partner schools to better serve their students and reduce their cost of education by bringing world-class technology and analytics to educators, administrators, and college stores. The HubEdu team shares our vision of using technology to make education more affordable and effective, and we are excited to have them join our team at Rafter.”
In 2012, Rafter evolved out of textbook rental site BookRenter.com. The company has raised a total of over $60 million in funding from Adams Capital Management, Comerica Bank, Focus Ventures, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Storm Ventures. This marks their first major acquisition and continued growth within the textbook rental space. It is a competitive place to be. In 2011, VCs invested nearly $430 million in the edtech companies, and competitor Chegg has $200 million in funding under its belt.
Rafter is headquartered in San Mateo, Calif. With the merger, the HubEdu team of four will relocate from San Diego. Over the next few months, HubEdu’s technology and services will be integrated into Rafter’s platform so all the schools working with Rafter will have access to those tools.
Filed under: deals