Andreessen Horowitz has a new, $450 million bio fund

 Almost exactly two years ago, the venture firm Andreessen Horowitz took the wraps off a $200 million “biofund” that aimed to invest at the intersection of biology and engineering and was being led by its (then) new general partner, Vijay Pande. Pande argued at the time that it was finally possible to invest in software-enabled biotech ideas — without having to wait eons for… Read More

In the world of VC, harassment claims aren’t necessarily a deal killer

 Silicon Valley has hardly been immune. In the world of venture capital, two of the highest-profile poster boys for this uprising (as of this writing) are venture capitalists Steve Jurvetson, formerly of the venture firm DFJ, and Shervin Pishevar, who cofounded the firm Sherpa Capital and has, in recent days, taken a leave of absence from the outfit. While seemingly devastating body blows for… Read More

Why scaling to the U.S. is way more complicated than it looks

 Earlier today, at the TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin event, founder Timo Rein took the stage alongside venture capitalists Andy McLoughlin of the early-stage firm Uncork Capital and Thomas Korte of the accelerator AngelPad. The grouping wasn’t accidental. Rein, a former salesman who founded his CRM software company Pipedrive in 2010, launched the company in his home country of Estonia, soon… Read More

Farmers Business Network just raked in a whopping $110 million in Series D funding

 Farmers Business Network has raised $110 million in new venture funding to support a business that may sound boring to some Silicon Valley technologists but which appears to have addressed a very real need: it’s a social network for farmers that invites them to share their data, pool their know-how, and bargain more effectively for better pricing from third parties. It’s a real… Read More

NFX Guild gets more serious about investing with a $150 million fund

 Roughly two years after emerging on the scene as a new Bay Area accelerator, NFX Guild, an outfit run by several seasoned founders, has raised $150 million for a full-fledged venture fund. It’s quite a ways from the $10 million that NFX used to get started, but as is often the case with these things, the firm’s ambitions have grown with time. Read More

Famed VC Jim Breyer on finding the next Mark Zuckerberg (and much more)

 Yesterday, at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, we caught up with Jim Breyer, among the most famous venture capitalists in Silicon Valley thanks to a decades-long track record of smart bets, most notably in Facebook. Breyer was the managing partner at Accel Partners, which invested $12.7 million in Facebook in 2005 when the company was priced around $100 million; that bet proved to be… Read More

Hayley Barna just became the first female GP in First Round’s history

 Founder turned investor Hayley Barna is now a general partner with the early-stage venture firm First Round Capital. The appointment comes roughly one-and-a-half years after Barna — who cofounded the seven-year-old Birchbox, a start-up that mails monthly packages of beauty samples to subscribers —  joined First Round as a venture partner. Barna is based in New York and focused… Read More

Tusk Ventures has closed its debut fund with $36 million

 Bradley Tusk, a former political operative who helps companies launch political-style campaigns, runs several businesses. One of them, Tusk Ventures, has been working with startups for a couple of years and, until recently, accepted its payment in equity only. That changed in early 2016 when the outfit began raising money from outside investors looking to get into some of those deals. Read More

Peter Thiel isn’t so sure self-driving tech is a good investment

 Billionaire investor Peter Thiel doesn’t like investing in trends, he’s fond of saying. It’s a mantra he repeated this week at the Future Investment Initiative, an investment forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he took the stage with journalist Maria Bartiromo. Asked about where he’s investing, he noted that he’s looking outside of Silicon Valley largely, but… Read More

The women of DFJ push back on claims that “predatory behavior” is rampant

 Several women who either work at venture firm DFJ or have worked for the 30-year-old outfit in the past are pushing back against new allegations that founders should be wary of approaching the firm owing to “predatory behavior” that is “rampant.” Yesterday, The Information reported that Steve Jurvetson, a cofounder of DFJ, is being investigated for sexual harassment,… Read More

Coursera’s chief product officer just left to become a VC

 Tom Willerer, who has spent the last four years with the online education company Coursera — the last two as its chief product officer — is moving on from the outfit to become a venture capitalist. Specifically, Willerer is joining Venrock, a venture firm founded nearly 50 years ago to build off the successful investing activities of the Rockefeller family. Read More

Benchmark just funded a stealthy AI company founded by Qualcomm’s former head of R&D

 Nayeem Islam has spent the last eight years with chipmaker Qualcomm, where he founded its Silicon Valley-based R&D facility, recruited its entire team and oversaw research on all aspects of security, including applying analysis techniques like machine learning on mobile devices and in the network to detect threats early. Now Islam and a group of former execs have created their own company… Read More

Benchmark just funded a stealthy AI company founded by Qualcomm’s former head of R&D

 Nayeem Islam has spent the last eight years with chipmaker Qualcomm, where he founded its Silicon Valley-based R&D facility, recruited its entire team and oversaw research on all aspects of security, including applying analysis techniques like machine learning on mobile devices and in the network to detect threats early. Now Islam and a group of former execs have created their own company… Read More

Atomic, a startup studio backed by Peter Thiel, ups its ambitions

 Atomic isn’t a household brand, but Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen know it fairly intimately. The two billionaire investors, along with the venture firm Felicis Ventures, were among the earliest investors in the four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup studio, which closed its debut fund with $20 million. Now Atomic is looking to raise five times that much capital for its… Read More

Icon Ventures raises its biggest fund ever, though just by a smidgen

 Funds have been ballooning in size as more money continues to flood into Silicon Valley, looking for higher returns than can be found elsewhere. VCs also like raising progressively bigger funds because doing so gives them bragging rights. Now Icon Ventures has closed its sixth fund with $265 million in commitments — its largest fund to date. Read More