The Daily Startup: Second Genome Raises $42.6 Million to Pursue Microbiome-Based Therapies

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] Second Genome Inc. has attracted the venture arms of two drug companies to a $42.6 million financing that will enable it to develop disease treatments based on research into the population of microbes that live in and on the body. The more than 100 trillion microorganisms living in and on the body, the microbiome, influence disease and health, research indicates. For Second Genome, the interest that the venture arms of Pfizer and Roche showed in its financing validates two premises on which the company is based. One is that the microbiome is involved in multiple diseases. The other is that Second Genome’s particular approach to microbiome-based therapy is one that should appeal to drug manufacturers, according to Chief Executive Peter DiLaura. Instead of using microbes as drugs, Second Genome Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Second Genome Raises $42.6 Million to Pursue Microbiome-Based Therapies"

The Daily Startup: Rinse Puts New Spin on Dry Cleaning

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] As venture capital investment slowed in the first quarter, investors slammed the brakes on funding for consumer services. But some investors still bet consumers will pay to have drivers pick up their laundry so they don’t have to haul it to dry cleaners themselves: San Francisco-based Rinse Inc. grabbed $6 million in Series A funding, Cat Zakrzewski reports for VentureWire. In the on-demand economy, few services besides food delivery have become as crowded as laundry. Washio Inc., Laundry Locker Inc., Cleanly Inc., FlyCleaners Inc. and other competitors all focus on dry cleaning and laundry delivery. Rinse co-founder and Chief Executive Ajay Prakash pushes back against the comparison of his company to others in the on-demand laundry space. He said though the company can offer laundry service in 24 Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Rinse Puts New Spin on Dry Cleaning"

The Daily Startup: Rinse Puts New Spin on Dry Cleaning

As venture capital investment slowed in the first quarter, investors slammed the brakes on funding for consumer services. But some investors still bet consumers will pay to have drivers pick up their laundry so they don’t have to haul it to dry cleaners themselves: San Francisco-based Rinse Inc. grabbed $6 million in Series A funding, Cat Zakrzewski reports for VentureWire. In the on-demand economy, few services besides food delivery have become as crowded as laundry. Washio Inc., Laundry Locker Inc., Cleanly Inc., FlyCleaners Inc. and other competitors all focus on dry cleaning and laundry delivery. Rinse co-founder and Chief Executive Ajay Prakash pushes back against the comparison of his company to others in the on-demand laundry space. He said though the company can offer laundry service in 24 hours, he has focused on providing a quality dry cleaning experience rather than a fast one.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Rinse Puts New Spin on Dry Cleaning"

TapInfluence Taps $14 Million for Influencer Marketing

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NP701_TapInf_G_20160418215329.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NP701_TapInf_G_20160418215329.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NP701_TapInf_G_20160418215329.jpg" caption="VP of Engineering Joe Scharf, VP of Sales Francesca Cruz, Co-founder and Strategic Advisor Holly Hamann, CEO Promise Phelon, Co-founder and CPO Rustin Banks, CRO Frank Sette." credit="TapInfluence" placement="Inline" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="553" ignorerespheight="369" ] TapInfluence, a platform that connects brands with influencer marketers to promote their content online, has raised $14 million in Series B1 funding. The company, incorporated as TapInfluence Inc., has a network of about 45,000 vetted influencers. TapInfluence uses Watson, IBM’s natural-language-processing computer, to create demographic profiles of each influencer’s audience, to help marketers target their campaigns. TapInfluence also works with the Nielsen Catalina Solutions to provide its clients with attribution data on the conversions driven by each campaign and influencer. This includes return-on-investment data for both online and in-store transactions. Last year it transitioned from a fee-for-service model to a software-as-a-service Continue reading "TapInfluence Taps $14 Million for Influencer Marketing"

The Daily Startup: Illumina to Invest $100 Million Through Venture Fund

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] Genomics company Illumina, which has used venture investments and acquisitions to help fuel its growth, is ramping up its venture activity by committing to invest $100 million over 10 years through a new venture fund. Illumina has grown rapidly as demand for its DNA-sequencing systems and other life sciences-research tools has soared. The company posted $2.2 billion in 2015 revenue, a 19% jump from 2014, and over the last five years its share price has climbed to $173 from the high $60s. For several years Illumina has made venture investments through an internal fund, backing startups such as consumer-genetics company 23andMe Inc., software provider Desktop Genetics Ltd., and biotech concern Kallyope Inc. With the genomics market growing, Illumina concluded that it could extend its reach through Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Illumina to Invest $100 Million Through Venture Fund"

The Daily Startup: RefleXion Medical Spots $46 Million to Make Radiation Therapy Safer

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] RefleXion Medical Inc. has collected $46 million in Series B financing to bring to market a technology that could make radiation therapy for cancer safer and extend its benefits to more patients, Brian Gormley reports for VentureWire. New investor KCK Group, a family investment fund, led the round, which also included return backers Pfizer Venture Investments, Sofinnova Partners and Venrock. RefleXion formed in 2009 and raised seed financing from individuals before closing an $11 million Series A round in 2014. Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be used with chemotherapy and surgery in an attempt to treat or cure cancer. Today, physicians use X-rays, computed tomography scanning and magnetic resonance imaging to guide treatment. These types of imaging Continue reading "The Daily Startup: RefleXion Medical Spots $46 Million to Make Radiation Therapy Safer"

RigUp’s Oil-Well Service Gets $15 Million Despite Oil Price Dip

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NO460_RigUp_P_20160414220948.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NO460_RigUp_J_20160414220948.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NO460_RigUp_M_20160414220948.jpg" caption="RigUp co-founder and CEO Xuan Yong" credit="RigUp" placement="Inline" suppressEnlarge="false" ] During the short existence of startup RigUp Inc., the oil and gas industry it serves turned on its head. When the startup started testing its online marketplace for oil-rig projects in 2014 the price for a barrel of crude hovered around $100, oil rigs were multiplying around the country and exploration companies were making profits. Since then, the price per barrel sank to around $40 and the number of oil rigs dropped some 75%, to the lowest level since at least 1949, according to data from WTRG Economics. And yet Austin, Texas-based RigUp managed to raise a $15 million Series A round, building on top of the $3 million seed round it closed in the summer of 2014. The new round came mostly from existing investors, Continue reading "RigUp’s Oil-Well Service Gets $15 Million Despite Oil Price Dip"

The Daily Startup: GV Leads $40 Million Round for Quartet Health

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] Quartet Health Inc., which uses its technology to improve access to behavioral health care and to integrate it with physical health care, has raised $40 million to expand its offering to markets across the U.S., Brian Gormley reports for VentureWire. New investor GV (formerly Google Ventures) is leading the Series B round, which also includes previous backers F-Prime Capital Partners, Oak HC/FT Partners and Polaris Partners. Quartet formed in 2014 and raised a $7 million Series A round last year. About one in five U.S. adults experiences a mental illness in a given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Common behavioral-health conditions include depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse. Patients can have difficulty gaining access to mental-health care because of a shortage Continue reading "The Daily Startup: GV Leads $40 Million Round for Quartet Health"

Yale Clears Air on Venture Returns (and Cautions on the Limits of IRR)

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NO069_PE_Yal_P_20160414110918.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NO069_PE_Yal_J_20160414110918.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NO069_PE_Yal_M_20160414110918.jpg" caption="" credit="f11photo/shutterstock.com" placement="Inline" suppressEnlarge="false" ] When Yale University’s endowment reported this month that its venture capital portfolio earned returns of 92.7% per annum over the last two decades, skeptical readers declared that headline-grabbing number too good to be true. The $25.57 billion Ivy League endowment has cleared the air on its track record: The 92.7% return over the 20 years ended June 30 is the venture portfolio’s internal rate of return, which was lifted by outsized performance during the years of the dot-com boom, according to a statement from David Swensen, Yale’s chief investment officer. What that number isn’t, he stressed, is the portfolio’s time-weighted return over 20 years. Calculations of annualized time-weighted returns give equal weight to the performance of each year and assume distributions get reinvested so the returns compound over time. If Continue reading "Yale Clears Air on Venture Returns (and Cautions on the Limits of IRR)"

Uber Brings Motorcycle Hailing Service to Indonesia

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NG773_GIGECO_P_20160325163845.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NG773_GIGECO_J_20160325163845.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NG773_GIGECO_M_20160325163845.jpg" caption=" Published Credit: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press" credit="Jeff Chiu/Associated Press" placement="Inline" suppressEnlarge="false" ] Uber Technologies Inc. this week brought its motorcycle-taxi hailing service to Indonesia, where it will face strong competition from similar apps as startups battle for users in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. Users now can open Uber’s app and choose an option called  uberMotor to summon a motorcycle driver, who will then pick them up and ferry them to their destinations. Motorcycle taxis are common in the country because they can maneuver in the traffic-clogged streets of the capital, Jakarta, more easily than cars. At 1,000 rupiah (7 cents) per kilometer, fares for uberMotor are lower than those from rivals Go-Jek and Grab’s motorbike service, whose minimum fares are 12,000 rupiah (91 cents) and 10,000 rupiah (76 cents), respectively. Indonesia is now the third country globally where Uber’s service is available, after Thailand and India.  Users can pay for their rides with cash, the preferred method Continue reading "Uber Brings Motorcycle Hailing Service to Indonesia"

PillPack To Be Terminated From Express Scripts Pharmacy Network

[wsj-responsive-image P=" http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NN877_TJPark_E_20160413193357.jpg" J=" http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NN877_TJPark_E_20160413193357.jpg" M=" http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NN877_TJPark_E_20160413193357.jpg" caption="PillPack CEO and co-founder TJ Parker" credit="PillPack" placement="Inline" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] Pharmacy startup PillPack Inc. has a tough pill to swallow: it is about to lose about a third of its customers, as a competitor is shutting it out of its pharmacy network. Express Scripts Holding, a company that manages pharmacy benefits for tens of millions of Americans on behalf of health insurers, expects to terminate PillPack from the Express Scripts network as of the end of April, the companies said. As a result Express Scripts’ customers will no longer be able to fill their prescriptions with PillPack at low, in-network prices. “I think for us, it’s a short-term growth hit,” said TJ Parker, co-founder and chief executive of the startup. The move will affect about a third of PillPack’s customers, or Continue reading "PillPack To Be Terminated From Express Scripts Pharmacy Network"

The Daily Startup: GGV Capital Closes $1.2 Billion for New Funds

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] GGV Capital is the latest venture firm to add dry powder to the keg. Menlo Park, Calif.- and Shanghai-rooted GGV has made a final close on $1.2 billion for two main investment vehicles. GGV’s new funds tap into $900 million for its main GGV Capital VI fund and $250 million for its seed-stage-focused GGV Discover I. The firm has also set up a $50 million sidecar in the GGV Capital VI Entrepreneurs Fund, including company founders as LPs. The fundraising by GGV, which now manages $3.8 billion in eight funds, comes as venture firms have been raising funds at the highest rate since the peak of the dot-com boom, in 2000. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): NodeSource Inc. has raised a $10 million Series A round Continue reading "The Daily Startup: GGV Capital Closes $1.2 Billion for New Funds"

Max Levchin’s Affirm Raises $100 Million

[wsj-responsive-image P=" http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NN339_Levchi_G_20160412183822.jpg" J=" http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NN339_Levchi_G_20160412183822.jpg" M=" http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/BN-NN339_Levchi_G_20160412183822.jpg" caption="Max Levchin, founder of Affirm" credit="Bloomberg News" placement="Inline" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="553" ignorerespheight="369" ] Max Levchin’s financial technology startup Affirm Inc. has raised a $100 million Series D round, according to a person familiar with the matter. The funding was led by Founders Fund, according to the person. The company’s valuation is now close to $800 million, according to the research firm PitchBook Data Inc, citing a Delaware filing on the round. A spokeswoman for Affirm declined to comment on whether there has been a funding round. “There is no filing, and we have no comment,” she said. The company’s investors to date have included Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Spark Capital. It raised $275 million in debt and equity last year, with investment bank Jefferies as part of the investor pool. Affirm, started Continue reading "Max Levchin’s Affirm Raises $100 Million"

The Daily Startup: Block Storage Startup Datera Emerges With $40 Million

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] Datera Inc., a startup that provides software-based block storage similar to what Amazon Web Servicesprovides, emerged with $40 million in funding, after nearly three years of operating in stealth, Deborah Gage reports for VentureWire. Backers include Khosla Ventures, which led a Series A round in June 2013, and Samsung Ventures, which led the Series B in February 2015. Based in Mountain View, Calif., the company was valued after the B round at about $130 million, according to co-founder and Chief Executive Marc Fleischmann. Datera claims both enterprise and service-provider customers for what is essentially a storage service for clouds, something that current storage vendors, including AWS, don’t completely provide, Mr. Fleischmann said. AWS, for instance, is unlikely to focus on block storage for multiple clouds or on a Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Block Storage Startup Datera Emerges With $40 Million"

Tim Draper Puts Celebrity to Test With $190M Seed Fund

Tim Draper is putting his celebrity to work as a venture investor. The billionaire investor, who starred in the reality TV show Startup U and tried to make Silicon Valley its own state, has raised $190 million for a seed fund. His Draper Associates fund, previously a personal investment vehicle, aims to be the first $1 million put into promising startups. The iconic Silicon Valley venture capitalist may have stepped back from the firm whose marquee bears his name, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, yet his stature has only grown. “I’ve kept a high profile and that high profile tends to generate a lot of deal flow,” he said. Draper Fisher Jurvetson has backed some of the biggest household names in tech such as eBay, Skype, Twitter and Tesla. Mr. Draper in 2014 moved back from the spotlight of investing partner from DFJ’s 11th fund, but he remained on the management committee Continue reading "Tim Draper Puts Celebrity to Test With $190M Seed Fund"

Mixpanel CEO’s Unicorn Dreams Take a Back Seat to Cutting Costs

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://art.wsj.net/api/photos/33889912/smartcrop?height=499&width=749" J="http://art.wsj.net/api/photos/33889912/smartcrop?height=639&width=959" M="http://art.wsj.net/api/photos/33889912/smartcrop?height=853&width=1280" caption="Suhail Doshi, chief executive officer of Mixpanel Inc., speaks during a Bloomberg West Television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Mixpanel Inc. provides software products and analytics that improve web and mobile applications. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg  Suhail Doshi" credit="Bloomberg News" placement="Inline" suppressEnlarge="false" ] Eighteen months ago, Suhail Doshi vowed that Mixpanel Inc., the app analytics startup he co-founded, would be valued at $1 billion, making it what Silicon Valley calls a unicorn. He nearly made it, securing a $65 million investment from Andreessen Horowitz that valued the company at $865 million. But Mixpanel’s efforts to fuel rapid growth cost the startup, which is now struggling to regain its stature in a highly competitive industry. Its story reflects those of other startups seduced by a period of highflying Continue reading "Mixpanel CEO’s Unicorn Dreams Take a Back Seat to Cutting Costs"

The Daily Startup: Marxent Grabs $10 Million for Enterprise-Focused Virtual Reality

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] Marxent Labs LLC has attracted $10 million in Series B funding for its promise of bringing virtual and augmented reality experiences to retailers and manufacturers. Most virtual reality headsets today are focused on gaming, but enthusiasts believe some of the most exciting applications for the technology will be for enterprise tools. The Dayton, Ohio, company wants to be a content management system for virtual reality and provide augmented reality for commerce. Detroit Venture Partners and Stage 1 Ventures led the round. The company has raised $14 million to date. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Eighteen months ago, Suhail Doshi vowed that Mixpanel Inc., the app analytics startup he co-founded, would be valued at $1 billion, making it what Silicon Valley calls a unicorn. But Mixpanel’s efforts to fuel Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Marxent Grabs $10 Million for Enterprise-Focused Virtual Reality"

Homemade Feasts on $2.1 Million for Home-Cooked Meals

Does smelling your neighbors’ barbecue ribs make you wish you could invite yourself over? Homemade, an app that lets home cooks make money cooking for their neighbors, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding. “Homemade is what I would term empowerment tech. This is very much not a gig economy company,” said company co-founder Nick Devane, adding the startup uses technology to help people “share food in their homes.” Chefs must apply to join the platform, disclosing their experience and certifications. Chefs can price and post photographs of their dishes, which are priced at $11 per serving on average. Diners using the app, now on iOS only, can view scheduled meals near them. Like a crowdfunding campaign, the meal is only activated if the chef gets interest from a minimum number of diners. People are expected to pick up the food at the cook’s house or can have Continue reading "Homemade Feasts on $2.1 Million for Home-Cooked Meals"

The Daily Startup: Luxe Valet Parks $50 Million Round Led by Hertz

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_E_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="359" ignorerespheight="239" ] Luxe Valet Inc., a parking and car services company, raised $50 million in funding led by Hertz Global Holdings. Luxe Chief Executive Curtis Lee said the strategic investment was sensible because the car rental company is in a related area. He said the deal doesn’t change Luxe’s focus on parking. “Hertz wanted to work with us because of our consumer on-demand business,” Mr. Lee said. He said the deal with Hertz woconnect the company to Hertz’s customers, who primarily are outside local areas where they know where to park. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Luma, the maker of a high-end wireless consumer router, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding led by Accel, with a significant strategic investment from the Amazon Alexa Fund. Amid Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Luxe Valet Parks $50 Million Round Led by Hertz"