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"

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"

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"

Crowdfunder Opens Access to VC-Backed Deals

Getting access to investments in hot tech startups has traditionally been reserved for a few people with the right connections–venture capitalists, entrepreneurs or people who are in a position to get to know venture capitalists and entrepreneurs and have enough money to invest. Crowdfunder Inc. is hoping to change that with a new venture capital fund–the Crowdfunder VC Index Fund–that will offer access to a portfolio of hundreds of venture-capital backed startups. Investors can put money directly into startups–pending the approval of the founder, who decides whether to share information on his or her company–or into the index fund to spread their bets. “Traditional VCs invest in 20 to 40 deals per fund, while we target up to 1,000 per fund,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Chance Barnett. “It’s a new way of thinking about how to approach venture–through diversification, and not through divining intelligence and not ‘I can pick Continue reading "Crowdfunder Opens Access to VC-Backed Deals"

AirMap Lands $15 Million for Airspace Management

Airspace management system AirMap wants to keep the skies safe, even as they fill up with more drones. The company provides an awareness tool, called the Digital Notice and Awareness System, to help pilots of manned and unmanned aircraft avoid collisions. The company partners with drone manufacturers such as DJI and 3DRobotics who use their integration. It also has a pilot program, announced last week, with over 50 U.S. airports to provide information and services designed to allow drones to fly near airports safely. App developers use the company’s software development kit to build apps on top of AirMap’s technology. “We make it very, very simple for millions of end users to understand that it’s safe to fly in the airspace,” said AirMap co-founder and Chief Executive Ben Marcus. With the new funding, the company plans to build new capabilities, including tools for air-traffic controllers. AirMap’s freemium access also Continue reading "AirMap Lands $15 Million for Airspace Management"

Airware Takes Off With $30 Million for Commercial Drone Operating System

Airware, which has developed an operating system for commercial drone use, has raised $30 million in Series C funding in a round led by Next World Capital. Airware, incorporated as Unmanned Innovation Inc ., offers enterprise customers a software platform to manage their use of commercial drones. Airware helps enterprise customers ensure regulatory compliance and then dispatches the flight jobs themselves to the company’s own employees or to a third-party operator. Current regulations say that only pilots licensed to fly manned aircraft may operate commercial drones. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to release new regulations by June that would replace that requirement with a license specific to drone operation. That change will substantially lower the cost of operating drones for Airware and its commercial clients, Airware Chief Executive Jonathan Downey said, and allow more companies to let their employees pilot the drones (find out more at Drone Pedia). “Our goal is to get the technology Continue reading "Airware Takes Off With $30 Million for Commercial Drone Operating System"

On-Demand Massage Startup Zeel Grabs $10M

Zeel Networks Inc. Chief Executive Samer Hamadeh wants to make in-home massages safe for therapists and customers. His company is expanding to several U.S. cities next week.
Zeel Networks Inc.
Zeel Networks Inc., an on-demand massage provider, has closed $10 million of a $12 million Series A round. The funding comes as the service, which is available in 20 cities, is slated to expand into three more areas. Zeel plans to launch in Phoenix, Austin and Seattle on Monday. Emil Capital Partners led the round, which has participation from Slow Ventures, Partech Ventures, New Atlantic Ventures and Spafinder. The company didn’t disclose its valuation but has raised $11.5 million to date. Zeel took a circuitous path to its on-demand massages business. When the company first launched in 2010, its founders envisioned it would be a service like ZocDoc but for alternative medicine. Instead the team quickly noticed half Continue reading "On-Demand Massage Startup Zeel Grabs $10M"