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

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"

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: 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"

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"

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"

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"

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"

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"

The Daily Startup: Index Ventures Backs Intercom in $50 Million Series D

[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" ] Intercom Inc., a customer communication platform, has raised $50 million in Series D financing led by new investor Index Ventures. The San Francisco startup’s service offers products for enterprise customers’ sales, marketing, product and support teams to coordinate their communication with customers. The funding comes less than a year after Intercom’s last round, a $35 million Series C raised in August. Intercom Chief Executive Eoghan McCabe said the company wasn’t seeking more funding. “Our financings have always been opportunistic. We’ve never gone out to raise,” he said. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Following the success of medical-insurance startup Oscar Insurance Corp., venture capitalists are joining with the former chief executive of UnitedHealthcare to launch health insurer Bright Health with $80 million in financing. After two years of Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Index Ventures Backs Intercom in $50 Million Series D"

The Daily Startup: Prosper Marketplace Execs Cashed In on Soaring Valuation

[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" ] Executives at Prosper Marketplace Inc. sold shares last year after a hefty financing round, cashing in on a soaring valuation at an expense to the online lender whose success remains far from guaranteed, Yuliya Chernova reports. Pulling cash out of startups in such arrangements isn’t extraordinary. But the amount taken off the table and the timing of the sale are unusual, according to a person familiar with such deals. Prosper CEO Aaron Vermut was among five executives who in June collectively sold $24.9 million of their common shares, according to a securities filing last month. Prosper bought the shares back with funds it raised as part of a $165 million Series D in April 2015 that valued the startup at $1.9 billion post-money. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Prosper Marketplace Execs Cashed In on Soaring Valuation"

The Daily Startup: Persado Raises $30 Million Led by Goldman Sachs

[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" ] Persado Inc. continues its push to automate tasks traditionally done by humans, raising $30 million for software that figures out how to motivate people to buy things in real time. The funding is a Series C round led by Goldman Sachsat a valuation that is tripled since January 2015, which was Persado’s previous round, the company said. All current investors participated. Persado has created software that rapidly considers and tests multiple alternatives in how a company should communicate with a customer or a segment of customers, testing the strength of different phrases, word choices and emotional approaches to get people to take action—answer an email, respond to a text message or click on an ad on Facebook. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Nimbus Therapeutics LLC, whose corporate structure Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Persado Raises $30 Million Led by Goldman Sachs"

The Daily Startup: Medical Investor Thomas McNerney & Partners Winding Down

[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" ] After raising two funds and making several successful investments, the team of medical investor Thomas McNerney & Partners has decided to wind down the firm instead of raising a third partnership, Brian Gormley reports for VentureWire. Thomas McNerney invested across asset classes and medical sectors, funding startups such as Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc., in which it was the first institutional investor, and betting on mature companies such as Bausch & Lomb Inc. Drug developer Auspex went public in 2014 and merged with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries the following year in a $3.2 billion deal. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International paid $8.7 billion to buy eye-care company Bausch & Lomb in 2013. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Technology Foundation of the Americas, a business-to-business technology conference doing business as eMerge Americas, Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Medical Investor Thomas McNerney & Partners Winding Down"

The Daily Startup: PanTheryx Closes $53M Financing to Treat Infectious Diarrhea

[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" ] PanTheryx Inc. has closed a $53 million equity financing agreement to support the launch of a nutritional product for infectious diarrhea, a leading cause of death among children under age 5 world-wide. Pegasus Capital Advisors provided the capital. Diarrhea, usually caused by infection, deprives children of nutrients they need to grow. Each year diarrhea kills about 760,000 children under age 5, according to the World Health Organization. Diarrheal disease is also the second-leading cause of death in children under 5 years old, according to WHO. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Red Swan Ventures, a seed-stage venture firm born out of Bonobos Inc. founder and Chief Executive Andy Dunn’s angel investing interests, has halted making new investments. Juicero has unveiled its organic home juicing business and revealed that investors Continue reading "The Daily Startup: PanTheryx Closes $53M Financing to Treat Infectious Diarrhea"

The Daily Startup: Steven Burrill Barred From Securities Industry

[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" ] Life sciences investor G. Steven Burrill and his namesake investment firm Burrill Capital Management agreed to pay $5.79 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that he siphoned money from a 2006 venture capital fund for his own coffers and to prop up other business ventures, Dawn Lim reports for VentureWire. The settlement shows that SEC scrutiny of alternative asset managers can also extend to venture capital firms, which typically have operated with less regulatory oversight than their private equity peers. The SEC charged Mr. Burrill for the misuse of about $18 million in investor capital from a $283 million fund and alleged that he channeled $4.6 million of the money into personal uses such as private jet travel and family vacations. Two individuals the SEC claims Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Steven Burrill Barred From Securities Industry"

The Daily Startup: Zavante Raises $45 Million to Treat Deadly Infections

[wsj-responsive-image P="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpg" J="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpg" M="http://si.wsj.net/media/dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpg" caption="" credit="Art by Mike Lucas" placement="Wrap" suppressEnlarge="false" ignorerespwidth="262" ignorerespheight="174" ] Antibiotics startup Zavante Therapeutics Inc. has gathered $45 million in Series A financing to capitalize on a recent law that encourages development of drugs for serious infections, Brian Gormley reports for VentureWire. The round included $10 million from the conversion of outstanding convertible notes and $35 million from new investors. They include Frazier Healthcare Partners and Longitude Capital, which are leading the round, and Aisling Capital. Zavante intends to obtain Food and Drug Administration approval for an antibiotic that had been used in certain European countries but has never been introduced in the U.S. The 2012 Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now Act provides an additional five years of market exclusivity for antibiotics treating serious or life-threatening infections. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Invoca Inc., a Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Zavante Raises $45 Million to Treat Deadly Infections"

The Daily Startup: Slice Labs Seeded to Provide Insurance for On-Demand Economy

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas
Traditional insurance policies don’t work for the on-demand economy. Slice Labs has ambitious plans to change that as an insurance platform for on-demand workers, Cat Zakrzewski reports for VentureWire. The startup wants to provide sensible policies starting with ride-sharing drivers and Airbnbproperty renters. The company closed $3.9 million in seed funding led by Horizons Ventures and XL Innovate. Slice founders Tim Attia, Stuart Baserman and Ernest Hursh have previously worked in the insurance industry. Mr. Attia said currently on-demand workers don’t understand what their insurance options are. Many in the gig economy do these jobs part time or on the side and don’t earn enough to justify buying an expensive annual insurance policy, Mr. Attia said. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): App analytics startup Pyze Inc. has emerged from stealth planning to give away free the analytics that competitors like Mixpanel and Localytics are charging Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Slice Labs Seeded to Provide Insurance for On-Demand Economy"

The Daily Startup: Umbo CV Seeded for Intelligent Security Cameras

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas
Umbo CV Inc. makes artificially intelligent security cameras that the company says detect unusual activity human security guards might miss. It picked up $2.8 million in seed funding led by AppWorks Ventures, Mesh Ventures, Wistron Corp. and Phison Electronics. The company plans to launch its first product in early April at the ISC West Show in Las Vegas. Umbo Chief Executive Shawn Guan said the company has applied a form of artificial intelligence known as deep learning to security camera footage. The more footage the Umbo camera has, the more it learns and is able to accurately detect suspicious activity. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Founders Fund, the venture-capital firm known for prescient bets on some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, has closed on a $1.3 billion fund. A number of companies looking for new approaches to testing their drugs and Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Umbo CV Seeded for Intelligent Security Cameras"

The Daily Startup: Iterum Secures $40M, Licenses Anti-Infective Drug

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas
Executives who led successful venture-backed antibiotics company Durata Therapeutics Inc. have raised $40 million for Iterum Therapeutics Ltd., a startup formed to develop an in-licensed anti-infective therapy. Durata went public in 2012 and merged with Actavis PLC in late 2014 after securing U.S. regulatory approval for Dalvance, an antibiotic for skin infections. Now investors are betting that a team lead by former Durata executive Corey Fishman can repeat that success with Iterum, which has licensed an anti-infective from an undisclosed drug company. Venture investors, including Iterum backers, have found that corporations have been willing to buy startups with promising antibiotics. With resistance to existing antibiotics emerging, companies are searching for treatments for drug-resistant infections. ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required): Energy-management company Schneider Electric SE has made a $2 million investment into KGS Buildings LLC, a startup whose software helps organizations improve the Continue reading "The Daily Startup: Iterum Secures $40M, Licenses Anti-Infective Drug"