The Daily Startup: Dating Apps, Investors Continue to Connect

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

Venture investors don’t appear to have yet fallen out of love with dating apps. The latest to pick up angel funding is JSwipe, a Tinder-like service that aims to connect young Jewish singles, Timothy Hay reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The funding is the latest in a string of hookups between investors and companies.  Last month, Coffee Meets Bagel, which promises users a dating match within a day, raised $7.8 million, while The League, another dating application aimed at exclusivity, raised $2.1 million in February. In December, dating apps Happn and Hinge raised $8 million and $12 million, respectively.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Aryaka, which provides networking in the cloud, raised $16 million led by Nexus Venture Partner. The round included current investors InterWest Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Presidio Ventures and Trinity Ventures. The company’s valuation is more than $100 million.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals, which recently secured $200 million in equity and cash through an alliance with Merck & Co., said it has raised $57.5 million in Series D financing. Investors participating include return backers Column Group, Prospect Venture Partners, Tichenor Ventures and Topspin Partners. NGM held an initial closing in October and a final closing in February. The new investors in the Series D round are undisclosed.

Gelesis, a biotechnology company developing an oral capsule to induce weight loss, said it has closed a $22 million financing from undislcosed investors.

Venture fund news: Ignition Partners is raising up to $200 million for its next fund for investments in early-stage enterprise software companies…New investor Bespoke is seeking up to $150 million for first fund…Incubator AKT IP Ventures is targeting up to $20 million for new intellectual property fund.

(VentureWire is a daily newsletter with comprehensive analysis of all the investments, deals and personnel moves involving startups and their venture backers. For a two-week trial, visit http://on.wsj.com/DJPEVCNews, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)

ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WEB:

Slack’s Valuation More Than Doubles to $2.8 Billion in Five Months. The workplace collaboration tool Slack has lined up funding that values the startup at $2.76 billion, which is more than double the $1.12 billion it was valued five months ago, The Wall Street Journal’s Douglas MacMillan reports. The investors in the new round, accord to people familiar with the matter, include Institutional Venture Partners, Horizons Ventures, Index Ventures and DST Global. The round in expected to close within the next few weeks.

Meerkat Raises Funding as It Takes on Twitter’s Periscope. The live-streaming app Meerkat, which set Internet and the South by Southwest Festival abuzz, has raised $14 million in funding, the WSJ’s Yoree Koh reports. The round was led by ed by venture-capital firm Greylock Partners, with participation from investors, many of them in the entertainment industry. But the app raised funding after Twitter cut off access to social graph, which makes it more difficult for the app’s users to link their Twitter followers. On top of that, Periscope, a startup that Twitter recently acquired, launched its app Thursday.

Waygum Raises Funding to Build the Industrial Internet of Things. The startup Waygum has raised $1.5 million for technology that would enable users to control hard-to-reach machines with mobile devices, the WSJ’s Deborah Gage reports. The technology is part of the industrial Internet of Things, in which large equipment is connected to be controlled remotely.

Write to Mike Billings at mike.billings@wsj.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mbillings