Privateer Holdings has raised $75 million in Series B funding, which it has touted as largest private capital fundraising in the legal cannabis industry, Thomas Dunford reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The startup, which has now raised $82 million, acts as a holding company for various marijuana-related businesses and finances the growing of cannabis in locations where it is legal. In the U.S., where federal law still prohibits the growing and sale of marijuana despite state laws, the company has backed ancillary businesses. Peter Thiel‘s Founders Fund is a named backer of the company. Privateer said it has received multimillion-dollar checks from institutional investors that declined to be named due to sensitivity about being identified as a backer of marijuana businesses.
ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):
AssetAvenue, which has a service for peer-to-peer lending to the business of commercial real estate, raised $11 million in A funding. DCM Ventures led the round, joined by the company’s earlier backers Matrix Partners, NetEase Inc., and Ron Suber, the chief executive of Prosper Marketplace Inc.
Placester, which has developed a marketing-automation platform that gives real-estate agents and brokers tools to build websites and mobile sites, has raised $15 million Series B round. New Enterprise Associates led the round, which included Romulus Capital.
Natera, a company with technology to diagnose genetic diseases with a noninvasive DNA test, has raised $55.5 million to beef up sales and invest in research-and-development. The funding was led by new investor Sofinnova Ventures, joined by Capital Research and Management, Franklin Templeton Investments, Jennison Associates, RA Capital Management, HealthCor Partners and OrbiMed Advisors.
Buttercoin, a bitcoin startup that attracted funding from venture capital and financial services firms, said it would shut down its service after being unable to raise more money.
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ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WEB:
Silicon Valley Firms Plant Roots in Food Startups. Venture capital investment in agriculture and food startups increased 54% in 2014 to $486 million, The Wall Street Journal’s Ilan Brat and Jacob Bunge report. The majority of the funding went to five areas that include precision agriculture, indoor farming, food safety, alternative foods and farm robots. Along with venture firms, big firms such as Monsanto and Bayer, which are involved in the food business, have started venture funds in recent years.
Kleiner Perkins Leads $20M Round in Livongo for Cloud-Enabled Glucose Meter. The startup Livongo Health is the latest company with a glucose meter than can be connected to other devices or the cloud to raise venture funding, the WSJ’s Brian Gormley reports. Livongo’s system includes a glucose meter that transmits data to the cloud where others, such as diabetes educators or the patient’s family, can help monitor the levels. Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers led the $20 million round that included DFJ Ventures and General Catalyst Partners.
Kleiner Perkins Partner Matt Murphy on Why He is Leaving the Firm. Veteran investor Matt Murphy is leaving Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, the WSJ’s Douglas MacMillan reports. Mr. Murphy, who mentioned leaving the firm during his testimony in the firm’s recent gender-discrimination trial, said he is looking for a new opportunity in venture capital. He said he partly drew his inspiration for leaving the firm from other former colleagues who started smaller firms.
Khosla Ventures Invests In Israeli Medical Imaging Startup Zebra. A startup that is building a database of anonymous medical images has raised $8 million in funding in a round led by Khosla Ventures, the WSJ’s Orr Hirschauge reports. Zebra Medical Vision is building the database of X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans that leave out the names, addresses and other identifying information to protect patients.