The Daily Startup: Venture Investor Confidence in U.S. Strong, Survey Says

Venture capitalists are bullish about the prospects of private companies in the U.S., a new study from accounting firm Deloitte LLP and the National Venture Capital Association, Russ Garland reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The annual survey was conducted in May and June, before the latest bout of economic uncertainty. The U.S. rated the highest in the survey of global investors with 4.17 on a one-to-five scale, with five being the highest. That score was up from last year’s 4.03.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Compass Inc., a real-estate startup, has raised $50 million at a valuation of $800 million. Investors in the round included Institutional Venture Partners, Thrive Capital, Founders Fund, .406 Ventures, Advance Publications Inc. and individuals.

Datos IO Inc. emerged with $15.25 million in funding and software that is tackling a problem for data centers–how to maintain consistent view of data, in real time, when it is spread all over instead of confined to a single machine. A $12.5 Series A round comes from Lightspeed Venture Partners and True Ventures along with several angel investors,who previously contributed $2.75 million.

Emarsys Inc., a maker of marketing automation software that has been around for 15 years, has has raised its first venture capital to expand into the U.S. and Latin America. The $33 million Series A round is an equity minority investment and comes from Vector Capital. It takes total funding to $58 million.

Arboretum Ventures has raised $220 million for a fourth medical fund that nearly doubles its capital under management. Arboretum began raising Arboretum Ventures IV LP in May, setting out with a $150 million target.

Soothe Inc., a marketplace for licensed massage therapists, is acquiring San Francisco-based competitor

(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, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)


Pinterest Targets Search Ad Budgets. Image-bookmarking service Pinterest has been meeting with advertisers in an effort to persuade them that it isn’t a social network but rather a place that people go to search for products, The Wall street Journal’s  Suzanne Vranica reports. Capturing a piece of search marketing would give Pinterest another source of revenue. The company has launched multiple ad productsrecently, including “buyable pins” that allow users to purchase items directly from Pinterest.

New Lawsuit Accuses Gurbaksh Chahal of Wrongful Termination. Entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal is being sued by a second former employee at his startup, Gravity4, the WSJ’s Jeff Elder reports. Yousef Khraibut,  who says he was the first employee hired at Gravity4 in June 2014, on Monday filed a complaint  in San Francisco Superior Court against the digital-advertising company and Mr. Chahal. Mr. Khraibut is suing for wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination and retaliation, claiming he witnessed abuse, threats and illegal behavior by Mr. Chahal and then, when he spoke up, was threatened with violence and ultimately fired. In an email responding to a request for comment, Mr. Chahal said he has no comment “related to any frivolous lawsuits” from the lawyer representing Mr. Khraibut and another former employee, Erika Alonso, who in April sued Mr. Chahal for gender discrimination. Mr. Chahal has said he planned to vigorously defend himself against Ms. Alonso’s suit.

Chinese Tech Entrepreneurs Struggle to Raise Money. China’s recent market turmoil and concerns about a slowing economy are creating challenges for early-stage startups, the WSJ’s Juro Osawa reports. Entrepreneurs in China say they face a much tougher environment in which to raise financing compared with several months ago. Venture capitalists also say they expect greater challenges in securing capital for new funds as potential investors have been hurt by the market turmoil.

Write to Mike Billings at Follow him on Twitter at @mbillings