The Daily Startup: Entertainment Investing Hits Record

Investors pulled out the checkbooks for entertainment in the third quarter. Entertainment companies logged a record amount of funding in the quarter from venture investors, putting the year on pace to blow past all previous records, according to industry tracker Dow Jones VentureSource.

It didn’t hurt that companies such as fantasy sports startup DraftKings and Internet news site Buzzfeed scooped up hefty rounds in the period. The investments underscore moves by traditional media investors to snap up positions in these newer digital entrants commanding billion-plus valuations.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Two Bit Circus Scores $6.5 Million to Build Tech Entertainment Company. In a funding round that strays a bit outside of the tech and health-care sectors most invested in by venture capitalists, the startup Two Bit Circus has raised $6.5 million, Lizette Chapman reports. The company is looking to reinvent live entertainment with technology that amazes as it “The circus sector hasn’t been disrupted since Cirque du Soleil, and that was 20 years ago,” TechStars Ventures Managing Partner Mark Solon said. “This is not your typical venture deal, but you don’t get outsized returns from following the crowd.”

Alteryx Inc. has raised $85 million for its data visualization and analytics software, taking total funding in the Irvine, Calif.-based company to more than $160 million. The Series C round was led by new investor Iconiq Capital and current investor Insight Venture Partners.

Versant Ventures, which has made Canada an important territory in its global investment strategy, is leading an $11.3 million Series A investment in Turnstone Biologics Inc. that will enable the Toronto startup to advance a virus treatment for cancer.

KeepTruckin Inc. has raised an $8 million round of Series A venture funding for apps and hardware that enable truck drivers to electronically log all of their miles and hours worked. Index Ventures led the investment in the San Francisco company. KeepTruckin previously raised $2.3 million in seed funding from Google Ventures , which joined the Series A.

SmartZyme, an Israeli company that uses its protein technology to develop therapeutics, has raised $4 million from OrbiMed Advisors.

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FDA Inspectors Call Theranos Blood Vial ‘Uncleared Medical Device.’ The tiny vials used by Theranos Inc. to collect finger-pricked blood from patients has been declared by the Food and Drug Administration as an “uncleared medical device” that the company was shipping across state lines, The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyou reports. The information, which comes from inspection reports posted on the agency’s website also showed that the FDA found deficiencies in Theranos’s processes for handling customer complaints, monitoring quality and vetting suppliers. In a statement Tuesday, Theranos’s general counsel, Heather King, said company officials “addressed and corrected” all the observations made by FDA inspectors “at the time of, or within a week of, the inspection and have submitted documents to FDA that say so, including extensive documentation.”

Fantasy Sports Industry to Create Outside Control Board. Amid a federal criminal probe and scrutiny by state regulators, the fantasy sports industry plans to create an outside control board, the WSJ’s Devlin Barrett reports. The board is aimed at ensuring ethical behavior in the industry. The big players in the daily fantasy sports industry are venture-backed DraftKings Inc. and FanDuel Inc., both of which have been valued at more than $1 billion by investors.

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