The Daily Startup: Agriculture Startups Raise Record Amount in Third Quarter

Agriculture startups raised $113.6 million in the third quarter, which is the highest amount raised in a quarter since industry tracker Dow Jones VentureSource began collecting data in 1992, Lora Kolodny reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The amount raised in the agriculture and forestry sector has hit $161.1 million 2015 so far.

The funding for the U.S.-based startups is on pace to pass investment totals in agriculture and forestry startups for the full year in 2014, which logged $179.2 million, an increase of 24% from the $145 million for all of 2013.

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Biological Dynamics Inc. has closed a $26.8 million Series C round to seek regulatory clearance for a technology used to monitor patients treated for cancer. An undisclosed institutional investor associated with a university led the round. Other participants included Alexandria Venture Investments, Heritage Group and Inc. co-founder Irwin Jacobs.

TicketManager Inc., formerly known as Spotlight Ticket Management, has raised $20 million in Series B funding in a round led by previous backer Point Judith Capital. Kayne Partners, the equity investing unit of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors L.P., also joined the round.  The Los Angeles startup provides software and services that help businesses measure and manage the cost, use and effect of tickets and other intangibles that they use to woo clients and reward employees.

BrightFarms Inc., a locally grown produce purveyor, said it closed a $13.65 million Series B-1 financing, led by WP Global Partners, NGEN Partners, Emil Capital Partners and several other investors. The fresh capital infusion will enable it to build more greenhouses to supply supermarkets, BrightFarms said.

Caldan Therapeutics Ltd., a spinout from the Universities of Glasgow and Southern Denmark that seeks to treat Type 2 diabetes through drugs targeting free fatty acid receptors, has raised 4.45 million U.K. pounds ($6.8 million) in a Series A round led by Epidarex Capital.

Trinity Ventures has raised $400 million for its latest fund, Trinity Ventures XII L.P. The fund is larger than its last fund, which closed in 2012 at $325 million. Its 10th fund closed at $300 million.

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Theranos Searches for Director to Oversee Laboratory. Diagnostics startup Theranos Inc. is seeking to hire a laboratory director to oversee one of its key facilities, The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou reports. The lab in Newark, Calif., has been operating for the last 10 months under the supervision of Sunil Dhawan, a dermatologist without a degree or board certification in pathology or laboratory science. Heather King, Theranos’s general counsel, said “Dr. Dhawan is qualified to be the laboratory director of a high-complexity lab, and has many years of experience in that capacity,” adding, “His training and expertise is highly relevant to the work that he performs for Theranos.”

Uber Drivers to Have Their Day in Court. The court trial for Uber Technologies Inc. drivers’ class-action lawsuit in California has received a court date of June 20, 2016, the WSJ’s Lauren Weber reports. The case, O’Connor v. Uber, concerns the ride service’s classification of drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Lytro Pivots Into Virtual Reality Video, Announces Immerge Camera System. Camera startup Lyrto Inc., which has two cameras that let users refocus after taking an image, has refocused its product line by introducing a camera that shoots 360-degree virtual-reality video, the WSJ’s Nathan Olivarez-Giles reports.

Starz Leads Investment Round in Indie Film Streaming Service Fandor. Independent film streaming service Fandor has picked up $7 million in a round led by Starz LLC, the WSJ’s Shalini Ramachandran reports. The startup’s service offers about 7,000 independent films to subscribers, who pay for plans that range from $7.50 to $10 a month.

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