Game On! (Well, Sorta…Maybe?)

Monday, in a mostly expected move, the Supreme Court struck down a federal ban prohibiting sports betting. The move opens the door for states to legalize sports wagering under their own terms, with analysts expecting several dozen states to flood in, likely as early as Memorial Day in the state of New Jersey. Enthusiasts embraced […]

The Daily Startup: Zodiac Gets Funded for Predictive Analytics

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

Investors’ appetite for analytics companies continues. Now, Zodiac Inc. has raised $3 million in seed funding for its predictive marketing analytics software designed to help marketers home in on the most valuable customers. First Round Capital led the round, with participation from Metamorphic Ventures, Felicis Venturesand Western Technology Investment. Zodiac, previously called CLVMetrics, requires three pieces of information from the marketer: a customer ID, a time- stamp record of transactions and a record of transaction values, according to Chief Executive Artem Mariychin. Zodiac then uses probabilistic models to predict each customer’s likelihood of transacting with the company in the future and about the “basket size” of each transaction. It uses these predictions to forecast a “customer lifetime value,” based on a forward-looking prediction of that customer’s future spending.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Acutus Medical Inc. has collected $75 million to launch technologies designed to Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Zodiac Gets Funded for Predictive Analytics”

The Daily Startup: Increased Spending in Cybersecurity Drives Funding Surge

As funding from venture capitalists tapered off in the fourth quarter of 2015, investment in the cybersecurity sector continued to boom, Cat Zakrzewski reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Venture capitalists invested $675.43 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, up from $522.41 million in the same quarter a year before, according to data from Dow JonesVentureSource. Total annual venture capital funding in cybersecurity increased 76%, to $3.34 billion, in 2015.

In the wake of high-profile hacks and increased activity from state actors, companies are increasing their spending on security. Gartner predicts the world-wide cybersecurity market will increase to $170 billion by 2020, up from $75.4 billion in 2015. Investors see that boom as an opportunity, despite public security stocks struggling since the start of Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Increased Spending in Cybersecurity Drives Funding Surge”

The Daily Startup: Kaiser Permanente Backs Vidyo for Videoconferencing

Vidyo Inc. Chief Executive Eran Westman
Vidyo Inc.

High-definition videoconferencing provider Vedyo Inc. has raised $10 million from Kaiser Permanente Ventures, the investment arm of health-care consortium Kaiser Permanente, Deborah Gage reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Kaiser Permanente is a Vidyo customer and is using it in several ways, including enabling patients to connect with their doctors over video. The funding is an extension of the company’s $20 million round it raised last year. Other investors in the company include Menlo Ventures, Rho Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds and QuestMark Partners.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

X4 Pharmaceuticals Inc., a startup spun out of Sanofi SA last year, has raised $37.5 million to develop an oral medicine that could combine with existing drugs to treat a common type of kidney cancer. Cormorant Asset Management led the Series A round.

Foundation Capital has closed its eighth Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Kaiser Permanente Backs Vidyo for Videoconferencing”

The Daily Startup: Bee Raises $4.6 Million to Deliver Banking Services

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

Banking startup Bee–which provides bank accounts, debit cards and financial services that are aimed at people who live in low- and middle-income neighborhoods–has raised $4.6 million in funding in two rounds of seed funding, Lora Kolodny reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Bee offers account holders no minimum balance requirements, no overdraft fees, availability of funds within a half-hour from deposits made via check photo through its mobile app and cash withdrawals at any ATM, twice a month free. Investors in the company, incorporated as One Financial Holdings Inc., include AXA Strategic Ventures, Blue Seed Capital, Fenway Summer Ventures, Funders Guild and T5 Capital.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):, a secretive Israeli startup, has raised $15 million for big-data management and storage technology. The Series A round was led by Magma Venture Partners and includes current investor Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Bee Raises $4.6 Million to Deliver Banking Services”

Daily Fantasy Sports: Games of Luck or Skill?

Bloomberg News

There’s not a whole lot that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and daily fantasy sports companies see eye to eye on.

But as they prepare to face-off in court, the state’s top law enforcement officer and the industry’s two biggest players agree on this: the legal battle comes down to a question of whether the online contests are gambling.

FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc., the targets of the attorney general’s clamp-down, let their customers compete for cash prizes by drafting virtual lineups of professional athletes and scoring the real-word performance of the rosters in rapid contests as short as a day. Entry fees range from as little as a quarter to more than $10,000, and cash prizes can reach $1 million.

Mr. Schneiderman is suing to stop the companies from accepting wagers in New York, one of their largest markets. He claims the online sites are

Continue reading “Daily Fantasy Sports: Games of Luck or Skill?”

The Daily Startup: Deep Genomics Raises $3.7M for Genetics Research Computing

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

Deep Genomics Inc. has raised $3.7 million in seed financing to help them put information from next-generation DNA-sequencing systems to good use, Brian Gormley reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The Toronto company uses a computational system that can learn, predict and interpret how genetic variation affects calls. The goal is to discover which mutated genes are relevant for pharmaceutical or diagnostic researchers. True Ventures led the financing, which also included Bloomberg Beta and individual investors.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

APX Labs Inc. has raised $13 million in a new round of venture funding for software and services that help corporations get their employees using smart glasses, and other new wireless devices, to boost safety, productivity and efficiency. New Enterprise Associates led the investment, joined by CNF Investments, GE Ventures , Salesforce Ventures and SineWave Ventures.

TinyRx Inc. plans to expand an operation that Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Deep Genomics Raises $3.7M for Genetics Research Computing”

The Daily Startup: Datto Joins Herd of Billion-Dollar Startups

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

Datto Inc. marks the latest to enter the realm of startups with billion-dollar valuations. The Norwalk, Conn., company is making inroads with its private cloud data backup business. The company was started in 2007 by Chief Executive Austin McChord, who was newly graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in bioinformatics. Mr. McChord said he bootstrapped Datto on his credit card, running up $80,000 in debt, and didn’t take venture capital until 2013 when he had a profitable company and was looking for advisers to help the business grow. Fast forward to today, and the company has raised $75 million led by Technology Crossover Ventures at a $1 billion valuation.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Codiak BioSciences Inc., a company that intends to use biological vessels known as exosomes to enable early detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer, has secured Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Datto Joins Herd of Billion-Dollar Startups”

The Daily Startup: VC Investment in Health Care Nears Record Level

Venture investment in U.S.-based health-care companies reached $11.67 billion through the third quarter of this year, according to data from Dow Jones VentureSource. The total through the third quarter is just shy of last year’s total of $11.93 billion, Brian Gormely reports for Dow Jones VentureWire.

The sector received $3.74 billion in investment in the third quarter. The bulk of the funding, 55%, went to biopharmaceutical companies.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

ROOY Inc. has raised $3.4 million in seed funding to grow its shoe design and manufacturing platform. Formation 8 led the investment and was joined by Seoul-based private-equity firm Korea Investment Partners.

Mimecast Ltd.–a London-based company that offers software that manages various email products, including security, archiving, data-loss prevention and electronic discovery–has filed for its initial public offering.

Tinderbox Inc. raised $7 million in new venture funding to help Continue reading “The Daily Startup: VC Investment in Health Care Nears Record Level”

The Daily Startup: Big Bets Continue in Venture Despite Exit Concerns

Investors piled 19.05 billion into U.S.-based venture-backed companies in the third quarter amid growing concerns over valuations and exit markets, Scott Martin reports for The Wall Street Journal. U.S. venture investments soared to $54.6 billion for the first nine months of the year, on pace to blow past the $55.5 billion for 2014. The numbers are still likely to be below the record $94.17 billion invested in 2000 at the height of the dot-com boom.

The increased investment amount comes amid a dearth of initial public offerings as well as mergers and acquisitions for venture-backed companies. It also comes in a year that has seen an uptick in the number of private companies that are valued at $1 billion or more.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Decibel Therapeutics has launched with $52 million in venture funding and a goal of providing people with severe Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Big Bets Continue in Venture Despite Exit Concerns”

Q&A: What’s Going On With Daily Fantasy Sports?

Bloomberg News

FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc., the two most popular daily fantasy sports sites in the U.S., have come under scrutiny over whether the fast-growing startups do enough to police sensitive internal data and employees who might have access to that data. Here’s a Q&A covering the basics to the nitty-gritty. 

I understand fantasy sports. What’s different about daily fantasy?

In daily fantasy, people draft teams for only that day or week and enter into pools that vary by the number of contestants, the format and the entry fees, which can go from 25 cents to thousands of dollars. Many of these pools include both casual, small-time players and deep-pocketed “sharks” who may submit multiple entries to increase their chances of hitting a big prize. All of those factors determine how much prize money is available in a pool, which can reach into the millions—DraftKings Continue reading “Q&A: What’s Going On With Daily Fantasy Sports?”

Debunking The Skill Gap in Daily Fantasy

Daily Fantasy Sports are under a full on assault: allegations of “insider trading,” a hyper aggressive (if not overwhelming/annoying) advertising strategy, and multi-directional claims that DFS can’t be beat because it involves too much skill. There are lots of legitimate concerns which I will address in future posts over the coming weeks. But the most […]

The Daily Startup: Mark Zuckerberg Joins $15 Million Round for Newsela

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have put their Startup: Education fund to work, joining lead investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in a $15 million round of funding for Newsela, Lora Kolodny reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The news education startup adapts news articles for students and delivers them online, along with quizzes that aim to tell teachers and parents what students are still grappling with or learning well.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Sportsrocket Inc., a startup from veteran sports media entrepreneur Brian Bedol that aims to launch niche streaming channels for sports, has raised $10 million in venture capital in a round that includes New Enterprise Associates.

Fidelity Management has united Fidelity Biosciences with another Fidelity venture capital arm to form F-Prime Capital Partners, a firm that will invest in health care and technology.

Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Mark Zuckerberg Joins $15 Million Round for Newsela”

The Daily Startup: Google Ventures Backs Metabiota to Forecast Disease Outbreaks

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

Google Ventures has invested $1 million in Metabiota Inc., a company that uses epidemiologists and big-data analytics to forecast and track disease outbreaks. Timothy Hay reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Google Ventures, the venture arm of Internet giant Google Inc., also will partner with Metabiota, offering its big-data expertise to help the company serve its customers–insurers, government agencies and other organizations–by offering them forecasting and risk-management tools, Metabiota founder Nathan Wolfe said. The investment in an add-on to a $30 million round the company raised in March that included investors Data Collective, Capricorn Health & Special Opportunities, Industry Ventures, RSTP and WP Global Partners.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Premise Data Corp., a startup whose mobile crowdsourced information gathering platform is used by The United Nations and Standard Chartered Bank, has raised $50 million in new funding. Valor Equity Partners Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Google Ventures Backs Metabiota to Forecast Disease Outbreaks”

DraftKings Has Its Next Fantasy-Sports Contest: Videogames

Fans watched the opening ceremony of the “League of Legends” World Championship in Paris in May 2014.
Associated Press

Fantasy e-sports is getting real.

DraftKings Inc. on Wednesday began letting customers assemble teams of competitive videogame players, just like they can now with athletes from the National Football League and other sports leagues.

The move, announced last week in a blog post, marries two fast-growing industries—daily fantasy sports and competitive videogames—that were built off of traditional pasttimes.

DraftKings and its chief rival, FanDuel Inc., have been blanketing TV screens in the U.S. with ads after raising hundreds of millions of dollars in venture funding. E-sports, meanwhile, is bursting beyond its base in Asia: Last month, 11,000 people filled Madison Square Garden in New York for a “League of Legends” competition.

The timing of DraftKings’ expansion isn’t a coincidence. Its first e-sports contest is tied to the League of Legends world championships that begins Continue reading “DraftKings Has Its Next Fantasy-Sports Contest: Videogames”

DraftKings Starts Fantasy Football Ad Binge

Fresh off a $300 million round of funding, daily-fantasy-sports startup DraftKings is launching a new ad campaign to gin up fan interest as the National Football League season gets underway.

The new advertisements, voiced by actor Edward Norton, will first air this Sunday on Fox during the pre-season contest between the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints.

Under the slogan “welcome to the big time,” the ads depict DraftKings users transfixed as they adjust their line-ups, or in fits of joy as their respective players perform well. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said that he hoped the ads would attract new customers and “elevate the brand” among fantasy fans.

“Being able to differentiate on the experience that DraftKings can provide is critical,” Mr. Robins said.

The ad campaign comes as big media companies pour Continue reading “DraftKings Starts Fantasy Football Ad Binge”

Game Over: Why Daily Fantasy Has Already Been Won

I debated posting this because it could bruise some egos and kill my dealflow. But with the recent DFS news, Fanduels $275M round & Yahoo’s entry into the space, I felt like the timing was right. I know a lot of people have strong opinions one way or another on this so happy to engage […]