The Daily Startup: Illumina to Invest $100 Million Through Venture Fund

Genomics company Illumina, which has used venture investments and acquisitions to help fuel its growth, is ramping up its venture activity by committing to invest $100 million over 10 years through a new venture fund. Illumina has grown rapidly as demand for its DNA-sequencing systems and other life sciences-research tools has soared. The company posted $2.2 billion in 2015 revenue, a 19% jump from 2014, and over the last five years its share price has climbed to $173 from the high $60s. For several years Illumina has made venture investments through an internal fund, backing startups such as consumer-genetics company 23andMe Inc., software provider Desktop Genetics Ltd., and biotech concern Kallyope Inc. With the genomics market growing, Illumina concluded that it could extend its reach through an independent venture fund that has access to additional capital, according to spokesman Eric Endicott.

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The Daily Startup: Illumina to Invest $100 Million Through Venture Fund

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Genomics company Illumina, which has used venture investments and acquisitions to help fuel its growth, is ramping up its venture activity by committing to invest $100 million over 10 years through a new venture fund. Illumina has grown rapidly as demand for its DNA-sequencing systems and other life sciences-research tools has soared. The company posted $2.2 billion in 2015 revenue, a 19% jump from 2014, and over the last five years its share price has climbed to $173 from the high $60s. For several years Illumina has made venture investments through an internal fund, backing startups such as consumer-genetics company 23andMe Inc., software provider Desktop Genetics Ltd., and biotech concern Kallyope Inc. With the genomics market growing, Illumina concluded that it could extend its reach through Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Illumina to Invest $100 Million Through Venture Fund”

The Daily Startup: RefleXion Medical Spots $46 Million to Make Radiation Therapy Safer

RefleXion Medical Inc. has collected $46 million in Series B financing to bring to market a technology that could make radiation therapy for cancer safer and extend its benefits to more patients, Brian Gormley reports for VentureWire. New investor KCK Group, a family investment fund, led the round, which also included return backers Pfizer Venture Investments, Sofinnova Partners and Venrock. RefleXion formed in 2009 and raised seed financing from individuals before closing an $11 million Series A round in 2014. Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be used with chemotherapy and surgery in an attempt to treat or cure cancer. Today, physicians use X-rays, computed tomography scanning and magnetic resonance imaging to guide treatment. These types of imaging provide anatomical or structural information. RefleXion intends to add another way to guide treatment.

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The Daily Startup: RefleXion Medical Spots $46 Million to Make Radiation Therapy Safer

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RefleXion Medical Inc. has collected $46 million in Series B financing to bring to market a technology that could make radiation therapy for cancer safer and extend its benefits to more patients, Brian Gormley reports for VentureWire. New investor KCK Group, a family investment fund, led the round, which also included return backers Pfizer Venture Investments, Sofinnova Partners and Venrock. RefleXion formed in 2009 and raised seed financing from individuals before closing an $11 million Series A round in 2014. Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be used with chemotherapy and surgery in an attempt to treat or cure cancer. Today, physicians use X-rays, computed tomography scanning and magnetic resonance imaging to guide treatment. These types of imaging Continue reading “The Daily Startup: RefleXion Medical Spots $46 Million to Make Radiation Therapy Safer”

The Daily Startup: Block Storage Startup Datera Emerges With $40 Million

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Datera Inc., a startup that provides software-based block storage similar to what Amazon Web Servicesprovides, emerged with $40 million in funding, after nearly three years of operating in stealth, Deborah Gage reports for VentureWire. Backers include Khosla Ventures, which led a Series A round in June 2013, and Samsung Ventures, which led the Series B in February 2015. Based in Mountain View, Calif., the company was valued after the B round at about $130 million, according to co-founder and Chief Executive Marc Fleischmann. Datera claims both enterprise and service-provider customers for what is essentially a storage service for clouds, something that current storage vendors, including AWS, don’t completely provide, Mr. Fleischmann said. AWS, for instance, is unlikely to focus on block storage for multiple clouds or on a Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Block Storage Startup Datera Emerges With $40 Million”

The Daily Startup: Luxe Valet Parks $50 Million Round Led by Hertz

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Luxe Valet Inc., a parking and car services company, raised $50 million in funding led by Hertz Global Holdings. Luxe Chief Executive Curtis Lee said the strategic investment was sensible because the car rental company is in a related area. He said the deal doesn’t change Luxe’s focus on parking. “Hertz wanted to work with us because of our consumer on-demand business,” Mr. Lee said. He said the deal with Hertz woconnect the company to Hertz’s customers, who primarily are outside local areas where they know where to park.

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Luma, the maker of a high-end wireless consumer router, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding led by Accel, with a significant strategic investment from the Amazon Alexa Fund.

Amid Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Luxe Valet Parks $50 Million Round Led by Hertz”

The Daily Startup: Mo Koyfman to Leave Spark Capital

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Mo Koyfman, a general partner at Spark Capital whose deals included Warby Parker and others, is leaving the firm, VentureWire has learned. “I didn’t want to wake up and realize I’ve been a VC for 20 years. I still had the desire to do something more entrepreneurial,” Mr. Koyfman said. Mr. Koyfman, who joined Spark in 2008, said he had to take a multiyear commitment to stay on at the firm and decided that it was best for him to try something else. He said he is leaving on good terms. Spark is raising an early-stage fund, Spark Capital V LP, that could reach $370 million, according to a regulatory filing.

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MeWe is betting that millennials will migrate away from Facebook in favor of an ad-free, privacy-centered social network. The company closed its third seed round, worth $3 million, Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Mo Koyfman to Leave Spark Capital”

The Daily Startup: Blippar Stake Is Latest After Surge of Virtual-Reality Deals

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Blippar Inc. has grabbed $54 million in Series D funding as it aims to be a visual search provider for the physical world. The deal marks one of the largest in the nascent category of virtual and augmented reality, according to data tracked by Dow Jones VentureSource. Only giants in the sector such as Magic Leap Inc., Oculus VR Inc. and Jaunt Inc. have seen larger rounds. Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the strategic investment fund of the Government of Malaysia, led the round. The funding comes after an increase of activity in 2015. VentureSource tracked a total of 35 venture-capital deals in augmented and virtual reality in 2015, up from just 21 in 2014.

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Venture investment in products for the eyes settled back to historical norms last year after surging in the previous two, a sign venture firms are taking Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Blippar Stake Is Latest After Surge of Virtual-Reality Deals”

The Daily Startup: Lender Renew Financial Secures $70 Million Series D

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Renew Financial, a lender for energy-efficient home improvements, has raised $70 million in new funds, Yuliya Chernova reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Oakland, Calif.-based Renew originates and underwrites loans used to make permanent energy improvements, such as the installation of efficient air conditioning systems, new windows or solar systems. New investor LL Funds Inc. joined Renew’s existing backers Angeleno Group, Apollo Capital Management, Claremont Creek Ventures, NGEN Partners and Prelude Ventures in the new round of financing.

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Acceleprise, an accelerator with offices in San Francisco that specializes in startups selling software as a service to businesses, has received hundreds of applications since it launched in June 2014 and has invested in 24 startups so far, with a new group of eight just selected. Based on its track record–two startups acqui-hired, one acquired and Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Lender Renew Financial Secures $70 Million Series D”

The Daily Startup: ScaleVP Closes New Fund, Tightens Funding Criteria

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Scale Venture Partners closed its fifth fund at $335 million, an increase of $35 million from its last fund, which it raised in 2013, Deborah Gage reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. But startups will have to stand out more if they want Scale’s money. In the last six months or so, the Foster City, Calif.-based firm has tightened the criteria it uses to invest in companies, according to Partner Rory O’Driscoll, reflecting a greater caution among venture investors as the global economy wobbles and public markets become less receptive to IPOs.

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Venture capital investment dollars in 2015 soared to the highest level since the peak of the dot-com boom but slid in the fourth quarter amid concerns about the global economy and the run-up in technology startups’ valuations.

ForeScout Technologies Inc. closed a $76 million late-stage funding round Continue reading “The Daily Startup: ScaleVP Closes New Fund, Tightens Funding Criteria”

The Daily Startup: Airbus Ventures Makes Its First Investment

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Local Motors Inc., a Phoenix-based company that uses digital manufacturing techniques to create appliances and vehicles designed by a crowd, has raised funding from Airbus Ventures, Deborah Gage reports. The investment is the first from the Airbus Group‘s corporate venture fund that was announced in May.

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Zoosk Inc., a dating site, has laid off employees for the second time within a year’s time. The San Francisco-based company said that it let go 40 workers on Thursday. Zoosk laid off 15% of its workers in January 2015.

Summit Partners said it made seven promotions in its Boston and Menlo Park, Calif., offices, five of which were to managing director positions. The firm promoted David Averett, Adam Britt, Andrew Collins, Robert Hassell and Michael Medici to managing director roles.

(VentureWire is a daily newsletter with Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Airbus Ventures Makes Its First Investment”

The Daily Startup: Wine App Vivino Raises $25 Million

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Vivino Inc., a mobile app for wine reviews and shopping, has raised $25 million in a Series B round of venture funding, Lora Kolodny reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Vivino has an app that lets users scan the label on a bottle of wine using their smartphones and access user-generated ratings and reviews of it. The new round was led by SCP Neptune International, an investment vehicle of Christophe Navarre, who is currently the CEO of Moet Hennessy. Other investors in the round included Balderton Capital and Melo7 Tech Partners.

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Surface Oncology Inc. stands to gain $170 million in near-term payments through an alliance with Novartis AG to develop immuno-oncology medicines, one of several large deals that startups have formed in this market recently.

Diablo Technologies Inc., a flash memory maker, has raised $19 million. ICV Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Wine App Vivino Raises $25 Million”

The Daily Startup: Atheer Focuses on Smart Glasses for Enterprise

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Atheer Inc., a developer of augmented-reality glasses for the enterprise market, has raised $14 million in Series B financing, Patience Haggin reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The company was founded in 2011 with the intention of intention of building a consumer augmented-reality headset. In 2013, the company raised more than $200,000 through a crowdfunding platform for a consumer headset. It canceled its development last year, pivoting to an enterprise product instead. The company’s new funding was led by Signatures Capital and Streamlined Ventures and included Fang Group, FundersClub, RONA Holdings and Shanda Group.

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Tastemade Inc. has raised $40 million in Series D venture funding to fuel the growth of its food, travel and lifestyle media business, which is tailored for millennial audiences online. Goldman Sachs led the investment in Tastemade, joined by the company’s earlier backers, Redpoint Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Atheer Focuses on Smart Glasses for Enterprise”

The Daily Startup: AltheaDx Raises $30M for Cardiovascular, Neurological Diagnostics

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Molecular testing to identify the proper cancer drugs for patients, and the startup AltheaDx Inc. is aiming to do the same for certain neurological and cardiovascular conditions, Brian Gormley reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The company tests are designed to take some of the guesswork out of selecting medications for conditions like depression and arrhythmia. Based on the results for a given patient, the company provides physicians with a list of drugs that can be used. AltheaDx has raised $30 million in Series C funding in a round that included WuXi Healthcare Ventures, Ally Bridge Group, ALMA Life Sciences and WuXi PharmaTech.

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The Federal Reserve today starts its policy meeting at which it could raise interest rates, Yuliya Chernova reports. Such a rate increase, if it happens, would be a first for the nascent online-lending industry. The impact of any Continue reading “The Daily Startup: AltheaDx Raises $30M for Cardiovascular, Neurological Diagnostics”

The Daily Startup: Nuclear Recovery Startup Kurion Buys a Robotics Company

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Nuclear-waste recovery startup Kurion Inc. has bought Abingdon, U.K.-based Oxford Technologies, Yuliya Chernova reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Kurion’s projects include cleaning up the waste at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, as well as at the Hanford site in the U.S., which contains nuclear waste generated from the production of the country’s nuclear weapons. Irvine, Calif.-based Kurion was founded in 2008 with about $6 million of seed funding from Lux Capital, Firelake Capital Management and Acadia Wood Partners. It hasn’t raised additional funding since.

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1Life Healthcare Inc., known as One Medical Group, has raised $65 million in a growth round of venture funding to expand its boutique medical practices across the U.S. The new funding round was led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management via its PEG Digital Growth Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Nuclear Recovery Startup Kurion Buys a Robotics Company”

The Daily Startup: Enlibrium Looks to Fight Cancer With Diabetes Treatment

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Enlibrium Inc. has launched with $15 million in Series A financing to find out if the most widely prescribed Type 2 diabetes medicine can serve as the basis for a new approach to treating cancer, Brian Gormley reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. One emerging approach to fighting cancer is to deplete tumor cells’ energy supply. Enlibrium intends to develop novel drugs based on the anticancer properties that have been observed with metformin, a medicine used to lower blood-sugar levels in patients with Type 2 diabetes. Investors in the company include Avalon Ventures, TPG Biotech, Correlation Ventures and Osage University Partners.

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Blueshift Labs Inc., a marketing-automation software company has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Storm Ventures, according to co-founder and Chief Executive Vijay Chittoor. The company uses machine learning and big data to Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Enlibrium Looks to Fight Cancer With Diabetes Treatment”

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 Continue reading “The Daily Startup: Agriculture Startups Raise Record Amount in Third Quarter”

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.

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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: EverSport Scores $4.2 Million to Stream Sporting Events

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EverSport Media Inc. has raised $4.2 million to bring sporting events that are rarely or never aired by television networks to fans online around the world, Lora Kolodny reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. The company allows sports fans to watch events–like European soccer matches, or surfing, skateboarding, rock climbing and college athletics–live or on-demand using their browsers and Web-connected devices. The company offers an EverSport.tv site, apps and an embeddable player.Investors in the Series A round for EverSport include German TV station ProSieben, Emil Capital and Third Wave Capital as well as several individual angel investors

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Procyrion Inc., a company looking to treat chronic heart failure with an implantable device that pumps blood, has raised a $10 million Series B round as it prepares for its first clinical trials with human patients next year. The Continue reading “The Daily Startup: EverSport Scores $4.2 Million to Stream Sporting Events”

The Daily Startup: ‘The Market Spoke’ About Thrillist Funding, Breakup

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When Thrillist Media Group announced its new funding of $54 million, it also announced that it was splitting its media and e-commerce businesses, Yuliya Chernova reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Ben Lerer, co-founder and chief executive of the company, had been saying for years that media companies need to sell physical wares to achieve scale. After the annoucement of the split, Mr Lerer said, “The market spoke.” Mr. Lerer said that when the company when out to fundraise earlier this year, it became clear that it could achieve a better valuation, raise more capital and attract the right investors with separate businesses. German media giant Axel Springer invested in the digital media company that will continue with the name Thrillist Media Group. The company’s e-commerce business, JackThreads, received an investment from Oak Investment Partners and SBNY, formerly SoftBank CapitalNY.

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