Daily Funding Roundup


Daily funding roundup - September 28, 2015

Kreditech raised $92M; Paintzen nabbed $7.2M; Simppler received $1.2M

Innovation series by Mitos Suson
September 28, 2015
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  • If you're like me, your inbox is filled on a weekly basis with requests for references from recruiters seeking job candidates. Requests are often afforded a cursory look before they're ignored and forgotten. Not because you don't want to help your friends who may be looking, but it's time consuming to surface up friends who might actually be a good fit. Simppler hopes to streamline that process by identifying those in your network (via LinkedIn or Google) who might be candidates for a particular job opening. Apparently, they've built a pretty good product with traction as Greylock Partners, Correlation Ventures and zParks Capital invested $1.2 million in a Seed round

  • For all of Uber's accomplishments, including being the highest valued private company in the world, is also has plenty of competition. In China that would be Didi Kuaidi, the company that, earlier this month, raised a $1 billion funding round. It's strategy to defeat Uber is an interesting one: it seems to be taking that money and using it to fund Uber's rivals in other sectors of the world. Didi Kuaidi has invested in Uber's biggest rival in India, Ola, according to a report out from Reuters on Sunday. The size of the investment has not been disclosed, though the report did list SoftBank Corp, Falcon Edge, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC [GIC.UL] and Tiger Global Management as other investors in the round. Ola is having a big fundraising year. In April, the company raised a $400 million Series E funding round, which was followed by a $225 million round earlier this month. In all, Ola has raised over $900 million in venture funding. 

  • MOF Technologies, a Belfast, UK-based developer of a novel technique for chemical synthesis of a range of materials including Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) and catalysts, received €1.2 million ($1.3 million) in funding. The funding is part of a European Horizon 2020 project which includes partners such as Johnson Matthey and GDF Suez. The project itself, named ProDIA, received support totalling €7.6M and focuses on the production of nanoporous materials for clean technology applications in the fields of gas storage, air purification and heat pumps. MOF Technologies is the largest recipient of the funding within project ProDIA.

  • Ometria launched in 2013 with a mission to help online retailers make better use of data, and, in turn, compete harder with the likes of Amazon and more data-driven players in the market. Today the London-based company is announcing a further $2.5 million in funding and breaking cover on its recent pivot to become a “customer insight and marketing platform” aimed at retailers and commerce businesses who want to automate marketing campaigns based on Ometria’s underlying data insights technology. Today’s disclosed funding round was led by Inventure Partners, with participation from existing investors SaatchInvest, and new investors Force Over Mass Capital.

  • Phantom Cyber, a provider of security automation and orchestration, has landed $6.5 million in Series A funding from Atlanta-based TechOperators and Blackstone, one of the world’s leading global asset managers. Blackstone made the investment after using the product for several months as an Early Experience user. Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N), John Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments and former CEO of Symantec, and Rein Capital also participated in the round. With the funding, Thomas E. Noonan, former CEO of Internet Security Systems (ISS), and General Partner at TechOperators, will join the Phantom board.

  • A New York City startup called Paintzen Inc. is taking a different approach, offering a high-ticket service that consumers likely won’t need often: house painting. It raised $7.2 million for an app that allows users to book interior or exterior next day painting for a home, office or store. The average Paintzen user spends at least $2,500 per order, according to Mike Russell, Paintzen chief executive and founder. Bullpen Capital led the Series A investment in Paintzen, which was founded in early 2013. 

  • Dremio, a startup founded by two former MapR employees who have developed the Apache Drill open-source project, has taken on more than $10 million in funding after just two months of operation. The eight-person startup is working out of space furnished by two of its investors: Redpoint Ventures’ San Francisco office and Lightspeed Venture Partners’ Menlo Park office. It’s not exactly clear what Dremio is building, but it’s clear that the team is packed with open-source talent. Presumably Drill — an SQL query engine that can work with NoSQL databases, Hadoop file systems, and cloud storage services — will play a part. 

  • The former Wall Street executive has raised $10 million in funding to launch a new digital investment platform for women. The Series A round is being led by Morningstar, an investment research firm, and includes a slew of financial heavyweights, such as Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz and the former CEO of PIMCO; Ajay Banga, president and CEO of Mastercard; and Brian Finn, former president of Credit Suisse First Boston. The initiative—called Ellevest—doesn’t officially launch until next year. Krawcheck will be the company’s CEO and Charlie Kroll, founder of fintech startup Andera, will serve as Ellevest’s president and COO.

  • DoveConviene, a Milan, Italy-based platform for product promotions near home, raised a €10 million ($11.2 million) Series C round of funding. The round was led by Highland Capital Partners Europe, which joined existing backers Principia SGR, 360 Capital Partners and Merifin Capital. In conjunction with the funding, Anthony Zappalà, Partner at Highland Capital Partners Europe, joined DoveConviene’s board. The company, which has raised over €20m in total funding, aims to use the capital to expand in Italy and abroad, growing its team to 200 employees and being present in 10 countries by the end of 2016.

  • Belgian software company Collibra, which specialises in data governance solutions, has raised 20.5 million euros ($23 million) in Series B funding from Index Ventures and Dawn Capital (which recently backed another Belgian business software startup, Showpad). Collibra CEO Felix Van de Maele tells Data News that the firm, a spin-off from the VUB, currently employs around 100 people and serves 90 customers, from big banks to retailers and pharmaceutical companies. With the fresh cash injection, Collibra plans to double its staff in the coming months, and is moving its headquarters to New York City.

  • Walker & Company Brands has announced a $24 million Series B round of funding. That brings its total funding to $33.3M. The company is known for its health and beauty products for people of color, including the extremely well-received Bevel razors. The lead investor Institutional Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Upfront Ventures, Daher Capital, Collaborative Fund, Google Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Melo7 Tech Partners. Along with the funding, Walker & Company is also announcing a deal with Target to sell its items in-store and online. Up until now, the company has been doing all of its own sales and marketing. The Bevel products will be found in Target sometime in early 2016.

  • Open-source content management system, Drupal, got another boost today when Boston-based Acquia announced it has secured $55 million in venture capital. The money comes on the heels of $50 million the company raised in May 2014, which was increased just three months later when Amazon tossed in an additional amount of funding. The latest round brings in a new investor, Centerview Capital Technology, plus additional money from previous investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Split Rock Partners.

  • Medium, a publishing platform hatched by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, has raised $57 million in a round led by Andreessen HorowitzIt’s the three-year-old company’s second funding round, and people familiar with Medium say it places a $400 million pre-money valuation on the startup. Medium is Williams’ attempt to solve a problem most people didn’t know they had: In an age when anyone with a phone can blast whatever they want to the entire world, he thinks that digital publishing is still too hard for most people. It’s not just enough to post something, Williams argues — you want people to see what you’ve posted.

  • Warburg Pincus said on Monday that it would invest up to $60 million in Civitas Learning to help the company expand its analytical services to more universities. Founded four years ago, Civitas specializes in using cloud-based computing to help schools examine which students are struggling and why, as well as improving graduation rates and other educational initiatives. Civitas has already raised nearly $29 million in financing, most recently with a $16.2 million round just in January. Also investing in the new round are existing backers like Emergence Capital Partners, Austin Ventures, Rethink Education, SJF Ventures and Gera Venture Capital.

  • Another startup out of Europe focused on finance has raised a hefty round of funding.Kreditech, a German company building a suite of credit and banking products for consumers who have little or no credit history, has raised €82.5 million ($92 million) to continue adding more products and geographies to its platform. Investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel is investing in this Series C round, alongside Amadeus Capital Partners and existing investors Värde Partners, HPE Growth Capital and Blumberg Capital. The round was led by U.S.-based private equity firm J.C. Flowers.

  • Qualcomm Incorporated announced its intention to invest up to $150 million in Indian startup companies across all stages as part of its commitment to India during a meeting with Prime MinisterNarendra Modi at the Digital Economy event in San Jose. Qualcomm Ventures will advise and direct Qualcomm's activities with respect to these strategic investments. Qualcomm has been investing in promising Indian startups since 2007 and there are more than 20 Indian companies as part of its global portfolio. Sectors of investment vary across the mobile ecosystem and include hardware, software platforms, e-commerce, healthcare, location based services and retail technology. Initiatives such as the QPrize™ competition, a global seed investment competition, as well as an early stage fund, are part of the team's efforts in encouraging early stage entrepreneurs.  

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