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Breaking : Airbnb’s Funding Round Led by Google Capital, valuing the home-rental company at $30 billion

Funding round raises $850 million, valuing the home-rental company at $30 billion. Airbnb Inc. has brought on Alphabet Inc.’s investment arm as a backer, part of an expected $850 million funding round that values the home-rental company at $30 billion, people close to the deal said. In addition to the new cash, employees who have been with the company for more than four years had the opportunity to sell common shares to investors as part of the deal. Roughly $200 million of employee stock was sold as part of that fundraising, these people said. Google Capital and another investment firm, Technology Crossover Ventures, co-led the round, the people said, valuing the company at $105 a share, higher than the $93.09 a share investors paid in last year’s round that put Airbnb’s valuation at $25.5 billion.
[ WSJ ]

New Rules For Raising Venture Capital

There’s a bit of a chill in Silicon Valley. The reality is that snagging venture funding is getting much harder.So what should an entrepreneur do? Well, Sash Sunkara definitely has some actionable advice. Keep in mind that she recently secured $10 million in a Series B funding.Then again, her company, RackWare, is a top player in the fast-growing market for comprehensive cloud computing management. Oh, and she knows how to hit her numbers and milestones. Just some of her marquee customers include Blue Cross Blue Shield of CA, Coca-Cola, IBM SoftLayer, HBO, Crayola and Zebra. [ Forbes ]

5 Lessons From Instagram's Path to Startup Bliss

In the beginning, there was Burbn. Sound familiar? Probably not; but it was Instagram's co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger's first app, which let users check in at venues and share photos taken there. In typical startup-then-pivot-fashion, Instagram rose from Burbn's ruins. But what led Systrom and Krieger to move on from the complex, location-based Burbn to the selfie-instigator Facebook-acquired for $1 billion in 2012? Hard work, timing, opportunity, and plain dumb luck, apparently. In the latest episode of NPR's How I Built This, with Guy Raz, Systrom and Krieger share their journey from an itty-bitty startup to a billion-dollar company. [ Inc. ]

How Hampton Creek sold Silicon Valley on a fake-mayo miracle.

In April employees at Hampton Creek, in San Francisco, received a stunning e-mail. With Earth Day coming up, Sofia Elizondo, vice president for business operations, wanted colleagues to know about some changes in the vegan-food company’s sustainability profile. For years, Hampton Creek had trumpeted its environmental credentials, crafting a story that had produced a cultlike following among green-minded foodies and a wave of excitement among Silicon Valley investors. [ Bloomberg ]

Why I Backed a 24-Year-Old Trying to Assess Human Potential

Today Upfront Ventures is announcing that we’ve backed Rebecca Kantar’s startup Imbellus, a company designed to assess human potential and ultimately change the way we teach children. We led a $4 million investment along with Thrive Capital, GLG and Sound Ventures. [ Both Sides ]

Robots will hit the streets to deliver your groceries this fall in Washington, D.C.

The first autonomous robots to deliver packages straight to your front door won’t be flying — they’ll be rolling around on six wheels. Starship Technologies, an Estonia-based startup created by two Skype co-founders, Janus Friis and Ahti Heinla, is slated to begin testing its autonomous delivery robot to bring groceries and restaurant takeout to Washington, D.C., homes and businesses this fall. It’s the first U.S. municipality to approve ground-based robots to roll around on city sidewalks. [ Recode ]


TEDxYSE - Rebecca Kantar [ TED ]

Rebecca Kantar is the founder of Minga and the grand prize winner of the Staples/Ashoka Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition. This is her talk at TEDxYSE: Unleashing Young Social Entrepreneurs hosted by Ashoka's Youth Venture on November 13th, 2010 in Washington, DC. Rebecca Kantar, 18, is a founding member of Minga, a youth-run civic organization dedicated to ending the global child sex trade through educating teens worldwide. Rebecca first became aware of child trafficking in her early teens, the same age of many sex-trafficked American girls. [ TED ]

Yahoo Says Information on at Least 500 Million User Accounts Was Stolen

Internet company says it believes the 2014 hack was done by a state-sponsored actor; potentially the biggest data breach on record.Yahoo Inc. is blaming “state-sponsored” hackers for what may be the largest-ever theft of personal user data. The internet company, which has agreed to sell its core business to Verizon Communications Inc., said Thursday that hackers penetrated its network in late 2014 and stole personal data on more than 500 million users. The stolen data included names, email addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers and encrypted passwords, Yahoo said. [ WSJ ]


TrueFacet Closes on $6M Series A Round

TrueFacet has closed on a $6 million Series A round of financing. Maveron LLC, a venture capital firm, led the latest round. Participants in the round also included Freestyle Capital, Social Leverage, Founders’ Co-op, Trilogy and Liquid2 Ventures, which is owned by football legend Joe Montana. Global marketplace investors Rahul Mehta and John Lindfors also were participants in the round. Maveron, Freestyle, Trilogy, Social Leverage and Founder’s Co-op were also investors, along with several angels, in the firm’s seed round. TrueFacet is the online destination site for buying and selling pre-owned designer jewelry and watches. [ Forex TV ]

Shopping bot Operator raises $15 million for expansion in China​

Conversational commerce startup Operator announced the close of a $10 million Series B round today. The money will be used to improve Operator‘s offering and fund the company’s expansion in China.Created in 2011, Operator has raised $25 million from venture capitalists.“To invent a new [ecommerce] channel like Amazon…takes an investment, educating consumers that this is a new way to shop,” Operator CEO Robin Chan told VentureBeat in a phone interview. With WeChat and an iOS app in China, and a Facebook Messenger bot and iOS and Android apps in the United States, Operator connects shoppers with human experts that they can chat with about a purchase. Half of all activity on Operator is now automated by bots, Chan said. [ Venture Beat ]


Centec Networks nabs $47 mln Series E

China-based Centec Networks, a provider of Ethernet switching silicon and SDN white box solutions, has raised $47 million in Series E funding. China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund led the round. SUZHOU, JIANG SU PROVINCE, CHINA, September 21, 2016 – Centec Networks (, a leading innovator of Ethernet switching silicon and SDN white box solutions, today announced that it has closed a $47 million Series E funding round led by China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund (CICF), a national fund established to help develop IC technology companies in China. [ PE Hub ]

Tax Compliance Automation Company Avalara Raises $50M

Avalara, Inc., a Seattle, WA-based cloud provider of tax compliance automation for businesses of all sizes, raised approximately $50m in growth capital. Existing shareholders including Warburg Pincus, Sageview Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), and others invested a total of $96m in Avalara, approximately $50m of which will be used to fund growth and acquisitions.The remainder was used to repurchase shares from early investors. Led by Scott McFarlane, founder and CEO, Avalara provides businesses of all sizes with a cloud-based platform to achieve compliance with transactional taxes, including VAT, sales and use, excise, communications, and other types. [ Finsmes ]


InfluxData closes $16 million Series B led by Battery Ventures to organize IOT data

Imagine for a moment that you’re riding in one of John Zimmer’s proposed autonomous sleeper cars and you’re fast asleep on a road trip across the state. All of the sensors on the vehicle are collecting data so that standard components like the engine and steering systems don’t kill you. At sub-second intervals, some believe your car could generate nearly a gigabyte of driving data every second. That means a single eight-hour road trip results in 28 terabytes of data. All of this data has to be tracked, managed, and analyzed. Traditional database solutions like Oracle and SQL are just not cut out for the job. [ Tech Crunch ]



BSN Medical Said to Target KKR, Blackstone as EQT Seeks an Exit

EQT Partners AB is sending information about its German health-care firm BSN Medical GmbH to potential bidders as it explores an exit of the business, which could be valued at about 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion), people familiar with the situation said.The company is targeting private equity firms including KKR & Co., CVC Capital Partners, Blackstone Group LP and Cinven Ltd., the people said, asking not to be named because the process is private. Other companies in the medical industry may also consider bids, the people said.EQT is also still weighing an initial public offering for the unit, which remains the preferred option, one of the people said. Stockholm-based EQT is working with advisers at JPMorgan Chase & Co. on the exit, the people said. [ Bloomberg ] 


Apple confirms acquisition of big data startup Tuplejump

Apple today confirmed that it has acquired Tuplejump, a small startup that built software companies could use to store, process, query, and visualize data.“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” an Apple spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. (Hat tip to TechCrunch for breaking the news.)Tuplejump cofounders Rohit Rai and Satyaprakash Buddhavarapu note on their LinkedIn profiles that they stopped working on the startup in April and joined Apple in May. The third cofounder, Deepak Alur, joined Anaplan in April.Beyond developing the platform, the team was well acquainted with open source big data tools such as the Apache Spark processing engine, the Apache Cassandra NoSQL database, and the Apache Kafka distributed high-throughput publish-subscribe messaging system. [ Venture Beat ]


Fountainvest Raises $2.1 Billion for New China Fund

FountainVest Partners, led by former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankerFrank Tang, raised $2.1 billion for its latest China-focused private-equity fund, according to a person familiar with the situation.The private-equity fund will be among the largest China-focused funds and FountainVest’s third fund raised since 2008. Its previous fund was $1.35 billion, raised in 2012. The new fundraising effort came together quickly, drawing money mostly from existing investors, according to the person. Mr. Tang’s FountainVest has been a major investor in China’s media and entertainment world. For example, it invested in movie-screen company IMAX Corp.’s China division and helped it build out its operations in China. It was also one of the investors in Chinese advertiser Focus Media, which it helped take private from the U.S. and relist on China’s domestic stock market, making multiples of its initial investment.
[ WSJ ]


Signia Venture Partners has $85 million in new funds to invest

Signia Venture Partners has closed its second fund at $85 million to lead early-stage deals in emerging tech startups mostly in and around San Francisco. For the unfamiliar, Signia is typically the first money in and the lead investor in the companies it backs, writing $1-2 million in seed stage deals or $2-8 million in later stage rounds. The firm was started in 2012 by Rick Thompson, the founder of Playdom Inc., a social games developer acquired by Disney for a reported $763 million in 2010. Other founding members at Signia include game and adtech industry veterans Ed Cluss, Sunny Dhillon, and Zaw Thet, who are all investment partners in Signia Fund II. [ Tech Crunch ] 

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