Top 5 Weekly VC Financing Events
August 8 — Pindrop raises $80.8M Series C led by Google Capital
Pindrop raised almost $81M in a Series C funding round led by Google Capital. Other investors in the round included GV, Andreessen Horowitz, IVP, Citi Ventures and Felicis Ventures.
The Atlanta-based company provides enterprise solutions that help prevent phone-based fraud. Through audio analysis, Pindrop’s acoustical fingerprinting technology detects fraudulent calls and authenticates legitimate callers, helping customers eliminate financial losses and reduce operational costs.
This breakthrough technology is the first of its kind in terms of fingerprinting individual phone calls and providing verification of the caller’s original origin. Pindrop’s solutions help companies feel more confident in the security of phone-based financial transactions.
The company was named one of the 10 Most Innovative Companies at the 2012 RSA conference.
August 9 — NextVR raises $80M Series B led by CITIC Group Corporation
NextVR raised $80M Series B at a reported $800M valuation led by CITIC Group Corporation. Other new Asia-based investors in this funding round include NetEase, CMC Holdings, Softbank Corp, VMS Investments Group, Founder H Fund, China Assets (Holdings) Limited and Spectrum 28. In addition, all of NextVR’s Series A investors returned to invest in this most recent round of funding, including: Time Warner Investments, The Madison Square Garden Company, RSE Ventures, Peter Guber, Dick Clark Productions, Comcast Ventures and Formation 8.
NextVR, the Laguna Beach-based provider of virtual reality broadcast technology, is looking to expand beyond US markets and tackle Asian markets where demand for virtual reality content is growing. With over $135M of funding raised to date, the VR startup has made a name for itself in live-streaming sporting events and concerts.
Brad Allen, NextVR’s executive chairman commented on this most recent round of funding, “With this new funding, we will continue to build NextVR’s virtual reality platform to meet the needs of the world’s largest fan bases around live sports and music content. Having the support of Asia’s biggest players provides us with significant resources for creating and distributing both local and international content in China, Korea, and Japan” (Techcrunch).
August 10 — Carvana raises $160M in a Series C funding round
Carvana raised a $160M Series C funding round this past Wednesday.
The Phoenix-based company is an online auto retailer and creator of what it calls the world’s first coin-operated car vending machine. With this new funding round, Carvana plans to expand its online dealership and car vending machines nationwide.
By bringing an e-commerce approach to the used car industry, the company has brought the entire sales process online.
After all of the financing and paperwork is completed online, the customer can either pickup the car at one of the company’s “car vending machines” or you can have your car delivered to your home. Carvana opened their first car vending machine in Nashville last year, and will use this funding to open more around the country.
The company plans to expand and have readily available inventory in over 20 markets by the end of the year, which will require them to spend a ton of cash to buy a ton of used cars. The company also needs to build more physical locations to store and vend cars in each of these new cities. However, they believe they have a solid business model and want to grow as quickly as possible.
August 10 — Accolade raises $71.1M Series E led by Andreessen Horowitz
Accolade raised over $70M Series E led by Andreessen Horowitz. Other investors included Madrona Venture Group, McKesson Ventures and Independence Health Group.
The Seattle and Philadelphia-based company, which has raised more than $160M in total funding to date, is an on-demand healthcare concierge service.
Accolade caters to employers, so if your place of work has Accolade, you’d be matched up with that health assistant who sticks with you and is around via phone, portal, or mobile app. The assistant (like a mentor for your health) has access to your health insurance, and other information so that they can answer questions you might have or unlock any special perks you might have hidden away. By having one point person, you don’t have to repeat the same information every time you have a question for your insurance provider.
With about 700 people on staff, the concierge can remind you of important things that need to happen and the technology can plug in all the other perks your employer has that you can take advantage of.
“Accolade is simply the best tool we’ve seen to help companies simultaneously improve both the quality and the cost of healthcare,” Andreessen Horowitz general partner Jeff Jordan said in a release (Business Insider).
August 11 — Refinery29 raises $45M led by Turner Broadcasting, reportedly at a $500M valuation
Refinery29 raised a $45M undisclosed round led by Turner Broadcasting, at a reported $500M valuation. The other investor in the round was Scripps Networks.
The digital lifestyle media company aims to inspire millennial-minded modern women to live a stylish, well-rounded life. This strategic investment will help both parties. Refinery29 can use the investment to reach more consumers that are already Turner viewers, and Turner can use it to tap into the base of users who may look at Refinery29 content, but have more or less stopped watching the kind of linear TV that Turner churns out.
The site has over 27 million monthly unique visitors, which is only an increase of 2 million from when it said it had 25 million monthly unique visitors in April 2015. However, Refinery29 has grown by 226% since April 2015 and now reaches over 225 million users across all of its platforms (it doesn’t specify which ones). In addition, it has been working on original content initiatives such as R29 Originals for video and has launched regional sites in various international markets such as Germany.
Christina Miller will take a seat on Refinery29’s board of directors. She is the president and general manager of Turner’s Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang.
August 8 — Kaltura raises $50M Series F led by Goldman Sachs, confirms IPO plans
Kaltura is an open-source video platform that enhances websites with customized video, photo, and audio functionalities. The platform allows media companies and publishers to manage, analyze, and monetize their online videos, and it offers a range of APIs, covering transcoding, distribution, and more.
The company said that this fresh cash influx will be used to “extend its footprint across all six continents.”
Holger Staude, vice president of Goldman Sachs’ investment arm, will be joining Kaltura’s board of directors.
August 9 — MapR Technologies raises $50M Venture led by Australian Government Future Fund
MapR Technologies raised $50M in a venture funding round led by the Australian Government Future Fund. Other prticipants in this most recent funding round included: New Enterprise Associates, Qualcomm Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund, Redpoint and Google Capital.
The San Jose-based company provides an enterprise-grade, big data platform that supports mission-critical and real-time production uses.
This new round of funding brings the company’s total equity financing to $194 million and increases its runway to an IPO. As the company continues to grow, MapR joins Cloudera and Hortonworks as the top platform providers of Hadoop distributions in the enterprise. MapR and Cloudera could both be heading for an IPO, proving the maturity of the big data market for the enterprise.
August 9 — BlueGrace Logistics raises $255M Private Equity led by Warburg Pincus
BlueGrace Logistics is one of the most progressive and fastest growing leaders of transportation management services in North America. The company’s superior supply chain management services and best in class technology help customers of all sizes drive savings and simplification into their supply chains.
August 11 — Stem raises $100M Private Equity led by Starwood Energy Group Global
Stem raised $100M in private equity funding led by Starwood Energy Group Global, a leading private investment firm focused on energy infrastructure.
Stem is the leader in software-driven energy storage. Based in Millbrae, California, the company’s vision is to bring energy consumption into the 21st century through distributed storage technology. Stem is leading the way to a brighter, more cost-effective energy future.
“Distributed energy resources such as those provided by Stem will be part of the foundation of the future electric grid,” said Madison Grose, Vice Chairman, General Counsel and Senior Managing Director at Starwood Energy. “The Stem financing is an attractive investment that facilitates lower energy storage costs and wider adoption of clean energy solutions — a win/win for our investors, Stem’s customers and the environment,” added Patrick Verdonck, a Principal with Starwood Energy (PE Hub).