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Funding Daily: When sunglasses ain’t risky business


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1983’s Risky Business is the film many credit with reversing the languishing sales of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, which the film prominently features. Basically, Tom Cruise made the things cool again, and in the process inspired countless young people to be just like him. The point is this: There’s a lot of money in sunglasses, and today’s Funding Daily proves it.

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Warby Parker has a bright future

The big funding news of the day came from fashion startup Warby Parker, which raised $36.8 million. The company’s strategy is simple: Offer flashy eyeglasses and sunglasses at an affordable price. General Catalyst Partners led the round of funding, which Warby Parker will use to bolster its staff, marketing, and product offerings. The startup also plans to open its first retail store in New York City in the next few months.

Localytics makes money by … helping app publishers make money 

Mobile app analytics company Localytics makes its pennies by making it easier for app publishers to see how users are interacting with their apps. That model is what helped the company draw in $5.5 million in a funding round led by Polaris Venture Partners. Returning investors included New York Angels, Launchpad Venture Group, and Hub Angels. With the money, Localytics aims to expand its popular analytics platform, which is used by 10,000 apps.

One the eve of an expansion, Nimble Storage pulls in $40M

Know what really gets investors going? Enterprise storage.

That’s good news for San Jose-based Nimble Storage, which specializes in data storage, backup, and disaster recovery. Investor interest in the company helped Nimble raise $40 million in a funding round led by Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital. The company says the fresh cash will allow it to hire new employes and grow internationally. (Oh, and it’s working on and IPO slated for late next year or early 2014.)

All hail the Blue River robot gardener overlords 

Blue River creates robots: Big agricultural robots that reduce the need for agricultural pesticides by yanking weeds.

It’s a vital, potentially lucrative invention that led Blue River to raise $3.1 million in a funding round from Khosla Ventures. According to Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla, Blue River’s technology could cut herbicide use in the U.S. by 250 million pounds a year. While the companies that manufacture pesticides won’t be happy to hear that, penny-pinching farmers certainly will.