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Today in history, Prohibition ended. The 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st and alcohol became legal again. The Prohibition era is a time characterized by gangsters and speakeasies, and the teetotalers and G-Men against them. Anyone with an adventurous spirit and little regard for the rules could make their fortune, if they played their cards right. Granted, cloud computing and e-commerce are not illegal, but yesterday’s bootleggers share certain things in common with today’s entreprenuers. Both groups seek to fill needs in the markets, take risks, and forge their own paths. And both, traditionally, enjoy a stiff cocktail after a long day fo work.
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Lazada, Asia’s answer to Amazon, raises a fresh $26M
You may not have heard of Lazada, but the so-called “Amazon of Asia” is raising quite a bit of money for itself. The latest bit of funding comes from Germany’s Summit Parters, which has gifted Lazada with a fresh $26 million. With the cash, Lazada says it plans to continue its growth and increase its product portfolio, which is focused on items like household goods, consumer electronics, and toys. The last few months have been particuarly lucrative for Lazada, which pulled in $40 million in mid-November. In September, JP Morgan invested an unspecified double-digit sum in the company. Lazada is owned by Rocket Internet, a Germany company whose other e-commerce companies include Zalora, Foodpanda, Pricepanda and OfficeFab. Read more on VentureBeat.
CloudPay nabs $16M from Pinnacle, Rho, & others to improve payroll management
Cloud-based payroll management business CloudPay has raised $16 million in its second round of funding, a move will help it grow and further refine its software-as-a-service for small and large business payrolls. CloudPay offers payroll management software to companies in 160 counties and it supports 30 currencies and 26 languages. Some of its biggest customers include ADB, Siemens, Education First, and the Singapore Mercantile Exchange. The new round of funding was led by Pinnacle Investment Partners, Rho Ventures, and other institutional investors. Before this funding round, the company raised more than $50 million in equity funding. Read more on VentureBeat.
ShopKeep POS banks $10M for iPad register system
iPad point-of-sale provider ShopKeep POS has closed an important sale of its own. The New York-based startup has banked $10 million in funding from Canaan Partners, Tribeca Venture Partners, and TTV Capital. ShopKeep POS makes an iPad application which can ring sales, process credit cards, and print or email receipts, is live in more than 3,000 stores. The company’s iPad register replacement works with a cloud-based reporting tool to provide merchants with analysis on their customers, sales, and inventory. The fresh $10 million will be used to invest in product and business development, ShopKeep POS founder and CEO Jason Richelson said. This is ShopKeep POS’s second round of venture funding. The company previously raised $2.2 million from the same firms that participated in this round. Read more on VentureBeat.
Big-name investors throw $15M at news aggregation startup Prismatic
News aggregation application Prismatic has raised a $15 million round of fundingfrom none other than überinvestor Yuri Milner and Accel partner Jim Breyer. On the surface, it looks a lot like Flipboard or Circa or a nicely tarted-up version of Digg or StumbleUpon or Reddit. So what makes it special enough for such a giant first round of institutional funding? The team previously took a small $1.2 million seed around about a year and a half ago. On that, they were able to build an iPhone app as well as a web interface for a core service: finding, reading, sharing, recommending, and saving news items and articles from around the web. Prismatic will be using the funding to hire a boatload of designers, engineers, and machine-learning types. Read more on VentureBeat.
Modernizing Medicine gets $12M to push physicians into the digital age
Modernizing Medicine has raised $12 million in funding to continue its efforts to bring medical records into the cloud. The South Florida-based company known for its electronic medical record (EMR) application for the iPad. It said the investment was led by Pentland Group and included many of its physician customers. Modernizing Medicine has experienced fast growth, but it faces increasing competition from a crop of other healthcare IT companies. Modernizing Medicine’s cloud-based software has proven to be a hit with dermatologists — it has captured 12 percent of the U.S. market. With the additional $12 million, Modernizing Medicine will accelerate the development of its product — its plan includes applications for orthopedic and ear, nose, and throat specialists. To date, Modernizing Medicine has received $19.1 million in funding. Read more on VentureBeat.
Andreessen-Horowitz injects $30M into encryption startup CipherCloud
If you’re only protecting your enterprise’s perimeter, you’re not doing enough. Cloud encryption company CipherCloud knows that it’s the data inside that cyber-criminals really want, so it encrypts that data before it ever reaches your cloud applications. The data is encrypted in such a way that your cloud applications can still make use of the data, but in theory, it’s much safer since you hold the keys that decrypt it. Today, CipherCloud announced a $30 million first round of funding from Andreessen-Horowitz. This is the first round of funding for CipherCloud, which was founded in 2010. It has 40 enterprise clients, and within that, 1.2 million users. Read more on VentureBeat.
SmartThings rides Kickstarter wave into $3M of VC and angel funding
Home automation startup SmartThings announced that it has raised $3 million today at the LeWeb Conference in Paris. The theme for LeWeb this year is “Internet of Things,” a predicted trend for 2013. SmartThings adds intelligence into everyday things for home automation. It offers a platform for developers to make connected devices, as well as a consumer-facing apps and tools (like motion sensors). SmartThings successfully raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter in September, which was almost 5 times its pledged goal. Now a few months later, big name investors are putting their money in as well. This round was led by Firs Rond Capital, and included SV Angel, Lerer Ventures, CrunchFund, Max Levchin, Yuri Milner’s Start Fund, David Tisch, and others. Read the company’s blog post.
Radio Runt raises $1M to bring walkie-talkies into the era of smartphones
I used to love running around my backyard at night with a black bandana and a walkie-talkie, pretending to be an undercover CIA agent saving the world. Whether playing a childhood game or simply looking to communicate with friends, Seattle tech company Radio Runt has launched a free Rallee walkie-talkie app and announced $1 million in investment from Kazakh millionaire Kenges Rakishev. The technology enables “push-to-talk” on Android phones for groups of people. Walkie-talkies may be old school, and Rallee seeks to bring them into the age of smartphones. Read the press release.
Siri’s long lost Chicago cousin finds $1.05M in support
Siri has a distant cousin, it seems, named Terra. Terranova. Terranova is a mobile personal assistant app built on natural language processing technology and machine learning. Unlike Siri, this virtual personal assistant (VPA) focuses on local findings. Rather than searching the web or applications for information, Terranova “aggregates information about real-world activities and connects users with relevant people, places, and events.” Terranova will launch its private beta in 2013. It has raised $1.05 million in seed funding from undisclosed sources to bring it to market.