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Funding Daily: Singapore Sling


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singapore slingAsia dominated the world stage of tech funding news today. A Singapore-based firm that focuses its investments on Southeast Asian companies revealed the first three members of its portfolio, a health and wellness startup raised money to enter the Korean market, and a Hong-Kong company is silver lining its media cloud offering. Don’t chug through today’s Singapore Sling of Funding Daily too quickly, bad things may happen. I speak from experience.

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Sequoia Capital raises $700M fund to play a heavyweight, global game

Yesterday, longtime Silicon Valley venture firm Sequoia Capital announced it raised a massive $700 million fund called the Sequoia Capital Global Growth Fund. That’s a hefty fund, considering that Sequoia’s recent funds have all been under $500 each, including a $200 million fund focused on Israel (its fifth fund aimed at that country) in August, 2012. Sequoia declined to comment for this story, but a source familiar with the matter suggested that the firm would use its new, big fund to invest in more mature companies alongside big, late-stage players and permit investment in any part of the world where Sequoia currently invests. Read more on VentureBeat.

Grockit strikes major deal with Discovery to invigorate online learning

Grockit, a startup that applies social learning to online test preparation, has raised $20 million in new funding. The investment is part of a partnership with Discovery Communucations, which led the round, and the two companies will work together to promote Grockit’s new product Learnist. Learnist looks a lot like Pinterest for online learning.  Users can view lessons on a range of subjects in a user-friendly board format. This marks the fifth round of institutional funding for Grockit and is by far the largest. Summit Group also participated in this round, along with previous investors Atlas Venture, Benchmark Capital, Integral Capital Partners and GSV Capital Corp. It brings the total capital raised to just under $50 million. Read more on VentureBeat. 

Plex Systems gets $30M from Accel to push manufacturing into the cloud 

Plex Systems, the cloud-based planning and management tool for manufacturers, has received significant strategic investment from Silicon Valley firm, Accel Partners. For $30 million, Accel will gain a seat on the company’s board, alongside Francisco Partners, which acquired Troy, Mich.-based Plex Systems earlier this year. With this new infusion of capital, Plex will continue to migrate its customers — primarily in the high-tech, electronics and automotive industries — from on-premise systems to the cloud. The company, which was founded over two decades ago, competes with tech giants like Infor and SAP and the company claims to have seen 30 percent year-over-year growth. With this investment, they will hire new employees to augment R&D efforts. Read more on VentureBeat.

Exablox gets $22M to tackle your multi-terabyte storage problem 

Today, almost every mid to large-size company is grappling with storing massive amounts of data cheaply. This has led to a resurgence in interest in the once-stodgy enterprise data storage market. Exablox, a stealthy startup that just raised $22 million in a highly-oversubscribed funding round, is one of the hot startups in this space. The founding team is currently working with a small number of customers and partners to better understand their pain-points and are emphasizing user experience. This funding round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, DCM and US Venture Partners. Read more on VentureBeat.

‘Halfway house’ for old-school IT systems backed by $12M 

Fruition Partners has raised $12 million to transition companies operating on outdated enterprise IT systems to more efficient cloud-based infrastructure. The firm assist companies with every step of the process, from initial discussions all the way through to training on how to use the new systems. It is a licensed implementation partner of the cloud IT management service ServiceNow, which has experienced high-demand and also contributed to Fruition Partner’s growth. This first institutional round was led by Trident Capital, a venture capital and growth equity firm based in Silicon Valley. Read more on VentureBeat.

.406 Ventures swings away with new $175M fund

.406 Ventures, whose name derives from Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams impressive batting average, pooled together a new $175 investment fund to invest in enterprise startups. The firm is based in Boston and provides support for early stage companies, primarily on the East coast. This is .406 Ventures’ second fund and will focus specifically on IT security, healthcare IT, and web infrastructure companies. Existing portfolio companies include Adtuititve, ambient, Bit9, Chosen Security, Mashery and Veracode. Read more on VentureBeat.

Noom raises $2.6M helps users zoom down a pant size

Noom Inc, the health and fitness app developer, has raised $2.6 million to enter the Asian market. Noom’s flagship product is the Weight Loss Coach, which is a top weight loss app for Android. Behind the US and the UK, Korea is Noom’s biggest market. This $2.6 million “pre-Series A” and will help open the Noom Korea marketing office and launch a fully localized Noom in Korean. Noom currently has over 15 million installs and plans to continue international expansion, as well as make additions to the product line and mobile offerings. This round was led by m8 Capital, a London-based investment firm that focuses exclusively on mobile technology. Qualcomm Ventures and Harbor Pacific Capital also invested. Read more on VentureBeat.

Qvivo takes $1 million to fill the skies with personal media clouds

Hong-Kong based Qvivo received $1 million in financing from SingTel Innov8. Qvivo offers a simple way to build a personal media cloud, meaning its stores and syncs your media library across computers, tablet, and smartphones for anytime, anywhere access. This investment will be used to accommodate user growth by bolstering the infrastructure. SingTel Innov8 is the venture arm of SingTel Group, A Singapore-based mobile phone and internet service provider.

Three startups take big ol’ swigs of a Singapore Sling 

Golden Gate Ventures is a new venture firm with headquarters in Singapore and Silicon Valley dedicated to supporting Southeast Asian startups and spurring the region’s position as hub of a technology and innovation. It announced making its first investments in three companies tackling e-commerce.

The first, TradeGekko offers a platform for small businesses to manage their wholesale inventory, orders and  distribution, and engage with customers. It has raised $650K to integrate its system with other software-as-a-service applications, like Xero, Shopify, and Vend. TradeGekko was founded by three entrepreneurs from New Zealand and participated in the WaveMaker Labs incubator program in Singapore. The other two portfolio companies are online grocer RedMart and Coda Payments, which enables online purchases through mobile accounts. .

2can follows its nose to the flavor of fruit and $2.3 million

Russian payments startup 2can secured new funding for its product which is basically a copycat of Square. 2can offers a physical credit card reader as well as iOS and Android applications that small businesses can use to accept payments using a smart phone. 2can previously raised $1.6 million led by InVenture Partners. As reported by the Russian tech blog Quintura, this round came from Almaz Capital Partners. This news comes just a week after Life-Pay, another Russian Square clone, announced a $2.6 million round from Life.Sreda.

Catbird sings a meowing song of new investment 

Security company Catbird locked up new investment from Medina Capital. Network virtualization is a hot right now as companies are developing new technology in these areas and receiving large venture capital investments or buy-outs for their efforts. With the growing excitement surrounding virtualized data centers comes the need to protect them, and Catbird offers a security solution designed for virtualized infrastructure. Medina Capital is a strategic growth equity firm that focuses its investment on IT infrastructure. The amount of the round was not disclosed.