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Funding Daily: Purple people eater


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Today was all about people. I wrote about a nine year old boy who is the youngest person ever certified as a Microsoft tech specialist, a serial entrepreneur who is backed by $250 million for any and all business ideas he wants to pursue, and a woman who took a few simple lessons about web design and turned them into a globally successful educational platform. Oh, and a man using data to cure cancer. I just hope none of these impressive folks gets eaten by the purple people eater. That’s a big concern in my world.

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Redpoint to grow startup garden with new $400M fund

Redpoint Ventures announced the closing of its fifth fund, $400 million dedicated to supporting early stage entrepreneurs, startups, and the technology they create. The investments will focus on new platforms in the mobile, cloud, and social sectors; next generation entertainment technologies and delivery systems; big data infrastructure and applications; and enterprise-class cloud and mobile infrastructure. Redpoint now manages over $3.3 billion across its end and has made investments in over 350 technology companies.Notable companies in Redpoint’s portfolio include HomeAway, StorSimple, Heroku, Zendesk, Sonos, Juniper Networks, Netflix, Path, and Stripe. Read more on VentureBeat.

Cox Enterprises creates The 250 Million Dollar Man

Cox Enterprises is investing $250 million in serial entrepreneur Tripp Rackley to back any existing and future companies he wants to found. Rackley is a well-known figure within the Atlanta technology community. He successfully started and sold two companies to Intuit and Qualcomm, and he claims to have created more than $1 billion in shareholder value and more than 500 jobs in Georgia. This exclusive partnership will enable him to build multiple businesses at a time, iterate quickly, and attempt to jumpstart the Atlanta startup scene. Read more on VentureBeat.

Lynda.com raises $103M to tackle the tech talent crunch 

Online educational portal Lynda.com raised $103 million in its first round of funding. Lynda.com offers instruction on software, creative, and business skills. Its library contains 83,000 instructional videos created by industry experts and produced by a professional team at Lynda.com’s large corporate campus. This massive round, led by Accel Partners and Spectrum Equity, will be used to grow its course database, add learning tools and features, and scale to accommodate the strong demand from individuals and large organizations alike. Read more on VentureBeat.

A cure for cancer? This ‘big data’ startup says it can deliver

Ayasdi, a startup that closed $10 million in venture funding today, is using data to cure cancer. Stanford researchers have been baking the complex algorithms behind Ayasdi for over a decade, with the goal of unlocking the hidden value in human genetic data. Ayasdi synthesizes machine learning technology and topological data analysis to allow for automated discovery of information. It previously pulled in $3.5 million in grants from DARPA and the National Science Foundation, and this funding from Khosla Ventures, Floodgate, Data Collective’s Matt Ocko, serial entrepreneur, Steve Blank, and more. Read more on VentureBeat.

Optoro brings in millions to waste not, want not

Optoro is an “asset recovery” platform that provides brands with tools to offload their returned, damaged, and overstock inventory. Grotech Ventures offloaded some of its own inventory into the company, leading a $7.5 million investment. Combined with money from previous investors SFJ Ventures and QED, Optoro’s first round comes to more than $10 million. Optoro helps retailers, manufacturers, and 3rd party providers liquidate their stock by marketing their products directly on online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. Its software automates the listing process and optimizes sales of unwanted stuff. Both Optoro and Grotech Ventures are based outside of Washington DC.

Zettaset nabs $10M to help manage your Hadoop cluster 

Zettaset, a company that helps its customers deploy Hadoop, the open source computing framework that can process large data-sets, has closed a $10 million funding round. The Mountain View-based startup develops software to securely integrate “big data” into customers’ existing environments and manage a large volume of messy data. Zettaset’s second round was led by Highbar Ventures, with additional investment from Brocade, Epic Ventures, and storied Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson. The company will use the additional funding to bolster its sales and marketing efforts to gain more enterprise customers. Read more on VentureBeat.

OnApp nabs $20M from LDC to improve cloud management software

Cloud management software startup OnApp has raised $20 million in its second round of funding, cash it hopes will help expand its product offerings and expand into more countries. OnApp claims to power public cloud services for more than 500 providers in 39 countries. The company’s most popular product is OnApp Cloud, which provides “everything you need to build a fully featured cloud hosting service” and can be deployed in a matter of days. The new funding was led by U.K.-based private equity firm LDC. Read more on VentureBeat.

ChowNow raises $3 million to give restaurants quick, easy online and mobile tools

ChowNow, a Facebook-enabled ordering platform for restaurants has raised $3 million in a Series A round. ChowNow gives restaurants streamlined mobile-and-online-ordering templates to customize their own online marketing strategies and customer incentives. GRP Partners led this first institutional round for ChowNow, with participation from Daher Capital, Double M Capital, Karlin Ventures, and Velos Partners. To date, ChowNow has raised over $4 million, including funding from accelerator Launchpad LA. It will use its Series A funding to support the launch of new products and scale its operations around the country. Read more on VentureBeat.

InternMatch raises $1.2M to support socio-politically correct servitude 

Interns. You got to love them. They do all the grunt work for next-to-no money and are grateful to do it. InternMatch is an online platform that connects students with internship opportunities and navigate the search process. As reported by TechCrunch this morning, the startup is announcing $1.2 million in funding to expand its offering beyond internships. InternMatch previously raised $900K from angel investors, many who re-upped for this round, including Dave McClure, Mitch Kapor, and Vishal Makhijani.

Loopit closes round without help of Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Bruce Willis

Social shopping site Loopit received an investment from Avalon Ventures. Loopit emerged out of Redstar Ventures, a Boston-based “venture foundry” that generates ideas and builds teams to bring the best ones to fruition. Loopit basically allows consumers to ask for their friends for advice while shopping online, Avalon Ventures is helping to take Loopit research and develop is conversation engine and move the product beyond the early stages.

Realtors know the value of storage space, in the physical world and the cloud

Whether you are buying a house or saving important files, security is important. Perhaps this is why the venture capital arm of the National Association of Realtors is making a strategic investment in cloud backup startup Symform. Symform offers a unique peerto-peer storage system where members contribute excess local storage in exchange for cloud storage with Symform. Today, Symform announced that it has closed $11 million in its second round of funding with Second Century Ventures (the realtor fund), along with Longworth Venture Partners, OVP Venture partners, and WestRiver Capital. The partnership between Symform and Second Century Ventures will give the 1 million member base of the NAR access to its services. Read the press release.

FanPlayr plays on, playa playa

E-commerce data analytics startup Fanplayr secured $2 million in seed financing. Its platform looks at shoppers’ behavioral data, purchase history, demographics, and information from external sources to help online merchants target the right consumers with the right offers at the right time. Using Fanplayr’s tools, marketers can deliver customized, real-time incentives to increase conversions and drive sales. The company has deals with Magento, ZenCart, Shopify and others. Denali Venture Partners led this round. Read the press release.

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