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Pugs crossed my path at least three times today. On the internet that is, not in real life. That would have been awesome though. I sent an image of a preppy pug to perk up my colleague Meghan Kelly, I used the image of a pug for an article on crowdfunding, and a friend of mine adopted a pug puppy and posted the pictures on Facebook. The internet has spoken. Pugs it is!
Smart thermostat maker Nest reportedly raises $80M with $800M valuation
Following strong momentum, smart thermostat startup Nest Labs has raised $80 million in new funding, with a valuation of $800 million, according to a GigaOM report. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Nest Labs attracted a lot of attention in 2012 and launched the second-generation of its smart thermostat back in October. That model is slimmer and offers compatibility with 95 percent of low-voltage heating and cooling systems in the U.S. Google Ventures reportedly led the new round of funding, while Venrock participated as a new investor. In the past, Nest has raised “tens of millions” but hasn’t specified exactly how much. Previous investors include Kleiner Perkins, Generation Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Shasta Ventures. Read more on VentureBeat.
Health startup raises $11M to offer coupons for caramels
Linkwell Health pulled in $11 million to expand its health platform that brings together insurance plans, brands, and retailers to encourage healthier living. Linkwell has partnered with twenty-two insurance providers and big name brands to deliver coupons for “better-for-you” products to members of the network. This third round of funding will bring additional health plans, brands, and retailers onto the platform. Health benefits company WellPoint led this investment, with participation from existing investors Spark Capital and HLM Venture Partners. Mass.-based Linkwell has raised $27.3 million to date. Read more on VentureBeat.
Tomfoolery peeks out of stealth mode to announce all-star investors
A stealth startup called Tomfoolery closed a $1.7 million seed round to make work “awesome.” It does this by developing user-friendly mobile enterprise applications that are as easy and enjoyable to use as many consumer-facing applications. Investors include big names like Ash Patel of Morado Venture Partners, Sam Pullara from Sutter Hill Ventures, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang through AME Cloud Ventures, Andresseen Horowitz, YouSendIt CEO Brad Garlinghouse, and Tech Stars NY cofounder David Tisch. Read more on VentureBeat.
FlexMinder wraps its mind and money around healthcare reimbursement
Digital health startup FlexMinder closed a double A round of financing. The company simplifies the reimbursement process for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) healthcare claims by aggregating an individual’s healthcare information from multiple sources and automating the returns. With this $1.4 million from WRF Capital, Founder’s Co-op and other angel investors., FlexMinder will continue working on product development and build out its sales, marketing, and client services teams. The company is based in Seattle and graduated rom TechStars in 2011.
Lyft reportedly raises $15M for send pink mustaches nationwide
Lyft parent company Zimride has allegedly closed $15 million in new funding, according to a report in TechCrunch from unnamed sources. This news comes hot on the heels of Lyft’s victory against the California Public Utilities Commission and expansion into Seattle and L.A.. The money will help expand Lyft’s peer-to-peer ride sharing service nationwide and take on competitors like SideCar and Uber, which are both backed by hefty amount of venture capital. This second round, which would bring Zimride’s total to $21 million, was led by Founders Fund with participation from existing investors Mayfield Fund, K9 Ventures, and Floodgate.
Toopher $2M funding gives location-based two factor authentication a boost
Toopher’s founders Josh Alexander and Evan Grim are just as scared of the password as the rest of the security industry. It’s a weak form of protection that has been around since the dawn of the Internet — and has been barely changed since. Two-factor authentication helps passwords out by making people “prove” they are who they say they are through entering a code supposedly only accessible by the account owner. Toopher, which got $2 million in funding today, helps people authenticate not through using a code, but rather, though the GPS on their phones.