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Funding Daily: Survival of the fittest


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Surviving in the tech world and surviving in the wild share some interesting similarities and differences. There are predators in both, although the wild’s are generally more hairy with larger teeth (this is not an absolute). In both scenarios, the ‘survivors’ need to be aware of their surroundings, attuned to impending danger and opportunities, and fearsomely protect their territory. And with these eleven nuggets of funding news, I leave you to ponder man vs. wild, investor vs. founder, and startup vs. startup. I’ll be off fighting a bear.

Lending Club shuffles around shareholders to make room for Google

Google has taken a minority stake worth in online investment community Lending Club. The deal was part of a $125 million secondary transaction where existing investors sold portions of their shares to new investor Google and previous investor Foundation Capital. No new money is going into the company, rather it is a reshuffling of equity to allow room for Google on the board. Lending Club is now valued at $1.55 billion, which represents a threefold increase in 12 months. Read more on VentureBeat.

SJF Ventures hits a triple with its third fund

Venture capital firm SJF Ventures closed its third fund with more than $90 million in capital, which is more than three times the size of its previous $28 million fund. SJF Ventures investments focus in clean tech, sustainability, and tech-enhanced services sectors. It has 36 portfolio companies. Investors in this fund include banks, insurance, and financial services firms as well as endowments, mutual and pension funds, and others. SJF Ventures is based in Durham, North Carolina. Read the press release.

Cintrifuse closes $51 million to spur innovation in Ohio 

Cincinatti-based fund Cintrifuse has added investors to its “fund of funds,” which has now closed at $51 million. Cintrifuse supports both regional and national early-stage venture capital funds with a focus on life sciences, consumer goods and services, technology, and energy. Participants said in a statement the Greater Cincinnati is ripe for growth and this fund will go towards growing its innovation ecosystem.

Twentysomething forms New York City’s newest VC firm

Venture capitalist Mike Brown has formed an independent fund of $33 million to support early-stage startups that work in the marketing and technology layer of large enterprise. According to a report in CNN, Brown expects the fund to back 25 companies in seed and Series A rounds of between $250,000 and $3 million. Brown started out working for Virgin Group and then cofounded AOL Ventures. His firm is called Bowery Capital and is based in New York City. Partners include members of AOL Ventures portfolio companies, including the founders/CEOs of Sailthru, CodeAcademy, and Premise Data. Read more on CNN.

DocuTAP taps into $11.9M to save lives using software

DocuTAP has raised $11.9 million from Bessemer Venture Partners to help urgent care clinics digitalize their operations to make them more efficient and less reliant on paper. The software integrates electronic health records (EHR) and “practice management” technology so all the information and tools needed to operate an efficient practice is one place. The company was founded in 2000 and this marks its second round of funding. Bluff Point Associates led the first round of $12 million in March 2012. This financing will be used to increase market presence, accelerate sales, and continue to improve the products. It’s based in Sioux Falls, S.D. Read more on VentureBeat.

Poppin raises $11.1M in new funding 

The New York-based e-tailer of office furniture and workstyle products Poppin today announced 11.1 million in Series B financing, taking the total funding to $17.1 million. The round is led by TrilogyGrowth, with participation from Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital and Poppin’s founder, J. Christopher Burch. Poppin aspires to make buying and browsing office products an “extraordinary experience.” Clients include Fab.com, Kate Spade, LinkedIn, and Pandora. With the new investment, the company plans to expand its product offering with a focus on growing its furniture collection. Read more on VentureBeat.

Mobile app-building platform FeedHenry raises $9M

FeedHenry is yet another company that wants to help “the modern developer” quickly build mobile apps for iOS, Android, and mobile web. But it’s such a profitable, popular space that even in a crowded market, this startup secured a healthy $9 million round of investment capital. Today’s funding was led by Intel Capital with participation from existing investors Kernel Capital, VMware, Enterprise Ireland, and new investor ACT Venture Capital. A previous seed round of around $1 million or less took place in mid-2011. FeedHenry is based in Waterford, Ireland, with offices in Burlington, Mass. Read more on VentureBeat.

Pure Energies Group ramp up with $6M of pure capital

Pure Energies Group received $6 million in funding from NEA and NGEN for its approach to residential solar technology. PEG advises homeowners on adopting the solar energy system that works best for them. The company helps them navigate the confusing world of power purchase and lease agreements as well as prepay options and escalation tables, and it partners with major solar suppliers for installation. PEG recently made two acquisitions that helped gain traction in local markets and the financing will support continued expansion. It is based in Toronto, Ontario.

Investors drop $2.3 into Dropico

Dropico Mobile has raised $2.3 million for its product MasterFX, an iPhoto application that combines “the fun and ease of Instagram” with “the power of photoshop.” MasterFX offers photo editing tools that go beyond filters, but is easier to use than more sophisticated photo-editing tools. The app is free and has over 1,500 photo elements, effects, characters, and brushes. Angel investors comprised this initial round for Dropico, which is based in Herzliya, Israel.

Joytunes sings to the tune of $1.5M in funding

JoyTunes is the “Rosetta Stone” of music education. The application combines new media, gamification, and audio technology to make practicing an acoustic instrument feel like a game. Its first two games, Piano Dust Buster and Piano Mania, are designed to make piano playing more fun and engaging, and therefore encourage more playtime. Genesis Partners led this round, with participation from Founder Collective, Kaedan Capital, and angel investors. JoyTunes is based in Israel.

SocialWire pulls in additional seeds and new CEO

Ad-tech startup SocialWire has added $1M onto its seed round, according to a report in TechCrunch. SocialWire’s technology is supposed to “make Facebook ads work” by helping online retailers leverage customer data to automate advertising and target the right customers. Its recommendation engine for ads is designed to personalize the ads as effectively as possible. This extension follows the company’s $2 million seed round from November 2012. New investor SoftTech VC participated, as well as existing investors First Round Capital, 500 Startups, Accelerator Ventures and Joi Ito.

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