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Today officially marks my one year anniversary at VentureBeat! In honor of my 365 days spent furiously writing about technology news, I plan to treat myself to a little something sparkly. It was a crazy year. Cheers to another!
LA-based GRP Partners closes new $200M fund, rebrands as Upfront
GRP Partners is doing the LA thing and getting a “facelift.” The LA-based VC firm has raised a new $200 million fund and is rebranding as Upfront Ventures. Upfront Ventures is headed up by Mark Suster, a well known blogger and entrepreneur who sold his startup to Salesforce and joined GRP Partners in 2007. Suster said that the VC industry is evolving and he wanted to realign GRP’s branding to reflect a new, more modern ethos. Read more on VentureBeat.
Clinkle raises massive $25M seed round to transform how we pay for things
Clinkle peeked out of stealth mode long enough to reveal that it has raised a whopping $25 million seed round from some of the most well-known investors out there, including Andressen Horowitz, Peter Thiel, Diane Greene, Jim Breyer, Marc Benioff, Owen Van Natta, Ross Perot JR., Peter Crisp, and Stanford professors. Clinkle is building a mobile payments platform that could ultimately replace physical wallets. That is the big vision — to create a transactional network of merchants and consumers that is so strong, you could walk around without a wallet for a week and still be able to buy everything you need. Read more on VentureBeat.
Vormetric raises $15M to protect against threats from the inside out
Cybersecurity startup Vormetric has raised $15 million to expand its data protection solutions. The company helps organizations stop advanced persisted threats by putting in safeguards and access control where the data is stored, whether its in physical, virtual, big data, and cloud environments. Vormetric has 1,100 customers in 20 countries and this brines it total capital raised to $20 million. Split Rock Partners led this round with existing investors JK&B Partners, Quicksilver Ventures, and Sigma Partners.
Insightera raises $6.5M to compete in red-hot digital marketing industry
Insightera has raised $6.5 million to help marketers achieve this goal. The startup provides a business-to-business marketing platform that personalizes content in real-time. It collects data on a visitors’ industry, location, and digital behavior, and automatically presents targeted, customized content. The goal is to boost conversion rates and accelerate customer acquisition. Lightspeed Venture Partners and Opus Capital led this Series A round, which will support customer acquisition and product development. Read more on VentureBeat.
WeHeartIt raises $8M for its less popular version of Pinterest
Latin American Pinterest competitor WeHeartIt has closed $8 million in its first round of funding. We Heart It is an image-based social network that was founded in 2008. The company claims it was roughly five times the size of Pinterest in 2011, but since then has “remained in the shadows.” Pinterest is a tough competitor — it was the fastest site ever to break the 10 million unique visitor mark. It now has 48.7 million users. We Heart It has 20 million users. This $8 million round led by White Oak and IDG Ventures is its first outside investment. Read more on VentureBeat.
PokitDok gets $4M to improve health care cost transparency
PokitDok received $4 million in funding today to build-out a website that lets consumers research and potentially even purchase health care services. On PokitDok, physicians and other care providers can set up a virtual storefront to market their services, whether it’s traditional medicine or alternative. The funding was led by New Atlantic Ventures and syndicated with Rogers Venture Partners. Seed investors Subtraction Capital, Zac Zeitlin and FFP Holdings also participated in the round. Read more on VentureBeat.
Triea Systems raises $2.2M to fight global warming with chicken poop
Triea Systems is a green tech startup that converts heat from rejected, existing sources — like animal manure — into a usable resource. Commercial buildings can use Triea Systems to significantly reduce their utility bills and carbon footprint. The startup has raised $2.2 million, with $1.2 million coming from Art Lazerow. Art Lazerow is the father of Michael Lazerow, cofounder and CEO of social analytics startup Buddy Media, which sold to Salesforce last year for $689 million. Read more on VentureBeat.
My6Sense reveals new B2B focus and $2M in funding
Content discovery app My6Sense has raised $2 million. It is now targeting publishers who integrate its Content Discovery Bar to deliver personalized, relevant content to the readers. There are also tools to monetize content and increase revenue and retention. The funding comes from an undisclosed investors and has raised a total of $7.5 million, according to a report on TechCrunch.
Ranker raises $2M follow on round to create “opinion graph” for the Internet
Crowdsourced voting platform Ranker has raised $2 million from new investors. Users vote on broad opinion topics like what toppings to put on frozen yogurt or the the 50 most epic films about the end of the world and those opinions get aggregated into list format. It has elements of Reddit and Buzzfeed and is described as a “Yelp for everything else.” It attracts more than 80 million monthly pageviews and is striving to build an “opinion graph.” Lowercase Capital, BullPen Ventures, Data Collective contributed to this follow on round, with participation from previous investors Draper Associates, Rincon Venture Partners, Siemer Ventures, TenOneTen, The Coast Angels, and Pasadena Angels.