Funding Daily: it’s tornado Tuesday again

Venture capital attempted to solve national crises today, from the Great Mobile Developer Shortage of 2012 to the obesity epidemic plaguing data storage to the disintegration of communities across America. Where would we be without them?

Bing replaces Google as default search engine on BlackBerry devices

At the BlackBerry World 2011 conference today in Orlando, Florida, today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that its Bing search engine will be replacing Google as the default search and maps provider on all of Research in Motion (RIM)’s BlackBerry devices.

LinkedIn, GitHub team up on collaboration tool for programmers

Professional social networking startup LinkedIn has joined forces with well-known open source coding repository GitHub, which will allow others in a user’s network to see what projects they and their connections are working on at any given time.

Silicon Valley VCs reach highest confidence levels in two years

Venture Capitalists are increasingly optimistic about the immediate future of investing in Silicon Valley. Their confidence registered 3.75 on a 5 point scale, with 5 indicating high confidence and 1 indicating low confidence, according to the quarterly Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index released today.

Google snags Twitter movie recommender Fflick for $10M

Search behemoth Google is back on the prowl again, today snapping up microblogging Twitter recommendation service Fflick for around $10 million, the companies confirmed this morning, one being an unnamed source at Google.

Exit activity leapt 25% in 2010, but is 2011 the “Year of the IPO?”

Successful exit activity for venture-backed companies rose 25 percent in 2010 from the previous year, reaching levels close to those seen before the recession and netting $39 billion in liquidity for 514 companies, according to a study released today by Dow Jones VentureSource.

VCs say they’ll invest, hire and sell more in 2011

Venture capitalists say they will invest more in 2011 as hiring in the sector heats up and selling begins to shake off the lingering woes of the financial crisis, according to a study released today by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and Dow Jones VentureSource.

Angels and VCs partner up to pump $282M into startups

Angel investors and venture capital firms are teaming up to find the best deals, new data released today shows, with investors paying particular attention to startup companies active in the IT and business technology space

Stealth social networking startup CafeBots scores $5M from sFund

Stealth social networking startup CafeBots came into the light in a big way today, after the firm announced it has closed an initial funding round of $5 million from early stage venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’s brand new sFund.

Return of the deals? Seagate buyout talks heat up

Private equity firms TPG Capital and KKR are reportedly in talks to acquire hard-drive manufacturer Seagate, adding further credibility to rumors that cropped up yesterday that Seagate will be going private for the second time in a decade, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

SocialShield pulls in $10M to help parents monitor kids’ social networking

SocialShield, a service designed to help parents keep their kids safe while using online social networks, announced today that it has received $10 million in a first round of institutional financing from a conglomeration of sources including U.S. Venture Partners, Venrock and a group of angel investors.

Acision swoops up $100M as mobile data gains speed

Notoriously well-connected Russian-American billionaire Len Blavatnik has decided to place a sizable bet on mobile data leader Acision, on Tuesday announcing he would lead the way in a $100 million funding infusion into the firm.

SunRun teams with Virgance to finance solar for consumers

Hard economic times mean fewer consumers will shell out for expensive solar panels. Also hard hit are startups that offer no-money-down programs to lease panels or buy their power but can’t find banks to partner with. So, teaming with SunRun — one of the few outfits that still has a healthy line of financing — is a minor coup for Virgance, a company that plans to sign up thousands of new solar users.

Solar Power Partners takes on $32M for solar panel sales

Add another solar-as-a-service company to the list of those unfazed by the recession. Solar Power Partners, a Mill Valley, Calif. company that installs panels for commercial customers but retains ownership in order to sell the electricity from them, has taken on $32 million more in funding.

BrightView picks up $6M for improved solar manufacturing

BrightView, a solar tech firm that hopes to improve the production of photovoltaic solar cells, has raised $6 million in a first round of funding. (The company is not to be confused with BrightView Technologies, an optics company in North Carolina.)

Syngas startup Ze-gen takes $20M to torch trash

Ze-gen, a company that plans to round up waste from construction sites and turn it into gases that can be used to generate electricity, has won $20 million in funding to help build its first full-size facility.

Graphene Energy raises $500,000 for ultracapacitor storage

Graphene Energy, an Austin, Tex. startup based on technology from the University of Texas and Virginia’s College of William and Mary, has taken a $500,000 seed round from Quercus Trust and 21Ventures.

SolFocus takes on $47.5M more in quest to sell concentrating solar

SolFocus, the most heavily-funded concentrating solar startup around, has just drawn a bit further ahead of the pack with $47.5 million in fresh capital. With the money, the company has edged near $150 million in total funding, and with luck, widespread installation of a currently rare type of solar panel.

The termite’s blessing: ZeaChem finds more support

Poor termites. They’ll have no part in the ZeaChem facilities that may someday pump out millions of gallons of cellulosic ethanol, even though it’s the humble bug’s legacy that allowed it all to happen. Lakewood, Colo.-based ZeaChem has raised $34 million more for its process, the most important step of which uses a microorganism from the termite’s digestive tract to break down wood and similar materials into fuel.

Xunlight gets $7M loan to work on rooftop thin-film lines

Commercial rooftops sporting solar panels are becoming a familiar sight. But the technology used is still changing, with companies like thin-film panel maker Xunlight working to change the way big box retailers and others get their solar energy.