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These 11 tech companies have collectively raised $2.8 billion this year. That’s quite a number. Five companies raised rounds of $200 million or more in 2013, as compared to the three last year, and six more made the $150 million club. Rounds of this magnitude generally go to companies that have already proved their idea and market, and now require mountains of money to scale the business, refine the business model, and fuel international growth. A look at largest venture capital investments of the year provides an interesting perspective on the hottest trends happening in the tech world, and the types of companies that present the most promising opportunities for growth. Interestingly, the largest funding round of the year went to an under-the-radar networking solutions provider called Genband. Box, Fab, and Pinterest made this list two years in a row. About half of the biggest deals were for companies based outside of Silicon Valley. For one, this marked its first round of funding, and four raised not one, but two nine-figure rounds this year. Let’s take a look.
1. Genband — $343.5 million
Friso, Texas-based Genband secured $343.5 million. Genband specializes in voice-over-Internet-protocol tech, known as VoIP. It works with telecom providers such as Comcast and Sprint-Nextel to enable VoIP for their customers. The company also makes multimedia application software and various other infrastructure products for telcos. Genband has been around since 1999 and was ranked as the number one venture-backed company in the U.S. by the Wall Street Journal in 2012. One Equity Partners, Sevin Rosen Funds, and Venrock were investors in this sky-high round of funding. Genband has raised $394 million to date.
2. Über — $258 million
Rumors of Uber’s funding abounded for months before the deal officially closed. At last the company filed with the SEC in August, published, and then mysteriously deleted a blog post with details about the round. The facts emerged that Uber raised $258 million and is valued at $3.5 billion. TPG and Google Ventures were involved in the round, and the funding will support expansion into new markets, and to “fight off protectionist, anticompetitive efforts,” meaning regulatory battles. Uber’s app lets people hail cars to their door on-demand. It started out with luxury black cars, but has since added taxis, SUVs, and the lower cost “UberX” option. Uber has experienced phenomenal growth. It is growing at more than 20 percent a month and on track to record $210 million in revenue for 2013 on over $1 billion rides. The company adds close to 80,000 new clients a week and is active in upwards of 60 cities around the world. It has raised $307 million to date.
3. Lazada — $250 million
“Super-incubator” Rocket Internet is known for attracting massive funding rounds for its portfolio companies, but $250 million is big even by its standards. Lazada, Rocket’s Southeast Asian Amazon clone, raked in $250 million in December, closely following its $100 million round from earlier this year. All this money ($436 million in total) is intended to cement Lazada’s position as the dominant online retailer in Southeast Asian. Rocket Internet’s strategy is to create “fast follow” e-commerce companies that take established business models like Amazon and Zappos and plant them in emerging markets, and then funnel millions upon millions of dollars to establishing regional hegemony. Lazada sells electronics, clothes, appliances, books, cosmetics, and more to people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. It already claims to be Southeast Asia’s largest online shopping mall, and this money is part of an aggressive effort to capture the market before competitors. U.K. grocery chain Tesco led this round, marking its first investment into an entirely online company. Access Industries, Investment AB Kinnevik, and Verlinvest also contributed.
4. Pinterest — $225 million
Pins may be free, but they are worth a lot. Pinterest raised two $200+ million rounds this year: A $200 million round with a $2.5 billion valuation in February; and one in October of $225 million at a $3.8 billion valuation. Pinterest is now one of the behemoths of social media. It has 70 million users and attracts 2.5 billion page views a month. However it only started to monetize on its wild popularity this year with promoted pins. The funding was slated for aggressive international expansion, as well as development of its core services and infrastructure. Fidelity Venture Partners led this Series E round. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, and Valiant Capital Partners also participated. Pinterest has raised $565 million to date.