Funding Daily: DNA analysis, housing for spoiled college kids, and … divorce

Funding Daily: DNA analysis, housing for spoiled college kids, and … divorce
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Today’s funding includes the usual — a company that claims it has totally changed the way we communicate — and the surprisingly unusual, including a service to streamline divorcing, a new international currency, and a company devoted to fancy apartments for college kids. (Because living in dorms is so pre-tech uprising.)

Moogsoft raises $11.3M second round

IT operations management company Moogsoft announced today that it has raised $11.3 in a second round of funding, bringing its total funding to $18 million. The round was led by new investor Wing Venture Capital with participation from existing investors, including Redpoint Ventures. The company says it will use the funding to continue building out its technology and international growth.

Read the press release.

‘Uber’ of mortgage lending picks up $3.8M

Mortgage lending is still quite broken, and the crisis of the mid-to-late 2000s only made lenders even more fearful of getting tangled up with unreliable borrowers. That’s why Privlo, armed with a fresh $3.8 million in seed funding, is setting out to build an alternative mortgage-lending company.

Read more on VentureBeat: ‘Uber’ of mortgage lending picks up $3.8M

Stripe puts $3M into Stellar

Stripe might be best known for enabling online merchants and websites to process payments more easily, but its team also strongly believes in decentralized payment networks and cryptocurrencies. Today, Stripe announced that it has invested $3 million into Stellar, which is an open source project, a currency-exchange network, a currency in its own right, and a non-profit. Stellar also launches today.

Read more on VentureBeat: Payment processor Stripe helps launch a new currency, the Stellar

Wevorce raises $1.7M

Wevorce, a startup that aims to streamline the divorce process and bring it online, today announced a $1.69 million raise in a public filing.

Read more on VentureBeat: Wevorce raises $1.7 million to make divorce less terrible

23andMe gets a $1.4M NIH grant

Late last year the FDA barred 23andMe from dispensing health information products to consumers based on analysis of their DNA.

Read more on VentureBeat: 23andMe gets a $1.4M NIH grant, still awaits FDA approval

Abodo raises $1.25M for college student apartments

Abodo wants college kids to find upscale digs easily. Its investors agreed.

Read more on VentureBeat: Abodo raises $1.25 million for its upscale apartment service for college students

Entefy raises $1.1M

Entefy, a company that bills itself as “the future of conversation” (seriously), has raised $1.1 million according to an SEC filing. The startup closed $1.5 million in funding just a few months ago, and it previously raised over $2 million in its previous round.

Read the SEC filing.

Michael Dell backs Eagle Eye

Security cameras are still in the stone ages, but Eagle Eye wants to bring them into the age of the cloud.

Read more on VentureBeat: Michael Dell is funding this company to move surveillance cameras onto the cloud

23andMe is a DNA analysis service providing information and tools for individuals to learn about and explore their DNA. We use the Illumina OmniExpress Plus Genotyping BeadChip (shown here). In addition to the variants already included… read more »

PagerDuty gets $27.2M to become your company’s monitor of monitors

PagerDuty gets $27.2M to become your company’s monitor of monitors
Image Credit: PagerDuty

PagerDuty, a popular tool among developers and system administrators, stands to get more helpful and less of an annoyance, thanks to $27.2 million in new funding.

Sysadmins and others use PagerDuty to stay on top of alerts from several monitoring tools. Getting those kinds of alerts is often critical (your website is down!) but if they’re not well-managed, these alerts can lead to stress, confusion, and premature hair loss.

The startup announced its new round today, saying much of the new money will go toward product development. In particular, co-founder and chief executive Alex Solomon said in an interview with VentureBeat, PagerDuty wants to stop what some customers have called alert fatigue, which implies being disturbed by too many non-issues.

“Our thinking there … is to build a rules engine to allow our users and customers to set up rules themselves, and beyond that, adding machine learning and intelligence to the system to make it more automated and smarter, so that it’s less manual configuration,” Solomon said.

From there, he said, PagerDuty would like to give people context around the root cause of issues and draw correlations across issues.

Such features could make PagerDuty appeal more to companies’ engineering and operations teams, which often use multiple tools to keep an eye on the health of their services, including AppDynamics, Nagios, New Relic, Pingdom, and Splunk.

Solomon said his startup’s biggest competitors are homegrown tools, but Boundary and OpsGenie could also be considered competitors.

PagerDuty could become even more useful by incorporating better ways to communicate. The startup has connected with collaboration tools like Atlassian’s Hipchat and Slack, but that might not be enough. PagerDuty might evolve by “perhaps building our own collaboration system to help solve problems faster and reduce the resolution time,” Solomon said.

PagerDuty started in 2009. It claims thousands of customers including Adobe, Airbnb, Groupon, Intuit, Panasonic, and theb University of California, San Francisco.

To date the San Francisco-based startup has raised $39.8 million, including last year’s $10.7 million round.

Bessemer Venture Partners led the new round. Andreessen Horowitz, Baseline Ventures, and Harrison Metal also participated.

PagerDuty’s SaaS alerting and incident tracking system helps IT operations and DevOps engineers resolve critical errors in their IT systems as quickly as possible. PagerDuty integrates with all IT infrastructure monitoring tools –… read more »

Alex Solomon is the CEO and co-founder of PagerDuty, a SaaS company focused on building the leading IT operations management platform for IT operations engineers and DevOps. The company is funded by Andreessen Horowitz. Previously, Al… read more »

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Google to Europe: No, we won’t stop telling web publishers when we ‘forget’ them

Google to Europe: No, we won’t stop telling web publishers when we ‘forget’ them

Above: Google HQ

Image Credit: Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP

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Google intends to continue letting publishers know when it has removed links to their sites because of the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” ruling.

That practice has resulted in agitated publishers, writers penning stories about the very article that someone was trying to hide, and more exposure about the consequences of forgetting.

Some observers of what might now be described as The Forgotten Continent have suggested that European regulators do not welcome the attention from these angry publishers and writers.

This notification was also reportedly a key topic of concern from the regulators, when they met for a sit-down last Thursday with representatives from Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. The search engine reps emerged from the meeting with a sheet of 26 questions the regulators wanted answered, and today Google released its answers.

One of the questions was: “Do you notify website publishers of delisting?” And, its companion: “In that case, which legal basis do you have to notify website publishers?”

Google’s reply, in part:

“We think that it is important to let third party publishers know when we stop linking to their sites. We have already started receiving complaints from webmasters about the removal of links to their sites, and we already face challenges from publishers about removal decisions that result in reduced traffic to their sites. The notice to webmasters both ensures transparency and makes corrections possible when a removal proves to be a mistake. We have received information from webmasters that has caused us to reevaluate removals and reinstate search results. Such feedback from webmasters enables us to conduct a more balanced weighing of rights, thereby improving our decision-making process and the outcome for search users and webmasters.”

The extensive and detailed nature of the regulators’ questions emphasize the complete lack of direction that the European Court and the regulators have provided to the search engines in trying to decide a range of subtle issues.

In addition to the subject of letting sites know when they’ve been delinked, the questions asked about such basic issues as how the validity of a request or the identity of a requester is determined, what domains are included, and how a decision is made between the public’s right to know and “the right of the data subject to have search results delisted.”

In one key answer that shows how the company has had to make it up as they went along, Google wrote:

“We generally have to rely on the requester for information, without assurance beyond the requester’s own assertions as to its accuracy.”

After listing dozens of examples of issues and its attempts to solve them, Google essentially sighed:

“The examples above illustrate the difficulties a search engine provider faces in attempting to effectively strike a fair balance interests regarding information published by a third party.”

We’re studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we’ll share the results with you.

Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob… read more »

East meets West in mobile games as Kabam raises $120M from China’s Alibaba Group

East meets West in mobile games as Kabam raises $120M from China’s Alibaba Group

Above: Kevin Chou of Kabam

Image Credit: Kabam

Disclosure: The organizers of ChinaJoy paid my way to Shanghai. Our coverage remains objective.

SHANGHAI — Mobile game publisher Kabam has raised $120 million from China’s Alibaba Group as it forms a strategic alliance to reach more players across the globe.

The companies announced the deal at the ChinaJoy Expo in Shanghai, a gargantuan event where 250,000 people are gathering to celebrate gaming. At the event, mobile games are center stage for the first time, and Kabam chief executive Kevin Chou is one of the keynote speakers.

The Hobbit

Above: The Hobbit

Image Credit: Kabam

Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company, plans to go public in what could be one of the biggest initial public offerings in history in the U.S. And the fact that it is investing in a San Francisco-based mobile game company shows how important gaming has become on the global stage.

Kabam has more than 800 employees making a portfolio of games in competition with rivals like Supercell, King, and GungHo Entertainment. But while it has proven adept at generating revenues and expanding quickly, it also spends a lot of money. That’s why the company is still raising money at a late stage in its history.

Alibaba will publish publish popular Kabam mobile games in China across Alibaba’s mobile applications, including Mobile Taobao and Laiwang. Kabam’s games include Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North, The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth, Fast & Furious 6: The Game, and Dragons of Atlantis: Heirs of the Dragon.

More terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Truly successful games companies have to be globally successful,” said Chou, in a statement. “This strategic alliance with Alibaba provides Kabam the resources, infrastructure, and distribution to help bring our current and future durable franchise games to China and elsewhere in Asia and make an immediate impact.”

“Alibaba is committed to collaborating with great games companies like Kabam to deliver captivating digital entertainment offerings to our users,” said Patrick Liu, president of Alibaba Group’s digital entertainment business unit. “The Kabam team has a track record of innovation and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, and this is exactly the type of company we want to support.”

China and other Asian markets have already played a key role in the growth and success of Kabam. The company opened an office in Beijing four years ago and develops many of its marquee mobile titles there including The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth and Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North, each of which has generated more than $100 million in revenue.

Kabam also created a $50 million fund to invest in hit games from Asian developers and take them to a global audience. Kabam generated $360 million in revenue in 2013, up 100 percent over 2012. Kabam has alliances with Warner Bros., an investor in Kabam, to make movie-related games. It also recently announced a deal to make games based on Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games movie properties and another deal with Marvel to make a game based on Contest of Champions.

Kabam’s investors also include Google Ventures, MGM, Intel, Canaan Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures, and more. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. acted as lead financial advisor to Kabam. J.P. Morgan was also a financial advisor to Kabam. O’Melveny & Myers served as legal advisor.


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Kabam is the leader in the western world for free-to-play core games with 1st and 3rd party published titles available on mobile devices and the Web. The company is revolutionizing the video games industry by innovating in the business… read more » is a B2B e-commerce company. Alibaba’s primary business is to serve as a directory of Chinese manufacturers connecting them to other companies around the world looking for suppliers. According to iResearch, it was the lar… read more »