BestVendor Closes $3M Series A

BestVendor has closed a $3 million Series A round co-led by RRE Ventures and SoftBank Capital. Additional investors include Lerer Ventures, who invested in the company’s seed round, along with David Tisch, Founder Collective and Old Willow Partners, the company announced Tuesday. New York-based BestVendor is an online resources where users share and recommend work-related applications.

CustomMade Gets $2.1M From Google Ventures, First Round, Others

CustomMade.com said it raised $2.1 million in a Series A round of financing led by First Round Capital and Google Ventures. Also participating were Founder Collective, Launch Capital, NextView Ventures, Andrew McCollum, David Tisch of TechStars and other investors. The company runs a market place connecting shoppers and artisans. PRESS RELEASE CUSTOMMADE RECEIVES FUNDING FROM […]

Codecademy Closes Series A

Codecademy, a site that teaches people how to become computer programmers, has sealed a Series A round from investors including Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly, SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Social+Capital Partnership, Thrive Capital, CrunchFund, Collaborative Fund, Founder Collective, and individual investors including Joshua Schacter, Vivi Nevo, Naval Ravikant and Sam Altman. The company reportedly sealed $2.5 million in the round, which will be used to bolster the development and design team.

AI Exchange Lands $1.5M

AI Exchange has raised $1.5 million in a financing round led by General Catalyst and CommonAngels. Founder Collective and LaunchCapital also contributed to the round. The company is a developer of a web-based technology and investment advisory platform designed to bridge the alternative investment and Investment Advisor markets.

Novophage Lands Series A Round

Early-stage industrial biologics company Novophage completed a $5.7 million Series A round of financing. The round was led by Flybridge Capital Partners and included Chevron Technology Ventures, Founder Collective, The Kraft Group and Boston University. As part of the funding, Founder Collective’s Micah Rosenbloom has joined the company as CEO.

Send the Trend Nets Series A Funding

Battery Ventures led a group of investors that put $3 million in Series A funding into Send the Trend, an e-commerce company. Founder Collective participated in the round as well. Send the Trend has been operating since October 2010.

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Eric Paley: Conviction’s Role in the VC Process

The currency of the startup and venture capital community is conviction. Startups are born out of the conviction to leave a job and start a company that most people think will never get a customer. They are built on the conviction of talent to join a startup, which has little or no traction, purely based […]

Eric Paley: Conviction’s Role in the VC Process

The currency of the startup and venture capital community is conviction. Startups are born out of the conviction to leave a job and start a company that most people think will never get a customer. They are built on the conviction of talent to join a startup, which has little or no traction, purely based […]

Cloud-Based Video Encoder Zencoder Raises $2 Million from SV Angel, Lowercase Capital and Others

Zencoder, a four-year-old startup that transcodes videos for media content owners and that raised an undislosed amount of seed funding last year from Y Combinator and several angel investors, has just raised an additional $2 million in funding, including from Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Partners, and SV Angel. The company is based in Madison, Wis. PRESS […]

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Personal Trading of Shares by VCs on Secondary Exchanges Raises Concerns of Conflicts of Interest

The trading of private company shares in the personal accounts of venture capitalists is raising concerns over potential conflicts of interest for firms as the influence of secondary market exchanges continues to grow.

Numerous venture firms permit employees’ trading in secondary market shares with some limitations, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, YCombinator, Matrix Partners, Founder Collective, Blackberry Partners Fund, Volition Capital and Rho Ventures, according to a peHUB investigation into the practice.

Others — which appear far fewer in number — such as Flybridge Capital Partners, block the practice with policies demanding general partners hold no secondary securities. Many more VC firms refused to comment at all, when peHUB contacted senior partners.

(How do you feel about this issue? Take our poll at the end of this story.)

Sources at firms willing to acknowledge they prohibit GPs from making secondary market investments cited conflict of interest concerns when asked by peHUB.com.

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Ashton Kutcher Backs Ticket Co. SeekGeek

SeatGeek Inc., a New York-based secondary ticket market for sports and concert tickets, has raised an undisclosed amount from actor-turned-investor Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary‘s A Grade Investments.

UberCab Raises $1.25M in Seed Funding

San Francisco-based UberCab, founded by Stumbleupon co-founder Garrett Camp and entrepreneur-angel Travis Kalanick, has closed a $1.25 million seed round led by First Round Capital, and joined by Founder Collective, Lowercase Capital and numerous individual investors. UberCab is an on-demand car service that works via the iPhone and SMS. Techcrunch has the story here.

Harvest Automation raises $5.3m in Series A

Harvest Automation, a robotics company, has closed a Series A funding round with a $1.3 million investment from Founder Collective, a Cambridge, MA-based venture capital fund. The funding round raised $5.3 million, with other Series A investors including Cultivian Ventures (formerly Midpoint Food and Ag Fund), and Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation. Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot, and Mick Mountz, CEO of Kiva Systems, have joined Harvest Automations advisory board.

SeatGeek Raises $1 Million

SeatGeek Inc., a New York-based secondary ticket market for sports and concert tickets, has raised $1 million in Series A funding. Founder Collective led the round, and was joined by NYC Seed. The company previously raised $500,000 from Stage One Capital, Trisiras Group, PKS Capital; and angel investors Arie Abecassis, Sunil Hirani, Thomas Lehrman, Allen […]

Chris Dixon: The Ultimate Founder’s Founder

Chris Dixon, 38, may be the ultimate founder’s founder.

He’s running his second startup, Hunch, after selling his first company, SiteAdvisor, for $74 million dollars four years ago. He’s an active angel investor in nascent startups and co-founded the $40 million seed-stage fund, Founder Collective, last year. He’s a champion of the early-stage scene in New York, where he lives and works. And Dixon, who’s as connected as they come on both coasts, is a prolific blogger who writes in plain English about the challenges of entrepreneurship, technology and venture capital.

I talked with Dixon this afternoon about how he juggles his life as an investor with that of running a company that aims to be as big as Google and Amazon some day — once it works out some kinks.

What follows is Dixon on investing. Tomorrow, I’ll post our conversation about Hunch, which Dixon launched last year with Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake:

Recently, there was a widely read post by a New York entrepreneur who argued persuasively that New York is still a tough place to launch a startup — unless you’re “Chris Dixon or anyone else who’s already built a successful company and had a real exit under their belt.” Do you agree? Disagree?

I do think there should be more seed investors, which is partly why we formed Founder Collective last year, a fund that’s location agnostic but mainly focused on New York area startups. There’s no lack of money in New York; there are plenty of rich people. But there hasn’t been the kind of smart money, if you will, that understands how to help a company get to the next stage and raise VC after seed money. You’re starting to see more of that — New York is improving — but I’m not in radical disagreement with him.

Founder Collective Debuts with $40m in the Bank

Back in June we reported news of a new venture firm called Founder Collective, which had gathered around $30 million in commitments. Last week the firm made it official, debuting a web site and describing its philosophy on Partner Chris Dixon’s web site.

Founder Collective is quite literally just that. A collective of founders, looking to invest in seed stage companies. The firm calls it “peer-to-peer” investing.

According to Managing Partner Eric Paley, the firm has closed the fund with $40 million in commitments. The capital comes from around 20 investors, an even mix of entrepreneurs, family offices, and institutional funds of funds, he said. Founder Collective used its partners’ personal investment track records as a selling point. In the last six years, they invested more than $20m in 31 companies, yielding an IRR of greater than 75%, the majority of which is realized.

The New York and Cambridge-based firm has already invested 10% of its fund in around 10 seed stage investments, after looking at “well into the 100s” of companies, Paley said. “The demand for this type of capital is extremely high,” he said.

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