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InsideSales.com closes Series C – Updated

InsideSales.com has closed a Series C financing. Polaris Partners led the round in the cloud-based sales acceleration technology company. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was the other major investor. Acadia Woods, EPIC Ventures, salesforce.com, Hummer Winblad, U.S. Venture Partners and Zetta Venture Partners also participated. The round also included individual investors, including Fraser Bullock, managing director at Sorenson Capital.

Kiip Gets Backing from Japanese Internet Giant Digital Garage

Mobile rewards network Kiip has secured financing from Japanese Internet business Digital Garage. The strategic investor joins the company’s most recent $11 million round of Series B funding. The company is backed by Relay Ventures, Hummer Winblad, True Ventures, Verizon Ventures, Crosslink Capital and others.

Karmasphere Seals $6M Series B

Karmasphere, a Cupertino, Calif.-based company, has inked $6 million in Series B financing. New investor Presidio Ventures led the round, with support from return backers Hummer Winblad and US Venture Partners. The company has raised a total of $11 million since it was launched in 2010. Karmasphere says its software enables data and business analysts to mine and discover insights from big data on Hadoop.

Piston Cloud Computing Adds $4.5M

San Francisco-based Piston Cloud Computing Inc. has raised $4.5 million in a round co-led by Hummer Winblad and True Ventures. Divergent Ventures and other, undisclosed investors contributed. As a result Lars Leckie from Hummer Winblad, and Puneet Agarwal from True Ventures will join Piston’s board.

Flite Lands $12M Series C

Web-based advertising platform Flite has raised $12 million in Series C financing. General Catalyst Partners led the round, which included participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Hummer Winblad and NCD Investors. The company – which was previously known as Widgetbox – will use the money for continued development of its cloud-based advertising platform.

Aria Systems Inks $20M Series C

Aria Systems, a provider of cloud-based billing and subscription management technology, has raised $20 million in Series C financing. Menlo Park, Calif.-based InterWest Partners led the financing with participation from existing shareholders Hummer-Winblad and Venrock. An unnamed strategic investor also contributed. San Mateo, Calif.-based Aria Systems has raised a total of $34 million across three rounds. Bruce Cleveland, general partner at InterWest Partners, joined the company’s board as a result of the funding.

Crowd Factory Seals $6.5M Led By Storm Ventures

Marketing start-up Crowd Factory has raised $6.5 million in a venture round led by new investor Storm Ventures. Existing investors Hummer Winblad, Peninsula Ventures and undisclosed angel investors also participated in the round. Storm Ventures’ Ryan Floyd joins Crowd Factory’s board as a result of the financing. Crowd Factory will use the new money to expand its development and marketing of its social marketing applications.

M&A 2010: Who Will The Buyers Be?

Confidence is a funny thing: Too little leads to low self-esteem, too much makes one arrogant.

When venture capitalists are confident, it means they expect their startups to outpace the growth in the overall market—a good thing for startups or a bad thing for the rest of the economy.

Mark Cannice has been tracking venture capitalist confidence for half a decade at the University of San Francisco’s School of Business and reports that venture capital confidence is slowly improving from its fourth quarter 2008 low. “Notable return of exit opportunities—especially headline acquisitions—is breathing life into the venture business model,” Canice says. (Read our earlier coverage).

That’s a sentiment that seems to be shared across the board. When the Venture Capital Journal surveyed investors for its January issue, it heard the same optimism for an M&A surge:

IBM Sends Some Big VC Guns To Brazil

Over a dozen IBM execs have descended on Sao Paolo this week to spearhead the expansion of Big Blue’s venture capital group in Brazil.

As part of an open house today for Brazilian venture capitalists, startups, software developers, academics and government officials, IBM is playing matchmaker and is holding an American Idol-style contest, also modeled on Stanford’s AlwaysOn program, for companies to pitch themselves for funding, said Drew Clark, director of strategy for IBM’s Venture Capital Group.

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Kwiry Bids Adieu to Users; Sadly, No One Notices

Another young startup is throwing in the towel. Kwiry, a San Francisco-based company that transformed text messages into email reminders, has sent its users notice that “with heavy hearts,” due to “economic realities,” it’s shutting down on April 23, and that “as of today,” the service is no longer accepting new sign-ins.”

Kwiry, backed with $1 million from Hummer Winblad, had let users SMS reminders to themselves – or, more literally, to K-W-I-R-Y (59479) — after which the service would email them research results related to the message.

Silicon Valley Grapples with the Question: What’s Next?

Hope springs eternal in Silicon Valley. Or it did until recently. Like in the rest of the country, laid off employees are beginning to pile up, and no one knows how much worse things will grow before they get better. I talked with several investors and entrepreneurs this week for their perspectives.  In their own […]

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