UpOut Raises $850,000 in Seed Funding from Sand Hill Angels and Others

UpOut, a San Francisco-based online guide that provides users with personalized recommendations to places and events, has closed $850,000 in seed funding from Sand Hill Angels and TEEC Angels, among others. Before receiving its new round of financing, UpOut had participated in Tandem Entrepreneurs, a Burlington, Calif.-based accelerator that targets mobile applications, providing the teams that create them with six months of support and guidance, along with an initial investment.

PlayHaven Raises $8 Million

PlayHaven, a provider of relationship management and monetization solutions for mobile game developers, has closed an $8 million round of financing. The round was led by GGV Capital, Granite Global Venture Capital with participation from existing investors including e.ventures, Tandem Entrepreneurs and individual investors. Hany Nada, a founding partner at GGV Capital, will join PlayHaven’s board of directors.

Freshdesk Launches $10M Future Fund

Help desk SaaS provider Freshdesk announced today a $10 million fund to back online support companies. The company, which is fresh off of raising $5 million in Series B funding from Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management earlier this month, is teaming up with 500 Startups and other incubators and angel funds, including YouWeb, Tandem […]

Slideshow: LPs Keen to Back Newbie VC Funds Outside of Silicon Valley

If you want to raise your first VC fund, you’re probably better off not being in Silicon Valley. That’s one of the takeaways of peHUB’s analysis of fundraising data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of peHUB). Of the dozen first-time funds that raised capital in the second quarter, 10 are based outside of California. Most (four) […]

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Plugging Wikileaks

A series of high-profile reminders have government agencies and international businesses scrambling to tighten up their data and document storage and security. The reality is, quite simply, that they have not—and perhaps cannot—control data sufficiently. The new question is: can they ever?

Regardless of whether companies and bureaucracies can sufficiently contain their data in the Internet age, their ongoing efforts to do so will generate profits for investors in the next generation of data storage and security firms.

Some of the revelations leaked—almost in immediate succession—by the international network established by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and by others, separately, have been innocuous, amusing, or, on a more serious level…

ZumoDrive Funding A Milestone For Tandem

Two weeks ago I wrote about ZumoDrive, a tiny three-year-old company whose founders had managed to get their product favorably reviewed by Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal. I met them a year ago when they were just three engineers, working day and night to develop this product under a different name for a different audience, and I was impressed by their progress.

The company is on a roll — yesterday they announced a $1.5 million round of funding led by Sherpalo Ventures with participation from Tandem Entrepreneurs and Tandem’s largest LP, VeriFone CEO Douglas Bergeron.

The funding isn’t just a milestone for ZumoDrive, but also for Tandem, a seed fund that is about the same age as ZumoDrive. (Venture Capital Journal wrote about Tandem here).

Entrepreneur Success Story

Turning to some good news in the world of venture capital, I’d like to point out Walt Mossberg’s review in the Wall Street Journal today of ZumoDrive, an online storage service that you can access from any device, including your iPhone — it’s a good place to store big files like your iTunes library and your videos and just about any other piece of data you want.

ZumoDrive is named to evoke the idea of large capacity — like what a Sumo wrestler has — and its creators are three young men who left safe, secure jobs at Amazon and Microsoft because they yearned to start their own company. They were backed first by Y Combinator and now by Tandem Entrepreneurs.

I met them by accident and wrote about them over a year ago for the San Francisco Chronicle. With help from the folks at Tandem, they were working day and night to perfect ZumoDrive,

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New Investment Strategy At Sequoia?

Sequoia is said to be getting aggressive about using new ways to invest very early in young companies, in an attempt to bridge the gap between small angel investments and traditional Series A rounds from VCs.

The firm isn’t talking about its plans — which aren’t launched, according to a source — and did not return calls seeking comment.

For what it’s worth, Sequoia already advertises itself as doing seed stage rounds, investing between $100,000 and $1 million in startups in energy, financial services, healthcare services, internet, mobile, outsourcing services and technology.

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