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New York firm ffVC seeks $150 million for fifth fund

New York-based ff Venture Capital, which most recently invested in the bot analytics platform Dashbot, is seeking to raise $150 million for its fifth venture fund, according to a regulatory filing. The fund, dubbed ff Graphite (V) Venture Capital Fund, comes nearly seven months after the firm closed its fourth fund, called ff Sapphire (IV) Venture Capital Fund GP, with $53.78 million in commitments.

Bot analytics platform Dashbot raises seed round led by ffVC

San Francisco-based Dashbot, a provider of a bot analytics platform, announced it has raised $2 million in seed-stage funding led by ff Venture CapitalBessemer Venture Partners, Samsung Accelerator, Scrum Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and Rembrandt Ventures also participated in the round. As part of the funding, ffVC Managing Director Ryan Armbrust will join the board of Dashbot.

Opendoor
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Opendoor closes on $210 mln from Norwest, NEA and others

San Francisco-based Opendoor, which operates an online marketplace for buying homes, announced it has raised $210 million in a Series D round of funding led by Norwest Venture Partners with Managing Partner Jeff Crowe joining the board. New Enterprise Associates also participated in the round with existing investors, which includes Khosla Ventures, GGV Capital, Access Industries, FifthWall, Lakestar, SVB Capital, Caffeinated Capital and Felicis Ventures. The company has now raised $320 million in total equity.

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NEA General Partner Harry Weller, 46, passes away

New Enterprise Associates General Partner Harry Weller, who led the firm’s East Coast venture practice, died in his sleep Saturday. He was 46. Weller joined the firm in 2002 and was a well-recognized VC. His industry honors included the Forbes “Midas List” for nine years running, Washingtonian’s “Titans of Technology,” Business Insider’s “Top 5 East Coast VCs” and the Washington Business Journal‘s “Outstanding Director Award.”

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Sequoia leads funding round of Domino Data

San Francisco-based Domino Data Lab, which provides data science platform for the enterprise, announced it has raised $10.5 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital. Previous investors Zetta Venture Partners, Bloomberg Beta and In-Q-Tel also participated in the financing. The company was founded in 2013 and previously raised a $3 million Series A round in late 2015 and $100,000 in seed-stage funding.

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Boston-based Pillar adds Rob May as venture partner

Boston-based venture firm Pillar Companies, which is raising an inaugural fund of $100 million, has added Rob May as a venture partner. May, an angel investor and a former operator, was co-founder and chief executive of Backupify, which was acquired in 2014, and Talla. Pillar founder Jamie Goldstein blogged that May is a thought leader in the AI space and “important voice in the conversation around machine intelligence in Boston.”

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Smart med tracker PillDrill raises $3 mln

Las Vegas-based PillDrill, which makes a tracking system to remind users when pill doses are due, announced it has raised $3 million in total funding from undisclosed angel investors. The company was founded last year by Peter Havas.

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DocuSign founder Tom Gonser joins Seven Peaks as partner

Tom Gonser, the DocuSign founder who earlier this year stepped down as chief strategy officer at the company he launched in 2003, has joined Seven Peaks Ventures in Bend, Oregon, as a partner. Gonser said he will focus on entrepreneurs in the following sectors: enterprise workflow apps, smart contracts and blockchain, and identity and identity proofing. Gonser is the fourth operator to join Seven Peaks Ventures as a partner, alongside Matt Abrams and Steve Barham, who each joined last year from Oracle and LinkedIn, respectively; and Corey Schmid, who has a background in digital health and was most recently at Philips.

Felix Capital women VC
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London’s Felix Capital adds to its team

London-based Felix Capital, which launched last year, announced it has added three new members to its team. Carmen Alfonso Rico (formerly at Morgan Stanley) has joined as an associate, while Stephanie Phair (formerly The Outnet) and Chloe Macintosh (formerly Made.com) were named to the firm’s group of advisers. Felix is investing from its $120 million fund it raised last year and was a backer of Olapic, which Monotype agreed to buy in July for about $130 million.

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General Catalyst leads seed funding round in Octane AI

San Francisco chatbot company, Octane AI, which provides a platform that enables business owners to set up chatbots to engage with customers, announced it raised $1.5 million in seed-stage funding led by General Catalyst Partners. Other investors include Boost VC, Dimension 6, Ustream founder Brad Hunstable, Hired and Talkable founder Allan Grant, and angel investor Lawrence Braitman.

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Storm Ventures backs big data PR company AirPR

San Francisco-based AirPR, which provides data analytics and solutions for the PR industry, has raised $5 million in a Series B round of funding led by Storm Ventures. New investor Salesforce Ventures also joined the round, which included Mohr Davidow VentureCorrelation Ventures500 Startups founder Dave McClure and WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg. The company, founded in 2011, has now raised $10 million in total funding. As part of the latest round, Tae Hea Nahm, co-founding managing director at Storm Ventures, has joined the board.

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Sequoia Capital India, Accel back Freshdesk

San Bruno, California-based Freshdesk, a provider of cloud-based customer engagement software, announced a $55 million Series F round of funding. Sequoia Capital India led the round and was joined by existing investor Accel Partners. The company, founded in 2010, has now raised $149 million in total funding.

venture capital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Silicon Valley
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It’s OK to invest outside Silicon Valley, including in Pittsburgh

I hung out with the Pittsburgh Tech Council when the group came to town last month with more than a dozen member companies and others from the area’s investment community. Thankfully, no one from the ’Burgh rubbed it in too much that the Penguins beat my San Jose Sharks for the Stanley Cup earlier this […]

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NEA promotes two to GP

New Enterprise Associates announced that Mohamad Makhzoumi and Chetan Puttagunta have each been promoted to general partner. NEA also named Partner Carmen Chang, who leads the firm’s China operations, as Chairman and Head, Asia. Additionally, two members of the firm’s portfolio services team were promoted. Albert Lee was named Design Partner and Holly Rose Faith was promoted to Talent Partner.

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Ignition Partners adds another Microsoft veteran to staff

Ignition Partners, which last year raised $200 million for its sixth fund to invest in early-stage enterprise software, announced that Bob Kelly has joined as a managing partner in the firm’s Bellevue, Washington, office. Kelly had been with Microsoft for 20 years, most recently serving as corporate vice president in charge of M&A strategy and business development. When he begins working at Ignition on Jan. 1, he will become the fourth investment partner at the firm, alongside Managing Partners Frank Artale, John Connors and Nick Sturiale. Artale and Connors are both former executives at Microsoft.

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Intel Capital expands its Diversity Fund

Intel Capital announced during its Global Summit in San Diego that it will expand its Diversity Fund to also include U.S.-based entrepreneurs from the LGBTQ community, entrepreneurs living with disabilities and military veterans. The $125 million fund was launched in mid-2015 to focus on startups led by women and underrepresented minorities.

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Cannabis delivery company Eaze raises $13 mln

San Francisco-based Eaze, a provider of medicinal marijuana delivery services, announced it has raised $13 million in a Series B round of funding. The round was led by Fresh VC, an early-stage micro VC fund started by Shri Ganeshram (founder of FlightCar) and Brian Sheng (formerly with China’s Shenzen Capital Group. Also participating in the round are DCM Ventures, Tusk Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, Rose Capital and others. The company, founded in 2014, has now raised $25 million in funding.deal

Venture capital, women issues, employment, discrimination,
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Sequoia’s hire of Lee as its first female U.S. investment partner will help fix the problem

Last week, Sequoia Capital announced something that one of my friends called “amazing.” The 44-year-old firm named Jess Lee the first female investment partner within the firm’s U.S. operations. It’s an amazing development because last year Sequoia Chairman Mike Moritz was roasted on Twitter for telling Emily Chang of Bloomberg TV, while discussing the lack of women partners, […]