Dering Hall raises $2.5 million

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Dering Hall is an online portal for home furnishings. The company has announced that it has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding. Investors that participated in this round include Hearst Magazines, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and SoftBank Capital. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Dering Hall, the online portal for high-end home furnishings, today announced that it has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding. Investors participating in the round include Hearst Magazines, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and SoftBank Capital. The new equity will support the continued expansion of the team and additional investment in technology. In addition, Dering Hall has acquired the assets of Detroit-based start-up Doodle Home, a B2B software platform specialized in the home and interior design industry.

Dering Hall’s first-of-its-kind platform for the luxury design industry presents established brands, emerging artisans, design galleries, designers, and architects all in one easy-to-navigate place. The site provides access to thousands of curated furnishings and design products with its marketplace model, empowering its community to reach new customers and clientele, grow their online presence, and gain entry to an e-commerce point of sale.

“Dering Hall fills the void that previously existed in the luxury design category online by providing a platform where the exceptional quality and talent in the industry meet in one place to market their work,” said Peter Sallick, CEO of Dering Hall. “This investment will enable us to further scale the business and expand our product and service offerings to reinforce the site as the premier online destination for high-end home design.”

The company plans to use the funding for new functionality to further optimize the curated online shopping experience for professionals and consumers, which will be supplemented by the acquisition of Doodle Home’s digital assets. Additionally, Dering Hall will leverage the investment to expand its organization and grow the presence of non-US brands on its site.

Jennifer Gilbert, Founder of Doodle Home, will join Dering Hall’s Board of Directors. “I am honored by the invitation to join Dering Hall’s Board of Directors, a seasoned group that continues to raise the bar in the luxury design industry,” said Gilbert. “I look forward to working with Peter Sallick and his management team to deliver on their vision. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to Dering Hall’s strategic growth”

“We’ve been proud to partner with Dering Hall from the start. The transformation of all industries, and especially the design world, is sure to accelerate, and we expect Dering Hall to play a key role in broadening the demand for high end home furnishings,” said David Carey, President of Hearst Magazines.

TrialReach raises $13.5 million in funding

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TrialReach is considered the world’s largest provider of clinical trial information. TrialReach has announced that it has raised $13.5 million in Series B funding led by Smedvig Capital. Amadeus Capital Partners and Octopus Investments also participated in this round of funding. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

London, U.K. – Feb 5th, 2015 – TrialReach, the world’s largest provider of clinical trial information, today announced it has raised a $13.5M Series B financing round led by Smedvig Capital with participation from existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners and Octopus Investments. With one of the biggest digital health rounds ever raised in the United Kingdom, TrialReach plans to use the funds to support the growth of its clinical trial platform and expansion into the U.S.

Founded in 2010, TrialReach is helping to solve one of the biggest challenges in medical research: connecting patients with clinical trials. One in five cancer trials in the U.S. fails to find a single participant, and only three percent of adult patients participate in cancer research, simply because most patients don’t know that clinical trials are an option for them. For pharmaceutical companies, trial delays can equate to over $8M of lost daily revenue per drug, while for patients, delays reduce the number of potentially life-saving drugs that are available to them.

“We have had significant success in the U.S. market to date, and we are confident that now it’s the right time to scale up our team and operations domestically, in order to solidify our leadership position,” said Pablo Graiver, CEO, TrialReach. “Smedvig has significant experience working with early stage tech-enabled businesses. Their hands-on support will accelerate our plans to become the industry standard for pharmaceutical companies seeking patients for clinical trials. We eagerly anticipate the opening of our New York office to jumpstart our business and sales efforts across the U.S.”

Unlike other clinical search sites, the TrialReach platform is designed to aggregate and structure all clinical trial listings worldwide, so that patients can be smart matched with the specific trials for which they may be eligible. In addition, the platform gives trial sponsors the opportunity to describe trials and patient criteria in a non-clinical manner that’s much easier for patients to understand.

“TrialReach’s bold online marketplace approach offers a solution to one of the biggest problems in the pharmaceutical industry – matching patients with clinical trials”, said Jordan Mayo, a Managing Director at Smedvig Capital. “TrialReach’s platform can reach and help millions of patients with chronic and life-threatening diseases, and address a huge and underserved market opportunity. We believe they are well placed to expand rapidly to the significant benefit of pharmaceutical companies, clinical trial practitioners and patients.”

TrialReach is already working with many of the world’s leading health organizations, including the WHO, and more than half of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies are using TrialReach’s platform to support their clinical trial efforts. In addition, TrialReach reaches millions of patients online through partnerships with major health portals including Healthline, Everyday Health and CenterWatch as well as some patient networks such as WEGO Health and CureClick.

PicsArt raises $10 million in Series A funding

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PicsArt is a mobile community that lets users make beautiful images. PicsArt has announced that they have raised $10 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital. Omar Hamoui of Sequoia will be joining the board of directors at PicsArt. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

San Francisco, Calif. — Feb 5, 2015 — PicsArt, the largest mobile community empowering creatives to make beautiful images, today announced that it has partnered with Sequoia and raised $10 million in series A funding. The new investment marks the first-ever institutional round of funding for the previously bootstrapped and profitable mobile community.

Unlike other applications that are focused on capturing and sharing images, PicsArt has cultivated a massive following of consumers interested in creating and collaborating. They use the app’s powerful editing tools to remix each other’s photos, images and drawings. The startup has driven more than 200 million organic app downloads and has nearly 60 million monthly active users, ranking toward the top of global charts on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

The partnership with the Sequoia team that has backed the founders of celebrated apps like Instagram and WhatsApp was led by Sequoia partner and AdMob founder Omar Hamoui. He will also join PicsArt’s Board of Directors.

“The first generation of photo apps were based primarily on sharing,” said Omar Hamoui, partner at Sequoia. “PicsArt is leading a significant evolution in the category: now the co-creation and editing of one another’s photos is driving viral adoption. PicsArt’s rapid, organic growth makes the case that the next era of expression will be based not only on sharing, but creativity and collaboration as well.”

PicsArt also recently debuted a major update that makes it easier than ever to discover and collaborate on mobile art. Together, these announcements cement PicsArt’s place as one of the world’s best and largest mobile community of creative collaborators.

“The creativity and collaborative spirit of our users sets PicsArt apart. People connect and build friendships around style, hobbies, and images,” said Hovhannes Avoyan, founder and CEO of PicsArt. “Thanks to this partnership with one of the world’s most successful investors, we can accelerate our mission to beautify the world through images.”

Anyone with a smartphone can download the PicsArt app from the App Store, Google Play, Amazon or Windows. To learn more, go to www.PicsArt.com.

About PicsArt
PicsArt is the largest mobile community of creatives and creative images. The company’s U.S. office is based in San Francisco, California with a focus on enabling anyone to be creative, share, socialize, discover, learn and be inspired. The app has been installed over 200 million times and continues to expand and improve, so anyone can unleash their creativity and discover their inner artist. For more, please visit www.picsart.com

About Sequoia
The Sequoia team helps a small number of daring founders build legendary companies. We spur them to push the boundaries of what’s possible. In partnering with Sequoia, companies benefit from our unmatched community and the lessons we’ve learned over 40 years working with Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, John Morgridge, Jerry Yang, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Jan Koum, Brian Chesky, Drew Houston, Adi Tatarko and Jack Dorsey, among many others. In aggregate, Sequoia-backed companies account for more than 20% of NASDAQ’s total value. We’re proud that their success also fuels great causes: since 2000 alone we have returned more than $10 billion to non-profits like the Ford Foundation, Mayo Clinic and MIT.

“Netflix for LEGOs” company Pley raises $10 million in funding

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Pley is a subscription company for LEGOs that has raised $10 million in Series B funding. This round of funding was led by previous investors Floodgate, Correlation Ventures, Maven Ventures and Allegro Venture Partners. Check out more details in the press release below:

Santa Clara, Calif., Feb 4, 2015 ­ Pley, a LEGO® subscription service commonly known as the Netflix for LEGOs, has secured $10 million in Series B funding led by Sozo Ventures, a venture fund focused on assisting US-based technology startups with global expansion. Existing investors, Floodgate, Correlation Ventures, Maven Ventures, and Allegro Venture Partners also participated in the round.

The new funding will be used to bring Pley to Europe and Asia and expand the company¹s already strong U.S. customer base. Pley has raised $16.75 million to date.

In addition, today Pley unveils PleyWorld ( www.PleyWorld.com), a free online platform that enables LEGO fans of all ages to create their own LEGO sets.

Photos of original designs are uploaded to the PleyWorld site and once a design receives 5,000 votes, Pley will use its patented LEGO-assembly machinery to create sets based on that design and make it available for rental to Pley subscribers in a matter of weeks.

“For years, a small group of LEGO designers in Denmark have controlled the types of sets available to consumers,² said Ranan Lachman, CEO of Pley.

³With the launch of PleyWorld, we are democratizing creativity and empowering builders across the world to use their imagination toward becoming master builders. Anyone can upload a creation, be it their hero, fantasy vehicle or architectural construction and see it built by thousands of fans within weeks. This is a true testament to how technology and awesome design can change an industry.²

Pley was co-founded in 2013 by Ranan Lachman and Elina Furman who saw an opportunity to provide parents with access to shared toys at an affordable price. The company plans to expand to other educational toys and family products in the future. To date, more than 50,000 families have purchased Pley subscriptions and more than 350,000 packages have been shipped from Pley¹s Santa Clara warehouse where each LEGO set is automatically inspected, cleaned and sanitized between shipments.

Monthly Pley subscriptions are available at three levels: $9.99 for one mid-size set a month, $19.99 per month for unlimited mid-size sets, and $49.99 per month for unlimited mid and large sized sets.

³In recent years we have witnessed more and more U.S. consumers support, and even seek out, sharing economy services like Pley, that help people consume goods in a more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly manner,² said Phil Wickham, Managing Director of Sozo Ventures ³More recently, we have seen sharing economy enthusiasm spread to other countries. With its proven model and inventive machinery, we believe Pley is uniquely positioned to capture the toy sharing market both internationally and at home.²

Phil Wickham, Managing Director, Sozo Ventures will join Pley¹s Board of Directors, which currently includes Tom Dillon, former Netflix COO, Michael Scharff, former head of e-Commerce for ToysRUs, Julie Allegro, Managing Director of Allegro Ventures, and Mike Maples, Partner at Floodgate.

Sauce Labs raises $15 million

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Sauce Labs has raised $15 million in Series D funding. This round of funding was provided by return investor Toba Capital. You can read more about the funding from their website.

ClusterHQ raises $12 million

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ClusterHQ has raised $12 million in Series A funding from Accel Partners and Canaan Partners. ClusterHQ is known for building a data layer product for Docker. ClusterHQ plans to use the funding “expand technical and go-to-market resources to help organizations use containers in production.”

Under Armour acquires MyFitnessPal for $475 million

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Under Amour has announced that it has acquired two mobile apps for $560 million. They will be acquiring MyFitnessPal for $475 million and Endomondo for $85 million. Under Armour also announced their financials on Wednesday. For the quarter Under Armour reported a 37% increase in quarterly profit.

Below is the press release about the deal:

Today, Under Armour(NYSE:UA), the leading sports performance and innovation brand, announced the acquisition of MapMyFitness, the fitness technology company powering one of the world’s largest digital fitness communities.

With this acquisition, Under Armour will be uniquely positioned at the forefront of sports and technology and will continue to deliver game-changing solutions to how athletes train and perform. As part of the collaboration, Under Armour will add depth to its digital capability, offering athletes an elevated training experience through new digital products and platforms.

MapMyFitness has one of the largest connected fitness communities in the world and offers a diverse suite of websites and mobile applications under its flagship brands, MapMyRun and MapMyRide. Utilizing GPS and other advanced technologies, MapMyFitness provides users with the ability to map, record and share their workouts.

“This partnership is about Under Armour enhancing our digital expertise to drive the future of performance innovation for the global athlete community,” said Kevin Plank, Founder and CEO of Under Armour. “We will build on the community of over 20 million registered users that MapMyFitness has cultivated in the connected fitness space, and together we will serve as a destination for the measurement and analytics needs of all athletes. Innovation has always been at the core of our company, and now we are better positioned to design open, digital products for the athlete of tomorrow and become more proactive in providing solutions that will help people across the world lead healthier lifestyles.”

Robin Thurston, MapMyFitness Co-Founder and CEO said, “MapMyFitness has engaged and built a global community, making advanced training tools more accessible through our web and mobile platforms. The combination of Under Armour’s powerful commitment to athletes and innovation and our connected fitness technology allows us to better serve the needs of athletes around the world.”

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Under Armour, MapMyFitness will continue to operate out of its headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Under Armour intends to initially finance the $150 million acquisition of MapMyFitness with borrowings under its existing revolving credit facility, cash on hand or a combination thereof, while it evaluates longer-term funding options for the transaction. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2013 and the Company’s previously provided 2013 guidance and preliminary 2014 outlook remain unchanged.

Under Armour was advised by the investment banking advisory firm, Peter J. Solomon Company and the law firm King & Spalding LLP. MapMyFitness was advised by the investment firm, Allen & Company and the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati, Professional Corporation.

Apple Pay Now Accepts Credit Cards That Cover 90% Of U.S. Purchase Volume

Apple Pay
Today Apple said that its digital wallet platform Apple Pay is now accepting credit cards that account for 90% of purchases in the U.S. since many banks signed up in the last few weeks. Apple Pay lets you pay for goods and services through the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air (2nd generation) and iPad mini (3rd generation). Apple Pay is convenient because you do not have to swipe the magnetic stripe of your debit or credit card at terminals. Instead, you just have to wave your mobile device in front of the payment terminal.

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