First Round Capital Roundup 10/12/2011

What's new in the world of First Round Capital

Tom Paine

Two of First Round Capital's most recent investments are in Pantheon, a San Fransisco-based SaaS platform for Drupal sites, and Kiwi Crate, a subscription service that delivers hands-on crafts and activities for young children (see Josh Kopelman's blog post on Kiwi Crate and the subscription business model ). Seth Goldstein, co-founder of, was among the other investors in Kiwi Crate.

One venture that is perhaps a bit different than First Round's typical portfolio company is California-based DNAnexus, which today announced a $15 million funding round led by Google Ventures and TPG Biotech, with First Round participating. DNAnexus is focused on delivering a cloud-based solution for "big data analysis" of DNA to both the commercial and academic communities. First Round Capital led a $1.55 million round in the company in 2009, a fact that I had entirely missed up to now. First Round's Rob Hayes is on the DNAnexus board.
Simultaneously with the funding announcement, DNANexus announced a technology collaboration with Google to provide access to "the most comprehensive archive of publicly available DNA data through a hosted Sequence Read Archive (SRA) site". It will maintain the database previously managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which is phasing out support of the SRA due to Federal budget cuts. DNAnexus will use Google Cloud Storage to host the database and provide continued access for medical research.

Looking for more FRC activity in the Philly area? Josh Kopelman recently tweeted: "Cool stealth mode #FRC Philly company is looking for interns. Office is near @upenn. Any @Wharton students interested? If so @ message me". No word on what type of company this might be yet. The only other active Philly-area based companies in First Round's portfolio that I know of now are Lifeshield Security, Monetate, PackLate, and Relay Network, which is still in somewhat of a stealth mode. New York-based Solve Media has an office here. Am I missing any?

Kopelman also tweeted that GrubWithUs, the Chicago-based website that lets people plan and join in dinner get-togethers at restaurants, was now available in Philadelphia, although there is no indication of that yet on the GrubWithUs site.

TaskRabbit's founder, Leah Busque, is stepping down as CEO, it was announced today, to be replaced by former Hotwire CEO Eric Grosse. Busque will remain in a key role; though it hasn't been exactly determined, it will likely be product-focused. Boston-based TaskRabbit, which helps users find people to whom they can souces out errands, raised a $5 million Series A round from Shasta Ventures and First Round in May.

Mobile payment processor Square, which raised $100 million in June with a +$1 billion valuation, says it is now processing payments at a $2 billion annual rate. Twitter Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey is founder and CEO of Square. Meanwhile, web-based banking startup BankSimple, which also has a Twitter pedigree (BankSimple co-founder Alex Payne) announced it will be going live next month. The company will also be moving its headquarters from New York to Portland, Oregon.

On demand car service Uber recently launched in Chicago and Seattle, but nothing happening in Philly yet.

New York-based LiveIntent, which delivers display ads within emails, last month closed $8 million in Series B funding lead by Shasta Ventures, with other earlier investors including FRC participating in the round. Another adtech venture in First Round's portfolio, Yieldex, raised $10 million led by Triangle Peak Partners and Hearst Interactive Media, along with previous investor Amazon, bringing the New York firm's total funding to about $22 million.


Daily Links 10/12/2011: Verizon denies interest in Clearwire

Verizon denies Clearwire talks, eyes LTE devices (Reuters)

Intel Abandons Plans to Get Its Processors Into Televisions (Bloomberg)

IBM launches platform-as-a-service effort, beefs up cloud focus (ZDNet Blogs)

LevelUp app aims to keep coupon users coming back (CNN Tech)
Originally available in Boston and Philly, SCVNGR's LevelUp launches today in New York and San Francisco.

SCVNGR Unveils QR Code Payment System (Mashable)

Hot New York Ad Startup MediaMath Is Looking At Raising A Big Round (Business Insider)
Safeguard Scientifics is a major backer of MediaMath.

Verizon Opens Door To 'Smart Home'
Home-Security Monitoring Features Not Currently Part of Offering
(Multichannel News)
Developed with Motorola Mobility.

Universal Dumps $60 Home Video Rental Plan (All Things Digital)

S&P: TE Connectivity to replace Cephalon (AP via Business Week)
TE Connectivity has its operational headquarters in Berwyn. Frazer-based Cephalon's acquisition by Teva will be completed on Friday.

eBay Officially Launches X.Commerce Developer Platform (Mashable)

Datatel Adds SaaS Deployment Option to Industry-Leading Datatel Colleague (Business Wire)
Not sure if this is really SaaS or not.
Datatel is working torwards completing its announced acquisition of SunGard Higher Education.