27 August 2014 at 16:45



Third week of August became a time of medical startups. Three projects at once – Chunyu, Wearable Intelligence and Lybrate — informed about finishing their new rounds of investments.

 Traditionally successful education and ticket services. Large companies continue buying small but perspective startups, that logically complement their ecosystems: last week such information came from Yahoo!, Google and VMware.


M&A. Yahoo! Acquired Clarity Ray startup
Yahoo corporation acquired Israeli-based ad startup Clarity Ray. No information about the deal was revealed but observers speak about price between $15 million and $25 million.
Two years ago Clarity Ray raised $500,000 in funding from its chairman Saar Wilf. At the time, the company offered tools for online publishers to circumvent ad blockers — company goal was to help publishers make money without ignoring the concerns of the “ad intolerant.”
Since then ClarityRay’s focus has moved away from ad blocking to ad security and fraud detection.


M&A. Google acquired Jetpac
Google Inc.’s acquisitions continue as the tech giant has recently decided to acquire Jetpac. The San Francisco-based startup has developed a popular photo analyzing application called Jetpac City Guides that gathers photos from Facebook Inc.’s Instagram service to create city guides and provide information to users.
Although Google has not announced the deal formally, Jetpac’s website’s homepage is boasting its plans to join Google. The company has also announced removal of the Jetpac app from the app store and discontinuation of the service from September 2014. Neither of the parties has disclosed details of the deal.


M&A. VMware acquired CloudVolumes
VMware has acquired CloudVolumes, a 3-year-old startup that developed software for delivering virtualized applications on the fly.
VMware plans to integrate CloudVolumes’ software more tightly with VMware Horizon, which is VMware’s desktop virtualization software. CloudVolumes’ software can deliver an application, along with supporting programs and libraries, to a running virtual or physical machine, using a technique known as layering. This approach eliminates the need to install the application directly on a physical or virtual machine.
VMware did not specify if it would operate CloudVolumes as a stand-alone subsidiary, or fold the company’s software and personnel into its own operations. VMware may reveal more of its plans for CloudVolumes at its VMworld annual user conference, being held next week in San Francisco.
CloudVolumes is based in Santa Clara, California. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


STARTUP. Big data-startup DataRobot has raised $21 mln
Boston-based DataRobot has raised another round of funding. It is a $21 million Series A led by NEA that values the company at more than $60 million. Atlas Venture, who led the company’s last investment, also joined the round.
The company used big data and leverages the cloud to generate predictive models, is still in beta, and expects to launch in the fall.
The technology that DataRobot has built includes an ultra-fast predictive model search engine that pulls up only the most relevant model results through what it calls “Modeling Blueprints,” and makes the entire process cost-effective by using the cloud.
While industries like finance, health care, and insurance have long benefitted (and been able to afford) the work of data scientists, DataRobots technology and affordability is bringing predictive models to new markets like retail, consumer internet, and sports to solve challenging problem.


STARTUP. Chunyu startup has raised $50 mln
Chunyu Yisheng, the Chinese smartphone app that lets users remotely consult with physicians to diagnose their ailments, has raised a $50 mln series C round of funding from China International Capital Corporation and Dunan Holding Group. Previous investors also pitched in, including Temasek and BlueRun ventures, making this the biggest single funding round into a Chinese healthcare startup to date.
Chunyu offers in-app chats and phone calls with real doctors. Asking questions on forums is free with registration, so as 90-second phone calls with physicians. But many of the value added services — longer private consultations by phone, scheduling appointments, and having a private doctor on call — come at a premium. The price depends on the doctor, and the revenue is split between the doctors and Chunyu.
Chunyu now has 30 million active users consulting with 40,000 online doctors about 50,000 daily health issues. The new investment will go toward bringing more doctors on board, targeting 200,000 doctors and doubling the number of uses one year from now. The company is also working with hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to make the app more commercial. Health-related wearables, insurance companies, and genetic testing facilities are also in the partnership pipeline.


STARTUP. Lybrate online-service has raised $1,2 mln
Online doctor directory and booking service Lybrate today announced a $1.23 million raise in a public filing with the SEC.
Founded in 2013, Lybrate sits among a growing number of international book-a-doctor startups, including France-based KelDoc, Eastern Europe’s DocPlanner, and the UK’s Zesty.
Lybrate has an early lead in India, but only hovers among the top 400 medical apps in the region’s Google Play store, according to app tracking site App Annie. There’s clearly room for outside competition, at least for now.


STARTUP. Wearable Intelligence announced $8.4 mln raise
The Wearable Intelligence company is now raising a $8.4 million in venture capital. On its website, the company lists as investors Google Ventures, First Round, Andreessen Horowitz, KPCB, Initialized Capital, and Subtracted Capital.
The company says that its technology can display all kinds of clinical data on the inside of the Google Glass wearable. This can include data pulled directly from an electronic health records system. It can also deliver data real-time vitals data streams (like a patient’s heart rate), clinical alerts, and notifications of errors or exception conditions.


STARTUP. FreshGrade has raised $4,3 mln
Kelowna-based edtech startup FreshGrade has raised a $4.3 mln seed round led by NewSchools Venture Fund, Emerson Collective, Accel Partners and Social Capital.
Designed by developers in collaboration with teachers and parents, FreshGrade is an education resource for administrators, teachers, and parents allowing for maximum classroom engagement and real-time assessment. The company said it does this by “mirroring how people communicate and use technology today.”
Founded in 2011, FreshGrade said its tool underwent a “rigorous development and testing progress” as the founders built a reliable and valuable resource for parents and educators.
The startup already managed to convince a pretty large client in the education space within Canada. This Fall the Surrey School District, the largest school district in British Columbia and one of the largest in Canada, will implement FreshGrade as its standard reporting tool for the 2014-2015 school year.


STARTUP. Bearch company received $2 mln
Austin-based mobile developer Bearch has received $ 2.1 million in funding for Unseen, its anonymous photo-sharing app for college students on iOS and Android devices. As students are told to keep their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts “clean,” in case a potential employer were to view those profiles, the app aims to provide students with a safe haven for expressing themselves in a more authentic way.
Users post content anonymously, from images to text thoughts, and can post comments on other students’ posts. Like Reddit, the app also allows users to vote up or down on posts they like or dislike. Students are identified by usernames, and the app offers randomly generated usernames for those who want them. While users can browse content from any school, they can only interact with content posted on their own campus.
While Unseen does require users to agree to a long list of content rules before signing up, which prohibit them from posting sexually explicit, illegal or otherwise “objectionable” content (among others), the app’s developers don’t believe it’s up to them to determine what is ultimately appropriate or not. Therefore, the app’s moderation team does pull down content it feels violates the app’s terms of service, but at the same time, the app’s goal isn’t to create a “fictitious” version of life by overly censoring users.


STARTUP. ClickBus has raised $10 mln
ClickBus, an online booking platform for bus travel, announced $10 million in funding from investors Latin America Internet Group, Tengelmann Ventures, Holtzbrinck Ventures, and Rocket Internet. It plans to use the capital to grow in existing markets, invest in technology, and continue expanding. The startup was founded one year ago and is now present in seven countries.
ClickBus wants to bring the sale of bus tickets online, which presents both challenges and great potential for the startup. It reports that in Brazil around 120 million passengers travel annually by bus, however, less than 5% of bus tickets are sold over the internet. Brazil was the starting point for ClickBus’ business, and it has since has expanded at a pace customary for Rocket ventures to Mexico, Germany, Poland, and Thailand. Now, the bus booking platform is available in Turkey and Pakistan.
According to ClickBus, it has sold close to 1 million tickets by offering trips to more than 8,000 destinations in its first year of operations. ClickBus currently has around 100 employees worldwide.


INVESTMENT. Online service Thumbtack has raised Google Capital’s $100 mln
Thumbtack, a company that connects customers with local service providers, just announced that it has raised $100 million in new funding.
The round was led by Google Capital, with additional investment from past backers Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital, and Javelin Venture Partners.
Thumbtack has now raised a total of $150 million. The new round comes just a few months after the company announced its $30 million Series C.
Apparently the funding will be used to grow the engineering team, and to launch “nationwide marketing campaigns.”
To use Thumbtack, customers fill out online forms about what they’re looking for, then the company matches them with multiple professionals who can bid for the job. The company’s branding now emphasizes the idea of using Thumbtack for bigger personal projects — customers highlighted on the company website include a couple who hired a photographer to shoot their engagement pictures, an American Idol finalist who paid for singing lessons, and Whole Foods that commissioned an in-store mural.
Thumbtack says it sends $1.8 billion in annual business to more than 75,000 professional service providers. It also says that since it was founded in December 2009, it has helped customers with more than 3 million projects per year.