Auxogyn Closes Series A at $20m

Auxogyn, a privately-held company focused on advancing women’s reproductive health, has closed the final tranche of its Series A financing, bringing total funding to $20 million. Investors in the round include Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, TPG Biotech and Merck Serono Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

Auxogyn, Inc., a privately-held company focused on advancing women’s reproductive health, today announced the close of the final tranche of its Series A financing, bringing the total funding to $20 million. The initial tranche was placed in May 2010, and investors in the round include Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, TPG Biotech and Merck Serono Ventures.

“Over the course of the last year, we have executed an aggressive operating plan in preparation for the commercialization of our first product, Eeva. Importantly, we expect to announce data from our five-site, 150-patient clinical study in the months ahead that will then be used as part of our regulatory filings in Europe and the United States,” said Lissa Goldenstein, president and chief executive officer of Auxogyn.

“In evaluating investments throughout the medical technology field, we were impressed with Auxogyn’s unique approach of bringing scientific rigor and data analytics backed by a robust intellectual property portfolio and top-tier clinical advisors to a market in desperate need of improved results,” said Mark Gudiksen, Ph.D., principal of TPG Biotech and member of Auxogyn’s board of directors.

“As the leader in fertility, Merck Serono is committed to investing in innovative technologies to improve the chance of a successful IVF pregnancy,” said Nilesh Kumar Ph.D., director, Merck Serono Ventures. “This investment reflects our confidence in achieving this goal.”

“Having developed its first product, initiated a substantive clinical study, and built a sound organizational infrastructure, Auxogyn has set the stage for an exciting 2012, springboarding toward commercialization in the latter half of the year,” said Beth Seidenberg, M.D., partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers and a member of the Auxogyn board of directors.

About Eeva(TM)Auxogyn’s non-invasive early embryo viability assessment (Eeva) system may improve IVF outcomes by providing IVF clinicians and patients with objective information on embryo viability. Eeva’s proprietary software automatically analyzes embryo development against scientifically and clinically validated cell-division timing parameters. With Eeva’s quantitative data on each embryos’ potential development, IVF clinicians can optimize the treatment path for their patients undergoing IVF procedures.

About Kleiner Perkins Caufield & ByersSince its founding in 1972, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has backed entrepreneurs in more than 500 ventures including AOL, Amazon.com, Citrix, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Genomic Health, Google, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, Sun, Symantec, Verisign, WebMD and Zynga. KPCB portfolio companies employ more than 350,000 people worldwide. More than 150 of the firm’s portfolio companies have gone public, and many other KPCB ventures have achieved success through mergers and acquisitions. KPCB focuses its global investments in three practice areas - digital, greentech and life sciences - and provides entrepreneurs with company-building expertise out of its offices in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Shanghai.

About TPG BiotechTPG Biotech is part of the growth equity and venture investment platform of TPG, the global private investment firm. With more than $1 billion under management, TPG Biotech targets investments in pharmaceutical discovery and development, medical technology, diagnostics, healthcare and pharmaceutical services, life sciences, as well as industrial applications of biotechnology. TPG Biotech’s investments in personalized medicine and genomics have included such companies as Genomic Health, XDx, CardioDx and Veracyte.

About Merck Serono VenturesMerck Serono Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital fund of Merck Serono, the division for biopharmaceuticals of Merck KGaA. The fund invests in emerging biotechnology companies with the potential to provide breakthrough medical solutions in Merck Serono’s focus therapeutic areas: Oncology, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Rheumatology, Fertility and Endocrinology. In addition, Merck Serono Ventures invests in companies developing innovative technologies that could enable the discovery and development of new products in its core therapeutic areas.

About AuxogynAuxogyn, Inc. is focused on advancing the field of reproductive health through its uniquely-combined knowledge of early human developmental biology, advanced computer vision technology and best clinical practices. The company’s first product, Early Embryo Viability Assessment (Eeva), provides quantitative information regarding embryo development, to assist IVF clinicians in optimizing the treatment path for their patients undergoing IVF procedures. Auxogyn is privately held and funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TPG Biotech and Merck Serono Ventures.


Peele Named COO of Surefire Social

Ron Peele was named chief operating officer of Surefire Social. He is also an investor in Surefire Social, an Internet marketing platform. Peele was a founding investor and CFO of Revolution Health. Prior to that, he helped launch and build the AOL/Time Warner venture capital group.

PRESS RELEASE

Surefire Social®, creator of an end-to-end digital marketing solution that helps businesses become more visible in search and discovery, announced today that Ron Peele has been appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer.
In addition to being named COO, Peele is also an investor in Surefire Social, where he joins former AOL executive and colleague, Chris Marentis, Surefire Social’s founder and CEO.
As COO, Peele will work to amplify Surefire’s growth by establishing a strong operations division, enhancing processes and systems and securing strategic partnerships. With Peele’s investment, the company is focusing on recruitment of key talent to its experienced team, as the company is strategically positioned for growing with existing accounts and acquiring new customers with a limited ramp-up time.
With more than 25 years of experience as both an investor and operating executive, Peele has built innovative companies that create and define new markets. Recently, Peele was a founding investor and CFO of Revolution Health, where he worked closely with Steve Case from the company’s inception. Prior to that, Peele helped launch and build the AOL/Time Warner venture capital group, which invested $250 million in a portfolio of 70 companies.
Ron Peele said, “It’s a great time for small businesses to be able to leverage the capabilities of local search and social networks to generate sales, but the digital marketing landscape can be confusing and it is constantly changing. I’m excited to be part of a company focused on providing America’s small businesses the platform, technology and coaching to stay relevant and grow their businesses.”
Chris Marentis, who founded Surefire Social in 2009, said, “As we continue our rapid growth, an experienced COO like Ron, who has invested in and transitioned new platform and technology companies into market leaders, will help drive Surefire Social’s ongoing evolution.”
About Surefire Social
Surefire Social is an integrated Internet marketing platform and services company that helps businesses optimize local search and discovery to generate sales.


ORIX Venture Finance Invests in Kemp Technologies

ORIX Venture Finance has made an equity investment in Kemp Technologies alongside Edison Ventures and Kennet Partners. peHUB reported in January that Kemp had raised $16 million in new funding, which included $7.5 million from Edison Ventures. Kemp makes server load balancer appliances.

PRESS RELEASE

ORIX Venture Finance, a leading provider of growth capital to mid- and late-stage private companies, today announced an equity investment in Kemp Technologies alongside Edison Ventures and Kennet Partners. As a result of the financing, ORIX Venture Finance Co-Head William Bishop has joined Kemp Technologies’ board of directors.

Headquartered in Yaphank, New York, Kemp provides network load balancing appliances and software solutions to small and medium businesses (“SMBs”) at a competitive price point. SMBs require effective and affordable measures to cope with network stress fueled by the growth of online transactions and proliferation of smartphones and other networked-linked devices. Kemp’s solutions enable its customers to optimize their web applications while minimizing response time and server downtime.

William Bishop noted, “ORIX Venture Finance has a lengthy track record of partnering with financial sponsors to deliver flexible growth capital solutions. We are proud of our ability to provide pure debt financing, pure equity capital or a combination of both. Our equity investment in Kemp demonstrates our continued commitment to tailoring the best possible capital solution to fuel a company’s continued success.”

Bishop continued, “Kemp’s seasoned management team, excellent growth profile and strong value proposition to the underserved SMB segment created a perfect fit for ORIX and we are excited to support the company’s growth and international expansion. We also look forward to strengthening our existing relationship with Edison Ventures and to establishing a new relationship with Kennet Partners.”

Lenard Marcus, Principal of Edison Ventures, commented, “We value ORIX’s ability to deliver unique debt and equity solutions to our portfolio companies, and welcomed their flexibility on this transaction.”

About ORIX Venture Finance

ORIX Venture Finance, an ORIX Corporate Capital business unit, provides customized financial solutions up to $50 million in capital per transaction to mid- and late-stage companies which have established customers and run-rate revenues of $10 million or greater. Since its inception in 2001, ORIX Venture Finance has invested in more than 90 growth companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. www.orixventurefinance.com. ORIX USA, the parent of ORIX Corporate Capital, is a Dallas, Texas-based financial services and investment firm with over 1,400 employees and primary offices in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Columbus and Minneapolis. ORIX USA holds approximately $6 billion of assets and manages through various subsidiaries an additional $25 billion. ORIX USA Corporation (www.orix.com) is a wholly owned subsidiary of ORIX Corporation, a Tokyo-based, publicly owned international financial services company with operations in 27 countries worldwide. ORIX Corporation is listed on the Tokyo (8591) and New York Stock Exchanges (IX).

About KEMP Technologies

KEMP Technologies is a leader in affordable server load balancer appliances and application delivery controllers tailored to meet the needs of businesses that rely on the Internet for e-commerce and business-critical applications. KEMP helps companies rapidly grow their business with 24/7 high-availability, better web infrastructure performance, scalability and secure operations – while streamlining IT costs. KEMP’s highly affordable LoadMaster products include Layers 4-7 load balancing, content switching, server persistence, SSL offload/acceleration, and application front-end capabilities (caching, compression, intrusion prevention system), plus one full year of product support – delivering industry leading price/performance value. For more information, visit www.KEMPtechnologies.com, or call at +1 631-345-5292.


Aria Retirement Gets $4 Mln from Polaris Venture Partners

Polaris Venture Partners has invested $4 million in Aria Retirement Solutions. Aria Retirement, a provider of guaranteed retirement income services, will use the funds to expand its tech platform for independent RIAs.

PRESS RELEASE

Aria Retirement Solutions (Aria), a premier provider of guaranteed retirement income solutions, today announced that it has received a significant capital infusion from Boston-based Polaris Venture Partners, a leading investor in seed, early-stage and middle-market businesses.

The $4 million investment will allow Aria to expand its technology platform for independent Registered Investment Advisors.  In January, Aria introduced the first in a series of RetireOne guaranteed income solutions. RetireOne solutions are designed specifically to let Registered Investment Advisors control and actively manage investments on behalf of their clients.

“This is an important milestone as we build out our offerings to Registered Investment Advisors,” said David Stone, Aria’s Founder and CEO. “With this investment, we will continue to broaden our unique cloud-based technology platform, giving advisors real solutions to help clients enjoy a successful retirement by providing a guaranteed income stream.”

“Aria’s breakthrough technology is a game-changer for the insurance and financial advisory industries,” said Polaris Venture Partners general partner Alan Spoon. “Independent Registered Investment Advisors represent one of the fastest growing segments of the financial services industry and our investment in Aria reinforces our commitment to the Registered Investment Advisors segment as it serves the needs of a swelling population of retirees.”

“Our advisors want a simple, low-cost way to provide clients with guaranteed retirement income solutions,” said Tiya Lim, director of Institutional Advisory Services, Buckingham Asset Management. “This is a great alternative to variable annuities, providing a cleaner solution to help protect retirement income and give clients peace of mind.”

With approximately 76 million Baby Boomers entering retirement now and through 2029, the need for a consistent, low cost source of guaranteed retirement income is a growing issue for Americans. Two significant drops in the U.S stock market in the past decade, coupled with declining pensions and uncertainty about Social Security, have left retirees—and those approaching retirement—seeking reliable sources of income.

Aria’s first retirement income solution, RetireOne Transamerica, is based on a stand-alone living benefit (SALB) product design. This fixed contingent annuity provides the benefits of a guaranteed income insurance product centered around traditional investment vehicles such as no-load mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) offered from leading fund families, including American Funds, iShares, PIMCO, Vanguard, and Schwab. The RetireOne Transamerica annuity is underwritten by Transamerica Advisors Life Insurance Company.

Polaris Venture Partners has made investments in several financial services businesses, including Focus Financial Partners, the leading international partnership of independent, fiduciary wealth management firms.

About Polaris Venture Partners

Polaris Venture Partners is a partnership of experienced investors, operating executives and entrepreneurs. The firm’s mission is to identify, invest in and partner with seed, early stage and middle-market businesses having exceptional promise, helping them to grow into market-leading companies. Polaris invests in businesses across a number of sectors including technology, consumer services, and life sciences. Past Polaris-backed successes include: Adnexus (acquired by BMS), Advanced Inhalation Research (acquired by Alkermes), Akamai Technologies (AKAM), Allaire (ALLR, acquired by Adobe), Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY), Asthmatx (acquired by Boston Scientific), Athenix (acquired by Bayer), Glycofi (acquired by Merck), Internet Brands (acquired by Hellman and Friedman), Ironwood (IRWD), LogMeIn (LOGM), Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA), Powersoft (PWRS, acquired by Sybase), Solidworks, and TechTarget (TTGT). Its current portfolio includes notable investments which include: Adimab, Art.com, AscendHealth, Cardlytics, Confluence, e-Rewards, Focus Financial, LegalZoom, LivingProof, MarkMonitor, ShoeDazzle and Quantcast. For more on the firm, its mission and its portfolio companies: http://polarisventures.com.

About Aria Retirement Solutions

Aria Retirement Solutions (Aria) provides a new generation of guaranteed retirement income solutions to independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) operating fee-only practices. Headquartered in San Francisco, Aria was founded by veteran executives from such industry-leading firms as Charles Schwab and Fidelity, with the shared vision of building a cutting-edge platform focused exclusively on fee-only RIAs. Recognizing the need that effective asset management must balance an aggressive strategy with the need to protect client assets, the Aria executive team developed a platform to support both objectives as RIAs shift portfolio strategy for clients from asset accumulation to income distribution. Through its open, multi-provider platform, Aria gives fee-based RIAs greater control of underlying assets backed with fully licensed sales and advisor support through the Louisville, Ky.-based Aria Retirement Solutions Advisor Support Center. Securities offered through Protected Investors of America, member FINRA/SIPC.


TiqIQ Calls Up $1.7M For Ticketing Site – Filing

TiqIQ, a New York City and Israeli based startup, has raised $1.7 million in equity financing, according to a recent regulatory filing. The company is backed by Contour Venture Partners, and Contour co-founder Matt Gorin sits on the TiqIQ board. TiqIQ aggregates event tickets and helps consumers find deals for sports, music or theater events.


TigerText Seals $8.2M

Santa Monica, Calif.-based TigerText Inc., maker of secure mobile messaging technology for healthcare enterprises, has raised $8.2 million in financing, bringing its total raised to $10 million. The Series A investment was co-led by Easton Capital and New Science Ventures. As part of their investment, John Friedman, Managing Partner of Easton Capital; and Somu Subramaniam, Managing Partner of NSV, join the company’s board.

PRESS RELEASE
SANTA MONICA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TigerText Inc., the leading provider of secure mobile messaging for healthcare enterprises, has completed a second round of funding of $8.2 million, bringing the company’s total backing to more than $10 million.

The Series A investment is led by Easton Capital and New Science Ventures to accelerate development of TigerText Pro for Business, its HIPAA-compliant, easy-to-use messaging platform. Doctors, nurses and other clinicians in hospital and clinic settings are using standard text messaging because they need to communicate rapidly, but those systems don’t safeguard the privacy of protected health information. TigerText offers the same ease of use and rapid response by providing a private network controlled by the enterprise in compliance with patient privacy regulations.

Already, more than 20 healthcare organizations are enabling their clinicians to communicate both more effectively and more securely with TigerText’s private mobile messaging network, which works on all the major mobile platforms (Apple, Android, and BlackBerry) and on computers.

As part of their investment, John Friedman, Managing Partner of Easton Capital, and Somu Subramaniam, Managing Partner of NSV, have joined the board of TigerText, Inc.

“The addition of Easton Capital and New Science Ventures as partners significantly accelerates our development,” said Jeffrey Evans, TigerText Co-Founder. “John and Somu bring their incredibly rich experience, based on decades of advising life-sciences and technology companies, to our already strong board. Their leadership will help the Company reach its vast potential to transform the way physicians and nurses communicate, bringing in-hospital communications from the pagers of the 1980s to the smartphones of the 21st century.”

“This additional funding enables us to continue building out the unique features of the TigerText platform, the first service that meets the critical need of secure mobile messaging for healthcare enterprises,” said Brad Brooks, TigerText Co-Founder. “Our strong sales pipeline attests to the growing recognition that hospitals and physician practices need to provide doctors, nurses and other clinicians with a HIPAA-compliant alternative to unsecured texting.”

Healthcare organizations recognize the dangers, but largely haven’t acted on them. In a recent study, the Ponemon Institute found that 81% of surveyed healthcare organizations used mobile devices to collect, store or transmit protected health information – yet half of these organizations admitted that they do nothing to protect the data on these devices and fewer than a quarter use encryption.

“TigerText has staked a unique position in the healthcare space,” Easton’s Friedman said. “Not only is there a critical need for its product, but the Company also has already proven the robustness of its business model. With virtually no marketing effort, its platform has been adopted by more than 20 healthcare enterprises, with many more in its pipeline. I believe that its fantastic product and strong management team position the company to truly revolutionize communication in healthcare.”

TigerText previously closed $2.2 million of seed financing in 2010.

About TigerText:

TigerText allows hospitals and physician groups to create their own private, HIPAA-compliant mobile messaging network for physicians, nurses and administrators. This controlled platform replaces the unsecured text messaging that leaves protected health information at risk. TigerText gives health care providers ultimate control over the messages they and their employees send, with features such as: Self-Deleting Messages (both on sender and receiver handsets), Message Recall and Forward Lock. TigerText works on all smartphone platforms and also has a desktop web interface.


RentWiki Adds $3.6M – Filing

Atlanta-based RentWiki Inc. has added $3.6 million in fresh capital, according to a regulatory filing. The company, which operates a peer review and recommendation website to help people find housing, previously raised capital from Antares Capital Corp.


ANDalyze Inks $1.57M for Water Testing – Filing

ANDalyze Inc., a maker of products for testing water contamination, has raised $1.57 million of a planned $2.57 million round, according to a regulatory filing. The company, which uses catalytic DNA technologies for water testing, is backed by investors including the Illinois Emerging Technologies Fund II L.P. and Illinois Ventures LLC. The company’s board includes John Regan a senior director for Illinois Ventures.


Auxogyn Wraps Up Series A

Auxogyn Inc., a Menlo Park, Calif. company focusing on products for women’s reproductive health, has closed a final tranche for its Series A round. The company has now raised $20 million in total funding. The initial tranche was placed in May 2010, and investors in the round include Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, TPG Biotech and Merck Serono Ventures, the company said in a statement.

PRESS RELEASE
Auxogyn, Inc., a privately-held company focused on advancing women’s reproductive health, today announced the close of the final tranche of its Series A financing, bringing the total funding to $20 million. The initial tranche was placed in May 2010, and investors in the round include Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, TPG Biotech and Merck Serono Ventures.

“Over the course of the last year, we have executed an aggressive operating plan in preparation for the commercialization of our first product, Eeva. Importantly, we expect to announce data from our five-site, 150-patient clinical study in the months ahead that will then be used as part of our regulatory filings in Europe and the United States,” said Lissa Goldenstein, president and chief executive officer of Auxogyn.

“In evaluating investments throughout the medical technology field, we were impressed with Auxogyn’s unique approach of bringing scientific rigor and data analytics backed by a robust intellectual property portfolio and top-tier clinical advisors to a market in desperate need of improved results,” said Mark Gudiksen, Ph.D., principal of TPG Biotech and member of Auxogyn’s board of directors.

“As the leader in fertility, Merck Serono is committed to investing in innovative technologies to improve the chance of a successful IVF pregnancy,” said Nilesh Kumar Ph.D., director, Merck Serono Ventures. “This investment reflects our confidence in achieving this goal.”

“Having developed its first product, initiated a substantive clinical study, and built a sound organizational infrastructure, Auxogyn has set the stage for an exciting 2012, springboarding toward commercialization in the latter half of the year,” said Beth Seidenberg, M.D., partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers and a member of the Auxogyn board of directors.

About Eeva(TM)Auxogyn’s non-invasive early embryo viability assessment (Eeva) system may improve IVF outcomes by providing IVF clinicians and patients with objective information on embryo viability. Eeva’s proprietary software automatically analyzes embryo development against scientifically and clinically validated cell-division timing parameters. With Eeva’s quantitative data on each embryos’ potential development, IVF clinicians can optimize the treatment path for their patients undergoing IVF procedures.

About Kleiner Perkins Caufield & ByersSince its founding in 1972, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has backed entrepreneurs in more than 500 ventures including AOL, Amazon.com, Citrix, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Genomic Health, Google, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, Sun, Symantec, Verisign, WebMD and Zynga. KPCB portfolio companies employ more than 350,000 people worldwide. More than 150 of the firm’s portfolio companies have gone public, and many other KPCB ventures have achieved success through mergers and acquisitions. KPCB focuses its global investments in three practice areas - digital, greentech and life sciences - and provides entrepreneurs with company-building expertise out of its offices in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Shanghai.

About TPG BiotechTPG Biotech is part of the growth equity and venture investment platform of TPG, the global private investment firm. With more than $1 billion under management, TPG Biotech targets investments in pharmaceutical discovery and development, medical technology, diagnostics, healthcare and pharmaceutical services, life sciences, as well as industrial applications of biotechnology. TPG Biotech’s investments in personalized medicine and genomics have included such companies as Genomic Health, XDx, CardioDx and Veracyte. Please visit www.tpgbiotech.com .

About Merck Serono VenturesMerck Serono Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital fund of Merck Serono, the division for biopharmaceuticals of Merck KGaA. The fund invests in emerging biotechnology companies with the potential to provide breakthrough medical solutions in Merck Serono’s focus therapeutic areas: Oncology, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Rheumatology, Fertility and Endocrinology. In addition, Merck Serono Ventures invests in companies developing innovative technologies that could enable the discovery and development of new products in its core therapeutic areas. For more information, visit www.merckserono.com

About AuxogynAuxogyn, Inc. is focused on advancing the field of reproductive health through its uniquely-combined knowledge of early human developmental biology, advanced computer vision technology and best clinical practices. The company’s first product, Early Embryo Viability Assessment (Eeva), provides quantitative information regarding embryo development, to assist IVF clinicians in optimizing the treatment path for their patients undergoing IVF procedures. Auxogyn is privately held and funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TPG Biotech and Merck Serono Ventures.


Numescent Inks $2M Tranche

Irvine, Calif.-based Numecent has raised $2 million of a planned $10 million Series A round. The company, which says it is developing “cloudpaging” technology, did not disclose the names of investors. The company said that it previously raised $7.5 million from investors.

PRESS RELEASE
Numecent™, a stealth startup pioneering next-generation “cloudpaging” technology, today announced it has received the first $2M tranche in a $10M Series-A funding round from unnamed corporate investors. This is in addition to the $7.5M of seed funding the company has so far received from private investors since its inception.

Although the company is not yet revealing the details, Numecent has been developing a patented “push-pull” paging technology which allows software instructions and data to be demand-paged from the Cloud – all in real-time. Cloudpaging will allow any software, app, game and non-linear content to be delivered to any connected device on-demand and in a secure, metered and virtualized fashion.

The Series-A round will support the launch of Numecent’s cloudpaging technology, which the company believes will be the successor to streaming for any connected device. Numecent holds the foundational patents (10 granted) in application streaming and virtualization through its subsidiary company, Endeavors Technologies. The company already has high-profile customers who have begun to deploy this ‘hybrid-cloud’ solution in mission-critical environments.

The company also announced that Osman Kent has become the CEO of Numecent. Osman is a technology veteran and a serial entrepreneur, best known as the co-founder and CEO of 3Dlabs – at one time a nearly $1B NASDAQ company which pioneered the GPU revolution on the PC.


PlanSource Seals $12M

Orlando-based PlanSource Holdings Inc. has raised $12 million in new funding led by Lemhi Ventures. The company, which makes a cloud-based HR and healthcare software-as-a-service, will use the money for growth.

PRESS RELEASE
PlanSource Holdings, Inc., a cloud-based HR and healthcare SaaS technology company, has announced that it has received a $12 million investment led by Lemhi Ventures to leverage its technology leadership position and expand its growing business in healthcare technology, employee benefits administration, and HR technology services.

“We’re pleased to be able to use this strategic investment from Lemhi Ventures to grow our relationships with both the national healthcare companies and the businesses they serve,” said Dayne Williams, CEO of PlanSource. “This helps us expand on our momentum that we’ve built over the past year, but more importantly it validates our position as a technology leader and will help us improve the user experience and results at all levels – for healthcare companies, brokers, HR admin personnel, down to the overall employee experience at medium-sized and small companies throughout the U.S.”

“We are very excited about PlanSource’s unique opportunity to improve the user experience across the entire healthcare benefits distribution spectrum,” said Randy Schmidt, Venture Partner at Lemhi Ventures. “By combining its best in class suite of benefits administration software with its emerging decision support tools, PlanSource will enable carriers or brokers to efficiently provide better data, allowing employers and individuals to make better informed decisions when buying benefits, whether through a traditional marketplace or a healthcare exchange.”

About PlanSource
PlanSource is cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) provider that simplifies back office HR for employers with a comprehensive array of integrated services including payroll, benefits administration, decision support, and HRMS technology. PlanSource technology solutions are delivered through strategic carrier and broker partners who partner with PlanSource in order to increase their retention rates, revenue, and the overall value they bring to their customers.

About Lemhi Ventures
Lemhi Ventures is a venture capital firm investing exclusively in the health care services industry. We believe that the marketization of health care is the key to controlling costs and improving quality. We actively seek entrepreneurs with business ideas that have the potential to disrupt and transform health care services, and help grow great companies through disciplined investment decisions and active involvement with our portfolio companies.


Dillard’s Leads $5 Mln Growth Financing Round for Acumen Brands

Dillard’s has led a $5 million round of growth financing for Acumen Brands. Dillard’s invested $4 million in Series B preferred stock while existing investors existing investors Noro-Moseley Partners, BLH Venture Partners, the Gravity Fund and the Arkansas Risk Capital Matching Fund also participated. Acument, of Fayetteville, Ark., operates twelve online retailers.

PRESS RELEASE

Dillard’s, Inc. (NYSE:DDS) (”Dillard’s” or “the Company”) announced a strategic investment with Acumen Brands (“Acumen”), an ecommerce company based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Founded in 2009, Acumen Brands (www.acumenholdings.com) is a rapidly growing ecommerce company that operates twelve online retailers supported by proprietary software and advanced fulfillment systems.

Under the agreement, Dillard’s invested $4.0 million in Series B preferred stock of Acumen Brands leading a $5 million round of growth financing which also included participation from existing investors Noro-Moseley Partners, BLH Venture Partners, the Gravity Fund and the Arkansas Risk Capital Matching Fund.

Dillard’s and Acumen plan to work together to enhance both Dillards.com and Acumen’s twelve online sites. Acumen offers uniquely branded storefronts for a variety of professions and lifestyles including medical uniforms (www.scrubshopper.com), work wear (www.toughweld.com), and western wear (www.countryoutfitter.com).

Acumen will offer technological marketing services and support to enhance Dillard’s online presence, while Dillard’s Vice President Kent Burnett will serve on the Acumen board to provide strategic guidance for the company. In his role at Dillard’s, Mr. Burnett is the Company’s senior executive in charge of information technology and ecommerce.

Recently, Dillard’s announced an increased commitment to the growth of its online store at www.dillards.com with a new Internet Fulfillment Center in Maumelle, Arkansas, opening in the spring of 2012.

Dillard’s President Alex Dillard stated, “We are excited to partner with Acumen Brands, underscoring our continuing commitment to the growth of www.dillards.com. We are impressed with this young company’s accomplishments in the ecommerce arena to date and we look forward to collaborating with this highly talented team as we further develop our online presence.”

Acumen CEO John James, M.D. added, “We are honored to work with Dillard’s in their efforts to grow their online business, and we look forward to learning from their vast experience and success as we work to shape the future of online commerce.”

Dillard’s, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest fashion apparel and home furnishing retailers. The Company’s stores operate with one name, Dillard’s, and span 29 states. Dillard’s stores offer a broad selection of merchandise, including products sourced and marketed under Dillard’s exclusive brand names.

Acumen Brands is an ecommerce company located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The company was founded in 2009 with four employees and a single store selling medical uniforms. Today, the company operates twelve separate online stores in twelve different niche categories and has seventy employees.


Hercules Tech Closes Sale of BÂRRX Medical to Covidien

Hercules Technology Growth Capital said Wednesday that it has completed the sale of BÂRRX Medical to Covidien. The deal, announced in November, was valued at about $325 million. Hercules, in connection with the sale, expects to realize a net gain of approximately $2.2-$2.3 million in first quarter 2012 and to fully repay Hercules’ loan to BÂRRX Medical. This represents an IRR of about 33% Hercules’ investment in BÂRRX, which provides products and technology to Barrett’s esophagus syndrome.

PRESS RELEASE

Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTGC), a leader in customized debt financing for entrepreneurial venture-backed companies in technology-related markets including cleantech, life sciences and high technology, today announced that its portfolio company BÂRRX Medical, Inc., the leader in treatment of Barrett’s esophagus syndrome using bipolar radiofrequency (RF) ablation devices, completed the sale of all of its outstanding shares on January 5, 2012, to Covidien plc (NYSE:COV) in a transaction valued at approximately $325.0 million.

In connection with the sale, Hercules expects to realize a net gain of approximately $2.2-$2.3 million in the first quarter of 2012 and a full repayment of Hercules’ loan to BÂRRX Medical. This represents an internal rate of return of approximately 33.0% on Hercules’ investment in BÂRRX Medical, Inc.

“We congratulate the BÂRRX Medical management team on this impressive achievement and expect that the acquisition will only improve on the unique advancements that they have delivered to doctors and patients all over the world,” said Manuel A. Henriquez, president and CEO of Hercules. “We are pleased that Hercules’ customized debt solutions helped play an important role in accelerating BÂRRX Medical’s business and reach a successful exit by joining a great company like Covidien plc. This exit is a positive outcome for our shareholders.”

About Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.

Hercules Technology Growth Capital (NASDAQ: HTGC), is a leader customized debt financing for entrepreneurial venture-backed companies in technology-related markets including cleantech, life sciences and high technology. The company has committed more than $2.7 billion to over 190 companies and is the lender of choice for entrepreneurs, venture capital and private equity firms seeking ideal, customized growth capital financing at all stages of a company’s development to accelerate business growth and reach the next critical milestone.

Companies interested in learning more about financing opportunities should contact info@htgc.com, or call 650.289.3060.

Forward-Looking Statements

The statements contained in this release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, without limitation, the risks, uncertainties, including the uncertainties surrounding the current market, and other factors we identify from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although we believe that the assumptions on which these forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, any of those assumptions could prove to be inaccurate and, as a result, the forward-looking statements based on those assumptions also could be incorrect. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are made as of the date hereof, and Hercules assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements for subsequent events.


And the New Home of Facebook is…Nasdaq

When Facebook filed to go public with the SEC just minutes ago, there were a lot of things it didn’t need to include in its filing, including the size of the offering or, for that matter, where the offering will take place.

It disclosed the latter, though, and the winner? It’s Nasdaq.

It’s no small coup for the exchange, which may have found out only recently. At least, as of yesterday Nasdaq’s head of listings, Bob McCooey, told me that he had “no knowledge of whether Facebook has made a decision or not,” adding that “Nasdaq would be honored to have them on our exchange.”

Indeed, the bragging rights associated with listing Facebook have long been top of mind for both Nasdaq and NYSE Euronext, which have been involved in a high-stakes competition since the NYSE first began poking its head around Silicon Valley in the mid ‘90s.

It was back then that then-CEO Richard Grasso began trying to lure more high-tech companies away from Nasdaq, a marketplace that has long prided itself on being the home of tech companies – and which hasn’t appreciated the NYSE’s sometimes successful efforts to encroach on its territory in recent years. Recently, for example, the NYSE has landed such hot consumer Web names as LinkedIn, Pandora, and the Chinese social networking company RenRen.

Of course, Nasdaq has held its own, attracted Groupon and Zynga, among others, and it remains home to 73 percent of all Internet companies to go public over the last five years. The exchange also claims that 71 percent of tech companies in the IPO pipeline say they’ll list on Nasdaq, a number that may surge following Facebook’s decision (or not).

Either way, when asked yesterday about the increasingly heated competition between the two exchanges, a battle that has involved not only courting late-stage private companies but each other’s existing community members (Texas Instrument’s recent move to Nasdaq is one case in point), McCooey didn’t submit any false niceties.

“We welcome [the NYSE] to Silicon Valley,” said McCooey. “It’s good to have them here. We’ve been here for 20 years; they finally found where Silicon Valley is.”


VCJ Cover Story: Lights, Camera, Action, Disrupt!

Shortly before he died, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, that he had “finally cracked” the secret of the connected TV.

The resulting product could be an easy-to-use Internet television that syncs with other devices and the cloud and perhaps respond to voice commands.

Imagine what this will do to the venture industry’s timeline for online TV. Television is an industry already ripe for disruption. Such a breakthrough could trigger an avalanche of investing in TV apps, infrastructure, analytics and ad networks, much as the iPhone sparked a dealmaking boom around the smartphone.

The question of course is when to place the bets. Many GPs say the time is now, as Mark Boslet reports in the latest issue of Venture Capital Journal, which came out today.

The reason is simple. Online video as it stands is a huge market, with 40.9 billion videos watched in the United States during November, up 37% from November 2010, according to comScore. The online video space has already drawn a good degree of attention from general partners and a fair amount of funding over the years. In 2011, money chasing online video investments reached almost $326 million, according to data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of VCJ and this online blog).

But unlike social and mobile, “I don’t think it’s a frothy area of investing yet,” says  Mark Siegel, managing director of Menlo Ventures. For this reasons and others, “I absolutely think we will see more interest from VCs” this year.

Many of the new startups are participating in a good bit of experimentation. Miso, for instance, is trying to change consumer behavior. Through its social TV “check-in” app, it now lets clients, such as Showtime Networks, create programming to accompany a broadcast.

Blinkx, the video search company, has several futuristic projects up its sleeve. One is an app for advanced users that will let them rate videos and help content distributors know their preferences. A second is meant to personalize TV. The company is working with the Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom on a service that will let viewers to set up custom channels based on their interests. Users will be able to play programming on their televisions, personal computers or mobile phones.

To read more about how VC-backed startups are disrupting the TV industry and  what VCs think about it, VCJ subscribers can click here for the full story. The February 2012 Cover Story also includes a VC Perspective from Mark Siegel of Menlo Ventures and a roundup of online video statistics from comScore.

Not a VCJ subscriber? Click here for a free trial.

And if you want to chat more about hot tech trends, send an email to Alastair Goldfisher at alastair.goldfisher@thomsonreuters.com.


Venture Capitalist Confidence Index Falls in 4Q for Third Straight Quarter

Early-stage investing is chugging along at a nice pace. But Silicon Valley venture capitalists are less confident about the months ahead than they were during the financial tumult of the fall.

This is according to the Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist Confidence Index prepared each quarter by Mark Cannice, a professor at the University of San Francisco. The index fell in the fourth quarter to 3.27 from 3.41 in the third quarter. (Five represents maximum confidence.) It was the third consecutive decline.

Cannice surveyed 30 venture capitalists in December to assemble the outlook on the investment environment 6 to 18 months down the road. Worries rose up about international economic and political uncertainty along with tax and national regulatory constraints, particularly life sciences regulations. Also highlighted was a decline in available seed funding, according to Cannice’s report.

“The uneven exit environment and the lackluster performance of some firms that did exit recently also added to a generally cautious outlook,” he wrote.

One venture capitalist cited in the report, Bill Reichert of Garage Technology Ventures, concluded that the entrepreneurial energy in Silicon Valley is high. “On the minus side, the lack of institutional LP support for early-stage venture capital will leave hundreds of companies stranded when they need more capital later (this) year,” said this managing director.

“A little wind may have left the sails after some of the big name IPOs failed to live up to the overblown expectations,” offered Tom Rodgers, a partner at Advanced Technology Ventures. But “in the long term this Darwinian contraction should lead to a healthier, more stable and more rational ecosystem.”

The index report can be found here.


Estech Inks $7M Debt Financing from NXT Capital

Estech has sealed $7 million in venture debt financing from NXT Capital’s Venture Finance Group and Silicon Valley Bank. The money will be used for growth. Estech is a developer and marketer of medical devices that allow cardiac surgeons to perform a variety of minimally-invasive surgical procedures.

PRESS RELEASE
NXT Capital’s Venture Finance Group today
announced the closing of a $7 million venture loan package with Estech,
Inc. Made in cooperation with Silicon Valley Bank, the facility will
enable Estech to finance key growth initiatives.

Estech is a leader in developing and marketing innovative medical devices
that allow cardiac surgeons to perform a variety of minimally-invasive
surgical procedures. This includes minimally invasive cardiac ablation
using a unique surgical ablation catheter, a disruptive technology that
addresses a multi-billion dollar market opportunity worldwide. The
company’s product lines span three cardiac surgery disciplines including
surgical ablation, valve replacement or repair and coronary artery bypass
grafting.

Headquartered in San Ramon, California, Estech is backed by Saints
Capital, Waveland Securities, NBGI Ventures, Telegraph Hill Partners and
Tullis Health Investors.

“NXT Capital Venture Finance and Silicon Valley Bank were highly
responsive and tailored a financing solution that was synergistic to our
specific needs,” said Terry Kinninger, Estech’s CFO. “NXT and Silicon
Valley Bank’s collective experience in the med-tech space makes them
terrific financing partners.”

“Estech’s products are well known by cardiac surgeons worldwide,” said
Peter Fair, Managing Director, NXT Capital Venture Finance. “The company’s
unique suite of minimally-invasive medical devices, particularly in the
realm of temperature-controlled radio frequency cardiac ablation, is
unparalleled and provides a tremendous benefit to surgeons and their
patients.”

“We were delighted to provide financing to Estech,” said Ben Colombo,
Senior Relationship Manager, Silicon Valley Bank. “It’s a perfect fit for
our life science team, which serves innovative companies like Estech that
are making important medical advances and helps them reach their business
goals.”

ABOUT NXT CAPITAL VENTURE FINANCE:
NXT Capital Venture Finance is a newly formed business committed to
serving entrepreneurs by providing less dilutive, more flexible forms of
capital. With offices in Boston and Silicon Valley, NXT Capital Venture
Finance provides senior and subordinated term loans in the $1 million to
$20 million range to emerging growth companies backed by venture capital
and private equity firms, particularly those in the technology and life
science sectors. Target clients range from pre-revenue companies led by
dedicated entrepreneurs to late-stage, proven businesses seeking more
efficient growth capital. For more information, see
www.nxtcapital.com/venture-finance.

ABOUT NXT CAPITAL:
NXT Capital provides structured financing solutions to middle-market and
emerging growth companies, as well as real estate investors, through its
Corporate Finance, Venture Finance and Real Estate Finance groups. Based
in Chicago with offices in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Newport
Beach and Silicon Valley, NXT Capital targets senior financing
opportunities up to $150 million with a hold size up to $50 million. See
www.nxtcapital.com.

ABOUT SILICON VALLEY BANK:
Silicon Valley Bank is the premier bank for technology, life science,
cleantech, venture capital, private equity and premium wine businesses.
SVB provides industry knowledge and connections, financing, treasury
management, corporate investment and international banking services to its
clients worldwide through 26 U.S. offices and seven international
operations. (Nasdaq: SIVB) www.svb.com.

ABOUT ESTECH:
Estech develops and markets a broad portfolio of innovative medical
devices and disposables that enable cardiac surgeons worldwide to perform
a variety of minimally invasive surgical procedures, including the growing
trend in minimally invasive and hybrid ablation procedures, with maximum
ease of use, patient safety and clinical effectiveness. The company’s
product lines span three cardiac surgery disciplines, including
temperature-controlled RF ablation, valve replacement and repair, and
coronary artery bypass grafting. Estech markets its products in the U.S.
and in more than 40 countries internationally through a direct sales force
and a select network of distributors. Estech is privately held and backed
by a number of leading life sciences venture capital firms in Silicon
Valley and Europe. The company is headquartered in San Ramon, CA, with
facilities in Germany and the Netherlands as well.


RiseSmart Inks $2M

San Jose, Calif.-based RiseSmart has raised $2 million in fresh capital from Norwest Venture Partners. The company, a maker of outplacement workforce services, has raised a total of $13.85 million since it was formed in 2007. The company is also backed by Storm Ventures and angel investors.

PRESS RELEASE
RiseSmart, the leading provider of next-generation outplacement solutions, today announced that it has raised $2 million in venture financing from Norwest Venture Partners (NVP). The disruptive HR services provider has raised a total of $13.85 million since its 2007 founding from NVP, Storm Ventures and angel investors.
“The traditional business model in the billion-dollar U.S. outplacement industry is in decline; RiseSmart has created a model for the present and future,” said Venkat Mohan, operating partner at NVP. “It’s telling that during a period when RiseSmart has emerged as one of the fastest-growing private companies in Silicon Valley, the industry’s largest players have experienced declining revenue growth. This is a big reason why the leadership and clients of competing outplacement providers have been shifting in droves to RiseSmart.”
“The rapid decline of traditional outplacement companies is no different from what happened to Blockbuster when Netflix came on the scene, or to brick-and-mortar travel agencies when Travelocity and Expedia emerged,” said Sanjay Sathe, RiseSmart founder and CEO. “It is happening again in the offboarding space, and RiseSmart’s disruptive innovation is a key reason for this.”
RiseSmart’s Transition Concierge is the first outplacement solution to harness the full weight of intelligent search technology, social media, and other online tools to help put laid-off employees back to work faster. Powered by proprietary job-matching software, Transition Concierge delivers custom-tailored job leads as well as information, tools and training to eligible employees through personal career-management portals. Laid-off workers have access to one-on-one assistance from trained Transition Specialists during every step of the job-finding process.
Workers in the Transition Concierge program find new employment in an average of 18 weeks, the latest RiseSmart survey data shows. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted average duration of unemployment in December was 40.8 weeks.
About RiseSmart
RiseSmart is the leading provider of next-generation outplacement solutions. The company leverages a cloud-based technology platform, proven methodologies, and one-on-one support to help employers with their workforce strategies, and displaced employees with their career strategies. RiseSmart drives significant ROI to organizations by offering affordable pricing while reducing unemployment insurance taxes and severance costs. RiseSmart has received a wide range of awards and recognition from organizations including the Golden Bridge Awards, the Momentum Index, Red Herring, the San Francisco Business Times, SiliconIndia, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the Stevie Awards and TiE. For more information, visit http://www.risesmart.com.
About Norwest Venture Partners
Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a global venture and growth equity investment firm that manages more than $3.7 billion in capital. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., NVP has subsidiaries in Mumbai and Bengaluru, India; Herzelia, Israel; and Hong Kong. NVP makes early to late stage venture and growth equity investments across a wide range of sectors including: information technology, business services, financial services, infrastructure, technology enabled services and consumer. NVP has actively partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for more than 50 years and has funded nearly 500 companies since inception.


Jemstep Inks $6M

Jemstep, maker of a personal online investment guidance and management service, has raised $6 million in new funding, bringing its total raised to $10.5 million. The company did not disclose the names of investors. Jemstep is based in Los Altos, Calif.

PRESS RELEASE
Jemstep, the recently launched personal online investment guidance and management service, today announced the completion of its Series A round of financing of $6 million from a group of private investors, bringing the total to $10.5 million. The capital will be used to drive product development, fuel growth, and accelerate corporate recruitment.

“We’ve seen a significant need in the marketplace for a Web service that offers personalized, transparent, and unbiased investment advice. Consumers are looking for objective advice that empowers them to make the right investment decisions, rather than relying on expensive or biased services,” said Michael Blumenthal, CEO of Jemstep. “The new funding will enable us to disrupt the status quo and introduce new features to help people better align their investment strategies with their financial goals.”

Jemstep launched its service in October 2011 after spending several years in private beta developing its investment ranking technology, for which it has received a patent. The site tracks more than $170 million worth of investments, and hopes to significantly increase that number as knowledge about the service spreads.

About Jemstep
Jemstep Inc. is a free online investment guidance and management service that helps individual investors make better investment decisions and achieve their financial goals faster. Jemstep’s investment evaluations, based on patented technology and objective market data, are unbiased and transparent. Jemstep does not accept paid listings or sponsorships that influence its fund rankings in any way, nor does it factor subjective user reviews into the guidance it provides. A privately owned company with headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley, Jemstep is a registered investment advisor under the rules and regulations of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


BASF Venture Capital Backs Solidia Technologies

BASF Venture Capital is investing $5 million in Solidia Technologies as part of a $27 million financing round. The current round of financing also includes Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, BP Ventures and Bright Capital, the venture arm of RU-COM Corporation. The company is headquartered in Piscataway (New Jersey) and has 28 employees.

PRESS RELEASE

BASF Venture Capital GmbH is investing $5 million in Solidia Technologies, Inc. as part of a $27 million financing round. The current round of financing also included Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, BP Ventures and Bright Capital, the venture arm of RU-COM Corporation.

Solidia Technologies enables sustainable production of a new generation of building and construction materials. Concrete and building materials made with this novel technology have excellent physical properties, lower life-cycle costs and smaller environmental footprints than concrete. The technology uses CO2 as a reactant,consuming and sequestering this greenhouse gas during production.

“The materials produced by this process will have disruptive potential in the building and construction industry. They have better mechanical properties than traditional concrete and show no shrinkage, high compressive strength and low permeability,” said Dr. Pulakesh Mukherjee, Principal at BASF Venture Capital. The sustainable production process used by Solidia Technologies enables production of fully cured concrete pieces within just a few hours.

“The global building and construction market offers a significant opportunity for this innovative technology. Our process has been developed in the pilot scale to date and BASF can add a lot of value with its knowledge of chemistry and process engineering. We are optimistic that joining forces will enable us to target and rapidly deploy scalable applications,” said Thomas Schuler, Chief Executive Officer of Solidia Technologies.

Products manufactured with Solidia’s process are stronger and more durable than traditional building materials. As a result, cement manufacturers can produce low environmental impact products with existing equipment for the concrete industry.This new class of materials can then be used both indoor and outdoor for a variety of products, ranging from pavers to structural precast concrete.

About Solidia Technologies

Solidia Technologies, Inc. is a rapidly growing company founded in 2008 to capitalize on proprietary and patented advances in materials innovation. The company has developed a proprietary process for creating a both a binder that requires significantly less energy to produce than Portland Cement and a concrete product that uses CO2 as a reactant to provide strength rather than water. This innovation serves as the basis for a wide range of possible applications in the building and construction industries. The company is headquartered in Piscataway (New Jersey) and has 28 employees.

About BASF Venture Capital

BASF Venture Capital GmbH was established in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF Future Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the aim of exploring new growth potentials based on investment in startup companies and funds.

About BASF

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success, social responsibility and environmental protection. Through science and innovation we enable our customers in almost all industries to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and system solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring healthy food and nutrition and helping to improve the quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF posted sales of about 63.9 billion euros in 2010 and had approximately 109,000 employees as of the end of 2010. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN).