Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bay Area Tech Wire -- Jan. 29

BAY AREA TECH WIRE -- Jan. 29, 2015
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S.F.-Based Whistle Raises $15 Million in Second Round, Acquires Tagg
San Mateo-Based DataRPM Lands Investment from Cloudera Co-Founder
o San Jose-Based Siva Power Raises $4 Million in Fourth Round of Funding
TracFone to Pay $40 Million to Settle FTC Charges of Ad Deception
Shasta Ventures Promotes Sean Flynn to Managing Director
Briefly Noted: Box, CamberView Partners


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o S.F.-Based Whistle Raises $15 Million in Second Round, Acquires Tagg

San Francisco -- Whistle, a San Francisco-based developer of tech products and services for pets, said on Thursday it has raised $15 million in its second round of funding and acquired San Diego-based Tagg, creator of a pet tracker GPS system, from parent Qualcomm. Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) led the funding round, which also included participation from Qualcomm; Melo7 Tech Partners -- a fund co-founded by NBA star Carmelo Anthony -- Queensbridge Venture Partners and previous backers. Paul Asel, managing partner of NGP, will join Whistle's board of directors. The company now has raised $25 million since its inception. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Whistle said it plans to incorporate Tagg's GPS capabilities into its app-enabled hardware products for pet owners. 

o San Mateo-Based DataRPM Lands Investment from Cloudera Co-Founder

San Mateo, Calif. -- DataRPM, the San Mateo-based developer of a platform that uses machine learning to perform advanced statistical analysis on company data and present insights, said it has landed a new investment from Cloudera co-founder and CTO Amr Awadallah. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Awadallah also will join the company as a "super advisor," advising on technical and other issues. "The company is attempting to disrupt the way we have been accustomed to doing analytics to a much wider audience than ever before," said Awadallah. Previous backers include InterWest Partners, CIT GAP Funds and 20K Industrie. 

o San Jose-Based Siva Power Raises $4 Million in Fourth Round of Funding

San Jose, Calif. -- Siva Power, a developer of advanced solar panels, said on Thursday it recently has raised $4 million in its fourth round of funding, from DBL, Medley and Acero. The company in recent months also landed $3 million in debt financing and a $3 million award from the Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative. Siva said it will use the latest proceeds to begin building a key production component and narrow down its choice of sites for a manufacturing plant. The company said it is considering various locations, including California, for its factory. "We will need to raise more capital later to build out the rest of our factory, but this is an important confirmation that we are on the right track," said CEO Brad Mattson. 

o TracFone to Pay $40 Million to Settle FTC Charges of Ad Deception

Washington, DC -- TracFone, the largest prepaid mobile provider in the U.S., will pay $40 million to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to settle charges that it deceived millions of consumers with false promises of "unlimited" data. According to the complaint, the company since 2009 has advertised prepaid monthly mobile plans for about $45 a month with unlimited data under brands such as Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile and Telcel America. In reality, however, the FTC said TracFone drastically slowed or cut off consumers' mobile data after they used more than certain amounts in a 30-day period. "The issue here is simple: when you promise consumers `unlimited,' that means unlimited," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "This settlement means that Straight Talk, Net10, Simple Mobile, and Telcel America customers will be able to get money back from the company for services the company promised but didn’t deliver." 

o Shasta Ventures Promotes Sean Flynn to Managing Director

Menlo Park, Calif. -- Shasta Ventures, a Menlo Park-based early-stage venture capital firm, said it has promoted Sean Flynn to managing director. Flynn joined the firm in 2008 and became a partner in 2012. He primarily focuses his early-stage investments on mobile-enabled consumer Internet and enterprise software startups, and currently serves on the boards of Bloc, Swipely, TigerText, Timehop and ZEFR. 

o Briefly Noted:

(Los Altos, Calif.) Los Altos-based Box, the developer of an online file sharing and collaboration service that last week raised $175 million in its initial pubic offering (IPO), on Thursday named Josh Chernoff as the managing director of its retail, consumer packaged goods and hospitality practice. Chernoff is the former leader of Bain & Company's Americas retail practice. 

(San Francisco) San Francisco-based CamberView Partners, a provider of investor advisory services for public companies, said on Thursday it has promoted Christopher Wightman to partner. Wightman joined the firm in 2012, and previously was responsible for Vanguard's global corporate governance and portfolio compliance oversight programs.

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