Startup Calendar for April 15th

Four events are featured in this week’s Startup Calendar:

And four accelerator programs are currently accepting applications:

Read the weekly newsletter for more… To take part in this program as an organization that hosts startup events, visit the Startup Calendar page for guidelines and send us an email at events@crunchbase.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Seeking Growth, The Payments Industry Embraces New Technologies

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Now a victim of its own omnipresent success, the global electronic payments industry is increasingly turning to new technologies as it looks to expand its footprint and find new ways to make money by getting consumers to spend theirs.

The pace of technological advancement in the payments market has even caused regulators to take notice, with innovations like cryptocurrencies continuing to grab headlines and attract government scrutiny at the federal and state level.

Those same regulators are also looking for ways to alleviate the financial pressures and burdens that affect the underbanked and to address the issues of privacy and security that continue to bedevil the industry. Continue reading

Entertainment Deals Take Center Stage In LA’s Burgeoning VC Scene

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

A string of big acquisitions, public offerings, and a pipeline of growing young startup companies has venture investors saying “I love L.A.

The recent acquisitions of Maker Studios and Oculus VR, as well as the planned public offering for TrueCar that’s finally going through, all point to a healthy investment ecosystem, but there’s still one industry that rules over Tinseltown: that’s entertainment.

“Our ecosystem has been building for the last 20 years and it is coming to a crescendo now,” said Mark Suster, a partner at the Los Angeles-based firm Upfront Ventures. “Americans watch 5.3 hours of television a day and they read less than a half an hour. You’re not going to change media consumption patterns [so] you’ll continue to see the rise of a tech ecosystem in L.A. because of the rise of TV and commerce and what that entails.” Continue reading

Startup Calendar for April 8th

Six events are featured in this week’s Startup Calendar:

And two accelerator programs are currently accepting applications:

Read the weekly newsletter for more… To take part in this program as an organization that hosts startup events, visit the Startup Calendar page for guidelines and send us an email at events@crunchbase.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Boston Wraps Up Its Best Venture Quarter In Years

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

The TechCrunch wrecking ball is smashing into Boston as startups in the city are coming off their best quarter in years.

Boston-based startups managed to haul in over $1.2 billion in venture financing in 142 deals for the quarter, marking the strongest fundraising environment for Boston tech startups since 2009.

Continue reading

Saeed Amidi’s Global Accelerator Network Plug And Play Expands To Brazil

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

The warp and weft of Saeed Amidi’s family story – transitioning from Iranian immigrants fleeing revolution in the 1970s to running a multi-million-dollar global family office and a vast technology accelerator network  – is one that could only have been woven in Silicon Valley.

It’s been nearly 30 years since Amidi’s family bought the building at 165 University Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif., which catapulted the family from selling high-end rugs to Silicon Valley’s investors and entrepreneurs to joining those investors at the heart of the Valley’s technology scene.

The multi-use office building whose second floor overlooks University Avenue has an allure in part because of the litany of successful technology companies that once called it home. Google was there in its infancy, along with PayPal — an early investment for Amidi — and Logitech, which called the building home in the early days following its move from Switzerland. Continue reading

Startup Calendar for April 1st

Five events are featured in this week’s Startup Calendar:

And one accelerator program is currently accepting applications:

Read the weekly newsletter for more… To take part in this program as an organization that hosts startup events, visit the Startup Calendar page for guidelines and send us an email at events@crunchbase.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

CrunchBase Monthly Export – 2014 Q1 Investment Soars

After passing the 500k milestone last month, the CrunchBase community has continued to contribute at a record pace. The CrunchBase dataset has grown significantly since 2013 Q1 when it encompassed just over 291k profiles. One year later we now capture over 537k companies, investors, people and products in CrunchBase. Highlights of the March 2014 Export include:

The CrunchBase dataset continues to grow at a blistering pace thanks to our community of contributors and members of the CrunchBase Venture Program. We’re publishing this snapshot today which includes all venture funded companies.

You can download the snapshot here and if you find any errors or omissions, please let us know!

SoFi Raising New Cash To Help Ease Students’ $1 Trillion Debt Burden

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Student lending service Social Finance is close to securing a new round of as much as $75 million, according to two investors familiar with the company’s plans.

The San Francisco-based company is one of a new generation of lending and consulting services backed by venture investors that are looking to help debtors better manage the almost $1.2 trillion in student loan obligations currently breaking the financial backs of America’s graduates.

Social Finance, which does business as SoFi, has already raised $77 million in its last round of venture funding back in 2012 from investors, including the Chinese social networking service Renren, Baseline Ventures, and DCM. The company’s public relations firm did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

Continue reading

Education Technology Startups Raised Over Half A Billion Dollars In Q1

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Education technology-focused startups raised over $500 million already in the first quarter of 2014, marking the single biggest quarter for capital committed to the sector in the past five years.

What began as a trickle in 2009, with 20 companies raising over $64 million at the beginning of the year, is now a flood as funding leapt to $500 million in 99 venture-backed startups, according to CrunchBase data.

“It’s interesting because public education hasn’t changed that much in 150 to 200 years and there had been almost no technology going into it,” said Don Burton, managing director of the Techstars Kaplan Edtech Accelerator program. “It’s not only that there’s this huge behemoth sector of the economy that spends $1.2 trillion on educating kids, but that it’s old, it’s long in the tooth and it’s bound to get disrupted.”

Continue reading