Highfive Raises $32 Million in Funding

Redwood City, Calif.-based Highfive, a provider of video conferencing hardware and cloud software, has raised $32 million in “B” funding led by new investor Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation by existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Google Ventures, SV Angel, and individual investors. The company has now raised $45.4 million in funding. “After experiencing the shift in productivity when video conferencing, Web conferencing, and screen sharing are made incredibly simple, customers who started with one or two devices have come back to us to put Highfive in every meeting room,” said Highfive CEO and co-founder Shan Sinha. “We are seeing record growth, and we’re on track to process one million video minutes per week within the first six months of shipping.” Arif Janmohamed, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, who has joined Highfire’s board, added, “We looked at every company in the video conferencing space and invested in Highfive because we saw an amazing product, phenomenal growth, a huge market opportunity and the right team to solve this problem.” An MIT graduate, Sinha was a group product manager at Google and founder and CEO of DocVerse.

Blippar Closes $45 Million Round

New York-based Blippar, which provides a mobile image-recognition platform and visual browser for customer to interact with brands, has raised $45 million of financing. “This is a pivotal time for the image-recognition industry," said Blippar founder and CEO Ambarish Mitra. “While the digital advertising and marketing communities have been quick to capitalize on the potential of our technology to engage audiences with branded experiences, we have barely scratched the surface in terms of the potential impact that our technology can bring to other industries, particularly education, healthcare and charities.” Blippar’s has partnerships with Coca-Cola, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Pepsi and Nestlé. Mitra is an augmented reality pioneer who was led innovation at AXA Insurance and founded a social network called Stuck.

The Hive Launches 2nd Fund at $22 Million

The Hive, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based studio that incubates, funds and launches data-driven start-ups, has closed its second fund, The Hive II, with $22 million of investment. Co-founded by managing director T.M Ravi and Sumant Mandal, The Hive provides start-up initial seed capital of $1.5 to $2 million, follow-on capital and helps syndicate future rounds of financing with venture capitalists. The studio plans to launch up to 10 new companies. “We believe that every industry will be radically transformed in the next five to 10 years with the use of data, and verticals that lend themselves to volume, velocity or variety of data are ripe for innovative approaches,” said Ravi. “We are pleased to have closed The Hive II, which we'll use to invest in data-driven applications in enterprise, Internet of Things and online segments." The Hive I funded and launched 11 companies since it was launched in 2012. “Our experience in creating multiple successful companies over the last decade has enabled us to structure The Hive’s model of bringing companies to market quickly and successfully," said Mandal. Ravi was the former chief marketing officer at Iron Mountain, founder and CEO of Mimosa Systems and president and CEO of Peakstone Corp. Mandal is a managing director at Clearstone Venture Partners. 

Sequoia Invests $20M in Groupon India, Says Report

Groupon India has received new funding, with lead investor Sequoia taking a $20 million stake, TechCrunch reported. The plan is for Groupon India to raise another two rounds of outside funding, one more in 2015 and one in 2016, “aimed at further separating itself from its parent company in the U.S.,” TechCrunch reported. Chicago-based Groupon, Groupon India CEO Ankur Warikoo and Sequoia all declined to comment on the report. Groupon India was launched out of one of Groupon’s first-ever acquisitions: India’s SoSasta, a deal announced in January 2011. “India does not get broken out in Groupon’s balance sheet, but in its last earnings, the rest of world segment accounted for only $101 million of the company’s $925 million in revenues,” TechCrunch said, adding that “Groupon noted that Ticket Monster accounted for a large part of revenue growth (but also losses) in the region. As a point of comparison, a year before, when there was no Ticket Monster, rest of world reported $74 million in revenues out of a total $768 million.”

Microsoft Leads $8.2M Round in Unify Square

Bellevue, Wash.-based Unify Square, a provider of software, services and support for Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business, has raised $8.2 million from Microsoft and angel investors, including former Yahoo, IBM and Ariba executives. “Unify Square is excited to be working closely with Microsoft to ensure IT Pros have a comprehensive toolset for planning and managing their Skype for Business deployments and ongoing operations," said Unify Square CEO and founder Sonu Aggarwal, who holds the first-ever patent for enterprise instant messaging and three others for real-time collaboration technology. He was previously co-founder of Flash Communications, which was acquired by Microsoft, where he helped develop Lync’s predecessors — Live Communications Server in 2005 and Office Communications Server in 2007. Aggarwal has B.S. and M.S. degrees in E.E. and computer science from MIT.

Webgility Closes $2.5 Million Round

San Francisco-based Webgility, a provider of e-commerce accounting integration software for small- and medium-sized businesses, has raised $2.5 million from SaaS Capital. “This funding from SaaS Capital will be instrumental as we continue to build momentum,” said Webgility founder and CEO Parag Mamnani. “This is our first institutional investment and although we received several outside funding offers, we knew SaaS Capital was the best fit for us at this stage.” Webgility has been bootstrapped since launching in 2007. The company’s products integrate financial data from any cloud application with accounting software and integrate with more than 40 e-commerce platforms. Mamnani was a senior product manager of Amazon.com’s Webstore and director of technology at Gatesix.

India Hosts Actis’ 5th Renewable Energy Platform

Global private equity fund Actis LLP has committed $250 million to create an Indian renewable energy platform, Ostro Energy. It is the fifth such energy platform Actis has launched globally. 

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