After operating in stealth mode for over a year, Helium Systems has announced that it has raised $16 million in venture financing. The Series A was led by Khosla Ventures, and included participation from FirstMark Capital, Slow Ventures, SV Angel, and Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff, among others. Helium Systems is developing a communications standard for Internet-connected devices that is distinct from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. As Rob Chandhok, a former Qualcomm executive who joined the company this week as its COO, told The Wall Street Journal: “We think we are going to be an enabler for an explosion of business around things and sensor data.” Chandhok will also be joining the Helium board, where he will sit alongside company founder and board chairman Shawn Fanning, the co-founder of Napster.
Kitchit, the brainchild of two Stanford GSB graduates, has secured $7.5 million to expand its platform for bringing local chefs to private homes. The round was led by Javelin Venture Partners, and was joined by 500 Startups, Stanford StartX, Silicon Valley Bank, and over a dozen angels. The service is currently available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.
Khosla Ventures, Greylock Partners, First Round Capital, Charles River Ventures, and True Ventures will together pour $15 million into ToyTalk, a digital family entertainment company. Its first project, The Winston Show, is an interactive iPad app that facilitates real conversation between the player and the characters in the game.
BuildDirect, a manufacturer/wholesaler of heavyweight building materials like flooring, decking, and tile, has raised $50 million in new equity financing from OMERS Ventures and and returning investor Mohr Davidow Ventures. Total venture financing for the fifteen-year-old Vancouver-based company has now topped $112 million.
Kleiner Perkins led the $50 million Series C round for Optoro, a Latham, MD-based distressed inventory asset recovery platform. KPBC was joined by Washington, DC area investors like Revolution Growth, Grotech Ventures, and SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, and Generation Investment Management, an investment firm chaired by Al Gore. Optoro is based in the Washington, DC area.
The South Korean B2C e-commerce company Coupang has secured $300 million in growth equity financing from BlackRock Private Equity Partners, Wellington Capital Management, and returning backers Greenoaks Capital Management and RosePark Advisors. The four-year old company has now raised $400 million, having been backed by Sequoia among others earlier this year. Part of the reason to be bullish is the fact that South Korea boasts the highest smartphone penetration in the world.