Light has raised $9.7 million in Series A to help it realize a “mission to reimagine the art and science of photography.” The Palo Alto-based startup was co-founded by Dave Grannan, whose previous company, Vlingo, made natural speech recognition technology for the first Siri app. Bessemer Venture Partners and Charles River Ventures co-led the round. Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs and former Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha also participated.
A developer of personalized learning technologies, Declara, has raised $9 million in a new round of Series A funding, this time from EDBI (Singapore) and Linden Venture Fund (Chicago). The previous investors, GSV Capital, Initialized Capital, and Y Combinator, together funneled $16 million into the company. Declara counts Genentech and Mexico’s largest teachers union among its current customers.
SpotHero, an on-demand parking app that allows drivers to reserve spots directly from parking companies, announced a $4.5 million Series A round. Substantial backing came from Chicago’s Venture Capital community, with Chicago Ventures, OCA Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Lightbank, and G2T3V joining Bullpen Capital, Battery Ventures, e.ventures, 500 Startups and Draper Associates to fund the two-year old company. Founded in Chicago, SpotHero has recently expanded into New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Newark, and Milwaukee.
Handybook, a company being heralded as the Uber for home cleaning and repair services, has secured $30 million in Series B funding. The round, which brings its total funding to date to $45.7 million, was led by Revolution LLC, but also included previous investors General Catalyst Partners and Highland Capital Partners. Founders Umang Dua and Oisin Hanrahan conceived the idea in 2012 as roommates at Harvard Business School. Handybook is now in 26 cities, but faces competition from Homejoy, which draws on backing from Google Ventures and original PayPal CTO Max Levchin.
The personal homepage site About.me has raised an $11 million Series B. Brad Feld’s The Foundry Group led the financing, with additional support coming from True Ventures, SoftTech VC, CrunchFund, and Bullpen Capital. Google Ventures, a previous investor, chose not to participate in this round. About.me was purchased by AOL in 2011, but was bought back by the original founders last year. Since being reclaimed, the company has raised $17 million.
Google announced yesterday that it had agreed to buy the satellite start-up Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash. The acquisition of Skybox, which like Google is based in Mountain View, Calif., is expected to immediately enhance Google’s mapping service. Down the line, however, the Skybox network of satellites could help the company realize its goal of providing Internet access to remote locations. Skybox was founded in 2009 by four Stanford business school students, and previously received over $90 million in funding from Khosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners, among others.
On the same day it launched its first United States-based e-commerce site, an invite-only online marketplace called 11Main.com, Alibaba announced it would also be buying all remaining shares in the Chinese web browser company UCWeb. The deal is believed to be the largest merger between Chinese Internet companies in history, surpassing the $1.9 billion the country’s search giant Baidu paid for 91 Wireless last year. Alibaba filed for an IPO in May, and many analysts believe that the company could raise more than the $16 billion Facebook did in 2012.