The Daily Start-Up: NEA, Insight Lead Mega-Round For Cvent.
In the biggest U.S. software funding deal since 2007, Cvent Inc., which provides corporate event planning online, said it has raised $136 million in its first institutional funding in over a decade. New Enterprise Associates and Insight Venture Partners led the round, the largest software deal since Motricity Inc. raised $185 million in December 2007. Previous backer Birchmere Ventures, which invested $5 million in Cvent in 2000, cashed out its investment at “well over 10x our money,” according to a Birchmere partner.
With consumers becoming accustomed to having any song, movie or book easily accessible on-demand with a digital download, investors including New Enterprise Associates have made a $30 million bet that Gaikai Inc. can do the same for gaming. Gaikai is building the cloud for gaming–an interactive network, capable of delivering console-quality, real-time experiences to browsers on virtually any device.
Also in today’s VentureWire: Craton Equity Partners is raising a $400 million growth-equity fund to invest in clean-technology companies, as it has fully allocated its initial vehicle, VentureWire has learned…ZestCash Inc. has raised $19 million in new funding to use data analysis techniques harvested from Google Inc. to compete with payday lenders…and Zlango Inc., a Tel Aviv-based company that inserts icons in text messages to create what it calls “emotion-rich communication,” has launched its service on Android phones in the U.S. with $9 million raised last year from Accel Partners, Benchmark Capital and DAG Ventures.
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Elsewhere around the Web:
Two siblings who started myYearbook.com while still in high school, along with their big brother who bankrolled them, joined the ranks of entrepreneurs cashing in on the latest Internet boom as they sold their company for $100 million.
Zillow’s ride up Wednesday in the public markets could encourage more small tech companies to take the IPO plunge. “Clearly there is a market appetite for consumer companies in big spaces like real estate that are fast growing,” Greg Gottesman, a managing director at Madrona Venture Group, a venture capital firm in Seattle, told The Wall Street Journal. “There is a window open for the companies now. The risk, of course, is that just as fast as it opened, it can close.”
Listen to your customers. That might seem obvious advice, but start-ups need to keep it clearly in mind and respond appropriately, says retired entrepreneur, blogger and teacher Steve Blank in an interview with OpenView Labs.
More company management advice comes from Ben Horowitz of venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, who details three instances where managers got what they asked for but not what they wanted.