Box.net Nabs $48M, BookRenter Books $40M, Transphorm Absorbs $20M, & More Bay Area BizTech News
Even though last week was a short one thanks to the Presidents’ Day holiday, there was a storm of tech news in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a few major funding announcements taking top billing. Alas, hopes for a different kind of storm didn’t pan out—snow reached only the uppermost elevations in San Francisco Friday night.
—Box.net, developer of a cloud-based business document sharing system, collected a huge $48 million Series D round from Meritech Capital Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Emergence Capital Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Scale Venture Partners, US Venture Partners, and Hercules Technology Growth Capital. CEO Aaron Levie told me the company will use much of the money to expand its data centers.
—Google Ventures was the lead investor in a $20 million round for Transphorm, a Goleta, CA, company that emerged from three and a half years in stealth. Transphorm has developed gallium nitride-based power converstion technology for reducing energy losses in data centers, building systems, solar installations, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
—BookRenter, a Chegg competitor in the college textbook rental market, collected $40 million in Series C funding from a group of new and existing investors. CEO Mehda Maghsoodnia told me that on campuses where BookRenter has deals with campus bookstores, Chegg is losing market share to the San Mateo, CA, startup.
—Room 77, a Sunnyvale, CA-based hotel search startup, unveiled a website where consumers can preview individual hotel rooms in 500 hotels before making reservations, and even get a Google Earth-powered virtual look out the windows. The company won the best overall startup award at last week’s Launch conference in San Francisco.
—San Francisco-based TinyCo collected $18 million in Series A financing to scale up development of mobile games like its iPhone games Tiny Chef and Tap Resort Party. Andreessen Horowitz and individual investors Ron Conway and Keith Rabois participated in the deal.
—Aaron Greenspan, the founder of Think Computer Corporation and the author of a Facebook precursor, has a plan to kill credit cards with a mobile payment system called FaceCash. Freelancer Elise Craig had the story.
—A Boston-born startup called Traackr, which helps marketers identify the most influential social media users in any topic area, revealed that it’s moving to San Francisco and has simultaneously raised Series A funding.
—In advance of Xconomy’s Mobile Madness event in Cambridge, MA, on March 9, I published Part 2 of a column about seven big, unanswered questions in the mobile industry. I asked how bricks-and-mortar commerce will evolve in response to mobile technology, whether office IT will be fully “consumerized” through employee-owned mobile devices, whether geolocation is a business unto itself or just a feature, and what the wave of “post-mobile” computing and communications technology might look like.