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Valley VCs are on fire: Lots of deals, including bloated Force10, PlayPhone & Groxis...

Folks, here's a quick summary of the numerous deals going down. We've been posting slower than usual lately; we're doing maintenance. Back to full speed shortly....

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Force10 Networks, the San Jose provider of latest-generation network and switching gear, has raised $50 million. Remember, this is the company that is pitching carriers on its 10-gigabit ethernet gear, and signaled beginning last year that it was thinking of going public this year. Light Reading now says the company is valued at $455 million after this investment. Force10 has raised at least $328 million in total VC funding, and perhaps more. The details are sketchy, but it is another one of these dollar-monster start-ups backed by New Enterprise Associates (we will provide more perspective on this theme shortly).

Groxis, the SF developer of a funky visual search technology that presents results in sphere-like categories, has raised $4 million more. We've mentioned this company several times, but haven't heard much from it -- perhaps because it is focused on sales to companies, as opposed to consumers (though it did break down its subcription wall for a limited free version). This is its second round of funding. Return backer Draper Fisher Jurvetson led the deal, and was joined by Jackson Boulevard Capital Management.

PlayPhone, a San Jose start-up that sells mobile games and other content from its Web site, has raised a $9.1 million. This is its second round, led by Menlo Ventures. Existing backer Cardinal Venture Capital participated. It sells its products through other companies, too, including Sega, Sony and EA.

Picaboo, the Palo Alto, the online site that let makes you make albums from your photos, has raised $1.95 million in a second round of funding. We mentioned the round a few days ago, but PE Week provides the exact amount, citing a regulatory filing. Backers include CampVentures and Odyssey Capital.

TrueDemand Software, a provider of analytical software for information generated by radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, has raised around $8 million. This is the Los Gatos company's second round of funding. The deal news was supposed to be embargoed (the company had tipped us), but PE Week cited a regulatory filing, and so now it is out in the open. CMEA Ventures was joined by return backers Bay Partners and Mayfield Fund.

Jumpstart Automotive Media, a SF-based automotive advertising network, has raised $10 million in first-round funding from Alta Communications, again cited by PE Week.

Ario Data Networks, a San Jose provider of bladed storage solution and RAID controllers, has gotten $4.3 million of a targeted $5.9 million first round of funding, according to a regulatory filing cited by PE Week. Shareholders include Clearstone Venture Partners, Evercore Partners, Mellon Ventures and Partech International. Ario Data previously raised more than $27 million in VC funding.


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Comments

What is the source of these regulatory filings that PE Week is always citing? I find notices in EDGAR at sec.gov, but it indicates that they are only available on paper at the SEC's office. Is it because PE Week is a Thomson publication that they have access to these electronically?

Humphrey Bogus on August 29, 2006 3:42 PM
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That's right. Thomson are the only folks who have someone sitting in the SEC office and reading them off as they come in. Have noticed VentureWire citing these filings too recently, but they're relying, I think, on the online Thomson database which, interestingly, only posts the filings a few days later. Lesson? Come talk with us at SiliconBeat about your company right away, not *after* you file at the SEC! ;)

Matt Marshall on August 29, 2006 3:52 PM
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Thanks. It's official: http://www.sec.gov/info/edgar/ofis.shtml. Only Thomson has electronic images of the paper filings. In a macro sense, shouldn't those be just as available to the public as the electronic filings in EDGAR?

Humphrey Bogus on August 29, 2006 4:20 PM
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So, what is the story on Bay Partners (referred in the True Demand Software)? I keep hearing of their impending demise on the street but they keep doing deals. Are they making any new investments, or are these just follow-on investments in their older funds? Just curious.

Curious in VCland on August 29, 2006 7:31 PM
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Bay is still investing in new companies. I know, because I've heard of a fresh deal they're about to unveil. Unfortunately, conditions of access were such that i can't mention it -- just yet, at least.

Matt Marshall on August 29, 2006 10:09 PM
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