large Bay house Funding Week: Banjo, AltSchool, Twilio, Robinhood

Damien Patton

giant chunks of exchange have been falling into the hands of Bay area corporations this week, with three of them netting $ a hundred million capital infusions and others in the multi-million dollar range.

possibly the most surprising of the three top fundraisers was once a fledgling fundamental faculty chain, AltSchool. but the San Francisco-based training firm is no abnormal edtech startup. It was once founded in 2013 by entrepreneur and Google veteran Max Ventilla, and supported via headliners within the Silicon Valley investment neighborhood. Its new $ one hundred million round used to be led via present buyers Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, and Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s donor-suggested fund at Silicon Valley community groundwork. New backers embrace John Doerr and the Omidyar network.

AltSchool bargains personalised learning plans, tech-greater classroom actions, and a
know-how-based totally network that handles communications and logistics for academics, college students, and their folks. the corporate now operates eight okay-8 faculties in San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Brooklyn, the big apple. It plans to make bigger its edition nationwide.

additionally leading information early within the week was once San Francisco-primarily based Twilio, which completed a $ a hundred million collection E financing round under phrases that double the company’s valuation to $ 1 billion, VentureBeat pronounced. Twilio deals an interface that allows web developers to construct telephone-like products and services equivalent to voice and textual content messages into their apps.

Social media geotracker Banjo used to be the 1/3 company this week to land $ 100 million, in a series C financing round led via Softbank and joined with the aid of BlueRun Ventures. In a weblog put up saying the large score, founder and CEO Damien Patton says of his firm’s mission, “we are building a crystal ball.”

Banjo, founded in 2011, captures public posts created from cellular gadgets to social media sites, and organizes them, now not via topic, but via the geographic region where they have been sent. A user can obtain Banjo’s app or go to the web site to see, as an instance, the photographs, texts and movies pouring from Oklahoma metropolis this week as a massive storm flooded the realm and ripped via properties.

In his blog submit, Patton (pictured above) says both individuals and companies can profit from this information circulate. “the results are profound: quicker emergency response, safer driving conditions, smarter advertising and marketing choices, extra efficient use of energy and far more,” he stated. consumers can download Banjo’s app totally free. however for an annual subscription charge, the corporate deals a curated feed of information to businesses reminiscent of advertising corporations, news shops, and financial firms.

Banjo’s new cash brings its fundraising whole to $ 121 million. the company is already posting a slew of Bay space job openings. Banjo’s headquarters is in Las Vegas, where Patton lives, but the engineering headquarters is in Redwood city. Banjo now has 60 workers, and plans to double its staff count in 2015.

As we reported this week, Palo Alto-based project firm Accel companions used to be the sole investor in a $ 75 million spherical for Shenzhen, China-primarily based drone manufacturer DJI. the two firms plan to collaborate on a worldwide expansion for DJI, probably the most prime makers of business drones.

In an peculiar week, the $ 50 million reaped with the aid of Palo Alto, CA-based totally stock buying and selling site Robinhood can be a standout adventure. the company, which launched its app in December, prices no commissions on trades. It makes money by means of charging passion to consumers who purchase shares thru margin bills, and likewise receives the interest from money balances its consumer have now not but invested.

New endeavor associates led the financing spherical, joined via current buyers Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital and Social Leverage, and new investor Vaizra Investments. Robinhood says it plans to open its provider in Australia, its first international expansion.