These Are The 15 Best Accelerators In The U.S.

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Business accelerators like Y Combinator and TechStars have come to occupy a critical geography in the tech landscape, and today two professors are announcing the results of their survey to determine which ones have come out on top at South By Southwest.

“The goal of the seed accelerator rankings project is to start a larger conversation about the accelerator phenomenon, its effects and its prospects for the future,” according to a presentation by Professor Yael Hochberg, a faculty member at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Hochberg and her colleague, Professor Susan Cohen of the University of Richmond and the Batten Institute at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, used original research and data from CrunchBase to determine the best 15 accelerators in the U.S. Those accelerators were then grouped into Gold, Silver and Bronze categories to reflect how they performed in a series of categories. Here are the best:

1.      Y Combinator (Gold)

2.      TechStars (Gold)

3.      AngelPad (Gold)

4.      Launchpad LA (Silver)

5.      MuckerLab (Silver)

6.      AlphaLab (Silver)

7.      Capital Innovators (Silver)

8.      Tech Wildcatters (Silver)

9.      Surge Accelerator (Silver)

10.   The Brandery (Silver)

11.   Betaspring (Bronze)

12.   BoomStartup (Bronze)

13.   Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (Bronze)

14.   JumpStart Foundry (Bronze)

15.   DreamIt Ventures (Bronze)

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Travel Tech Investors Are Ready For Takeoff

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Christine Magee.

Despite the popularity of travel booking sites like Kayak, TripAdvisor, and Expedia, venture capital firms are still investing in companies selling consumers a better way to travel.

In the past few years, investors have poured millions into travel and accommodation companies around the globe like Airbnb and Room 77, Wimdu (Berlin), Tuniu and 17u.cn (Beijing and Suzhou, China), Ostrovok (Moscow), HouseTrip (London), and most recently Hotel Urbano (Rio de Janeiro). The travel tech industry has become increasingly geared toward convenience and accessibility. Travelers want the ability to book lodging, transportation, and experiences- simply and immediately- all from their mobile devices.

“Mobile is changing the landscape a lot. More broadly consumers are wanting and expecting to be able to use their mobile phones as a remote control for their life… and travel is part of that,” said Ben Holmes at Index Ventures.

Investments in this new dimension of travel startups have increased as companies like HotelTonight and GetYourGuide expand the options for on-demand traveling. Continue reading

Tiger Global Checks In To Brazil’s Hotel Urbano With $50M Round

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

The Brazilian online travel agency Hotel Urbano has gotten a 120 million Reais ($50 million) reservation from the powerhouse hedge fund investor Tiger Global Management and previous backer Insight Venture Partners.
With both the World Cup and the Olympics right around the corner, the Brazilian travel industry is exploding as the country frantically tries to increase its stock of accommodations for the expected tourist boom.

“Today we have 450,000 hotel rooms in Brazil, and this number will almost double,” said Hotel Urbano co-founder Joao Ricardo Mendes.

Some of the cash from the round led by Tiger Global will go to support a push the company is making to conduct direct negotiations with hotels across the country. Unlike the U.S. market, which is dominated by a few national brands, 85% of the 14,000 hotels currently operating in Brazil are individually owned, Mendes said. Continue reading

On The Road To An IPO, Wayfair Picks Up $157M

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

On the way to an initial public offering later this year, the home furnishing online retail juggernaut Wayfair has picked up $157 million in a new round of funding.

The online retailer is mum about who’s doing what with whom as far the plans for a public offering are concerned, but The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Allen & Co. and Bank of America are on the book.

Cash for the latest round came primarily from funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price, the financial services institution that’s been throwing money at venture-backed tech companies like it was a sailor on shore leave. (Surprisingly, it looks like T. Rowe’s good buddy on big deals, Tiger Global Management, sat this dance out.) Continue reading

New York VC Investments Top $1B In The First Quarter

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

For New York City’s startup community, the future venture capitalists have hoped for may be taking place right now.

Over the past two days New York startups have announced nearly $200 million in funding, so the question may not be “When will New York be a venture hub in its own right?” but instead “How soon is now?”

The city is already on pace for the best first quarter in its history – with 98 companies raising nearly $1.3 billion to date and its second best quarter by capital committed since 2009, according to our data. In the last quarter of 2013 New York’s new companies raised over $1.6 billion.

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Startup Calendar for March 4th

Ten events are featured in this week’s Startup Calendar:

And one accelerator program is currently accepting applications:

Read the weekly newsletter for more… To take part in this program as an organization that hosts startup events, visit the Startup Calendar page for guidelines and send us an email at events@crunchbase.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

The New Age Of The Security Startup

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Last month Apple disclosed and fixed a massive bug in its operating system that left users’ information exposed to theft; faith in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin is eroding; and revenues at the retailing giant Target fell 46% on a quarterly basis over the Christmas season last year, all because of security breaches.

There is no doubt that the profusion of technology designed to make personal and professional lives easier has left people around the world personally and professionally more exposed to potential threats like identity theft, unwanted surveillance, and corporate espionage.

To combat these growing threats the entrepreneurs and investors that helped to seed this technology revolution are going back to the well to finance a new generation of security startup.

Since 2009 investors have spent at least $2.9 billion on security technologies, according to data from CrunchBase. And so far this year investors have spent at least $150 million in 26 new investments in security technology companies.

Investors are also valuing these companies more highly now. In the first quarter of 2013 investors made 44 investments with roughly the same amount of capital, the CrunchBase data shows.

The need for new security technology is also driving up company valuations at the earliest stages of their development, the CrunchBase data shows. In the first quarter of 2013 16 seed stage companies raised $4.9 million. For 2014, less than half the number of companies raised roughly the same amount.

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The Wearables Market Is Wear It’s At

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

Basis Science may not have two turnables and a microphone, but the company may have a deep-pocketed new owner in Intel (should the deal go through).

On the heels of its market merry-go-round and possible sale we thought it might be nice to take a quick look at some of the big winners, losers and in-betweeners in wearables.

So far this year GoPro, which has a fancy portable (some would say wearable) camera, has filed for a super-secret public offering; FitBit is going bling with Tory Burch; Jawbone is raking in the dough on its way to a public offering; and even humble Hardware Battlefield winners can get money for wearable technology.

Even Hong Kong billionaires are backing new wearable technology companies. Basically everyone wants to know WTF their wearable strategy is? Continue reading

RainDance Technologies Closes On $16.5M More For Liquid Biopsy Tech

Editor’s note: This is a repost of a TechCrunch article written by Jon Shieber.

The life sciences technology development company RainDance Technologies has raised $16.5 million from new investors GE Ventures and Northgate Capital as it looks to make its liquid biopsy technology available commercially.

To date, RainDance has raised well over $100 million in equity and debt to back its vision and develop its technology, which is currently being used as a research tool for studying various cancers, viruses, and inherited diseases.

For RainDance chief executive Roopom Banerjee, the close of the company’s $36.5 million Series E round, is just the latest step on what has been RainDance’s decade-long path to bring its cancer and virus detection technology to the public. Continue reading

Startup Calendar for February 25th

Eight events are featured in this week’s Startup Calendar:

And four accelerator programs are currently accepting applications:

Read the weekly newsletter for more… To take part in this program as an organization that hosts startup events, visit the Startup Calendar page for guidelines and send us an email at events@crunchbase.com. We look forward to hearing from you!