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The Daily Start-Up: Sequoia Makes “Big Data” Move With Mu Sigma

Top stories in today’s VentureWire:

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

When dealing with “Big Data,” you need big numbers. Mu Sigma, a provider of data analytics services to more than 50 Fortune 500 companies, has raised a $25 million Series C-2 round from Sequoia Capital, VentureWire has learned. Mu Sigma employs more than 1,200 analysts, many of them based in India, that help corporate teams learn to use data to make decisions on everything from prices to supply chain analytics to marketing. Sequoia Capital India Managing Director Shailendra Singh said Sequoia has been watching Mu Sigma for four years.

Sofinnova Ventures has begun marketing its next fund, but this time around the firm plans to focus the fund’s investments exclusively on life science deals, according to people familiar with the firm. Sofinnova, which is targeting $325 million for the new fund, opted to divide its IT and life science strategies into two separate funds partly in response to demand from limited partners.

Also, with many small biotechnology concerns struggling to raise cash, venture capital firms see growing opportunity to buy these companies’ drugs cheaply and resell them at a profit, VentureWire reports…Summit Partners is increasing the size of its venture capital offering to $500 million from $450 million…and Peterson Partners has closed on $50 million for its sixth fund and may raise another $10 million over the next six months, VentureWire has learned.

(VentureWire is a daily newsletter with comprehensive analysis of all the investments, deals and personnel moves involving start-ups and their venture backers. For a two-week trial, click here.)

Elsewhere around the Web:

Clouds are rolling over sunny California this week. Two technology conferences this week will focus on bringing the cloud to consumer computers. Apple’s Steve Jobs will announce today at the company’s annual developers gathering in San Francisco (1 p.m. ET) a new streaming-music service called iCloud that could eliminate the need to store songs on their gadgets. And at the videogame industry’s E3 conference in Los Angeles (starting Tuesday), console makers Sony Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Nintendo Co. are expected to discuss plans around cloud-connected entertainment devices.

From Apple to the Big Apple: As New York’s venture capital scene blossoms, one of its major universities is taking part in the boom. New York University’s alumni magazine profiles the college’s new $20 million fund, which is headed by Frank Rimalovski, formerly of New Venture Partners. See page 11 of this PDF. “Entrepreneurship is really an industry that is newer to New York, and ties are not as deep and entrenched as they are at an MIT or Stanford,” Rimalovski said. “I’m trying to create some of that connective tissue.”

Female founders are an advantage to Dave McClure, who runs seed investment firm 500 Startups. McClure, whose mother was an entrepreneur, said women make up 20-25% of the founders in his firm’s portfolio. “My intent is to corner the market on awesome smart women founders because there are plenty of them out and if there is any bias whatsoever, we’d like to selfishly take advantage of that,” McClure said in an interview with Women 2.0.

Have you experienced the joy of mile-high WiFi? It’s still in its early days though WiFi gear from venture-backed Aircell is now on nearly 1,100 planes. Ars Technica takes a deep look at in-flight Internet access and where it’s all headed. If you’re not convinced, then check out comedian Louis C.K.’s hilarious riff from 2008 about his experience with WiFi on a flight that puts it in perspective.

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About Venture Capital Dispatch

  • Produced by the editors of Dow Jones VentureWire, Venture Capital Dispatch tracks the fast-moving developments at the intersection of high-tech innovation and venture capital finance. Featuring lead editor Scott Austin and the VentureWire reporting team in the Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Shanghai tech centers, Venture Capital Dispatch provides insight into the newest start-ups and latest trends in venture capital investing. Write us at VCdispatch@dowjones.com. For more information on Dow Jones products covering venture capital and other financial markets, go to http://www.fis.dowjones.com/.

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