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Capital Gains: $72 million for the 'Rolls-Royce' of smartphones, Mitt Romney the VC and more

The ex-governor teamed up with Peter Thiel.

Todd Bernard

The Romney family investing firm teamed up with Peter Thiel on a deal this past week, and an Israeli smartphone maker that wants to make a $10,000-$15,000 “Rolls-Royce”-level smartphone raised a $72 million Series A. Here are the funding headlines you should know about:

  • Mitt Romney’s Solarmere Capital co-led a $100 million funding round with Peter Thiel for the Utah startup Vivint, which helps customers install smart home products like smoke alarms or anti-burglary systems (Vanity Fair).
  • British-Israeli startup Sirin Labs is launching a smartphone this month that will cost between $10,000 and $20,000. It’s not feature-heavy, but it will be made with “almost military-grade security” capabilities. This past week, the company announced that it had raised a $72 million Series A from Israeli investor Singulariteam, Kazakh billionaire Kenges Rakishev and the Chinese social network Renren (Reuters).
  • Trov, a startup that lets customers buy insurance for specific items, raised a $25.5 million Series C round led by Oak HC/FT, with additional cash from Suncorp Group, Guidewire and Anthemis Group (TechCrunch).
  • Flying camera maker Zero Zero Robotics came out of stealth this past week, announcing that the company had secured $25 million in funding over the past two years, with a $23 million Series A. Investors include GSR Ventures, ZhenFund, IDG and Zuig.
  • Helium, a startup that makes sensors for Internet-connected devices, raised $20 million in a round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) with participation from FirstMark Capital and Khosla Ventures (Forbes).
  • Time Warner led a $10 million funding round for livestreaming service Kamcord, which lets users stream what they see on their phones, setting the startup’s value at more than $100 million. Tencent, TransLink Capital, XG Ventures, Plug & Play Ventures and Wargaming also participated in the investment.
  • Ionic, a startup that makes popular open-source tools for mobile app developers, raised $8.5 million in a funding round led by General Catalyst (VentureBeat).
  • Flower bouquet delivery service UrbanStems raised a $6.8 million Series A funding round led by SWaN and Legend Venture Partners (New York Business Journal).
  • Verizon Ventures and CME Ventures were part of a group of investors that put $6 million of Series B funding into Austin-based SparkCognition, a startup that uses machine learning technology to predict when a company could get hacked (Xconomy).
  • Poncho, a weather information service that’s focused on using artificially intelligent chatbots (like this one on Facebook) raised a $2 million seed round from a group of investors that includes Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Comcast Ventures, Venture51 Capital Partners, RRE Ventures and Betaworks (New York Business Journal).

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