Leena Rao

Latest from Leena Rao

  • Zuora’s Journey To Managing The Subscription Economy

    Zuora’s Journey To Managing The Subscription Economy

    The idea for subscription billing startup Zuora was born in Marc Benioff’s office. In 2006, K.V. Rao, then a WebEx senior engineer, was meeting with Benioff and Salesforce CMO Tien Tzuo. Tzuo made a comment that subscription billing was a hard problem for Salesforce, and Rao agreed that WebEx also felt the same challenge. He left the meeting with the feeling that this problem was… Read More

  • Accompani Wants To Be The Relationship Manager To Rule Them All

    Accompani Wants To Be The Relationship Manager To Rule Them All

    Many of us suffer the same problem–as our professional networks grow, we can’t keep track of each person’s details, including jobs, personal interests, kids, news and more. Amy Chang, the former global of head of product for Google Analytics and measurement, has spent a lot of time thinking about this problem. And she, and her former colleague at Google, Matthias Ruhl… Read More

  • Sand Hill Road’s Consiglieres: August Capital

    Sand Hill Road’s Consiglieres: August Capital

    There are VCs, and then there are classic VCs. It was 1980, and 30 year old Dave Marquardt was a young, hot shot VC at Technology Venture Investors looking for his next deal. He heard through the grapevine that another young hotshot, “Billy Gates,” was having success with a startup called Microsoft, and he called one of Gates’ employees Steve Ballmer, who was his former… Read More

  • With Moments, Tinder, Too, Decides Photos Shouldn’t Always Last Forever

    With Moments, Tinder, Too, Decides Photos Shouldn’t Always Last Forever

    While Tinder has made quite a few romantic matches, the hot new dating app has long had ambitions of connecting people beyond love and attraction. Tinder wants to be the place you go to make any connection, whether that be friendship or romance. Today, the app is launching “Moments,” an ephemeral photos feature that CEO Sean Rad says will be a big step towards helping people get… Read More

  • So Long TC, And Hello GV

    So Long TC, And Hello GV

    I thought hard about this post, but time didn’t make it any easier to write. After five-and-a-half years at TechCrunch, I’ll be joining Google Ventures as an operating partner. I am ready for a new challenge. When people ask me about what I love most about my job, I have the same response: “I am so lucky to be able to tell the stories of founders.” It’s this… Read More

  • WeddingChannel Co-Founder Jenny Lefcourt Joins Freestyle

    WeddingChannel Co-Founder Jenny Lefcourt Joins Freestyle

    It was 1998, and Stanford Business School student Jenny Lefcourt and her fellow female co-founder wanted to raise money for an e-commerce-meets-retail idea they had around weddings. They were thrilled when they convinced a well-known VC at a Sand Hill firm to hear their idea. Before meeting, Lefcourt and her co-founder worked tirelessly on their pitch, hoping to win this VC over and leave the… Read More

  • South African E-Commerce Giant Takealot Raises $100M From Tiger Global

    South African E-Commerce Giant Takealot Raises $100M From Tiger Global

    Takealot, a South African e-commerce site, has raised a whopping $100 million from Tiger Global Management. The company is still relatively young, launching in 2011, post the acquisition of an existing e-commerce business called Take2 by Tiger Global Management and CEO Kim Reid. The site has attempted to capture the e-commerce power that Amazon has harnessed, and offers DVD’s, Games… Read More

  • Brit + Co. Doubles Down On E-Commerce, Launches Etsy-Like Marketplace For Makers

    Brit + Co. Doubles Down On E-Commerce, Launches Etsy-Like Marketplace For Makers

    There’s no shortage of e-commerce companies betting on content as a way to engage with consumers and increase transactions. And we’re also starting to see content companies turn on e-commerce as well. Brit + Co., Brit Morin’s online community and content platform focused on the DIY and maker movement, has dabbled in e-commerce through subscription craft kits and an… Read More

  • Indian E-Commerce Site Snapdeal Raises Another $100M From BlackRock And Others

    Indian E-Commerce Site Snapdeal Raises Another $100M From BlackRock And Others

    Snapdeal, one of the larger online e-commerce companies in India, has raised $100 million from Temasek, BlackRock, Myriad, Premji Invest and Tybourne. This follows a $133 million round of funding from marketplace giant eBay, Bessemer Venture Partners and others that was just announced three months ago. This brings Snapdeal’s total funding to over $400 million. The e-commerce market in… Read More

  • IBM Watson Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup Cognea

    IBM Watson Acquires Artificial Intelligence Startup Cognea

    IBM’s Watson group has announced a new acquisition today — artificial intelligence company Cognea. IBM confirmed the acquisition via a blog post. Cognea developed a cognitive computing and conversational artificial intelligence platform. The startup offers virtual assistants that relate to people through personalities. On the company’s AngelList page, it says it counts NASA… Read More

  • For Aspiring Female Engineers, A Square Meal Of Code

    For Aspiring Female Engineers, A Square Meal Of Code

    “I thought I had to be a guy to be an engineer,” she told me as she was siting in the Square offices nearby her home in the Tenderloin, only days away from taking the AP Computer Science test. But Nguyen still held some small hope for being part of this world — she would read publications online that gave her an inside view into technology. She was reading TechCrunch last… Read More

  • Kayak Co-Founder Raises $20M For Design-Focused Incubator, Blade

    Kayak Co-Founder Raises $20M For Design-Focused Incubator, Blade

    Kayak co-founder Paul English is revealing more details about his Boston-based startup incubator, Blade. The new company has raised $20 million in new funding from Accel and General Catalyst (both firms backed Kayak back in the day). Read More

  • Stealthy Timeful Raises $7M From Khosla To Help You Manage Your Time

    Stealthy Timeful Raises $7M From Khosla To Help You Manage Your Time

    A few months ago, we reported on the pending launch of Timeful, a new startup that wants to be an intelligent time manager. Although still in stealth, the company is revealing a Series A round of funding ($6.8 million) led by Khosla Ventures, with participation by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Greylock, Data Collective, Pitango, Ashton Kutcher’s A-Grade Investments, among… Read More

  • Backed By Google Ventures And Eric Schmidt, Urban Engines Wants To Solve Urban Congestion Using Data Intelligence

    Backed By Google Ventures And Eric Schmidt, Urban Engines Wants To Solve Urban Congestion Using Data Intelligence

    It’s no secret that as our population grows, buses, trains and other transportation infrastructure in cities are becoming more congested. Public transportation departments use qualitative date from surveys, and video cameras to understand congestion, but Urban Engines believes that this can be done in a more efficient, quantitative way using intelligent algorithms and big data analysis. Read More

  • OpenDNS Raises $35M From Cisco For Its Cloud-Based Enterprise Network Security As A Service

    OpenDNS Raises $35M From Cisco For Its Cloud-Based Enterprise Network Security As A Service

    Cloud-based enterprise network security company OpenDNS has raised $35 million in Series C funding from Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, Glynn Capital, Cisco, Evolution Equity, Lumia Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Northgate Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to $53 million. Read More

  • Early Alibaba Backer GGV Raises $620M For Fifth Fund

    Early Alibaba Backer GGV Raises $620M For Fifth Fund

    GGV , the backers of US and Chinese tech companies like Alibaba, Pandora, Qunar, Zendesk and Tudou, has raised $620 million for its fifth venture capital fund. GGV Capital V is just $5 million shy of the firm’s last fund, raised in 2012, and brings the firms total capital under management to more than $2.2 billion. Read More

  • Darby Smart Raises $6.3M For DIY Craft Marketplace

    Darby Smart Raises $6.3M For DIY Craft Marketplace

    Darby Smart, a do-it-yourself crafting startup, has raised $6.3 million in Series A funding led by Maveron, with participation from Forerunner Ventures, CAA Ventures and existing investors. Read More

  • Square M&A Lead Rishi Garg Joins Twitter To Head Corp Dev

    Square M&A Lead Rishi Garg Joins Twitter To Head Corp Dev

    Twitter is bringing on a new head of corporate development–Rishi Garg. Garg joined the company from Square, where he headed corporate development for the payments company. Read More

  • Google Ventures Rich Miner | Ask A VC

    Ask A VC: Google Ventures’ Rich Miner On Android Growth And More

    In this week’s episode of Ask A VC, Google Ventures’ Rich Miner joined us in the studio to talk about Android’s massive growth, and more. Miner, who was the co-founder of Android and helped lead the development of the Android platform and ecosystem at Google following the acquisition, talked about his view on “alternative” Android outgrowths, app discovery, and… Read More

  • Jawbone’s Newest Investor Is Rizvi Traverse

    Jawbone’s Newest Investor Is Rizvi Traverse

    Back in February, Re/code reported that Jawbone was nearly finished raising a $250 million round of funding led by Rizvi Traverse Management, the investment firm that has backed Twitter, Square, Flipboard and a number of others of late. Read More