The Wall Street Journal | November 20, 2013

The Daily Startup: Moderna to Advance Messenger RNA Therapies Privately, Despite IPO Market

Top stories in today’s VentureWire:

dailystartup_D_20090806101628.jpgArt by Mike Lucas

At a time when many biotechnology companies are rushing to go public, Moderna Therapeutics Inc. has raised $110 million to advance its technology for producing messenger RNA therapies as a private company. The new funding, from existing backers and undisclosed new investors, including a public-market crossover investor, gives Moderna at least four years of cash to develop new types of medicines called messenger-RNA therapeutics, which produce human proteins or antibodies inside patient cells.

Apprenda Inc. raised $16 million–doubling its total funding–in a Series C round led by Safeguard ScientificsSFE -1.65%, for a software platform that makes it easier for large companies to develop and deploy cloud applications. Apprenda, which started in 2007, built what amounts to an operating system for a data center, pooling IT resources into a single environment–a private cloud–that would let developers get apps up and running in 90 seconds instead of 90 days.

Also in today’s VentureWire, MapR Technologies Inc., one of three venture-backed companies commercializing the open source Big Data system Hadoop, named a chief financial officer, Dan Atler, as it prepares for a possible initial public offering…Apartment List Inc. believes finding a place to live should be a scam-proof and efficient experience for renters, and it just raised $15 million from Matrix Partners to make renting easier and safer for tenants and landlords alike…Guided by a 40-person advisory board, more than half of whom are limited partners, women-led venture firm Illuminate Ventures has closed its first fund at $20 million to bankroll early stage enterprise cloud and mobile startups.

(VentureWire is a daily newsletter with comprehensive analysis of all the investments, deals and personnel moves involving startups and their venture backers. For a two-week trial, visit our homepage, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)

Elsewhere around the Web:

Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s Tim Draper is stepping aside as an investment partner as the firm prepares to raise a new fund, Fortune reported. The Silicon Valley firm subsequently confirmed the news. Mr. Draper, a tireless promoter of DFJ and the venture industry, will remain involved with the firm but will devote more time to his own early-stage investments and to building Draper University of Heroes, an entrepreneur-focused boarding school.

Venture capitalists often talk about investment opportunities that the “Internet of Things” will create by linking electronic devices and appliances in homes and businesses. Now Qualcomm is introducing a new chip line to make the Web smarter, Wall Street Journal blog Digits says.