All posts in “Khosla Ventures”

Genalyte hires Facebook and Google exec Kevin Lo as company president

Khosla-backed one drop blood test startup Genalyte has hired former Facebook exec Kevin Lo as president of the company.

Lo comes to Genalyte after leading “connectivity efforts” at Facebook “for the four billion people not online, and the 1.5B under-served who use the Internet at ‘2G’ speeds,” according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that, Lo worked for Google where he headed up Google Fiber.

So why jump into medicine after working on connecting the world? “We are at a critical juncture where technology and innovation are driving fundamental changes within our healthcare industry,” said Lo. “Genalyte is poised to lead a revolution in real time diagnostics—one that creates better treatment and patient outcomes.”

Genalyte leverages lab-on-a-chip technology it says can run through up to 128 different tests on a single finger prick of blood in under 15 minutes using what it calls its Maverick Detection Platform.

The San Diego-based startup’s proprietary silicon chip contains arrays of photonic microring sensors to detect diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and has so far raised nearly $92 million in venture funding.

The startup hopes to use this technology in an outpatient setting, pending FDA approval.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kevin to our leadership team at a moment of incredible momentum for the company,” Genalyte CEO Cary Gunn said in a statement. “Kevin’s unique expertise and experience working with some of the world’s most groundbreaking companies will help guide Genalyte as the company begins this next important chapter in diagnostic innovation.”

Confirmed: Color Genomics is in the final stages of an $80 million Series C financing round

Genetic health screening startup Color Genomics is in the final stages of allocations for an $80 million Series C financing round, TechCrunch has confirmed with the company.

Axios first spotted Color had raised $52 million so far in a recent SEC filing. The company has since told TechCrunch it will soon be closing on $80 million in financing led by General Catalyst, which led Color’s previous Series B round.

Other investors in this latest round include Laurene Powell Job’s Emerson Collective and CRV.

Color is similar to other genetics startups, like 23andMe and Ancestry, in that it provides information to you based on the DNA given in a spit tube test. It’s main focus has been in providing a series of genetic cancer screenings in an at-home kit.

The company recently launched a test for hereditary high cholesterol as an indication for possible heart disease and says it plans to release more genetic health screening kits in the future. Color tells us this new round of funding will help get it there.

“This new funding will enable Color to continue developing new tests for hereditary conditions where the science is clear and the results are actionable — and new services that help our clients proactively manage their own health,” co-founder and CEO Othman Laraki told TechCrunch.

Color had raised a total of $98.5 million before this round, bringing the total to $179 million in venture capital raised thus far.

Every member of Hampton Creek’s board has stepped down except for the CEO

Hampton Creek is in the news again — and not for the reasons it would like to be. Hampton Creek’s entire board of directors have left, except for CEO Josh Tetrick.

Five board members have left, many in the last month, after some serious disagreement with how Tetrick was running things, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the departures. They include Bon Appétit Management Co. co-founder and CEO Fedele Bauccio, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman, Khosla Ventures partner Samir Kaul and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Ventures representative Bart Swanson. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s wife Lynne stepped down from the board last year.

Though, Hampton Creek disputes the report, saying the departures were more of a transition to advisors and that Horizon and Benioff have “not been on the board for quite some time.”

Tetrick told TechCrunch the changes are part of a move to ensure “our employees maintain their ability to direct our mission,” saying it is, “as critical as the technologies we deploy and the products we launch. We will always protect this principle.”

We’ve reached out, but none of the outgoing directors have gotten back to us at this time, although Hampton Creek has furnished TechCrunch with a joint statement from the outgoing members of the board.

“We continue to fully support Hampton Creek and its CEO Josh in their exciting and important mission to change the food industry for the better of all people. We will advise Josh and the team on strategies across all areas of its business moving forward,” the statement reads.

Hampton Creek has been hit with numerous issues in the last few years. Most recently, Target announced it would be pulling all of the company’s products off its shelves due to safety and labeling concerns. Hampton Creek was also accused of orchestrating an undercover buyback scheme where employees bought back its products to boost sales numbers, prompting a federal inquiry. However, those accusations were proven false and the investigation has ended, according to Tetrick.

The CEO also fired several top executives in April, after fundraising struggles. Three other senior leaders left the company shortly after Tetrick says he discovered them trying to limit his power in the company.

Codota raises $2M from Khosla as autocomplete for developers

In recent years, GitHub has fundamentally changed developer workflows. By centralizing code on an easily accessible platform, the company was able to rapidly change the way people code. Following in these footsteps, Israeli startup Codota wants to further optimize workflows for the often neglected developer community — this time with machine intelligence. The company is announcing a $2 million seed round from Khosla Ventures for its autocomplete tool that helps engineers push better code in less time.

Codota interfaces with integrated development environments like Eclipse, expanding on intelligent code completion. Instead of just offering up brief suggestions of intended code, Codota can recommend larger chunks.

Co-founders Dror Weiss and Eran Yahav took advantage of open source code on the internet from GitHub and StackOverflow to build Codota. All of this public code was fed into machine learning models to enable them to recognize higher-level meaning across blocks of code.

The Codota team at its Tel Aviv headquarters

Programing languages share a lot of structural similarities with their distant spoken cousins. Words can be arranged in infinitely many ways to express a single thought or sentiment. Likewise, the same command can be represented in code in a number of ways. This is why it’s so critical that Codota understands the macro picture of what code is doing.

Of course natural language and code are not completely analogous. The team explained in an interview that in natural language processing, meaning is determined by looking at nearby words. Programs are more structured and meaning isn’t always strongly correlated with locality. So instead of just training on text, Codota also focused on the behaviors of a program.

Aside from improving speed and accuracy, Codota can help with discovery and education. Because Codota has been trained on millions of API implementations, it can help offer up best practices to developers. When open side-by-side with an IDE, the tool can highlight irregularities and demonstrate better ways to write code, lessons often pulled straight from the original creators of libraries.

The startup makes its money by allowing enterprises to keep their internal code private while benefitting from Codota’s insights. Right now the tool is limited to Java, but in the future additional languages will be added.

Featured Image: maciek905/Getty Images

Cover raises $1.6 million to make in-law units easy to add to any backyard

Whether you call them granny units, in-laws or backyard studios, accessory dwelling units are rising in popularity in the U.S., in part due to new regulations that make it easier to obtain permits to build them in California.

Now, a startup called Cover Technologies Inc. has raised $1.6 million in seed funding to give accessory dwelling units a high-tech makeover. General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures led the round.

According to Cover co-founder and CEO Alexis Rivas, the Gardena, Calif. startup is on a mission to make well-designed and energy-efficient housing affordable and accessible. “We’re the first to use software to make custom-designed housing possible, and scalable as a business,” Rivas said.

Cover’s software helps people determine what kind of livable shed they’re permitted to build on their properties, according to local regulations. It jogs them through a survey of 50 to 100 questions about the land they’re building on, and how they plan to use the new living space, then churns out design options.

The interior of a prefab backyard studio made by Cover Technologies

Other companies that offer “prefab” housing, for example Blu Homes, present users with a list of already designed layouts and let them figure out the rest. Most people still rely on contractors and architects for custom work to design and install an in-law or shed where they live.

General Catalyst Managing Director Niko Bonatsos said he expects Cover to use its funding for hiring, and to produce demo units and prefabricated backyard studios that are already spoken for by early customers.

Bonatsos said, “Most buildings on the planet have been custom designed and custom built. That’s a good idea if you are talking about building the Parthenon or Golden Gate Bridge. But everything else, from what we drink to our furniture, is now made in a factory. The prices come down and quality goes up with manufacturing. This space, housing, really requires this kind of innovation.”

General Catalyst, which is an investor in Airbnb, also sees the potential for Cover to help expand the supply of non-hotel lodgings in the highest-demand markets in the U.S., Bonatsos said.

Cover’s prefab homes and plans are only available for Los Angeles residents at this point. The company charges users $250 to generate designs and has not yet established pricing to make and install the completed “backyard studios.” The units are made from steel, bamboo and other ecologically sourced materials, Rivas said.

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