Funding Roundup: Former E*Trade CEO Raises $13M for Next-Gen Investing Platform

By FOXBusiness

Online investing platform Kapitall secured $13 million, language-learning app Duolingo raised $20 million. Here’s a look at some of the startups that announced new rounds of funding this week.

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No. 1: Duolingo

The free language-learning app raised a $20 million Series C round led by Kleiner Perkins, bringing total funding to $38 million.

Spokesperson Gina Gotthilf says the Pittsburgh-based startup plans to use the funding to expand language offerings. Currently, Duolingo offers courses in six core languages.

Duolingo will also be launching language certification programs, which will be one source of revenue for the 34-person-company. The $20 certification test will be proctored, and will serve as a cheaper alternative to the TOEFL test.

No. 2: ShareDesk

Co-working startup ShareDesk just scored $1.1 million in funding from VC Tim Draper.

CEO Kia Rahmani says ShareDesk allows mobile professionals to tap into a network of open desks, meeting spaces and conference rooms on an as-needed basis. There are currently 1,850 clients in 400 cities.

Rahmani says the company, based out of Vancouver, plans to open offices in either North America or Europe this year.

No. 3: Kapitall

Digital investing platform Kapitall raised $13 million, bringing total funding to $25 million. The latest round of financing was led by Linden Venture Fund.

Kapitall’s goal is to make investing more fun, says CEO Jarrett Lilien, the former CEO of E*Trade. While users can invest real money, there’s also the opportunity to invest “virtual� funds and engage in portfolio competitions.

Lilien says the new funding will be used to ramp up marketing efforts to attract new customers. Currently, there are 175,000 investors on the platform. Lilien says the majority have signed up simply due to viral word-of-mouth.

No. 4: Cylance

Cyber-security startup Cylance raised $20 million led by Khosla Ventures and Blackstone.

CMO Greg Fitzgerald says Cylance differs from competitors because it focuses on preventing hack attacks using mathematical machine learning, rather than just responding to breaches.

The 65-person-company will grow over the next year, says Fitzgerald. He says efforts will be focused on sales and market penetration.

Fitzgerald says Cylance has found a foothold in the enterprise market.

“I can’t give you brand names, but we have the third-largest financial institution in the word, major health care companies and large manufacturing as well as oil and gas entities,� says Fitzgerald.

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