Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-10-07

Private Financing

  • ERN is a pioneering big data technology company, committed to enabling all parties of the payment eco-system to analyse transactional Big Data in order to turn data into insights and insights into action. ERN has raised a further $1m in seed funding, bringing the total raised by the London-headquartered company to $5.6m. ERN’s analytics platform, dubbed “Looop,” enables banks/card issuers and participating merchants to boost customer loyalty by creating new products and offers based on the analysis of their card transactions.
  • Lark, which launched a wearable silent alarm, has raised $3.1m of an intended $3.6m round of funding, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although Lark started out with a silent alarm, it expanded its product lineup to include a sleep coach product called Lark Pro and a more general device and app called Larklife. Lark previously raised $1m in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, CrunchFund and others.
  • A new startup in Los Angeles called IRIS.TV wants to give video publishers the tools to make streaming video more personalized and keep viewers hooked for longer. The company is coming to market with $1.7m in seed funding from angels in the media and finance worlds. The team has raised a total of $1.7m from angels in the media and finance worlds. That includes folks like Bob Jacobs, who was Bill Cosby’s long-time agent and is considered the “godfather of television syndication”; Nick Rau, co-founder of Vizu (which recently sold to Nielsen); former Viacom exec Jimmy Barge; and entertainment attorney Jor Law.
  • Loom, a cloud storage and syncing service in the form of a mobile application for iOS and desktop app for Mac, announced $1.4m in seed funding. The round included participation from Google Ventures (MG Siegler, disclosure: previously a TechCrunch employee and current contributor); Tencent, Great Oaks VC, Overbrook Entertainment (Will Smith), Damon Way (founder, DC Shoes), and a few other angel investors.
  • MongoDB, a database technology, has raised $150m from T. Rowe Price Associates with new investors Altimeter Capital and Existing investors Intel Capital, NEA, Red Hat and Sequoia Capital also participated in the round. MongoDB has raised $231m since the founders started the company in 2007. The new funding will be used to further support the core MongoDB project and to fund its new managed services offering, which includes a suite of tools and services to operate the database at scale
  • Mobile app search engine Quixey, which has built a search engine to tackle app discovery by allowing consumers to find apps by searching for the kind of functionality they’re looking for, has closed a $50m Series C funding round, led by Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group. Others participating in the round include new investor GGV Capital, and existing investors Innovation Endeavors, TransLink Capital and U.S. Venture Partners in the U.S., as well as Atlantic Bridge in London and Dublin and WI Harper in Beijing. The new funding round brings Quixey’s total raised to-date to $74.2m.
  • Tulip Retail, which develops an end to end technology platform for in-store and online sales for retailers, has raised $2.4m in funding led by SoftTech VC with Founder Collective, BoxGroup, Lerer Ventures, iNovia, Promus Ventures, KIMA Ventures, Matt Mullenweg, the founders of Bufferbox, and Greg Kidd participating.
  • Netskope, a company which performs deep usage analytics and enforces business and security policies in cloud apps, raised $21.4m in funding from Social+Capital Partnership and Lightspeed Venture Partners. That $21m has come in two tranches, both raised while Netskope was still in stealth mode. The first was a $5.5m seed round from Social + Capital; the second, a $15.9m round closed earlier this year from Lightspeed.
  • Influencer marketing company Pursway has raised $7.2m in Series B funding. The new funding comes from Battery Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners, who both previously invested.
  • Koality, a continuous integration platform that parallelizes your test suites, prevents broken builds, and works behind your firewall, has closed its seed round. The $1.8m round was led by FF Angel‘s Peter Thiel. Other angels and small funds participated as well.
  • Quantopian, a community where around 11,000 or so quants collaborate on algorithmic trading strategies, has raised $6.7m from Khosla Ventures and Spark Capital. The new round brings the company’s total funding to $8.8m. Quantopian says it is the world’s first browser-based algorithmic trading platform. Developers can build and test algorithmic trading strategies on the platform. Then, they can share their work and collaborate with others.
  • CardFlight was founded to enable any developer to create his or her own branded app and take in-person credit card payments from it. The company received $1.6m in funding that was led by ff Venture Capital, with additional participation from Payment Ventures, Apostolos Apostolakis, Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, Plug & Play Ventures, and Great Oaks Venture Capital. Along with the funding, ffVC founding partner John Frankel will join the company’s board.
  • Online attorney marketplace UpCounsel raised $1.5m in seed funding from investors that include Homebrew, Bobby Yazdani, SV Angel, Collaborative Fund, Haroon Mokhtarzada, and other angels. The funding comes as UpCounsel has seen growth not just in the number of attorneys on the platform, but also in companies using the service. Since launching 14 months ago, the marketplace has been used by more than 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Video interviewing platform HireVue raised a $25m Sequoia-led Series D round of funding to continue to fund its growth. Sequoia Capital’s Mickey Arabelovic is joining the company’s board as a result of this new round, which also saw participation from Kickstart Fund and the company’s previous investors (Granite Ventures, Investor Growth Capital, Peterson Ventures, Rose Park Advisors).
  • “Motion books” platform Madefire is announcing that it has raised $5.2m in Series A funding led by True Ventures (the firm also led Madefire’s $1.1m seed round), with participation from Anthem Venture Partners, Crosslink Ventures, Correlation Ventures, and various angels including former Apple SVP Sina Tammadon, former Macromedia chairman Bill Woodward, entrepreneur and investor Richard Seet, and Hollywood attorney Gary Stiffelman. Among other things, Wolstenholme said the investment means that Madefire is starting to build connections to the media world.
  • Listia, the marketplace for used and free goods, has closed a $9m Series A led by General Catalyst, with partner Neil Sequeira joining the startup’s board. As mobile growth takes off for the startup, the team will be using that financing to build out their iPhone and Android apps.
  • Quri, a retailer analytics and intelligence company whose software has been adopted by half of the top twenty-five CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands around the world, including Tyson, Nestle, Dannon, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and others, raised a $10m in Series B funding in a round led by Dana Stalder of Matrix Partners, who will now join Quri’s board. Also participating were Quri’s $4.25m Series A investors, Catamount Ventures and Simon Equity Partners.
  • Wrike, a cloud-based solution combines task and project management functionality, has raised $10m in Series A funding from Bain Capital Ventures.
  • Telogis has raised $93m from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to deepen its location-based services platform for operations that have large mobile workforces. The funding will further help fuel the company’s expansion in the anticipation of an IPO next year. The company expect $85m in revenues this year and more than $100m next year.
  • San Francisco-based real estate startup Reesio is announcing that it has closed on $1.096m in new funding for its transaction management software for real estate agents. Investors included Digital Garage, MicroVentures, Hiten Shah, and other angels. The company had previously raised a seed round of $205,000.
  • SocialSafe, the social media back-up startup co-founded by serial entrepreneur and angel investor Julian Ranger, has added a further $1m in funding to its coffers, bringing the total raised by the UK company to around $1.855m since it was founded in 2009. In what is being described as a second “interim” round, the additional funding comes from existing backers Marco Sodi and others, along with a number of investors from the UK-based group Knight Ventures.
  • LogEntries collects and analyzes huge quantities of machine-generated log data, helping companies track their application logs, received $10m in Series A financing, once again led by Polaris Partners, and participated in by Floodgate, RRE Ventures and new local Irish firm Frontline Ventures.
  • Tackk, which offers tools for creating content that combines text, images, audio and video, is coming out of beta and announcing that it has raised $1.2m in a second round of seed funding. The new funding was led by ff Venture Capital, with participation from previous investors Hatch Partners and Drummond Road Capital. Celeste (who joined Tackk from Hatch) said that one of the appealing things about working with ff is that the partners aren’t forcing Tackk to specialize.
  • DoorDash has raised a $2.4m round led by Khosla Ventures’ Keith Rabois and Charles River Ventures’ Saar Gur. SV Angel’s David Lee, YC partner Paul Buchheit, Benchmark co-founder Andy Rachleff, angel investor Russell Siegelman, and Pejman Nozad‘s new fund Pejman Mar Ventures were also in on the round. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Twitch, a popular video game streaming service, has raised a $20m Series C round led by Thrive Capital. WestSummit Capital participated in the funding, as did, notably, well-known game publisher Take-Two Interactive. Twitch currently sees 45m monthly unique viewers on its service. Twitch allows gamers to stream their play, which might sound niche, but as competitive gaming grows in popularity, the company has been riding its wave.
  • BeachMint, an e-commerce company consisting of members-only websites linked to celebrities, has received a minority investment from twin celebrity businesswomen and fashion designers Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
  • Through a capital increase, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) secured around 2% of the shares in Zalando. Further capital increases of up to 2% of the shares in Zalando may follow as part of this financing round, led by OTPP. Zalando had sales of EUR 1.15bn in 2012, with a negative EBIT of EUR 80m.


  • Swedish startup Memoto, a small camera is designed to be worn on person, features no buttons and takes pictures constantly while worn, rebrand to Narrative with $3m in new funding. Both the rebrand and the new money will help Narrative expand on a global scale. The round is led by San Francisco’s True Ventures. True Ventures has previously invested in hardware startups including MakerBot and Fitbit, and Narrative’s aims are somewhat parallel to those of Fitbit, with more of an emphasis on quantifying non fitness data. The round also included LDV Capital and London’s Passion Capital, which has backed photo sharing apps including EyeEm and Loopcam in the past.
  • Skyscanner, one of the largest flight search engines on the Web, finalized an undisclosed investment from Sequoia Capital, led by partner, Sir Michael Moritz — who will also be joining the company’s board of directors. The investment came at a $800m valuation. Skyscanner has raised $5.2m to date and was seeing $30m in turnover a year ago.
  • Flea market-style mobile apps has raised a “seven-figure” founding round led by Tivola Ventures, and Leverate Media. Nothing out of the ordinary there — an undisclosed funding round is very European. The overall funding amount isn’t being disclosed, beyond that “seven-figure” mention, Tivola Ventures is said to be taking 25 percent equity. It has to be said that it’s unusual for what is otherwise an opaque funding round to break out equity numbers, but, with a mixture of cash and “media equity,” this deal is nothing if not convoluted.
  • Russian mobile-first banking startup RocketBank secured $2m in seed funding from Runa Capital. RocketBank is not a bank itself, rather it’s a mobile app with banking abilities — much like an MVNO is not a mobile network operator but can still offer cellular services by piggybacking on carriers’ networks.
  • Pitango Venture Capital, the Israel-based investment company behind like Apple-acquired Anobit, Samsung-acquired Boxee and many others, has closed a $270m fund, which it will use to back “Israeli companies and companies with an Israeli nexus” that may otherwise be operating in the U.S. and Europe, according to Chemi Peres, co-founder and managing general partner. He says a “meaningful portion” of the investment in the fund came from Asia, specifically investors from China, India, Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore — many investing in Israel for the first time.
  • Soundrop, a social music service that aims to democratize the way people discover and experience music with friends, announcied a $3.4m round of funding led by Spotify’s lead investor, Northzone. In addition to Northzone, Norwegian-government-back Investinor also participated. Northzone also led the previous $3m round in the company last year.
  • Plenummedia, a company that provides a full suite of technology tools and services to help small and medium sized companies do business on the Internet, raised a $6.5m Series B round led by Seaya Ventures. The Madrid-headquartered company provides a full suite of technology tools and services to help small and medium sized companies do business on the Internet, ranging from desktop and mobile websites, email, SEO, Social Media to SEM.
  • Yemeksepeti, the Turkish online catering company, has made an investment into the Greek Click Delivery ( Yemeksepeti will invest EUR 3m to help Click Delivery with its planned geographic expansion.


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Mergers & Acquisitions

  • IBM has announced the acquisition of Xtify, a provider of mobile messaging tools that allows push notifications to reach customers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Xtify’s platform leverages a company’s CRM environment, business rules and other data to run targeted campaigns. It offers the capability to target campaigns with scheduled messages according to the time zones, frequency and a host of other factors. Xtify, founded in 2009, will become part of the IBM Smart Commerce group and will target chief marketing officers and the new ecosystem of digital marketing managers and developers.
  • Google acquired Flutter, a gesture recognition technology startup with an app that provides gesture detection and recognition from standard webcam devices, for around $40m.
  • GoDaddy has bought Ronin, a company that specializes in online invoicing services to help businesses bill customers and keep track of how they get paid. The deal actually closed in April, says GoDaddy, but the company is making it public now because it has now integrated the service into GoDadddy Online Bookkeeping, its SMB-focused accounting business. Terms have not been disclosed.
  • Biotech company Monsanto has bought Climate Corporation for approximately $1.1 billion. While the Monsanto press release says $930m, the actual price is past the $1 billion mark, because part of the all-cash deal will be paid out over time as an employee retention plan. Climate Corporation is backed by Founders Fund, Khosla, Google Ventures, NEA, Index Ventures and Atomico. The company uses machine learning to predict the weather and other essential elements for agribusiness.
  • Yahoo is set to acquire Hitpost, the maker of a handful of sports-centric mobile apps, to beef up its own sports offerings on iOS and Android, say sources familiar with the deal. The company’s team of seven or so is heading over to join Yahoo.
  •, a provider of cloud management tools, acquired Pandastream, a video platform that runs on AWS and supports multiple video codecs. provides a single interface for many of the tools used in a modern application stack.
  • Intel has acquired Sensory Networks for $20m to further extend its security capabilities. Sensory Networks, based in Palo Alto, was founded in 2002 as a hardware company, providing high-performance technology that maps networks by looking for patterns such as spam, malware and other types of intrusions.
  • Syncsort is acquiring Circle Computer Group, a software maker that allows organizations to make data securely available for analytics on platforms such as Apache Hadoop. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Proofpoint, a leading security-as-a-service provider, announced that it has acquired Silicon Valley based Sendmail, Inc., a leading provider of solutions that simplify business messaging complexity and reduce IT infrastructure costs for enterprises throughout the world. The acquisition brings a unique set of technical talent to the Proofpoint engineering team and strengthens the company’s position in enterprise security and messaging. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Proofpoint paid approximately $23.0m in cash. The acquisition was structured as a simultaneous signing and closing and requires no additional approvals.
  • Leaf, creator of the LeafPresenter, a tablet specifically designed for commerce, announced it has closed $20m in its first round of institutional funding from Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation’s largest payments processors and a leading provider of merchant business solutions.
  • TellApart, the preeminent provider of personalized marketing solutions for omnichannel commerce, announced that they have completed the acquisition of AdStack — a leading email marketing optimization provider.


  • Apple has acquired personal assistant app Cue for $50-$60m. Backed by SV Angel, Sequoia Capital, Lerer Ventures and Index Ventures in addition to some notable angels, Cue was born as Greplin, a social search startup. Cue had previously raised a $10m round in November of 2012 from Index Ventures, which the startup chose not to announce.
  • Curated accessories market Boticca acquired L’Atelier De La Mode, a leading Paris-based fashion designer marketplace, and simultaneously launching its French website, its first non-English language website. Launched in 2008 by Jonathan Lipfeld, L’Atelier De La Mode has garnered close to 100,000 customers in France which now brings Boticca’s own database to 500,000 customers globally. L’Atelier De La Mode’s site will be redirected to No employees from L’Atelier De La Mode will be joining Boticca as part of the transaction. The acquisition was for cash and terms were undisclosed sum.
  • Love Home Swap, the UK-based holiday home exchange marketplace startup, has raised a further £1m from existing backer MMC Ventures, bringing the total invested by the London VC in the company to approximately £2.65m. To-date, the startup says 55,000 “inspiring properties” are listed on its service, in over 150 countries, claiming that members save an average of £2,202 per home swap.
  • Azimo, the UK-based social money transfer service that competes with legacy players Western Union and Moneygram, and to a lesser extent, PayPal, has raised just over $1m in seed funding from the European arm of VC firm eVentures. Existing angel investors also participated in the round, including CapitalOne founder Matt Cooper, which brings the company’s total funding to-date to around $1.5m.
  • Jaywing announced that it has completed the sale of its e-commerce arm, Tryzens Limited (“Tryzens”), for a total transaction value of GBP 6.0m in cash. The funds were provided by Scottish Equity Partners to allow for the acquisition of the total share capital of Tryzens through a management buyout.
  • Meetic, the European online dating company, announced that it has signed an Agreement for the acquisition of the assets of e-kontakt, owned by Intodate International AB. Meetic is only acquiring the assets relative to the brand, the domain names and the user base, via its Swedish subsidiary Nordic AB, for an undisclosed sum.
  • Inflexion announces that it has completed the GBP 73m secondary buyout of On The Beach, the UK’s leading beach specialist online travel agent.


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Posted on October 7, 2013, in Internet weekly update and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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