Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-10-14
- DogVacay, the Los Angeles-based startup that operates a pet boarding marketplace that’s been dubbed the “Airbnb for dogs”, raised $15m in new funding. The new funding round, which serves as DogVacay’s Series B, was led by Foundation Capital with the participation of existing investors Benchmark and First Round Capital along with new investors DAG Ventures and Sherpa Ventures. This brings the total VC investment in DogVacay to $22m.
- Mobile security company Lookout, a company which protects mobile devices against malicious threats, raised $55m in funding, led by strategic investor Deutsche Telekom, parent of T-Mobile. Other big names in the round included Qualcomm Ventures, Greylock Partners and Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital Management, as well as existing investors Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, and Khosla Ventures. It takes the total raised by the company to $131m. This will be used to help the company keep building out its service in Europe and other international markets, as well as towards the growth and launch of its enterprise services, specifically Lookout for Business, later this year.
- Startup LiquidM, a new modular cloud-based software for ad networks, trading desks, and operators to manage their mobile ad campaigns, raised $5m in Series A funding from Blumberg Capital, Earlybird Venture Capital, and Asset Management Ventures.
- YouTube network DanceOn, a multichannel network, raised money for its growing video business. The company, which is the Number 1 place for dance videos on YouTube, has secured $4m in funding, in a round co-led by Plus Capital and AMC Networks.
- The nine-person San Francisco startup Level has built an iOS app that it hopes will get a generation of young people thinking more about their financial fortitude, and closed a $5m Series A led by KPCB to help push that vision forward.
- CoreOS, a Y Combinator alum, has received investment from Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital for its new Linux-based operating system designed to run like Google would run its own cloud infrastructure. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but CEO and Co-Founder Alex Polvi said the amount is in the $1-5m range.
- Scan, an app that connect the real world with the digital universe in fun and innovative ways, has raised $7m from Entree Capital and existing investors, including Menlo Ventures in its Series A round. Scan has previously raised $1.7m in seed funding from Menlo Ventures, Google Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Start Fund, Social + Capital Partnership, Transmedia Capital, Ludlow Ventures and angels Ariel Poler, Naval Ravikant of AngelList, Jim Pallotta of Raptor Group and Troy Carter. Some of those investors like Menlo are back in this round or taking their pro-rata.
- Enterproid, BYOD platform provider has changed its name to Divide, announced $12m in funding from Google Ventures in a Series B round for its service that encrypts a device and separates a person’s personal and work data. Existing investors Comcast Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures also participated and were joined by new investors Globespan Capital Partners and Harmony Partners. The investment brings the company’s total funding to $25m. Divide’s service allows for customers to move files between the cloud and an on-premise business environment. Customers can attach both local and cloud-based documents in an email message. Files can be securely saved, viewed and shared. It can share files between personal apps and the Divide workspace.
- A New York-based startup called Luminate Health has raised a $1m seed round led by KEC Ventures. Luminate Health Inc. provides an SaaS solution for labs. It offers Luminate Health, a HIPAA-compliant solution for labs that enables patients to access, manage, and understand their lab results.
- E-commerce company True&Co , a company which provides personalization and technology to aid women in their searches for new bras, raised another $4m in funding from a series of new investors that include Crosslink, VegasTechFund, Pejman Nozad, and FundersClub. True&Co had previously raised $2m in seed funding from investors that included First Round Capital, SoftTechVC, Softbank, and Aileen Lee’s Cowboy Ventures, all of which also participated in the round. With the new funding, True&Co is looking to invest more heavily in its technology to improve the algorithm and find more interesting applications for it.
- Refresh, which seeks to eliminate small talk by providing users with detailed information about people they’re meeting with and suggesting topics of conversation, has raised $10M from Redpoint Ventures, Charles River Ventures and Foundation Capital.
- iSpot.tv raised a new, $5m round of funding from Madrona Venture Group and TL Ventures. iSpot.tv uses proprietary audio and video fingerprinting technology to monitor networks and keep tabs on all the ads that appear on them. It then adds that information into an easy-to-read dashboard that allows its customers to drill down and get detailed information about the ad campaigns that are currently on TV. Last summer, the company had raised $575,000 from iSpot.tv founder (and former Demand Media CTO) Sean Muller, along with some other Demand Media alums.
- Swirl Networks, a in-store mobile marketing platform provider of in-store beacons to notify consumers of specific deals according to where they stand in the store, raised an $8m Series B round led by Hearst Ventures, the strategic investments branch of the Hearst Corporation, to fuel the expansion of their platform. SoftBank Capital and Longworth Venture Partners also participated in the round.
- Kahuna, provider of Customer Engagement Engine which analyzes and unifies customer behavior across mobile and web to identify patterns that lead to active usage. raised $2m in seed funding from SoftTech VC, Costanoa Venture Capital, Tim Kendall (head of product management at Pinterest and former director of monetization at Facebook), BloomReach CEO Raj De Datta, Lee Linden (head of commerce at Facebook), Kiwi CEO Omar Siddiqui, RentJuice co-founder David Vivero, Matt Wyndowe (who’s currently product manager for identity growth at Facebook), Palihapitiya, and others.
- Mobile app engagement platform Appoxee announcing an additional $1.8m in seed funding to help it continue its growth. The round was led by U.S.-based hedge fund Lazarus Israel Opportunities Fund and Mosche Lichtman, who previously served as President of Microsoft’s R&D center in Israel, and is now joining Appoxee’s board. Existing investors including Cyhawk Ventures and Oryzn Capital also participated in the round, bringing Appoxee’s total funding to $2.4m to date. Appoxee has 275m installs, and is sending over half a billion push notification messages per month.
- TwitSpark has raised a $4.5m Series A round of funding and changed its name to Sparkcentral. The company’s vision is the integration of social customer service into the mass-scale call centers that large corporations staff with phones, people who answer phones, and angry calls. Its new $4.5m round was led by Sigma West’s Bob Spinner, who put in around $3.5m. The rest was fill-in from prior angels and other investors. Sparkcentral has now raised $5.625m.
- Silk, a cloud-based app to visualize data, raised $1.6m from existing investor NEA. This brings the total raised by Silk to $3.7m, after previous funding from NEA, Atomico Ventures and a number of prominent angels.
- Cinarra Systems, a pioneer in operator analytics and monetization technologies, yesterday [10 October] announced a $4.5m Series A round of venture capital and strategic financing. The funding will enable Cinarra Systems to expand its team, accelerate product development and successfully deliver new products to market. The round was led by Almaz Capital, with participation from Cisco and individual investors. Geoffrey Baehr, a general partner at Almaz Capital, will join the company’s board.
- Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce company, has led a $206m investment in ShopRunner, a Pennsylvania-based online shopping company, the online version of Oriental Daily reported. Alibaba Group invested approximately $70m in ShopRunner’s latest round of fund raising. The report went on to say that eBay sold a 30% stake in ShopRunner at a profit, and the deal valued ShopRunner at approximately $600m.
- The Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) fund has launched with an initial £50m to invest, and a remit to help tech companies and startups focus on developing their ideas and technology. CIC plans to invest the £50m over the next three years, and hopes to make its first investments by the end of the year.
- Diagnosia, a subscription-based iOS-only app aimed at physicians who need speedy and up-to-date access to drug information, raised a further €1m to expand its wares to other European countries outside of its native Austria. Participating in the round is Austrian research institute FFG, along with angel investors Christoph Prinz, Michael Altrichter, Johann Jauk, Martin Dall, and Christoph Gelbmann.
- Tel Aviv-based KIDO’Z, originally a kid-friendly media browser for PCs before shifting over to mobile and tablet platforms where there’s now more need for kid-safe, but still entertaining, content, raised a $1.2m Series A round, led by lool ventures, with participation from angel investors including Dov Moran, Aryeh Mergi and others. To date, the company has raised $1.5m in outside funding. KIDO’Z is mainly targeting the pre-install market.
- Russian Internet Technology Fund (RITF) has invested $5m in Russian e-bookseller Litres, in which it obtained not less than a blocking stake. Litres conducted an additional share issue which was acquired by RITF, while Eksmo retained control. The minority stake in Litres is held by the company former and current employees, said Vedomosti.
- Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce marketplace that’s often referred to as the “Amazon of India,” has raised another $160m. This is an extension of the $200m raise announced in July of this year, with the final $360m Series E round the largest ever to be raised by an Internet startup in India. It brings the total raised by Flipkart since 2007 to $540m. New investors in this round include Dragoneer Investment Group, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Sofina and Vulcan Capital are all coming in on this round, also with participation from existing investors Tiger Global, whose first publicly disclosed investment in the company was in 2011 for $20m. Other Flipkart investors include Accel Partners and ICONIQ Capital.
Mergers & Acquisitions
- Yahoo has just acquired Bread, a 2.5 year old startup that had raised $3.5m. Bread is a company that created a simple way for social media influencers and publishers to monetize their content. Bread has shut down its core publishing products, and its links will go dead in 30 days. It recommends users switch to dominant URL shortener bit.ly. Bread’s investors include musician manager and angel Troy Carter, Formation 8′s Joe Lonsdale, fashion designer Marc Ecko, and Raptor Ventures.
- Hackermeter has been acquired by Pinterest, and will be shut down. Hackermeter matches developers with companies through code challenge portfolios. Both Pinterest and Hackermeter’s founders declined to share the terms. The product was just two months old. The company’s co-founders, Lucas Baker and Frost Li, will both join Pinterest as engineers.
- New York-based Hubbl, a maker of app discovery and personalization technologies, has been acquired by mobile ad platform Airpush for $15m. The two businesses will combine their respective efforts – Hubbl with its personalized native ads technology and Airpush with its ecosystem of some 120,000 mobile apps – to create a new, native advertising platform for mobile.
- Familiar, a private photo and video sharing service, has been acquired by Evidence.com, a division of Taser. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, nor have details about what will happen to Familiar’s existing consumer services. Currently Familiar is seeing some 100m photos pass through its service. Other investors in Familiar included Greylock Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Index Ventures, Acequia Capital and Allen & Company. In addition to Hadi and Ali Partovi (who are also early advisors and investors in Facebook, Dropbox and Zappos), other angel investors included Nat Brown, Dave Goldberg, Blake Krikorian, Emil Michael, Owen Van Natta.
- Ad company Adiant has acquired a number of assets from MarchEx, including the cost-per-click ad network formerly known as IndustryBrains (which MarchEx acquired nearly a decade ago). The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- Publicly traded ad management and distribution company Digital Generation, better known as DG, is announcing that it has acquired ad startup Republic Project for $1.4m in cash, with additional earn outs based on revenue and profitability. Republic Project raised $1m in funding last year from Google Ventures, 500 Startups, and others. The companies say the entire 11-person Republic Project team will be joining DG’s Los Angeles office.
- Airpush, a leading mobile ad platform ranked #1 in the 2013 Tech 200 list of fastest-growing technology companies, announced its acquisition of Hubbl, a New York-based pioneer of mobile native advertising and personalization technology. The companies will combine Hubbl’s best-of-breed personalized native ads technology with Airpush’s ecosystem of 120,000 mobile apps to create the world’s first comprehensive native advertising platform for mobile.
- Amazon.com announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire TenMarks, a company that is helping teachers and parents deliver innovative mathematics curriculum to students across the country. TenMarks offers personalized online math instruction and practice in a clear, manageable format for K-12 students complete with helpful hints, video lessons, and real-time results. TenMarks’s products are designed to help students be individually motivated, engaged and nurtured. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
- Nuance Communications announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Varolii, the leading provider of cloud-based outbound customer engagement solutions.
- Adiant, owner of the largest content-style ad platform on the web, announced Adiant’s July acquisition of assets from Marchex, including assets from the former IndustryBrains, a suite of high quality news and financial publications that will greatly expand Adiant’s mission of offering advertisers placements adjacent to the highest quality online content.
- Partech Ventures, a VC firm that operates from offices in Paris, Berlin and Silicon Valley, has closed a total of $215m for its Partech VI venture fund and a new seed-focused Entrepreneur fund. Partech’s venture fund will be backed by $175m, with $40m committed to the seed fund. The Partech VI fund held its first raise back in 2011, when it closed €100m. Some 20 French, European and American institutional investors participated in Partech VI’s new round, including prepaid company services Edenred, and retail company Casino Groupe.
- TOMORROW FOCUS AG has decided to sell its entire stake in the Munich-based digital technology and creative services agency TOMORROW FOCUS Technologies GmbH (TFT GmbH) to the Dutch firm TIE Kinetix N.V. The agreement includes plans for a long-term collaboration between the parties to the contract. In the financial year 2012, TFT generated revenue of EUR 8.2m.
- M6 Group, through its subsidiary Home Shopping Service (Ventadis division), completed the acquisition of Luxview, the company operating the websites Happyview.fr and Malentille.com. Happyview.fr is an online glasses retailer, offering prescription glasses and sunglasses on the Internet. Happyview also operates on the contact lens market through its website Malentille.com.
- Eurona Wireless Telecom, the listed Spanish telecommunications operator has acquired the wifi hotspot specialist Kubi Wireless for EUR 10m. Eurona’s Chief Executive Jaume Sanpera told the paper that the acquisition will increase its revenues from EUR 7.04m last year to EUR 20m this year. Based in Barcelona, Kubi Wireless has offices in Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, the report said. Kubi’s investors include the fund Finaves.
- Liligo, the French travel search engine, is understood to have been sold to European online travel agency Odigeo by owner SNCF. Liligo was acquired by SNCF Voyages, the train travel company and subsidiary of French rail operator SNCF, for about EUR 20m in 2010.
- Sanoma has sold its learning operations, NTK Educational Holding Zrt, in Hungary to a consortium of members of the management team. In 2012, the net sales for NTK Educational Holding Zrt totalled some EUR 21m. As a result of the transaction, Sanoma will book in the third quarter of 2013 a non-recurring capital loss of around EUR 23m.
- Rostelecom President Sergey Kalugin is fully exiting his equity capital in WebMediaGroup. According to Interfax news agency, Kalugin owned a 25% stake in WebMediaGroup. The article reported that the main asset of WebMediaGroup is Zoomby.ru, a video portal. In May 2013, WebMediaGroup raised $10m investment, the item continued.
- Gamevil announced a deal of roughly $65m for a 21% stake in its longtime competitor Com2uS. The deal, which values Com2uS at roughly $304m, gives Gamevil a majority stake in the company. Because Gamevil tends to be more focused on publishing while Com2uS does first-party games, there’s an argument that both companies’ businesses are complementary. Furthermore, the larger network of players will also help in terms of cross-promotion and marketing. Gamevil says it has 300m installs while Com2uS hasn’t released its figures.