Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-10-28

Private Financing
US
  • Foundry Group has raised a fourth fund, called Foundry Group Select. This new fund is $225 million (the same size as Foundryメs previous funds), but has a much different focus. This fund is purely for late-stage growth rounds in Foundryメs existing portfolio companies. The firm says it will invest up to $25 million into companies that Foundry has backed through its previous funds. Foundry has previously been limited in the amount it can invest in later stage rounds due to the firmメs early-stage strategy.
  • Mobile payments startup Flint raised a $6 million Series B round led by Digicel Group with SVG Partners, Storm Ventures, and True Ventures also participating. Flint also offers more competitive transaction fees than players like Square, especially when debit cards come into play ラ debit card swipes essentially cost 1.95% while those with credit cards pay 2.95%.
  • BloomNation, a startup building a marketplace for florists and floral designers, has closed on $1.65 million in seed funding, the company is announcing today. The round was led by Chris Dixon at Andreessen Horowitz, and includes participation from Spark Capital, Chicago Ventures, and CrunchFund.* This is the first outside investment for BloomNation, which had previously been bootstrapped using founder money.
  • Pinterest has closed on a significant new round of financing: $225 million in new funding, with Fidelity Investments in the lead. The funding values Pinterest at $3.8 billion. The round included participation from current investors Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Valiant Capital Management, but not its most recent investor Rakuten. The Japanese e-commerce giant invested $100 million in the service in May 2012. The funding is being used for international efforts. The company has hired country managers recently in Italy, France and England.
  • Keen IO, the API for custom analytics, recently raised $2.35 million additional seed round  led by Amplify Partners and Rincon Venture Partners. Pelion Venture Partners also invested, as did previous backers 500 Startups, XG Ventures, Jason Seats, and Loren Siebert.
  • Bromium has raised $40 million for its micro virtual machine (micro-vm) technology that traps malware and analyzes it for IT administrators to examine once an attack takes place. The oversubscribed Series C funding round was led by new investor Meritech Capital Partners, with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Partners, Highland Capital Partners, and Intel Capital. The company has now raised $75.7 million since founded in 2010.
  • Intel Capital has announced investments in 16 companies, totaling $65 million. The investments spanned cloud services, data-center technologies, mobile and consumer-related services.
    • CloudFX of Singapore is a cloud strategy consulting company that helps companies re-architect IT infrastructures, operations and helps institute DevOps style practices.
    • Cloudian of Japan and the United States, is an object storage platform that is compatible with Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and other cloud services.
    • CSDN is a Chinese company that provides a community website and services platform for IT professionals in China. According to Intel Capital, it has 27 million registered users and 500,000 enterprise partner members. The company owns several Chinese IT communities such as CMDN, a mobile developer community and IT recruiting website Pongo.
    • DotProduct provides software for real-time capturing and processing of 3-D data on Android tablets. Use cases include documenting crime scenes to imaging movies sets for gaming and entertainment applications.
    • Wayz Japan is a service to store, manage, access, share and organize files anywhere on any device.
    • Interlude is an Israeli platform provider to create interactive videos that allows viewers to determine what happens next in the viewing experience.  Its authoring platform.-Treehouse, allows video creators to map, build and publish Interlude videos on Web, mobile and social platforms. Pretty cool.
    • Lintes Technologies, is a Taiwan-based company that makes the Thunderbolt peripherals that provide high-speed data transfer. According to the company website, Thunderbolt was developed by Intel, and brought to market with technical collaboration from Apple.
    • Perpetuuiti TechnoSoft Services of Singapore and India, offers advanced data recovery technologies that help businesses in complex  IT environments, orchestrated across virtual and physical computing resources in different data centers.
    • Prism Skylabs, which received $15 million in funding, helps companies use footage from existing security cameras to provide retailers and other businesses with モweb-style analytics.ヤ
    • Reduxio Systems, of Israel, boasts it offers infinite data recoverability through real-time primary storage deduplication and protection technologies.
    • Rocketick, also of Israel provides software simulation acceleration for chip verification, helping reduce time-to-market of new designs.
    • Savaari Car Rentals is an online car rental company that offers car rentals across 60 cities in India to both retail and corporate customers.
    • SBA Materials develops モnano-porous dielectricsヤ that for example, can help improve the performance of advanced chips used in mobile devices while reducing their power consumption.
    • SkySQL, of Finland, announced it has raised $20 million to deepen its support for MariaDB, the fast growing open-source relational database and the emerging database of choice for Wikipedia.
    • WiTricity specializes in wireless electricity. The company was founded in 2007 with clients in consumer electronics, automotive, medical devices and defense.
  • BetterDoctor, a search engine and ranking service for doctors that launched in September, raised $2.6 million in seed funding from Jeff Clavier at SoftTechVC, 500 Startups, Burrill & Co, among others. As a result of the round, Clavier and Burrill & Co.メs Dirk Lammerts will be joining BetterDoctorメs board of directors. With 1 million people now using BetterDoctor to search for local physicians each month and with a staff thatメs grown to 21, the startup is looking to expand and refine its patient-doctor matchmaking algorithms.
  • Content recommendation service Outbrain is announcing that it has raised $35 million in new funding. The company says it has been installed on more than 100,000 sites and has a network of 700 モpremium publishersヤ that includes CNN, Hearst, Rolling Stone, and Fast Company. It also says it serves 100 billion recommendations each month, including both organic and paid recommendations. The company makes money by including sponsored content.
  • SkySQL has raised $20 million to deepen its support for MariaDB, the fast growing open-source relational database and the emerging database of choice for Wikipedia. The round was led by Intel Capital with participation from California Technology Ventures, Finnish Industry Investment, Open Ocean Capital and Spintop Private Partners. MariaDB had primarily been an engineering project but this year it emerged as a foundation SQL technology for Wikipedia and major Linux distributions such as Fedora and OpenSuse.
  • Enterprise software company Blue Rooster announced today that it has raised $3 million from PFU Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu. Seattle-based Blue Rooster said the funding is the first installment in a multi-stage investment that has not yet been completed. Founded in 2000, Blue Rooster received no outside funding before PFU Limitedメs investment.
  • Sqrrl, a big data startup with links to the NSA, announced $5.2 million in Series A funding from existing investors Atlas Venture and Matrix Partners, which will be used to further fund the development and commercialization of its scalable, NoSQL database モSqrrl Enterprise. When the company raised its $2 million seed round last summer, the company founders explained how Sqrrlメs モcell level securityヤ is compliant with regulations like HIPAA and SarbanesヨOxley that could otherwise get in the way of performing big data analysis.
  • Toronto-based startup and FounderFuel accelerator graduate OneClass announced a new $1.6 million Series A round investment led by SAIF partners and including previous investor Real Ventures, as well as several angels. The education startup provides a collaborative note, lecture and textbook platform for university students, and is currently active in 50 schools across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Panorama Education, a fast-growing startup that crafts and administers surveys for schools to help teachers and administrators get better insight into how they are performing in areas like learning and social inclusion, announced a $4 million round of seed funding, which it will be using to take its big data approach to education deeper into the U.S. market and global. Panoramaメs investors now include Startup:Education ラ the foundation led by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan ラ SoftTech VC, Google Ventures, Ashton Kutcherメs A-Grade Investments and Yale University, which the co-founders had attended.
EMEA
  • Berlin-headquartered The Football App has raised a further round of funding: $7 million led by New York-based Union Square Ventures (previous backer of big hits such as Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga, and Kickstarter), along with a number of unnamed angels. This adds to the $13 million it previously raised back in May in a round led by Berlinメs Earlybird Venture Capital. Company has seen 10 million downloads across all mobile platforms since it launched in 2008, with 3 million of those added in the last 6 months
  • Amsterdam-based Whatser, a platform for friends to share their favourite locations, raised a $475,000 seed round from an unnamed group of angels to further develop the service. Whatser aims to help merchants, specifically bricks ムnメ mortar stores, get a handle on social media to help them compete with larger outfits or those that operate purely online, and drive more customers in-store.
  • Funding Circle, a UK-based peer-to-peer lending platform that lets individuals and institutions loan money to small businesses, has picked up a $37 million round of funding. Funding Circleメs Series C round was led by new investor Accel Partners, along with participation from Ribbit Capital (another new investor) and Union Square Ventures (also a Kickstarter investor) and Index Ventures. The latter two also clubbed together in a $16 million Series B round in April 2012. It brings the total raised by Funding Circle to $58 million.
  • Ruffl, a real-time booking system for local services, with the first service aimed at restaurant bookings, has secured a $1.6M/ᆪ1m seed fund from a bevy of Angels including Karen Hanton (the founder of TopTable), David Pritchard (ex-CEO of OpenTable Europe), and Mark Ferguson (son of Alex Ferguson, the former manager of Manchester United football club).
  • Travel app startup, Israel-based TourPal, has just closed a $1 million+ Series A, with investment coming from a group of private angels. It had previously raised a small seed of around $100,000, also from private angels. TourPalメs special sauce is a focus on monetising its offering with paid audio guides.
  • Rocket Internet and iMENA Holding have announced that they will partner together to launch mobile app Easy Taxi in the Middle East and North Africa. iMENA will invest $7 million into the appメs regional rollout, which started in Saudi Arabia. The $7 million represents the largest funding so far for a mobile app business in the region. It also marks the latest in a series of investments as Rocket Internet seeks to secure Easy Taxiメs foothold in emerging markets. Easy Taxiメs iOS, Android and BlackBerry apps are now available in 15 markets throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia. The app has been downloaded 2 million times and has over 60,000 drivers in its network.
  • Startup book publisher Unbound secured a ᆪ1.2 million / $1.94 million funding round from Forward Investment Partners, DFJ Esprit and Cambridge Angels. The company will use the funds to develop new platforms to engage the whole publishing industry, including literary agents, publishers and booksellers. The Soho, London based Unbound ヨ where all the best writers hang out ヨ has a model where authors pitch ideas for books and supporters then pledge financial backing in return for rewards. Think Kickstarter for books and youメre close.
  • French video adTech startup Teads, which sells technology allowing publishers to embed video ads within articles that automatically play when they become visible on the userメs screen, has closed a $5.2 million Series A round, with backing from Partech Ventures (also an investor in Dailymotion) and Elaia Partners. The startup had previously raised タ300,000 from seed investors/private angel investors, back in 2011 when it was founded. Teads, which has gained the most traction in the French and U.K. markets up to now, said it will use the new funding to prepare itself for more international expansion. This Series A investment will double the size of the R&D department and strengthen the international development of Teadsメ video advertising platform.
  • SBTV, the UK online youth broadcaster, has received an investment, whose amount was not disclosed, from Miroma Ventures, which took an unspecified minority stake, The Guardian reported. The transaction values the business at GBP 8m. Miroma Ventures has committed to invest a further GBP 1m at the appropriate time in SBTV’s near future. Boyan will join SBTV’s board.
Asia
  • iMoney Group, a Malaysia-based financial comparison startup, announced that it has raised a $2 million Series A round led by Singapore-based venture firm Jungle Ventures. Other investors include ECONA AG, Rebright Partners, IMJ Fenox, Fenox Venture Capital, 500 Startups, Vogel Ventures and angel investor Lim Der Shing. iMoneyメs Series A comes less than five months after it received $500,000 in seed funding from Asia Venture Group Sdn Bhd (AVG). The company will use its new capital to accelerate growth in Malaysia and further its expansion in other markets.
  • SparkLabs started with the mission of helping grow South Koreaメs young startup industry. It has raised $30 million seed-stage fund called SparkLabs Global. In addition to SparkLabs co-founder Bernard Moon, the new ventureメs primary operating partners are former Facebook executive Net Jacobsson (left in the above photo) and Frank Meehan, previously of Horizons Ventures. The fund will look in emerging startup ecosystems for early stage companies that want to rapidly scale into international markets.
Mergers & Acquisitions
US
  • Cameleon Software, a publicly traded company on the Paris Bourse that automates price quotes, has been acquired for $33 million in an all-cash transaction by PROS, a big data software company. The deal has the approval of Cameleon’s largest shareholders and now faces the process of regulatory approval. Cameleon is in the increasingly competitive configure per quote (CPQ) market.
  • Intuit has acquired Level Up Analytics, a Mountain View-based consulting company that focuses on data science, big data and analytics. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. All the employees from the Level Up Analytics team will join Intuit. In a statement, Intuit described the deal as an “acqui-hire”. The company did not provide the names of the other consulting firms. Intuit acquired 14 employees from Level Up Analytics: three founders and 11 scientists, architects, and engineers. In a blog post, Level Up Analytics wrote that its clients include companies in the financial services, advertising, mobile, payments and social networking fields.
  • Microsoft has acquired Apiphany, an API management company that it will integrate with Windows Azure. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • LookFlow, a startup that describes itself as “an entirely new way to explore images you love,” just announced that it has been acquired by Yahoo and will be joining the Flickr team. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Academia.edu, a social networking platform for academics that’s looking to change the way scientific research is shared, just acquired Plasmyd, a search engine and discussion platform for research papers. Plasmyd has more than 60 million papers indexed, and every page has its own research abstract and an area for comments. As for Academia.edu, it just crossed 5 million registered users, which makes them larger than competitors like Benchmark-backed ResearchGate and Mendeley, which was recently acquired by research giant Elsevier.
  • Interactive e-book Inkling first became known for bringing academic textbooks to the realms of the iPad, iPhone, and web, announced that it has added more non-textbook titles to its library with the acquisition of two brands — Betterbook and Ready, Set, Baby! — from digital-first how-to book publisher Open Air Publishing. Inkling, which has raised $40 million in venture capital funding since it was founded in 2009, currently has more than 100 staff. Open Air Publishing has raised nearly $1 million in seed funding from SV Angel, Charles River Ventures, 500 Startups, and others.
  • RealNetworks, Inc. announced the acquisition of Muzicall, a leading service provider for mobile carriers and media companies in Europe, best known for its ringback tone (RBT) platform and innovative direct-to-consumer marketing approach to the RBT business. Muzicall has been integrated into RealNetworks’ Mobile Entertainment division, which in partnership with carriers manages 18 million active global ringback tone subscribers.
  • RIESTER strengthens its expertise in search engine marketing, web analytics and e-commerce with the acquisition of Search-Werks. Search-Werks, an Internet marketing innovator, has built and maintained a notable roster of national clients. The acquisition broadens the services available to Search-Werks’ clients and deepens RIESTER’s breadth and depth in online marketing.
  • Evolving Systems, Inc., a leading provider of activation-based solutions to telecom operators worldwide, announced it has acquired privately held Telespree Communications, a SaaS provider of service activation, self-service mobile applications and data enablement solutions to wireless carriers and MVNOs. Telespree is based in San Francisco, CA.
  • Seedwell has been acquired by Portal A, a leading creative studio that develops, produces and distributes original and branded content designed for the web. Founded in 2008 by Beau Lewis, Peter Furia, and David Fine, Seedwell has built a track record for producing videos that reach a massive online audience. Our work has helped us earn the trust of clients such as Nike, Google, Microsoft, Pepsi, and HTC. In 2012, YouTube hired us to produce YouTube Rewind, an internet blockbuster featuring Psy that received more than 125 million views.
  • Shutterfly, Inc., the leading manufacturer and digital retailer of high-quality personalized products and services, announced today that it has acquired BorrowLenses, the premier online marketplace for photographic and video equipment rentals. BorrowLenses’s Founders, Max Shevyakov and Mark Gurevich, will join Shutterfly Inc.
  • Thumbtack Technology, a leading software engineering consulting firm in Brooklyn, New York, today announced the acquisition of Al Digit, a mobile development company based in Omsk, Russia. This acquisition elevates Thumbtack’s ability to service a larger client base by incorporating an established mobile engineering team, skilled front-end developers, and designers.
EMEA
  • eBay has announced an agreement to acquire Shutl, the UK-based marketplace that uses a network of couriers to deliver local goods within a couple of hours of an online purchase. Terms were not disclosed. Shutl raised a total of $8.69M form UK Angels alongside Hummingbird Ventures, UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, e.ventures and Notion Capital. The acquisition comes on the heels of the Click & Collect trial Shutl started with UK retailer Argos.
  • Google has acquired the French startup FlexyCore, which is best known for its Android performance boosting solution DroidBooster. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, although rumour puts the price at $23 million. Google has confirmed the purchase, citing FlexyCore’s strong team and “expertise in building software to optimize Android device performance”. In fact, the startup’s team has already been integrated with Google’s Android team, while the acquisition has been a year in the making, having started last September and been concluded earlier this month, apparently. FlexyCore was originally supported by french state-backed incubator Emergys, and has raised 1.5 million Euros from Paris-based VC Sochrastem.
  • Myfab, the French online retailer of furniture, has been entirely sold to its US counterpart Fab.com. The French-language news report claimed that Fab.com paid EUR 3.1m in cash plus an additional earn-out and shares. The transaction will amount to less than EUR 10m. Myfab was owned by the portal operator WebMediaGroup (51%) and the PE firms Alven Capital and BV Capital (49%). The company generated sales of EUR 10m in 2011.
  • Uvet, the private Italian travel company, has acquired Swedish flight booking portal Flygpoolen for an undisclosed amount. The report cited Luca Patane, chairman of Uvet. The report said that Flygpoolen has a turnover of EUR 100m.
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Posted on October 28, 2013, in Internet weekly update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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