Monthly Archives: November 2013

Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-11-25

Private Financing
US

  • Payments platform Spreedly, which offers customers a credit card vault in the cloud that works with 54 different payment gateways, has raised an additional $500,000 in seed funding from Emerge.be, bringing its total raise to date to just under am. The funding comes less than a year after Spreedly’s pivot from a digital subscriptions service it sold off this July. The company has 130 customers, and will do 125,000 transactions this month, totaling roughly $8.5m.
  • Hightail, the file-sharing service formerly known as YouSendIt, is announcing today that it has raised $34m in new funding. The round, which serves as Hightail’s Series E, was led by hard drive maker Western Digital. This brings the total outside investment in Hightail to $83m.
  • Signpost, a startup offering an online marketing platform for small businesses, is announcing that it has raised $10m in Series B funding. The round was led by OpenView Venture Partners, with additional investment from Spark Capital, Scout Ventures, and wikiHow founder Jack Herrick. OpenView managing director Dev Ittycheria is joining Signpost’s board of directors.
  • Colingo has launched a new program for learning English that offers 1-on-1 personalized training alongside its small group classes. The company has also announced completion of a two-tranche $2.4m round of funding led by Atlas Venture.
  • Locket, the mobile application for Android smartphones launched this summer that places ads on the lockscreen, has received an additional investment from Fierce Capital, LLC, the investment arm of The Tyra Banks Company. The size of the investment is not being disclosed, but the company is in the process of raising a round of funding in thems, due to close next year.
  • Clypd, founded by the creators of Paypal-acquired WHERE, has raised $7.2m in series A-1 funding, gathering cash from Atlas Ventures, Freestyle Captial, and Boston Seed Capital. Angels included John Battelle and Brightcove. The company wants to make it easier for advertisers to buy small chunks of TV air time as small as 15 seconds long. By partnering with channels, Clypd will be able to allow TV channels to sell “open” airtime to smaller customers.
  • Verbling , a language learning startup, raised additional round of seed capital from Sam Altman and Hydrazine Capital, with contributions from Learn Capital, FundersClub, Rothenberg Ventures and Kevin Moore. This follows the $20K Verbling received when it graduated from Y Combinator in 2011 and the $1m in seed funding it raised in the months following from DFJ, Learn Capital, SV Angel, Start Fund, Ace & Company, Meck Investments and Inspovation, among others.
  • Shake, a startup aiming to make it easy to reach legally binding agreements with help from your smartphone, has raised $3m in funding. The funding was led by SoftBank Capital with participation from existing investor RRE Ventures and new investors BoxGroup, ENIAC Ventures, Mesa+, WGI Group, and Patrick Keane. SoftBank’s Jordy Levy is joining Shake’s board of directors. Shake first launched on the iPhone two months ago. It has since been downloaded 80,000 times and been used to create and sign $15m worth of legal agreements.
  • Illuminate Ventures today closed a $20m fund to invest in early-stage business software startups. Illuminate’s team is dedicated to supporting female entrepreneurs.
  • Cloud storage provider Box is raising a $100m round. On Oct 14., Box authorized the sale of 5.55m shares of preferred stock at $18 a share — or a total of $100m  – which would value the company at just under $2 billion. Box announced an earlier $125m funding round in the summer of 2012, and then it extended that to $150m this January, when it actually filed the SEC paperwork.
  • Mobile branded content company TextPride has completed a $1m seed funding round, the company said. TextPride makes stickers and emojis that mobile messaging apps can add as paid upgrades to their services. The company is currently working with over 200 brands, including the University of Notre Dame, the Chicago Blackhawks, NASCAR, and the U.S. Military, which is bound to be popular. From those 200 partners, TextPride has created over 8,000 branded emoji.
  • OpenFeint founder Jason Citron has raised $8.2m for his second game startup, Hammer & Chisel. The company wants to bring League of Legends style play to tablets with a new multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA) called Fates Forever. The funding was led by Benchmark Capital partner Mitch Lasky, who was an investor in Riot Games.
  • Wevorce, a startup focused on divorce-related families, raised $1.7m in a new seed funding round from investors including Foundation Capital and Sam Altman. This brings the total invested in Wevorce, which launched out of Y Combinator in March 2013, to $2m.
  • The Hunt, an app that is designed for intense shoppers, raised $5.5m in its first round of institutional funding.
  • American Giant, the clothing maker that is winning the hearts of the Internet generation, just raised $3.6m of a $2.5m round. American Giant has already raised $5m in funding in 2011, led by Donald Kendall, the former chairman and CEO of Pepsi Co. Kendall is listed on the SEC filing alongside Winthrop, which suggests that he has opted to lead this current round.
  • Mobile ad retargeting startup TapCommerce is announcing that it has raised $10m in Series A funding. The new funding was led by Bain Capital Ventures and RRE Ventures, with a strategic investment from Nielsen Ventures and participation from previous backers Metamorphic Ventures, Eniac Ventures, and Nextview Ventures. Bain’s Scott Friend and RRE’s Eric Wiessen have joined TapCommerce’s board of directors.
  • San Francisco-based Big Data analytics startup Alpine Data Labs raised $16m in venture funding from Sierra Ventures, Mission Ventures, UMC Capital, and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.
  • Mobile shopping service Sift has closed on $2m in seed funding, which includes an additional $1.5m closed last week, led by DN Capital. This new funding also sees participation from previous investors Tandem Capital, Unity Ventures, Sand Hill Angels from its $540,000 angel round, and new investors Social Internet Fund, Future Perfect Ventures, Grey Corp, the CEO of NQ Mobile, Omar Khan, and others.
  • Niche, a startup that connects brands with popular users on social media, has opened its website to the public, and also announced $550,000 in funding. The funding comes from David Tisch (Box Group), Michael Kassan (MediaLink), Chris Altchek (PolicyMic), Bryan Goldberg (Bleacher Report/Bustle), John Alderman, and friends and family.
  • Centzy, a local search engine which provides prices, reviews, hours, and ratings for nearby businesses, is announcing a rebrand to Locality, and $4.3m in new funding led by Matrix Partners with Cowboy Ventures and ff Venture Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to over $6m, with prior investors including ff Venture Capital, Cowboy Ventures, Lightbank, Founder Collective, and others. Matrix partner Jared Fliesler has joined the company’s board of directors.
  • Online education startup Coursera raised an additional $20m in funding, bringing its series B round to $63m. The additional funding was raised from three partner universities that offer courses on Coursera (these institutions have not been announced), GSV Capital and Learn Capital. Coursera current works with 100 universities in 19 countries. According to a news release, 700 professors and 5.5m learners have signed up to take a course.

EMEA

  • Business-analytics tool BIME Analytics announced a $4m in new venture funding. Alven Capital, based in Paris, was the sole investor in the round.
  • After announcing its second funding round of $17.5m in September, hot Android keyboard company SwiftKey announced that Accel Partners will also be participating in that round. SwiftKey previously noted that Index Ventures led that funding round, with participation by Octopus Investments. SwiftKey is based in London and has now raised over $21m in total.
  • Seedrs, the UK equity-based crowdfunding platform, is listing itself on its site in a bid to crowd-raise £500,000 for international expansion. Armchair investors who put in for a slice of the action will in total get a 8.81 percent stake. This gives the 2009-founded company a pre-money valuation of £5.175m. In early 2012 it raised a £1m seed round from DFJ Esprit, Digital Prophets (backed by Luke Johnson and managed by the investors behind 1seed) and a number of unnamed angel investors.
  • Zula, Israel-based mobile collaboration app , announced a seed round from Microsoft Ventures. The two are not publicly disclosing the amount of the investment.
  • French startup LeCab announced that it has raised $6.8m (€5m) in Series B funding. The company operates a black car service that is focused on premium services. Company didn’t disclose who invested in this traditional equity round as there is a non-disclosure agreement. Previously, LeCab had raised $4.1m (€3m).
  • Atomico, the VC firm co-founded and led by Niklas Zennstrom of Skype fame, has just announced its third and biggest fund, $475m, which the firm says it will use mainly for later-stage rounds in startups to help them scale. Total funds under management by Atomico are at $850m.
  • UK-based Diary.com, a website providing the ability to share both publicly and privately to a select group, raised $1.2m from a network of private investors. Terms were not disclosed.
  • UK minicab marketplace app Kabbee has raised a £3.8m Series A funding round led by Octopus Investments (previous backers of property search engine Zoopla, Graze.com, SwiftKey and Secret Escapes). Notably, Simon Nixon, the founder of MoneySupermarket.com, also joins the round – adding a significant amount of marketplace experience to the startup’s investor list. This brings total funding to around $9m (circa £5.6m). Kabbee has apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 10, and lets users instantly compare quotes from 60 leading London fleets and then book and pay by cash, card or pre-paid account. It launched in June 2011 and claims over 250,000 app downloads to date.
  • UK minicab marketplace app Minicabster raised £2m in funding (the round actually closed back in August) from a number of angel investors including David Buttress, CEO of takeout marketplace Just-Eat, Daniel McPherson, founder of Launcha, and Tom Singh, founder of New Look. Minicabster has apps for iOS and Android, and claims 200,000 users.
  • London-based Lifecake, a new photo-sharing service designed for families and built by former Skype, Qualcomm, and Yahoo engineers, announced an additional $1.1m in seed funding. The round was led by Balderton Capital, and comes on top of a previous $300,000 angel round from earlier this summer. Also participating in the new round were Techtopia, a team of London-based entrepreneurs and fathers, who were among Lifecake’s first users. Meanwhile, the company’s seed round investors include EC1 Capital, Serge Alleyne, and several of the founders’ former colleagues, like Tony Saigh and James Peck.
  • Appear Here, the UK online marketplace for short-term retail space and so-called pop-up shops, has raised £1m in new funding. Leading the round are Howzat Partners, MMC Ventures, and Forward Investment Partners. Also participating are Meyer Bergman, Playfair Capital, Ballpark Ventures, Marc Hazan (of Spotify), and Miroma Ventures. The Company has previous raised an undisclosed round last December from Forward Investment Partners, Ballpark Ventures, and various unnamed angel investors.
  • Video summary platform Simpleshow raised $5.4m funding from Japanese investors. The company provides customers with short animated or hand-crafted videos to explain topics or companies, with customers including BMW, eBay, Microsoft, Deutsche Bank and IKEA, along with NGOs such as the German Red Cross.
  • Technology Crossover Ventures is making its biggest investment by backing the entirety of Spotify’s new $250m round. The round could be called Spotify’s Series F and brings the company to $538m in total funding. The funding also puts Spotify’s estimated valuation to $4 billion+.

Asia

  • Multichannel, which manages and tracks marketing efforts across multiple channels, raised a $3m seed round from angel investors in Europe and Asia to bolster its engineering efforts. Most of Multichannel’s $3m seed round is going into research and development.
  • Voxpopclothing.com, an Indian e-commerce design apparel company based in Mumai, has gotten an investment from Blume Ventures, an early stage investment fund, and a group of investors. Investment figures for the transaction were not disclosed.
  • Urban Ladder, the India-based online furniture seller, has raised $5m from the private equity firms SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital in a Series A round of funding. Urban Ladder had earlier raised $1m from Kalaari Capital in August 2012.

Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • PasswordBox, the increasingly popular password management solution, today announced that it has acquired Legacy Locker, a digital afterlife service that – in the inevitable case that you pass away – grants access to your online assets to your friends and loved ones. With this acquisition, PasswordBox says, it is now “the only free service to manage your online accounts during life and after.” Last week, PasswordBox also announced that it had closed a $6m Series A round led by Canada’s Omers Ventures.
  • Lovely, the site that aggregates home rental listings, is moving up from studio to duplex status. The startup is announcing its first acquisition, Rentmatic, so that those finding apartments on its site will soon be able to set up their monthly rent payments on Lovely after they move in. And it is gearing up for more growth: it has also closed a Series A round of funding. Lovely now processes over 1.5m rental listings every month; 500,000 people find new homes on its site each month; its iOS mobile app has had nearly 250,000 downloads (with Android soon to come).
  • Livefyre, provider of the leading real-time conversation and social curation platform, announced that it has acquired the assets and team of Realtidbits, one of the top enterprise social application providers. This is the second acquisition by Livefyre in two months, having acquired social storytelling platform Storify in September.
  • Ziff Davis has acquired TechBargains, a division of Exponential Interactive Inc. TechBargains is a premier online destination for consumers seeking deals, special offers, and reviews for computers, personal electronics, travel, auto, and other high end product categories. TechBargains drives incremental sales to its merchant partners by providing expert and unbiased content to online visitors.

EMEA

  • Aufeminin acquired My Little Paris and will pay around $90m (€66.7m) for the acquisition. Part of Axel Springer, Aufeminin is one of the largest lifestyle website in France. Aufeminin spent $54m (€40m) in cash to acquire 60% of My Little Paris, with future plans to acquire the rest of the company. My Little Paris only raised $6,700 (€5,000) of initial capital.
  • Amazon.com has acquired the UK-based audiobook publisher and retailer AudioGo out of administration. AudioGo was put into administration after financial irregularities came to light.

Asia

  • Umeng, the analytics provider that has collected data from 180,000 apps and 590m active devices throughout China, confirmed that it was acquired by Alibaba. The value of the deal was not disclosed but was rumored to be $70-80m. The company raised $10m in funding from Matrix Partners’ China arm after being incubated out of Kai-Fu Lee’s Innovation Works.
  • Mobile online payments company Boku completed its first acquisition, after buying direct carrier billing service Qubecell in an undisclosed amount. The move allows Boku to establish a strong foothold in India and to properly look towards improving its presence in Asia and the Middle East.
  • Chinese online publisher Changyou acquired a majority 62.5% stake in Raidcall, previously owned by Kalends Inc, for $50m, which Changyou will pay in cash. Its goal is to use Raidcall, which currently has 20m registered users, to help build a global gamer platform for online and mobile games. A free communication platform handling voice, text and video, Raidcall enables users to create and organise groups for online gaming, music, karaoke and other live performances.
  • kuaidadi.com, a Hangzhou-based taxi-calling online services company, has acquired dhf100.com, a Shanghai-based peer company. Kuaidadi.com signed the acquisition agreement with dhf100.com on 22 November and the business integration is expected to be completed in early 2014. Alibaba, a major investor in Kuaidadi.com. will invest approximately $100m in the deal.
  • Kreata Global Digital Media Service, a UAE-based digital media company, has bought Flamingos Media, an India-based mobile and digital marketing company.
  • Berrybenka.com, the Indonesian fashion e-commerce company, has been acquired by Japan’s Transcosmos for $5m. Lamuda explained that Transcosmos’s presence will enable Berrybenka.com to become a leading fashion ecommerce company in Indonesia.
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Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-11-18

Private Financing

US

  • Jessica Alba’s clean-living startup, The Honest Company – a subscription ecommerce service selling eco-friendly, non-toxic family-oriented products such as diapers, skin care and cleaning products – has closed a $25m Series B funding round, led by Institutional Venture Partners, and joined by Iconiq Capital. Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst Partners also participated in the round. The Honest Company has pulled in some $52m in funding to date.
  • RockLive, who owns a self-portrait photo sharing iOS app Shot of Me, received funding from Justin Bieber. RockLive had already raised $1.6m from Shervin Pishevar, boxer Floyd Mayweather, early Apple employee Tom McInerney and NALA investments. NALA had set terms to put in some more money, but RockLive let Bieber in at the last minute to let him contribute the majority of the $1.1m second round.
  • PasswordBox, a password manager startup that lets users generate, store and protect multiple strong passwords to skip the need to memorise them, has closed a $6m Series A round, led by Omers Ventures. The round also includes strategic Silicon Valley angel investors Mark Britto, CEO of m-payments company BOKU; Lee Linden, Head of Facebook eCommerce; Greg Wolfond, Chairman of biometric company, SecureKey Technologies, and others.
  • Mustbin, a new mobile application emerging from stealth today, and backed by $4.5m in Series A funding, wants to become the go-to service for organizing everything you have that’s important – including passwords, financial data, home and vehicle info, health and medical documents, and more – all securely encrypted in the cloud.
  • Redfin, an online property brokerage and search business, has raised $50m in late-stage growth capital from a handful of investors, beginning with Tiger Global and T. Rowe Price Associates. The new round, which also includes contributions from the company’s existing investors, like Greylock Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Vulcan Capital, Globespan Capital Partners and The Hillman Company, brings the company’s total funding to just under $100m. The round values its online brokerage and search business in the ballpark of $500m.
  • CreativeLIVE, video-focused online learning company, has raised $21.5m of Series B financing in a round led by The Social+Capital Partnership, with participation from existing investor, Greylock Partners, and a handful of others. With this new round, CreativeLive has now raised just under $30m in about 16 months, which the company will use to invest in people, technology and content.
  • Qloo, an iOS app that makes personalized recommendations across a wide range of categories, has closed a $3m seed funding round with participation from angel investors Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury, founders of Maktoob (which was acquired by Yahoo in 2009) and Cross Creek Pictures founding partner Tommy Thompson (who produced “Black Swan”). This round includes a previously announced $1.4m raised from Qloo investors Kindler Capital, actor Danny Masterson and Cedric the Entertainer.
  • OneSpot, a startup focused on what it calls “content advertising”, is announcing that it has raised $5.3m in Series A funding led by Mohr Davidow Ventures with participation from Mack Capital, RSL Ventures, Capital Factory, and Bazaarvoice co-founder Brett Hurt. The round brings OneSpot’s total funding to $6.8m, with Mohr Davidow’s Bryan Stolle joining the board of directors. The money will allow OneSpot to expand its sales and market efforts while continuing product development.
  • Sumpto, a startup described as “the Klout for colleges”, raised $350K in funding from investors like SocialStarts.net and former McCANN Group CEO, Nick Brien. The startup plans to use the funding to ramp up hiring and continue with its efforts to lure additional brand partners. The New York-based startup has about 17,500 influencers and is working with more than 70 brands, who have collectively dished out rewards to over 1,800 students.
  • TinyCo, an early iOS and Android game developer out of Silicon Valley, picked up an additional $20m in financing from Pinnacle Ventures with existing investor Andreessen Horowitz participating. Part of this investment was a debt – not an equity – investment. The company’s not clarifying exactly how this deal was structured.
  • Kidaptive, the company behind a suite of children’s apps for iPad which combine entertaining videos and games with a curriculum focused on kindergarten readiness, has raised an additional $10.1m in Series B funding in a round led by Formation 8, with participation from A round lead Menlo Ventures, along with Stanford’s StartX Fund, NewSchools Venture Fund and Prana Studios, an animation and visual effects studio co-founded by Kidaptive co-founder and CEO P.J. Gunsagar. To date, the company’s applications have been downloaded over half am times (50% outside the U.S.), and see some 200,000 monthly actives. As new “appisodes” are released (the iPad app’s version of an “episode”), 90% of Kidaptive’s audience returns to the apps.
  • Knozen, a new startup in stealth-mode from Marc Cenedella, serial entrepreneur and founder of the veteran job matching site TheLadders, closed a $2.25m seed round last month – with an impressive roster of investors behind it, including FirstMark (Rick Heitzmann); Lerer Ventures (Eric Hippeau, Ben Lerer); David Tisch (Box Group); Greycroft Partners‘, John Elton; and Whisper/TigerText Founder, Brad Brooks.
  • Greenhouse, a recruitment-focused software company, raised $2.7m led by The Social+Capital Partnership (who Chait gave rave reviews of) and Resolute.vc. Angels in the round include Nick Ganju (ZocDoc), Seth Goldstein (DJZ and Turntable.fm), Thatcher Bell (DFJ Gotham), Thomas Lehrman (Gerson Lehrman Group and MasterStreet), and Bill Lohse (Pinterest). The money will go to building a bigger engineering team, sales and marketing, and growing to be able to handle more clients.
  • LendingClub, the San Francisco-based, US peer-to-peer lending service, has raised a $57m investment from Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner’s DST Global, and Coatue Management. The deal values the company at $2.3bn. Canaan Partners, Morgenthaler Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners as LendingClub’s early backers.
  • Bill.com, the leader in integrated bill payment, invoicing and cash flow management solutions for businesses, has closed $38m in financing. Led by new investor Scale Venture Partners (ScaleVP), the round also included participation from Bank of America, American Express, Fifth Third Bank, Pete Kight, founder of CheckFree, and Commerce Ventures, as well as all of Bill.com’s previous investors–August Capital, Napier Park Global Capital, TTV Capital, Jafco Ventures, Emergence Capital and DCM. As part of the investment, Rory O’Driscoll, a partner with ScaleVP, has joined the Bill.com Board of Directors. With this funding, Bill.com has raised $80m to date. Bill.com is the fastest growing business payments network in the nation, enabling more than 275,000 users to pay and get paid. Bill.com manages more than 10m bills per year, worth more than $12bn, by combining payments, workflow and document management, and integrating accounting solutions.
  • The Revolution Growth fund today announced a $40m investment in CustomInk, the web-based, market leading custom t-shirt company for groups and occasions. The investment will support CustomInk’s rapid expansion and new growth initiatives as it approaches $200m in annual revenues, with year over year growth of 50%. As part of the transaction, Ted Leonsis, co-founder of Revolution Growth, will join CustomInk’s board of directors. CustomInk today holds a leading position in the $5bn custom apparel market, delivering approximately 20m t-shirts per year, and currently employing more than 800 people.
  • The Honest Company, a premier multi-channel family brand providing natural, non-toxic products, announced a $25m financing led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), and joined by ICONIQ Capital, with participation from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst Partners. The new round of funding adds to $27m raised previously and will accelerate growth initiatives including international expansion, new product development and innovation, enhanced distribution capabilities, and greater accessibility to the brand.

EMEA

  • Wunderkinder, the maker of the Wunderlist productivity app, today announced it has partnered with Sequoia Capital and raised a $19m series B round. The round was supported by the company’s existing investors Atomico and Earlybird Ventures, and increases 6Wunderkinder’s total funding to more than $30m. With more than 6m people and 50,000 businesses around the world using Wunderlist, the partnership will help 6Wunderkinder further expand globally, focussing initially on the US market. The investment values 6Wunderkinder at around $60-65m.
  • Scoopshot, a crowdsourced on-demand photography marketplace and accompanying smartphone app, announced it’s raised $3.9m in Series A funding from Conor Venture Partners and Finnish Industry Investment, with participation by existing investors. Chris Barchak, Partner at Conor Venture Partners, will join Scoopshot’s board as its new Chairman. The new capital will be used to help grow its service worldwide, specifically to ramp up Finland-based Scoopshot’s presence in the U.S. and UK by expanding its existing sales teams there. The new round of funding brings the startup’s total funding to approximately $11m. That appears to significantly best rivals such as Foap, EyeEm or U.S.-based Rawporter.
  • Finland’s Jongla, a youth-oriented messaging app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and HTML5, has raised a further €1.4m in funding from Oy Ingman Finance, and a group of private angel investors. This latest round takes the overall investment in the Finnish messaging startup to €3.9m (circa $5.2m).
  • GE and Quirky announced they will expand their partnership, co-developing and launching 30 new products in their connected home devices line over the next five years. GE will take a minority equity stake in Quirky with a strategic investment of $30m, plus in-kind services, to drive faster innovation and scale in what will be a $25bn connected devices market. The Company is raising a total of $79mSeries D financing round also includes current Quirky investors Andreessen Horowitz, Norwest Venture Partners, RRE and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Asia

  • Alibaba Finance, the financial affiliate of Alibaba Group, planned to spearhead foray into P2P industry by investing $35m in P2P lending platform Ppdai. Ppdai has established a dedicated department for the lending services of Taobao retailers. Since the turnover generated by this department accounts for more than 30% of Ppdai’s total, it may serve as a connection point for the integration of data and business of the two companies. Launched in 2007, Ppdai is China’s first social lending site, claiming round 2m registered users. The company’s turnover is expected to exceed RMB 1 billion ($163.06m) this year. Ppdai has received $25m of Series A financing from Sequoia Capital in last December.
  • Xiaoying, a mobile video app, received RMB 5m  ($815,037) of angel investment from Innovation Works, disclosed Han Sheng, founder of the company. The company claimed over 10m registered users, while more than 1,000 of video clips being uploaded per day.
  • 8trip, a B2B tourism service, announced RMB 150m  ($24.45m) of funding from Vision Knight Capital and SBCVC. This is so far the largest capital injection in this sector in China. Founded in December 2012, 8trips serves as a platform that bridge the gap between upstream tourism service providers and downstream travelling agencies, improving the trading efficiency for the two parties. 8trip covers the markets of Wuxi, Nanjing, and Anhui this year, planning to explore oversea markets next year. The company established cooperation with nearly 1,000 tourism agencies and more than 4,000 service outlets.
  • DesignCrowd, a crowdsourcing marketplace for freelance designers, has raised $3m in new funding from investors led by Starfish Ventures. This brings the Sydney, Australia based company’s total raised to date to $6.3m. DesignCrowd will use the proceeds to open a U.S. office and scale its international marketing. Since its last funding round in November 2011, DesignCrowd says that its revenue has grown 500% to $1m per month. The company plans to open an office in the U.S., its biggest source of sales, in the next 12 months, as well as begin expanding into Europe, South America and Asia.
  • Moneytree, a personal finance iOS app, has received $1.6m in seed funding led by DG Incubation (Digital Garage’s investment branch), with participation from private investors, including senior executives from PayPal, MasterCard and Morgan Stanley. The Tokyo-based startup will use the proceeds to expand into international markets, including the U.S., in 2014. An iPad version and responsive Web app are also in the works. Moneytree launched in April 2013 and gained traction after being featured on the Japanese App Store. The app, which will support data from over 1,000 financial institutions by 2014, has been downloaded over 200,000 times and has aggregated data from over 15m transactions since it launched.
  • Go Launcher, an Android app maker out of Beijing that has been around for nearly a decade and has 42m monthly active users across a portfolio of apps, raised $20m in funding from Chinese antivirus software giant Qihoo360 and Kingsoft. The company filed go to public about two weeks ago, and plans to sell 7m American depositary shares at between $9.50 and $11, making for an offering worth between $66.5m and $77m. Those depositary shares represent about 42m ordinary shares in the company and the IPO could value the company at roughly $300m.
  • Chinese Bitcoin exchange, BTC China – the world’s largest by trading volume according to Bitcoinity.org – has closed a $5m Series A from institutional investors Lightspeed China Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners. BTC China was bootstapped prior to this round, with money put in by its three co-founders, Bobby Lee, Linke Yang, and Xiaoyu Huang.

Mergers & Acquisitions

US

  • Yesware, an email productivity startup for salespeople, which just this fall raised an additional $13.5m in Series B funding, has made its first acquisition. The company is acquiring the email file-sharing startup Attachments.me, which is also officially shutting down as of today. The entire five-person team from Attachments.me is joining Boston-based Yesware, but will remain in San Francisco, effectively establishing a new office for the company in the area, where Yesware reports a growing customer base. Attachments.me had just under 310,000 registered users and around 60,000-80,0000 monthly actives, but was having trouble growing revenue.
  • Under Armour, one of the more recognizable brands in the athletic apparel world, has acquired MapMyFitness, one of the largest mobile fitness communities out there, with 20m registered users, tens ofms of downloads across its mobile devices and 9m monthly active users, in a deal worth up to $150m. Under Armour plans to use its latest acquisition to accelerate its plans to enter the biometric measurement and tracking arena. Fitness tracking is a space in which the Baltimore-based company has traditionally lagged behind other athletic giants, like Nike, which launched its social fitness platform back in 2006 (Nike+) and today counts over 20m members in its ranks.
  • Oracle announced it has acquired Bitzer Mobile, a provider of mobile applications management solutions that allow organizations to provide employees access to corporate data and applications from their mobile devices, to address the growing security needs created by the bring your own device (BYOD) movement. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Bitzer had raised some $4.83m before this, with backers including Acero Capital and Chevron Technology Ventures. The deal comes fast on the heels of IBM acquiring Fiberlink.
  • CrowdSource, a leading provider of managed crowdsourcing solutions, announced today it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire San Francisco, California-based Servio, a competitor in the enterprise crowdsourcing industry. The acquisition will strengthen CrowdSource’s client portfolio, expand its workforce and augment its current service offerings.
  • Sears Canada Inc. (TSX: SCC) announced that it has reached a definitive agreement with Montez Income Properties Corporation (“Montez”) to sell its 50% joint venture interest in eight properties it owns with The Westcliff Group of Companies (“Westcliff”) for approximately C$315m ($300.7m). Sears Canada is a multi-channel retailer with a network that includes 181 corporate stores, 246 hometown dealer stores, over 1,400 catalogue merchandise pick-up locations, 101 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide home maintenance, repair, and installation network.

EMEA

  • RFS Holland Holding, the parent company of Dutch Wehkamp, has acquired the remaining 40% stake in Fonq. nl, a Dutch chain of online stores. RFS Holland Holding bought a 60% in Fonq.nl in 2011. Fonq.nl reported annual sales of EUR 15m in 2011.
  • ATM SA, the listed Polish telecommunication company, has sold 20.16m shares (a 45% stake) in mobile payment operator mPay to Grupa Lew SA, the electronic sales network operator. The remaining shares held by ATM in mPay will be transferred in the near future to fund Arbux Investments Ltd. As a result, ATMis fully withdrawing from its investment in mPay. The sale of shares in mPay will have impact on ATM’s results in 4Q13, the statement said. The group’s net profit will be reduced by about PLN 3.4m and ATM’s profit by about PLN 5m.
  • Oe24.at, the privately owned Austrian media group, has acquired a 51% stake in privately owned local vehicle retailing portal driveme.at. Oe24.at is the online division of the local group which publishes the daily newspaper Oesterreich.
  • Minkabu, Inc., successfully operating renowned platforms such as minkabu.jp and caiku.com with approx. 4m monthly unique users combined, has acquired sharewise GmbH, operator of sharewise.com, thereby establishing the leading global platform for investment-related social media. The company will combine the successful features of both platforms and maintain both brands for its continuing expansion.
  • Modern Times Group (MTG) has acquired 35% of the Swedish Youtube channel Splay for an undisclosed amount. Splay was founded by Vigor Sorman and consists of a collection of 50 Youtube channels with more than 2m subscribers.
  • ShiftDelete.net, the Turkish IT news company, has bought a 40% stake in SuperKarga.com. ShiftDelete.net will seek to make SuperKarga attain a monthly volume of 1m visitors next year. SuperKarga.com provides news specialising in cinema and cultural news.
  • Novomatic, the Austrian gaming group, has acquired a 90% stake in Icelandic electronic lottery company Betware, with the remaining 10% retained by the Betware management.

Asia

  • Pronexus, the listed Japan-based financial reports printing service provider, today announced that it will acquire a 20.0% stake in Tokyo-based web integration/consulting company Mitsue-Links. The value of the deal, which is scheduled to take effect on 20 November 2013, was not disclosed. Pronexus will acquire the stake from Mitsue-Links President Masashi Takahashi.
  • Perfect World Co., Ltd, a leading online game developer and operator based in China, announced that it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire 100% equity interest in Wuhu Huitian Shengshi Network Technology Co., Ltd. (“Wuhu Huitian”) for approximately RMB 255m and a minority equity interest in Beijing Shouyou Daqu Technology Co., Ltd. (“Daqu”) from Beijing Huitian Shengshi Technology Co., Ltd. (“Beijing Huitian”) for approximately RMB 40m. Wuhu Huitian and Daqu run TGBus.com (“TGBus”) and PTBus.com (“PTBus”), two leading Chinese gaming portals, respectively. Prior to Perfect World’s investments, Wuhu Huitian and Beijing Huitian were ultimately controlled by an individual unrelated to Perfect World.

Wow!

I just saw Chris Hemsworth and his wife in Green Park! Pity I didn’t ask for a photo!

Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-11-11

Private financing
US
  • Building Robotics, a startup that makes intelligent software systems for office buildings, has raised $1.14 million in a seed round led by Claremont Creek Ventures (CCV), Google Ventures, Formation 8, Navitas Capital, Red Swan Ventures and other angel investors. The Oakland, Calif.-based company says it will use the funds to add expertise in building management, development, back-end operators and user experience design.
  • Newsle, a network (and person)-oriented news alert service which tracks more than 100 million people and processes more than one million articles each day from over 100,000 sources, serving users filtered, personalized alerts based on their preferences, raised $1.85 million Series A financing round led by Advance Publications. Participating alongside the strategic investor were Maveron, DFJ, Transmedia Capital, Launny Steffens and previous investor Rockwell Schnabel.
  • Espresso Logic received $1.6 million in seed funding today for its backend as a service to connect web and mobile applications to external databases including MySQL, Oracle Server and Microsoft SQL Server. Inventus Capital led the funding along with angel investors including Gokul Rajaram, lead product engineer at Square and one of the creators of Google AdSense.
  • Austin-based VC firm Silverton Partners raised $75 million for its fourth fund, which will be committed to investing solely in early-stage Austin startups. That includes $10 million of which was raised from local entrepreneurs and founders that the company has worked with, who wish to re-invest in the startup ecosystem. In addition to traditional LPs and university endowments, Silverton Partners Fund IV includes $10 million from 40 local entrepreneurs that the firm has worked with who wished to invest in the fund.
  • Securly set out to help K-12 schools across the U.S. prevent their bright young minds from being exposed to the not-so-savory side of the Internet, raises $1m from NewSchool.
  • GAIN, a tracking app for a wide range of activities, from weight training to Pilates, endeavoring to unbundle the fitness class and become a marketplace for fitness trainers and workout plans, raised $2.1 million in venture funding led by InterWest, with contributions from its existing investors ncluding Keith Rabois, Ben Ling and InterWest Partners, among others.
  • Granify, a software-as-a-service platform that uses big data and machine learning to identify the points in an e-commerce transaction where users are most likely to convert, raised $1.5 million in seed funding from a group of investors that includes Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Klass Capital, iNovia Capital, BDC, Extreme Startups, Social Starts, Jared Kopf, Jerry Neumann, Giordano Contestabile, Tom O’Connell, Adam Caplan, Nick Koudas, Nilesh Bansal, Jamie McDonald, and Jonathan James. Granify is currently processing more than 5.3 billion data points a month. And it’s doing that by seamlessly integrating with e-commerce stores, and works on a pay-per-performance basis.
  • Appboy, a company that helps mobile app marketers better retain users and keep them engaged, is today announcing $7.6 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Icon Venture Partners, and saw participation from new investors IDG Ventures, and Mike Lazerow, founder of Buddy Media. Existing seed investors, including Blumberg Capital, Accelerator Ventures, Bullpen Capital and T5 Capital, also participated. The company has raised a total of $7.6 million. However, in addition to the $5.1 million in Series A funding, Appboy previously raised $2.5 million via convertible note seed financings, which have now converted.
  • GeoPoll, which says it is the world’s largest real-time mobile survey platform, enables companies to conduct surveys by SMS, voice messages or on the Web, launched with a $6.6 million Series A round, which brings its total raised so far to $11.6 million. GeoPoll will use proceeds from its Series A to expand its team and grow its footprint, with the goal of reaching 100 million people by the end of 2013, and 500 million by the end of 2014.
  • Zoomingo, a two-year old shopping and deal-finding app designed for use out in the real world, has raised an additional $1.25 million from its existing investors Benaroya Capital and Naya Ventures, along with other angels, including Rudy Gadre, former General Counsel at Facebook. The new funding brings Zoomingo’s total raise to date to $2.75 million. Zoomingo today has 1.3 million registered users on iOS and Android, and is generally found in the top 10 in the Catalogs section of the iTunes App Store. The company remains a relatively small, ten-person team based in Seattle.
  • Content recommendation service Zemanta raised $2 million in new funding from Union Square Ventures and Social Starts. Zemanta has launched a “content discovery network,” and it also introduced related products like Streams, which offers an endless stream of related articles directly below a mobile article page.
  • Zola, the new wedding registry startup emerging from Gilt And AlleyCorp founder Kevin Ryan and a group of former Gilt employees, has raised $3.25 million in Series A funding led by Thrive Capital. Joshua Kushner, founder and managing partner of Thrive Capital, will join Zola’s Board of Directors. Ryan, who led the seed funding for the startup, is also contributing to the A round. The company is part content, part Pinterest-like inspiration sharing, and part wish list/registry. The result is a well-designed. easy to use wedding registry that tells a story of a couple.
  • Y Combinator-backed startup Lob launched a new developer API which lets companies easily integrate printing and shipping services into their applications, has announced $2.4 million in seed funding from various YC partners and angel investors. Participating in the round were Kevin Hale, Dalton Caldwell, Sam Altman, Joshua Schachter, Alexis Ohanian, Paul Buchheit, Garry Tan, Polaris Partners, and other undisclosed investors. The company says it now has over 1,000 paying customers, and just hit $40,000 in revenue at the end of last month. It has also printed a million dollars worth of checks.
  • MediaSpike, which runs a marketplace for in-game product placement, has raised $5.2 million in Series A funding. The round was led by CMEA Capital, with the participation of existing investors 500 Startups, Google Ventures, and Raptor Capital. New backers include Andreessen Horowitz, Inspovation Ventures, and angel investors such as Jonathan Abrams, Othman Laraki, Rick Marini and Naval Ravikant. MediaSpike’s goal is to make it easier to run product placements in mobile and social games. Developers creating listings for standardized placements in their games and advertisers bid for those placements. A couple of weeks ago, the company said its network now reaches 20 million unique users, a 20x increase in fewer than five months.
  • AetherPal, a pre-loaded software allows mobile carriers remote access to your smartphone, secured a $6 million Series A round led by New Venture Partners and Boston-based Point Judith Capital. The $6 million in new funding will also be put to use to grow AetherPals’ 50-person team with hires in sales, product and exec roles.
  • Hinge, a mobile online dating app, raised a $4 million Series A from Great Oaks, Social + Capital, and more to bring its relationships app beyond DC, New York, and Boston. With $4 million, Hinge has some ammunition to fight off competitors and pay for growth. The money will help the startup break into new cities, and revamp its apps.
EMEA
  • Israel-based startup TabTale, an app publishers with a suite of over 240 apps that have more than 220 million downloads, announced a $12 million in Series B financing, led by Qualcomm Ventures and Magma Venture Partners, with contributions from Vintage Investment Ventures and existing investors. It’s now raised $13.5 million to date and claims more than 20 million active monthly users and done so behind girly games like “princess party planner” and while largely flying under the radar.
  • Lime&Tonic, the digital concierge app for iOS that provides personalised recommendations of “unforgettable” experiences to help users fill their social agendas, has announced that it’s closed a €1 million round of angel funding. The list of backers includes VCs Julie Meyer (Ariadne Capital), Cem Sortoglu (Earlybird Capital), Daniel Lynch (3TS Capital), and Miroslav Boublik (Craig Capital), all of whom have invested in a personal capacity, along with Graham Potts, co-founder of Jobsite. The UK startup says it will use the new funding to further develop the Lime&Tonic product, which currently consists of a web version and iOS app only.
  • Swiss mobile cloud-based field service app maker Coresystems has raised $15.5 million in Series A funding — its first external funding round, despite being founded in 2002. The investment comes from a consortium of private Swiss investors and well-known German tech investor Peter Zencke, a former SAP executive board member and head of research and development. Coresystems says the new funding will be used to accelerate product enhancements and business development and sales efforts to meet growing demand for its mobile cloud apps and software products, which help both small and large companies manage and deliver customer service out in the field.
  • Moscow-based Runa Capital, given that today it is making a $500,000 seed investment into Wallarm a “next gen” web security solution to protect online businesses from application level hacker attacks. The cash will go into developing the company which is switching from a service model to a product business model, and partnering with managed service providers, public and private clouds, PaaS/IaaS, monitoring and log management systems, cloud IPS/IDS services.
  • London-based U.K. startup what3words has closed a $500,000 seed round of financing from a group of angel investors, including Shutl’s Guy Westlake. The startup launched an ambitious bid to reinvent ZIP codes/postcodes back in July using location-pinpointing alternatives made up of a combination of three words each representing a 3m x 3m square of the globe. what3words claimed to have sold 10,000 OneWords a week after launching, priced at £0.99/$1.50 per year. Today it said it’s now sold 25,000 OneWords after around four months up and running. It’s also had some 12,000 app downloads and 200,000 unique visits to its website since launching the service on July 2.
  • Seriously, a new gaming startup from the execs who oversaw Angry Birds-maker Rovio’s game slate and licensing business, raised $2.35 million in seed funding led by Los Angeles’ Upfront Ventures (the firm formerly known GRP) and Denmark’s Sunstone Capital. The company is looking to build what he calls “casual plus” games, even as the rest of the market moves more mid-core with companies.
  • BugBuster, a startup spun out of the Operating Systems Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), has raised just over $1 million in what’s being described as a Series A round — such is the state of available funding in some parts of Europe. This adds to the $1 million previously raised by the company since it was founded in 2011. The investment, from a consortium of angels (BAS and Go Beyond), and previous backers Polytech Ventures, and Hasler Foundation, will be used by BugBuster to bring its cloud-based automated bug detection software for Web apps to market following the completion of Beta testing this month, and for further development.
  • London-based Fantoo raised £450,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube — a seed round it says has been oversubscribed, surpassing the original £400,000 target. It plans to use the investment to launch its AI-driven corporate email solution. Fantoo’s cloud-based email client will use machine-learning to anticipate and automatically categorise a user’s email, presenting it as an optional tapestry of images
  • Rapid-I — a German specialist in analytics tools that wants to become the industry standard for how enterprises predict the future — is today announcing its first round of funding, a rebrand to RapidMiner, and a new HQ in Boston to jump with two feet into growing its business in North America. The Series A of $5 million — the first money ever raised by RapidMiner — is led by Earlybird Venture Capital and Open Ocean, the investment firm backed by the founders of MySQL.
Asia
  • Zomato, South Asia’s largest restaurant guide, listing over 74,500 restaurants in 19 cities across India, UAE, UK, Qatar, and Sri Lanka, closed a $37 million funding round from Sequoia Capital and existing local investor Info Edge to supersize its international expansion plans. It’s raised a total of around $55 million to date. Currently Zomato is operating in eight markets, including the U.K., with around two-thirds of its traffic (15 million monthly users across the web and its apps) coming from its home market of India, vs. 100 percent one year ago before it kicked off its international expansion. It’s currently profitable in India and the UAE.
Mergers & Acquisitions
US
  • Kno, the education startup that started life as a hardware business and later pivoted into software — specifically via apps that let students read interactive versions of digitized textbooks, has been acquired by Intel. The company had raised some $73.4 million in funding since being founded in 2009, with Intel leading its Series C round in 2011. In that $37.5m round, Intel invested $20m.
  • Sincerely, the mobile gifting startup behind the Postagram, Ink, and Sesame apps which allow users to send everything from postcards to greeting cards to even physical gifts from their smartphones, has been acquired by Provide Commerce, the e-commerce business behind a number of big-name brands, including ProFlowers, Shari’s Berries, Red Envelope, and Personal Creations, in an all-cash deal. The company had previously raised $5.5 million in outside funding from Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Charles River Ventures, SV Angel, and others, though only $3 million in funding had been publicly reported before now. Brezina declined to say whether this additional funding was a Series B, or when it closed, however.
  • Origami, the family-focused social service that arose from Y Combinator-backed mobile social network Everyme’s earlier efforts, has been sold. The acquirer, Indiana-based eFamily, has taken over the company’s branding and software, and will continue to develop and support the product, which is good news for current users. Origami publicly launched its family-focused sharing service earlier this summer after a year of development. The product was something of a spin-off of Everyme, a private messaging and photo-sharing app that never really took off, despite having raised $3.66 million in outside funding. But Everyme allowed the startup to gain some early insights it used to build Origami.
  • Dice Holdings acquired onTargetjobs from Warburg Pincus, including recruiting sites HEALTHeCAREERS and Hcareers. Dice Holdings, Inc. purchased the outstanding shares of onTargetjobs for $50m in cash. The sites generated trailing 12 months revenues of approximately $38m.
EMEA
  • Meetic, the France based provider of online dating and matchmaking services, announces the filing on November 6, 2013 by Match.com France Limited of the draft prospectus for a cash simplified public tender offer for all of the outstanding shares of Meetic S.A. at a price of EUR 18.75 per share.
  • Crealogix, the Swiss market leader in comprehensive e-banking solutions, is acquiring a share in the Icelandic software company Meniga. PFM pioneer Meniga is a leading white-label provider of Personal Finance Management (PFM) software for integration into existing digital banking systems in Europe.
Asia
  • Groupon has acquired Korea’s Ticket Monster, for $260 million, to build out its mobile commerce operations in Asia through event ticketing and other commerce services. Ticket Monster had been owned by Groupon competitor Living Social. As part of the purchase, Groupon says it will be acquiring Living Social Korea. (We’re asking if it intends to keep that business fully operational; for now Groupon says that all management staff and brand is coming over to Groupon and there will be further transition plans revealed after the deal is closed. The acquisition is being made for $100 million in cash, with the remaining $160 million in Groupon shares, the company says, with the deal closing some time in the first half of 2014.
  • Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:MWW), and H&Q Korea, a leading private equity firm in Korea, have reached an agreement for H&Q Korea to acquire 49.9% of JobKorea, Monster’s South Korean operations and the leading career website in the country, for an aggregate purchase price of $90m. Monster will retain management control of the company and leverage H&Q Korea’s expertise and extensive Asian Pacific regional network to enhance and grow this profitable business.
  • HomeAway, Inc, the world’s leading online marketplace for vacation rentals, today announced it has secured a 55% stake in Bookabach Limited, the operator of a leading vacation rental site in New Zealand, in an all-cash transaction. The acquisition also includes Bookastay, the company’s affiliated Australian vacation rental site. Bookabach and Bookastay together feature more than 8,000 property listings in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific islands.

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Many thanks
Jonathan

Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-11-04

Private Financing
US
  • Circle Internet Financial has launched with $9m of Series A funding to increase mainstream adoption of digital currencies like Bitcoin by providing a payment platform for consumers and merchants. Investors include Jim Breyer, Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners. Circle is a payment platform that wants to make it easy for businesses and consumers to use Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
  • The multi-category retailer Nomorerack has raised $40m in Series B financing led by Oak Investment Partners and HTV Industries. Although the company launched as a flash sales site in 2010, Nomorerack has since transitioned to position itself as an online retailer that offers deep discounts across the board in numerous categories. The financing will go toward customer acquisition and building out the depth of its top categories, which include jewelry, apparel, electronics, home and lifestyle. The company did $9m in revenue in 2011, north of $100m in 2012, and is now on track to do close to $300m. It’s profitable, and about 70 percent of sales are repeat purchases from consumers. They are currently seeing around 5m monthly unique visitors to the site.
  • FightMe, a social video app with what may be my favorite startup name ever, has raised $500,000 in seed funding from an undisclosed London investor. Using a hashtag system, app users can post their own 30-second, unedited videos, and they can also browse other videos and post their own footage in response.
  • Y Combinator-incubated legal startup Lawdingo is announcing that it has raised another $690,000 in funding. The company’s goal is to make it more convenient and affordable for users to connect with a lawyer. The new funding comes from angel investors (and funds run by angel investors) including Nathaniel Stevens, Kartik Hosanagar, Gene Alston, Altair Capital, Atsany Captial, and Andrew Moroz. It brings Lawdingo’s total funding to $850,000.
  • Runnable, a recently launched Palo Alto-based startup that aims to make it easy to discover and reuse code snippets, today announced that it has raised a $2m seed round led by Sierra Ventures with additional investments from Resolute VC, AngelPad and 500 Startups. Hiten Shah, the founder of KISSmetrics and Isaac Roth, the founder of Makara, also participated in this round. The service, which launched with about 1,000 code snippets for popular programming languages and APIs, plans to use this new influx of cash to onboard the companies that are currently waiting to bring code snippets for their APIs, libraries and SDKs onto the site.
  • Jibe announced that it’s secured a $4m credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank as it prepares to flesh out its backend services for enterprise partners looking to hire the right people. Jibe has previously raised a $10m Series B from Longworth Venture Partners (which led the round), Polaris Partners, Lerer Ventures, DFJ Gotham, and Thrive Capital in a bid to make it easier to apply for jobs from smartphones.
  • Frontback, the photo app that lets users create composite images using the front and rear cameras on their iPhone handsets, has closed a new round of funding of around $3m  from existing investors Lerer Ventures, Index Ventures and SV Angel; and new angels including CrunchFund’s Michael Arrington (also founder and former editor of TechCrunch); Chris Howard at Fuel Capital; Michael Birch; Charlie Cheever; and Initialized Capital’s Harj Taggar, Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian. It comes after a $910,000 seed round in June 2012, when della Faille was still mainly working on his previous social publishing venture Checkthis.
  • Nextdoor is one of a handful of companies that has managed to thrive in the local market, and a growing list of investors are betting that the “Facebook for your neighborhood” could be the next big social network. To do so, the startup has secured a whopping $60m round in Series C financing from veteran investors, including John Doerr and Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and Lee Fixel of Tiger Global Management. The round, which brings the startup’s funding to over $100m, also includes Comcast Ventures, as well as Nextdoor’s previous investors, Benchmark, Greylock Partners, and Shasta Ventures.
  • Q Factor, a U.S. startup that’s aiming to fix media-rich content delivery on wireless devices so there’s less waiting around to watch that video or access a large file, has closed a $6.5m Series A funding round from Sigma Prime Ventures and Venrock. Investors John Simon, from Sigma, and Venrock’s Mike Tyrrell have been added to Q Factor’s board, joining seed investor Zenas Hutcheson and Q Factor founder and CEO Subhash Roy.
  • Snapverse, an iPhone app that combines 20-second user videos with licensed music, has raised $3.5m from John Hannan of Apollo Management (it’s a personal investment by Hannan, not Apollo). The amount of licensed music available is about to grow significantly, thanks to partnerships with Universal, Warner Brothers, and Sony.
  • Magisto, an app that was designed to magically create interesting videos out of the videos that users had stored on their computers and phones, has raised $13m to take on the ambitious goal of unlocking all the world’s photos and videos and making them sharable. The funding comes from two major strategic investors — Qualcomm Ventures and Sandisk. Existing investors Magma Venture Partner and Horizons Ventures also participated in the round. Magisto has signed up more than 13m users since being founded, pitching them on the idea of “video storytelling.” By using proprietary algorithms, the mobile and web app pieces together multiple video and photo assets and creates sharable videos and photo slideshows. They can then be shared on social networks, or with specific friends and family.
  • Communications platform for mobile and web apps Layer has raised $6m in seed funding, bringing the company’s total seed funding to $7.5m. In addition to existing seed investors CrunchFund, Data Collective, and SV Angel; the round now includes AME Cloud Ventures (Jerry Yang’s investment vehicle) e.Ventures, Ash Patel, Fuel Capital, and Greycroft. Layer is a communications platform that can be added to any mobile app by adding fewer than 10 lines of code into the mix. Once that Layer code snippet has been placed in an app via an SDK, users will be able to send text, voice, and video messages, and share files across different applications.
  • Xplornet Communications Inc., Canada’s largest rural broadband service provider, announced the successful completion of a C$158m ($151.2m) private financing transaction consisting of C$148m of new debt and equity and C$10m in refinanced debt. This additional funding from new and existing investors is an endorsement of Xplornet’s unwavering commitment to the continuing development of rural broadband in Canada.
EMEA
  • 6Wunderkinder, the German provider of online task management services, has raised $30m in Series B funding from new investor Sequoia Capital with the participation of existing investors Earlybird and Atomico. 6Wunderkinder will mainly use the fresh capital to expand in the US.
Asia
  • Apps Daily Solutions, an India-based mobile applications company, has received B series investment from ru-Net, Qualcomm Ventures and IndoUS Venture Partners. The overall size of the investment is put at more than $5m.
Mergers & Acquisitions
US
  • Intuit is acquiring FullSlate, an online scheduling company that allows clients to offer their customers the ability to make appointments directly to web sites and Facebook pages. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The service will become part of Intuit demandforce, a marketing platform for small businesses. Demandforce has tools for communications, to help clients keep in touch with their customers through email and SMS messaging.
  • Soluto, a service that lets users manage PCs and other connected devices remotely, is getting acquired by Asurion, a company that offers device insurance services. The news is being reported as a work in progress by TheMarker and Calcalist.. The purchase price is rumoured to be between $100-$130m. Today the company has clocked more than 3m downloads of its product, and over 15m “actions” carried out through its platform.
  • WebMD acquires Avado to help drive its evolution from media company to patient engagement platform. WebMD announced that its health network saw 138m unique visitors per month and total traffic of 2.95 billion page views during the third quarter its popularity has wavered over the last decade. While the two companies declined to share details in regard to the terms of the acquisition, sources close to the deal said that the price fell in the $20-$30m range and was a positive outcome both for the founders and for its investors. Avado raised $1m back in March from investors that include The Partnership Fund for New York City and healthcare angels like Andy Palmer and Dr. Daniel Schwartz.
  • Twitter just announced that it has closed its acquisition of MoPub, a company which helps mobile publishers manage their ad inventory. An official confirmation followed soon after, though neither company confirmed the $350m, all-stock price that was rumoured previously.
  • Payment infrastructure company First Data has acquired Perka, the mobile loyalty startup. Perka is First Data’s second acquisition in October and follows its purchase of Andreessen Horowitz-backed mobile payments startup, Clover, two weeks ago. With its acquisition of Clover, First Data has been looking to ramp up its support for small businesses, particular around point-of-sale (POS) infrastructure. By teaming up with the largest payment processor in the U.S., Perka will be able to achieve scale faster than it would have on its own, as well as tap into the company’s financial resources, brand recognition and its more than 6m credit card terminal customers in 34 countries.
  • Fab.com has acquired assets from myFab, a home decor and designer furniture portal in France, to build out its European business into that country. The transaction price was rumoured at €3.1m ($4.3m), with possible additional payouts over time. Prior to the acquisition, myFab was 51% owned by a WebMediaGroup, which owns other design commerce sites like Maison Facile, Tek Import and Amateur de Design, and 49% by Alven Capital and BV Capital. MyFab was originally co-founded by Ning Li, who later left and co-founded Made.com in the UK. The company had raised some $10.2m in funding. It’s not clear what assets have been acquired by Fab.com, but $4.3m doesn’t sound like a lucrative exit for the company.
  • Internap Network Services Corporation announced plans to acquire hosting and cloud provider iWeb in a deal valued at approximately $145m. The combination creates a top five pure play IT infrastructure services provider, with trailing twelve months revenue in excess of $320m. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, iWeb serves 10,000 SMB customers in more than 100 countries and has approximately 200 employees.
  • A new joint venture agreement between BCD Travel and its partner in Brazil positions the travel management company for growth in Latin America’s largest economy. With the agreement, BCD Travel takes a controlling interest in a newly established Brazilian company. Doing business as BCD Travel, the new Brazil operation will employ about 300. Investments will result in enhanced service and better data for clients. For example, call center infrastructure will be upgraded and new workflow management implemented and training and development improved.
  • Figment, a New York-based website aimed at teenagers, announced that it has been acquired by Random House.
  • KiwiTech, the Washington D.C.-based mobile technology company, will acquire a 75% stake in Ruckus Media Group, the three-year-old global children’s digital media company and early entrant in the iOS application space. Ruckus recently transitioned from award-winning, stand-alone applications to an eBook, video and interactive application portal featuring some of the nation’s top brands including Crayola, Hasbro, SeaWorld, and Curious George, among many others.
EMEA
  • zanox, the leading European performance advertising network, has completed the acquisition of Digital Window, the holding company of the multi-award winning UK affiliate network Affiliate Window, by acquiring the remaining 49.9 percent of shares. The acquisition process started in 2009 with the two zanox shareholders Axel Springer and PubliGroupe purchasing a 50.1 percent stake in Digital Window. In 2010, the two companies consolidated their majority shareholding in Digital Window into their joint subsidiary zanox. The zanox Group is owned by German Axel Springer, with a shareholding of 52.5 percent, also by the Swiss PubliGroupe with 47.5 percent.
  • Bygghemma, the Swedish e-retailer for building materials, is to acquire the Swedish furniture e-retailer, Trademax. The acquisition will increase Bygghemma’s expected 2013 turnover from SEK 500m (EUR 57m) to SEK 700m (EUR 80m).
  • Babyshop, the Swedish online baby products retailer, has acquired its Swedish competitor, Oii. The two companies complement each other and the buy will strengthen Babyshop further. Babyshop has a turnover of around SEK 100m (EUR 11.4m) and that Oii is seen as the market number two.
  • Host Europe Group has announced the successful acquisition of domainFACTORY, for an undisclosed consideration. domainFACTORY currently manages 1.1m domains and serves approximately 173,000 customers – mostly in the small and medium enterprises and private professional market segments. This transaction follows the recent acquisition by Host Europe Group of Telefónica Germany Online Services GmbH, a leading enterprise-managed hosting provider.
Asia
  • None this week