Monthly Archives: December 2013

Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-12-09

Private financing

US

  • HealthLoop, the makers of a cloud-based platform that aims to automate the process by which doctors engage with their patients after visits, announced that it has closed a $10m round of Series A financing. The round was led by Canvas Venture Fund, the new $175m investment vehicle recently launched by three partners of Morgenthaler Ventures. The round is the first investment made by Canvas Venture Fund and includes participation from Subtraction capital, as well as others. As a result of the round, Canvas Venture Partner Rebecca Lynn will be joining the startup’s board of directors.
  • After raising $70m in September, Practice Fusion, the makers of a popular Electronic Health Records (EHR) platform, raised an additional $15m as an extension to the company’s Series D raise in September, bringing the round to $85m in total, with the company’s total funding raised to date standing just under $150m.
  • Mobile analytics firm Flurry has raised a $12.5m round of funding. The money comes from venture capital firms that include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Interwest Partners, Crosslink Capital, and Menlo Ventures, according to the filing. The company works with 125,000 companies (most of them app and game developers). And more than 400,000 apps use Flurry’s analytics, with another 20,000 signing up every months.
  • Miami-based startup Kidozen, which makes mobile app development software for enterprises that integrates with major business software systems, raised $5m from Third Point Ventures.
  • Monetate has raised $8m for its platform that helps companies such as Best Buy increase their sales through the analysis of information from multiple sources such as interactions with the web site, email data and search engine information. The Series C round brings the company’s total funding to $43m. Existing investors OpenView Venture Partners, Common Fund and Lead Edge Capital participated in the round.
  • Palantir, the big data company that secured clients like the NSA, the FBI and the CIA early on, is topping up its recent September funding round with a 50% bump in valuation. The company is now valued at $9bn. An SEC filing released showed that they are raising an additional $57.5m on top of a $196.5m round three months ago. That round valued the company at $6bn.
  • Online code school Bloc raised $2m in seed funding in a round led by Harrison Metal, with First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, and Learn Capital also participating.
  • Career community Glassdoor raised an additional $50m led by Tiger Global Management, and brings Glassdoor’s total venture capital to almost $93m. New investor Dragoneer Investment Group also participated in the round, along with existing investors Battery Ventures, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, and Sutter Hill Ventures.
  • San Francisco-based startup Swapbox has raised $800,000 in seed funding, led by Tony Hsieh’s Vegas Tech Fund investment vehicle and including Fuel Capital, YC founder Trevor Blackwell, Base Ventures and Ace & Company. The startup is hoping to cash in on the rise of ecommerce and home delivery, with shared, centrally located delivery lockers so people never miss a package again.
  • Sketchfab, which lets designers share their 3D creations online via an in-browser viewer and online portfolios, has raised $2m in funding.
  • Homejoy, a startup that makes it easy and relatively affordable ($20 an hour) to sign up for a home cleaning, is announcing that it has raised $38m in new funding. The money was actually raised across two rounds — a Series A led by Google Ventures and a Series B led by Redpoint Ventures. The rounds were raised within “a couple months of each other”. Max Levchin, First Round Capital, Oliver Jung, and Mike Hirshland (most of whom had invested previously) also participated. Altogether, Homejoy says it has now raised a total of $40m.
  • Big data startup Trifacta raised $12m, with Greylock Partners and previous investor Accel Partners leading the round. The new money will help the company add to its technology for preparing raw data for analysis and get it into the hands of more users.
  • Mobile car insurance app maker Snapsheet announced $10m in new funding.
  • San Francisco’s Industry Ventures has raised a $425m secondary fund and a $200m special opportunities fund to purchase equity in venture-backed startups. This brings Industry’s total capital under management to $1.7bn, more than any other secondary-focused firm.
  • Monetate, a company with deep roots in e-commerce and multi-channel marketing, has taken an additional $8m in funding from its existing investors. The startup took $15.2m in February 2013; the new money will be used to support Monetate’s continued growth. Altogether, the company has taken around $44m in institutional funding to date.
  • Non-profit EducationSuperHighway – which lets schools test their broadband speeds and guides them on how to secure better connections – announced a significant funding round of $9m to help schools get on the fast track. The funding is being led by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education fund, and also includes participation from the Gates Foundation, the charitable group led by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. Several other foundations and education entities participated in the round as well.
  • Misfit Wearables, the hardware startup that built a sleek activity tracker called the Shine, raised $15.2m from Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures. All of its existing investors, including Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Paypal co-founder Max Levchin and incTANK all participated and took their full pro-rata in the round.
  • Brazilian antivirus startup PSafe announced a $30m Series C investment round led by Chinese antivirus company Qihoo 360 with a $25m investment, and existing investors Redpoint e.ventures and Pinnacle Ventures returned to contribute another $5m. PSafe is a free antivirus software for the Brazilian market, with 30m installs to date, and heavy initial adoption among Brazil’s B and C middle classes.
  • Business analytics company SumAll is announcing that it has raised $4m in new funding from existing investors Battery Ventures and Wellington Partners, as well as an additional $1m in debt from Silicon Valley Bank. The company allows customers to connect a wide range of services, including social networks like Facebook and Twitter, email marketing tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact, payment providers like Amazon Payments and PayPal, and ad platforms like Bing Ads and Google AdWords. Businesses can then view and analyze all of that data from a single interface.
  • Swarm Mobile believes that brick and mortar retailers lack insights about how consumers are moving through physical stores. The funding round was led by Icon Ventures, with the firm’s partner Tom Peterson joining the company’s board. The San Francisco-based startup has raised just under $3.5m in its first round of funding. It raised a $1m seed round in October of 2012 and has spent the previous year building relationships with Point of Sales (POS) providers.

 

EMEA

  • Gousto, the UK recipe kit subscription service that competes with Rocket Internet’s HelloFresh, and Housebites (post-pivot), has raised $2m in new funding. The investment was led by London VC MMC Ventures, with participation from existing backers, including Angel CoFund. The additional capital will be used to further strengthen its product, and to “fast track” the business.
  • The Business Growth Fund has backed digital media marketplace The Exchange Lab through an $8m investment.
  • Northzone, the Scandinavian VC that was an early backer of music streaming service Spotify and other notable startups out of the region, announced that it is raising a new, €200m ($272m) fund, which it will use to invest in more startups with “Nordic DNA”. €150m ($204m) has been secured so far.
  • Israeli video adtech startup, Carambola has closed a $4m Series A round, led by Pitango Venture Capital. Existing investors, 2B Angels, Plus Ventures and Rutledge Vine Capital, also participated in the round. Carambola, which was founded back in 2011 and raised a $1m seed in July 2013, has built a platform to automate the process of making online video content interactive — by scanning the video and using proprietary algorithms to determine contextually relevant additional content to serve up for users to interact with.
  • Wywy, a German company promising to help monetize TV activity on mobile devices, is announcing that it has raised $7m in Series B funding. The new funding follows a $3.1m Series A last year and comes from existing investors Cipio Partners. Wywy says it currently supports 200 channels in five countries, and one of the big goals is to expand in Europe and the United States.
  • MOVE Guides, a UK-based SaaS platform startup aimed at dramatically simplifying the process of someone moving their lives to an international city for work, announced $1.8m in seed funding from Notion Capital and NEA to accelerate expansion of its SaaS solution and scale up. It has previously raised £400,000 funding. Last year it launched a public beta aimed at the international relocation market, worth more than $40bn annually but currently dominated by lumbering offline companies.
  • Hoxton Ventures, the London-based ‘micro-cap‘ early-stage VC firm, has raised $40m for its first fund, with an aim to close at $50m. Hoxton plans to make 4-6 investments per year, each typically at the high end of the $1-2m range. Two investments have already been made from the fund and it’s even seen its first exit, in the shape of Llustre’s acquisition by Fab.
  • Russian event ticketing company Ticketland — which claims to be closing in on being the largest player in Eastern Europe — has raised a new round of funding: $10m from Russia-based Private Equity and Venture Capital fund iTech Capital. Money it says it’ll use to increase e-ticketing as a percentage of its sales; up from the current 15% to an ambitious 50%.
  • Accel Partners has led a $4.5m Series A funding round in a new Heidelberg, German-based startup Trufa, founded (spun out of IT company VMS), which is focusing on improving enterprises operational efficiency using real-time analytics that tap into SAP-based ERP systems — and displaying the results via easy-to-digest tablet apps. As part of the investment, Bruce Golden, Partner at Accel Partners, will be joining the Trufa board, along with former SAP execs Paul Wahl and Alex Ott. Prior to this funding round, VMS invested seed capital in the initial product development for Trufa, started during summer 2012.
  • Having initially set a target of £750,000, Seedrs has closed a new funding round worth £2.1m – in exchange for a 30% stake. The round has seen participation from some 850 investors on the Seedrs crowdfunding platform, and reportedly breaks all existing records for most capital raised through an equity platform and for the number investors involved. The £2.1m Seedrs has now secured will be used to fund its pan-European expansion, following an annualised growth rate of more than 600%.
  • New York investor Insight Venture Partners has joined a growing pool of existing investors at DataSift, a social data platform which allows companies to aggregate, filter and extract information from public social conversations on Twitter, as part of Series C round. The company’s funding efforts began in January 2010 when it raised $1.5m of seed investment through David Richmond. It then followed this up with a split Series A round netting it $6m in July 2011 and $7.2m in April 2012. Its Series B transaction back in November 2012 brought in $15m.
  • Index Ventures has led a €10m Series C round in navabi, an online retailer for plus-size fashion. Existing investors, which include Seventure Partners and Dumont Venture, also participated in the round. The German startup was founded back in 2007, and has raised some €13.5m to date. Currently around a third (30%) of its €30m revenue comes from the U.K. and the U.S. It added that its turnover is “more than doubling” year on year.

 

Asia

  • Phone Warrior, a New Delhi-based startup that blocks mobile spam calls and text messages, announced a seed round of around $550,000 from Lightspeed Venture Partners. The money raised will be used for bolstering marketing efforts to increase Phone Warrior’s user base from its current 1m to 10m.
  • Curated caricature avatar design service Siyanhui, the first project graduated from 3wcoffee’s Next Big incubator, secured angel investment from ZhenFund and Innovation Angel Funds, and moved to Shanghai. The company is trying to explore domestic market after established presence in overseas, especially Japanese market.
  • SparkLabs, the company behind a Silicon Valley-inspired accelerator program in South Korea, announced its first seed-stage fund in October, with the aim to “help great startups go global.” SparkLabs Global Ventures also announced it invested $400,000 into LawPal and $500,000 into Memebox.
  • Singapore-based game developer Inzen Studio has raised a total of $550,000 to date from angel investors Hans de Back (October 2012) and Harveen Narulla (August 2013). The fresh fund will allow Inzen Studio’s founder Gerald Tock and his team to seek more collaborative projects.
  • The Korean mobile developer Playnery has raised $2.8m in funding, pushing its lifetime total past $6m led by JAFCO Asia, one of Japan’s most influential VC investors. In November 2012, Playnery raised around $3.8m from a group of investors that included Qualcomm and SoftBank.
  • Kalibrr, a Philippine-based outsourced job marketplace, raised $1.9m from global investors Omidyar Network (co-founder of eBay), Siemer Ventures, Learn Capital, Kickstart Ventures, and several other angel investors. Prior to this round of funding, Philippine incubator Kickstart Ventures invested $100,000 in seed funding last year. Kalibrr is also part of the 10 startups that underwent Kickstart’s incubation.
  • Pricebook, an Indonesia-based price comparison search engine, announced $150,000 seed funding from Japan’s Incubate Fund, making it the VC’s first ever investment in Southeast Asia.
  • BeSmart.net, a Russian platform for posting and viewing paid educational and informative content, will receive a total of $4m over the next three years from Hong Kong-based investment fund Education Matrix. BeSmart expects annual project income to reach around $15.4m, and 100,000 lectures will be uploaded to the site within a year. The average lecture will cost about 150 rubles (approximately $4.50).
  • Access Industries, is leading a $112m investment into two of Rocket’s big e-commerce plays in the Asia-Pacific region, Zalora in Asia and The Iconic in Australia. Rocket Internet says that this is the biggest single funding announcement for any e-commerce site to date in the region — breaking Zalora’s own record from just six months ago, when it raised $100m. Rocket Internet has confirmed that this $112m investment is completely separate and “has nothing to do with the $500m fund”. Along with Access Industries, Scopia Capital Management LLC and other institutional investors also participated.
  • 591wed, an O2O wedding service provider, announced tens ofms of capital injection from Govtor Capital, marking the largest single investment to date in this field. The company has received funding from Vcwill Capital earlier this year. 591wed owns and operates an online platform for wedding services including wedding ceremony, wedding feast, wedding clothes, and photography. In addition, it also runs offline activities to provide one-stop procurement experience for wedding couples.
  • Bangalore-based event content aggregation web platform Eventifier announced it has secured $500,000 funding from Accel Partners and KAE Capital. The follow-on funding will be used to build Eventifier “into the largest event archiving platform in the world,” says co-founder Jazeel Badur Ferry.
  • Coda Payments, a Singapore-based company working with telcos to implement easy payments for digital products, has secured $2.3m in Series A funding from GMO Global Payment Fund, Rakuten Ventures, CyberAgent Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, and Skype co-founder Toivo Annus. Coda Payments plans to expand to Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Eventifier, a Bangalore-based startup that aggregates and then creates archives of social media content from conferences, has raised around $500,000 in a seed round from Accel Partners and KAE Capital. The financing will be used to hire data scientists and beef up the sales and marketing efforts to carve out a position in an already-wide field of event-planning startups that include Eventbrite, Conferize, Epilogger and Doubledutch.
  • Tokyo-based Crowdworks announced it closed a $10.7m funding round from CyberAgent, DG Incubation, and Denstu Digital Fund 1. Crowdworks will use the money to expand and diversify its crowdsourcing platform. Crowdworks will also place staff in San Francisco at a new co-working space. Crowdworks claims to be the biggest marketplace of its kind in Japan. 80,000 crowdsourced workers have completed $48.8m worth of tasks for more than 18,000 companies on Crowdworks since it launched about two years ago. Crowdworks previously received $3m funding from Itochu Technology Ventures, DG Incubation, and Suneight Investment.

 

Mergers & acquisitions

US

  • Verizon acquired EdgeCast Networks, a content delivery network founded in 2008 that has grown to be one of the fastest-growing Internet companies in the world. A projected finalization date sometime in early 2014.
  • Yahoo has acquired live concert streaming platform Evntlive. The deal will see the startup shut its doors, with the team joining the Sunnyvale-based company. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • getTalent was acquired by job site Dice. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Systems in Motion (SIM), a provider of technology consulting and solutions for enterprises, knows its customers are hungry to capitalize on the mountains of data stored away in their servers. So to bolster its internal data offerings, the company purchased social analytics toolmaker Claritics, SIM announced this morning. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Yahoo has acquired the video creation app Ptch in a move to bolster its photo and video platform technology. The startup announced in a blog post that it will be shutting down on January 2.
  • Square has acquired New York-based photo-sharing app Viewfinder, or perhaps more accurately, that members of the Viewfinder team are joining the payments company, where they’ll work out of Square’s New York office. Two Viewfinder co-founders, Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis, also former ex-Googlers, will now become senior members of Square’s East Coast team, along with the rest of Viewfinder’s staff. Square declined to discuss the terms of the deal. Viewfinder had raised an undisclosed seed round of funding from private investors, which was north of $1m.
  • In-store analytics provider RetailNext is plugging a hole in its product suite with the acquisition of Nearbuy Systems, a three-and-a-half year old, in-store mobile analytics firm backed by $2.5m from Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Metamorphic Ventures, and others. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is an all-stock, 100% equity deal which values Nearbuy in the “high teensms” internally at RetailNext. RetailNext CEO Alexei Agratchev characterized the acquisition as not being an exit for Nearbuy stakeholders, but a way for the two firms to “build a really big business together.”
  • Intel has acquired Hacker League, a popular platform for managing hackathons, which will be incorporated with the API management company Mashery (acquired April 2013). The terms of Hacker League deal are not being disclosed but we understand it is for a sum significantly smaller than the $180m Intel reportedly paid for Mashery. Only the platform, IP and other assets are coming over to Intel; the three co-founders Mike Swift, Abe Stanway, and Ian Jennings, who are all in their early 20s, are not.
  • Apple has purchased the social media analytics firm Topsy Labs for more than $200m. Topsy Labs is one of the resellers of Twitter’s data (also known as the “firehose”) and competes against the likes of Gnip and DataSift. Prior to the acquisition, Topsy raised $32.2m in venture capital, backed by BlueRun Ventures, Ignition Partners, Founders Fund, SV Angel, and other angel investors. In 2009, it secured $3m in debt from Western Technology Investment.
  • App discovery startup AppHero has been acquired by fellow Toronto-based company Fuse Powered, the company announced , in a deal that will see the entire AppHero team including 19-year old founder Jordan Satok join Fuse Powered and develop its products for app publishing, marketing and distribution. The terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but AppHero has raised some $1.8m in funding from OMERS Ventures and others.
  • Yahoo has acquired SkyPhrase, a startup that builds natural language processing technology, the company revealed in a blog post. SkyPhrase will join Yahoo’s New York office, according to that company’s site, and will work with Yahoo to help continue its goal of “making computers deeply understand people’s natural language and intentions.”

 

EMEA

  • eBuddy, the Dutch software company specializing in mobile and Web-based messaging services, has been acquired by accommodation booking platform and fellow Netherlands company Booking.com. eBuddy revealed it had entered into an ‘acqui-hire’ agreement, which would result in eBuddy shutting down and its employees jump on board at Booking.com.
  • Direct marketing business Granby Marketing Services has secured the backing of Enterprise Ventures to part-fund a management buy-out (MBO). The Blackburn-based business, which provides service including e-commerce fulfilment and warehousing to customers including Sainsbury’s and the Wales Cricket Board, was initially acquired by Stephen Bentley from Omnicom in 2000. Since then it has gone on to grow revenues from £1.5m to over £5m.
  • London-based Alaric Systems has been sold to a subsidiary of US firm NCR Corporation by investors including NVM Private Equity (NVM) and Foresight Group. The $84m (£51.3m) transaction follows a period of growth which has seen the payment processing and fraud prevention software company grow to 117 employees across six global offices and 1.6bn transactions a month.
  • Blackhawk Network, the subsidiary of Safeway that IPOed back in April and which offers prepaid and payment products such as gift cards in North America and elsewhere, has announced it has acquired European gift card distributor startup, Retailo. The price of the acquisition, which Blackhawk said was funded with “cash from operations”, has not been disclosed but rumoured to be around €50m/$68m. Retailo’s management team will be remaining, post-acquisition.
  • Sports and betting business Sportradar has added American sports to its offering by buying SportsData for an undisclosed amount. The deal is said to ‘compliment’ Sportradar’s European product portfolio with all major US sports, allowing it to become a ‘truly global’ sports and betting content business.

Asia

  • UCWeb, the Chinese company best known for its mobile web browser, announced that it has acquired Teiron Network, the Guangzhou-based company behind popular Chinese app store PP Assistant, for an undisclosed amount. PP Assistant functions as a third-party app store for jailbroken Apple devices. It has 40m users, eightm daily downloads, and 450,000 apps. It also has Windows, Mac OS, and Android clients.
  • Korean web giant Naver has acquired Gogolook, the Taiwan-based startup behind Whoscall, a popular app in East Asia that identifies the origins of unknown callers. The exact amount paid for the purchased has not yet been disclosed.
  • Alibaba and electronic appliance maker Haier (SHA:600690; HKG:1169) announced that the two companies will jointly create a nationwide logistics, distribution, and installation system. As part of the partnership, Alibaba invested HKD 2.8bn ($364m) for a 2% stake in Haier and a 9.9% stake in Haier’s logistics and delivery subsidiary.
  • STI has acquired education-focused app store Chalkable for roughly $10m.
  • UCWeb, the leading Chinese mobile browser and mobile service provider, confirms the acquisition of Guangzhou Teiron Network Technology Co. Ltd, the developer of mobile device management suite and iOS app distributor PP Assistant. The transaction is expected to be closed soon. The acquisition price isn’t disclosed.
  • Malaysia and Singapore-based entrepreneur Patrick Grove will acquire a number of flash sales businesses in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia through his company iBuy Group. He will then raise A$37m ($33m) by putting iBuy up for an initial public offering on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) before the end of this year. The proposed ticker is ‘IBY’. The companies being acquired are:
    • Dealguru, which owns Deal.com.sg (Singapore) and Mydeal.com.my (Malaysia), for $11m in cash and $23.28m in shares at the Offer price
    • Buy Together, which owns BeeCrazy.hk (Hong Kong), for $8.4m in cash and $12.6m in shares
    • Dealmates.com (Malaysia), part-owned by Patrick Grove’s Catcha Group, for $10m in cash
  • Qihoo, the largest Internet security service in China, will buy new shares issued by Japanese mobile game developer Klab that will represent a 2.56% stake in the latter, according an announcement by Klab. It is expected that Qihoo’d help Klab leverage its huge user base.
  • Alibaba reportedly pushed through the acquisition for a second mobile music company Ttpod after acquiring music service Xiami in April this year. Founded in May 2008, Ttpod has receivedms of dollars of Series A in 2011 and secured strategic investment from Alibaba in October 2012. Ttpod registered north of 200m users by this June, according to data from Xiami.
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Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-12-02

Private Financing
US

  • Wire Labs, a company founded by ex-Amazon engineers Piragash Velummylum and Jordan Timmermann, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding for their new mobile messaging application called “Wire.” The app, currently in a private beta release, is targeting the teen audience with photo and video messaging features and promise of real-time feedback. Investors in the round include Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford, former Facebook COO Owen Van Natta, former Facebook general counsel Rudy Gadre, Mike Slade from Second Avenue Partners, Microsoft M&A veterans Bruce Jaffe, Hank Vigil & Fritz Lanman, Decide.com founder Brian Ma, Origin Venture’s Brent Hill, Senator LP executives, and 16 current and former Amazon executives, including former CIO Rick Dalzell.
  • New York City-based technology studio, betaworks, home to Digg, Instapaper, Dots, Bitly, Chartbeat, and many other products and services, is raising $20 million in new capital. The company is raising $10 million in fresh capital, while the other $10 million was from a note. In terms of the new capital, the company has closed on $4.25 million out of this larger round, which includes both old and new investors. There are several high profile new investors including Tumblr’s David Karp, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Jerry Yang (Yahoo), Ev Williams (Twitter), Abdur Chowdhury (Summize founder), Dave Morin (Path), and Gerry Laybourne, Nickelodeon founder, among others.
  • FlatClub, a sort of Airbnb for top university students and their alumni, raised $1.5million from a network of Angels including Jeremy Coller of Coller Capital, Professor Eli Talmor of London Business School and David Wolfe of BrandJourney and InterCapital. The investment will enable FlatClub, which was established by former London Business School graduates Nitzan Yudan and Tomer Kalish, to increase the number of listings from 10,000 to 30,000 rooms and apartments available for short stays within 12 months, launching a new technology platform to further expand its presence across Europe and the USA.
  • DraftKings, a company which holds cash-prize fantasy game competitions in baseball, football, basketball, and hockey, has raised $24 million led by Redpoint Ventures with participation by GGV Capital, Atlas Venture, and BDS Ventures.
  • Freshdesk, the California-based online help-desk software solution company, has received a C series investment of USD 6.99m from its existing investors, Tiger Global and Accel Partners. The funds will be used by the company for further expansion in the market in the US as well as sales and marketing activities.

EMEA

  • PingTune (formerly named Tuneit), an iPhone app which lets users search for music from sources like YouTube and SoundCloud, then simply message friends with that track, raised £1m ($1.6m) seed investment from Rupert Hambro (former Chairman of Hambros Bank, currently Chairman of JO Hambro) and Dominic Perks (serial entrepreneur and active investor).
  • Social planning app WePopp raised a small round of €130,000 from a number of France-based angel investors.
  • Munich-based multimodal journey planner startup, fromAtoB – which operates under the rather less catchy name of VerkehrsmittelVergleich.de in its home market of Germany – has closed a seven-figure Series A expansion round  from French VC firm Seventure Partners and Daniel Wild, CEO of Ecommerce Alliance and Tiburon. Prior to this expansion round, the company raised a six-figure seed back in 2009 from four business angels, including Dr. Florian Heinemann, ex MD of Rocket Internet, now MD of Project-A; along with the aforementioned Wild. It also gained a subsidy from the German state to get the business off the ground.
  • London-based startup Wedo, an online furniture e-commerce store, has closed a £3 million funding round led by MMC Ventures, with participation from existing seed backers Passion Capital and a number of unnamed private equity investors. Wedo is on track to do £4m in revenue this year.
  • London-based Supersolid, a mobile game studio, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Index Ventures alongside Initial Capital through a deal led by partner Ben Holmes. The capital it has secured from its two new venture capital backers will be put to work expanding its team based in the capital and growing the distribution of its games worldwide.
  • Addwish, a Danish startup offering online wish-list services for consumers and online businesses has closed $1.8 million in seed funding from Nordic-based early stage VC firm Sunstone Capital.
  • Extreme Reality, an Israeli startup that provides 3D motion analysis for use with standard 2D cameras, has raised a new $10 million Series D round from existing investor Marker LLC and one of its client partners, bringing the total funding for the company to $24 million. Extreme Reality’s tech is currently used in a number of mobile titles, including SEGA’s GO DANCE, which is essentially a Just Dance type of game that works on the iPad and iPhone instead of requiring something as advanced as the Microsoft Kinect
  • MetaPack, a London-based provider of delivery management technology, is picking up a round of £20 million ($33 million). The funds will be used to take MetaPack international, with acquisitions a key focus.

Asia

  • CoinJar, a startup that launched a bitcoin wallet with 10,000 registered users in Australia, has secured a A$500,000 ($455,000) seed round led by Australian venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures, which put in $228,000. Angel investors have also participated in the round, and they include entrepreneur Torsten Hoffman, RetailMeNot founders Guy King and Bevan Clark, game developer Rob Murray, and technology investor Chris Hitchen.
  • TalkingData, a Chinese mobile data analysis service, announced today more than $10 million in Series A funding from North Light Venture Capital. Founded in September 2011, the company released its first product in May 2012. Now its offerings include app analytics, mobile game analytics, mobile campaigns and analytics for enterprises.
  • Cybercellar.com, the South African e-retailer of wines and related products, has sold a 24% stake to local venture capital house Silvertree Capital. Silvertree Capital has been granted an option to acquire an additional 15% stake if Cybercellar.com should need more growth capital in the future. Cybercellar.com, established in 1998, was the first online retailer of South African wines and is now one of the only two original Internet retailers still in business.
  • IaaS startup Ucloud announced $10 million of Series A financing led by DCM and Bertelsmann, the largest capital injection in this sector so far. The fund is now in place. The investment will be poured in R&D, marketing and procurement of hardware, such as servers.
  • Restaurant finder and booking service Retty has cooked up yet another major round of funding to help it grow. According to The Bridge, Retty’s series B funding is worth $3.2 million. The series B money comes from Itochu Ventures, Mizuho Capital, and other undisclosed investors. Retty’s first big funding round came in October 2012, which involved $1.2 million from GREE Ventures, NTT Investment Partners, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.
  • Chinese online food ordering site Ele.me announced that it has raised $25 million in Series C funding, led by Sequoia China and joined by existing investors GSR Ventures and Matrix Partners China. The service has had 20,000 partner restaurants in 12 Chinese cities. In 2012 the total sales through Ele.me was RMB 600m (a little less than $100m), out of which the fees the company received was about RMB 10m (about $1.6m). Ele.me raised Series A from GSR Ventures in early 2011 and Series B from GSR and Matrix Partners China in early 2013. The company has over 200 employees.
  • Singapore-based 8villages has completed its $150,000 convertible note pre-Series A round from IMJ Fenox. 8villages connects farmers and agribusinesses together through its platform, allowing a more transparent flow of information within the agriculture value chain.
  • Indian mobile game developer and publisher Nazara wants to grow the gaming ecosystem in India – as well as take a slice of promising gaming startups in India by launching a seed stake fund focused on gaming. The new fund will invest $40,000 to $80,000 each time in exchange for a negotiable stage in the gaming startup. The fund’s total size is Rs 5 crore, which is $800,000. Nazara’s fund looks to invest into six to eight teams during the course of 2014.
  • Wildfire, a Singapore and China-based social media marketing company, has raised $2 million from Singapore’s Hera Capital, a private equity firm. Founded in Singapore in 2009 but focusing largely on the Chinese market, Wildfire uses big data analytics to provide Fortune 500 companies with tools to gain insight on consumers, manage social media crises, shape the outcome of social media conversations, and convert online conversations into real purchases.
  • Kingsoft (HKG:3888) has secured a fresh round of funding worth $50m from Morningside Capital, GGV Capital, and Shunwei China Internet Fund and will open an office in Palo Alto, California, to boost its marketing and partnerships in the US .

Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • Live music giant Live Nation has acquired Meexo, a startup that first launched at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference in 2011. The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Meexo’s two co-founders will take on new roles at Live Nation Labs, the digital-focused arm of the company, with Romain David becoming head of mobile product and Dav Yaginuma leading mobile engineering.
  • Byliner, a startup offering a new approach to monetizing long-form journalism and fiction, has acquired mobile developer Seesaw Decisions. Seesaw launched an app of the same name that allowed users to collect opinions from friends, then followed it with Everlapse, an app for creating and sharing digital flipbooks. The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Seesaw’s investors include Freestyle Capital, Baseline Ventures, First Round Capital, and betaworks.

EMEA

  • German developer Fishlabs, best known for the Galaxy on Fire series, has sold up to an unnamed party. The buyout, which is yet to be officially announced, will result in no job losses at this point, though both Michael Schade and Christian Lohr (co-founders) are to depart the firm as a result. Fishlabs indulged in a round of internal restructuring back in October, when 25 employees mainly from the marketing, art, and programming departments were let go in an attempt to lower the overall running costs of the company.
  • Digital music startup 7digital has announced raising of new capital ($1.6 million), and a reverse takeover with UBC. As part of the deal, UBC is providing 7digital with a £1 million ($1.6 million) loan that can be converted into shares in UBC – which is publicly traded in London on the AIM exchange. UBC provides content for BBC as well as commercial radio stations in Great Britain and around the world. The company is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange with stock currently priced at £6.25. The UBC reverse takeover is expected to close by April 30, 3014.
  • Songtexte.com, a online portal for song lyrics, has been acquired by listed German media group ProSiebenSat.1 Group. Financial terms were not disclosed. Songtexte.com has 2.61 million monthly unique users.
  • Footway, the Swedish shoe e-retailer and the Swedish investor Rutger Arnhult, are to acquire 32.5% of the shoe e-retailer, Brandos. Footway, together with its shareholder Rutger Arnhult, are to initially acquire 20% of Brandos from Karl-Johan Pantzar and Fredrik Juto after which they will reach 32.5% by participating in Brandos share issue worth SEK 25m (EUR 2.8m) in December. Brando is worth around SEK 75m (EUR 8.4m) including its SEK 35m (EUR 3.9m) in debts. The paper noted that Brandos has a turnover of SEK 200m (EUR 22.4m).

Asia

  • UC reportedly acquired 100% stake in iOS jailbreaking service PP Assistant in a bid to strengthen its presence in iOS platform. PP Assistant, which started as an iOS jailbreaking service, supports the download, installation and management of software, game, and ringtone for iOS-powered devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iTouch. PP Assistant’s iOS users reached 40 million with average daily app download of more than 8 million and monthly game revenue nearing RMB 40m.
  • Gamevil has announced the acquisition of Korean developer Everple. Everple’s Monster Warlord title has been downloaded more than 10 million times. It generated more than $16 million in terms of revenue, being found in the top 50 top grossing Google Play charts in over 20 countries. This enabled Everple to generate $3 million of profit in its financial year.
  • Naver, a listed South Korean internet portal operator, has acquired a 51% stake in Quicket. Quicket is a privately held South Korean mobile application developer, operating an online fleamarket.
  • Yume no Machi Souzou Iinkai [2484: JP], Japan-based internet shopping/delivery website operator, announced the acquisition of ZEN, Japan-based internet social media websites, marketing service operator for seniors. The deal size is undisclosed.