Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2014-05-26

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Private Financing

US

  • Priori Data, an app store data and analytics provider, has secured $1M in seed financing to build a kind of Bloomberg-style platform for mobile industry professionals and analysts. The cash was raised from unnamed sources but includes the Berlin angel investor community, private individuals from New York private equity and hedge fund circles. It has a large database of app information and tracks the performance of over 2M apps from 300 thousand publishers across 30 countries. Its main competitors are App Annie and Mattermark and may eventually include S&P Capital IQ. Its data gets quoted in the Washington Post and Quartz, among others.
  • Children’s app-maker Tinybop has raised $5M in Series A funding. The Series A, which comes after a $1M seed round, was led by RRE Ventures, with additional funding from Two Sigma Ventures and KEC Ventures. RRE’s Steve Schlafman and Tina Roth Eisenberg (CEO of breakfast lecture series CreativeMornings) have joined the Tinybop board.
  • Palo Alto-based local delivery service DoorDash has raised $17.3M in a Series A round led by Sequoia with participation from existing investors Khosla Ventures, Charles River Ventures, Pejman Mar Ventures, and Ted Zagat. DoorDash enables small businesses to provide its customers with local delivery, using its self-learning driver dispatch system and other smart technology to coordinate deliveries and reduce waiting time. Founded in 2013, DoorDash is currently operating in Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose but plans to expand nationwide and beyond food delivery into new markets and verticals.
  • Thumbtack, where you can find local professionals to hire for a variety of tasks, announced it has just raised $30M in new funding. Early investors Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management led the round.
  • New York-based Smartling provides a cloud-based platform built around translation, and on Thursday the company announced it has scored a fourth institutional round of $25M to support its sales and marketing expansion. The new funding, on top of about $34M raised in previous rounds, will be used to hire about 50 new people in sales and marketing, mostly for the New York and Boston offices. Smartling’s platform is designed to facilitate the translation workflow, which it hands out to any of 200 specialized translation agencies worldwide.
  • Cambridge-based home security startup SimpliSafe has announced $57M in new funding from Sequoia Capital. SimpliSafe creates wireless sensing devices and home security systems that users can control from their smartphones. Founded in 2006, SimpliSafe has since attracted more than 100,000 customers across the U.S. and will use the new cash to boost growth by investing in marketing and technology development.
  • San Francisco-based visual editing interface Storehouse has raised $7M in a Series A funding led by Sherpa Ventures with participation from seed round investors True Ventures, Lerer Ventures, and Designer Fund. Storehouse lets users build stories from text, video, and images, incorporating content from sources including iPad Camera Roll, Dropbox, Flickr, and Instagram. Founded last year, Storehouse will use the funds to build out its staff and spur growth after attracting hundreds of thousands of users in the first few months.
  • Austin, Texas-based venture firm LiveOak Venture Partners closed a new $109M investment fund. The new fund makes sense because it’ll take advantage of the state’s prominence as one of the largest areas for tech employment and new innovation in the country. The firm also said the startups in Texas are “capital-starved,” citing that total investments in Texas came in at $1.3 billion last year, compared to the $12.2 billion in total investments from Silicon Valley alone.
  • AppsBuilder announced a $1.5M funding round led by European-based venture capital firm United Ventures. AppsBuilder is one fish in a sea of create-your-own-app tools. Similar apps include iGenApps, MobileNation, Appscend, WebMobi, and AppMachine. The new capital will be used by AppsBuilder to growth amidst the widespread competition. AppsBuilder has raised a total of $3.5M in funding.
  • Drizly, the East Coast-based Uber for liquor, has closed a $2.5M seed round of funding to expand into new markets and build out the team. The round was led by Continental Investors of Chicago, with participation from Gary Vaynerchuk through Vayner RSE ventures and Suffolk Equity, which will fold into an existing $2.3M seed round. The company has raised a total of $4.8M.
  • Clarizen, an ambitious enterprise software outfit based in San Mateo, Calif., raised $35M in an F round of funding. Investment heavyweight Goldman Sachs led the latest infusion of cash. Clairzen touts itself as a serious enterprise work and collaboration platform whose main competition is Microsoft-owned Yammer.
  • Encrypted comms firm Silent Circle has just announced a new $30M funding round led by investors including Ross Perot Jr. and private investment fund Cain Capital LLC, which is based in Dallas. It will use the new funding to meet what it dubbed “overwhelming demand” for Blackphone, and to accelerate its growth in the secure comms market.
  • Thumbtack, a marketplace that connects local professionals with clients, has raised a $30M Series C round from Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management. A year ago, the startup raised $12.5M from Sequoia Capital, Javelin Venture Partners and MHS Capital. So far and including this round, the company has raised a bit less than $50M.
  • Captora, a company led by former Marketo and SuccessFactors executive Paul Albright, announced that it has raised $22M in Series B funding. New Enterprise Associates led the round, with Series A investor Bain Capital Ventures participating. NEA General Partner Scott Sandell is joining Captora’s board of directors. The new funding follows a $5.25M Series A.
  • SingleHop, a provider of cloud-based infrastructure for small and medium-sized businesses to run their applications, has raised a $14.8M round of debt money. To date, SingleHop has raised in excess of $42M. SingleHop announced a $27.5M round of venture funding in April 2012. Silicon Valley Bank participated in this financing, along with Farnam Street Financial.
  • Enterprise-level identity management software startup Centrify has raised a new $42M round of funding from strategic investors Samsung Ventures, Fortinet Inc., and Docomo Capital. Centrify provides a cloud-based identity tracking service that gives businesses a way to let employees use a single sign-on (SSO) across multiple platforms (servers, mobile devices, applications). The result is a more secure experience that gives those businesses a greater degree of control over who is accessing data. Centrify said it has over 5,000 clients, including many companies in the Fortune 50 and more than 60 federal agencies.
  • San Francisco-based lending startup Earnest has raised $15M in new funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Atlas Venture, and Maveron. Earnest is a merit-based lender that accounts for an individual’s achievements and earning potential rather than credit history, offering one to two-year loans up to $20,000 at low interest rates. Earnest launched in Massachusetts and Florida earlier this year and will open its service to residents of 7 new states, including New York and California, this week.
  • New York-based recruiting tool provider Jibe has raised $20M in a Series C round led by SAP Ventures with participation from existing investors Polaris Partners, DFJ, Gotham Ventures, Longworth Venture Partners, and Thrive Capital. Jibe puts a company’s recruiting tools in the cloud and on their mobile devices, providing a single platform for companies to attract and engage candidates that integrates with existing applicant tracking systems. Founded in 2010, Jibe will use the new cash to grow its engineering, customer success, and global sales teams.
  • Redwood City-based data analytics company Sumo Logic has raised $30M in a new funding round led by Sequoia Capital with participation from existing investors Greylock Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Accel Partners. Sumo Logic provides analysis of log data across a business’s IT infrastructure, helping administrators track log data in real time and manage their apps, servers, and network. Launched in early 2012, Sumo Logic has raised $80.5M to date and will use the latest funds to build out additional technology and expand into Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
  • Mobile wait listing service for restaurants NoWait has raised $10M in Series B funding, the company is announcing this morning. The new round was led by Drive Capital, the $250M Ohio-based fund focused on Midwestern companies, and co-founded by former Sequoia partners, Mark Kvamme and Chris Olsen. Existing investors also participated in the funding, which NoWait says will be put towards expanding its presence in restaurants and with consumers, plus further product development. The company has seated more than 50Ms diners to date, and is now seating over 5M diners per month, up from 3.1M at the beginning of the year.
  • DataPad, a new data discovery technology vendor, raised $1.7M from Accel Partners, Google Ventures, a16z Seed Fund, SV Angel, Ludlow Ventures, and angel investors including Jeff Hammerbacher, Tom Pinckney, and Waikit Lau.
  • Autopilot, the marketing automation platform formerly known as Bislr, announced that it has raised a $10M Series B funding round led by Rembrandt Venture Partners, with participation from Southern Cross Venture Partners, Blackbird and personal investments from Tim Draper, and Terry & Katrina Garnett. Rembrandt partner Scott Irwin will join the company’s board as part of this round.
  • Insight Venture Partners announced that it has raised a $510M coinvestment fund to invest alongside the $2.57 billion fund it announced last year. Insight says that with the addition of the new coinvestment fund (the firm’s third), it can now invest as much as $500M in a single deal. Founded in 1995, the firm focuses on later-stage deals, with investments of $15M or more; its portfolio includes Twitter, Tumblr, Indiegogo and many others. It recently led the $160M round of funding for Automattic, maker of blogging platform WordPress.
  • San Francisco-based sales intelligence tool 6Sense has raised $12M in a Series A funding led by Battery Ventures and Venrock with participation from Silicon Valley Bank. 6Sense is emerging from stealth with a predictive intelligence platform capable of identifying potential business customers with 80% accuracy. Founded last year, 6Sense currently serves a number of large IT-related companies including Cisco and PureStorage and will use the new funds to add new customers in the hospitality, manufacturing, healthcare and financial services businesses.


EMEA

  • Dublin-based audio visual music platform WholeWorldBand has raised a €5M Series A round led by Balderton Capital and IIU. WholeWorldBand is an iOS app that gives fans a chance to collaborate with professional musicians on unfinished tracks in recorded video and audio sessions. Founded in 2008 by Kevin Godley, WholeWorldBand will use the funds to rapidly scale the platform and add new features to boost community engagement and creativity.
  • Brighton, UK-based social media monitoring system Brandwatch has raised a $22M Series B round led by new investor Highland Capital with participation from Nauta Capital and other existing investors. Brandwatch crawls over 80M social media-related sites to provide consumer insights to businesses, and serves over 1,000 major brands including Whole Foods, Verizon, and Pepsico. Founded in 2007, Brandwatch has raised nearly $30M in funding to date and will use the new cash to hire additional staff, expand product offerings in Europe and the U.S., and move into new regions such as Asia.
  • French startup TVTY raised $4.5M from Partech Ventures, 360 Capital Partners and business angels. This is yet another sign that French companies’ efforts to advertise technology have been doing very well. TVTY provides an API for advertising companies to bridge the gap between TV campaigns or events and web ads.
  • WholeWorldBand, an iOS app that aims to generate new revenue streams for professional musicians by giving fans an opportunity to collaborate with them on unfinished tracks, has closed a €5M Series A. The round tops up the €200,000 funding the startup had taken in before for its music collaboration platform.
  • U.K. startup Mallzee, a Tinder-style clothes shopping app, raised £500,000 (~$845,000) from Gareth Williams (CEO of Skyscanner), Par Equity, Scottish Investment Bank, Laurence Marlor (Rental Cars) and Rob Dobson (Actix). The startup had previously raised a small friends and family round of £75,000 in early 2013 to get its app to market. Now, at the point of seed funding, it’s managed to build up a user base of “tens of thousands” in around six months — of mostly U.K. based users (circa 80%).
  • French startup accelerator TheFamily is raising up to $2M from angel investors and Index Ventures. It’s an open round — so far investors have committed $1M. TheFamily is raising money using its own open source financing documents, AIR. It’s the French equivalent of convertible notes, designed by TheFamily and SB Avocats.
  • Irish startup Golgi, a company which enables developers to speed up the load and update times of their apps, raised $5M from Openmind Networks. Golgi claims it can make apps up to 20 times faster.
  • Highland Capital Partners Europe closed a sizeable Europe Tech Growth fund of €250M, with nine investments since first close. This is the first independent Europe focused fund for Highland, a Boston and Silicon Valley based firm that was founded in 1988 and is currently investing from its ninth fund. The Highland Europe team which includes partners, Fergal Mullen, Laurence Garrett, Irena Goldenberg, Sam Brooks, and Tony Zappala, plans now to pursue a growth equity strategy in the tech market with a particular emphasis on internet and software.
  • The UK home cleaning market continues to lather up. Hot on the heels of Hassle.com’s $6M fund-raise from Accel Partners, local rival Housekeep is announcing it’s closed a $1M investment led by Pentland Group (majority owner of JD Sports and numerous other major brands), with participation from a number of angel investors including Brett Akker and Justin Peters, the founders of Streetcar (acquired by Zipcar) and Kabbee, respectively. Others joining the round are John Hewett, the CEO of Smedvig Capital; Dharmash Mistry, non-executive director of Hargreaves Lansdown and Dixons; Paul Hewett, non-executive director of Tesco Bank; and an unnamed Addison Lee technical lead.
  • Earnest, a startup that provides small loans to individuals based on their earning potential rather than credit history, raised $15M in funding from venture capital investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Atlas Venture and Maveron.
  • Identity management startup Dashlane has raised $22M in a Series B round led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Rho Ventures, FirstMark Capital, and original founder Bernard Liautaud. Dashlane provides consumers with a solution to manage and secure passwords, helping people take control of identity and payments information on the web. Founded in 2009 in Paris, Dashlane has raised $30M to date and will use the latest cash to hire more people and focus on adding new products.
  • MBA & Company, a marketplace for businesses as an alternative to traditional hiring of interims and consultancies, raised £800,000 investment from MMC Ventures and Piton Capital, in what is effectively a follow-on round for MBA & Company. In April of last year, the UK startup, founded by Daniel Callaghan and Adam Riccoboni, raised £800,000 led by MMC Ventures with co-investment from Piton Capital, and previous investor Cabiedes. This brings total funding for the startup to just over £2M.
  • Swedish startup Epidemic Sound, founded back in 2009 with the idea of taking the hassle out of music licensing for broadcasters and online video producers by building a library of songs it wholly owns, has taken in its first tranche of institutional funding from Nordics VC Creandum — with a $5M Series A. Prior to this the company had been bootstrapping its business, growing  to “thousands” of customers including a majority of TV broadcasters in Northern Europe, such as TV4 and SVT in Sweden; YLE and MTV3 in Finland; TV2 and Discovery in Norway; RTL Nederland in Holland; and Channel5/Viacom in the U.K. It has also recently launched co-operations with multi channel networks (MCNs) include Disney’s Maker Studios in the U.S. and Mediakraft in Germany.


Asia

  • Singapore-based online beauty store Luxola has raised $3M in additional funds from the country’s own F&H Fund Management. F&H, which was co-founded by internet industry veteran John Wu, put US$2M into this round and will bring significant industry experience to Luxola. Other participants involved in Luxola’s oversubscribed series C round include Japanese VC firm Global Brain, India-based Tholons Capital, and US-based Queensbridge Ventures, which was started by famous US musician Nas. Global Brain invested $1M in this round, and will bring their global exposure in ecommerce to the mix.
  • Indonesian telco Indosat has joined forces with Japanese telco SoftBank to launch SB ISAT, a $50M venture capital fund targeting Indonesian growth-stage startups. SB ISAT is yet another initiative in Southeast Asia by Japan’s tech giant SoftBank. Prior to’s $50M fund announcement, SoftBank has invested in Tokopedia (Indonesian e-commerce marketplace), Ini3 (Thai gaming company), and TMG (Singaporean gaming company).
  • Ximalaya, a Shanghai-based audio-streaming startup, recently closed a series A funding round of $11.5M. According to the company’s official release, the investment led by big name VC firms including Kleiner Perkins, Sierra Ventures, and SIG China. In addition, like SoundCloud, Ximalaya is a bit of a rabbit hole from a user experience point-of-view. There’s an avalanche of categories to choose from, and amateur accounts occupy real estate alongside recognizable news and entertainment figures.
  • Indonesian energy company Dian Swastatika Sentosa (DSS) (Indonesia:DSSA) invested SGD$4.4M (US$3.5M) into Singapore-based internet service provider MyRepublic for 5.9 percent ownership. DSS is part of Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group.
  • Confessional app Whisper has revealed $36M in new funding led by Shasta Ventures, along with participation from Chinese web giant Tencent and several others. Recode quotes a source as saying that Tencent might add another $15M to the round later. Thrive Capital, Lightspeed Ventures, and Sequoia also put money into the latest Whisper round.
  • Snapdeal, a fast-growing shopping website has capped off $100M in new equity financing. Funds managed by Temasek, BlackRock, Myriad, Premji Invest, and Tybourne participated. Snapdeal launched in 2010, and it has since accumulated more than 25M members, 30,000 sellers, and 500 product categories. Kitchen appliances, electronics, musical instruments, couches, scooters, and clothing are available on the site.
  • Singapore-based YOYO Holdings has secured approximately US$1.3M in funding from Gree Ventures, Cyberagent Ventures, and Incubate Fund. The company operates a reward platform called Candy that has been gaining popularity among prepaid mobile phone users in Southeast Asia. Candy already boasts 250,000 combined users in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand. The latest round of funding will be used to strengthen development and marketing resources.
  • AfterShip, a software which lets vendors track multiple shipments through different carriers on the same platform, has closed a $1M Series A round from IDG Capital Partners (IDG-Accel). AfterShip will use the funding to develop delivery analytics tools for sellers so they can see the performance of different carriers, track delayed shipments, and give more accurate delivery time estimates to customers.
  • Amazon has invested $20M in Yummy77, a food delivery site based in Shanghai. It will use the capital to expand into new markets and help Amazon’s China site expand its selection of goods. This marks the first time that Amazon has invested in a Chinese company after launching in the country a decade ago. Amazon said it will hold a minority stake in Yummy77, which will continue to operate independently instead of being folded into Amazon China. Yummy77′s sales exceed $100M yuan (about $16M) in December 2013 and it had 1M registered users as of February.
  • Red Dot Ventures has invested S$589,000 (US$470,000) in I3 Precision, a Singapore-based startup whose primary goal is to reduce medication errors, improve patient safety, and increase productivity for hospitals and pharmacies.
  • Tokyo-based contact sharing service Sansan has raised $14.6M in new funding led by DCM with participation from Innovation Network Corp., Nikkei Digital Media, Energy and Environment Investment, and GMO Venture Partners. Sansan allows organizations to leverage contacts in a collaborative way by scanning business cards and uploading data to the cloud, increasing sales teams’ productivity and improving customer relationships. Founded in 2007, Sansan currently has over 2,000 corporate customers in Japan and will use the latest round to expand to the U.S.


Other emerging markets

  • Betaworks-style ‘startup studio’ Dream Industries – based in Moscow – has raised a $3M Series A round from retail giant Ulmart (in Russia) to develop its subscription-based social reading service Bookmate. They plan to take the startup international out of Moscow, starting with Turkey, Scandinavia and Latin America. The funding is part of a $6.5M package from Ulmart to Dream Industries, with the balance of the raise going to other Dream Industries projects, which include Exchang.es, Theory & Practice, Third Place, Telegraph and Zvooq.
  • Moovz, a location-based social app for gay guys, has secured a new round of funding worth $1.4M to help it grow. The Israel-based startup has so far attracted $2.4M in funding since the app’s launch last October. The app is proving most popular in the Philippines, followed by users in Mexico, the US, and Brazil. Thailand is in the top 10 countries in terms of Moovz users as well. Moovz is keen to stand out from an array of similar apps with its live broadcast feature.



Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • Dyn, the Internet performance service best known for its DynDNS service, announced that it has acquired Renesys, a company that specializes in monitoring the Internet to provide data about cloud services, connectivity and potential performance issues. The company also offers a few other services, including market intelligence, but the reason you have probably heard of the company before is because it became the go-to source for information about Egypt’s Internet blackout during the revolution there and, more recently, Turkey’s attempts at Internet censorship.
  • Moxie Software announced has acquired the technology from SimplyBox. The acquisition will further extend the capabilities of Moxie allowing enterprises to anticipate customer intent, connect with customers in real-time and engage using the most appropriate communication channel across devices.
  • Dropbox has acquired 3D photo startup Bubbli. Bubbli’s app enables those toting iPhones and iPads to create 360-degree photo “bubbles,” complete with sound. Effectively, bubbles put you in the shoes of the photographer, giving you the picture-taker’s view from where they were standing. Bubbli raised $2M in a seed round that August Capital led in early 2011.
  • Google has reached a deal to buy game livestreaming firm Twitch for $1 billion. Google’s YouTube division is reportedly in charge of the acquisition, which would represent a significant transformation of YouTube’s business. Google acquired YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion. San Francisco-based Twitch enables users to broadcast their own gameplay sessions on the PC, Xbox One, or PlayStation 4 to spectators. It enables both competitive gamers and average players to gain fleeting fame by entertaining those spectators, who sometimes number in theMs.


Asia

  • Merger between two of India’s biggest ecommerce companies, Flipkart and Myntra, has been completed. The two will keep operating as separate entities. Flipkart is the biggest general online marketplace in India, while Myntra is the biggest apparel-focused estore. Myntra raised US$50M from its latest funding round back in February. The deal values Myntra at US$330M, but the acquisition was delayed due to some regulatory bottlenecks. The two companies share common investors in Tiger Global, Accel Partners, and Sofina. Those investors might well have pushed the deal to prevent competition between the two and to avoid conflicts of interest later down the road.


Other emerging markets

  • TabTale, the Tel Aviv-based children’s app publisher, has announced the acquisition of Chinese kids app developer Coco Play. Although terms of the acquisition were not immediately available, TabTale recently raised $12M in Series B funding in October 2013 which it’s used to expand its presence and marketshare. Following the Coco Play acquisition, TabTale now operates in seven countries and will expand its portfolio of 3D children’s games for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices.
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Posted on May 25, 2014, in Internet weekly update and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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