Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2014-06-23

Private Financing
US

  • TouchofModern, San Francisco-based e-commerce website geared toward male customers, has raised $14M in Series B financing led by Partech Ventures. Other participants in the round included Great Oaks Venture Capital, Lucas Venture Group, Silicon Valley Bank and earlier investors Hillsven Capital and Floodgate. The company has raised $17M to date.
  • Sidecar Interactive, Philadelphia-based company that has developed an automated online marketing platform, has raised $3.1M in new venture funding led by Osage Venture Partners. The company has reportedly now raised $8.1M to date, including from NextStage Capital, Innovation Ventures, Gabriel Investments, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, Robinhood Ventures, and ARC Angel Group.
  • MiTu, Culver City-based developer of streaming digital content for the Latino market, has raised $10M in Series B funding led by Upfront Ventures. The company’s other investors included The Chernin Group, Advancit Capital, and Machinima co-founder Allen DeBevoise. MiTu says it has 400M monthly video views, 40M subscribers and 1,200 video creators creating content for its channels. Variety wrote about it last year.
  • Compliant Innovations, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based company behind a case collaboration app that let’s surgeons and care teams communicate about patient care, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from Lifeforce Ventures and Attractor Ventures.
  • Review Trackers, a Chicago-based service that helps businesses aggregate and manage online reviews about them, has raised a $2M funding led by Milwaukee’s CSA Partners with participation from American Family Ventures, SymphonyAlpha Ventures and angel investor Jeff Rusinow. The service, which offers plans starting at $29/month, compiles customer reviews from all of the major review forums like OpenTable, Google+ and TripAdvisor, as well as from smaller niche feedback sites.
  • San Francisco-based open source identity platform ForgeRock has raised $30M in a Series C round led by Meritech Capital Partners with participation from existing investors Accel Partners and Foundation Capital. ForgeRock creates identity relationship management solutions for large companies and government organizations. Founded in 2010, ForgeRock has raised $52M to date and will put the latest cash toward building out product and marketing.
  • Greycroft Partners, early-stage venture firm with offices in New York and L.A., has just closed on its first growth fund, a $200M vehicle, reports the WSJ. The company, whose bets have included Maker Studios and Buddy Media, needed more dry powder for its expansion-stage companies, particularly as “many of our companies are not in San Francisco and have a harder time tapping into these expansion-stage funds in the Valley,” partner Ian Sigalow tells the outlet.
  • Wayin, Denver-based company whose software gathers social media postings and displays it in real time on its clients’ sites, mobile apps, or, in the case of sports teams, scoreboards, has raised at least $12.1M in Series C round, per an SEC filing flagged by Xconomy.The company, cofounded by Sun Microsystems cofounder and CEO Scott McNealy, has raised $32.5M to date; its investors include U.S. Venture Partners.
  • Spotlight Ticket Management, L.A.- based company whose technology helps companies understand the effectiveness of their spending on tickets — including to amusement parks, country clubs, and conferences — has raised $6M in Series A funding from Point Judith Capital, Coyote Ridge Ventures and City National. The company has raised $8.5M to date.
  • Progreso Financiero, Menlo Park, Ca.-based financial services company that targets the credit needs of the Hispanic market, has raised $47M in funding led by Institutional Venture Partners. The round closed last August. Others of its investors include The Catalyst Fund of CFSI, Charles River Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, Greylock Partners, and Madrone Capital Partners. Its new funding brings the total capital raised by the company to $170M.
  • Pixability, Boston-based software company that aims to help major brands dramatically increase their YouTube impact on target audiences, has added $4M to its Series B round, to close it at $8.1M. The new funding was led by Point Judith Capital and included Quad/Graphics, Progress Ventures, and unnamed individuals. The company has raised $9.4M to date.
  • Namely, New York cloud-based human resources management platform, has raised $4.7M from earlier investors Bullpen Capital, Lerer Ventures, True Ventures and Vayner RSE. The company has raised $8.3M to date.
  • LogFire, Atlanta-based maker of cloud-based inventory and warehouse management software, has raised $8.25M in Series A funding led by Edison Ventures. Fulcrum Equity Partners also participated in the round.
  • Ibotta, Denver-based coupon app the mobile couponing app that rewards users who engage with brands with small payments or cost savings, has raised $20M in Series B funding led by Jim Clark, cofounder founder of Silicon Graphics, Netscape, and myCFO, among other things. Clark’s longtime friend Tom Jermoluk, also previously of Silicon Graphics, also invested in the round. Ibotta had raised an undisclosed amount of Series A funding last year from Great Oaks Venture Capital.
  • Galvanize, Denver-based startup that runs coding classes, provides workspaces, and invests in startups in San Francisco and Denver, has raised $18M in Series A funding led by University Ventures Fund. The company will use the money in part to expand into New York City, it says.
  • Puppet Labs, an IT automation software is used by the likes of Google, Twitter, Salesforce and AT&T among 18,000 others, raised $40M from existing strategic investors Cisco, Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Triangle Peak Partners, True Ventures and VMware
  • Shasta Ventures, a firm whose investments include Nest, Mint and Turn, has raised a $300M fourth fund. The firm has now raised more than $1 billion. Each Shasta fund has been larger than the one before it, and Shasta Ventures IV was no exception — the firm raised its $265M third fund back in 2011.
  • Calm.com, a company that began as an online relaxation resource that gives information-overloaded computer users a healthy mental break in their days before making the move to mobile early last year, has now raised an additional $578,000 in a new round of funding. The raise, which includes investment from Jason Calacanis’s Launch fund and AngelList syndicate, Matt Mullenweg, and Matt Cheng, brings Calm’s total raise to date to over aM.
  • HelloFresh, an on-demand grocery-delivery service currently sends over 1M meals per month, raised $50M in Series D funding led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from existing investor Phenomen VC.
  • ClearCare, a SaaS platform providing front- and back-office solution for private duty home care agencies, raised $11M funding round led by venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), with Cambia Health Solutions also participating. Existing investors Voyager Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, and Harbor Pacific Capital also contributed.
  • Danhua Capital, a year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based early-stage fund founded by Stanford physics professor Shoucheng Zhang and Stanford alumnae Anjia Gu have raised $91.3M for its debut fund. Among the firm’s bets so far is Apportable, a San Francisco-based mobile development technology company that raised $5M earlier this year.
  • SIM Partners, Evanston, Il.-based digital marketing company, has raised $8M in Series A funding, including from River Cities Capital Funds in Cincinnati and Chicago-based Jump Capital Partners. The company’s software is used by large companies to provide standardized online-marketing content across their locations and affiliates.
  • Rhiza, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based maker of marketing analytics tools, has raised $3M in Series A funding led by Draper Triangle Ventures. Other investors in the round included Arthur Ventures and Camp One Ventures.
  • Quantum Technology Sciences, a 15-year-old, Cocoa Beach, Ca.-based maker of intrusion detection and movement monitoring software designed for securing energy assets, has raised $4.4M in Series A funding round from investors, including Jim Farnsworth, chief exploration officer with Cobalt International Energy, Infinity Oil & Gas; Texas-based investment firm McNair Group; and Bud Brigham of Anthem Ventures.
  • BitPagos, an electronic-payment company that supports bitcoin and credit card payments and has offices in both Palo Alto, Ca., and Buenos Aires, has raised $600,000 in seed funding from Pantera Capital, Tim Draper, Barry Silbert, Boost Bitcoin Fund, Amasia and others. The company is a graduate of the San Mateo, Ca.-based Boost VC accelerator program, which focuses on virtual currency startups.
  • BioCatch, Boston-based company that makes cyber-security software focuses on online and mobile fraud mitigation, has raised $10M in funding led by Blumberg Capital and the equity crowdfunding firm OurCrowd. Other, unnamed investors also participated in the round, which brings BioCatch’s total funding to $11.6M.
  • Bain Capital Ventures only needed two months to raise $850M for its latest two funds. The firm began fundraising for its $650M BCV 2014 investment vehicle and a $200M coinvestment fund on April 2 and had wrapped up financing for the two funds by June 6
  • ThoughtSpot, a company that’s built business-intelligence (BI) software that accepts analysts queries in regular words instead of technical query language, announced $30M in fresh funding this morning. Khosla Ventures led the new round of funding. Box co-founder and chief executive Aaron Levie also participated. To date ThoughtSpot has raised $40.7M.
  • Onapsis, Cambridge, Ma.-based cyber-security software firm focused protecting highly sensitive applications within large companies and government agencies, has raised $9.58M in funding led by .406 Ventures, which was joined by Endeavor Catalyst. The company had previously raised $3M from investors, including TPG founder David Bonderman.
  • Florida-based enterprise mobile company Kony has raised $50M in a Series E round led by SoftBank Capital with participation from existing investors Insight Venture Partners, Telstra Ventures, Georgian Partners, and new investors Delta-V and Hamilton Lane. Kony helps companies and other clients build apps for smartphones and tablets, serving 20M mobile app users in 45 countries every day. Founded in 2007, Kony has raised nearly $100M in funding to date and will use the new round to expand its presence in Asia and continue adding new customers.
  • McDonald’s has launched a digital incubator in Silicon Valley.
  • Bull City Venture Partners, Durham, N.C.-based early-stage firm that invests in companies in and around North Carolina, has closed a $26M third fund from LPs that include Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Cisco, venture capitalist Brad Feld, Grosvenor Capital Management, Industry Ventures and Red Hat.
  • Weaved, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company whose technology is focused on securely networking devices across the Internet, has raised $250,000 in seed funding from TMT Investments, a four-year-old firm that’s based in St. Helier in the English Channel and which expressly backs seed-stage startups that focus on the so-called Internet of Things.
  • Virtru, Washington, D.C.-based company whose encryption software enables email users to revoke emails, prevent forwards, and set expiration dates (among other things), has raised $6M in new funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. The company, which raised $4.3M in debt financing earlier this year, has raised $10.3M altogether.
  • Victorious, L.A.-based startup that is reportedly looking to help YouTube stars create their own revenue-generating sites and apps, is raising a $13M round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, with Lowercase Capital and former YouTube executive Dean Gilbert also participating.
  • VeloCloud, Los Altos, Ca.-based company whose software delivers wide-area networking services through the cloud, has raised $21M in new funding led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Venrock and The Fabric, a networking incubator.
  • Tapatalk, L.A.-based social app that aggregates discussions from forums all over the Internet, has raised $5.8M in funding from Floodgate and Accel Partners. The company, founded in Shanghai, had relocated to California to participate in the 2.5-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based accelerator, MuckerLab.
  • LeukoDx, Towson, Md.-based medical diagnostics company that makes a test to diagnose sepsis and other conditions, has raised $7M in new funding from the private equity group Axcel Partners and individual investors. The company has raised $9.3M to date.
  • Cloud Elements, Denver-based cloud API integration service, has raised $3.1M in Series A funding led by Grotech Ventures and Icon Venture Partners, with participation from Galvanize Ventures.
  • Mountain View-based mobile sales productivity platform Clari has raised a $20M Series B round led by Bain Capital Ventures with participation from Northgate Capital and past investor Sequoia Capital. Clari is a mobile-first sales tool that uses data science and predictive analytics to improve sales team productivity. Founded in 2012, Clari has raised $26M to date and will use the new cash to continue building out its product into a full platform to serve sales teams and managers.
  • BuzzFeed, New York-based media company may raise a $200M funding round — its fifth to date — reports VentureBeat. The company has raised $46.3M to date, including from New Enterprise Associates, Lerer Ventures, RRE Ventures, Hearst Ventures, and SV Angel.
  • San Francisco data startup Mode Analytics, a cloud-based software that can help people inside companies efficiently analyze data together and easily distribute their findings, raised $2M in new seed funding led by Formation 8. Goldcrest, Panorama Point, Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan, and other angel investors also participated. To date Mode has raised more than $2.9M, including $550,000 the company announced last year and $375,000 in additional capital Mode disclosed in February.
  • Social marketing startup Earshot has raised $1.7M in new funding from Mohr Davidow Ventures, TriplePoint Capital, Birchmere Ventures, Serra Ventures, and Point B Capital. Its customers include Nissan, IBM, SFX Entertainment, and the Chicago White Sox.
  • CounterTack, which provides information about and protection against targeted attacks against commercial and government networks, raised $5M from Edge Ventures. This brings the CounterTack’s total investment take to $34.5M.
  • Raleigh, North Carolina-based sensor tech startup Valencell has raised $7M in a Series C round from TDF Ventures, True Ventures and Best Buy Capital. Valencell develops multiple form wearable biometric sensors that continuously measure heart rate and activity. Founded in 2006, Valencell has raised over $13M to date and will use the latest funding to support increasing market demand for its sensors, ramping up technological development, sales, and marketing efforts.
  • Bitcoin security startup BitGo, a security-as-a-service platform that allows financial services and ecommerce businesses to secure Bitcoin transactions in their exchanges and marketplaces, raised $12M led by Redpoint Ventures. Also participating in the round were Bridgescale Partners, Radar Partners, Founders Fund, Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Liberty City Ventures, Crypto Currency Partners, Ashton Kutcher’s A-Grade Investments, and some individual investors.
  • New Science Ventures, New York-based venture firm that backs both life sciences and IT startups across the globe, has raised $12.4M for a third fund that’s targeting $100M, shows an SEC filing. Svelte Medical Systems, a 6.5-year-old, New Providence, N.J.-based maker of expandable coronary stents, is among its portfolio companies.
  • Frost Venture Partners, San Juan Capistrano, Ca.-based incubator, has raised $38.4M for its Frost VP Early Stage Fund II LP, shows a new SEC filing that doesn’t list a target. The firm, which partners with major corporations to identify gaps in their big data analytics arsenals, has spun out a number of companies, including Predixion Software, Cirro, and OspreyData. The firm was founded by Stuart Frost, the founder of DatAllegro, a maker of data warehouse appliances that Microsoft acquired in 2008 for $275M.
  • Moment.me, New York-based company whose online platform helps users assemble mobile microsites for events, has raised $1.65M in new funding form earlier investors Singtel Inov8 and Blumberg Capital, along with an unnamed European fund. The company has raised $3.2M in funding to date.
  • Besomebody, a Austin, Tx.-based social network, has raised $1M in seed funding from media company The E.W. Scripps Company.
  • Grocery delivery startup Instacart just raised $44M from Andreessen Horowitz. Founded in 2012, Apoorva Mehta created Instacart to help city goers shop for groceries from home. Instacart’s valuation sits around $400M. Existing investors, including Sequoia, also participated, as did Box chief executive Aaron Levie and Y Combinator president Sam Altman. Instacart (YC S12) is a same-day grocery delivery startup offering delivery in as little as 1 hour. Focused on delivering groceries and home essentials, the company is looking to expand to other verticals very soon.
  • Lucid, a cloud-based software which analyzes usage from lots of devices and systems to produce simple applications and dashboards, raised $8M in new venture funding led by Formation 8 with Zetta Venture Partners participating. To date, Lucid has raised $9.5M.

EMEA

  • Axel Springer SE, the German publisher leading a campaign to curb Google Inc.’s influence in Europe, acquired a 20 percent stake in Qwant, a Paris-based search engine that focuses on data privacy.
  • Saltside Technologies, a classifieds platform aimed at emerging markets, has raised $25m in equity funding, backed by Investment AB Kinnevik. Founded three years ago, the European tech company has operated largely in stealth to the eye of the Western media, but has been quietly building out its substantial operations in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Ghana, Africa. Its sites include ikman.lk in Sri Lanka, Bikroy.com in Bangladesh, Tonaton.com in Ghana, and Dekho.com.pk in Pakistan. The company claims listings are currently growing at 300pc a year, and its sites now draw hundreds ofMs of views a month.
  • Algolia, a 1.5-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes a developer-friendly SaaS API for database search, has raised an additional $1.2M in seed funding led by Storm Ventures. The company has now raised $2.8M altogether, including from Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Alven Capital, Index Ventures and Point Nine Capital.
  • Crobo, Berlin-based online gamer acquisition network, has raised $5.7M from unnamed investors to double its team and continue to expand in Asia and the U.S.
  • CozyCloud, a Paris-based startup building an open-source platform for personal cloud storage, raised $1.1M (800,000 euros). The investors are French VC fund Innovacom and Seed4Soft, a French angel group. CozyCom has seven employees and was founded in 2012.
  • European daily deal aggregator Bownty has acquired local competitor Yunait, which claims to be the leader in Southern Europe — though, notably, along with Spain, Italy, Portugal and the UK, it also operates in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed. However, the daily deal aggregator roll up will see Yunait adopt the Bownty brand, giving the combined two properties around 2M users, making it Europe’s leading aggregator for deals based on “experiences”.
  • Game marketing firm crobo has received an injection of €4.25M ($5.75M) from specialist technology lender BOOST&Co. It intends to double its workflorce in Gemany, and expand into Asia and the USA. Founded in 2012, Berlin-based crobo works to deliver high-quality paying users to the free-to-play games market through a host of different marketing channels.

Asia

  • Light Chaser Animation Studios, a 1.5-year-old, Beijing-based company that makes animated films, has raised $20M in Series B funding led by GGV Capital and Chengwei Capital, with participation from Hillhouse Capital and earlier investor IDG Capital Partners.
  • Housing.com, one of India’s leading real estate portals, raised US$19M in its fourth round of funding from Helion Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, and Qualcomm Ventures yesterday. In the current round, Helion has pumped in US$8M, Nexus invested US$7M, and Qualcomm put in US$4M. Currently, the portal has 109,035 verified property listings across 23 Indian cities. The current round of funding will help it expand to more cities across India, map more houses, and invest more into technology, Advitiya Sharma, one of the co-founders, told e27.
  • New Zealand-based company ProjectManager.com raised $3.5M in new funding
  • MyRealTrip, a Korea-based startup that provides the country’s overseas travelers with personalized guided tours in Korean, announced its third round of funding. SmileGate Ventures led the round, contributing 70 percent of the funding, with Capstone Partners joining in. This series A round has provided an injection of almost US$1M to help the company build mobile apps and expand to include Chinese travelers visiting South Korea. The startup previously received angel funding from one of Korea’s most reputable angel investment groups, Primer, and later secured an additional seed round of US$350,000 from BonAngels and a number of other individuals.
  • Yooli, a P2P lending platform, has secured tens ofMs of dollars in Series B financing led by Morningside Ventures, which is also the investor of  Sohu, Ctrip, Xunlei, UC, Xiaomi and YY. The company has received 10M of Series A funding from Softbank China Venture Capital last year. The capital will be used in product development, upgrading of IT technologies, risk control and team construction.
  • Tujia.com, an online vacation rental service in China targeting middle to high-end Chinese travelers, secured US$100M of Series C financing. The company has received its first major investment from LightSpeed in 2012 and a combined 400M yuan in Series A and Series B funding from an all-star array of investors led by GGV Capital, CDHFund, Ctrip, HomeAway, etc.
  • Appier, an advertising technology startup, has raised a $6M Series A from Sequoia Capital. The company, which is based in Taipei and has offices in Singapore and San Francisco, develops tech used for cross-screen targeted marketing across a wide range of devices, ranging from wearable tech to smartphones and tablets. Appier has previously raised seed funding of $1M and its clients currently include Heineken, IKEA, Lancome, and game developers. Appier plans to use its Series A to finance product development and further research for its integrated cross-screen targeting platform as well as expand its international sales offices.
  • India’s largest entertainment ticketing portal just crossed the US$100M barrier in valuation. Bigtree Entertainment, which owns BookMyShow, raised US$25M from investors led by SAIF Partners, who valued the site at Rs 1000 crore (US$166M). This is a three-fold increase in valuation from the time it last raised funds two years ago. Existing investors Accel Partners and media company Network18 also contributed.
  • Chinese online pawn shop marketplace Taodangpu has raised a US$30M series B round of funding from BlueRun Ventures, Heli Capital, and Northern Light Venture Capital. The startup runs two interconnected websites, Taodangpu.com and 51dang.com. They were both founded just one year ago and currently operate in Beijing and Shanghai.
  • Xiaozhu, a Chinese short-term home-rental service, has secured $15M of Series B financing led by Legend Capital and followed by existing investor Morningside Ventures, which has poured eight-digit Series A financing in the company in 2012. The capital will be invested in team construction, R&D, branding, said Chen Chi, CEO of the company.
  • Chinese Cloud service provider UCloud announces US$50M in Series B funding led by Bertelsmann Asia Investments and Legend Capital, joined by existing investor DCM who participated in the previous round of US$10M together with Bertelsmann. UCloud, founded in 2012 by former Tencent execs, specializes in game hosting and related Cloud services. This round of funding will be used for building the data center in the North America and BGP data centers.
  • Hong Kong-based internet finance startup WeLab has raised $14M in a Series A funding from Sequoia Capital and Li Ka-shing. WeLab provides credit risk management tools to help companies better evaluate and price their credit risk. Founded in 2013, WeLab has already attracted over 6,000 members to its WeLend peer-to-peer online lending business and will use the new cash to expand into mainland China.
  • 91jinrong, a Chinese online financial intermediary, received tens ofMs of dollars in Series B funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners (LSVP). The company has secured 60M yuan of Series A financing led by CBC Partners and angel investment from Matrix Partners China. The company, which is a member of Microsoft Ventures Accelerator’s third class in China, started as an financial intermediary service by matching potential consumers with corresponding financial institutions. After receiving Series A funding last year, 91jinrong added new services, like loan product search, enterprise + personal financial product, car insurance, etc.
  • CyberAgent Ventures (CAV) announced the conclusion of its US$24M fund and also announced the start of its second fund, this one topping in at approximately $50M. Focusing on seed and early stage investments, CAV has already invested in over 200 firms in and out of Japan.
  • PICOOC, the Beijing, China-based health-tracking device maker, has finished its Series B round of funding that raised US$21M led by existing investor Gobi Partners and joined by Tencent and JD.com.
  • Zhihu, Chinese Quora-like question-and-answer-style knowledge base, secured $22M of Series B funding led by SAIF. The company has received seven-digit dollars Series A financing from Qiming Ventures and angel investment from Innovation Works. Launched in Dec. 2010, Zhihu started with a group of technical and relatively entrepreneurial minded users based on an invitation-only and authentication model.

Other emerging markets

  • Mantis Vision, a nine-year-old, Israel-based company whose mobile 3D technology is being used by Google for its 3D-sensing Project Tango smartphone, has raised $12.5M in funding from Qualcomm Ventures; Samsung Ventures; Flextronics’ hardware venture arm, Lab IX; and the optical manufacturing firm Sunny Optical Technology.
  • Groopic, the clever photo app that puts the photographer back into the picture, has secured funding to help it build more products. The Pakistan-based startup’s seed funding comes from Kima Ventures. The funding sum isn’t disclosed, except that it amounts to a six-digit figure.
  • Israel and Boston-based data management software provider Zerto has raised $26M in a Series D round led by Harmony Partners with participation from Battery Ventures, Greylock IL, RTP Ventures, and U.S. Venture Partners. Zerto provides a disaster recovery and data storage tools, helping businesses copy data to private and public virtualized infrastructure. Founded in 2009, Zerto has raised $60M to date and will use the new cash to continue international expansion and product development.
  • Ostrovok.ru, the Russian accommodation booking startup, has announced a $12M financing round investment led by Vaizra Capital Russia, a fund backed by Vyacheslav Mirilashvili and Lev Leviev, co-founders of Vkontakte, Russia’s largest social network. The cash will be used to expand the service more internationally and develop the product. Previously, it had raised $38.6M.
  • Guesty (formerly SuperHost), a software-based property management service that helps individuals renting out rooms, apartments, or other listings on Airbnb (and soon, elsewhere), by screening guests, handling key drops, cleaning, guest transportation, maintenance and more, has raised $1.5M in seed funding from Israeli VC firm Magma Venture Partners (Waze and Onavo investors), Y Combinator and other angels in the real estate and sharing economy business.

Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • Oracle is buying a company called LiveLOOK, which developed technology that lets service and salespeople navigate webpages at the same time as potential or existing customers. LiveLOOK started in 2008 and is based in Matawan, New Jersey. Investors include Edison Innovation Fund, New Vantage Group, and New York Angels.
  • MasteryConnect, Salt Lake City-based maker of evaluation software that helps teachers assess their students’ performances, has acquired 3.5-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based education-technology peer Socrative for $5M in a cash-and-stock deal. MasteryConnect previously raised $1.1M in a seed round and $7.9M in a Series A round led by NewSchools Venture Fund and Catamount Ventures. Socrative had raised $760,000 in seed funding led by True Ventures.
  • Alpental Technologies, a year-old, Seattle-based wireless communication startup started by former Clearwire engineers including Michael Hart and Pete Gelbman, has been acquired by Google for undisclosed terms. The company never publicly disclosed funding, but Geekwire had discovered an SEC filing last summer that showed it had raised $850,000 from investors.
  • Google has acquired mDialog, a company that helps media companies deliver, analyze and ultimately monetize advertising against their content across multiple streaming platforms such as iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Google TV and Xbox. The team will be joining DoubleClick, a subsidiary of Google that helps publishers monetize their sites, services and content. At the same time, it also gives advertisers the ability to manage, serve and review campaigns across multiple platforms. On its site, mDialog said it would continue to offer its services to programmers and distributors.
  • SnappyTV, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based video publishing and distribution platform that lets content owners edit and share media content across the Web, has been acquired by Twitter for an undisclosed amount. The company appears to have raised just $760,000 in seed funding from Great Oaks Venture Capital, Transmedia Capital, and Freestyle Capital.
  • Parastructure, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based startup that builds data-analysis software on top of open source infrastructure, has been acquired by Dropbox. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed but rumoured to be an amount in the “lower eight figures.” The company hadn’t publicly disclosed any outside funding.
  • RapidMiner, a big data analytics startup, purchased former partner Radoop, giving it Hadoop processing and access to the Radoop team’s Hadoop expertise. They did not share the purchase price.
  • @WalmartLabs, the retailer’s Silicon Valley-based R&D and innovation center, announced its 13th acquisition – and its first from New York’s “Silicon Alley” – with the acquisition of fashion app Stylr. The app, which helps consumers find clothes they love in nearby stores, will be shut down.
  • Streem, San Francisco-based, cloud-based subscription service that offers users unlimited storage for music, movies, and other online content, is being acquired for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock by Box, the cloud-based file-management service. Streem has raised $875,000 in seed funding from Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Start Fund, IronFire Capital, Arbor Ventures, and numerous angel investors.

EMEA

  • Ad tech startup Blippar, which specializes in augmented reality advertising, has acquired AR tech firm Layar. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Blippar’s technology allows consumers to snap photos of display or print ads to reveal additional AR messaging with their smartphones. These are triggered when “blipps” are placed within an advertisement. And Layar is known for making print ads interactive via augmented reality.
  • Finnish e-retailer One Nordic Furniture, which sells ready-to-assemble design furniture and accessories, has been acquired by online retailer Fab for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock. One Nordic’s team will own 5% of the combined company once the deal has closed.
  • Milestone Systems, Denmark-based open platform company focusing on IP video management software for surveillance systems, has been acquired by Canon Europe. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. Milestone had raised $27M from Index Ventures.

Asia

  • Chinese app store and casual mobile game publisher SkyMobi ( NASDAQ:MOBI ) has announced it’s sold its shares in developer Shanghai Fangcun Information Technology (aka Fangcun). SkyMobi had an equity stake of 37.9 percent in the company. It’s sold this to Guangdong Alpha Animation and Culture. SkyMobi said it had receive a capital gain of $9M (RMB 56.4M) on the deal.
  • Spoilt, a web shopping platform that sells vouchers for experience-focused activities, has acquired its biggest competitor Red Packet. The platforms offer packages such as wine making, scuba diving and spa days, so after joining forces – the new group now offers 300+ experiences in Hong Kong and around the region. The deal brings together Spoilt’s strength in eCommerce within the experience voucher space and Red Packet’s retail distribution network. In the future, the joined companies will be able to offer a wider variety of corporate services for employee rewards and customer loyalty programs.
  • Rocket Internet-incubated foodpanda has acquired Delivery Club in a move it says will make the combined companies Russia’s leading food delivery service with over 2,500 restaurants. The value of the deal was undisclosed. Delivery Club, which will continue operating under its own brand, was founded in 2009, shortly before foodpanda, and is available in 18 Russian cities.
  • Huayi Brothers (SZ:300027) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Huayi Brothers (Tianjin) Interactive Entertainment Limited would acquire a 51% stake in Maizuo, an online movie ticket booking service for RMB266M (US$43M). The company behind Maizuo was founded by two early employees of Tencent, Chen Yingkui and Wang Xing. Online movie ticket booking wasn’t the first idea with which they founded the company though. In 2009 they decided to pivot to build Maizuo — The name means “high-grossing”.

Other emerging markets

  • Yandex acquired Auto.ru, an online classifieds business for selling cars, for $175M in cash. Auto.ru operates the largest and most detailed classifieds catalog for new and used cars in Russia, said Alexey Tretyakov, Yandex vice president of commerce. This will add to Yandex’s existing efforts in the automotive sector, where it has a portal aggregating classified listings across a number of car classified ads sites
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Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly Update – 2014-06-16

Private Financing
US

  • Seattle-based location sharing startup Glympse has raised a $15M Series C round led by new investors UMC Capital and Verizon Ventures with participation from existing investors Ignition Partners, Menlo Ventures and Naya Ventures. Glympse has created a real-time mapping and tracking service that can be integrated into messaging apps, cars, wearables and other services to share location data. Founded in 2008 and bootstrapped until 2011, Glympse will use the new cash to expand its team and continue to build out its feature set.
  • Peel, a five-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based company whose software turns smartphones and tablets into universal TV remote controls, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Alibaba Group. The company has previously raised $36.7M, including from Harrison Metal, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and Translink Capital.
  • Glympse, a Seattle-based company whose app invites users to chart their location on a map and share it with others in real time, has raised $12M in Series C funding, including from new investors UMC Capital, Verizon Ventures and unnamed strategic investors, along with earlier investors Ignition Partners, Menlo Ventures and Naya Ventures. The company has raised nearly $20M altogether.
  • Crowdability, a New York-based education and research platform that’s hoping to capitalize on the equity crowdfunding market, has raised $1M in seed funding, including from Howard Lindzon and Steadfast Venture Capital.
  • Automated affiliate linking company VigLink has raised $18M in Series C funding led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Correlation Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank, as well as past investors Google Ventures, Emergence Capital, and First Round Capital. The company says it currently works with 300,000 sites (including Elle, Road & Track, and CNET) and 35,000 merchants, and that it processes more than 500M clicks each month.
  • HashPlex, a cryptocurrency-miner hosting company that just raised $400,000 from investors including SecondMarket co-founder Barry Silbert’s Bitcoin Opportunity Corp. and Facebook engineer Jason Prado.
  • Besomebody has raised $1M from the E.W. Scripps Company to build a passion-focused community and experience marketplace.
  • Nuzzel, the social news startup led by Friendster founder Jonathan Abrams, says it has raised $1.7M in new funding from Chris Sacca & Matt Mazzeo (Lowercase Capital, which just raised a new $25M fund), Hunter Walk & Satya Patel (Homebrew), Ullas Naik (Streamlined Ventures), DG (Digital Garage) Incubation, WiL (World Innovation Lab), DeNA, MOL and angel investors including Chris Michel, Daniel Lurie, Darmesh Shah, Gordon Crawford, Jon Boutelle, Narendra Rocherolle, Nicolas Heyman, Othman Laraki, Russ Fradin, and Ryan Spoon
  • HackerRank, the technical recruitment platform and code-challenge community, has raised a $9.2M Series B funding round led by Khosla Ventures and Battery Ventures. Other participants in this round include Motorola Mobility VP Peeyush Ranjan, former Facebook senior director of engineering Greg Badros and Facebook director of product management Dan Rubinstein.
  • Generator Ventures, a seed-stage, San Francisco-based firm that launched just a few weeks ago, has graduated an inaugural class of 11 companies from its newly launched accelerator program, the firm tells the WSJ. Generator Ventures is focused entirely on new technologies to serve the country’s aging population.
  • ScalingData, a Bay Area-based company that aims to create applications that can run easily on the big data repository Hadoop (and which was founded by veterans of the Hadoop vendor Cloudera), has raised $4.4M from General Catalyst Partners, Google Ventures and Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens. Venture Capital Dispatch has the story here.
  • OYO Sports, a Acton, Ma.-based toymaker that uses advanced manufacturing techniques and social media analytics to create mini figures of famous players while they’re popular with fans, has raised $3M in new seed funding, reports the WSJ. Atlas Venture and Boston Seed Capital led the investment, bringing the company’s total capital raised to $4.6M.
  • Hybrent, a Chicago, Il.-based hospital supply chain software developer, has raised $500,000 in seed funding from undisclosed management and health care supply chain experts.
  • SiSense, a business intelligence startup that is among those making big data analytics accessible to ordinary business users (and not just data scientists) raised a $30M Series C round led by DFJ Growth — the VC’s arm dedicated to later-stage investments that recently announced a new fund we understand to be totalling over $500M. Others backing the startup include existing investors Battery Ventures, Genesis Partners and Opus Capital. It last raised $10M a year ago and including the round being announced has now raised $44M.
  • Freshdesk, the customer support as a service company with 23,000 customers, raised $31M in Series D funding in a round led by Tiger Global Management, with Accel Partners and Google Capital also contributing. The funding is significant, especially given its total to date was $44M and the highest amount the company had received in any previous round was $7M last November led by Accel Partners.
  • Chicago-based parking app SpotHero has raised $4.5M in additional funding from previous backers Lightbank, OCA Ventures, David Cohen, Pritzker Group, e.ventures, Battery Ventures, and 500 Startups, along with new investors Chicago Ventures, Bullpen Capital, Draper Associates, and G2T3V. SpotHero connects drivers with parking lots and garages, allowing users to purchase parking in advance, reserve spots, or even find monthly parking. Founded in 2011, SpotHero is currently available in Chicago and 6 additional cities including New York, Washington D.C., and Boston.
  • Wut, part of a wave of ephemeral and anonymish apps that have cropped up over the last year or so, has raised seed funding from Foundation Capital with participation from Google Ventures. SV Angel, Eniac Ventures, Lowercase Capital, and Dave Morin’s Slow Ventures are also investors in the company.
  • Zaius, a Cambridge, Ma.-based company that simplifies how businesses collect, analyze and use data to improve customers’ digital experiences, has raised $6.3M in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners.
  • TurnKey Vacation Rentals, a Austin, Tx.-based rental manager that helps homeowners manage and rent out their space, has raised $3M in seed funding from Silverton Partners and about a dozen angel investors from the online travel industry, including Rich Barton, Gregg Brockway, and Alexis de Belloy. TurnKey has raised $4.8M altogether.
  • RebelMail, a Washington, D.C.-based company that makes an interactive email product, has raised a $2M seed round co-led by Vaizra and Boldstart. Other investors include Lerer Ventures, David Tisch’s Box Group, Gary Vaynerchuk’s Vayner RSE, and angel investors.
  • Plex, a Troy, Mi.-based software company that sells its ERP and automation software to manufacturers in a variety of industries, has raised $50M in funding led by funds and institutional accounts managed by T. Rowe Price, as well as with earlier investor Accel Partners. The company has raised $86.5M altogether.
  • Payoneer, a New York-based financial services company that enables users to transfer and receive money through re-loadable MasterCards, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the investment arm of Ping An, a China-based insurance company. The company has raised at least $39M in previous funding rounds, including from Carmel Ventures, Susquehanna Growth Equity, Greylock IL and Vintage Venture Partners.
  • Light, a Palo Alto, Ca.-based company that’s says it’s re-imagining the art and science of photography, has raised a $9.7M Series A round co-led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Charles River Ventures. Qualcomm also participated in the funding.
  • Krux Digital, a San Francisco-based data management platform that helps brands understand consumers’ behavior, has raised $35M in Series B funding from SAP Ventures, Time Warner, Temasek, and Visionnaire Ventures, along with earlier investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures.
  • IndoorAtlas, a company whose indoor mapping technology can reportedly determine locations inside a structure to within six feet, has raising $4.5M in a round led by Mobility Ventures and the Finnish seed fund KoppiCatch. The company, which has offices in Finland and Mountain View, Ca., might have benefited from an extended profile in the New York Times last month that noted the “somewhat unorthodox” business plan of the company, which will “measure and store your building’s magnetic fingerprint in its computing cloud” but charge customers $99 per month per building to then keep that information private.
  • EdgiLife Media, better known as LoveWithFood, a San Mateo, Ca.-based company that has evolved into snack delivery company à la NatureBox, has raised $1.4M in seed funding. Among its investors: Kapor Capital, 500 Startups, TEEC Angel Fund, Ironfire Capital, Scrum Ventures and an AngelList syndicate led by Facebook Ads creator Yun-Fang Juan. The company has raised a little more than $2M date.
  • Education tech startup Declara has secured a fresh $9M in funding led by Singapore’s EDBI and Linden Venture Fund. The additional capital is actually an extension of the $16M round Declara raised back in April, bringing the total amount to $25M. The startup offers its clients (teachers, education administrators, etc.) a social network that focuses on helping people learn by personalizing the educational experience for each person within an organization. Founded in 2012, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup’s technology is currently being used by teachers and education administrators in Australia, Chile, and Mexico.
  • On-demand home services startup Handybook raises $30M round of funding from Revolution Growth, the venture fund founded by Steve Case, Donn Davis, and Ted Leonsis. The round is on top of $12M in funding that Handybook had raised from General Catalyst, Highland Capital, David Tisch, and Bullhorn CEO Art Papas, among others.
  • Weave, a startup out of Utah that has developed a unique VoIP-based unified communications service for small and medium businesses that it is selling first targeting dentists, has raised a Series A of $5M. The round of funding is notable in that it’s the first investment to come out of A Capital, a new VC firm started by Ronny Conway (son of Ron) and Mark Valdez, both formerly of Andreessen Horowitz. In addition to A Capital leading the investment, other participants included Homebrew, Fuel Capital, Ron Conway, Sr’s investment firm SV Angel, Initialized Capital and Y Combinator.
  • Weave, a VoIP service for doctors that also helps manage patient records, raised a $5M funding round led by A Capital. Homebrew, SV Angel, and Y Combinator — among others — also took part in this funding round.
  • SourceClear, a company which builds security tools right into the development tools, has raised a $1.5M seed round from a group of investors that include Justin Somaini, the Chief Trust Officer at Box.com and former CSO at Yahoo; Frank J. Marshall, the former VP of Engineering at Cisco Systems Inc.; Amos Michelson, the Chairman of Kardium and Mary Cirillo, a board member at Thomson Reuters (TRI).
  • US mobile developer PerBlue has announced a $3M funding round led by Chicago investor Lightbank. PerBlue says it will use the cash to bulk up its team, as well as building audiences for its games. The company previously raised $800,000 in 2010 from angel investors.
  • US mobile rewards network PaeDae has rebranded as The Mobile Majority as well as announced a $8M Series B funding round
  • Dropbox has acquired MobileSpan, a startup that helps enterprise employees access corporate firewalled content securely. MobileSpan will shut down at the end of 2014, and active development will cease immediately. Dropbox has spent the last year-and-a-half concentrating on making its Dropbox For Business product secure enough for big enterprises. MobileSpan’s knowledge of the bring-your-own-device world will bolster that push. MobileSpan had raised just $2.3M from investors True Ventures and K9 Ventures since its start in 2011.
  • Exabeam, a San Mateo, Ca.-based big data security analytics startup, has raised $10M in Series A funding led by Norwest Venture Partners. Other investors in the round included Aspect Ventures and entrepreneur-investor Schlomo Kramer.
  • San Francisco-based personal styling platform Stitch Fix has raised a $30M Series C round led by existing backers Benchmark and Baseline Ventures. Stitch Fix aims to improve the shopping experience by mailing women personalized boxes of clothing that they can choose to purchase and keep or send back at no charge. Founded in 2011, Stitch Fix has raised over $46M to date.
  • San Francisco-based identity management service Okta has raised $75M in a Series E round led by Sequoia Capital with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, and Khosla Ventures, along with new investors Janus Capital Group and Altimeter Capital. Okta’s identity management platform helps enterprises manage access and security across all applications, people, and devices. Founded in 2008, Okta currently serves over 1,200 enterprise customers and will use the new cash to pre-integrate additional applications and open a new office in Sydney to better serve its customers in Asia and Australia.
  • Vancouver-based analytics platform Visier has raised $25.5M in a Series C round led by Adams Street Partners with participation from Foundation Capital and Summit Partners. Visier delivers workforce analytics and planning solutions to provide HR professionals with insights into workforce behaviors such as future employee recruitment, promotion, and turnover patterns. Founded in 2010, Visier more than tripled its revenue growth in 2013 and will use the new capital to broaden its reach in the HR space.
  • Seres Health, a Cambridge, Ma.-based company whose lead drug is aimed at preventing deadly Clostridium difficile infections, has raised $10M in Series B funding. Founded out of Flagship Ventures and its VentureLabs program, the new funding comes from Flagship, as well as Enso Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Mayo Clinic.
  • NantHealth, a Culver City, Ca.-based company focused on delivering next-generation care, has raised $25M from the publicly traded drugmaker Celgene Corp., the company announced. In April, Nanthealth became minority owned by BlackBerry, which said it planned to collaborate with NantHealth on a new smartphone aimed at the health-care industry. NantHealth is run by billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, who sold his cancer-treatment company Abraxis BioScience to Celgene in 2010.
  • Move Loot, a San Francisco-based site for buying and selling used furniture, has raised $2.8M in seed funding co-led by Index Ventures and First Round Capital. Other participants included Google Ventures, SV Angel and Y Combinator. The company has raised $5.3M to date, shows Crunchbase.
  • Handshakez, a Austin-based company that makes a collaboration and analytics platform for sales departments, says it has raised $1M in Series B funding, though isn’t disclosing from where the backing comes. The company previously raised $3.6M in Series A funding from Austin Ventures, First Round Capital, Floodgate, CrunchFund, Valhalla Partners and Thinktiv.
  • Dwellable, a Seattle-based mobile app for vacation rentals, has raised $2M in seed funding led by Version One Ventures and Maveron. Additional participants in the round include former HomeAway board director Rob Solomon, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, Farecast founder Oren Etzioni, and other individual investors in Seattle and Silicon Valley.
  • Bindo, a New York-based retail company whose cloud-based iPad checkout system and tools promise to help merchants better manage their inventory and relationships, has raised $1.8M in seed funding. The round was co-led by Gary Vaynerchuk; Metamorphic Ventures, and the venture firm East Ventures, which has offices in Singapore and Tokyo. Bindo plans to use the funding to expand into Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.
  • Affirm, a San Francisco-based small business lending company that assesses borrowers’ risk — and determines rates of interest — using personal data, has raised $45M from investors, including Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Nyca Partners. Serial entrepeneur Max Levchin is CEO, after hatching the idea from his incubator last year and deciding he was the best person to run the company.
  • About.me, the second-time around startup that lets you create a simple page about yourself online that others can use to find out a bit more about you, is announcing another round funding, its second since getting spun out of TC’s owner AOL after AOL originally acquired the startup in 2010. The company has raised $11M, money that it plans to invest in adding more features and making its platform easier to use. Or, in the words of co-founder Tony Conrad, to help plug two big gaps: “engaging the user base and motivating them to come back.” The Series B round was led by existing investor Foundry Group, whose partner Brad Feld is joining the About.me board, along with participation from True Ventures (where Conrad is a partner), SoftTech VC, CrunchFund (which is led by TechCrunch founder and former editor Michael Arrington) and Bullpen Capital. Other investors in previous rounds include Google Ventures. It’s so far raised just over $17M.
  • Location-based analytics provider Placed, which operates an opt-in mobile surveying panel that now reaches over 175,000 people, is announcing $10M in Series B funding in a round led by Two Sigma Ventures, the VC arm of Two Sigma Investments. Existing investor Madrona Venture Group also participated. The round sees Two Sigma’s David Joerg joining Placed’s board.
  • Mobile analytics company Splitforce has launched an automatic A/B testing service called Auto-Optimization for iOS and Android that it says will dramatically increase the speed and efficiency of running user tests for startups. The company, which currently serves over 250 app developers, also announced that it has raised $150,000 in seed funding led by SOS Ventures and angel investors including Simon Newstead, the CEO of Frenzoo; Steven Ho, an entrepreneur whose companies have been acquired by eBay and Yahoo; Jamie Lin, founder of accelerator AppWorks; and Guillaume Luccisano, founder of Socialcam.
  • Visual analytics firm Curalate has announced the completion of an $8.6M Series B led by previous investors NEA, with participation from fellow previous investors First Round Capital and MentorTech Ventures. Vayner RSE, the new fund from businessman and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuck, also participated. Curalate has raised a total of $12.5M. The company will use the funding for hiring, marketing and product development, according to the release. Curalate employs 45 and is not profitable.
  • San Francisco-based data center systems startup Mesosphere has raised $10M in a Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Data Collective and Fuel Capital. Mesosphere helps enterprises manage data centers of any size, simplifying the process of executing and managing applications while lowering the cost of operating systems. Currently a team of 23, Mesosphere will use the new cash to build out its enterprise sales and services team and partner with public cloud platforms to expand its reach.

EMEA

  • 5app, a three-year-old, London-based company whose software allows enterprises to create their own “app stores” to regain some control over what employees are putting on their phones, has raise $5.1M in funding led by Beckman Group and other unnamed investors.
  • Berlin-based Web analytics company Webtrekk has closed its third round of financing, collecting a total of up to €25M from DPE Deutsche Private Equity. Webtrekk competes directly with Google Analytics and Adobe Omniture to analyse a company’s web traffic. It counts Zalando, Siemens, Hugo Boss and Tommy Hilfiger among others as customers.
  • FightMe, an iOS app that lets you challenge others by recording and sharing 30 second-long videos, has raised a further, modest seed round of funding from VC firm HTG Ventures, Daniel and Raphael Khalili (who also invested in Yahoo-acquired Summly), and David Reuben Junior of Reuben Brothers, who, together, have put $1.35M into the London-based startup. This adds to the $500,000 FightMe raised back in October 2013.
  • Fitbay, a fashion-focused social network aiming to crowdsource the online clothes shopping fit problem by letting people of a similar size and body shape see which clothes their size and shape ‘body doubles’ are wearing, has closed a $2M seed funding round led by New York-based Steadfast Venture Capital and Nordic VC firm, Creandum, an early investor in Spotify — and an investor in Fitbay’s prior round. The Danish startup pulled in an angel round of funding earlier this year, raising $400,000 from Jesper Buch (founder of Just-Eat) and Creandum, so it’s building a head of steam on the early funding front.
  • Homestay, a Dublin, Ireland-based online travel booking platform, has raised $3M in funding led by Delta Partners, with participation from Enterprise Ireland. The company has also acquired Berlin-based HomestayBooking.
  • Index Ventures has announced a new early-stage, €400M ($550M) fund aimed at tech startups in Europe, US and Israel. This is its seventh early-stage fund and part of a total €3 billion ($4 billion) raised by Index since its inception. The fund will invest from seed and early stage, scaling up to €15M depending on the requirements of the company.
  • TextMaster, the crowdsourced platform for content translation, copywriting, and proofreading, has raised €1M in a second round of funding. Money it has pegged for further International expansion, specifically Germany and Asia.
  • London-based TransferWise has closed a new round of funding. It’s raised a further $25M, adding Sir Richard Branson as a backer, along with existing investors, including Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, IA Ventures, Index Ventures, TAG (Robin Klein and Saul Klein), and Kima Ventures. The new investment marks Transferwise’s second round of funding, with Branson joining as a new investor. The company took a $1.3M first round of funding, led by PayPal founder Max Levchin, among others.
  • London-based Picfair, raised a seed round of $520,000. The funding — which will be used to build out more features in the image marketplace — comes from a number of angel investors, including Alexis Ohanian, a partner at Y-Combinator and one of the co-founders of Reddit, in what is his first investment in a non-US startup. Other investors in the round include IDEO design director Tom Hulme, and Duncan & Max Jennings, the founders of VoucherCodes.co.uk.
  • MicroEnsure Holdings Limited, a Cheltenham, United Kingdom-based provider of insurance to the low and middle-income market, raised $10.4m in equity funding. Backers included existing investors Telenor Group, Omidyar Network, IFC and Opportunity International, as well as new investors Sanlam Emerging Markets and AXA Group. In conjunction with the round, the Telenor Group has taken additional equity in MicroEnsure through the conversion of debt and by rolling up its 51% holding in the MicroEnsure Asia joint venture into MicroEnsure.

Asia

  • Bangalore-based ad retargeting company Vizury Interactive Solutions has raised $16M in series C funding. Intel Capital, the global chipmaker’s venture capital arm, led this round. Private equity firm Ascent Capital and existing investors Inventus Capital and Nokia Growth were also part of it. Vizury uses big data analytics to help ecommerce sites like Jabong in India and Yintai in China convert visitors into customers.
  • Social Recruiting, a Tokyo-based startup that claims to be Japan’s number one social recruiting service, received more than $2M in series A funding from domestic VC Global Brain. Exact details about the investment were undisclosed but the figure was rumoured to be around $2-5M.
  • Pie, an enterprise collaboration space company, raised $800,000 in seed funding from investors including Digital Garage, Publicis Groupe, Siemer Ventures, Peng Tsin Ong, Koh Boon Hwee, Diederik Zwager, Chris Evdemon, Pieter Kemps, Porter Erisman, Steve Elrick, David Webster, and Jacques Kemp.
  • Mobile A/B testing startup Splitforce raised $150,000 from SOS Ventures and a group of angel investors.
  • Chinese start-up DewMobile Inc., which has designed an application that allows users to transfer files between devices without being connected to the Web, has scored a $20M Series B round of funding from investors including IDG Capital Partners and Northern Light Venture Capital. Innovation Works also participated in the funding. Beijing-based Innovation Works, which was set up by Taiwanese venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, and Northern Light were also among a group of investors that had previously backed the company’s $4M Series A round and $2M worth of angel investment.
  • India-based e-commerce company FashionAndYou has raised $10M in Series D funding from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Intel Capital and Nokia Growth Partners. FashionAndYou is an online discount retailer that offers daily flash sales and serves over 5.5M members across India. Founded in 2009, FashionAndYou has raised over $50M to date and will use the latest funding to open new distribution centers, invest in marketing and promotional materials, and launch a mobile app by the end of the year.

Other emerging markets

  • Epic Ventures, a Salt Lake City, Ut.-based venture firm, is looking to raise $75M for its fifth fund. It’s part of the way there, too, thanks to New Mexico’s new State Investment Council, which just approved a commitment to Epic for up to $10M. Among Epic’s investments is HG Data, a 3.5-year-old, Santa Barbara, Ca.-based business intelligence company.
  • Visual Unity, a Prague-based video infrastructure company, has raised $7.2M in funding from 3TS Capital Partners in Budapest.
  • Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich invested $10M in StoreDot, an Israeli startup developing electronics based on bio-organic materials. The investment was carried out in May through Abramovich’s private asset management company Millhouse LLC.  It was not previously disclosed. Both companies have confirmed the deal.
  • Gill Business Systems, a Kiev, Ukraine-based inventory distribution system for passenger bus transportation carriers and online ticket sales, has raised $3M in Series A funding from InVenture Partners, Intel Capital and FinSight Ventures.
  • Israeli startup Zula, the team communication app founded by VoIP pioneers Jeff Pulver (Vonage) and Jacob Ner-David (Delta Three), has closed a $3M series A round. The round was led by Morton Meyerson of 2M, who is joined by Ourcrowd, Microsoft Ventures, Nathan Low, and Doug Pauly. The continuing backing from Microsoft Ventures — which previously invested an undisclosed amount in Zula as part of a second seed round — is noteworthy considering Microsoft’s ownership of both Yammer and Skype, and a number of other communications and collaboration products.

Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • The owner of PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, has agreed to sell itself for $4.9 billion to Amaya Gaming, a small publicly-traded Canadian supplier of gambling equipment. The deal is being backed by Blackstone’s credit division, GSO Capital Partners, which will buy more than $675M in convertible preferred shares and other securities. Deutsche Bank , Barclays and Macquarie Capital will provide $2.9 billion in credit facilities and other financing.
  • eBay acquired machine translation technology from a company called AppTek. Eight people from AppTek’s 10-person team will join eBay, including one co-founder. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Hotel booking site Priceline has agreed to acquire reservation booking company OpenTable for $2.6 billion in cash. OpenTable has over 31,000 restaurants on board its platform, and sees an average of 15M people book reservations on its site and mobile apps per month. Priceline offered $103 per share in cash as part of the deal.
  • Anime streaming site Crunchyroll is acquiring Redux, a startup focused on helping people find and watch interesting content on their TVs. Redux raised around $8M from investors since its founding in 2008. Terms of the Crunchyroll deal weren’t disclosed.
  • Viryanet, a 26-year-old, Southborough, Ma.-based company that makes mobile workforce management software, has been acquired by Verisae, a 14-year-old, Minneapolis-based maker of cloud-based maintenance, energy, and sustainability management software. Verisae is paying roughly $18.8M in cash for the company, which has been trading publicly, with a roughly $8.5M market cap.
  • Google has confirmed that it has purchased Skybox Imaging, the satellite startup, for $500M.
  • Socialbakers, a company known for social media analytics, has acquired EdgeRank Checker, a startup that provides insight for Facebook News Feeds, in an undisclosed deal.
  • Pegasystems, a publicly traded Cambridge, Mass.-based company with 2,700 employees, just acquired co-browsing tool Firefly. They were a two-person startup built by recent University of Pennsylvania grads Dan Shipper and Justin Meltzer and that was funded by First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund.

EMEA

  • Canon is buying Milestone Systems, a startup from Denmark that has developed software for video surveillance systems. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, the companies say. Milestone, founded back in 1998, had raised $25M from Index Ventures, and according to its latest financials, it posted net income of €4.6M ($6.2M) on revenues of €54.6M ($74M). The acquisition is being made through Canon’s European subsidiary.
  • Blippar — an image recognition platform used in digital advertising — has acquired Layar, an augmented reality platform used across different applications (from advertising to education) that uses cameras on devices like smartphones to inject virtual elements into real-world images in real time. London/NYC-based Blippar, founded in 2011, has raised an undisclosed amount from Qualcomm Ventures. Netherlands-based Layar, founded in 2009, has raised some $17M from Intel Capital, Sunstone and others.
  • Seatwave, a platform for secondary ticket purchases where people or venues can post live event tickets for resale, is acquiring Timbre, a Boston-based startup and mobile app of the same name that lets users search for live music and then buy tickets to attend shows. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, except to note that the acquisition was a mixture of cash and shares. Timbre, founded in 2012, has raised some $720,000 and has seen a lot of viral interest in the app after first starting out as a hackathon project at app studio Intrepid. It has had some 400,000 downloads to date.

Asia

  • Zhaopin, a leading Chinese career platform that has filed for an U.S. IPO this May, has entered into a share purchase agreement with Jobs DB Inc. to acquire a 100% stake in Jobs DB China Investments Ltd., a subsidiary for the former, for US$15.72M. The cash consideration for the transaction has been paid to Jobs DB Inc.
  • Alibaba Group and UCWeb, Chinese mobile browser and search service provider, announced Alibaba has fully acquired the latter. As of April 2014, Alibaba had had 66% stake in UCWeb in the form of convertible preferred shares. Alibaba joined in several rounds of funding in UCWeb from 2009 to 2013. The remaining stake are transferred with stock and cash.
  • Koziness Concepts, previously branded as iDelivery, has acquired both Dial-a-Dinner and Soho Delivery for an undisclosed amount. Both Dial-a-Dinner and Soho Delivery have been operating for 10+ years in North & South Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and they currently serve more than 100 restaurants offering takeout menus. Since Koziness works with about 20+ restaurants in the busiest hub of Hong Kong Island, the acquisition will help them broaden their customer reach.
  • Amobee, a mobile ad company acquired by Singapore’s main carrier SingTel two years ago for $321M, is buying up not one but two other companies to build out its position in the wider digital ads space: It’s gobbling up Adconion and Kontera, for $235M and $150M, respectively. The consideration payable for Adconion Direct North America and Adconion Australia (the two divisions of Adconion) is approximately $209M, excluding debt. Both Adconion and Kontera will become a part of SingTel.
  • Penang-based rich media mobile ad creator startup, MobileAds (previously known as RichMobileAds) has a received an undisclosed strategic investment from Seattle-headquartered HasOffers. CEO and founder Alvin Koay couldn’t share the exact figure but did say it is a bridge round to its series A. The investment sum is six figures. The new funding from HasOffers is strategic in the sense that is helps MobileAds enter the US market with much ease.
  • Talkweb (SZ:002261) has announced a $130M deal to increase its 10% stake in developer Huorong Game to complete control. The purchase will be made with $52M in cash, of which $43M will be raised in a rights issue, and the remainder paid in newly issued shares. Huorong Game’s best known release is 3D online multiplayer card game Papa Three Kingdoms. It’s been downloaded 3.8M times since its launch in March, and is currently generating almost $8M (RMB 50M) a month in revenue.

Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly Update – 2014-06-09

Private Financing
US

  • Uber has raised $1.2 billion in a new financing led by Fidelity Investments. The funding positions the company at the front of a pack of Internet startups, at a pre-money valuation of about $17 billion, up from $3.5 billion in a financing last year. Other investors in the new round include Wellington Management, Summit Partners, BlackRock Inc., venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and existing investors such as Google Ventures and Menlo Ventures.
  • TrendKite, a startup promising to help brands and agencies measure the effectiveness of their PR efforts, has raised $3.2M in Series A funding led by Mercury Fund and Silverton Partners.
  • Flashpoint, seed-stage, Atlanta-based venture outfit and accelerator affiliated with Georgia Tech, has raised its second $1M fund, reports the Atlanta Business Chronicle. To date, Flashpoint has helped seed three dozen startups that have gone on to raise more than $65M from VCs, including Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz. The new fund is expected to back up to 50 startups over the next two years; those companies will pass through Flashpoint’s four-to-six-week-long program, staged twice a year, and receive $20,000 each in exchange for (an unspecified amount of) equity.
  • Yieldbot, New York-based company whose software helps online advertisers understand consumer intent (so they can match offers and ads at the moment, presumably, when customers are most open to them), has raised $18M in Series B funding. SJF Ventures led the round. Earlier investors Common Angels, New Atlantic Ventures and RRE Ventures also participated, along with City National Bank. The company has raised $28.4M to date.
  • Montage Talent, Delafield, Wi-based video interviewing company, has raised $6M in Series C funding led by Beringea, the private equity firm. Other participants included Montage’s earlier investors, including Baird Capital, Calumet Venture Fund, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Foley Ventures, and Gary Comer Inc The company has raised roughly $15M altogether.
  • Infrascale, El Segundo, California-based company that makes cloud data protection software for high volume cloud storage, has raised $16.3M in Series B funding led by new investor Carrick Capital Partners. The company has raised $25M to date.
  • ImageBrief, New York-based online marketplace that matches buyers of images with professional photographers, has raised $750,000 in funding from Great Oaks Venture Capital. The company, founded in Australia and moved to New York in 2013, has raised $3.2M altogether.
  • Fixstream Network, San Jose, Ca.-based data integration and analytics platform company, has raised $10M in Series A funding led by Tech Mahindra, a Pune, India-based consulting firm focused on the communications industry.
  • Allocadia Software, a four-year-old, Vancouver-based company whose cloud software helps marketers plan, budget, and analyze the return on their marketing investment, has raised $7M in Series A funding led by Altos Ventures and iNovia Capital. Other investors to participate in the round included Illuminate Ventures, earlier investor Beehive Holdings, and individual investors Don Mattrick and Norm Francis.
  • Triblio, a Content marketing startup that says it’s bringing “science to the art of content marketing,” has raised $3.4M in seed funding led by Longworth Venture Partners and Kepha Partners. Kepha’s Eric Hjerpe and Longworth’s Jim Savage are joining Triblio’s board of directors.
  • Los Altos-based data search and analytics platform ElasticSearch has raised $70M in a Series C round led by NEA with participation by Benchmark and Index Ventures. ElasticSearch is an open source search and data discovery platform that lets companies search through large amounts of data, pull out results, and visualize them clearly. Founded in in 2012, ElasticSearch has raised over $100M to date and will use the latest round to drive growth and build out operations in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
  • Allocadia, a Marketing performance management, has closed a $7M Series A round led by Altos Ventures and iNovia. Additional participants include Illuminate Ventures, as well as current investor Beehive Holdings, Zynga CEO Don Mattrick and former Pivotal Corporation co-founder and CEO Norm Francis, who also participated in the company’s $1M seed round in January 2013.
  • SpinGo, Draper, Ut.-based event search engine that scours more than 1,000 media sites and mobile apps for local event content, has raised $2M in Series A funding from numerous individual investors. The company has raised $6M to date.
  • Siftit, Atlanta-based mobile restaurant supply chain ordering platform, has raised $4M in Series A funding led by the early-stage venture firm TechOperators. The company was founded by former executives of Radiant Systems, a restaurant retail technology company that was acquired by NCR for $1.4 billion in 2011
  • RigUp, Austin, Tx.-based software platform for oil rig logistics, has raised $3M in seed funding led by Founders Fund. Other participants in the round included Great Oaks VC, BoxGroup, and individual investors. The WSJ has more on the startup here.
  • Larky, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based online platform and app that helps consumers find discounted retail items online, has raised $1.76M in seed funding led by North Coast Technology Investors. Also participating were the Michigan Angel Fund, the BlueWater Angels, and the Pure Michigan Venture Match and individual investors. Larky had previously raised $650,000 in a seed round last year.
  • Elasticsearch, Los Altos-based company that has created popular open-source enterprise search tools, has raise $70M in Series C funding led by New Enterprise Associates, which was joined by earlier investors Benchmark and Index Ventures. “We’ve been wooing them for over a year,” NEA partner Harry Weller tells Re/code. Elasticsearch, which also has an office in Amsterdam, has now raised $104M altogether.
  • Buzzoola, Moscow-based native video advertising platform, has raised $2M in seed funding from I2BF Global Ventures. The company had previously raised $1M in funding from BKF Bank.
  • Ambition, Chattanooga, Tn.-based company whose fantasy football-style app uses gamification to improve sales and productivity, has raised $2M from SV Angel, Google Ventures and others, reports Venture Capital Dispatch. The company was seeded with $600,000 from the Chattanooga venture incubator Lamp Post Group.
  • Super Evil Megacorp, a tablet-gaming startup, raised a $15M round and the hiring of Kristian Segerstrale, a former Electronic Arts digital games executive, as its chief operating officer. It is also pulling back the veil on its first game, Vain Glory, a tablet-based multiplayer online battle arena title (MOBA). The funding, which includes a new $11.6M round, comes from new investors General Catalyst and Raine Ventures. Earlier round investors include Rick Thompson and his team at Signia Venture Partners, Clinton Foy and his team at CrossCut Ventures, Initial Capital, ZhenFund, and other angel investors.
  • Montreal start-up MixGenius, a company revolutionizing digital music creation with it’s cloud-based services, raised $4M in seed stage investment (from Real Ventures, YUL Ventures and private investors), reeling in former Soundcloud VP David Haynes as an advisor, forging strategic partnerships with key music festivals, artists, labels, schools, and industry vendors. The company targets the rapidly growing market of audio content creators looking for an easy, affordable way to give their tracks a finished sound.
  • Sales software startup Savo Group raised a fresh $35M round of funding led by Goldman Sachs with participation from existing investors Sterling Partners and SAP Ventures. As part of the funding deal, Savo is also appointing Goldman Sachs exec Michael McGinn and Goldman Sachs investor Holger Staude to its board of directors. Savo provides enterprise-level clients with a SaaS platform that focuses on improving the productivity of a business’ sales team.
  • Fresh Nation, L.A.-based online market for farmers’ markets, has raised $1M in seed funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Lerer Ventures.
  • True Ventures, the early-stage venture firm with offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto, has officially closed its fourth fund with $290M in commitments. Firm cofounder Phil Black tells Venture Capital Dispatch that the firm set out to raise $225M but went larger to accommodate LP interest. Its third fund closed with $205M in 2011.
  • Yext, New York-based company that helps businesses manage local listings and ad campaigns across the Web, has raised a $50M in Series F financing led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Marker, Institutional Venture Partners, and Sutter Hill Ventures. According to Business Insider, the round gives Yext a $525M post-money valuation, up from a $270M valuation in 2012.
  • SwipeClock, Salt Lake City-based provider of time, attendance and workforce management SaaS for small and mid-size businesses, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the middle-market private equity firm Moelis Capital Partners.
  • SmartPay, Southington, Ct.-based maker of pay-as-you-go worker’s compensation software for payroll and insurance companies, has raised $1.4M, including follow-on investments from Connecticut Innovations and Tennant Capital Partners. Other investors in the round include Stonehenge Growth Capital and private investors. The company has raised $2.7M altogether.
  • Movius Interactive, Duluth, Ga.-based mobile software firm focused on converged communications like voicemail, video mail, visual voicemail, and unified messaging, has raised nearly $13M, according to an SEC filing that was flagged by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The round was led by PointGuard Ventures, a Bay Area firm that’s currently raising $50M for its debut fund. The company has raised roughly $40M altogether, including from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates.
  • MediaMath, New York-based ad buying, data management, digital marketing platform, has raised $73.5M in Series C funding led by Spring Lake Equity Partners. Akamai Technologies and earlier investors Safeguard Scientifics, Catalyst Investors, and Observatory Capital, also participated in the round. The company also increased its debt facility to $105M. The company has now tapped $195M altogether from investors.
  • Gild, San Francisco-based company whose tech hiring software promises to make it easier to evaluate tech talent, has raised $13.5M in Series B funding led by Menlo Ventures. Correlation Ventures , DFJ Venture, Globespan Capital Partners, SAP Ventures and private investors Steve Anderson of Baseline Ventures and Mark Kvamme of Drive Capital also participated in the round. The company has raised $25.9M altogether.
  • BrightFarms, New York-based company that designs, finances, builds and operates hydroponic greenhouse farms at, or near, supermarkets, has added $2.4M to its Series B, bringing total funding for the round to $7.4M. The new tranche was led by WP Global Partners. Others of its investors include NGEN Partners, Emil Capital Partners, and BrightFarms founder Ted Caplow. BrightFarms has now raised close to $20M to date.
  • Aryaka Networks, Milpitas, Ca.-based cloud-based wide-area-network optimization company, has raised $10M in Series D funding from earlier investors, including InterWest Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Presidio Ventures and Trinity Ventures. The company has raised roughly $73M to date.
  • Kobalt Music, a company that has developed a platform to help artists and songwriters to collect royalties on streamed music more easily, has raised $140M, with investors including London’s Balderton Capital (formerly Benchmark Europe), Michael Dell’s private investment firm MSD Capital (whose $25M portion of the $140M was announced in March, and includes the stake of founding investor Spark Ventures), and a number of other prominent investors that Kobalt is currently not making public.
  • Dinner Lab, an exclusive supper club that lets up-and-coming chefs test their recipes by preparing multi-course meals for a private audience, has just raised its first outside funding, has raised $2.1M in a seed round led by Dr. John B. Elstrott, the Chairman of the Board of Whole Foods, alongside other angel investors.
  • Boston-based online auction marketplace Invaluable has raised $33.8M in a Series D round led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from Ascent Venture Partners and Commonwealth Capital Ventures. Invaluable is the world’s largest online auction marketplace of art, antiques, collectibles, and estate auctions, providing a real-time bidding platform for sellers and bidders worldwide. Founded in1989 as Artfact, Invaluable rebranded and launched its new site last fall, and plans to use the new cash to accelerate growth, hire additional employees and develop strategic partnerships.
  • Zenefits, San Francisco-based company that makes it easy for companies to manage their human resources paperwork online, has raised a $66.5M Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Institutional Venture Partners. The company has now raised $84M altogether, including from Y Combinator, Venrock, Maverick Capital and individuals David Rusenko, Charlie Cheever, and Aaron Levie.
  • Proteus Digital HealthRedwood City, Ca.-based company whose digital health feedback system, which involves ingestible sensors that helps patients to better manage their health and collaborate with caregivers and clinicians, has raised $120M from unidentified investors. The San Francisco Business Times has much more about the company, which has now raised roughly $320M altogether.
  • Offerpop, New York-based digital marketing platform that tries to help brands turn marketing channels into social experiences, has raised $15M in new funding led by Edison Ventures, which was joined by Hearst Ventures and Salesforce.com. Earlier investors Windcrest Partners, CommonAngels and Mesco also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to date to $24.5M.
  • Houzz, Palo Alto, Ca.-based home-remodelling and design site Houzz is raising a Series D round of $150M at a post-money valuation of more than $2.3 billion, according to TechCrunch and VCExperts. The fresh funding would bring total funding for Houzz to roughly $200M. Previous investors include Comcast Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital, GGV Capital, New Enterprise Associates, and numerous high-profile individual investors, including Yammer founder David Sacks.
  • Grabit, Santa Clara, Ca.-based company that makes electro adhesion-based materials and which spun out of the nonprofit research institute SRI International, has raised an undisclosed amount of new funding from Flextronics Lab IX and Draper Nexus. The round follows a Series A funding raised last October. That earlier round was led by Formation 8, which was joined by Nike and ABB Technology Ventures.
  • GoDog Fetch, San Diego, Ca.-based developer of cloud-based technology that claims to work as a Siri-like personal digital assistant for all the devices people use throughout the day, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding, including from Analytics Ventures.
  • Fishidy, Madison, Wi.-based map-based social and mobile platform that provides fishing information to anglers, has raised $1.5M in Series A funding led by Hyde Park Investors. Fifteen other investment groups filled out the round.
  • Commerce Guys, Ann Arbor, Mi.-based e-commerce services company behind Drupal Commerce, an open-source framework that sites use for their online stores, has raised $7.3M in Series B funding. Hi Inov, a family office, led the round, joined by earlier investors Isai, a France-based entrepreneurs’ fund; Alven Capital, a venture firm in Paris; and Open Ocean Capital of Finland. The company has now raised $12.3M altogether.
  • Pathbrite, San Francisco-based company whose software tools enable students to create Web-based portfolios, has raised $3.7M in new funding led Cengage Learning, a Boston-based education content company. Other investors to participate in the round include ACT and Serious Change. The company has raised $11.7M altogether.

EMEA

  • Prague-based casual competitive multiplayer mobile game developer Geewa has announced the closing of a funding round totaling $4.2M. Springtide Ventures, a member of the KKCG group, was the lead investor of this financing round, with existing investor MCI Management participating as well. Geewa’s plans for the funding include growing the company’s game portfolio across both browser and mobile platforms. It has three new games planned for 2014.
  • German mobile game startup Flaregames has raised $12.2M in venture funding from Accel Partners and T-Venture. Karlsruhe, Germany-based Flaregames was founded in 2011 by Klaas Kersting, the founder of online game publisher Gameforge. The company is focusing on creating mid-core games for mobile devices. Those are games whose subject matter or mechanics appeal to hardcore gamers, but can be played in shorter time cycles. Flaregames will use the money to hire people and market the company’s upcoming free-to-play games. To date, the company has now raised $23M from Accel, T-Venture, and an undisclosed investor.
  • Slainte Healthcare, Dublin, Ireland-based maker of revenue cycle management software for hospitals, has raised a “significant” investment from the AIB Start-up Accelerator Fund, managed by ACT Venture Capital.
  • Night Zookeeper, London-based maker of educational games for children, has raised roughly $600,000 in new funding, mostly from individual investors. Night Zookeeper, which allows users to design their own character and story lines, says it is used in more than 5,000 schools and that it’s being tested in Canada and Japan.
  • Android app distribution platform Flexion Mobile has raised $2.5M. Investors included the Sixth Swedish National Pension fund. The company, which is headquartered in London, says it will use the cash to launch its new wrapper technology for free-to-play games. Flexion’s version of this works by wrapping a game with additional services such as billing, social features, advertising and notifications, hence effectively making any game using Flexion’s technology an app store for additional downloads.
  • Alternative investing startup Wikifolio has closed a €6M funding round led by European early stage venture fund Speedinvest. The fresh capital will be used by the Austrian company, which I’m told broke-even in the first quarter of 2014, to expand beyond its home country and Germany. Existing shareholders VHB Ventures (Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt), Lang & Schwarz, Michael Grabner Media, and Michael Altrichter also participated in the round, along with a number of private investors associated with Speedinvest, among them Jörg Flöck, a former Thomson Reuters executive.
  • European online package shipping marketplace startup PackLink has pulled in $9M in Series B funding, led by Accel Partners. Existing investor Active Venture Partners also participated in the round. PackLink’s total raised funding to-date now totals $11M. The Spanish startup was founded in early 2012, with a mission to simplify the complexity of finding the best priced shipping provider to deliver a particular parcel by building a marketplace/metasearch platform where senders can pin down the best service for their needs.
  • Profitero, Dublin, Ireland-based SaaS company that sells online insights and e-commerce intelligence to retailers and brands, has raised $8M in funding from Polaris Partners. The company has raised roughly $9M altogether.
  • Nezasa, Zurich-based travel startup that invites users to book everything, from airfare to hotels to activities, in one place, has closed an $800,000 second round of funding from an unnamed family office, various business angels and existing investors. The has raised just more than $1.1M to date.
  • Zurich-based travel startup Nezasa, which offers a “one-stop shop” to design and book your personalised travel itinerary, has closed an $800,000 second round of funding from an unnamed family office, various business angels and existing investors. The company competes with traditional travel agencies and similar custom/personalised travel upstarts, such as Evaneos, and Trip.me. Evaneos recently closed a much larger Series B round of $6M, led by XAnge Private Equity, with participation from previous investor ISAI. The Swiss company previously raised $340,000 in August 2013, bringing total funding to just over $1.1M.
  • French startup Lima, a company that makes a small device that plug to router as well as one or multiple USB drives will then seamlessly transform USB drives into a personal Dropbox for all devices, raised $2.5M from French VC firm Partech Ventures.
  • Radio Physics Solutions, makers of a security scanner that’s able to detect plastic firearms made with a 3D printer,has raised £700,000 from equity crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom, which targets professional “approved” investors, as well as the wider public.

Asia

  • Fashionandyou, Gurgaon, India-based shopping site for luxury brands and designer apparel, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series D funding led by the investment arm of VIPshop, the publicly traded, China-based discount retail specialist. Earlier investors Norwest Venture Partners and Intel Capital also participated, reports TechCircle.in. Fashionandyou is a subsidiary of the holding company Smile Group. The new round represents one of few examples of Chinese digital tech ventures investing in India.
  • DewMobile, a Beijing-based company that sells mobile-to-mobile communication applications that don’t require a Web connection, has raised $20M in Series B funding, including from IDG Capital, Northern Light Venture Capital, and Innovation Works. The company had previously raised at least $6M.
  • Mogujie, Chinese social shopping platform, announced US$200M in Series D funding from a group of investors including Hopu Fund, TBP Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, IDG Capital Partners, and Banyan Fund. The company is valued at US$1 billion.
  • Philippines-based consumer rewards startup ZAP has secured US$850,000 in funding from Siemer Ventures, Seawood Capital, existing investor Kickstart Ventures, and other local angels. ZAP offers discounts and cashbacks to consumers in the Philippines. When a shopper taps their smart sticker, called a ZAPtag, to a merchant’s terminal upon purchase, users are rewarded cashbacks which they can use for future purchases.
  • Car sharing app iCarsClub has secured $10M in series A funding from Sequoia Capital China, Crystal Stream Capital, Wang Xing (the CEO of daily deals site Meituan), Zhuang Chenchao (CEO of travel booking site Qunar), and Huang Mingming (Future Capital). It’s notable that all those investors are Chinese. It operates in Singapore under the iCarsClub name, and in mainland China as PPZuche.
  • Voice call app Inbilin announced yesterday that it has secured $15M of Series A funding from Qiming Venture Partners and Morningside Ventures. The funding will be injected in team construction and upgrading of servers. Launched in May 2013, Inbilin is a social networking voice call app that enables users to call strangers. Users can either call the person they interested in or chat with anyone they are paired with randomly. The company now claimed more than 20M registered users with around 200k daily active users. The users are mainly distributed in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Wuhan, etc.
  • Dayima, a Chinese app for period tracking and women’s health, raised $30M in Series C funding from Ceyuan Ventures and existing investors, Sequoia Capital China and Bertelsmann Asia Investments. So far the company has raised three rounds in about a year that totals $45M: $5M from Bertelsmann and ZhenFund in April 2013, and $15M in Series B led by Sequoia and joined by the earlier two in last September. Launched in January 2012, Dayima claims it has had 45M registered users and 3.2M daily active users.
  • Shunwei Capital Partners, a three-year-old, Beijing-based venture capital firm focused on early to mid-stage start-ups in China’s Internet and technology industry, has raised $525M for two new venture funds, according to China Money Network. The firm was created by Lei Jun, founder of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, and Tuck Lye Koh, a Stanford grad and investor who’d worked previously at Deutsche Bank and Starr International. The firm’s first fund, says the report, was a $200-million-plus vehicle.
  • Zapya, a Beijing-based network-free close-range file sharing app for mobile devices, has raised $20M in Series B funding from IDG Ventures. The company’s earlier investors reportedly include Northern Light Venture Capital and Innovation Works.
  • Toutiao, Beijing-based Chinese news reader app, has raised $100M in Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital, with the Chinese microblogging company Sina Weibo and other investors participating. The deal values Toutiao at $500M.
  • Romulus Capital, a venture capital firm founded out of MIT focused on seed- and early-stage technology and science-enabled companies, has raised $50M from a powerful group of individual investors from six regions around the world including the US, Western Europe, Russia, South Asia, the Middle East, and Hong Kong. Further making the fund unique in the venture industry is the profile of investors – individuals and no institutions. As the second fund raised by Romulus, this makes it one of the largest seed funds in the world.
  • Sequoia Capital has invested $15M in Series A funding in Indian mobile multiplayer gaming company Octro, which makes digital versions of popular local classics, such as card game Indian Rummy or the bingo-style Tambola. Octro was founded in 2006, and initially focused on productivity apps, building a mobile VoIP app called OctroTalk, before shifting focus to mobilizing locally popular games.
  • WritePath, an editing company that serves college applicants, technical writers, and academic researchers, has raised $525,000 in seed funding led by B Dash Ventures. The Singapore-based startup will use the capital to set up offices in Japan, Korea, and the U.S. WritePath operates three online editing services called Topadmit.com, Topsciedit.com, and Bizeditors.com that each serve different verticals. Other investors included Pinehurst Advisors; Jamie Lin of AppWorks; Jackie Cheng, founder of GogoLook (which was recently acquired by Naver, the owner of messaging service Line); and Bernard Chan, former entrepreneur-in-residence at TMI Ventures, and founder of AlphaCamp.
  • The Chinese makers of file transfer app Zapya have secured US$20M in series B funding from IDG to help grow the business both in China and overseas. Previous series A investors included Northern Light Venture Capital and Beijing-based Innovation Works.
  • Booster Pack, a new game company setup by four members of the studio’s Singapore team LucasArts, has received $1,475,000 in funding lead investor Cyberworld Studios, Ariel Star Group, and Kathrein Ventures. The startup is currently working on its first game, which is set to debut late this year. Their first round of funding will be used to develop that game, as well as fuel post-launch marketing and player support costs.
  • Toutiao, a personalized news app, announced that it has secured $100M of Series C financing led by Sequoia Capital and followed by Sina Weibo at a valuation of $500M. The company has previously received eight-digit USD Series B financing from Yuri Milner, founder of DST, at a valuation of $60M in 2013. The seven-digit USD first-round funding were received from SIG in 2012. The fund will be used in R&D of machine learning technologies, according to Zhang Yiming, founder and CEO of Toutiao. The app registered more than 120M users with over 40M daily active users, according to data released by the company.

Other emerging markets

  • CyberX, a security startup with tentacles in Israel and focused on what it calls the Internet’s industrial domain, raised $2M in venture funding. The seed round was led by Glilot Capital Partners with participation from the Swarth Group and assorted angels.
  • Consumer Physics, Tel Aviv-based startup whose pocket spectrometer for smart phones can determine the chemical makeup of food, including nutritional information, has raised more than $2M in crowdfunding via its Kickstarter campaign, with 10 days still left to go. More than 10,000 backers have donated to the startup, which has also raised startup funding from Khosla Ventures and angel investors.

Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • Spotsetter, a social search engine using big data to offer personalized recommendations as to places to go, has been quietly snapped up by Apple. Spotsetter debuted during AngelPad’s Spring 2012 class, then later went on to raise $1.3M in seed funding from Rahul Prakash, 2020 Ventures, Javelin Venture Partners in addition to AngelPad.
  • Dropbox has acquired a stealthy company called Droptalk which was developing a tool that allowed you to share links privately with friends via a Chrome extension, to be followed by both iOS and Android applications. None of the products were publicly available, as the company had only just launched its browser add-on into a limited beta. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The founding team includes serial entrepreneurs Rakesh Mathur and Ash Bhardwaj and CTO Anand Prakash.
  • Samsung has acquired struggling video streaming startup Shelby.tv.
  • Twitter acquired native-ads specialist Namo Media as it looks to further ramp up its advertising efforts. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. A person familiar with the matter said it was less than $100M. Founded in 2013 by three former Google employees, Namo Media has raised nearly $2M from investors including Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.
  • Social commerce company Chirpify had acquired Measureful, a “Flipboard for data” and a fellow Portland company. Launched in 2011, Chirpify enables people to make purchases through hashtags. It first started with Twitter, and later expanded to include Facebook and Instagram. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Chirpify and Measureful both participated in the Portland-based accelerator Upstart Labs, which no longer exists. Chirpify has raised a total of $7.3M dollars from investors including Saturn Partners, Provenance Ventures, Voyager Capital, Andy Liu, Rudy Gadre, and Hootsuite chief executive Ryan Holmes.
  • Facebook acquired Pryte, a small company based out of Helsinki, Finland, which has developed technology that lets app makers and carriers sell mobile data in incremental packages based around particular app usage or other parameters. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Perfect Audience, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based retargeting platform, has been acquired by the Online advertising management company Marin Software for $22.8M. Perfect Audience is a Y Combinator alum that raised $1.1M in funding altogether, including from SV Angel, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and Paul Buchheit.
  • Time has acquired Seattle-based Cozi, the makers of a popular family organizer utility for web and mobile. Founded in 2005 by Robbie Cape and Jan Miksovsky, both previously of Microsoft, Cozi offers a suite of tools, primarily aimed moms, which help with organizing things like kids’ schedules, shopping lists, chore charts, meal plans, and more. Plus, it has messaging and journaling features that help families stay in touch, and keep track of notable milestones and memories. Terms of the deal were not being immediately disclosed. Cozi had raised $5.8M in Series A funding from MBVH Investments, Benaroya Capital, and Pioneer Ventures last year. Previously, newspaper publisher Gannett Company invested in Cozi, which had raised more than $24M.
  • The private equity firm KKR has agreed to buy Internet Brands, which operates a portfolio of websites and software, in a bet that it can help the company expand its services in a deal worth $1.1 billion, from two other private equity firms, Hellman & Friedman and JMI Equity, which bought it for $640M in 2010.

Asia

  • Japanese Android monetisation company Metaps has acquired App Data Bank. The size of the deal wasn’t disclosed. It’s a Japanese language app ranking and analytics outfit that provides an App Annie-style web-based service to track the performance on apps and games on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

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.

Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2014-05-19

Private Financing
US

  • First Opinion has raised $1.4M in new funding from True Ventures and returning investor Felicis Ventures. This brings the total raised by the text-a-doctor service to $2.6M. Prior backers include Greylock, Yuri Milner, and 500 Startups. The iOS app, which matches users with a doctor they can text with questions, also launched a new version of its service. The iOS app, which matches users with a doctor they can text with questions, also launched a new version of its service. First Opinion allows one free consult every month. Additional ones start at $12 for a package of three sessions with the same doctor. The update makes doctors available 24-hours a day and the company says questions are usually answered within nine minutes.
  • Pinterest, the social network for “pinning” pictures, videos, and other media raised $200M in venture funding. The new money comes from previous investors: Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity, FirstMark Capital, SV Angel, and Valiant Capital Partners. The company announced a $225M round in October at a $3.8 billion valuation. To date, Pinterest has raised $764M. The company now carries a $5 billion valuation.
  • Mountain View-based financial data startup OpenGov has raised a $15M Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from Thrive Capital and Formation 8. OpenGov brings government financial data online, allowing for the information to be graphed, analyzed, and shared. Founded in 2012, OpenGov has around 100 clients so far and will use the latest cash raised to expand its sales team, back additional software development, and provide more customer support for clients.
  • Giphy has raised a $2.4M Series A round of funding, according to the SEC website and an official blog post announcing the round. betaworks led, with participation from Lerer Ventures, RRE Ventures, and CAA Ventures. Giphy launched out of betaworks in February of 2013 with about $1M in seed funding from the indefinable incubator-startup studio hybrid run by John Borthwick.
  • StepOne, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) seller startup, raised $4M in an A round of venture cash. LiveOak Venture Partners led the round in addition to Silverton Partners. The software data-mines consumers Internet history, buying habits for example. It then processes and stores this data. If an individual has questions directed to customer service for those using StepOne, the requisite information on their buying habits and preferences is available to the agents processing the online questions.
  • Pantheon, a startup that maintains websites for media outlets, marketers, and other companies even when web traffic goes bonkers, has raised a new $21.5M funding led by Scale Venture Partners. OpenView Venture Partners, Baseline Ventures, First Round Capital, Floodgate Fund, and Foundry Group also participated. The new money will help Pantheon expand its geographic footprint, improve the performance of its infrastructure, and add to its dashboard for making tweaks across many sites. Pantheon has raised $28.8M, including a $5M round from 2012.
  • San Francisco-based DNS security provider OpenDNS has raised a $35M Series C round from Greylock Partners, Sequoia Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures, Glynn Capital, Cisco, Evolution Equity, Lumia Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and Northgate Capital. OpenDNS provides cloud-based enterprise network security to protect businesses and their users across all devices. Founded in 2005, OpenDNS has raised $53M to date and will use the new funds to hire engineers, invest in R&D, and expand to the East Coast and internationally.
  • US- and China-based venture capital firm GGV Capital announced it has closed its fifth fund worth $620M. GGV says the amount is consistent with previous funds, bringing its total capital under management to over $2.2 billion. Since its founding in 2000, GGV remains one of the few venture firms that uses a single team to across both the US and China, rather than splitting into separate entities. The firm will continue making investments of $5M to $25M into companies in internet and digital media, cloud and SaaS, and mobile sectors in the US and China.
  • YouEarnedIt, an Austin, Texas-based employee-engagement app who aims to make it easier for companies to reward and retain employees who matter, raised $1.5M in a seed round.
  • Events engine SpinGo, a database for local events, connecting people with more than 100,000 monthly events, has raised $2M in a Series A investment led by Prelude, a new Mercato Partners fund. This brings SpinGo’s total funding amount to $6M.
  • Mozio, an airport ground transportation search engine that would help travelers book that “last leg” of their trip: getting from the airport to their final destination, as raised $750,000 in seed funding from a number of strategic backers in the travel industry, including Orbitz’s Chairman of the Board and the founder of car rental agency aggregator, CarTrawler. The investor list includes the following: Gregory Turley, (Founder and Chairman at CarTrawler), Jeff Clarke (Chairman at Orbitz), HOWZAT Partners (a London VC firm whose partners are all travel industry execs at Cheapflights and Momondo.com), J.R. Johnson (founder of VirtualTourist.com and Trippy.com), Daniel Saul (Founder of Smarter Travel Media), Ross Weber (CEO of Clicktripz) and Bhanu Chopra (CEO of RateGain).
  • San Francisco-based DIY fashion startup Darby Smart has raised $6.3M in a Series A round led by Maveron with participation from Forerunner Ventures, CAA Ventures, and existing investors. Darby Smart works with top Pinterest designers to offer consumers pre-packaged kits complete with all materials and instructions for a given DIY project. Launched last year, Darby Smart has raised $7.3M to date and will use the latest cash to increase user engagement.
  • Seattle-based home service professionals marketplace Pro.com has launched with $3.5M in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Madrona Ventures, Redpoint, Bezos Expeditions, Two-Sigma Ventures, and Sherpa Foundry. Pro.com aims to simplify the process of hiring home service professionals, providing homeowners with estimates for a list of home improvement tasks and a list of available contractors nearby. Launched as SeattleHomePro last year, Pro.com has rebranded, now offering real-time estimates, and plans to eventually expand its service nationwide.s
  • San Francisco-based credit card fraud prevention company Sift Science has raised an $18M Series B round led by Spark Capital with participation from Union Square Ventures, Max Levchin, and First Round Capital. Sift Science has developed a method to detect fraudulent charges as they’re happening, pairing a smart UI with machine learning. Founded in 2011 by a team of ex-Google engineers, Sift Science has raised $23.6M in total funding to date.
  • Attensity, a software that helps businesses grasp what people refer to and imply on social networks and in other bodies of text, has raised $90M in equity financing. Attensity’s technology relies on natural-language processing, a method of analyzing regular people’s text to extract meaning. An international private equity fund and a financial advisor company contributed to the new equity round. Attensity declined to identify those groups.
  • Passworks, a new platform launching in beta for brands and retailers to create, manage, and distribute marketing campaigns across Apple’s Passbook, Google Wallet and Windows Phone Wallet. Passworks has now secured a $1M seed investment from Portugal Ventures and Faber Ventures. Brands and retailers can use Passworks to distribute coupons and offers to consumers across social channels and others. Customers see a campaign on social media, add the pass to their mobile Passbook, or other mobile wallet app, to redeem later.
  • Tracour, a company building a web-based tool to track analyst rankings of stocks, has raised a $335,000 seed round of funding led by Unlimited Capital, and participated in by angel Brad Wardell. The company expects to enter a beta period in July.
  • Atlanta-based BitPay, who provides business solutions for merchants who want to accept Bitcoin – integration with shopping carts, billing systems, points-of-sale, and settling Bitcoin payment in U.S. dollars and other traditional currency, has raised $30M led by Index Ventures.
  • Instart Logic, a solution provider that helps mobile web apps run lightning fast, has raised $26M as its third round of institutional funding. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, with additional participation from existing investors Andreesen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Tenaya Capital., the company counts One Kings Lane, Volcom, Washington Post, Wine.com, and Omni Hotels among its customers. Instart Logic is based in Mountain View, Calif., and was founded in 2010 by Raghu Venkat, Hariharan Kolam, and Manav Mital. The company has raised a total of $52M to date.
  • BodeTree, an online service aimed at helping small business owners better understand their finances, has closed on $2M in Series A funding, led by its seed round investor Denver-based Greenline Ventures with participation from other, undisclosed angels. CEO Christopher Myers says the company did a soft close, as they may allow for some strategic investors to join in a “tag-along round” closing in July. BodeTree has raised $5M to date.
  • Campbell, CA-based electric vehicle charging startup ChargePoint has raised $22.6M in a new round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with participation from existing investors Braemar Energy Ventures, Rho Ventures, and BMW. ChargePoint sells EV charging stations to businesses for public locations like parking lots or apartment buildings, and also provides network cloud services for charging stations made by other companies. Founded in 2007, ChargePoint now has over 17,000 charging stations across North America, Europe, and Australia, and plans to use the new funds to expand its sales force and move into residential areas.
  • San Francisco-based business planning and execution software provider Anaplan has raised $100M in a Series D round led by DFJ with participation from Brookside Capital, Coatue Management, and Sands Capital Management along with current investors Granite Ventures, Meritech Capital and Shasta Ventures. Anaplan delivers a cloud-based planning app for sales, operations, and finance, and is just announcing the launch of Anaplan Hub, a marketplace where customers can find and share pre-designed planning models. Founded in 2006, Anaplan has raised $150M in total funding to date.
  • U.S. edtech startup LearnSprout has taken in more funding — announcing a $4.2M round which it actually closed last August. Investors in the new round are prior investor Formation 8, Samsung Ventures and former Blackboard president, Justin Tan (who also sits on its advisory board). Its total funding to date stands at $4.7M.
  • BlazeMeter, which provides the JMeter-based performance testing cloud, has secured $6.5M in a series A financing round led by YL Ventures, a previous investor, with Glilot Capital Partners. It partners with New Relic and Acquia but competes with compete with Soasta and HP. The cash will be used to develop BlazeMeter’s mobile testing platform and build on its position in mobile testing market for application performance. They will also put in an SF base. BlazeMeter says it has supported 500,000 tests, conducted over 50,000 users since its launch, helping out mobile app developers.
  • El Segundo, CA-based rewards site Swagbucks has raised $60M in its first round of funding from Technology Crossover Ventures. Swagbucks lets members earn gift cards and other rewards by using the site to search and shop for products, answer surveys, or play games. Founded in 2008, Swagbucks has been profitable since 2010 but will use the new cash to invest in mobile, product development, and expansion into international markets.
  • New York-based therapy startup Talkspace has raised $2.5M in seed funding from Spark Capital and Softbank. Talkspace in an on-demand counseling service that allows users to send an unlimited number of messages to a qualified therapist for a set fee. Founded in 2012, Talkspace currently sees 50,000 users on its online platform and iOS app and is looking to grow demand in the U.S. and Asian-language markets in the next two years.
  • New York-based video creation platform Wochit has raised $11.2M in new funding led by Marker LLC with participation from previous investors Cedar Fund, Greycroft Partners, and Redpoint Ventures. Wochit allows companies to quickly respond to breaking news by producing videos from customizable templates and relevant online content found with its natural language search function. Founded in 2012, Wochit has raised $16M to date and will use the new round to grow its sales and business development efforts.

EMEA

  • French startup Contract Live raised $1.4M from Ingenico founders, Jean-Marc Tassetto, Arnaud Vaissié, Bruno Deschamps and more. Contract Live lets you manage and sign your contracts in a webmail interface. The company has a 7 percent week-over-week growth rate with its existing clients. Many clients probably just start with one type of contracts before moving their entire business to Contract Live. The startup can manage contracts with suppliers, clients, HR, partners and more.
  • French startup PeopleDoc, a software which allows paperless management of all your HR documents, raised a $17.5M round led by Accel Partners. Existing investors Alven Capital and Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet’s Kernel Investissements also participated. PeopleDoc Signature is built on top of DocuSign,
  • Wheretoget, a community of dedicated fashion enthusiasts, raised $2M (€1.4M) from Alven Capital, Fabrice Grinda, Emmanuel Brunet and other angels. The company now gets 2.2M unique visitors per month.
  • UK-based Satago, which officially launched at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe in Berlin last year, has secured a $1M second round funding to expand its automated credit control business. The startup previously raised $48,500 (£30,000) from 61 investors in 15 days through the crowdfunding platform Seedrs. Interestingly for a UK-based startup, most of the investment round came via AngelList, which connects Angel investors to startups. The main investors were E-merge in Belgium; BDMI (the VC arm of Bertelsmann – the big German publishing group); Edward Wray (Betfair founder); and William Reeve (LOVEFiLM co-founder). Satago automates credit control, enabling small businesses and freelancers to get paid on time. They simply link their accounting software to Satago, and the platform anonymously reports when they get paid by their clients to all those who share that payments date data. Everything happens automatically.
  • French startup Bunkr raised $1.4M (€1M) from Idinvest Partners, Deezer co-founder Daniel Marhely and Free founder Xavier Niel. The service now has 50,000 registered users and 1,000 paid clients. A year ago, the service was much less usable than it is.
  • Earlybird has announced three investments: video app Flipps, job site Tjobs and real estate portal Metrekare. Flipps was actually confirmed at the end of April, is for $2.4M and also had participation from the likes of Tim Draper and Hasan Alanoba. Tjobs and Metrekare, meanwhile, are each “seven figure sums”. Metrekare, pursuing an opportunity in a market that hasn’t really been touched by other big players, is applying a data-driven approach to housing search and sales in a country that has had its housing market ups and downs. That has possibly kept others away and could end up working to its advantage (remember that Google really came into its own during a dot-com “bust”). Flipps, whose reach can currently expand up to 250M connected TVs in use, is compatible with some 5,000 manufacturer models. It says it has already picked up 10M users to date.
  • Germany’s Auxmoney,  a peer-to-peer marketplace for lending money, has closed a $16M Series B funding round, led by Foundation Capital. Partech Ventures and Scott Bommer also participated, alongside existing backers Index Ventures and Union Square Ventures. The latter two invested $13M in the company last year — so Auxmoney’s total funding to date stands at around $29M. In Germany it competes with the likes of Smava. While it shares an investor (Union Square Ventures) with the U.S. focused Lending Club.

Asia

  • Tokyo-based Gree Ventures announced the initial closing of its second fund, valued at 5 billion yen (approximately $50M). The fund, dubbed AT-I Investment Limited Partnership, has attracted key regional investors including parent company Gree, SME Support Japan, Credit Saison, Ateam, and Mizuho Capital. A second closing will be announced this summer as Gree Ventures continues fundraising. As with previous investments, the firm will take a broad approach that excludes gaming. The fund will be allocated to series A investments ranging from roughly $1M to $3M per company.
  • Tokyo-based startup BASE, a company that aims to help users to create an ecommerce website within 30 seconds has raised $3M from Global Brain. Founded in December 2012 by Yuta Tsuruoka and Kazuma Ieiri, BASE is similar to Shopify except that it is free. It is currently powering over 80,000 online shops in Japan. Prior to this financing round, BASE has previously raised $2.73M from PartyFactory, CyberAgent Ventures, Suneight, and East Ventures. The BASE team currently has 18 members.
  • WeComics, a user-created comics shareable over social media, has raised $1.5M in funding. The Chinese startup has adapted WeComics for its home market by allowing sharing via Sina Weibo, WeChat messaging, or WeChat Moments. Users first create their comic-ified avatar, and then can choose one of many preset scenarios that have a comedy caption, and optionally change the caption or add in more comedy gold with some speech bubbles.
  • Monk’s Hill Ventures, a new VC fund who wants to help close the mentoring and post-seed stage VC funding gap for startups in Asia, has just raised a $100M SGD (about $80M) fund that will provide early-stage funding and guidance from experienced entrepreneurs, including founders of Match.com, Zalora and Bubbly, to Asian startups that want to expand globally. The new firm currently has offices in Singapore and Jakarta. Monk’s Hill Ventures will provide portfolio companies with early stage and Series A and B funding and also support startups from other parts of the world that want to expand into Asia.
  • Shakr is attempting to help small business owners – especially ones such as real estate agents, restaurant owners, and car dealers – to make a video-based ad campaign using its marketplace for high-quality video themes and clips. As well as the themes available for sale, Shakr has an easy-to-use video creator so that an ad can be spliced together. The Seoul and San Francisco-based startup announced that it has secured its latest funding round from POSCO Venture Capital. There are no financial details pertaining to the latest funding round, but Shakr now has a total of $3M in funds that will enable the team to expand the business serving other industries.
  • Shanghai-based digital marketing company AdSame has raised a Series C round of $30M led by Pacific Venture Partners and Dream Capital Group with participation from existing investors Matrix Partners and Vertex Ventures. AdSame provides intelligent digital marketing services such as online media planning, campaign management, and performance monitoring and optimization. Founded in 2009, AdSame has over 400 employees globally and plans to IPO in the U.S. market in 2015.
  • ESTmob, the Seoul-based team behind file-sharing app Send Anywhere (which we reviewed about a week ago) revealed it has completed a $1M seed round led by Rakuten Ventures. Send Anywhere delivers a basic, somewhat mundane utility to device owners. After one downloads the app, a user selects a file he or she would like to send, and is then given a six-digit code (or a QR code). That code is then shared with the intended recipient, who then inputs it into the app on his own device. Send Anywhere has accumulated over 200,000 “monthly active devices” that use its app, of which Kang estimates 65 percent make up its monthly active userbase. The team hopes to pass the 1M monthly active user benchmark by the end of the year.


Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • Quest Visual, the maker of an app which translates the wording on signs captured with your smartphone’s camera automatically, has been acquired by Google. With the acquisition, Google gets Quest Visual’s tech, which it will incorporate into Google Translate in the future.
  • Facebook has acquir-hired the founders of Switchcam, a startup that specialized in video sharing. The founders Chris Hartley and Bret Welch both now list Facebook as their employer, and Switchcam has been shut down. Switchcam was part of the February 2012 500 Startups class, and the San Francisco-based company went on to raise $1.2M from Mark Cuban, 500 Startups, Turner Media Camp and more that summer. Over the years, Switchcam worked with music festival Lollapalooza, PBS, and Anheuser Busch.
  • Data giant Acxiom acquired LiveRamp for $310M. The acquisition brings LiveRamp’s “data funneling” capabilities to Acxiom customers.
  • Yahoo is buying an ephemeral mobile messaging app Blink. The company behind Blink, Meh Labs, will discontinue the app for Android and iOS devices. Yahoo did not announce plans for Blink’s technology or its developers. The Blink app has been installed 10,000-50,000 times, according to Google Play Store statistics.

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.

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.

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.

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!