Blog Archives

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

Private financing

US

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

 

EMEA

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

 

Asia

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

 

Mergers & acquisitions

US

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

 

EMEA

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

Asia

  • UCWeb, the Chinese company best known for its mobile web browser, announced that it has acquired Teiron Network, the Guangzhou-based company behind popular Chinese app store PP Assistant, for an undisclosed amount. PP Assistant functions as a third-party app store for jailbroken Apple devices. It has 40m users, eightm daily downloads, and 450,000 apps. It also has Windows, Mac OS, and Android clients.
  • Korean web giant Naver has acquired Gogolook, the Taiwan-based startup behind Whoscall, a popular app in East Asia that identifies the origins of unknown callers. The exact amount paid for the purchased has not yet been disclosed.
  • Alibaba and electronic appliance maker Haier (SHA:600690; HKG:1169) announced that the two companies will jointly create a nationwide logistics, distribution, and installation system. As part of the partnership, Alibaba invested HKD 2.8bn ($364m) for a 2% stake in Haier and a 9.9% stake in Haier’s logistics and delivery subsidiary.
  • STI has acquired education-focused app store Chalkable for roughly $10m.
  • UCWeb, the leading Chinese mobile browser and mobile service provider, confirms the acquisition of Guangzhou Teiron Network Technology Co. Ltd, the developer of mobile device management suite and iOS app distributor PP Assistant. The transaction is expected to be closed soon. The acquisition price isn’t disclosed.
  • Malaysia and Singapore-based entrepreneur Patrick Grove will acquire a number of flash sales businesses in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia through his company iBuy Group. He will then raise A$37m ($33m) by putting iBuy up for an initial public offering on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) before the end of this year. The proposed ticker is ‘IBY’. The companies being acquired are:
    • Dealguru, which owns Deal.com.sg (Singapore) and Mydeal.com.my (Malaysia), for $11m in cash and $23.28m in shares at the Offer price
    • Buy Together, which owns BeeCrazy.hk (Hong Kong), for $8.4m in cash and $12.6m in shares
    • Dealmates.com (Malaysia), part-owned by Patrick Grove’s Catcha Group, for $10m in cash
  • Qihoo, the largest Internet security service in China, will buy new shares issued by Japanese mobile game developer Klab that will represent a 2.56% stake in the latter, according an announcement by Klab. It is expected that Qihoo’d help Klab leverage its huge user base.
  • Alibaba reportedly pushed through the acquisition for a second mobile music company Ttpod after acquiring music service Xiami in April this year. Founded in May 2008, Ttpod has receivedms of dollars of Series A in 2011 and secured strategic investment from Alibaba in October 2012. Ttpod registered north of 200m users by this June, according to data from Xiami.
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Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2013-11-25

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.