Blog Archives

Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2014-06-30

Private Financing
US

  • San Francisco-based BetterDoctor, which operates an online referral service for dentists and doctors (including specialists), raised $10.4M in new venture funding. BetterDoctor had previously attracted $2.6M in seed funding. The funding was provided by SoftTechVC and Burrill & Co., with participation from 500 Startups, among others. BetterDoctors was founded in 2011 by chief executive Ari Tulla and chief technical officer Tapio Tolvanen and went nationwide in 2012.
  • Sprout Social, a social media management platform for enterprise, has raised $8M in new funding from Lightbank and NEA. Sprout Social helps companies manage social media, providing engagement, publishing, and analytics tools for more than 10,000 customers. Founded in 2010 in Chicago, Sprout Social has raised $19M to date and will use the latest funding to open a European headquarters and drive international expansion.
  • First Round Capital, seed-stage investment firm with offices in Philadelphia and San Francisco, has closed a fifth fund of $175M, up just slightly from its $160M previous fund. The firm also announced that New York City-based partner Phin Barnes is relocating to San Francisco and that Wiley Cerilli, founder of former portfolio company SinglePlatform, is joining as a venture partner.
  • Sport Ngin, Minneapolis, Mn.-based company that helps sports organizations build websites and mobile applications, has raised $25M in Series D funding led by Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking and Causeway Media Partners, with participation from existing investor ICON Venture Partners. The company has raised $35.1M to date.
  • Plumgrid, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based network infrastructure software vendor that helps secure cloud networks for public and private clouds, has raised $16.2M in Series B funding led by Longworth Venture Partners. U.S. Venture Partners, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Swisscom Ventures also participated in the round, which brings Plumgrid’s total funding to $29M.
  • IgnitionOne, Atlanta, Ga.-based digital marketing technology company, has raised $20M in Series B funding led by SoftBank Capital. Earlier investors ABS Capital Partners and Brown Savano — a company that buys private company shares from founders and early investors — also participated in the round. The company has now raised roughly $68M.
  • Distractify, New York-based new media startup that competes with the likes of Upworthy, has raised $7M in Series A funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Other participants in the round included Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Advancit Capital, and CAA.
  • Chloe & Isabel, New York-based jewelry company that connects its customers through their own social selling experience, has raised $15M in fresh funding led by Softbank Capital, at a valuation of more than $100M, reports VentureWire. The company had previously raised $17.5M from investors, including General Catalyst Partners, First Round Capital, Felicis Ventures, Floodgate and individuals Ashton Kutcher, Mike Duda, Andy Dunn, Kirsten Green, and Ron Conway, among others.
  • Wish, a fast-growing mobile-shopping app, raised $50M from venture-capital investors who believe there is still room for upstarts in an industry dominated by Amazon.com, eBay and Groupon. The funding came from new investor Founders Fund and existing investors Formation 8, GGV Capital and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang, among others, and gives the San Francisco startup a valuation of roughly $400M. The deal comes only about two months after Wish raised $19M in funding. Wish offers users a feed of products from various online merchants at discounted prices. As users save products to their “wishlists” or recommend them, the software learns about interests. Users can buy the goods directly through the Wish app.
  • Truveris, a New-York based prescription auditing service, has raised $12.75M in a new round of funding led by Canaan Partners while previous investors New Leaf Venture Partners, Tribeca Venture Partners, New Atlantic Ventures, and First Round Capital all participated in the financing. As a result of the investment, Canaan Partners’ Stephen Bloch will be taking a seat on the board.
  • CrowdTwist, New York-based company that sells loyalty and analytics software to marketers, has raised $9M in Series B funding led by StarVest Partners, with investment from earlier backers, including Fairhaven Capital and SoftBank Capital. The company has raised $16.2M altogether.
  • CareCloud, which provides cloud-based practice management, electronic health records (EHR), and medical billing software to medical groups, says it’s taken $25.5M in new venture debt financing from Hercules Technology Growth Capital. Miami Springs, Florida-based CareCloud has now taken a total investment of $81.9M since its launch in 2009. Before the new debt funding it had taken $56.4M in venture capital funding.
  • Tastemade, an online food network, has raised $25M in Series C funding from Scripps Interactive Media and Liberty Media along with return backers Comcast Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Raine Ventures. Tastemade provides food-centric video content, producing a variety of its own cooking shows, and currently has more than 19M uniques per month. Founded in Santa Monica in 2012, Tastemade has raised over $40M to date and will use the latest cash to ramp up hiring and produce more content.
  • First Round Capital announced its fifth fund — a $175M round from existing limited partners. First Round’s fifth fund is its largest to date, up from $135M in 2012, $126.4M in 2010, and 125M in 2008. Alongside the funding announcement, First Round’s Josh Kopelman shares that SinglePlatform founder Wiley Cerilli will join the firm as a venture partner in New York. SinglePlatform was bought by Constant Contact for $100M in 2012.
  • Truveris, New York-based health information technology company that provides pricing and analysis tools to sponsors of prescription benefit plans, has raised $12.75M in Series C funding led by Canaan Partners. Earlier investors New Leaf Venture Partners, Tribeca Venture Partners, New Atlantic Ventures and First Round Capital also participated in the round, which brings the company’s funding to roughly $26.5M.
  • TapZen, L.A.-based mobile gaming startup, has raised $8M in new funding from Tencent Holdings. The company has raised $10M in “seed” funding from social games giant Zynga.
  • RedOwl Analytics, Baltimore, Md.-based company whose software helps organizations analyze their internal corporate data streams, has raised $4.6M from investors, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff; Igor Sill of Geneva Venture Group; Christian Lawless of Conversion Capital; Attractor Ventures; Propel Baltimore; and Tedco’s new Veterans’ Opportunity Fund.The company has raised $7.5M altogether.
  • CoPatient, Portland, Or.-based medical-billing company that helps patients spot mistakes in their medical bills, has raised $3.6M in Series A funding led by .406 Ventures. Earlier investors Cambia Health Solutions and Athenahealth executive Jonathan Bush also participated in the round. CoPatient had previously raised $1.1M in seed funding.
  • Coherent Path, Arlington Heights, Ma.-based retail analytics startup, has raised $6.3M in Series A funding led by Sigma Prime Ventures and GrandBanks Capital. The company has raised roughly $7M altogether, including from dunnhumby Ventures, CommonAngels, and BOLDstart Ventures.
  • White Ops, New York-based company focused on online fraud detection (it says it isolates and eliminates bot-infected traffic), has raised $7M in funding from new investors Paladin Capital Group and Grotech Ventures.
  • The Bouqs, Venice, Ca.-based cut-to-order online flower delivery service, has raised $6M in Series A financing led by Azure Capital Partners, which was joined by KEC Ventures. The company had previously raised $1.1M in seed funding from numerous individual investors and firms, including Mich Mathews, Dennis Phelps, Andy Dunn, Brian Spaly, Telegraph Hill Capital, Quest Venture Partners, and Siemer Ventures.
  • Wickr, an app that lets you securely send self-destructing text, audio, and video messages, announced that it has raised a second funding round of $30M. The round was led by Jim Breyer, founder and CEO of Breyer Capital, who’s also joining the company’s board. The news comes only a few months after Wickr announced its $9M first round. Wickr claims it now has the resources to “build the most trusted communications system in the world.”
  • BlockScore, an identity-verification startup and member of Y Combinator’s latest batch that is launching with $2M in funding from Battery Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, New Atlantic Ventures, Boost VC, Y Combinator, and several angels.
  • Bite-size e-learning platform Coursmos, which reckons there’s room to squeeze a little learning into busy digital users’ lives by breaking study topics down into small, easily digested video chunks, has closed a new round of funding — topping up the seed money that saw it through to launch last year. The $530,000 in new funding comes from Russian VC Imperious Group and an unnamed angel investor.
  • General Electric and the four-year-old, San Juan Capistrano, Ca.-based venture firm Frost Data Capital are setting up a new incubator for industrial technologies. Called Frost I3, it expects to help advance ten companies per year over the next three years. A two-week-old SEC filing shows that Frost Data has raised at least $38.4M for its Frost VP Early Stage Fund II LP. Frost typically 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.
  • WebPT, Phoenix, Az.-based company that says its Web-based medical records software is now used by more than 35,000 rehabilitation therapists in the U.S. and Canada, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Battery Ventures.
  • Tasktop Technologies, Vancouver-based maker of so-called software lifestyle integration software, has raised $11M in Series A funding led by Austin Ventures. Yaletown Venture Partners also participated in the round.
  • SmashFly Technologies, Stow, Ma.-based maker of recruiting software, has raised $9M in Series A funding led by OpenView Venture Partners.
  • Schoology, New York-based learning management system that helps educators use apps and other tech more effectively to teach and manage their classwork, has raised $15M in Series C funding led by Intel Capital. Great Oaks Venture Capital and Great Road Holdings also participated in the round, alongside earlier investors FirstMark Capital and Meakem Becker Venture Capital. The company has now raised at least $23M altogether.
  • One Month, New York-based online education company that offers one month’s worth of tutorials on front-end Web development, growth hacking, Web security, and more (the idea is to teach users just enough to get a Web app up and running), has raised $770,000 in seed funding from Winklevoss Capital, Innovation Works, Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Start Fund, Oliver Jung, Lew Moorman, Y Combinator, FundersClub, and the crowdfunding platform WeFunder.
  • Aerospike, Mountain View, Ca.-based flash optimized, in-memory and NoSQL startup, has $20M in Series C funding led by New Enterprise Associates. Columbus Nova Technology Partners, Alsop Louie Partners and Regis McKenna also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total known funding to $22M. (It raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding in 2012.)
  • Kids’ app developer Fingerprint has raised $10.85M in new funding led by DreamWorks. The company develops apps like “Kids Learn Mandarin” and “Wonder Bunny Math Race,” and it also publishes submissions from third-party developers who use its software development kit. The company currently has about 250 apps across all of its app networks and expects to reach 600 by the end of the year. Book publisher Reed Elsevier and media firm Corus Entertainment also contributed to Fingerprint’s new funding round alongside DreamWorks. Corus was an early Fingerprint investor, pouring $7.75M into the app maker back in August 2012.
  • Jason Kilar, former chief exec of streaming TV service Hulu, has secured $75M round of funding for his new startup Vessel led by Benchmark, Greylock Partners, and Bezos Expeditions — the personal investment company of Amazon head honcho (and Kilar’s old boss) Jeff Bezos.
  • Sapho, San Francisco-based mobile app that uses software APIs to pull from a company’s various enterprise applications and provide relevant updates for each user, has raised $3M in funding from a group of investors that includes Raymond Tonsing of Caffeinated Capital, Bloomberg Beta, Redpoint Ventures founder Brad Jones, and Andy Rankin.
  • Epoxy, Venice, Ca.-based company that builds tools to help YouTube startups and other video creators deepen their relationship with audiences, has raised $6.5M in Series A funding led by Upfront Ventures and Time Warner Investments. Earlier investors, including Advancit Capital, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Greycroft Partners and Robert Downey Jr.’s Downey Ventures, also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $14M.
  • Transifex, Menlo Park, Ca., and Athens, Greece-based startup that helps developers translate sites and apps into multiple languages quickly and inexpensively (comparatively), has raised $2.5M in seed funding led by New Enterprise Associates. Other participants in the round included Toba Capital, Arafura Ventures, and several individual angel investors.
  • Soundhawk, Cupertino, Ca.-based company that makes a “smart listening” system that looks like a Bluetooth headset to help people hear what they’re listening for in noisy environments, has raised $5.5M in funding from tech manufacturing giant Foxconn Group. The WSJ has much more on the company here. Soundhawk had previously raised $5.7M from True Ventures.
  • RelayRides, San Francisco-based peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace that now focuses only on providing long-term (day-long, at least) rentals, has raised $25M in Series B funding led by Canaan Partners. Earlier investors August Capital, Google Ventures and Shasta Ventures also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $44M.
  • Phunware, Austin-based company focused on creating mobile experiences for brands, including through mobile software development, has raised $30.7M in Series E funding led by Firsthand Technology Value Fund. Other investors in the round included Fraser McCombs Ventures, Maxima Ventures, Wild Basin Investment, the Central Texas Angel Network, Cisco Systems, World Wrestling Entertainment, and Samsung Ventures. The company has now raised $48.3M to date.
  • Patreon, San Francisco-based subscription platform that enables fans and sponsors to support artists and creators, has raised $15M in Series A funding led by Index Ventures, with participation from Alexis Ohanian, Sam Altman, David Marcus, Joshua Reeves and numerous other individual investors.
  • Passare, San Francisco-based startup that’s “simplifying end-of-life management” through an online portal where family and friends of the deceased can make funeral and travel arrangements, create online memorials and invite guests, has raised $6M from a group of funeral homes, angel investors and the Abilene, Tx.-based insurance company Funeral Directors Life Insurance Company.
  • OwnerIQ, Boston, Ma.-based company that provides real-time media buying services to advertisers, has raised $11M in funding led by existing investors in a round that was closed over two tranches, beginning in April. The company, which looks to have raised roughly $40M to date, counts Kepha Partners, Longworth Venture Partners, Egan-Managed Capital, CommonAngels, Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation, and Atlas Venture among its backers.
  • LIFX, San Francisco-based company making a Wi-Fi enabled, multi-color LED light bulb, has raised $12M in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital. The company had also raised $1.3M via a Kickstarter campaign in 2012.
  • Grand Rounds, San Francisco-based startup that provides medical second opinions online, has raised $40M in Series B funding led by Greylock Partners. Earlier investors Venrock and Harrison Metal also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $51M. Re/code has more on the company here.
  • Cargomatic, Venice, Ca.-based company that connects available truck drivers with companies needing to move freight (it calls itself the “Uber of trucking”), has raised $2.6M led by Morado Ventures, SV Angel, and Sherpa Ventures, reports Venture Capital Dispatch. Winklevoss Capital, Acequia Capital, Structure Capital and several angel investors also participated in the round.
  • Lerer Hippeau Ventures, the New York-based investment firm whose portfolio includes BuzzFeed, Chartbeat, and Warby Parker (among others), has closed its fourth fund, with a total of $62M in capital commitments.
  • Helpshift has raised $10M in venture capital funding to finance its expansion as the help desk for mobile app publishers. The company helps mobile game publishers like Supercell deal withMs of customer-service queries by intercepting more than 90 percent of those queries before they ever reach a real person. San Francisco-based Helpshift, which was the winner of last year’s Innovation Showdown at our MobileBeat 2013 conference, has created a platform for customer service on mobile devices. It can be used to create frequently asked question (FAQ) documents that are easily searchable, even when the user it tapping away with thumbs on a mobile device. Intel Capital led the round, with participation from Visionnaire Ventures, a new venture capital fund whose partners include Taizo Son, brother of Japan’s Masayoshi Son, head of SoftBank. Other participants include existing investors True Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners.
  • CloudPhysics, a startup that has developed software for keeping tabs on the health of clusters of servers in companies’ data centers, has taken on $15M in fresh venture capital led by Jafco Ventures. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Mayfield Fund also participated. Previously, VMware co-founders Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum invested in CloudPhysics. To date, Mountain View, Calif.-based CloudPhysics has raised $27.5M, including a $10M round last year and a $2.5M round in 2012. CloudPhysics has focused on providing analytics for data center operators that chop up their servers into virtual machines and maintain them with VMware’s popular vSphere software.
  • Slyce, Calgary-based visual product search platform, has raised $12M from the likes of Canaccord Genuity Corp. and including Salman Partners Inc., Cormark Securities Inc., and Beacon Securities Ltd. It comes just a few months after Slyce raised $10.75M from PI Financial, Salman Partners, Harrington Global and other investors. Before that it raised a convertable debenture round of $2.2M, and in total it has raised $27M. The Slyce technology enables a retailer’s customer to snap a smartphone picture of any item they find in the real world, or hover over any image online, and be instantly provided with all direct, or close-matching products from the retailer’s Inventory which can be purchased instantly – at the exact moment of consumer impulse.
  • Patreon, a subscription-based funding site for artists, has just raised $15M in a Series A from Alexis Ohanian, Sam Altman, David Marcus, Joshua Reeves and a bevy of other tech entrepreneurs. There were 17 angel investors and VCs in all who contributed to this series, with Danny Rimer of Index Ventures leading the round.
  • Scivantage, Jersey City, N.J.-based company that sells Web-based front and middle-office technologies to the financial services industry, has raised $20M from earlier investors Brown Brothers Harriman Capital Partners and Edison Ventures. The round also included debt financing provided by Comerica Bank and ORIX Ventures.
  • Inpria, Corvallis, Or.-based developer of high-resolution photoresists, has raised $1.45M led by the Oregon Angel Fund. The capital comes on the heels of a separate, $7.3M round of funding the company announced in February, led by Samsung Ventures, with participation from Intel Capital and Applied Ventures.
  • AnyPerk, an employee perk and discount startup based in San Francisco, has raised $3M in additional seed funding from VegasTech Fund, FundersClub, Vayner/RSE, and a handful of angel investors. AnyPerk helps companies create and distribute employee perks such as discounted gym memberships, hotel deals and movie tickets. Founded in 2012 and incubated by Y Combinator, AnyPerk already works with over 2,500 customers and will use the new cash to create a location-aware mobile app for employees.
  • Skyhigh Networks, a cloud access security company, has raised $40M in a Series C round led by previous investors Sequoia and Greylock with participation from new strategic investor Salesforce. Based in Cupertino, Skyhigh makes security software that manages and analyzes data from apps used by employees. Founded in 2011, Skyhigh has raised $66.5M to date and will use the new funding to ramp up hiring and develop new products.
  • Tanium, an enterprise security and systems management startup out of Berkeley, CA, has raised $90M from Andreessen Horowitz in its first venture capital round to date. Tanium allows IT professionals to control and manage an entire network through its natural language search console. Founded in 2007, Tanium plans to use the new cash to back continued product development and expansion. The investment values the company at $900M.

EMEA

  • Templafy, a business template management startup out of Denmark, has raised $2.5M in seed funding from SEED Capital and Sunstone. Templafy helps managers ensure visual and legal compliance in employee-produced business documents across all devices. Founded in December of 2013, Templafy will use the latest cash to fund global expansion.
  • Social trip planner startup CreateTrips has closed a $600,000 seed round of funding, with investment coming from Butterfly Ventures, Frontier and Rkapital.
  • Finnish mobile-first narrative-driven startup Seriously has announced it’s closed a $2.65M round of what it calls “Series B Seed” funding. Previous investor Upfront Ventures was the lead investor, with previous investors Sunstone Capital and new investor Daher Capital also participating. This round takes Seriously’s total funding to-date to $5M.
  • Deliveroo, food delivery service for premium restaurants that don’t traditionally offer a take-out service, has closed a £2.7M series A round led by Index Ventures, with participation from Hoxton Ventures and a number of individual investors. Currently operating in London only, Deliveroo solves the problem that a lot of take-out food does’t really cut it, and yet most premium or higher-end restaurants don’t deliver to homes or businesses. To do this, it’s built its own online ordering and logistics platform, including recruiting a fleet of drivers.
  • MyOptique Group, London-based online optical retailer, has raised roughly $27.2M in Series C funding from Korys, Beringea, Cipio Partners, Silicon Valley Bank, Acton Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners, and Index Ventures. The company has raised $55.4M to date.
  • Nutmeg, the UK-based online investment management startup, intends to disrupt the world of financial investing by making it affordable for the masses. But to do that it needs cash. Lots of cash. they’ve raised another $32M, taking their total funds raised to $50m. The investors in’s round include Carphone Warehouse founder Charles Dunstone, asset management house Schroders, and top-tier European VC Balderton Capital. Existing investors include Draper Associates and Daniel Aegerter from Armada Investment Group also participated. The new funds will be spent on customer acquisition and product development. Tim Draper calls Nutmeg “among the very best” of “exciting new financial technology businesses.”
  • Definiens, Munich, Germany-based pathology image-analysis company, has raised $20M in new funding led by Wellington Partners. Earlier investors Gilde Healthcare Partners, Cipio Partners, and TVM Capital also joined the round. The company has raised at least $33.3M to date.
  • Kreditech, the credit rating service for enterprise which offer micro-loans to costumers based on social and commerce data, has closed a $40M Series B funding round, the largest ever for a German financial services technology company and one of the largest rounds in Germany in 2014. The lead investor is Värde Partners, a PE fund, which was joined by existing shareholder Blumberg Capital and Point Nine Capital. Kreditech will use money to broaden its financial products and expand into new markets. It claims to have approved more than 1.5M individual loans inside the last 20 months. In January this year it secured $15M in debt financing from Kreos Capital. The company now operates in Poland, Spain, Czech Republic, Russia and Mexico and launched in Australia in Q1, and operates in Peru. Planned for this year is the Dominican Republic and Romania. Brazil is planned for 2015. From 2012 and 2013 they raised $25M funding.
  • VocalIQ, Cambridge, England-based company whose software aims to improve dialogue interactions in voice-activated systems, has raised $1.27M in seed funding. The round was led by Amadeus Capital Partners, with participation from Cambridge Enterprise. The company is a spin-out of the University of Cambridge’s Dialogue Systems Group.

Asia

  • Performance Lab, Auckland, New Zealand-based maker and marketer of real-time exercise measurement analysis and virtual coaching software, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Intel Capital.
  • Moi Corporation, the Tokyo-based startup behind Twitcasting, announced a US$5M series A funding round that will be used to increase the live-streaming platform’s presence outside of Japan. The investment was led by Indonesia’s Sinar Mas, marking the first time that a non-Japanese VC has invested in the company. Seed investor East Ventures1 also contributed. Twitcasting, already the largest live-streaming community in Japan, hopes to grow its user-base in the US and Brazil specifically. Twitcasting received US$640,000 in seed funding from East Ventures in May 2013. In just over a year, its user-base has ballooned from 2.4M users to 6.5M, with 15,000 new signups each day. More than 80 percent of Twitcasting users are under 24 years old and the company claims that, as of late last year, Twitcasting is more popular with Japanese teens and university students than Facebook.
  • Qianmi, a Chinese e-commerce system and service provider, announced 50M yuan (around US$8) of Series A financing led by Bangsheng Capital, a venture capital affiliate of GOVTOR Capital. The funding will be used to accelerate the construction of service outlets nationwide. Launched in Oct. 2013, Qianmi is the wholly-owned subsidiary of Ofpay.com, a leading e-commerce platform for digital products in China. Qianmi is now focused on providing e-commerce services in five industries of local life, mobile, gaming, fast moving consumer goods and office supplies. The startup now claimed more than 2,000 enterprise clients with over 300K outlets nationwide and a monthly turnover of 2.5 billion yuan. According to data from Qianmi, its e-commerce system now covers 80% of first- and second-tier cities, and 95% of third- and lower-tier cities.
  • JPY 51M (US$500,000)M poured into social problem solving service Any+Times. The startup announced the round of funding, noting that gaming giant DeNA and venture capital firm Incubate Fund led the financing. Any+Times has raised six previous funding rounds. Any+Times allows users to crowdsource solutions to everyday problems from their neighbors. Any+Times says it will use the funds to strengthen its business strategy, expand hiring, beef up its technical systems, and increase marketing spend.
  • Housing.com, Mumbai, India-based online real estate portal that helps people rent and buy homes, has raised $19M in its fourth round of funding, from Helion Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, and Qualcomm Ventures.
  • Bigtree Entertainment, India-based company that owns the online entertainment ticketing property BookMyShow, has raised $25M from new investor SAIF Partners. Earlier investors Accel Partners and Network18 also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $43M.
  • Meet You (aka Meiyou), a Chinese app that originated as a menstruation tracker that since evolved into a social network for all-things-ladylike, closed a US$35M series C investment round led by SIG. The round comes just five months after the company completed a US$15M round led by US-based Matrix Partners. It also comes days after competing startup Dayima netted US$30M from a group of investors that included Sequoia Capital. These are pretty large rounds by any standard, let alone for an app that hasn’t yet monetized. For comparison’s sake, Glow, the highest-profile Silicon Valley analogue, raised US$6M back in August 2013. Meet You claims to have 50M registered users and 3.5M “active users.” Dayima, meanwhile, has 45M registered users and over 3M daily active users.
  • ProjectManager, Auckland, New Zealand-based maker of online project management software has raised $3.5M in Series A funding led by New Zealand’s Zeus Management.
  • KDDI is investing in news curation app Gunosy with a 1.2 billion yen (US$11.8M) funding round – after already providing US$12M in March to fund a Gunosy television advertisement campaign. Jafco and B Dash Ventures joined KDDI for the latest investment.

Other emerging markets

  • Curiyo, Jerusalem-based company whose browser app enables users to look up names, places, and other terms in a pop-up window without leaving a Web page, has raised $1.9M in seed funding from OurCrowd, Cedar Fund, Morton Meyerson, Kima Ventures, Tom Glocer, Gigi Levy, JumpSpeed Ventures, and other private investors. Curiyo was founded by Bob Rosenschein, founder and former CEO of Answers.com. The company has raised $3.3M to date.
  • Israeli startup Parko successfully raised $1.1M in seed funding for its API, which uses crowdsourced data to help drivers find available parking spots in real time. SparkLabs, Global Ventures, OurCrowd, and European angel investors participated in the round. VoIP pioneer and Vonage co-founder Jeff Pulver also joined Parko’s board of advisors. Parko also analyzes parking habits from users who opt in. Using these bits of information, Parko’s algorithms build real time maps of parking availability that are continuously updated from data sourced from the crowd.
  • Webydo, Tel Aviv-based software as a service startup whose technology helps professional graphic designers to create sites on fly, without manual coding, has raised $7M in Series B funding led by the crowdfunding platform OurCrowd, along with Magna Capital Partners and unnamed strategic investors. Webydo has raised $9.7M to date. The business was founded back in 2010.
  • Dynamic Yield, Tel Aviv, Israel-based developer of a real-time website optimization and personalization platform, has raised $12M in Series B funding led by Marker, with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, Innovation Endeavors, and the New York Times Co. The company has raised $14.2M to date.

Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • Submodal, a five-year-old, Laguna Beach, Ca.-based Web design and software development studio, has been acquired by Tustin, Ca.-based Mophie, maker of the popular mobile battery case. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Longmaster Information & Technology Co. Ltd., a Chinese software developer founded in 1998, acquired 39.net in cash and stock. The price reportedly is RMB650M (more than US$100). Launched in March 2000 by China’s state-owned pharmaceutical company 999Group, 39.net was one of the first health websites in China. In 2006, when 999Group was under restructuring, 39.net introduced funding from IDG Capital Partners, a China-focused investment firm, acquired the site for RMB30M. The site started offering medical and health information and then added features for users to ask doctors questions. The site covers 120M users, with 48% on mobile.
  • Appurify, San Francisco-based startup that makes it possible for developers to automate the testing and optimization of their mobile apps and websites, has been acquired by Google, the search giant announced yesterday. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but TechCrunch says it will “stay open as freemium cross-platform service.” Appurify had raised $6.3M from investors, shows Crunchbase, including Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, Radar Partners, Felicis Ventures, Webb Investment Network, Data Collective, Inspovation Ventures and individual investors.
  • Virtual reality firm Oculus VR has acquired Carbon Design, the product development studio that built the Xbox 360 controller for Microsoft. Oculus said it hopes to close the deal by the end of summer. Carbon Design will remain in its Seattle offices and work closely with the Oculus R&D team in nearby Redmond.
  • Opera has confirmed that it has acquired AdColony in a deal for $75M in cash, plus potential earnouts of $275M that bring the deal up to $350M. AdColony had raised an undisclosed amount of funding. Insight Venture Partners was among its backers. The deal will bring together one of the bigger startups in mobile video ads with Opera, a company that has built a business in web browsers for mobile handsets, PCs, and TVs. Opera is an alternative to the likes of Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari, as it’s a portal to search for apps.
  • 99dresses, New York-based platform whose app helped connect people wanting to buy and sell used clothing, is closing, according to its cofounder and CEO, Nikki Durki. The company, a Y Combinator alum, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Draper Associates, Persefon Ventures, and Fenox Venture Capital.
  • Oracle Corp agreed to buy Micros Systems, a company that sells Internet-connected cash registers, and the software and technical services to power them, to restaurants, retail shops, casinos and other companies. The deal is valued at about $5.3 billion including items such as options, and $4.6 billion net of Micros’s cash. The transaction, expected to close in the second half of this year, requires that Micros’s stockholders tender a majority of the company’s shares outstanding and shares representing vested equity incentive awards.

EMEA

  • Expedia has agreed to acquire the European car-rental reservation company Auto Escape Group from Montefiore Investment and Auto Escape Group’s management. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed..
  • A Little Market, Paris-based online marketplace for handmade items, has been acquired by its bigger U.S. peer Etsy for an undisclosed amount of money, reports TechCrunch. Etsy says it is its “sixth and largest acquisition to date.” A Little Market will continue to operate independently. Etsy has raised $97.3M in funding from Accel Partners, Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures and other investors.

Asia

  • Chinese web giant Tencent– now best known as being the maker of WeChat – announced that it’s paying US$736M for a 19.9% stake in 58.com, which is China’s answer to Craigslist. 58.com, which has 130M monthly unique users, IPO’d last October. Tencent revealed that 58.com’s listings will be integrated in some way with WeChat, the popular messaging app, as well as with Tencent’s QQ IM. Tencent is paying $40 per share for 58.com, which is below the $51.77 at which the stock ended Thursday’s trading. In October it floated at $22 per share, so early investors are still riding a strong return.
  • Chinese Universe Publishing and Media Company bought a 100 percent stake in Elex Technology Company for RMB 2.7 billion. Chinese Universe distributes and publishes books, teaching materials, and other publications including audio and video products. It also has a logistics arm. Some of the biggest games that Elex has helped export include Happy Farm (a.k.a. Happy Harvest), Age of Warring Empire, and Chi-Star. The lattermost has over 300M monthly active users, 50M of them paying subscribers. Elex’s investors include Chinese internet giant Tencent and venture capital and incubation firm Innovation Works. Chinese Universe paid with 130M shares and about RMB 1 billion (US$160M) in cash. The report didn’t mention how the two companies plan to work together down the line.
  • Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands Corporation, mobile publisher Animoca in May 2014 to run its branded games business – including Garfield, Mr Bean, Ben10, Astro Boy etc., is going through a reverse takeover which will see it effectively buy into a currently listed company on the Australian Stock Exchange called Black Fire Minerals. This company will sell off its existing assets, and be renamed Animoca Brands Corporation, while two of its current directors will resign, replaced by five new directors from Animoca Brands Corporation and its parent company Appionics (aka Animoca). As part of the deal, Black Fire Minerals/Animoca Brands will raise between $3 – $5M from the issue of new shares, which will then be used by the ongoing business as its starting capital. In total, Animoca has seen its games and entertainment apps downloaded more than 230M times, mainly on Android, while its Garfield-branded mobile games have recently passed the 30M total.
  • Chinese web portal Sina fully acquired lottery service Aicai.com and rebranded the site as Sina Aicai recently. The founding team of Aicai will remain with the company after the transaction. Aicai is a lottery ticket sales and information platform established in 2007 with Sina as a majority shareholder. The startup is also responsible for building and managing Sina’s own lottery ticket sales and information platform. The company launched a mobile website in May 2009, which partnered with Sina’s mobile portal in August of the same year.
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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 – 2014-05-19

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.