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Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly Update – 2015-01-26

Private Financing
US

  • Sparkcentral, a company that provides tools to help businesses conduct customer support over social channels, has raised a $12M Series B round of funding, led by Split Rock Partners. The company previously raised a total of $5.6M, including a $4.5M Series A round of capital in October of 2013.
  • FilterEasy, which is offering a subscription-based filter replacement program for homeowners has raised $1.2M in seed funding led by Mike Kwatinetz of Azure Capital, with participation from RTP Capital and several angel investors.
  • Persado, a startup that says it can automatically create and test different marketing emails and other promotional material, is announcing that it has raised $21M in Series B funding.
  • Eniac Ventures, a firm that backs early-stage mobile startups, is announcing that it has raised $55M for its third fund.
  • Tactus Technology, maker of tactile touch-screen technology, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding led by new backer IPV Capital of China. The company says that it has now raised roughly $30M.
  • SceneDoc, a company whose smartphone and tablet-based software gives public safety personnel a secure means of documenting crime, accident and other incident scenes, has raised $4M in Series A funding from iGan Partners, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, and unnamed angel investors. The company has raised $6M to date
  • Poka, a Quebec-based company that’s developing a social platform for manufacturing companies, has raised $2.5M in funding led by iNovia Capital, with participation from SoftTech VC.
  • Plum Print, a startup that prints up photo books of childrens’ artwork so their artwork-besieged parents can keep a record of it all, has raised $1M in seed funding led by Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, with the participation of angel investors.
  • The League, a San Francisco-based dating app intended to be more selective than Tinder, has raised $2.1M in seed funding from IDG Ventures, Structure.vc and Sherpa Ventures, along with a long list of angel investors and one undisclosed venture fund.
  • Hopscotch, a New York-based e-commerce portal for Indian moms, has raised $11M in Series B funding from Facebook cofounder Eduardo Saverin and Velos Partners, with participation from Rise Capital, Jabbar Internet Group, and earlier backers, including Singapore-based Lionrock Capital and Skype cofounder Toivo Annus. Founders Rahul Anand and Lisa Kennedy are HBS alums who previously worked together at Diapers.com. Hopscotch, part of a holding company in Great Neck called Hit the Mark, has now raised $15M to date.
  • CodeHS, a startup that produces programs for teaching coding to high-school students, has raised $1.75M in funding from Chmod Ventures, Kapor Capital, Learn Capital, NewSchools Venture Fund, Seven Peaks Ventures, StartX, and individual investors. The company had previously raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding in October 2012.
  • CloudHeath, a software company that provides business performance management apps to healthcare providers, has raised $12M in Series B funding led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from .406 Ventures and Sigma Prime Ventures. The company has now raised roughly $20M altogether.
  • BlueVine, a small business financing startup, has raised $18.5M in Series B funding co-led by earlier backers Lightspeed Venture Partners and 83North (f.k.a. Greylock IL, an affiliate of Greylock Partners). The company has now raised $24M altogether, including from Correlation Ventures, Kreos Capital, and Kima Ventures.
  • Ascentis, a company that makes HR and online payroll processing software, has raised $7M in Series C funding led by earlier backer Catalyst Investors. The company has raised at least $10.3M to date.
  • goBalto, a software company that wants to make running clinical drug trials easier and faster, raised an additional $12M in funding from Mitsui Global Investment and Dolby Family Ventures.
  • XOR Data Exchange, a company that facilitates cross-industry data sharing through permission-based controls and audits, has raised $1.8M investment round led by Chicago Ventures and KGC Capital.
  • Uber has raised $1.6 billion in convertible debt from Goldman Sachs’s wealth management clients, Bloomberg reported yesterday. The new round of financing comes just months after the company raised $1.2 billion from investors, including New Enterprise Associates, Lone Pine Capital, Valiant Capital Partners, and Qatar Investment Authority. The company is now reportedly valued at $41.2 billion.
  • True Link Financial, a San Francisco-based startup whose prepaid Visa card promises to protect older adults from scams and fraud, has raised $3.4M from a group of investors including earlier backer Cambia Health Solutions. The company had raised an undisclosed amount of funding prior, including from Y Combinator, whose accelerator program it passed through in 2013.
  • Raise, a marketplace where consumers can buy and sell their unused gift cards, has raised $56M in Series B funding led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from earlier backers Bessemer Venture Partners, the Pritzker Organization, Listen Ventures and angel investors. The funding brings the company’s total outside investment to $81M.
  • Pluribus Networks, a software-defined networking (SDN) startup, has raised $50M in new funding led by Temasek Holdings, with participation from Ericsson, Newtech, and earlier backers New Enterprise Associates, Menlo Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures and AME Cloud Ventures.
  • Persado, a company whose software specializes in creating automated messages around calls to action, has raised $21M in Series B funding led by StarVest Partners, with participation from Citi Ventures, American Express Ventures, and earlier backer Bain Capital Ventures. The company has now raised $36M altogether.
  • Keaton Row, a New York-based fashion startup that pairs clients with stylists, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Time Inc. Earlier backers Menlo Ventures, Rho Capital and Grape Arbor also joined the round. The company had previously raised $4.2M across a couple of rounds.
  • Interana, a data analytics company, has raised $20M in Series B funding led by Index Ventures, with participation from new investors AME Cloud Ventures, Harris Barton and Cloudera’s chief strategy officer, Mike Olson. Earlier investors Battery Ventures, Data Collective and Fuel Capital also invested in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $28.2M.
  • Handle, a company whose productivity app combines emails and calendar functions with to-do lists, has raised $9.9M from investors, says Venture Capital Dispatch. Menlo Ventures, where Handle founder Shawn Carolan is a managing director, provided $5.6M; Silicon Valley Bank provided $2.5M in debt; and a long list of angel investors, including Mitch Kapor, provided the company with another $1.8M in seed funding.
  • Fastback Networks, a mobile-network technology company, has raised $15M in Series C funding led by Harmony Partners, with participation from Foundation Capital, Granite Ventures, Juniper Networks, and Matrix Partners. The company has now raised $30M altogether.
  • Choozle, a cloud-based platform for marketers looking to analyze their customers’ behavior, has raised $4.1M in Series A funding led by earlier backer Great Oaks Venture Capital. The company has raised $3.1M to date.
  • Button, a company that enables smart connections between apps that drive installs, has raised $12M in Series A funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with participation from Greycroft Partners, DCM, VaynerRSE, Slow Ventures, and former NBA Commissioner David Stern.
  • Brandfolder, an online platform that allows users to easily organize, share and update brand assets, has raised $2M in funding from earlier investor Jeffrey Covington, as part of his new investment fund, White Cedar Enterprises. To date, the company has raised $3M, including from TechStars and a group of angel investors.
  • Alchemist Accelerator, San Francisco-based enterprise-focused accelerator, has raised $2.1M in new funding led by Mayfield, with participation from Tyco International and earlier investors Cisco Systems.
  • Air, San Francisco-based startup that was formerly known as Yevvo and is building a live broadcasting service for mobile users, has raised nearly $4M in Series A funding from undisclosed investors.
  • Work Market, a marketplace for managing contractors and freelancers, has raised $20M from earlier backers led by Union Square Ventures, with participation from Spark Capital, SoftBank Capital, Industry Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.
  • VMTurbo, a intelligent workload management software company, has raised $50M in Series D funding led by ICONIQ Capital, with participation from earlier backers Bain Capital, Globespan Capital Partners and Highland Capital Partners. The company had previously raised a $10M round, and another, undisclosed round of funding.
  • Shazam Entertainment, music discovery company that uses audio-recognition technology to help people identify songs on the radio or television, has raised $30M from investors in a round that values the company at $1 billion. The investors’ names aren’t being disclosed, but Shazam’s prior backers include billionaire Carlos Slim, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Institutional Venture Partners and DN Capital.
  • Ringly, a maker of smart jewelry for women, including high-tech rings that alert wearers when someone phones or texts them, has raised $5.1M in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Highline Ventures and Silas Capital. Earlier backers First Round Capital, The Social+Capital Partnership, Mesa+, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures and PCH International also joined the round, which brings Ringly’s total funding to $6.1M.
  • Motif Investing, a company whose site allows users to create, share and invest in baskets of stocks around common themes, has raised $40M from the Beijing-based social media giant Renren. The company has now raised more than $120M from investors, including Ignition Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Foundation Capital..
  • RealMatch, a maker of recruitment advertising and job-board software, has raised $8M in Series C-1 funding led by Edison Partners, with participation from Carmel Ventures and Orix Ventures. The company has now raised $22.7M altogether.
  • Ravello Systems, a company whose SaaS-based application enables developers to use “the public cloud” to develop and test their applications, has raised $28M in fresh funding led by Qualcomm Ventures and SanDisk Ventures. Earlier and new investors Sequoia Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Vintage Investment Partners also joined the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $54M.
  • Pillow Homes (formerly Airenvy), an online property management system that focuses on short-term rentals, has raised $2.65M in seed financing led by Homebrew, with participation from Sherpa Ventures and Tim Draper.
  • Jibo, a company behind a “social” robot for the home that features two high-resolution cameras, a 360-degree microphone, and the capacity to personalize experiences based on the identity of a user, has raised $25.3M in Series A funding led by RRE Ventures, with participation from Flybridge Capital Partners, Two Sigma Investments, Formation 8 and Samsung Ventures. Earlier backers CRV, Fairhaven Capital Partners and Osage Venture Partners also joined the round. The company has now raised $33.9M altogether.
  • Farm Hill, a healthy meal delivery service, has raised $1M in seed financing led by Eagle Cliff Partners, with participation from Liberty City Ventures and Stanford StartX Fund.
  • Dig Inn, a New York-based company that has developed an online ordering platform for restaurants, has raised $15M in Series C funding led by Wexford Capital.
  • Bloom Energy, maker of fuel cells, is raising $160M in the form of convertible notes, reports Venture Capital Dispatch, which says $130M had been raised as of one month ago (though it isn’t clear from whom). The company has already attracted more than $1.2 billion in equity from investors since it was founded.
  • The Black Tux, a tuxedo and suit rental service, has raised roughly $10M in new funding led by First Round Capital. The company had previously raised $2.6M in seed funding from a long list of investors, including RRE Ventures, Founder Collective, and Menlo Ventures.
  • SpaceX, the space exploration startup helmed by ex-PayPal founder Elon Musk, has confirmed that it has raised $1 billion in new funding, in a round including Google and Fidelity, who join existing investors Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn. Google and Fidelity get an ownership stake just shy of 10% in exchange for their investment.
  • LendingRobot, an automated investment service for online lending on the two leading P2P platforms, raised approximately $3M in a Series A round led by European VC Runa Capital, money it’ll use to further develop its product and to ‘accelerate’ growth.
  • Stack Exchange, the company that runs question-answering websites like the popular programmer hangout Stack Overflow, raised $40M. Andreessen Horowitz led the latest round in Stack Exchange. Bezos Expeditions, Index Ventures, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures also participated. To date the startup has raised $70M.
  • Coinbase, a software company that allows people to buy bitcoin and enables businesses to accept it as payment, has closed a giant $75M investment led by DFJ. Previous investors Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital participated, in addition to new investor NTT DoCoMo, a Japanese telecom company.
  • Distelli, a startup that wants to simplify code deployment on servers by offering it as a cloud service, announced $2.8M in Series A funding today. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and general partner Scott Weiss (who founded IronPort) will join the Distelli Board of Directors as part of the deal.
  • Ad platform Taykey raised $15M Series D funding Tuesday led by Innovation Endeavors, a VC firm helmed by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt. SoftBank Capital, Sequoia Capital, Marker LLC, MSR Capital and Tenaya Capital also joined the round. The new injection brings Taykey’s total funding to $32M.
  • Mobile-app marketing platform AppsFlyer raised $20M in new investment. This Series B round was led by Fidelity Growth Partners Europe, with participation by existing investors Magma Venture and Pitango Venture Capital. The Israel-based company had previously raised $8M.
  • Sparkcentral, a company specializes in providing software for managing socially based customer support at scale, raised $12M led by Split Rock Partners, with participation from existing investor Sigma West.
  • Shapr, an iOS and Android app which taps into people’s existing professional networks to help them make new connections, raised $3M in new funding from BlaBlaCar founder and chief executive Frédéric Mazzella, among other investors.
  • Sparkcentral, a San Francisco-based platform that aims to help larger companies more efficiently follow up on customer service and engagement over Twitter and Facebook, has raised $12M in Series B funding led by Split Rock Partners. The company has now raised $17.6M to date.
  • Porch.com, a home-improvement startup, has raised $65M in new funding at a $500M valuation. Valor Equity Partners led the round with participation from new investors Battery Ventures, Founders Fund, Panorama Point Partners, home improvement expert Ty Pennington and other individual investors. Earlier backers Lowe’s Home Improvement and Capricorn Investment Group also joined the round, which brings the company’s total funding to roughly $100M.
  • Planet Labs, a company that plans to map the entire Earth with a fleet of imaging satellites, has raised $95M in new funding, including $70M in Series C funding led by Data Collective, and a $25M debt facility from Western Technology Investment.
  • Palantir Technologies, data-mining software company known for being among Silicon Valley’s most secretive, is raising yet another round of funding. Palantir, which sells software to the U.S. government and Wall Street, raised $500M last year alone and has raised roughly $1 billion altogether from investors, including In-Q-Tel, Founders Fund and Tiger Global Management.
  • GoBalto, a clinical-trials software company, has raised $12M in Series C funding led by new investor Mitsui Global Investment, with participation from Dolby Family Ventures. Earlier backers Aberdare Ventures, Qualcomm Life, West Health Investment Fund and EDBI also participated in the round. The company has now raised $37.6M to date.
  • Citelighter, a New York-based company whose software platform helps students save, organize and cite information while writing their papers, has raised $2M in Series Seed-2 funding led by Propel Baltimore Fund, with participation from Maryland Venture Fund, Gulf Ventures, New York Angels, Baltimore Angels and Blu Ventures. The company has now raised $4.5M altogether.
  • Avalara, provider of cloud-based software for sales tax and other transactional tax compliance, has raised $42M in Series D-1 funding from Technology Crossover Ventures. The company has now raised $223.6M to date.
  • Toronto-based startup Rubikloud, a startup that helps retailers analyze big data, has raised $7M in Series A funding from strategic investors. Rubikloud’s seed round was led by Horizon Ventures, the investment arm of Li Ka-Shing. Access Industries also participated, along with some other angels.
  • Ndreams, which last week announced its virtual-reality arcade shooter Gunner for the Samsung Gear VR, has raised $2.75M in a new round of funding. The funding comes from Mercia Technologies, a tech-focused investment company.

EMEA

  • Orange unveiled a new fund called Digital Ventures, with the aim of finding, strategically funding and then working with early-stage tech businesses. Orange says that Digital Ventures will start out initially with a budget of €20M ($23M).
  • Saltside Technologies, a Sweden-based company that creates online marketplaces in emerging markets, has raised $40M in Series C funding led by Hillhouse Capital, with participation from Brummer & Partners and earlier backer AB Kinnevik. The company has now raised $65M to date.
  • Kreditech, a Germany-based consumer finance startup that focuses on lending money to “unbanked” consumers with little or no credit rating, has landed a $200M credit line from Victory Park Capital. The company is also preparing to raise a Series C round, reports TechCrunch. The company has raised $263M to date. Its investors include Point Nine Capital, Blumberg Capital, and Varde Partners.
  • Kitchen Stories, a Berlin-based mobile cooking app, has raised $1.8M in seed funding, including from Point Nine Capital and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, with participation from Cherry Ventures and numerous angel nesters.
  • Austria’s local but burgeoning startup ecosystem, ChatGrape, the enterprise and team messaging app that pitches itself as a more ‘intelligent’ Slack or HipChat, has scored $1.3M in a new ‘bridge’ round of funding. The investment, which comes in the form of Convertible Notes, is being led by U.S.-based Betaworks.
  • Swedish developer Mag Interactive invested an undisclosed sum into a Delinquent, a UK mobile game company based in Brighton.
  • HV Holtzbrinck Ventures has closed its sixth, early-stage fund with € 285M ($329.7M). The pool was closed in less than four months, says the firm, which closed its last fund with €175M in 2012.
  • Windeln.de, a Germany-based online shopping site specializing in baby products, has raised €45M ($52M) in funding led by Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, with participation from DN Capital.
  • eMoov, a London-based online real estate service, has raised $2.3M in funding led by the London firm Episode 1.
  • Car Throttle, a six-year-old, London-based viral content startup, has raised $1.6M in new funding from Redalpine, with participation from Facebook’s VP of Global Partnerships, Blake Chandlee, along with earlier investor Passion Capital. The company has now raised $2.2M altogether, shows Crunchbase.
  • Dataiku, a French startup that makes software to help teams of data scientists process and make sense of big data, announced €3.2M in Series A funding ($3.6M). Alven Capital and Serena Capital jointly led the round. The company’s product is called Data Science Studio, which provides soup-to-nuts services for data science teams.
  • UK startup WorkAngel who has built a mobile-first “employee reward and recognition platform” that couples an inter-company private social network where employees can communicate and, specifically, call each other out for recognition, with a points-based voluntary benefits scheme, closed a $5M Series A funding round from former Tesco CEO Terry Leahy, who is leading the round, along with participation from Bob Willett, Chairman of MetaPack Ltd & Eagle Eye PLC, Bill Currie and Iain McDonald of William Currie Group, and Lord David Alliance.

Asia

  • Hong Kong’s on-demand self-storage startup ‘Boxful’ raised a seed round of US $1.5M from a group of investors in Greater China.
  • Antuit, Singapore-based big data startup focused on supply chain management, has raised $56M in funding led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from earlier backer Zodius Capital, an India-based firm. The company has now raised $59M to date.
  • The parent company of StockRadars, a Thailand-based company whose products aim to demystify investing in Asia’s stock markets, has raised roughly $800,000 in Series A funding from Japan’s CyberAgent Ventures and East Ventures.
  • Beibei, China-based maternal and baby supplies e-commerce platform, has raised $100M in Series C funding led by Capital Today and New Horizon Capital, with participation from Banyan Capital and IDG Capital. The round, which reportedly values the company at $1 billion, follows a $24.3M Series A round raised by the company last summer.
  • Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and venture capital fund Velos Partners have invested US$11M in Hopscotch, an ecommerce portal selling merchandise for babies and kids in India. Other investors in the Series B round include Rise Capital, Jabbar Internet Group, and existing investors Singapore-based Lionrock Capital and Skype co-founder, Toivo Annus.
  • Apus Group, a Beijing-based Android app development firm, has raised a whopping $100M in Series B funding from the Chinese venture firms Chengwei Ventures, SIG Ventures, and Qiming Venture Partners, according to China Money Network. Earlier backers Northern Light Venture Capital and Redpoint Ventures also participated in the round. The company had previously raised $16M.
  • Aoliday, a China-based travel site and mobile app that helps Chinese tourists arrange oversea trips, has raised $1.5M in seed funding from Gobi Partners.
  • XueXiBao, a homework help app, is the latest educational tech startup in China to receive funding. SoftBank China Venture Capital, an arm of the Japanese telecom giant, and returning investor GSR Ventures led a $20M Series B in the company.
  • Indian online retailer ShopClues has raised US$100M in a Series D funding round led by Tiger Global and two of its existing investors, Helion Venture Partners and Nexus Venture Partners. Founded in 2011, ShopClues works on the managed marketplace model that connects buyers with small- and medium-size merchants online. The company positions itself as a marketplace for businesses from India’s tier II and tier III cities. Around 100,000 merchants are listed on the website, and the company aims to increase this number to 10M in the next three years.
  • Meituan, the leading group-buying service in China, had raised US$700M in new funding valued the company at US$7 billion.

Other emerging markets

  • Visualead, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based startup that specializes in QR code technology, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding from Alibaba Group Holdings. The round represents Alibaba’s first investment in an Israeli company. Visualead had previously raised a total of $2.4M.
  • EarlySense, an Israel-based company that makes sensors that track vital signs and movement for medical purposes, has raised $20M in Series F funding led by Samsung Ventures. Earlier backers JK&B Capital, Pitango Venture Capital, ProSeed and Welch Allyn also participated in the round.

Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • Relativity Media has acquired a minority stake in publisher-platform Say Media. For Say Media, the investment is part of a transition away from media ownership and toward a pure platform play.
  • Microsoft has acquired Revolution Analytics, an open-source analytics company with a strong focus on the highly popular R programming language for statistical computing. Microsoft says that it made this acquisition “to help more companies use the power of R and data science to unlock big data insights with advanced analytics.”
  • Harman International Industries is buying two software companies for $950M that will help enable over-the-air computer updates in cars. It’s paying $780M for 12-year-old Symphony Teleca Corp. of Mountain View, Ca., which provides integration services, and $170M for 16-year-old Red Bend Software of Waltham, Ma., which specializes in software for connected devices.
  • Kosei, a still-stealth startup that specializes in personalized recommendation systems that match mobile advertisements with the right consumers, has been acquired by Pinterest for undisclosed terms.
  • CloudOn, a maker of mobile productivity tools, with an engineering hub in Herzliya, Israel, has just been acquired for undisclosed terms by the cloud-storage giant Dropbox, which is reportedly turning its new Israeli office into a base from which to aggressively hire in the region. CloudOn had raised $26M from investors including The Social+Capital Partnership, TransLink Capital, Foundation Capital and Rembrandt Venture Partners.
  • Microsoft has acquired Equivio, a text analytics service for legal and compliance that uses machine-learning techniques to identify documents relevant to their legal and compliance needs.
  • Tastebud, a company that builds mobile loyalty applications for retailers, has acquired SocialCrunch. Both firms hail from Chicago. SocialCrunch raised $785,000 in total. The deal was an all-stock transaction. SocialCrunch collected data on consumer sentiment through quizzes, allowing the firm to track trends.

EMEA

  • Semetric, a London-based whose software provides analytics, recommendations, and targeting services to entertainment businesses, has been acquired by Apple as part of its plans to relaunch its Beats Music streaming music service this year, which notes the acquisition appears to have taken place last fall. Semetric had raised £3m of funding in January 2013 from Imperial Innovations Group and Pentech Ventures.

Asia

  • Migme acquired penny auction startup Sold.sg for a mixture of cash and shares – a curious move given that the business had shut down in late 2013.
  • Twitter has acquired ZipDial, a Bangalore, India-based mobile business and brand platform, for undisclosed terms.
  • Chinese car rental service provider Yongche, commonly known as Yidao Yongche in China, and Haier Financial Services, the financial arm of Chinese consumer electronics maker Haier Group, announced the establishment of Haier Yidao Travel (not official translation), a joint venture targeted at car rental services, car financial leasing, and more. Under the deal, the two companies will hold respectively 50% in the joint venture with Haier Financial offering financing resources and Yongche providing operational supports.
  • Xiaomi diversified into software after buying 2.98% of Kingsoft for HK$527M (~$68M). Kingsoft started out developing PC games, but today the company — which is listed in Hong Kong and valued at over $2 billion — produces security, entertainment and enterprise products too. It already has strong links to Xiaomi, whose CEO and co-founder Lei Jun is also founder and chairman of Kingsoft.

Other emerging markets

  • Amazon is acquiring Annapurna Labs, an Israeli startup that designs networking chips to help make data centers run more efficiently, the company has confirmed. The price isn’t being disclosed, but the amount cited by Israeli media outlets is $350M.
  • Intuit has bought ZeroPaper, a startup out of Brazil that offers cloud-based accounting services to small businesses, specifically money management solutions. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
  • Latin Everywhere, the Spanish-language digital media company that was formed by the merger of Latin Anywhere and YouTube success GoTV last year, acquired Pongalo, a streaming service from a startup called Inmoo.
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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.