Archive for the ‘bessemer venture partners’ tag
Pinterest launched in 2010, but it didn’t start gaining traction until late last year thanks to its addictive nature. It eventually became the third-most popular social network after Facebook and Twitter in April.
During this entire period, Pinterest has been invite-only. It was fairly easy to score an invite, but any service that limits immediate signups might lose some users because of it. No more. The site is finally open for anyone who wants to sign up, most likely because it trusts its infrastructure to support large groups of signups on any given day. Pinterest is built on top of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, which has been mostly reliable minus a wide-spread EC2 outage in late June.
Pinterest is so popular it even has tons of clone sites trying to take its concept of pinning photos and products by adding a twist. The concept is so pervasive there are even two “Pinterest for Porn” sites, Snatchly and Sex.com.
San Francisco-based Pinterest has raised $138 million to date, including a $100 million mega-round led by Japanese web retailer Rakuten. Other investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital.
Filed under: social
Procured Health, a startup that aims to help hospitals better discover, evaluate and adopt quality medical devices, is today announcing that it has raised $1.1 million in seed funding from a flock of angels and VCs. Investors in the startup’s first round included Zimmerman Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Fidelity Biosciences, NaviMed Capital’s Bijan Salehizadeh, CEO of Bloom Health Abir Sen, Kal Vepuri of Trisiras Group, former Athena Health CFO Carl Byers as well as Athena Health co-founder and CEO Jonathan Bush — to name a few.
In a stat that’s both reassuring and anxiety-producing, hospitals spend $125 billion every year on medical supplies. Thankfully, much of that spend is allocated towards devices that will save lives, the problem is that hospitals don’t need to be spending that much money. Procured Health co-founder and CEO Hani Elias tells us that he spent several years as a consultant at McKinsey working with a sizable, national medical device manufacturer that had developed a product that it (and he) believed was a cheaper, more effective alternative to comparable products already on the market. In spite of success with other devices, the company failed to attract any significant adoption for its device with hospitals and care providers.
Taking a step back, Elias quickly came to the conclusion that this was a pervasive problem in the medical world. His research showed that, across the board, companies (big or small) happen to be developing innovative (and affordable) new devices either lack the capital or the know-how to market and attract hospitals and physicians to their devices. On the flip side, there’s little intercommunication among hospitals and health facilities in this country, meaning that hospitals may spend years prescribing expensive pacemakers to their patients, when a cheaper and more effective device is right under their noses.
These conclusions led Elias and co-founders Eric Meizlish and Will Danford to found Procured Health in the fall of last year. After graduating from Blueprint Health‘s accelerator earlier this year, the team begin raising their first round of funding to scale their team and continue developing their product.
Today, Procured Health remains in private beta and is currently testing its network and pilot program with five healthcare systems (including three top-tier academic institutions), and is planning a full-scale launch in early 2013. The startup’s web-based application is designed to help these hospitals discover and evaluate medical devices in order to drive savings in a fast-ballooning cost category.
Today, medical devices make up 20 to 25 percent of hospital expenses, and there’s a limited amount of unbiased information available for these hospitals to identify and discover comparable and more affordable products, the CEO says. Elias compared Procured Health’s product to Bloomberg for hospitals, with the main differentiation being that physicians and hospitals can leave detailed, professional reviews of the products they’re using and testing.
While this sounds a bit like “Yelp for medical devices,” Elias said that the startup’s application allows doctors and hospital staff to share detailed analysis with their peer groups — this isn’t just a star-based ranking system with up and down voting. The value for hospitals, Elias said is that it creates a network for hospitals to share and benefit from professional reviews of medical devices — unlike the pharmaceutical industry for which the FDA imposes a stringent analysis and testing process, for medical devices there just isn’t the same level of standardization or regulation. For medical devices, there isn’t as much transparency, and Procured Health wants to give doctors the opportunity to write and take advantage of head-to-head reviews of the devices they use and prescribe every day.
For the end user — i.e. patients — the value is significant. If the startup can truly help hospitals control their costs by helping them find and administer affordable, more effective treatments, they can improve access to care and lower medical costs for the average patient.
As to the roadmap going forward, Elias says that, over time, the team believes that their database will be able to identify important trends within the market, showing doctors what devices are used most in certain types of procedures alongside the efficacy. Obviously, the more hospitals and physicians put in, the more value they can obtain from the startup’s network.
For more on Procured Health, find them at home here.
Today, we journey to the far flung reaches of the galaxy and back again. Computers really are taking over the world and companies are making millions of dollars help them do it. Join me, the Yoda of technology investment news, as I explore the depths of funding universe.
Chinese company with Arabic name needs $8B to escape from dystopian brutes
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is raising more than $8 billion in a new round of funding. $7.1 billion of this hot pot will go towards buying back 20% of its shares from Yahoo, which currently holds a 40% stake.
The amount will come from borrowing nearly $4 billion, along with sales of $2.6 billion common shares and $1.5 billion in preferred stock. Among those financing the $8 billion in Alibaba are the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Group and the China Development Bank. The investment comes as Alibaba earned $1.8 billion in revenue during the first half of 2012. Read more on VentureBeat.
Box takes $125 to grow to infinity and beyond!
Box furthers its expansion towards universal hegemony with $125 million in new funding. The money will be used to grow the company globally before its anticipated IPO next year. The round is captained by General Atlantic, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, DFJ Growth, New Enterprise Associates, SAP Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, and new investor Social+Capital Partnership
With that kind of cash, it should be able to do more than just store data for enterprise. It should turn that data into a renewable energy source strong enough to power star (cloud) fleets. Driven by robots. Read more on VentureBeat.
SeoPult stockpiles $10M to help businesses with online marketing… and perhaps space exploration
Online marketing platform SeoPult amassed $10 million in funding from comrade iTech Capital to infiltrate the world market with its internet e-advertising automation technology.
SeoPult’s services enables small and medium businesses without internet marketing know-how to wage more effective campaigns. It helps companies manage search engine optimization techniques and social media tools, and provides data analytics to help them leverage their efforts into improved results. To put it in terms you can grok, it helps strangers in a strange land find their way to success.
Tonara invents artificial intelligence assistant for musicians (otherwise known as an iPad app)
In the future, live music may be obsolete. Who needs symphonies when you have Spotify? That said, there are still a few fifth graders, senior citizens, and French aristocrats holding on to the bastion of musicianship.
Tonara sends sheet music across the screen like comets zooming past the windows of Battlestar Galactica. For those willing to forsake sheet music for iPads, Tonara’s announcement of $4 million in financing is almost as exciting as the climax of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture. With the investment, the company will continue to develop artificial intelligence that can play the cello. But not the piano, because that is crazy talk. Read more on VentureBeat.
Instacanvas brings in $1.7M to challenge the metaphysical universe
Instagram print shop Instacanvas grabbed insta-funding of $1.7 million. Instacanvas’s core concept is simple: photographers can display and sell their filtered photos as printed canvases.
What is not simple, however, are the philosophical implications.
First, an Instagram photographer captures a digital image of the real world and sends it off into the cyberland. People anywhere can see the picture and with the simple click of a button, receive a tangible manifestation of the virtual image of the sensory universe.
Maybe I am over thinking this. Let me put this into insta-terms. Yet another Instagram keepsake retailer got money from Founders Fund, First Round Capital, Bullpen Capital, and Scott Banister, and included participation from 15 additional angel investors. Read more on VentureBeat.
Pinfluencer breaks out of cocoon, unleashes Pinterest data analytics on the earth
Pinfluencer emerged out of public beta today like an alien shedding its skin to help brands take advantage of their presence on Pinterest.
This startup applies data analytics to Pinterest so brands can drive content, track metrics, spot trends, and connect with their enthusiastic fans. Even before launching, dozens of companies like 1-800-FLOWERS.com, GNC, HauteLook, Piperlime, and Rent the Runway have adopted the early version.
The company also revealed that it has raised $1.4M in seed/evil spawn money from Freestyle Capital and Baseline Ventures as well as angel investors.
Matrixx Software gets funding to blur line between dreams, reality, and telecommunications
Matrixx Software (with a name that makes the whole Sci Fi theme blissfully easy) reported in an SEC filing that it has raised $12.6 million of a $13 million round of funding.
The company provides telecommunications companies with a solution to adapt to the changing industry. As communication becomes less about actual talking and more about messaging and online sharing, cell phone networks and landline, cable, and satellite businesses can struggle to keep up.
The details of the funding have not been disclosed, although there is a distinct possibility that all the fundraising happened in a virtual reality and was led by sentient machines.
May the force be with you.
Filed under: VentureBeat
Box helps businesses with their cloud storage and collaboration needs. It faces stiff competition from the likes of Google, Microsoft, Egnyte, Nirvanix, and more, but it has still attracted more than 11 million users across 120,000 businesses. While Box hasn’t disclosed overall revenue figures, it claims its sales have increased 200 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2012.
“The confluence of cloud, mobile and social technology is transforming how every enterprise and individual manages information today,” Box CEO Aaron Levie said in a statement. “This new funding allows us to invest aggressively in the talent, technology and global expansion efforts required for Box to sit at the center of this shift and define the next generation of enterprise software.”
The round is being led by General Atlantic, with participation from Bessemer Venture Partners, DFJ Growth, New Enterprise Associates, SAP Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, and new investor Social+Capital Partnership. General Atlantic operating partner Gary Reiner will join Box’s board.
Box’s Aaron Levie at MobileBeat 2012: Michael O’Donnell/Flickr
SendGrid helps more than 60,000 web application companies and developers with sending of all kinds of emails to their customers. These kinds of emails can be shipping notifications, sign-up confirmations, and even notes to let you know you’ve earned a new “badge” on Foursquare. SendGrid customers include Pinterest, Airbnb, Twilio, Spotify, and Pandora.
Now SendGrid has added more integration partners so even more folks can use and get exposure to the service. People that use cloud development platforms Heroku, Engine Yard, Cloudbees, Standing Cloud, and AppHarbor will now have more incentive to use SendGrid as their email manager of choice. Prior to this, SendGrid had partnered with cloud infrastructure services Rackspace, SoftLayer, and HP Cloud Services. SendGrid’s cloud bases are clearly covered.
Boulder, Colo. and San Francisco-based SendGrid graduated from the TechStars program in 2009 and has received about $27 million in total funding. Investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, Foundry Group, Highway 12 Ventures, SoftTechVC, 500 Startups, and Bullet Time Ventures.
Check out a video explaining SendGrid below:
Filed under: cloud
Cloud communications startup Twilio has upped its worldwide footprint with much-welcome support for global SMS and dozens of new languages, the company announced Thursday.
Twilio helps many small- and medium-sized businesses by providing telephony infrastructure via the cloud. Developers working on behalf of those businesses can add calls, texts, and VoIP to their web and mobile apps.
Now the company will see more growth with the ability to give its 100,000+ developers the ability to send SMS messages to more than 1,000 carriers in 150 countries.
“Contacting your customers via email today is simple, it just works,” said Twilio product manager Patrick Malatack, in a statement. “At Twilio we think SMS & voice should work the same way. There are no geopolitical boundaries for the web and we want to ensure developers can work with the telecom network like they do other internet services.”
On the language side of the announcement, Twilio will now offer support in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Russian, and many more. That means way more business and developers from outside North America will be interested in what Twilio is serving.
San Francisco-based Twilio has raised around $33 million to date, with its most recent funding totaling $17 million. Its investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, Union Square Ventures, Founders Fund, and 500 Startups.
Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson and Senior Comms Manager Michael Selvidge photo: Meghan Kelly/VentureBeat
Old world online marketers must build, buy, or die, and Oracle has made its choice. Oracle just agreed to acquire Involver, just a month after the giant bought its competing social marketing platform Vitrue. Involver will be rolled into Oracle Cloud marketing suite, and the deal is expected to close over the summer.
Along with the Vitrue buy which today’s PR frames as an analytics purchase, Involver will give Oracle a powerful toolset for helping brands create custom applications as they adjust to sea change in marketing brought on by social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Involver offers a licensable platform that handles everything a brands needs to reach and persuade the public through social media. It provides tools for publishing updates plus tracking and responding to user comments and feedback, as well as app creation through simple template re-skinning, drag-and-drop building, or more custom development.
While we’re working on the Involver price, its investors are likely to walk away with a handsome payday, considering the $600 million price tag on Vitrue and the $689 million Salesforce recently paid for leading enterprise social marketer Buddy Media. Involver had raised $11 million through its Series C from angels as well as Bessemer Venture Partners, Western Technology Investment, and Cervin Ventures.
Bringing Social Apps To Oracle
One of Involver’s unique products is the Social Markup Language, a proprietary development platform for creating apps that hook deeply into today’s social networks. It lets big brands design engaging custom experiences for potential customers such as games, contests, sweepstakes, and content generators designed to imprint a company on their consciousness. Brands can use Involver widgets to instantly augment their apps and websites social functionality like Facebook share buttons, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, and signup boxes and ecommerce coupons.
Involver-made apps will give Oracle client brands the “owned” part of the paid-earned-owned marketing trifecta. Getting all three to work in combination is crucial to taking advantage of integrated marketing campaigns and social advertising options like Facebook Sponsored Stories — where a friend’s interaction with a brand is used as an implicit recommendation in a marketing message.
For example, Oracle client brands will be able to buy “paid” Facebook ads to drive traffic to their “owned” Facebook Page hosting a custom-skinned Involver app. There users might upload a photo of themselves into a branded vacation background, and be urged to share their collaged creation with friends. The brand could then pay to have this shared content appear more frequently in the news feeds of friends through Facebook Sponsored Stories.
Too Late To Build
The enterprise marketers of the 90′s and early 2000′s waited a long time before diving into social. Perhaps they wanted to see the sector prove itself and the social networks begin to cater to their needs through APIs as well as owned media presence platforms like Facebook Pages. Perhaps they believed they lacked the know-how to produce social marketing products themselves.
In either case, giants like Oracle, Adobe, and Webtrends have found themselves lagging behind, and without the months or years needed to build social marketing tools in-house. So over the last 18 months we’ve seen a massive wave of consolidation.
In yet another case of San Francisco “stealing the show” from Silicon Valley, visual interest site Pinterest has just moved its headquarters from Palo Alto to San Francisco’s South-of-Market (SoMa) neighborhood.
It was only in May that venture firm Benchmark Capital made a similar long-term move into the city, on the premise that two-thirds of its recent deals were based there anyway. While Benchmark’s office are north of SoMa, Pinterest’s more immediate neighbors will include social gaming dynamo Zynga and online room rental startup AirBnB, all cozied into the repurposed warehouses and lofts that define the district.
Pinterest has skyrocketed to success in the past year, becoming the fastest standalone website to hit 10 million users, according to comScore. With that momentum, it’s raised $100 million in 2012 from Andreesen Horowitz, Rankuten, FirstMark Capital, and Bessemer Venture Partners.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who has a Pinterest page of his own, has indicated that Pinterest will be in the city for the long-term. But the company has thus far only signed a short-term lease on 572 7th Street, a space that’s just large enough for Pinterest’s current workforce, estimated to be near 40 people (their team page, which lists 29, is outdated).
The company has been mum on long-term plans, declining our request for comments. The owner of the property however has been marketing the space as one property with the adjacent 808 Brannan, a much larger space that’s still being prepared for occupancy, according to this Planning Department document. Both buildings combined have about 55,000 square feet of office space that could accommodate nearly 200 employees. It’s likely that Pinterest is currently negotiating the lease on the latter property, making sure it can sublease the space (or parts of it) as it uses its newfound war-chest to expand its own staff and grow into the office.
Justin Bedecarre, who advises startups on office space for real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, reckons that moving to San Francisco makes sense for a number of reasons, including access to a wider pool of Bay Area tech talent, more vibrant neighborhoods for employees to live in, a greater inventory of creative office spaces, and more transit options than the peninsula.
Pinterest is hardly alone in deciding to escape Palo Alto’s high rents and low vacancy. San Francisco is now home to a raft of popular companies, including Alphonso Labs, Twitter, One Kings Lane, Yammer, and ZenDesk, to name a few. Bedecarre says that rents in Downtown Palo Alto are “still 30-50% higher over San Francisco’s SoMa district,” with certain firms like data mining and security company Palantir placing a chokehold on the surrounding real estate with all the space it’s leased.
Filed under: VentureBeat
The cloud-storage company Box is today announcing a new step up in its business: it is officially moving into Europe, opening an office in London to focus its efforts in the region, and help it in the landgrab for cloud customers against competitors like Dropbox and Google.
The move is not Box’s first foray into doing business here — Aaron Levie, the CEO and co-founder, tells TechCrunch that European customer numbers have doubled in the last year. And they already account for half of all of its traffic among 11 million users worldwide, and between 12 and 15 percent of its customer base. Opening a full office will help Box focus that effort, he says, and reach their goal of “doubling the share” in the latter category in the next 18 months.
The rapid expansion of Box’s customer base in Europe mirrors that in Box’s home market of the U.S., where, in its freemium model of offering free minimal amounts of storage, its paid enterprise revenues have tripled each year since being founded in 2005.
The company has raised $162 million in funding with backers including Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, SAP Ventures and salesforce.com. Levie will not say whether the company is currently profitable, but does note that it is “still focused on growth.”
That’s a crucial strategy in a market where similar services, like Dropbox and Google Drive, exist and are also fiercely competing for the same users.
As part of the process of going native, which Levie is announcing to coincide with an appearance at the LeWeb conference, Levie says that the company plans to hire 100 people in London by the end of 2013 as it builds out its office in central London, headed up by Greg Strickland as international GM and VP of global operations: prior to this, Strickland was VP of business operations at Box.
It will also start to focus a lot more attention on creating localized versions of its interfaces for those who might tire a little of the American English interfaces, with language support included in French, German, Spanish and more.
Pointedly, Levie rules out any big acquisitions for Box in the region at this point. Growth for the company will be organic for the moment, he tells TechCrunch.
One area where Box will take longer to ramp up is in the area of local data storage. There is some of this here already but Levie says Box is still evaluating partners for a wholesale migration of data centers to the region. The completion of that will see the company also increasing its efforts to sign on more larger enterprises.
It’s been a long time coming, he says, but now seemed like the perfect moment to “pull the trigger.”
“Every year we’ve thought ‘is this the year to go to Europe?’ Finally at the end of last year we decided to develop a full international operation,” he says. “It’s the right time with the economy and the buying signals we’re seeing from businesses,” whose interest in cloud-based services is only growing. He says that it remains to be seen what kind of a longer-term impact the European economy will have on Box’s business but does point out that a lot of drive towards cloud services does come out of recessionary times.
The 12-15 percent revenue share in Europe, he says, has “happened without us doing anything explicitly.” That has seen the company secure a number of notable customer wins: the “largest car manufacturers in Germany” (unnamed); some of the “largest publishers and media brands in the UK”; telcos, including the carrier O2; the UK airport operator BAA; and one of the hot names in music right now, in addition to European operations for big global brands like Proctor and Gamble.
An expanded strategic partnership with HP, also being announced today, will also contribute to that growth: HP and Box will work on “exclusive offers” that the IT giant will resell to its small/medium business customers in the EMEA region.
With all of these, the implementations are not for massive customer deployments but for internal employee purposes, with people using Box to exchange files and collaborate with each other.
“With Box, we were able to build our customized iPad app quickly, mobilizing our sales force and giving us the competitive edge we need to remain on top,” Charlie Hunter-Schyff, head of planning at O2 Media, said in a statement.
But a past partnership with LG points to at least one direction those relationships could develop: LG has been offering 50G of free Box storage for their Android smartphones and tablets to customers in the U.S., and that program saw one million downloads in the first week.
“Those users will take a bit longer to convert into paid (can’t share specifics) simply because it’s a newer audience coming on to Box, and we convert primarily businesses so it will take a bit longer for those users to work the product into their organizations,” he tells us.
He also pointed out that some business relationships have actually been used for customer services: the San Francisco Giants have built a consumer app that it hosts on Box, “but no one is building a Twitter. The main problem we try to solve is how to make your business work better with partners, colleagues and customers.”
Twilio, the San Francisco-based startup that powers all kinds of phone-like applications on the web and mobile, just passed 100,000 developers on its platform. That’s up from about 30,000 a year ago.
“In six months, we’ve doubled our base,” said chief executive Jeff Lawson. “It’s been really exciting for us to see what others have built.”
Bigger companies like Airbnb have used Twilio to let guests and hosts confirm bookings through text messaging, while there are others that use it to power their call centers. Twilio is marking this with a project called Milestones. The company will randomly select three Twilio developers who post a two minute video of themselves talking about how the platform helped them reach their goals. Those developers will get free travel, hotel and tickets to the company’s developer conference this year in mid-October.
So I realize it’s hard to pay attention to such-and-such-company passes arbitrary milestone when there are sometimes so many of these announcements on TechCrunch. But for Twilio, it’s a big deal since they’re a developer-centric company.
The company earns revenue when developers process phone calls or text messages or award phone numbers through their service. The standard rates are 1 cent per inbound call, 2 cents per outbound call, 1 cent per message sent or received and a $1 per new phone number. Then there’s also Twilio Client, which you can use to build Skype-like applications anywhere and that’s 1/4 cent per minute. Heavy users can negotiate better bulk rates. The more developers Twilio has actively using the platform, the more revenue the company can earn. They declined to comment on their financials for this story.
Twilio has raised nearly $34 million in venture capital including a recent December round led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures. Other investors include Manu Kumar, Dave McClure, Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, Founders Fund and Mitch Kapor.