Archive for the ‘Funding’ tag
Guuuuurrrrl, the Valley is on fayah today. In a huge wave of announcements, we saw a bevy of businesses from the Bay getting fierce funding deals.
Trust: From Mountain View to Redwood City, from Los Gatos to not-so-sunny San Francisco, our Bay Area startups were snatching term sheets and serving business executive realness.
And it wasn’t just deal volume on the Peninsula, either; the numbers these companies posted were pretty sickening, too. No tea, no shade, but if the New York/Austin/L.A./Boulder scenes want to keep up, they. Bettah. Werk.
(If you haven’t seen Paris Is Burning nor do you watch an awful lot of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, this whole thing hasn’t made much sense to you, has it? Have no fear, familiar territory is here.)
Now, sashay — away.
Adaptive Planning nets $45M
Mountain View, Calif.-based Adaptive Planning has raised a massive $45 million in its fourth and final round of funding with a goal to further dominate the CPM space, the business said Tuesday. Adaptive Planning offers a suite of budgeting, planning, forecasting, and data discovery software in the cloud. Its software works for small businesses all the way up to large enterprises, which now represent 25 percent of its business. The company had 1,500 customers at the end of 2012 and it estimates it will have 2,000 customers at the end of this year. Read the full story on VentureBeat.
Alexza to raise $25M for health-tech gadget
In a Form D filing with the SEC, we learned that health-tech company Alexza Pharmaceuticals is rustling up a $25 million round of debt financing. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company makes Staccato, a new gadget for quickly and effectively delivering drugs to our frail human systems.
Change.org raises $15M
Popular social petition service Change.org has raised $15 million in new funding — cash that will help it further build up the “world’s largest petition platform.” Change.org, the brainchild of two Stanford students, provides an accessible way to enact social change and it makes it simple to create and sign petitions. The service has grown quite a bit in the last year, jumping from 6 million users in early 2012 to more than 35 million users today. More than half of Change.org’s users are outside the U.S. Read the full story on VentureBeat.
ConsultingMD secures $10M
Palo Alto, Calif.-based ConsultingMD has secured a $10 million funding round led by venture firm Venrock, the health-focused venture capital arm of the Rockefeller family. The mission is to create a virtual clinic where patients are served by the top doctors in the world. “We don’t believe you need a network of thirty thousand doctors to be effective,” said Tripp [pictured above with cofounder Dr. Lawrence "Rusty" Hoffman] in an interview with VentureBeat. “We would rather use the same 750 doctors who achieve successful outcomes again and again.” Read the full story on VentureBeat.
Wanderful takes $9M to the bank
S’wanderful! S’marvelous! You should get a check! Wanderful Media, a local shopping and discovery app company based in Los Gatos, Calif., told us today that it’s gotten $9 million in new funding from existing investors. This addition brings the company’s total funding to $36 million and comes on the heels of the April launch of the completely reimagined Find&Save, an online community offering a comprehensive collection of local savings.
Brightpearl seals an $8M Series B
Brightpearl, a UK company with a San Francisco office, has just taken a lovely $8 million in its second round of institutional funding. The company makes loud software that integrates orders, inventory and customer data across multiple retail channels. “We’ve seen customers experience growth rates of 40-50% by adding new sales channels on the Brightpearl platform vs. single-digit growth for the overall retail sector,” said co-founder Charles Grimsdale in a statement on the news.
Clique Intelligence goes home with $5M out of $20M
Another Form D yielded the mystery meat for today: Clique Intelligence, based in Redwood City, Calif., has taken $5 million of a $20 million equity offering. The filing lists Robert Scott and Dudley Mendenhall as execs; the former was mighty hard to pin down and the latter was a former HP and Websense guy. There’s no URL for the company, but we did see in a Whois lookup that Dreamworks, the animation studio, is listed as the registrant for CliqueIntelligence.com. This could mean something; it could mean nothing. But so far, it all smells like stealth to us.
Timbaland throws $800K at Open Labs
In a non-Valley tidbit, entertainer Timbaland has led a seed round for Open Labs, the Austin, Texas-based maker of StageLight. StageLight is music creation software that aims to make the whole process a bit easier on the common dude or dudette. “We wanted to allow anyone to create music quickly, inexpensively and socially,” we read in an email from CEO Cliff Mountain. “The Open Labs team introduced our software, StageLight, to the market six months ago and we have been overwhelmed with positive customer feedback; over 110,000 unique people have come to our website and over 50,000 have downloaded the product.”
NASA is funding the Star Trek replicator
Tea! Earl Grey! Hot! NASA has thrown a $125,000 grant at a research project to bring 3D-printed food into our reality. This project comes from mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor of Systems & Materials Research Corporation. Coincidentally, Contractor was also a speaker at the recent Humans to Mars conference.
Naturally, this kind of food replication would be a great way to survive in space or on other planets, where plant-growing natural resources are scarce. But it’s also a great idea for feeding hungry people around the world when economics, famine, or war come between people and sustenance. Read the full story at VentureBeat.
Filed under: Deals
Postmaster Raises $600K Seed Round To Expand Its Smart Shipping API, Partners With Lone Star Overnight
Postmaster, an Austin-based startup that aims to simplify shipping and parcel tracking through an easy to use REST API, launched earlier this year and today, the company announced that it has raised a seed investment round of $600,000 led by Capital Factory, Cloud Power and Zelkova Ventures, as well as a consortium of angel investors. The Postmaster team plans to use this additional funding – it launched as a member of the last TechStars Cloud class – to expand its development team and build additional carrier integrations.
With Postmaster, e-commerce developers and merchants can easily add shipping features to their existing solutions. The service, for example, allows users to quickly compare rates across FedEx, UPS, Lone Star Overnight Canada Post and the USPS. This allows shippers to figure out what’s the fastest and most cost-effective way to ship a given parcel because the aggregate data Postmaster collects allows it to predict point-to-point shipping times for any given carrier. That’s data that companies like Amazon have for their shipping operations, but that’s not typically available to small businesses. Postmaster also, of course, allows its users to create shipping labels through its API and offers tracking, reporting and auditing tools.
The company also today announced that it has partnered with Lone Star Overnight (LSO), a shipping company that focuses on overnight deliveries to Texas, Oklahoma, western Louisiana and southern New Mexico (and which has partnerships to serve all of California and Mexico, too). Using Postmaster, LSO’s customers now get access to all of its services through a white-labeled portal.
This marks Postmaster’s first integration with a shipping carrier. “Our partnership with Lone Star Overnight is a win-win for everyone involved ,” said Jesse Lovelace, CEO and Co-Founder of Postmaster in a prepared statement today. “Postmaster will gain access to a wealth of shipping data instantly for even greater route optimization – not only for LSO customers, but for all Postmaster merchants. Additionally, this is the first simple and truly cross-carrier portal on the market for the public, solving some inherent issues that result from how siloed the carriers have traditionally been from one another.”
Shipping is obviously a pretty hot area right now, but the focus has mostly been on same-day shipping, with Google, for example, buying BufferBox and launching its Shopping Express service, eBay testing same-day delivery in Chicago and Dallas and startups like Deliv trying to bring same-day delivery services to even more businesses and customers. ShipHawk, a TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 Startup Alley audience choice winner, is also looking to make a dent in the shipping market, but unlike Postmaster, which focuses more on developers, Shiphawk targets consumers and small businesses directly.
Popular social petition service Change.org has raised $15 million in new funding — cash that will help it further build up the “world’s largest petition platform.”
Change.org provides an accessible way to enact social change and it makes it simple to create and sign petitions. The service has grown quite a bit in the last year, jumping from 6 million users in early 2012 to more than 35 million users today. More than half of Change.org’s users are outside the U.S.
So far, the site’s users have won “thousands of victories.” Major wins spurred by Change.org petitions include Bank of America dropping its $5 debit card fees, Seventeen magazine committing not to Photoshop models, and having felony charges against high-school student Kiera Wilmot dropped.
The new funding was led by Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam. Change.org CEO Ben Rattray Rattray told VentureBeat that his biggest priority was finding a funding partner who deeply believed in the company’s mission.
“We’re trying to show that it’s possible to build a technology company focused on social impact, and we now have the resources to hire the tech talent needed to demonstrate that at scale,” Rattray told us. “As we’ve become more successful, we’ve been approached a number of times by traditional, for-profit venture capital firms interested in investing in the company, but we are only open to investment from social investors who are prepared to support that mission. … So we specifically sought out the Omidyar Network because of its unique alignment with our empowerment mission and the ability to support our scale.”
Chris Bishko, an investment partner at Omidyar Network, will join Change.org’s board.
The announcement was made in conjunction with the appearance of Rattray at VentureBeat’s HealthBeat conference, where he will be speaking today about grassroots patient empowerment. More people than ever are changing the health care landscape through petitions and online activity, and Change.org is part of that.
Top photo via Change.org
Filed under: Deals
This Monday morning, we opened our inboxes to find a whole boatload of manic-sounding funding announcements sent by twitchy PR people. Seems like every hopped-up investor and his mom threw money at some startup or other — but don’t worry, we had our police scanner set to “stun” and caught all the action for you.
Let’s start the show.
Disclosure: Only commercially available, retail-grade, street-legal stimulants were used to fuel the writing of this and other deals-related posts on VentureBeat today. Today.
Rimini Street takes $15M to go global
Enterprise software maintenance company Rimini Street has secured a healthy $15 million round of funding. The Las Vegas-based startup took the new money from the sticky hands of Bridge Bank, a Silicon Valley firm. Execs said the investment would be used to move beyond the startup’s U.S. origins and into international waters — namely, Brazil and Asia Pacific.
Alteryx announces $12M investment
Analytics company Alteryx has received $12 million in financing from new investor Toba Capital (recently formed by former Quest Software CEO Vinny Smith) and existing investor SAP Ventures. Over the past year, the big-data startup has developed partnerships with Tableau, Teradata, Cloudera, and Hortonworks. Previously, the company took a $6 million round in April 2011.
Secretive startup Reflektion raises $3.3M
Reflektion is still in super-stealth mode, but it’s raised another round of funding. Following a previous raise of $1.5 million, the company filed an SEC Form D today stating it’s taken another $3.3 million. Congrats, mystery company! Here’s what we do know: The San Mateo, Calif.-based startup is helmed by electronic design engineer and serial entrepreneur Rajeev Madhavan; the startup is hiring; and the company has the same name as a stupid DJ, who is currently Google-spanking the PageRank for the name.
Newsle gets $1.65M for news app
Newsle — is that pronounced “news-lee” or “noozle,” do you suppose? — has taken a $1.65 million round for its news app for professionals. We wonder whether LinkedIn’s news-focused redesigned homepage might have Newsle beaten to the punch, but Newsle reps assure us the young company is “totally killing it,” so no worries there, right? At any rate, the Newsle team already moved from the East Coast to a nauseatingly trendy SoMa address in San Francisco, so they can’t really go home just yet. The funding led was by Advance Publications through subsidiary American City Business Journals. The app first launched in 2011; this is the startup’s first institutional round of funding.
Sensopia seals $1.2M deal
Sensopia, creator of reality augmentation app MagicPlan, announced today a $1.2 million round of funding and the release of a development kit to embed its software in any application. The funding will accelerate Sensopia’s growth and development to make the MagicPlan application easy and accessible to normal users. MagicPlan lets you take a photo of your environment and generate a floor plan in minutes. The application can automatically measure, draw, and publish a floor plan by taking a photo with your iOS device. Read the full story on VentureBeat.
Minbox gets a mini-round of $800K
Little things mean a lot! A little goes a long way! Other meaningless clichés about wee things! Minbox, a Dropbox competitor, has taken a $800,000 round of investment. The service, created by online journal Penzu founders, contains free (and to-be-announced Pro) features. Notable participants in the round include Charles River Ventures, CNN president Jeff Zucker, Mailchimp’s Ben Chestnut, and a handful of other folks who are praying for an acquisition within the next year or so. Because let’s be honest: Dropbox already has more than enough competition.
Image credit: Comedy Central
Filed under: Deals
“Video is the new audio”, we often hear from startup founders who are setting their sights on large businesses.
Today, Weemo has raised $3 million investment from European private equity firm Idinvest Partners, bringing its total funding to $5 million. With the infusion of capital, Cottereau intends to expand to the U.S., and add more talent to the team so it can compete with established vendors like Vidyo, Avaya, Cisco and Microsoft.
Formerly known as “Wimo,” Weemo has made headway with customers who believe that Microsoft-owned Skype doesn’t integrate well with existing professional tools.
Weemo’s team claims its unique approach will give it an edge over the competition. The company has also developed a set of APIs, which can be leveraged by developers to add live video tools to any application or environment.
Just connect to the Weemo REST API, cut and paste a few lines of code in a web or mobile app, et voila, video calls. Companies are charged on a per user basis, which makes it more affordable than the legacy players in the space.
Cottereau said the goal is to make video a “de facto extension” of employee workflow. Companies don’t need to install any additional hardware (and pay for those expensive upgrades), as Weemo is purely a cloud service.
Weemo was founded in 2007, and currently has offices in Paris and San Francisco.
Filed under: Business
Better watch out, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Hot messaging app MessageMe has just raised $10 million in its first round of funding, the company confirmed today.
MessageMe offers iOS and Android apps that send rich messages to friends, family, and groups. The app also lets you share YouTube videos, iTunes tracks, voice recordings, emoticons, and other things you might not share over traditional text messaging. MessageMe has risen quickly in status; it only just raised seed funding about a month ago. At that time, the service said it has 1 million users.
It will take more momentum on MessageMe’s part to displace WhatsApp’s traction. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum recently told the world his app is “bigger than Twitter” and is now processing 8 billion inbound messages a day and over 12 billion outbound messages a day.
MessageMe’s new funding first leaked out through an SEC filing. The round was led by Greylock Partners’ John Lilly, with participation by Google Ventures, True Ventures, First Round Capital, SVAngel, Resolut.vc, and Social+Capital Partnership. Every firm that participated in MessageMe’s $1.9 million seed round participated in this round except for Andreessen Horowitz.
Top image via MessageMe
Filed under: Deals
If you haven’t heard of Tech Cocktail, you probably haven’t partied much with the startup community.
Tech Cocktail‘s goal is to support emerging tech hubs through events, and provide relevant news and information for entrepreneurs on its website. And today, the company raised its first $2.5 million funding round from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.
As part of the funding, the team opened a new office in Las Vegas, which will serve as its headquarters. On the company blog, CEO Frank Gruber said the goal is to become the “leaders” of the local, burgeoning tech community.
Entrepreneurs are relocating in their droves to Vegas in large part due to the efforts of Hsieh’s “Downtown Project.” Hsieh and his team are on a mission to revitalize the downtown economy through a $500 million fund. Investments are already being made in urban planning and development, schools and hospitals, small businesses and technology startups.
Last week, I travelled to Vegas with a group of entrepreneurs and investors to find out more about the Downtown Project. Most of the activities, including speaker sessions and networking events, were organized by Tech Cocktail.
“We’ve known Tony Hsieh for over 5 years, dating back to a party that we threw together for CES 2009,” Gruber said on the Tech Cocktail blog. “It’s great to have a strategic partner who really understands entrepreneurship and the importance of celebrating and building community around it.”
It should come as no surprise that the founders would raise a sizable round of funding (especially for a media company) from the downtown project. Gruber said the team will focus on expanding throughout the United States, and building the brand. He claims that 30,000 people attend one of Tech Cocktail’s events last year alone.
Tech Cocktail will also release a “national platform” for entrepreneurs, but hasn’t disclosed much at this point.
Filed under: Deals
Travel news startup Skift has closed a new $1.1 million round of seed funding, the company announced today.
Skift is a hybrid news publication that seeks to provide data and reporting services to the travel industry as well as those who are interested in following it. The site was co-founded by paidContent founder Rafat Ali, who decided on the idea after his many travels made him realize how much the travel industry converges together, with hotels, transportation, tech services and startups, and more. By all intents and purposes, Skift does sound like it wants to be a digital offspring of those old school trade publications common in many industries during the heyday of print — except this one is aiming to be something that’s not only useful, but also something that will appeal to the everyday consumer audience. It also wants to be more diverse in what it offers, both in terms of its products/services and business strategy.
“All media companies need a diverse revenue stream,” Ali said in an interview with VentureBeat. “Advertising is one part, but at least for us we’d like to build out our data services and premium offerings.”
The funding, he said, will be used to double Skift’s team of employees from 5 to 10. Those positions pretty much span across all areas, with 2 developers, a social/audience manager, a data analyst, and an additional reporter. Skift will also use the new capital to further develop its travel-brand index SkiftSocial as well as two premium subscriptions services that will roll out in June.
The new funding is led by Leer Ventures, with participation from Advancit Capital, Ironfire Angel, Mesa+, and Growlabs/LX Ventures as well as angel investors including Martin Nisenholtz, Michael Yavonditte, Shakil Khan, Paul Noglows, Sean Keener, Duncan Jennings, Skift CFO Michael Cunniff, and Eric Lawson.
Founded in 2012, the New York-based startup has raised a total of $1.5 million in funding to date.
Photo via Skift
Singapore’s largest telecoms provider, SingTel, plans to set aside $1.6 billion (S$2 billion) over the next three years for startup acquisitions. Like those it has made in recent years, these are expected to be in the digital media space.
All of these can be tracked back to the major restructuring of SingTel’s business arms last year, where it divided itself into three pillars called Consumer, ICT and Digital Life.
The first two focus on consumer and enterprise segments, respectively, but the Digital Life arm is most representative of the change. The division was set up as a reaction to over-the-top competition from third party content providers, and SingTel said Digital Life was going to compete head on, providing smart TV, digital magazines and local content.
Some of acquisitions so far include restaurant review sites, Hungrygowhere and Eatability, and photo app Pixable.
SingTel has also been bullish as a VC. In 2010, it set up a separate venture arm called Innov8 to specifically look at acquisitions that would boost its current play in the telecoms arena. Innov8 was set up with an initial fund size of $160 million (S$200 million), and has since acquired firms like mobile ad company Amobee.
SingTel runs telecoms operations in other countries in the region, like Optus in Australia. It has significant stakes in other carriers like Globe in The Philippines (44 percent), Bharti in India (32 percent) and Telkomsel in Indonesia (35 percent). Altogether, its operations in the region cover about 400 million mobile subscribers.
Mark it on your calendars: Today, no social media, photo-sharing, casual gaming, consumer-y app-y startups announced funding raises.
No, for today belongs to cloud companies, finance companies, data companies — the solid, boring stuff that stands half a chance of seeing us through this bubble with slightly less egg on our collective face than last time around.
As the fella said, “He that outlives this day and comes safe home will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d, and rouse him at the name of Cloudant!” Or something like that.
And the winners are:
Cloudant pulls down a $12M round
Hot database-as-a-service startup Cloudant has raised $12 million in its second round of funding, the company announced today. The Boston-based startup was founded in Cambridge, Mass., in 2008 by three MIT physicists. The team struggled to move and analyze multi-petabyte data sets. So they ended up creating what would become Cloudant. Cloudant offers a highly scalable database-as-a-service that makes it possible to store, access, and analyze your operational data in the cloud. In the layers of the cloud, Cloudant becomes a “data layer” that can be run on top of most infrastructure-as-a-service providers, including Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure, and Joyent. Read the full story on VentureBeat.
GraphLab gets $6.75M
GraphLab, an open source, distributed graph computation framework, has announced a $6.75 million funding round led by Madrona Venture Group and NEA. Seattle-based GraphLab, Inc. is building a commercial product the open-source project, applying advanced machine learning to massive graph datasets. “Data has the ability to make our lives better, whether applied to public health, economics, or suggesting the perfect song. But as the complexity of data sets grows, the need for entirely new ways of thinking about them has grown as well,” said Carlos Guestrin, GraphLab CEO, in a statement on the news.
TransferWise secures $6M
London-based TransferWise has just earned the distinction of sealing the first European deal by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. The startup specializes in peer-to-peer international money transfers, undercutting traditional banks with its crowdsourced currency exchange. A previous investment round in 2012 brought in $1.3 million from IA Ventures, Index Ventures, and a group of angels.
SugarSync sweetens its deal with another $3M
Dropbox competitor SugarSync just closed an additional $3 million in funding, according to an SEC filing. A spokesperson for the company just confirmed the debt raise and said it would be used to bolster the product development team. The funding was brought in through an existing investor — likely Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s Andreas Stavropoulous, whose name appears on the Form D. The company has not raised funding since February 2012, when it pulled in $15 million to grow and define itself in the crowded cloud storage market. Read the full story on VentureBeat.
WegoWise gets $3M
WegoWise, a company that uses utility data to help owners and managers track their utility use and encourage energy efficiency investments, has taken $3 million in add-on funding from existing investor Boston Community Capital. Right now, a company rep tells us, the startup is focusing on apartment/condo complexes as well as commercial real estate. The startup’s platform tracks and compares utility use across large portfolios of buildings to find energy-wasting elements. “Think of it as Mint.com, but for utility data instead of finances,” the rep said.
Pangea Payments takes $1M in oversubscribed seed round
Money-transfer startup Pangea Payments wants to “help underbanked people around the globe.” To that end, the Chicago-based startup has taken an initial million-dollar funding round from OCA Ventures, Origin Ventures, i2A Fund, and FireStarter Fund. Angel investors also participating in this round include former Navteq CEO Larry Kaplan, Cloverhill Bakery exec Bill Gee, and Potbelly Sandwich Works founder Bryant Keil. Pangea’s multiplatform service (including mobile, web, and retail options) lets users send money to anyone, anywhere around the world, at any time.
Image credit: NBC
Filed under: Deals