Archive for the ‘institutional investor’ tag
Mobile Ad Network Jumptap Preps For IPO, Picks Up Another $27.5M From Keating, WPP And More While Waiting
Jumptap — one of the last big, independent and privately-held mobile ad networks around reaching 263 million people worldwide — has today announced that it has picked up another $27.5 million in funding to keep up the pace with other players while it prepares for an IPO itself.
This round was led by two new backers, Keating Capital and “a large institutional investor” that Jumptap tells me it cannot name. The round also saw participation from existing investors General Catalyst Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Summerhill Ventures, Valhalla Partners, and WPP (the last one of these perhaps one to watch the closest). In total, Jumptap has now raised $121.5 million.
The funding will also be used to meet the rapid expansion we’re seeing in the mobile advertising space — currently growing at 50 percent annually and still very much still in its infancy. eMarketer notes that last year was the first to see mobile ads break the $1 billion mark in the U.S., and believes that this year those numbers will top $2.6 billion. But compared to the trillions raked in through advertising worldwide, there is still a long way for mobile ads to go, fuelled by the increasingly ubiquitous presence of smartphones and mobile data usage.
Jumptap says that currently its ad network reaches 107 million mobile users in the U.S., with another 156 million worldwide, with 20 billion mobile impressions each month. It also notes that it owns 29 patents with another 200 pending — in itself a potentially valuable area for the company. (As a point of comparison, Millennial Media, another of the large independents, says it has a worldwide reach of 300 million users on its ad network.)
What do those patents cover? Over the last few years, Jumptap has developed an ad targeting service that involves the company working with a number of “offline” third-party data providers — 20 in all — that include Polk, Acxiom, Datalogix, TARGUSinfo, Catalyst, and i360. Jumptap claims to have been the first to do this — although others work with offline data providers as well.
The company also works with others to feed data into its service to better hone how ads get delivered. These include PlaceIQ for location and 140 Proof for social media analysis. Jumptap has made some good forays into researching the behaviour of different vertical markets as well — all part of its effort to get more information out to ad buyers in a still-nascent market short on quantifiable data.
“Jumptap tackled the challenge of honing mobile ad targeting and understanding mobile audience, and it is flourishing on this path,” John Simon, chairman of the board at Jumptap, and MD and Co-founder of General Catalyst Partners, said in a statement. “Under the direction of its innovative leadership team, Jumptap has emerged as a leader in the market.”
The underwriters of Facebook’s $16 billion debut on NASDAQ fought to the finish to keep the company’s shares above last night’s final price of $38 a share. Shares closed at $38.23 today. Sources tell us that the syndicate of banks underwriting the deal have been putting in buy orders to keep its price afloat. It’s not necessarily a bad outcome for Facebook as the company didn’t leave any money on the table, but bankers on the wealth-management side of the underwriters are sure to be unhappy. Plus, the company’s tepid premiere is killing the performance of tech stocks across the board.
Basically, what we hear is that the underwriters including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, just got too aggressive in the final days before the IPO about pricing. Earlier this month, the company was slated to open at a $28 to 35 price range, but that range was pushed up to $34 to 38 a share. Then Facebook priced at the very high end at $38 last night.
“The only thing keeping it at $38 are support mechanisms,” a source tells us. “There just wasn’t the institutional investor demand that people thought there would be.” They added that about 20 percent of buying orders seem to be coming from retail investors (e.g. regular people), which is “unprecedented.”
Because prices are being held up to avoid a negative finish, shares might dip lower into early next week. Already, we’re seeing the impact on other stocks across the board. Zynga is down 13.4 percent to $7.16. LinkedIn is down 5.9 percent to $99.02. “They’re all in the shitter because now they look expensive since Facebook didn’t go anywhere,” we’re told.
From Facebook’s perspective, the company shouldn’t care. The company and its early shareholders raised $16 billion at the very best price they could, leaving no money on the table for the underwriters’ wealthy clients to scoop up and sell for a quick profit.
Indeed, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has warned investors from the very beginning that Facebook was originally not meant to be a company. He even said today before the market opened, “Going public is an important milestone in our history. But here’s the thing: our mission isn’t to be a public company. Our mission is to make the world more open and connected.”
Payments company Square is raising another major round of funding, but is targeting institutional investors first because of the enormous size of the round, we hear from sources. Square’s CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey and COO Keith Rabois have met with both Fidelity and Legg Mason over the past week, and as AllThingsD reported earlier, Square is looking to raise at a $4 billion valuation, which we’ve confirmed as well.
In addition, we are also hearing that the company is raising around $250 million, which was originally reported in the New York Times. We hear Dorsey wrapped up the 10-day trip to the East Coast to conduct the raise.
Owen Thomas of the Daily Dot was the first to notice Dorsey’s and Rabois’ trips (broadcasted via Twitter) to Baltimore and Boston, where Legg Mason and Fidelity are based, respectively. Another potential institutional investor, T. Rowe Price, is also based in Baltimore as well. It’s notable that Rabois’ previous company, Slide, raised funding from Fidelity as well.
Square just raised $100 million in funding last year at a $1 billion valuation, so a $4 billion pre-money valuation is a huge jump. You also have to wonder what Square is raising another big round for. International expansion is on the horizon for 2012, and we know that the company is ramping up on marketing spend with a new TV commercial. Perhaps Square could be looking to make strategic acquisitions as well in the near future?
A spokesperson for Square says the company declined to comment on rumor or speculation.
We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.
In a head-scratching private market barter, illustrious venture firm Sequoia Capital has managed to secure an even larger chunk of up-and-coming Silicon Valley startup Evernote.
Russian firm Troika Ventures, Evernote’s first institutional investor, sold its stake in the note-taking and -sharing company at more than ten times its investment.
Sequoia Capital was founded in 1972 and has invested in everyone from Apple and Google to PayPal and LinkedIn. It estimates that 19 percent of the NASDAQ’s value is made up of companies Sequoia has funded. The firm is also already deeply rooted in Evernote; it led both Evernote’s $20 million Series C round and its $50 million Series D round.
The cash-for-more-land-grab exchange strikes us as a bit odd. Evernote, which purports to now have more than 20 million users, has seen substantial growth since Troika’s first investment, and has gone on to raise $95.5 million in total funding. Clearly, this is a startup that industry insiders think has a shot at a sizable exit, whether that be an acquisition or an IPO (and we know CEO Phil Libin is leaning toward the latter).
And therein lies the problem. The only obvious reason Troika would divest its stake now is because Evernote appears to be in no hurry to make its debut on the public market.
A statement from the company supports this reasoning. “The exit, at over ten times our original commitment, was a difficult decision for Troika and for me personally, but we ultimately decided to provide liquidity to our investors at a multiple return on their investment rather than await the next exit opportunity,” firm head Artyom Yukhin said.
Evernote did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Photo credit: micamica/Flickr
Russian venture firm Troika Ventures is announcing that it has sold its share in productivity app Evernote to fellow investor Sequoia Capital. Troika Ventures was Evernote’s first institutional investor, and backed the company with $4.5 million in 2009, and participated in Evernote’s $20 million C round in 2010. Evernote has raised a total of $95.5 million in funding. The most recent round took place last year, when Sequoia and Morgenthaler Ventures put $50 million in the company.
Troika is not disclosing deal size but the firm invested back when Evernote only had 500,000 users (that number has shot up to 20 million since then). And valuation (based on sale price) is up 10 times. Just based on Troika’s $4.5 million investment in the A round, it is safe to assume they sold their stake for more than $45 million.
Although Evernote was rumored to be joining the billion dollar valuation club in its last round, the company isn’t valued that high (but ‘still doing quite nicely”). Perhaps that possible IPO isn’t so far away?
“Evernote was one of the first companies that we invested in,” said Artyom Yukhin, the head of Troika Dialog’s venture division, in a release. “In addition to financing, we provided expertise and assistance at an early stage to bring the company to the forefront of consumer internet and mobile services…The exit, at over ten times our original commitment, was a difficult decision for Troika and for me personally, but we ultimately decided to provide liquidity to our investors at a multiple return on their investment rather than await the next exit opportunity. Evernote has an absolutely unique team and we are proud of its achievements and have no doubt that the company will continue to flourish under the leadership of its CEO, Phil Libin.”
Of course, this means Sequoia, who also participated in the company’s 2010 $20 million round as well, is upping its stake in the company and betting big on Evernote. By our calculations, Sequoia presumably just bought another $50 million-plus in the company.
Gaming peripheral maker Razer has raised $50 million in a financing round to expand its business of offering “no compromise” gaming products.
IDG-Accel China Capital Fund led the round, the first venture-financed investment for the company beyond previous angel investments.
After years of making only peripherals, Razer recently entered the gaming PC hardware market with the announcement of its new $2,800 Blade gaming laptop, which recently began shipping pre-ordered units in time for the holiday season.
Carlsbad, Calif.-based Razer first unveiled the Blade in August as “the world’s first true gaming laptop.” The company emphasized its 17-inch LED screen, high-end graphics hardware and six-hour battery life — all packed into a sleek, combat-knife-inspired case that’s less than an inch thick. The Blade also sports a unique “switchblade” user interface, which includes 10 adaptive tactile hotkeys and a LCD multi-touch panel displaying in-game information along the keyboard.
Razer faces competition from a number of existing gaming PC specialists like Alienware, which offers a range of gaming laptops starting at $899. The Blade will also compete against smartphones and tablets, which are increasingly becoming the go-to devices for many consumers’ mobile gaming habits.
“We took a long time raising our first VC round as games like Battlefield 3 kept us pretty busy recently,” said Min-Liang Tan, co-founder and chief executive of Razer. “More importantly, we took our time selecting an institutional investor as we wanted to find a partner that understood our commitment to gaming and our no-compromise attitude to designing products. Plus these guys didn’t freak out when we disappeared for a week in the middle of the deal when Skyrim launched.”
Tan said that board meetings start with a game of Counterstrike and the losers have to buy coffee. Razer’s focus is on building a cult brand around its products for gamers. The company started in Singapore in 1998 with a focus on making computer mice for gamers, who are notoriously picky about the speed and sensitivity of their mice. Razer catered to the professional gaming community, signing up Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel as one of its sponsored players. Over the years, the company added keyboards, audio equipment, mouse surfaces, and console controllers.
Razer will use the money to invest in technology, expand and innovate on its portfolio of designs. And, of course, pay for the video game habits of management.
Filed under: games
Investors in Cable & Wireless Worldwide have finally given the thumbs-up to an acquisition offer from Vodafone. The deal values the telecom company at $1.06 billion.
Vodafone is currently the second largest mobile company globally, and the CWW acquisition will only add to its stature among the telecommunications giants of the world.
According to Reuters, one institutional investor in particular had been holding back a vote on the deal. When that party was in favor of the acquisition, that gave Vodafone 99 percent of the votes from voting shareholders to proceed with the acquisition.
CWW controls more than 12,000 miles of optical fiber, which means Vodafone will no longer have to rent landline from competing telecoms such as BT. In addition to its fixed line capacity, CWW provides managed voice and data services as well as IP-based services and applications. CWW specializes in B2B business with large enterprises, governments, and carriers.
The $1.06 billion acquisition offer was first agreed to by both parties back in April 2012.
The company’s history hasn’t been without controversy. Since 2009, a series of strategic product missteps, scandals over lavish executive compensation, and a breakup into two separate entities have caused the company’s stock price to plummet, making it an obvious acquisition target for a hungry up-and-comer such as Vodafone.
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