VENTURE CAPITAL MARKET MEDIA-REVIEW ISSUE II (JULY, 19-25, 2014)
News-makers of the week: Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo, perspective startups, few business-angels and new projects. Last week was about big companies, M&A and fresh ideas.
M&A. Google pays $10 millions for DrawElements 3D-startup
Google corp. announces new buy: this time it will be 3D-oriented startup DrawElements, born in Helsinki. Purchase amount remains undisclosed, but experts talk about $10 millions.
DrawElements allows developers to test GPUs on mobile devices. Google now has a possibility to work closely with vendors, who install Android OS.
Start-up founders say, they are extremely happy to join Google team, and intend to cooperate with new colleagues to integrate their technologies into Google ecosystem.
M&A. Yahoo buys Flurry for $300 millions
Yahoo announces purchase of San-Francisco analytical startup Flurry for $300 millions. Yahoo press-service gives no comments recalling the privacy.
Flurry gives access to data analysis solutions for tablets and smartphones. Developers need such information to improve the interaction with their audience, for statistical analysts, as well as feedback. In addition, Internet company has mobile ad targeting solutions. Previously, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said about the company’s course on the development of content and mobile destinations.
Not so long ago Yahoo has spent more than a billion dollars on Tumblr, shortly thereafter bought a couple of small startups such as Aviate and RayV. Totally in 2013-2014 company made 12 corporate acquisitions.
M&A. LinkedIn social network buys Bizo
Social network for professionals LinkedIn strikes second bargain a month: company buys marketing platform Bizo for about $175 millions. Bizo develops products and technologies that allow to measure return on ad budget for individual audience segments.
Approximately 10% of the funds will be paid in shares, 90% – in cash. Most likely, the deal will be closed till New Year.
Last week LinkedIn bought Newsle – startup for web-searching. Purchase amount remains undisclosed.
M&A. Twitters’ new purchase: CardSpring
Twitter announced it’s acquired CardSpring to enable «in-the-moment commerce experiences». CardSpring is an application platform that lets developers build card-linked offers electronic coupons, loyalty cards, and virtual currencies that work with credit cards and other types of payments. Twitter will keep the service open. Purchase amount remains undisclosed.
Twitter explained that «we’ve already given users the ability to get deals and discounts, surprise someone with a coffee, or even add items to their online shopping cart — all directly from a Tweet. As we work on the future of commerce on Twitter, we’re confident the CardSpring team and the technology they’ve built are a great fit».
CardSpring was founded a few years ago by a group of former Netscape engineers and executives. While CardSpring had an impressive array of merchants and developers already working with it, Twitter will give it a powerful way to distribute offers built on its platform.
The acquisition could give Twitter a weapon in the battle to be the web’s social commerce portal.
M&A. VertaMedia buys AdCenter
VertaMedia company announces new purchase: Ukrainian AdCenter system. System allows to advertise in social networks. VertaMedia plans to keep system open but to focus on Eastern markets. Purchase amount: $400 thousand.
AdCenter is the computer-aided system for ad placement. Thanks to this soft one can publish and track his ads in few networks simultaneously.
AdCenter will keep its name and clients. Project team (10 members) will join VertaMedia office. Soon system will get English version of site. AdCenter will focus on eastern social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others.
BUSINESS-ANGEL. Mashable Founder Invests in YO
Messenger Yo’s founder Or Arbel got about $1.5 million during seed-stage round. Yo got few investors: Tencent founders, seed-stage VC firm Betaworks and Pitt Cashmore, Mashable founder. Arbel will spend money on project development: new office in San-Francisco, team of engineers.
Earlier Yo already got investments: $1.2 million. Mosh Hoge, Mobil CEO, participated in that round.
Yo can be downloaded at Google Play or AppStore. Messenger was downloaded for more than two millions times.
STARTUP. Unbabel got $1.5 funding for translation
A company called Unbabel is tackling that with its combination of artificial intelligence and human crowdsourced translation, and it has just announced a raise of $1.5 million in seed funding.
Currently, Unbabel’s service is available for translation from English, French, Spanish, German, and Portuguese to 15 languages including the above languages. It charges only $0.02 per word and says its editors earn on average $8 per hour.
Unbabel raised this round from Matrix Partners, Google Ventures, Elad Gil, FundersClub, IDG Partners, and many others. The company plans to use the funds to grow its engineering and marketing teams in order to improve its computer-based translation technology and acquire more customers.
Unbabel was founded in 2013 by Vasco Calais Pedro, and is headquarted in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in Lisbon, Portugal. The company was part of accelerator program Y Combinator’s Winter 2014 batch.
STARTUP. Threadflip pulls in $13 million in new funding
Threadflip, the online consignment marketplace for women’s clothing, announced $13 million in Series B funding today. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, with participation from previous investors Baseline Ventures, First Round Capital and Shasta Ventures. This latest infusion now brings the total funding for Threadflip up to $21.1 million.
Threadflip will use the cash to hire at least 20 more merchandising and operations people to help deal with the demand of its popular white glove service offering known as the Concierge Full Service. To understand the significance of this initiative, that’s more than 40% of Threadflip’s current workforce of 36 full time and 12 part-time employees.
STARTUP. ParkWhiz got $10 million funding
ParkWhiz Inc., a Chicago-based company that provides a mobile app for parking in garages and near sports stadiums, raised another $10 million in venture funding.
The investment was led by Chicago-based venture fund Jump Capital. Other investors include Hyde Park Venture Partners; Hyde Park Angels; Amreesh Modi, former Navteq Corp. chief technology officer; Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and Henry Feinberg, former partner at Technology Crossover Ventures, a Menlo Park, California-based venture fund.
ParkWhiz raised $2 million in 2012.
STARTUP. Synapsify brought in $850,00 in funding
Synapsify, a startup that claims it can rank the most important statements in a sea of text, has brought in $850,000 in new funding.
In addition to announcing the funding today, Synapsify also launched a new web-based “virtual analyst” that recommends the specific text that’s worth paying the most attention to. One can upload a spreadsheet, and the service can analyze the data, and the service can filter sentences, tweets or text, prioritize them, and generate reports on all the text.
From there, things really get interesting, as the system can suggest what to focus on when people upload similar data sets in the future, said Synapsify co-founder and chief executive Stephen Candelmo.
The technology, he said, can be useful for time-short marketing people that lack the technical know-how for integrating, say, Synapsify’s existing application programming interface (API). And it can be more informative than some existing text-analysis tools, too.
INVESTMENT. Prosper Accelerator will invest in women-based startups only
Prosper, the St. Louis organization looking to close the gender gap among entrepreneurs, will launch a new startup accelerator program that will pump $600,000 annually into women-led companies.
Prosper will also split into two divisions: a nonprofit organization called the Prosper Institute that will focus on training and mentoring women in the entrepreneurial community, and a for-profit division called Prosper Capital, which will oversee Prosper’s angel investor network and the accelerator.
The accelerator program will make investments of $50,000 into 12 women-led startups in the tech, life sciences and consumer products industries on an annual basis. The first class of the Prosper accelerator is expected to be named in January 2014.
INVESTMENT. Quandoo gets $25 millions for restaurant booking
Quandoo company closed a round of growth financing amounting to $25 million that will allow it to expand across Europe and establish a presence in the Asia-Pacific and additional Latin markets.
The Series C financing round was led by Piton Capital. Previous investors also participated: The Sixt family , Holtzbrinck Ventures and DN Capital, and Texas Atlantic Capital, all contributed to this growth round.
Quandoo currently partners with over 3,000 restaurants in eight different countries in Europe and 10,000 restaurants worldwide. It has helped 1.5 million people make reservations so far. The service is accessible via the company’s website or through its iOS app.
The company was founded in 2012 in Berlin by Philipp Magin, Ronny Lange, Tim-Hendrik Meyer, Sebastian Moser, and Daniel P. Glasner. It has about 180 employees.
INVESTMENT. Tencent invests $3.2 millions into the laundry service
China’s biggest internet company Tencent has announced an $3.2 million series A round of funding into an app-connected laundry service Edaixi.
The online service Edaixi currently gets about 1,000 orders per day, and plans to reach 10,000 per day within one year. Edaixi’s main service charges a flat US$16 rate per each of its custom laundry bags, whereas most of its competitors only charge per piece of clothing. It will also clean individual pieces of clothing, shoes, furniture, air conditioners, and handbags.
Edaixi’s WeChat service account app Submitting an order from Edaixi’s website, native app, or WeChat service account will dispatch a courier to come pick up the customer’s laundry and bring it back clean and fresh within 72 hours. Edaixi plans to create distribution units so a laundry courier can always pick up a customer’s laundry within 48 minutes.
Tencent’s investment will be used to expand Edaixi’s coverage area both in Beijing and additional cities.