10 December 2014 at 13:54



Advent lull continues on the venture capirtal market. Current transactions are finishing, biggest players are still buying startups for their ecosystem and are looking for new startups to buy.

Google Acquired RelativeWave To Make Its Software Free
Google corporation acquired RelativeWave firm, creators of an $80 “interaction design and prototyping” Mac app called Form. Form is a visual editor meant to help designers/developers make visually-functional prototypes of apps without writing code.

Form is actually two apps: one that runs on OS X, and one that runs on an iOS device. At launch, Form was $150. In September of this year, they dropped the price down to $80. With news of the team joining Google, however, Form goes free.
Details of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. RelativeWave says they’ll continue to work on Form at Google — presumably working on an Android version, as Form is currently iOS only.

M&A. Yahoo Acquired Mesaging Photo-App Developer Cooliris
Photo app-maker Cooliris announced on its site that it has been acquired by Yahoo.

Cooliris was founded back in 2006 and was initially known for creating a “3D wall” for navigating photos and other media content. It also created a platform for mobile ads called Adjitsu, which it sold to Singtel in 2012.

More recently, the company shifted focus to a mobile app (also called Cooliris and with an interface reminiscent of the old 3D wall) that allowed users to browse photos from across services like Facebook, Flickr, and Dropbox. The team told me last year that it was seeing particularly rapid growth in Asia thanks to partnerships with companies like Renren, Yandex, and Baidu.

This summer, Cooliris also launched a photo messaging app called BeamIt.

INVESTMENT. Rocket Internet Plans To Develop Actively
German e-commerce investor Rocket Internet is set to expand rapidly in the next year, the company announced.

Rocket Internet will launch “at least ten new startups in 2015,” CEO Oliver Samwer said in an earnings statement for the first-half of the year. So far, Rocket Internet, which aims to build online companies that can provide services to “underserved” markets, has launched seven startups this year and plans to get three more off the ground by the end of the year.

Looking ahead, Rocket Internet said travel-focused Internet companies will be a major point of focus as it looks to expand its portfolio. Rocket believes that the growing middle class in emerging markets will allow for “a significant growth opportunity.”

INVESTMENT. Chivas Regal Launches Social Entrepreneur Global Search
Chivas Regal has launched The Venture – a global search for the ‘most promising’ social entrepreneurs.

The Venture is an international fund providing social entrepreneurs with $1m financial assistance, support from a ‘world-famous business mentor’ and global exposure for their company or idea.

Up to 20 finalists will be invited to a week-long training camp in Silicon Valley, California to meet leading technology companies, receive mentoring by experts and pitch for a portion of the $1m funding.

STARTUP. Household Chores Startup Alfred Received $2M
Startup Alfred has closed a $2 million seed round led by Spark Capital, with participation from SV Angel and CrunchFund.

Here how Alfred works: users are invited to join the service, and initially go through a relatively painless little quiz. With the questions, Alfred learns as much as it can about you. Do you like crunchy peanut butter? They need to know.
Once Alfred has basic information about you, they’ll assign you an Alfred. This is a pretty important relationship, given that your Alfred will enter your home twice a week and care for you and your home like a mother does for a child. That said, Alfred offers the opportunity to meet the Alfred, or at the very least, hop on the phone to discuss the details of your specific home.

From there, you can arrange to give a copy of your keys to your new Alfred, or use the app to scan your key and remotely offer a copy to your Alfred helper.

After that, all that’s left is picking a good schedule. Alfred comes once a week on a set day and time, and then again two days later. Your Alfred will pick up your dirty laundry, drop off purchased groceries, unwrap your delivered packages and put away the contents, and tidy up the house. The service handles the basics like grocery, laundry, and home cleaning, but also offers things like tailoring, shoe repair, and prescription pick-up.

STARTUP. Startup For Used Cars’ Sale Has Raised $24M
Shift, a Silicon Valley startup, announced it raised $23.8 million.

The company’s app lets users list their cars and sends a so-called “car enthusiast” to their homes to detail the vehicle, take professional photos and estimate its market value.

Once your vehicle is listed, the enthusiast schedules test drives and brings the car to prospective buyers for you. They can even help buyers arrange financing, if needed. And after a buyer and seller agree to terms, Shift handles all of the transfer paperwork with the DMV.

Shift says its car enthusiasts are paid on customer service, not commission, to incentive them to find the right car at the best price Shift says its car enthusiasts are paid on customer service, not commission, to incentive them to find the right car at the best price.

However, the company’s model attracted early-stage funding from big venture firms DFJ and Highland Capital Partners as well as from Google Maps co-creator Lars Rasmussen, Square founder Jim McKelvey and Shazam founder Chris Barton, among others.

STARTUP. Investors Are Interested In Users Data Protection
LogDog, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based provider of an anti-hacking service that empowers smartphone users to take back control from hackers, launched with an undisclosed amount of funding.

Backers included Maxfield Capital, Curious Minds Investments and The Time VC.

The company is using the funds for development of its security technology.

Led by Uri Brison, CEO and Founder, LogDog has just announced the public launch of its Android app, which is part of a service that protects users’ private online information by immediately sending an alert at the first sign of suspicious activity. It actively monitors activity across multiple accounts, including Google and Yahoo! services, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, and more to come.

LogDog is currently available to download in the Google Play store for free and will be launching for iOS in the upcoming months.

STARTUP. Startup Ecois.me With Ukrainian Team Has Raised $100 000 from T-Venture
Krakow-based Ecois.me, a provider of hardware and software for energy saving, has snagged $100,000 in seed investment from T-Venture, an innovation fund of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.

Ecois.me plans to sell specially designed sensors to customers who keep track of their household power consumption, upload the data on this sensor to a website, and then a mobile app gives tips on how to save energy, recognizing the most energy-inefficient devices and finding ways to optimize the usage of various devices during energy consumption peaks.

Users will see their Ecois.me profiles on their utility provider’s website as if it’s the provider’s offer.

The project is still in its development stage, however. The hardware part of the product is also being tested and there is no user-friendly app yet.

STARTUP. Flywheel Has Raised $12M To Fight With Uber
Flywheel, the app-enabled cab hailing startup and Uber rival, announced Thursday that it had raised $12 million in Series C funding.

The company, which first launched in 2010 under the name Cabulous, connects users with taxis in California, Washington, Florida and Oklahoma via the Flywheel app. The functionality is similar to that of Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing services: All payments are handled within the app and users are able to rate the drivers at the end of a ride.