VENTURE CAPITAL MARKET REVIEW ISSUE 14 (DECEMBER 1-7)
Interesting M&A deals, new funds – and preparations to Christmas: main results of the last week for venture capital market.
M&A. Intel Buys PasswordBox
Intel has made another acquisition to beef up its security division as it pushes to build more services and hardware beyond its core chip business. It has acquired PasswordBox, makers of digital identity management software. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
PasswordBox has to date had 14 million downloads of its software and all of its 48 employees are joining Intel Security, where they will be working as part of the company’s Safe Identity division.
Importantly, the tech is not disappearing, although it’s not clear longer-term what form all of it will take.
Today, PasswordBox functions like a personal information digital locker, holding not just passwords for sites but other details such as encrypted notes to yourself, membership and passport information, and more.
PasswordBox had raised $6 million from investors that include Canada’s Omers Ventures (a regular fixture for strong investments in Canadian startups), Lee Linden from Facebook and more.
M&A. AOL Acquires Video Syndication Startup Vidible
Recode broke the news shortly before the official announcement. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Recode says the price was around $50 million.
Vidible aims to help websites expand their video selection by running content from other publisher — they can either search through what’s available in the Vidible network or just include a tag that will automatically recommend relevant videos. The startup raised a $3.35 million Series A led by Greycroft (with participation from IDG Ventures) about a year ago.
AOL says the acquisition will expand the company’s content management tools and also plug into its new ad platform called ONE.
The company acquired another video syndication company, 5min, back in 2010, and it also bought video ad platform Adap.tv last year.
M&A. Microsoft Buys Email App Acompli For $200M
The two companies are officially confirming the news: Acompli team of around two dozen joining Microsoft as a part of a $200 million+ deal.
Acompli was backed by $7.3 million from Redpoint and others for its mobile email app designed for a professional user base who need better tools for managing email, calendaring and file sharing while on the go.
At Microsoft, Acompli will work within the Office 365 organization and will function as an independent group building out mobile email products for iOS and Android. Though the app already supported Microsoft Exchange email as well as Office 365 for file access, its integration within the larger organization will open itself to even more opportunities to tie the two businesses and their products together.
STARTUP. Berlin’s Online Games Marketing Platform Secures $9M Series A
Online games marketing platform Ad2games, which is disclosing a $9 million Series A round. Backers include HitFox Group — the ‘startup factory’ that acquired the company back in 2012 — and VC firm 3TS Capital Partners, along with members of the Ad2games management team.
The new capital will be used to invest in Ad2games’ “user acquisition and traffic monetisation platform” — which helps games advertisers find users and players that are deemed to be a good fit for their games — as well as for further expansion, including beefing up the startup’s engineering headcount.
In addition to Berlin, the company has offices in San Francisco and Seoul and is planning to use part of the investment to grow its presence in Sao Paulo and additional Asian markets.
Ad2games currently counts more than 150 games publishers as its clients, including Tencent, Gameforge and Goodgame Studios. Additionally, it claims 4,000-plus media partners such as Pro7Sat1, SevenGames and Jeux Video as part of its ad2games’ network.
STARTUP. Stripe Raises Another $70 Million
Ultra-hot payments startup Stripe has brought on $70 million in new funding that will double its valuation less than a year after its last raise. The round, which was first reported by the Financial Times, brings the total amount Stripe has raised to more than $200 million.
With the new financing, Thrive Capital joins Stripe’s list of investors, which also includes Sequoia, General Catalyst, Founders Fund, and Khosla Ventures. The company’s valuation has increased to $3.5 billion, which is up for $1.75 billion during its last round.
After its last raise, Stripe said it was focused on international growth. Since the company couldn’t be reached for comment, we’re assuming that’s still the case.
STARTUP. Yik Yak’s New Funding Round Confirmed $61M Investment
The one-year-old app, which is popular among U.S. colleges, has closed a $61 million Series B round. Yik Yak representatives confirmed that Sequoia Capital led the round, which included participation from previous investors including DCM and Vaizra Investments. The deal sees Sequoia’s Jim Goetz join the Atlanta-based startup’s board.
The filing indicates that Yik Yak closed $60.9 million of $62 million, which means that there is still just over $1 million ($1,086,637 to be precise) available in the round. The service currently covers around 1,300 colleges in the U.S.
It’s been a busy year of fundraising for the young company. Yik Yak raised $1.5 million in April and it quickly followed that up with a $10 million Series A round in June.
INVESTMENT. Formation 8 Closes Its $500 Million Second Fund
Formation 8, the investment firm founded by Joe Lonsdale, Brian Koo and Jim Kim, has closed its second fund, the company is announcing today. The new fund will give Formation 8 another $500 million to make investments in startups anywhere from seed- to late-stage, as it seeks to capitalize on some early successes.
The firm was founded in 2011, and has already proven the ability to pick a few winners in its first fund. Those include RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce for $390 million, and Oculus, which Facebook bought for $2 billion earlier this year.
It’s also made investments in companies like Wish, Radius, LearnSprout, Leeo, and most recently Yello Mobile.
INVESTMENT. SoftBank Invests $250M In GrabTaxi
Not content with leading a $627 million mega-round for Snapdeal and a $210 million raise for Ola as part of a $10 billion commitment to startups in India, Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has now turned its attention to Southeast Asia and sunk $250 million into GrabTaxi, Uber’s major rival in the region.
Neither party has confirmed what the deal values GrabTaxi at, but the company’s valuation is likely to exceed the $1 billion mark. The duo did confirm that SoftBank has become GrabTaxi’s largest investor.
GrabTaxi was founded in Malaysia in 2012, has over 500 staff and is live in 17 cities across six countries in Southeast Asia: Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia. Its core offering is a service that connects registered taxis with would-be passengers via its app — thus working with the existing industry rather than against it — but it also offers an Uber-like private car service and is trialling motorbike taxis in Vietnam.
INVESTMENT. London’s Mayor Launches $133M Fund For City’s Startups
A new venture capital fund for startups has been launched by the mayor of London, aiming to boost the city’s already burgeoning startup scene. The new London Co-Investment Fund will be supported by EUR25 million from the mayor’s office and up to EUR60 million from six private-sector partners, so EUR85 million or $133 million in total.
The money is coming in via the London Enterprise Panel’s ‘Growing Places Fund.’ The six private partners will be Wellington Partners (a major European VC), Playfair Capital (a Micro-VC), three business Angel syndicates (London Business Angels, Angel Lab and Firestartr) and the Crowdcube/ Braveheart Consortium (a consortium between an equity crowd funding platform and a fund manager). Originally, 38 venture capital funds, business angel Syndicates and investment platforms applied to be partners.
LCIF predicts that it will invest in over 150 companies over the next three years, equating to roughly 2,600 new jobs in the U.K. capital.
The new fund specifically targets small businesses in the areas of science, technology and “digital” looking to raise between EUR250,000 and EUR1m. According to the Fund’s own research that is the largest gap in the market for investment.