VENTURE CAPITAL MARKET REVIEW, ISSUE 15 (DECEMBER 8-14)
Last week startups became most active players on the venture investment market: except investment raising few companies announced merger and acquisition deals.
M&A. Trapit and Addvocate Are Merging
Two not-terribly-similar startups, Trapit and Addvocate, told they’re merging. Trapit CEO Gary Griffiths will now serve as CEO of the combined company, which has the unwieldy name Addvocate-Trapit. They put off coming up with a more streamlined name “until we’re fully integrated on the product side.” The rest of the management team comes primarily from Trapit.
The company is also announcing today that it has raised $10 million in Series B funding.
Trapit spun out from SRI International and it used artificial intelligence to gather topic-based content from around the web. It also allowed publishers to create customized, standalone versions of the Trapit experience.
As for Addvocate, it was building tools to help businesses coordinate how employees promote their companies on social media.
Bringing the companies together is about creating a combined platform for content marketing, which basically means connecting with consumers by producing and sharing content that’s actually good (or at least not just promotional).
M&A. Delivery Hero Invests In Korean Competitor
Delivery Hero, the Berlin-based takeout food delivery company, has made no secret of its appetite to scale up its business in Asia and elsewhere on the heels of its most recent $350 million funding round. Last week came the latest development in that strategy: the company has taken a “substantial” investment in Baedaltong, one of Korea’s biggest food ordering companies.
Niklas Östberg, Delivery Hero’s CEO, doesn’t tell the exact amount of the investment nor any other financial details, but it sounds like a big enough stake for Delivery Hero to claim some consolidation of the business alongside YoGiYo, its existing operation in Korea.
“Delivery Hero was previously the clear leader in online food ordering in Korea,” he says, noting that YoGiYo processes around 1 million orders per month. “With this deal we also become the largest restaurant platform for ‘click to call orders’. We are working on a lot of groundbreaking ideas to make the food ordering even better not only in Korea but globally.”
Nevertheless, the two will continue to be run separately because they have different business models — Baedaltong based around a button to click and call to order; and YoGiYo leaving it all to you clicking in the app or online to do the deed.
STARTUP. SnapCar Raised $2,5M And Pivots to B2B
French Uber competitor SnapCar just raised $2.5 million (€2 million) from business angels, such as former global CEO of American Express Travel Charles Petruccelli and Bertrand Mabille. While the company already has more than 200 corporate clients, it is focusing on B2B for good.
SnapCar works more or less the same way as competitiors, such as Chauffeur-Privé, LeCab and Uber, but doesn’t seem to have the same trajectory as these other companies. While everyone now has a central billing option for corporate clients, SnapCar is going all in on this route.
SnapCar is not only competing with these startups, but is also fighting against traditional taxi companies. It is now targeting the corporate clients that currently subscribe to expensive taxi plans. SnapCar provides a cheaper, more comfortable and more efficient experience.
This new funding round will probably help improve service quality by letting SnapCar recruit new drivers, and lure corporate clients away from taxi companies. It’s all about generating more rides as the company takes a cut on every ride.
STARTUP. TrackMaven Raised $14M For Developing Marketing Tools
Startup TrackMaven has raised $14 million in equity and debt for its service to help marketers make sense of customers’ online clicking. The Washington-based company raised $8 million in new financing from investors from returning investors New Enterprise Associates and Bowery Capital and $6 million in debt from Silicon Valley Bank.
TrackMaven provides marketers with ways to track marketing content published by a company’s competitors across any content channel.
So far, the company has 40 full-time employees and will use the additional capital to rapidly grow their product development, sales, marketing and customer success teams. The funding will also support new research and development initiatives.
Customers include Martha Stewart Living, NPR, the National Basketball Association (NBA), Marketo, CSC, and Eddie Bauer.
INVESTMENT. Samsung Ventures Invests $17M In Seeo
Seeo, California-based company that makes lithium-polymer batteries, has closed a $17M round led by new investor Samsung Ventures, the investment arm of Samsung Group. Existing investors Khosla Ventures and GSR Ventures also participated. This brings the total Seeo has raised so far to $40.6 million.
Seeo’s rechargeable lithium batteries are built using a proprietary non-flammable polymer electrolyte it calls “DryLyte,” which it claims is safer than traditional lithium-ion batteries. The company says that its batteries are smaller, but capable of maintaining the same performance regardless of outside conditions like temperature. Seeo is currently developing batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles; electric grids; telecom infrastructure like data centers; and consumer electronics.