01 September 2014 at 11:50



Summer end is not a hot time on a venture capital market: players summarize the season and prepare themselves for the high season, lasting from Sept.1 till the very Christmas.

Big players (this week — Google and Amazon) continue improving and widening their ecosystems, among smaller companies and startups the most popular are employment projects — two of them became news-makers of the former week.


M&A. Google Acquired Zync
Google Inc. has acquired video and special-effects startup Zync Inc. as the Internet giant steps up competition against Amazon’s cloud-computing business. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Zync offers video and special-effects rendering that has been used in movies including “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Transformers-4″.

Moving Zync’s service to Google’s cloud service would force Zync’s Hollywood clients to switch to Google from Amazon.

In May, Google acquired cloud monitoring service Stackdriver but allowed Stackdriver customers to use competing cloud platforms, including Amazon’s.

Zync said on its website that joining Google’s Cloud Platform would help the startup offer better pricing, such as charging studios by the minute, rather than by the hour.


M&A. Amazon Acquired Twitch
Last week brought to us a new billion-dollar buyout in tech: Amazon purchased the video game streaming service Twitch. Exact price is $970 mln.

Twitch is a company that lets you watch video gaming as a spectator sport — it live-streams gamers gaming and allows viewers to interact during the games, to enormous success.

Twitch now boasts 55 million monthly active users, a count that’s only growing. A recent graph of the peak Internet traffic in the U.S. puts Twitch ahead of Hulu, Valve and Amazon, behind just Netflix, Google and Apple.

Advertising dollars will be an obvious revenue source. Research firm eMarketer estimates digital video advertising in the U.S. will reach $5.96 billion this year, up more than 40 percent from 2013.


M&A. Tastebuds Firm Acquired Music-based Dating Service Moosify
Tastebuds.fm, the app that matches people based on their musical tastes, has found a match of its own. The London-based startup is acquiring U.S. competitor moosify, a mobile-first “social dating” app that also connects people around music. Terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Tastebuds co-founder Alex Parish tells the acquisition will consist of moosify’s brand, technology and userbase, with the plan being to transition moosify users across to the Tastebuds platform “in the coming days”.

Graduating from accelerator Springboard (now Techstars London), Tastebuds launched back in 2011 as a dating site focused on music as a way of matching prospective dates, gaining a reputation for its ability to reach users who wouldn’t normally consider doing the online dating thing.

Since then, however, it’s repositioned ever so slightly, going beyond online dating and can now be thought of as a competitor to other friend matching services like Badoo, in addition to the usual online dating suspects. More recently the startup (finally) launched a well-received app for iOS, adding to its existing web and Spotify apps.

In contrast, Palo Alto-based moosify — backed by various angels, including Talenthouse CEO Roman Scharf, along with ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, the leading German TV network — launched a year later than Tastebuds with a mobile-first approach that saw it support iOS and Android, sans web app.

It scans your phone’s music library as the basis for building a music-focused profile and lets you ping other users with similar musical tastes. In addition, like Tastebuds, moosify also supports Spotify with an app for the music streaming service.


M&A. Amris Company Acquired Zao Platform
L.A.-based Zao, the social recruitment platform that lets employees and a company’s wider network get rewarded for making job referrals, has been bought by UK e-recruitment company Amris.

Terms of the deal remain undisclosed, it looks like Amris is acquiring the full Zao product and technology, while only part of the Zao team will be staying on. Meanwhile, founder and former CEO, Ziv Eliraz, will be sticking around to the extent of joining the company’s advisory board.

Founded in late 2011, Zao aims to solve the problem in which the main source for company hires — referrals — are often managed in a very manual way, whereby someone from the HR department sends an email to all staff describing a job opening and staff are left to figure out how to leverage their networks to find and attract suitable candidates to apply.

Instead, Zao’s platform provides a step-by-step and gamified process that automatically matches job descriptions with suitable Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to make it easier for employees (and ex-employees) to become recruiters, along with other trusted partners. It also tracks these social referrals so that should they lead to a successful hire, the referrer gets a kick-back.


STARTUP. ZipRecruiter startup gas raised $63 mln
Online job listing service ZipRecruiter said it raised $63 million from a group of venture capital firms, led by Institutional Venture Partners.

The four-year old company said it will use the funds to develop products and on marketing and buyouts.

The funding, ZipRecruiter’s first, included Basepoint and Industry Ventures.

ZipRecruiter’s services allow businesses to post vacancies on 50 job boards, review applicants in a single list and search for resumes. Job seekers use its services to get relevant openings through emails and alerts.

The Santa Monica, California-based company said it registers over 30,000 employers per month, is “consistently profitable” and is on track to more than double its revenue.


STARTUP. Wizeline startup has raised $6,7 mln
Wizeline, a product management startup, secured a new $6.7 million round of funding, according to an SEC document filed today.

Wizeline helps software companies determine which features in a particular product are most important — and which they should invest in next. The purpose of Wizeline’s platform is to make sure product management teams aren’t wasting time and resources on features that no one cares about while prioritizing those that are important.

The cofounder is Bismarck Lepe, who previously founded enterprise-level video platform Ooyala. A good number of former Ooyala workers are also now at Wizeline, including Matthew Pasienski, and Vidal Gonzalez.
We’re reaching out to Wizeline for more information about how it plans to use the additional capital as well as other details about the funding round.


STARTUP. Educational startup Pluralsight has raised $135 mln
$135 million to Farmington, UT-based Pluralsight in a Series B round led by Insight Venture Partners, who previously funded the company with $27.5 million in January 2013. ICONIQ Capital and Sorenson Capital also contributed. Pluralsight has now raised $165 million and claims to be valued at nearly $1 billion.

Founded in 2004, the company offers a library of over 3,000 courses, the majority of which focus on specific technology and coding skills. Users pay $29 per month; companies can purchase an annual license at $300 per seat. Over the past year, the company has spent over $70 million acquiring other companies such as PeepCode, Tekpub, TrainSignal and Digital Tutors.


STARTUP. Medicak startup AirStrip has raised $25 mln
AirStrip is perhaps the best known mobile platform used by doctors and others in clinical settings. Emergency medical responders, ER doctors, hospital doctors and nurses, clinicians, outpatient caregivers, and skilled nursing facility personnel use the service.

AirStrip has raised a new $25 million funding round led by the Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund, Sequoia Capital, and Wellcome Trust.

AirStrip says it’ll use the new money to expand into the home health space, market its product overseas, and to accelerate integration with analytics engines.

San Antonio, Texas-based AirStrip has also taken investment money from Dignity Health, St. Joseph Health, The Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund, and Leerink Partners.