Transmedia Capital Portfolio Company Newsle Raises $1.65M Series A
Newsle, the news discovery engine for the world’s most connected professionals, today announced that the company has raised $1.65 million in a Series A round of venture financing. The round was led by Advance Publications Inc., along with participation from Maveron, DFJ,Transmedia Capital and Launny Steffens, and previous investor Rockwell Schnabel. The company also announced that Whitney Shaw, president of American City Business Journals, has joined the board of directors.
Transmedia Capital Portfolio Company Socialized Acquired
From TechCrunch, By Sarah Perez
Palo Alto-based publisher platform ShareThis, the maker of those “social sharing” buttons scattered across the web, is today announcing having closed on $23 million in Series C financing, in a round led by T-Venture, the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom. Additionally, in another move signaling its intention to unify its platform across web and mobile, ShareThis has also acquired Socialize, a startup whose developer toolkit helps make any app social.
“We have a fairly large distribution of tools, so Socialize was partially about distribution in the app space, but it was primarily about finding a really strong team that hadmobile a little bit more in its DNA,” he explains. “They’re a great team; they’re based in San Francisco – culturally, everything was 100 percent.”
clypd Closes 3.2 Million in Series A Financing
All-Star Investment Team With Deep Expertise in Advertising, Digital Video and Media Backs Interactive Television and Video Ad Exchange
PRESS RELEASE, Marketwire
CAMBRIDGE, MA–(Marketwire – Mar 5, 2013) – clypd, the interactive television and video ad exchange, today announced it has closed a $3.2 million Series A investment round led by Scott Savitz of Data Point Capital and Ryan Moore of Atlas Venture. Additional venture capital investors include Freestyle Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners, Boston Seed Capital, and Transmedia Capital.
clypd was founded by Joshua Summers and Doug Hurd, two entrepreneurs and former PayPal Media Network executives who have a strong advertising technology pedigree and deep expertise in operations, product, business development and driving revenue growth. Summers and Hurd left PayPal Media Network just three months ago to bring an online and mobile advertising model to interactive television.
“We’re at a turning point in TV advertising where cable and satellite operators, television networks and video streaming services need to look beyond traditional linear advertising models to capture a piece of the exploding digital advertising market. Using proven advertising technologies in online and mobile, clypd helps bridge the gap between these two worlds and makes it a reality in television,” said Joshua Summers, Founder and CEO of clypd. “We are incredibly excited to see such strong support from the investment community and the substantial interest in this type of solution from our business partners.”
RapGenius Nominated for the Most Innovative Company in Music
From Fast Company: Most Innovative Companies 2013 February 10, 2013
For explicating the rap canon, then moving on to everything else. When they startedRap Genius in 2009, its founders just wanted to meet Cam’ron. Now their goal is to “explain everything,” says former lawyer Mahbod Moghadam, who set up the site with fellow Ivy Leaguers Tom Lehman, an engineer, and Ilan Zechory, a Google project manager. Rap Genius crowdsources annotations of rap lyrics–deciphering slang, unpacking references–creating a vast canon of industry knowledge. Last October, RapGenius scored a controversial, high-profile, and awesome investment of $15 million from Silicon Valley venture firm Andreesen Horowitz. It has since expanded its focus beyond the rap genre to explicate pop songs, legal decisions, even the Bible.
Transmedia Capital Portfolio Company Tello Acquired
From ReadWriteWeb: By Nick Statt December 4, 2012
In a move that enhances its mobile management toolkit, push notification service Urban Airship has acquired Tello, a Palo Alto-based company that helps businesses and app-makers create passes for Apple’s Passbook.
The move comes on the heels of Urban Airship’s purchase last year of mobile location service SimpleGeo. Urban Airship’s acquisition of Tello could potentially double its market given that it can now help businesses without apps create digital coupons, tickets and loyalty cards through Passbook.
Since its founding in 2009, Urban Airship, based in Portland, Ore., has specialized in offering high-quality push notifications and a slew of other services that come bundled with tiered plans. The company has raised more $20 million after three rounds of funding–including an injection from TrueVentures, which also invested in Tello–and earned it a list of impressive clients like Airbnb and ESPN.
With the acquisition of Tello and its PassTools product, Urban Airship is banking on the rise of the digital wallet and opening itself up to everyone from mom-and-pop shops wanting to offer local deals to big-name companies currently seeing poor results from age-old paper coupons.
Buddy Selected as One of the First Investments for Bing Fund
In addition to funding, Microsoft will provide Buddy with access to technology assets, data, and its global network of partners and customers.
SEATTLE, WA – August 9th, 2012 – The Buddy Platform (http://buddy.com) announced today that it was selected as one of the first investments for the recently launched angel fund and incubator program, Bing Fund. Teaming up with Bing Fund will enable Buddy to harness the global horsepower of Microsoft technology assets, technical expertise, and Bing APIs to bring an array of new data and tools to market.
With over 8,000 developers building applications across nearly every mobile OS and device type in the market, Buddy provides backend services for app developers to more easily build high volume, large scale applications on any connected device, running any operating system. Publishers of apps use Buddy to derive high fidelity demographic and geo-location based usage data. With access to Microsoft resources that Bing Fund will facilitate, Buddy will be able to offer developers on a variety of platforms unprecedented new scenarios and datasets, and will offer publishers additional metrics that will help them to understand the usage of their applications and better monetize their apps.
“We’re delighted to be able to transform such incredible support from Microsoft directly into Buddy customer value – across a very wide range of devices and scenarios,” said Buddy CEO, David McLauchlan. “As a direct result of support from Bing Fund, we will shortly introduce new product features that developers and publishers will be excited to leverage.”
Buddy was the first backend as a service (“BaaS”) to provide a native SDK for Windows® Phone and Windows 8. Although its support for developers building apps for some of the newest Microsoft products is exciting, Buddy’s ability to solve immediate challenges facing professional app developers across various platforms is one of the strengths that attracted Bing Fund.
“We’re really looking forward to working with Buddy,” said Rahul Sood, General Manager of Bing Fund. “They’re a cool bunch of people who make it super easy for developers to create unique mobile apps. We want to help them reach not just the next level, but beyond that. Interplanetary heights, if you will.”
Developers can learn more, create an account and start developing at http://buddy.com. To celebrate Buddy’s recent public launch, Buddy is offering free access to the Platform up to 2MM API calls per month, through August 31st, 2012.
AppGalleries + InMobi = #WINNING
From AppGalleries: July 18th, 2012
We are delighted to announce that we have signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by InMobi, the world’s largest independent mobile advertising company! The AppGalleries product will join InMobi’s growing product suite and moving forward MMTG Labs will be a wholly owned subsidiary of InMobi. Nalin and I started this company with a vision of disrupting app distribution, and we’re happy to say that this vision is stronger than ever by partnering with InMobi.
Thank You and Stay Tuned! Words can’t describe the amount of gratitude to every single person that has contributed to our story so far. We couldn’t be here without all of you playing your parts. From customers, developers, publishers, significant others, investors (all 23 of you, seriously we had a lot), friends, Blue Bottle Coffee, Taqueria Cancun in the Mission, to lenient landlords. You are all the reason for today’s celebration and tomorrow’s success at InMobi. THANK YOU!
InMobi Acquires MMTG Labs, The Startup Behind AppBistro And AppGalleries
From TechCrunch: By Colleen Taylor July 12, 2012
We’re hearing that mobile ad network InMobi has acquired MMTG Labs, a San Francisco startup that operates AppBistro, an application marketplace for Facebook pages, and AppGalleries, which is a white-label app store platform that is in use by the likes of Brit Media.
The financial terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed, but we’re told that both the founders and investors at MMTG Labs are “very happy.” The entire five-person team, led by co-founders Ryan Merket and Nalin Mittal, are joining InMobi as part of the acquisition.
MMTG first came on the scene back in May 2010 when it launched AppBistro at TechCrunch Disrupt. They went on to secure some $550,000 in funding in August 2010. The launch of AppGalleries (then called AppStores) occurred earlier this year, in January.
It was that new platform that most caught the attention of InMobi, people close to the deal tell us — and the AppGalleries technology will likely be adopted by InMobi and added to its suite of products.
InMobi, meanwhile, certainly has the paycheck to pay for acquisitions. The company claims to be the largest independent mobile ad network int he world, and it just raised $200 million in a Series C led by Softbank this past fall. Nearly a year ago, InMobi snapped up HTML5 ad builder Sprout for an undisclosed sum.
Social Fundraising Platform, Rally.org, Raises $7.9 Million to Rally the World
Raising Funds for Causes That Matter
PRESS RELEASE, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Jun 26, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Rally.org, the social fundraising platform that helps anyone with a cause raise money, share their story, and connect with supporters, today announced that it raised $7.9 million in Series A venture capital, online. The round was joined by Relay Ventures, Mike Maples of Floodgate Fund, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners, Kevin Rose of Google Ventures, Craig Shapiro of Collaborative Fund, and Angel investors: Michael Birch, Tim Ferriss, Eric Ries, Josh Spear, Scott Belsky, among others. Rally.org plans to use the money to continue hiring engineers and scale its technology platform.
Rally enables campaigns and causes to tell their unique stories and raise money fusing social fundraising and traditional direct appeals. Rally’s social fundraising platform has enabled 1.5 million problem solvers to rally around issues by sharing stories, collecting donations and spreading awareness through their social graph.
“Rally is a platform for people to raise funds for causes that matter,” said CEO and Co-founder, Tom Serres. “Whether it be Reverend Oliver White receiving donations from all over the world to save his Minnesota church from foreclosure or Alvaro Salas raising money in Costa Rica so he can attend Cornell University — we as a company are focused on empowering individuals and causes to solve problems and build awareness on a scale never before seen. I feel very fortunate that we were able to bring on investors who see this tech-empowered Cause Economy as a new way to create change.”
“As the founder of Bebo and the first angel investor in charity: water, we knew the Internet was a powerful mechanism for change that matters,” said Michael Birch. “This is why I built www.mycharitywater.org , and why I am also investing in Rally today. The Rally team understands these principles and are scaling this life improvement philosophy on a global basis.”
Rally’s easy to use storytelling interface allows tech savvy, and non-tech savvy people alike to broadcast solutions to problems vexing them or their community. Rally’s unique analytic tool set helps users improve their storytelling and fundraising. Rally has enabled cause owners and donors alike to share more than 20 million stories, harnessing the power of the narrative for the 21st century.
“Rally has been an incredible platform to help me raise $80,000 to attend Cornell University, and I only have $38,000 left to go!” said Alvaro Salas. “Rally has enabled me to improve my future beyond imagination, but more importantly when I graduate from Cornell, I will be a trained leader, with the opportunity to improve the lives of my fellow Costa Ricans.”
Other investors committed to helping Rally lead this movement include Mark Kingdon, Naval Ravikant from AngelPool, Arial Poler, Habib Haddad, Tom Steyer, Tom Brown, Ephraim Luft, Ross Garber, Peter Boboff, Aaron Dignan, Seth Berman and Vianovo Ventures.
SCVNGR finds $12million more to support LevelUp Application
By Scott Kirsner, Globe Columnist
SCVNGR, the Boston company that originally set out to develop mobile games that could be played in the real world, has raised another $12 million from investors. But the money will go to support a newer SCVNGR product that seems to be building more momentum: the company’s LevelUp mobile payment offering. It lets you pay for retail transactions simply by showing the screen of your mobile phone, and it allows merchants to offer a discount — like $2 off your first purchase — to lure you in, as well as continuing rewards for long-term loyalty. (I wrote about LevelUp back in March.)
The company says that 3,000 merchants in eight cities now accept LevelUp as a form of payment. Users are spending about $2 million monthly with the app. The new funding will enable the company to roll out LevelUp in more cities, the company says.
SCVNGR has now raised about $32 million in total. The new round includes prior investors like Google Ventures and Highland Capital Partners, but also new participants like Transmedia Capital and Continental Investors. The company’s press release indicates that the $12 million is part of a larger round the company is raising, and CEO Seth Priebatsch told me it will also include some corporate backers.
People Search Engine Ark Raises Biggest Y Combinator Seed Round Ever
People search start-up Ark.com has led a bit of a charmed existence. Part of Y Combinator’s winter class, it debuted to the public shortly after YC leader Paul Graham posted an essay about “frighteningly ambitious ideas” — with No. 1 on the list “a new search engine.”
At Y Combinator’s Demo Day a short Ark pitch delivered in the midst of 64 other start-up presentations got the company commitments for $2 million in funding in a single day. And more than 250,000 people have signed up for Ark beta invites.
Less than a month after Demo Day, Ark now tells me it has raised a $4.2 million seed round from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Charles River Ventures, Greylock Partners, Intel Capital, SV Angel, Atlas Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Expansion Venture Capital, Felicis Ventures, Lightbank, Salesforce, Tencent, Transmedia Capital and a bunch of individual angel investors.
That’s the largest seed round ever raised by a Y Combinator company. It benchmarks Ark as a clear frontrunner in the most recent batch of the program’s closely watched start-ups. (Though to be fair, I’ve heard other top companies in the winter class are also cleaning up.)
Ark is almost too good to be true — a search engine that combines public and personalized search for people. It promises to transcend the current stalemate in social search between Google, Twitter and Facebook.
And it actually is too good to be true — right now Ark is basically a simple interface to sort Facebook profiles by current city, gender, school, work, interests and other categories. Only 15,000 people have gotten beta access as Ark has already fully maxed out its Amazon Web Services account by searching their networks and public data.
Ark co-founder and CEO Patrick Riley
But Ark CEO Patrick Riley, who was previously working on his PhD UC Berkeley’s School of Information, is clear about his ambition. “Google seems so out of touch without the rest of us,” he told me last week. “They’ve lost their neutrality.”
The rift between Google and Facebook leaves social search dramatically underdeveloped, Riley said (and it’s a point I’ve argued as well).
“Politics have left open this enormous opportunity,” is how Riley put it.
Part of what’s hard about social search is that Facebook prohibits outside crawlers. But Riley said he’s confident that he can get Facebook data, because he’s gotten advice from Facebook CTO Bret Taylor and worked with Facebook’s legal team to make sure everything’s kosher.
So why should anyone care about “people search”? Beyond the age-old attraction of researching and stalking people, Riley described Ark as an automated “About.me of everyone,” that collates various social profiles.
Riley also said Ark is planning to beef up its social discovery tools, so users can find new activity and interest partners inside and outside their networks. There will also eventually be an Ark equivalent of Google AdWords, where users can pay to promote themselves, he said.
Riley wants to develop a reputation and validation tool that fingerprints a person by comparing their social graphs on different networks. Because many sites and apps improve with a better sense of who is using them, he plans to provide social data plug-ins to other companies.
After being founded just last summer and coming into focus during the three-month YC program, Ark already has a team of 16 employees, including co-founder Yiming Liu, also from Berkeley’s iSchool. And now it has a bunch of money to hire more.
Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.
Omniture founder lands another $20 million for Domo
Just a few months after lining up $33 million in funding for his enterprise-software start-up Domo, Omniture founder Josh James has raised another $20 million, this time from Institutional Venture Partners.
“This is a pretty straightforward investment thesis,” said IVP general partner Todd Chaffee. “It’s called Josh James.” Chaffee invested in web-analytics business Omniture, which James sold to Adobe Systems for $1.8 billion in 2009, so he is familiar with James’s drive.
James’s new company, Domo, offers business analytics that can handle large amounts of data across different types of platforms. He’s selling it as a service, meaning companies can skip hefty up-front licensing fees in favor of pay-as-you go plans.
Although Domo is landing cash at a clip that brings to mind consumer-Internet plays, it likely won’t ramp as quickly as many companies in that sector, said Chaffee. “This is an enterprise business,” he said. “Over a five or ten-year timeframe it’s going to grow to a very significant businesss.”
IVP’s investment in Lindon, Utah-based Domo came as add-on to the existing Series A funding rather than as part of a new, pricier round. Existing investors include Benchmark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and SV Angel. Read more…
Scripps Networks Interactive acquires RealGravity Inc.
There are a number of startup accelerator and incubator programs in the United States. We are fans of these programs (not to be confused with pure co-working spaces) as they offer entrepreneurs a way to spend a few months laser focused on a single idea. Through the accelerator or incubator they receive mentoring, guidance and a small amount of funding in return for a small stake in the company. With all the startup accelerator programs popping up across the country we were curious to find out which programs would offer the biggest bang for the time, money and effort spent in the program.
As a part of his field work for the Kauffman FellowsProgram, Aziz Gilani from DFJ Mercury, working in partnership with Tech Cocktail and the Kellogg School of Management, set out to determine the best startup accelerator programs in America and rank them. Assisting in the evaluation effort were Professor Yael Hochberg and MBA Candidate Kelly Quann from Northwestern University. Together there were numerous interviews with VC’s, Angels, and program graduates performed and then the data was aggregated. This is the first high-level published report of the findings – Aziz Gilani will be sharing a more detailed look at the findings in July, so stay tuned.
First, a list of startup accelerator programs across the country was compiled. To be part of the report, the programs had to meet a certain criteria. The programs were then ranked using a methodology that was created by the team, made up of three basic components. It weighed 25 percent by qualified financing events (i.e. companies that got funded after completing the program), 50 percent by the success of the companies that came out of an accelerator and finally 25 percent on accelerator program characteristics (i.e. money startups receive, equity accelerator takes, with a bonus for the size of the alumni base). Each accelerator was put through this methodology and then the rankings were generated. Additionally, these rankings were supplemented by interviews with classic VC’s, investors and past accelerator participants to better understand the perception and reputation of the various accelerator programs in the industry.
The Top Fifteen
After compiling that list, we were able to determine the following rankings for the top 15 startup accelerator programs in the United States. TechStars Boulder narrowly edged out Y Combinator for the top spot, so I’d say that if you are looking to jump into an accelerator program, take a look at these two first. We found this interesting because the two programs are very different when it comes to their approaches. TechStars takes a very hands-on approach giving founders a lot of guidance and mentorship, while according to some participants, Y Combinator has a more loose structure offering startup founders access to their strong Silicon Valley mentorship network and full-time advisors. Coming in very close in third and fourth place in the rankings respectively were Excelerate Labs in Chicago only in it’s second year of operation and LaunchBox Digital in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina (formerly based in Washington, D.C.). Taking a solid fifth place was another TechStars program, this time in Boston where there has been a resurgence of tech startup activity. Taking the sixth, seventh and eighth spots in the rankings were KickLabs in San Francisco, TechStars Seattle andTech Wildcatters based in Dallas, Texas. Dreamit Ventures and The Brandery rounded out the top ten. Ranked 11 through 15 were Capital Factory, NYC SeedStart, BetaSpring, BoomStartup and AlphaLab in that order. Considered but not ranked: I/O Ventures, LaunchHouse, JumpStart Foundry, Momentum, Shotput Ventures, NextStart, Extreme Venture Partners University. The full ranked list of the top 15 seed accelerator programs is listed below.
Festival of Media
Outreach Initiative To Find Next Generation Media Businesses –
A brand new initiative launches today, in a bid to find the most exciting new media businesses in the world. The Media Accelerator Program (MAP) is launched by the Festival of Media Global and will be reaching out to the global community of media innovators to find those new companies who are set to most impact the sector in the coming years. Entries are expected from companies spanning ad networks, social platforms and mobile app developers. Those companies who enter prior to the 18th March deadline will compete for one of ten speaking slots at the Festival and for the overall title of Festival of Media Global ‘Hot Company Of The Year’. Confirmed judges for the initiative include Bernhard Glock, former President of the World Federation of Advertisers, Chris Redlitz, General Partner of Transmedia Capital, the leading digital VC, Tim Hanlon, CEO of Mediabrands’ partnership and investment arm Velociter and Russell Buckley, AdMob Evangelist for Google and Global Chairman Emeritus of the Mobile Marketing Association. The new MAP initiative is the only way for early stage media and marketing companies to guarantee reaching them and up to 32,000 media professionals globally, who are the ultimate purchasers of their services.” MAP will be hosted at the Festival of Media Global 2011, which takes place in Montreux between 8-10 May. Now in its fifth year the Festival brings together thought leaders from the international media & marketing industries to explore media and communications developments that are transforming the industry. http://www.festivalofmedia.com/global/map
The Small Business Administration (SBA) will commit $2 billion as a match to private sector investment over the next five years in promising high-growth companies. Using existing authority, with no new cost to taxpayers, and through the operating infrastructure of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program, SBA-guaranteed bonds will match private capital raised by these privately-owned and managed investment funds and will focus on growth companies in underserved communities and those in the so-called “valley of death” in the innovation lifecycle. View Entire Article
Chris Redlitz, a partner at TransMedia Capital, the VC firm behind Kicklabs, said its theme is online media – advertising, marketing, social media. “We’ve seen a proliferation in tech recently,” he said. “There is a lot of appetite for working in an open, collaborative environment.” Kicklabs will provide benefits both tangible and intangible, he said. “Obviously if we have a vested interest in these companies, we will do whatever we can to help them grow,” he said. Besides taking a single-digit equity piece of companies, TransMedia is setting up a fund to invest capital in them, he said. View Entire Article
San Francisco entrepreneur Brian Wong has already hired two employees and secured $300,000 in funding for his start-up, and hopes to have a staff of 40 or more full-time workers by this time next year. But there’s at least one red flag in his business plan: Mr. Wong isn’t American; he’s Canadian. As such, his long-term immigration status is up in the air. That kind of uncertainty can spook investors and clients alike, says Mr. Wong, whose start-up, called Kiip, aims to develop a new mobile game advertising platform. “It’s already hard enough to raise funds and this is an added risk,” Mr. Wong says of his temporary visa status. View Entire Article