Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Platial and Eons get funded

March 6, 2007

Platial: Media on a map startup Platial has raised $2.4 million in its Series A round of funding. The funding round was participated by KeyNote Ventures. Platial’s existing investors includes Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Omidyar Network, Ram Shriram, Ron Conway among others.

Platial enables users to put their photos, video, feeds, stories, neighborhoods, travels all onto a Google Map. With thousands of users mapping out these details, out comes the public atlas which is very much live and dynamic. Even if you are not uploading media, you can use Platial to search for points of interest around your location. As part of its future plans, Platial will be launching update to its mapping application MapKit and also announcing series of partnerships.

Geojoey is another startup that maps your travel experiences in an interesting way.

Platial

Eons: Social network for baby boomers closed a big round of funding today. Eons raised $22 million as part of its Series B round of funding led by Charles River Ventures. Intel Capital, Humana, General Catalyst Partners and Sequoia Capital as participated in the investment round.

Among other features, Eons cRANKy search engine delivers results relevant to boomers. Eons management claims that the company will be cash flow positive by 2008, which is very much possible since they are targeting a very lucrative segment of the market.

Advertisements

MojoPac – windows on USB enabler – gets funded

March 6, 2007

RingCube, parent company of MojoPac, has secured $12 million as part of its Series B round of funding. Mohr Davidow Ventures and first-round investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA) participated in the funding round. RingCube had earlier received $4 million in Series A round of funding in September 2006.

MojoPac’s smart widows virtualization solution is a great fit for highly mobile users who want to access their customized set of applications from anywhere anytime. MojoPac turns any USB storage device(USB drive or iPod) into a virtual personal computer that can run most of the windows based applications including Microsoft Office, IM clients, iTunes…… Getting applications on to MojoPac is similar to installing applications on your local PC. Just run the installer and you are good to go. You can take this MojoPac USB device to any machine to load your familiar set of applications. While accessing each of these installed applications all the data gets stored onto your MojoPac device instead of the local PC making you truly mobile.

But I am one of those people who usually forget to carry along their USB drive. I remember installing MojoPac when it was just launched around DEMOFall and was really impressed with the whole setup. Next day I forgot to take my SanDisk drive along with me. So much for virtualization on my end.

Links:
MojoPac
RingCube

Breaking: Clearspring gets another $5.5 million

March 5, 2007

Widget world keeps booming. This time the big news comes from Clearspring Technologies, the widget syndication and distribution platform. Clearspring has received $5.5-million as part of its Series B round of funding. The round was led by existing investors Phil Bronner of Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Miles Gilburne of ZG Ventures. AOL founders Steve Case, Mark Jung, and Ted Leonsis also participated in the investment round. Jung, who previously served as COO of Fox Interactive, becomes Clearspring’s new chairman of the board. Clearspring has earlier received $2 million in April 2006.

Clearspring is part of my earlier list of 8 startups to watch-out for in 2007. Late last year I had a talk+Demo session with Hooman Radfar, founder of Clearspring. The end-end solution takes widgets from providers like RockYou and delivers them to social networking platforms like MySpace. Clearspring platform also includes range of analytic capabilities to measure the viral impact of widgets, a much need missing metric in the widget foodchain.

 

Quantcast funded?

March 1, 2007

This news has been floating around for a while, but I wanted to wait before getting a confirmation on the amount raised. Initial news was that Quantcast has raised funding from The Founders Fund and Revolution Ventures. Looking at the Founders Fund and Revolution Ventures websites there is no mention of Quantcast. However a quick search and peek through the reveal all Google cache page for Revolution Ventures tells a different story. Quantcast name and description were present till recently on the site but now stand removed. From the communication I received from Quantcast they are denying any did not confirm the funding round. Not sure what is going on out there.

Funding or no funding we can always talk about the startup itself. Couple of weeks back I had a talk with Quantcast CEO Konrad Feldman who gave insights into Quantcast’s vision. Konrad, who has previous experience in building enterprise grade applications, had co-founded Searchspace which is a financial fraud detection and response software. Looking to apply that analytics experience elsewhere, Konrad and his team got together to work on building a second front to commercial Internet traffic estimation and analytic service providers like comScore and Hitwise, and also freebies Alexa, and Compete. To do get their hands on real data, Quantcast has put forward a simple plan.  Instead of working out deals with ISPs to measure traffic and than running extrapolation, Quantcast gives a widget code to publishers to include on all their pages. After that Quantcast starts tracking number of users hitting your site and presenting quite a few interesting demographic and siteographic analysis for the site. If a large publisher doesn’t want to give out its traffic details Quantcast falls back to the panel based approach, which can lead to inaccurate estimates(that can indirectly force publishers to include the widget). Quantcast started collecting  mass data earlier in January and right now they are raking in 1 TB data everyday. This makes Quantcast  a good target for advertisers to run analysis on, which was the real plan to start with. Quantcast’s long  term goal is to make it easy for advertisers to find highly targeted sites to run their campaigns on. 

In my PoV Quantcast idea and implementation is great but does need to work on its user tracking algo(so does FeedBurner) since results for atleast my blog are way off. Either way it is good to know that Quantcast is getting the attention of big name publishers including WordPress.com, and Techdirt.com.

Enough digression. Anyone any tips on Quantcast’s funding?

Update: Title of the post has been updated

Links:
Quantcast

Videosharing site Fliqz closes another funding round

February 28, 2007

Fliqz, the social video sharing site has raised $2.5 million in Series B round of funding, according to PEHub. Mohr, and Davidow Ventures participated in the investment. Last year Fliqz had raised $1 million in its Series A round. Fliqz, which has a pretty basic design claims to be focused on being longer media storage platform. Their plans aside, I am not able to play videos on Firefox. On whole can’t see where exactly Fliqz is headed a very tight market.

Links:
Fliqz

Key UMA innovator Kineto raises more funds

February 28, 2007

Fixed mobile convergence rally continues to gain momentum even when we have yet to come across large scale successful deployment stories. Yesterday Milpitas, CA based Kineto Wireless announced that it has raised $10 million in Series C round of funding. The funding round was led by  InterDigital with an investment of $5 million, and also participated by Kineto’s existing investors including Sutter Hill Ventures, Venrock Associates, 3i, Oak Investment Partners, SeaPoint Ventures and Storm Ventures. Kineto is one of the key innovators of UMA(Unlicensed Mobile Access) technology that enables call handover between WiFi and wireless operator network on a dual-mode handset.

We also have Seattle-based Sotto Wireless looking to take FMG over to SMBs. Selling any new technology to SMBs is tough ’cause of the obvious lack of resources for implementing and maintaining new systems. Anyway, Sotto will be providing both hardware and software piece to enable the VoIP part. Right now they are testing out their product on Nokia’s dual-mode handset E61 and also looking into some Linksys options. Biggest part that will hold back Sotto uptake is that it has yet to implement hand-off of voice calls between cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Still Sotto is proceeding ahead with implementing its plan while also working towards round 2 of venture funding. Sotto had earlier raised $8 million in funding from venture capital firms Ignition Partners and Vantage Point Venture Partners.

Last month I had written about Mountain View based Nuvoiz showcasing its enterprise targeted softphone at DEMO. Simens and DiVitas Networks are couple of other companies competing in this space. All said and done, one of the biggest challenge each of these service providers will face is as they go alone is that nothing stops major wireless carriers from implementing these solutions. With Deutsche Telekom and its subsidiary T-Mobile, BT, Orange already offering consumer facing WiFi-wireless call switching plans, I am not about the strategy for these upstarts. Basic idea of going for the lower price path would again be a loosers game for everyone. However working as technology partners for carriers, just like Kineto, beyond US should prove to be more effective.

Outside.in – Local news aggregator gets funded

February 27, 2007

Union Square Ventures has invested in a 6 month old startup, Outside.in, a localized media content aggregation startup. Outside.in received $900K as part of the investment. Other investors who participated in the funding round includes Marc Andreessen, John Seely Brown, Esther Dyson, Village Ventures(firm of Tripod founder Bo Peabody), Milestone Venture Partners, and angel investors George Crowley, John Borthwick, and Richard Smith. Pretty long list, huh? As for the founding team of Outside.in, it includes Steven Berlin Johnson, co-creator online magazine FEED and the Webby-Award-winning community site, Plastic.com, and John Geraci who previously worked on Neighbornode, Pheeder and Foundcity.

Idea of Outside.in is to aggregate blogosphere and other media content around your neighborhoods. As an initial push in this direction, Outside.in launched their service today in 63 cities, and 3217 neighborhoods in the U.S. As a user you can bring in stories to Outside.in and associate them with a area. Or as a blog publisher, you can use the FeedBurner “geotag this post” flare to easily get the post tagged, which will than show the number of posts tagged for that location. From a reader perspective you can enter your city, neighborhood, or zip code to start exploring your local community

Craigslist and Topix Forums are some of the sites which has done exceedingly well in fostering localized discussions. But automation of this task to get content from blogosphere is a great idea. Issues can still arise from the incorrect geo-content associations, spam blogs rolling up geo-tagged pharma ads into Outside.in, and more of such types. Would be interesting to watch how Outside.in deals with the challenges of dynamic and expanding world of blogs.

Links:
Outside.in

Carl Icahn pumps $50 million in Motricity

February 27, 2007

Corporate raider Carl Icahn has invested $50 million in equity funding in Motricity. Till date the 4 year old company had raised $150 million in venture funding from investors including NEA, Technology Crossover Ventures, Noro-Moseley Partners, Intel Capital and Advanced Equities. As part of the financing deal, Carl Icahn’s son Brett Icahn will join Motricity’s board of directors. Motricity’s carrier-grade platform enables content providers to deliver mobile content including ringtones, games and graphics downloads. Motricity’s current customers include six of the top 10 carriers in North America which includes Cingular, Alltel, Sprint. On the content side, Motricity works with MTV, BET, NBC, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Turner, more. Last year Motricity had acquired GoldPocket Wireless that has given the company a solid footing in the mobile marketing domain.

Links:
Motricity

Thinkpassenger gets $2.5 million; More branded communities

February 26, 2007

ThinkPassenger is the latest startup to  the growing list of companies looking to provide platform establishing insightful customer and brand relationship. ThinkPassenger based out of Lost Angeles was founded in 2005 by Andrew Leary . The startup has till date raised $2.5 million in funding from Shelter Capital Partners.

ThinkPassenger offers an on-demand software platform to create private branded communities that incorporate customers as an integral part of the business process, while empowering customers through ownership of ideas. Thinkpassenger has already signed up some of the top brands to takes its product forward. This includes as Coca-Cola, ABC Television and Sara Lee. ThinkPassenger passenger product will have the typical feature set including realtime hosted sessions, polls, discussion boards, messaging, and analytics. The value addition occurring with this kind of setup is ’cause of the fact that most of the communication can be initiated by the brand manager that leads to direct interaction with the most valued customers.

Other companies operating in the branded communities domain that I have written about includes Eluma, Newsgator, Skinkers, ViTrue , and also heard of LiveJournal and Yahoo planning significant moves.

Links:
ThinkPassenger

CBS invests in SecondLife developer

February 26, 2007

  

Whether you hate or love, think it will succeed or not, user stats provided matchup or not, Virtual Worlds is here to stay. Today’s announcement of CBS investing in Electric Sheep company, developer of SecondLife, is just another fact that proves this. CBS has agreed to participate in Electric Sheep’s $7 million round of financing, which includes existing investors Gladwyne Partners. The exact amount of investment has not been disclosed. CBS has lot more play as part of this investment. CBS already has communities for couple of it’s shows at Second Life including, The L Word and for Star Trek, and filmed commercial inside Second Life to promote CBS show “Two and a Half Men.” From the ES perspective, they will be looking to use the funding to make SL platform easier to get on to and attract people beyond the geeky crowd.

Related:
Second Life goes mobile

Links:
Electric Sheep company