LovePop Raises $2.6M in Funding
As per SEC filings, LovePop in Boston has raised $2.6M towards a round of funding that could reach $3.4M. LovePop sells exquisite 3D pop-up greeting cards and they are a Harvard Innovation Lab spinout and Techstars' grad... READ MORE
Freebird Raises $3.5M
Per Sara Castellanos at BBJ Freebird iraised $3.5 million in funding from General Catalyst, Accomplice, Slow Ventures and angel investors. READ MORE from BBJ
Blade Travel acquires hopOn
Per, Paul English and Bill O’Donnell, Blade recently acquired hopOn, a San Francisco-based travel startup founded by Doug Morgan and Jade Van Doren. Read More from the Blade Travel Blog
Gazelle Acquired by Outerwall Inc.
Outerwall Inc. entered into an asset purchase agreement (the "Agreement") with Gazelle, Inc., a Delaware corporation ("Gazelle") that provides consumers an on-line solution for the sale and purchase of used mobile phones, computers and tablets. Under the Agreement, we will buy certain assets and liabilities of Gazelle. The total purchase price is approximately $18.0 million subject to certain adjustments including for net inventory at the closing date. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions. Upon closing, the transaction will be accounted for as a business combination.
M.Gemi Raises $18 Million
Per Scott Kirsner of BetaBoston, M.Gemi has raised $18 Million.
Only seven months after announcing a $14 million funding round, Boston footwear merchant M. Gemi has deposited another $18 million to its bank account. The new funding comes from the London office of Accel Partners, along with earlier investors including Cambridge-based General Catalyst Partners, Forerunner Ventures in San Francisco, and Boston-based Breakaway.
M. Gemi markets limited-run women’s shoes, all made in Italy, and all bearing the M. Gemi brand. Founder and CEO Ben Fischman previously ran the “flash sale” site Rue La La and hat retailer Lids; president Cheryl Kaplan worked with Fischman at Rue La La. Fischman says that M. Gemi is approaching 60 employees at offices in Boston, New York, and Florence, Italy. READ MORE from Kirsner
ArtLifting Raises $1.1 Million
Per TechCrunch, ArtLifting, an online art marketplace for homeless, disabled and other disadvantaged people to sell their artwork, recently raised a $1.1 million seed round from Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie, angel investor Joanne Wilson, author and entrepreneur Eric Ries, social impact accelerator Tumml and others. READ MORE
Outlearn Raises $2M
Outlearn today unveiled its cloud publishing platform and curated content catalog for professional developer learning. Now developers can use Outlearn to discover and share the best learning content from across the web, publish original content publicly or privately, and assemble custom learning paths for trackable team learning in the enterprise. The company also announced that it has received $2 million in seed financing from General Catalyst Partners with participation from Paul Sagan, former CEO of Akamai Technologies.
New Vision for Professional Developer Learning
According to IDC, the world’s 29 million professional technology workers say their most vexing challenge is keeping current with new technologies. Chronic talent shortages are forcing managers to hire less-qualified candidates who then have to climb an even steeper learning curve, often with little help beyond self-directed web searches and asking busy colleagues for assistance. Technical books and online video tutorials categorically fail to address the crucial last mile of “this is how we do it here” knowledge that developers need in order to become a fully productive member of a specific team.
“It’s time to stop forcing talented engineers to fend for themselves and start a revolution in technical upskilling,” said Jeff Whatcott, Outlearn co-founder and CEO. “We’re giving pro developers and their managers the tools the need to efficiently organize, discover, and consume the great technical content from across web and the essential tribal knowledge tucked away on corporate wikis and in the minds of experienced engineers.”
The Outlearn Platform
The Outlearn technical publishing platform allows domain experts to publish original training articles, recommend helpful web links, and organize learning content from many sources into online learning paths that carefully guide learners from concept to concept, tracking progress as they go. Unlike traditional learning systems, Outlearn combines a free learning publishing platform, a fast-growing catalog of free developer learning content, and a community of expert curators and contributors.
$2M Seed Financing
Outlearn is backed by a $2 million seed investment led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from Paul Sagan, former CEO of Akamai Technologies. Proceeds from the investment are being deployed to develop the Outlearn service and content catalog.
“Technical training and education is one of the last domains to be significantly disrupted and reimagined by modern technology,” said Donald Fischer, Venture Partner at General Catalyst Partners. “We are excited to back a team that has a compelling vision for positively transforming the way professionals learn, and we look forward to working with Jeff and Will as they realize their vision.”
Pricing & Availability
Outlearn is free today for individuals to both publish and consume public learning content. Premium services include team learning experiences, private learning, and organization-level content publishing starting as low as $15 per person per month.
Outlearn is a publishing platform for developer learning content. Domain experts and platform providers use Outlearn to create and publish modular learning content. Development teams use Outlearn to assemble and deliver custom learning paths from public content and/or self-published private content. Unlike traditional learning systems, Outlearn offers an open content format, an open content catalog, and a modern learner experience.
Ourglass Announces $1.6 Million in Seed Funding
Today, iOS app Ourglass announces $1.6 million in seed funding led by General Catalyst Partners and other investors. Ourglass is all about privacy, as users create an intimate social network for their 12 closest friends to share what they are doing on a daily basis. The app is now available exclusively in the Apple App store for download.
As social networks have grown, they have invariably turned into "interest feeds" that harness users' ever-expanding interest graphs to show relevant posts. While this has revolutionized how we engage with media content, it has lagged in one vital area: strengthening relationships with close friends and family.
Ourglass co-founder and CEO, Eric Adams, explains, "Ourglass is about privacy. Our vision is to connect people to their inner-circle, giving them an intimate space to share their lives with the people they're closest to. Social media began by connecting the world, and successfully formed broad webs of acquaintances. Our lives are now semi-public theater, as every detail is shared to our massive friend or followers list. As a result, people have become increasingly cautious about how much of their lives they are willing to share. Ourglass brings us back to basics, focusing our attention on our 12 closest friends."
Ourglass offers relief from an increasingly public world, letting users privately share HD pictures with a group of up to 12 friends. "The app gives users the freedom to post stories of their day, free from prying eyes and competition for likes. We provide an intimate space for people to share their life, in an authentic way, with those they're closest to," explains Adams. Ourglass designer, Thomas Krueger, adds, "It's all about letting you post what's really going on in your day without making it a popularity contest. It's a place you can turn to answer 'what's my sister up to?' or 'how's my buddy's trip going?'"
Ourglass ensures privacy by only sharing a users' posts with their approved inner-circle. By limiting users to 12 trusted friends, the app provides a uniquely intimate space that quells patterns of social land-grab prevalent on other social platforms. The app also saves stories so users can go back in time and relive memories. "Ephemeral content is great if you want to send funny pictures that you want to disappear, but there are a lot of memories that we want to save and relive with friends," explains Krueger.
Instead of a traditional feed that aggregates content, Ourglass introduces an innovative silo interface. There are 12 silos in the interface – one for each member of a users' inner circle. Users can tap on each silo and explore that friend's day. This eliminates having to browse through a feed to find interesting content – if one is interested in seeing what someone is up to, tap on their image and browse. With this approach, users feel encouraged to create as much content as they please without the fear of generating spam.
In the coming months, the company plans on rolling out additional features, including video, and an option for users to create additional circles of friends.
Download Ourglass in the Apple Store. (In-app purchases available)
To learn more about Ourglass, visit http://app.ourglass.co/. For additional updates from Ourglass, follow @appOurglass on Twitter and visit https://www.facebook.com/ourglassapp.
Renoviso Raises $1.4M Seed Round
Boston, MA -- Renoviso, a service that aims to completely transform the way consumers complete home renovation projects with a transparent ecommerce shopping experience, today announced it has closed a $1.4 million seed round. The round is led by NextView Ventures with RRE Ventures, Accomplice's BOSS Syndicate, NextGen Angels, Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah, Fabrice Grinda, and other well-known local angels participating.
Renoviso enables homeowners to easily buy professionally installed home renovation products, starting with window replacements. Homeowners can get real-time customized pricing online in minutes for their project including premium quality products, professional measurement and installation, and a modern stress-free experience -- all at a great value. Unlike online alternatives, this solution handles the entire process for the homeowner rather than just directing consumers to service providers.
“Completing any home renovation project can be painful and frustrating but it doesn’t have to be. Starting with replacing your windows, we aim to create a much simpler and more transparent experience that homeowners will love. We’re excited to have the support of such highly regarded investors who believe in our ambitious vision,” said Eric Horndahl, CEO & Co-Founder. “This funding will allow us to build a world-class team, expand our core offering into new product categories and geographies, and continue to innovate on the customer experience.”
Horndahl and co-founder Brian Waldman started the company to address the antiquated, time-consuming, and stressful process of completing home renovation projects, which was inspired by the very frustrating experience that Horndahl went through to upgrade his windows. The two co-founders have a long track record of building high-growth online businesses including BuyerZone, Cayan, eBay, and FlipKey (TripAdvisor).
“At NextView, we’ve long-held the view that an increasing number of high-ticket, enduring goods are being purchased on the web”, said David Beisel of NextView Ventures. “Renoviso fits perfectly into that thesis and seamlessly solves a very real problem for the large number of homeowners who are upgrading their homes.”
For more information on Renoviso, please visit www.renoviso.com.
Chef Nightly Raises $1.5M
Per Xconomy, Chef Nightly has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. The round was led by Accomplice with participation by Fullstack Ventures, Kayak and Blade co-founder Paul English, DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins, and Bridge Boys. READ MORE from Xconomy
netBlazr Closes $1 Million Funding Round
netBlazr, the fastest, most affordable Internet access for home and business in Boston, today announced that it has completed a $1 million funding round with an additional investment of $300,000 from Jeffrey P. Parker, co-founder of CCBN and well-known Boston-area angel. netBlazr is making significant new infrastructure investments and expanding coverage to more communities in Metro Boston.
Parker has invested in properties as diverse as Streetwise Media, FLYP, KnowledgeVision and Bison, and frequently collaborates with netBlazr board member and investor David Friend, chairman of Carbonite. Earlier this year, netBlazr announced $675,000 in funding from a group of investors including Friend.
Parker co-founded CCBN.com and served as the chairman and chief executive officer. Prior to this, Parker co-founded 38 Newbury Ventures, Technical Data Corporation, and FirstCall Corporation. Parker also served as the chairman and chief executive officer at Thomson Financial. Parker will serve as an advisor to netBlazr, focusing on the growth of the company's subscriber base and the ability to replicate its growth in other markets.
"I like to work with companies where it is easy to understand the benefits -- netBlazr offers better Internet access for less," said Parker. "I'm also impressed by the netBlazr team and their ability to execute and grow the business. Their network's growth isn't just adding more customers, it's strengthening that network. New nodes create additional redundancies and make the network stronger and more reliable."
"Jeff knows what it takes to build a successful company, and he's done it over and over again," said Jim Hanley, netBlazr's co-founder and CEO. "We're looking forward to working with him and leveraging his expertise to grow netBlazr and create a repeatable process for entering a market and winning subscribers."
netBlazr is the only Boston broadband provider with a 5 star Yelp rating. netBlazr's Concierge service delivers speeds above 300 Mbps and is available for less than $60 a month to residents of select apartment and condo buildings. There is no charge for owners of qualifying buildings with 100 or more units to add netBlazr as a choice for their residents.
netBlazr provides affordable, high-speed Internet to Boston residences and businesses as an alternative to the "big guys" who force people into high-cost service bundles that they don't want. netBlazr is a locally-owned business that offers "nothing but net", an Internet connection that is reliable and affordable and nothing else. No gimmicks, games, or tricks. Just broadband. Learn more at http://www.netblazr.com/
----- RELATED: Q&A with netBlazr Co-Founder & CEO Jim Hanley -----
Harmonix Raises $15M
Per SEC Filing, Harmonix has raised $15 million. Harmonix is one of the world’s leading independent game development studios, best known for creating blockbuster franchises like Rock Band and Dance Central.
Zipcar Acquires Local Motion
We’re excited to let everyone know that as of August 13, 2015 Local Motion has been acquired by Zipcar, the world’s leading car sharing network. Zipcar and Local Motion have a lot in common: we share a commitment to provide an exceptional experience for our users and we see car sharing as the future of mobility.
Since Local Motion was founded nearly five years ago, we’ve learned a lot about helping people reserve, locate, access, and return shared vehicles. We’re excited to bring what we’ve learned to Zipcar where we’ll be working on a number of projects to drive the future of mobility further and faster.
The last five years have been truly amazing. We’ve had the chance to work with phenomenal people to found, fund, and now sell our company. We’re truly humbled by this experience.
We can’t wait to see what this combination of brilliant people can do. To learn more about Zipcar, please visit www.zipcar.com
See you on the road,
-John, Clement, and the Local Motion team
SmackHigh Raises $1.65 Million in Seed Capital
SmackHigh, a social consumer start-up for teens, today announced that it has raised $1.65M in its seed round. The round was led by Flybridge Capital Partners, with major participation from an AngelList syndicate led by Wayne Chang, Head of Product Marketing, Mobile Platform at Twitter, and Boston Seed Capital. Also participating were Mike Baker of DataXu, and several prominent angel investors from the Boston area, including David Chang, formerly of PayPal. SmackHigh amplifies the teenage voice, specifically for high school students, by aggregating news-based submissions from high school students themselves via social media vehicles on Twitter and its own website, and then distributing them across thousands of high schools across the country. With hundreds of thousands of teens in communities currently operating in 26 states, SmackHigh plans to use the funding to broaden its nationwide community presence and continue to invest in its technology platform.
SmackHigh is a posting service for teens, organized by geography and based on common interests relevant to every day high school student life. The platform gives teens a way to connect and express themselves within the context of the school communities they care about, and more importantly, within the context of relevant topics and interest groups. By putting community first, SmackHigh empowers teens to define the identities of their communities and the affinity groups that exist within them, e.g. basketball players, freshmen only, etc. This adds context to the discussions and gives all high school students a way to relate and engage, be it with students within their own core affinity groups or those belonging to others. Teens post anonymously through the identity of their school community, thereby allowing full freedom of expression and fluid movement between social groups.
Facilitating the conversations are the SmackHigh reps, thousands of teens from the SmackHigh community who both provide gentle moderation, but also serve as a continued feedback loop between their respective high schools and SmackHigh. This mechanism has allowed the SmackHigh community to grow organically and authentically, yet safely using the voices of teens as the boundaries.
“The teen voice is powerful, but has often been overlooked or gone unheard because it’s been buried in communities that are either too disperse or too general,” said Giuseppe Stuto, CEO of SmackHigh. “SmackHigh gives teens an easy and fun way to build and control the evolution and tones of their own spaces in a very meaningful and relevant way, which is an essential need of our next wave of online community builders.”
This strategy has led to strong organic growth, with over 800,000 opt-in followers concentrated in tight geographic communities that span 26 states via Twitter and, more recently, Snapchat. The pace of growth has increased sharply over the last year; SmackHigh boasts more than 800% growth in monthly submissions from February to June, bringing total monthly timeline impressions to over 450 million.
“Teens are obsessed with group messaging and communicating via their mobile phones,” said Jeff Bussgang, Flybridge general partner. “SmackHigh is appealing to this obsession by providing an open, social networking platform that provides teens anonymity yet in the context of their core school community.”
SmackHigh will immediately invest in growing its platform, expanding its SmackHigh rep presence, and further marketing geography and channel expansion.
About Smack, Inc.
Smack, Inc.’s service, SmackHigh is a geographically centralized social consumer posting service for teens that leverages Twitter and Snapchat to allow teens from the same geography to connect and build community. SmackHigh was founded in 2013 as a casual place for teens to connect on Twitter; under the leadership of Giuseppe Stuto (CEO), Frank Iudiciani (CMO), and Kevin Flynn (CTO), the Company has to date amassed over 800,000 followers nationally, generating over 450 million monthly timeline impressions.
DraftKings Secures $300M In Funding
DraftKings, Inc., a leading daily fantasy sports destination, today announced it has secured a $300 Million Series D round of funding led by FOX Sports. Also participating in the round were major North American sports leagues Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer; leading sports organizations The Madison Square Garden Company and Legends; as well as existing investors Atlas Venture, DST Global, GGV Capital, The Kraft Group, The Raine Group and Wellington Management Company LLP. DraftKings will use the additional funding to continue building out its industry-leading web and mobile products, launch its product internationally, and explore new opportunities for vertical expansion.
DraftKings has become the fastest-growing company in DFS since its launch in 2012, having just registered its 100 millionth contest entry this month. The company is expected to award well over $1 Billion in prizes in 2015, up from approximately $300 Million in 2014.
"To receive this type of support from such an outstanding group of organizations, including three major sports leagues, is an incredible milestone for us and reaffirms our leadership position in Daily Fantasy Sports," said Jason Robins, CEO of DraftKings. "We intend to leverage these resources to develop even more innovative daily fantasy sports contests and provide new exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences for our players."
"Partnering with DraftKings, a clear leader in this field, is a great opportunity for us to capitalize on the growth of daily fantasy sports for the benefit of our viewers," said Eric Shanks, President and COO, FOX Sports. "We'll work with DraftKings to develop ideas and create content to drive deeper engagement with sports fans across multiple platforms, including our national, local, and digital properties."
Fresh off a recently announced exclusive multi-year partnership with ESPN, under which DraftKings will become the official daily fantasy partner of the media network across broadcast and digital platforms, today's announcement builds upon the company's leadership role in the DFS industry and its commitment to player satisfaction over a broad range of platforms. A recent research study by independent firm Eilers, confirmed DraftKings is the favorite daily fantasy sports site among players and has over 10 times the net promoter score (a measure of customer satisfaction and advocacy) of its next significant competitor.
As the first company to take DFS into the mainstream through its original partnership with MLB three years ago, DraftKings now has five major league deals (MLB, NHL, NASCAR, UFC, MLS). Additionally, DraftKings holds relationships with teams across all major sports, branding at marquee facilities like Madison Square Garden and STAPLES Center, and integrated sponsorships with top sporting events, including this year's Triple Crown win at the Belmont Stakes.
The Raine Group worked as exclusive advisor to DraftKings on the transaction.
DraftKings, Inc. is a leading skill-based Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) gaming destination for fans in North America to compete in single-day online games for cash and prizes across the largest variety of professional and collegiate sports. DraftKings is the exclusive DFS partner of Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, NASCAR, Ultimate Fighting Championship and Major League Soccer. Founded in 2012 by CEO Jason Robins, CRO Matt Kalish and COO Paul Liberman, DraftKings is headquartered in Boston, Mass. For more information about DraftKings, Inc., visit www.draftkings.com.
About FOX Sports
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century FOX's wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FOX Sports 1; FOX Sports 2; Fox's 22 regional sports networks, their affiliated regional web sites and FSN national programming; FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2Go; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. In addition, FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, which includes FOXSports.com, FOX Sports GO, Whatifsports.com and Yardbarker.com. Also included in the Group are FOX's interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as licensing agreements that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network.
See Origial Release
Beacon Raises $7.5M in Funding
Beacon, the premier all-you-can-fly membership for frequent fliers in the Northeast, today announced that it has completed $7.5 million in Series A and other financing led by Romulus Capital with participation from MiVentures, Western Technologies Investment, and several other early stage investors.
Beacon is bringing an innovative, convenient and sleek travel experience to the Northeast, with plans to launch in late summer 2015. For as little as $2,000 a month, Beacon offers unlimited access to regularly scheduled flights, with reservations, changes and cancellations made as little as 20 minutes before departure at no additional cost, via the Beacon app. Beacon’s service will provide efficient travel between New York and Boston, as well as the seasonal destinations of Nantucket and the Hamptons... READ MORE
Scratch Announces $3.6M in Funding
Today, Scratch launched its invite-only service and announced $3.6 million in funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, NextView Ventures, Red Swan Ventures and Matt Salzberg, Founder and CEO of Blue Apron.
“We invested in Scratch because the endless selection presented by eCommerce today is a huge problem. Consumers only know exactly what they want a tiny fraction of the time, and the tools available to help filter and discover products are limited. We loved the completely different approach that scratch is taking by combining human curation and algorithmic personalization to provide a simple but incredibly powerful way to shop. Matt has faced this problem first hand within CustomMade, and has built a world-class early stage team with veterans from Tripadvisor, Wayfair, and Gemvara to tackle this massive opportunity.” - Rob Go, NextView Ventures... READ MORE
Tablelist Announces $2.5 Million in Funding
Per Dennis Keohane at Pando, Tablelist, who allows users to reserve VIP club experiences -- private tables, bottle service, and even access to prominent DJs, has announced $2.5 million in funding from a range of investors with experience in the hospitality and entertainment industry, and also from Wayne Chang, Twitter’s head of product marketing for its mobile platform. READ MORE
Adored Raises $2.3M
Adored Raises $2.3mm from Kepha Partners, Boston Seed Capital, Matrix Partners, Borealis Ventures, Blade, and Prominent Metro Boston Angels to Build iBeacon Loyalty Experience Platform
Manchester, NH (July 8, 2015) – Nearly two-thirds of retailers say their loyalty rewards program is the best way to connect with consumers, according to Forrester, yet more than half of all loyalty programs are not actively used. The reason: Loyalty points alone don’t influence consumer behavior. The only way to do that is to usher in the era of the loyalty experience.
Adored is leading the charge. The Manchester, New Hampshire-based mobile app startup utilizes iBeacon technology allowing brands to offer a tailored experience for each individual customer in a way that is easy for both the consumer and the merchant. Today the company announced it received a $2.3 million round of funding from some of Boston's most prominent investors, including Kepha Partners, Boston Seed Capital and Matrix Partners, to further accelerate its rapid adoption by both consumers and merchants in the northeast.
“Brand loyalty can’t be taken for granted,” said Cory von Wallenstein, CEO and co-founder of Adored. “It needs to be earned by offering each customer the best experience possible every time they interact with your brand.”
That ideal experience is going to be different for everybody. For example, a ski resort would make a different offer to an advanced skier than they would a beginner, while a restaurant would highlight different daily specials to a regular than they would to a suburban customer who only visits on Friday nights. This type of real-time, real-world experiential marketing has never before been possible.
With Adored, however, merchants, consumers and brands can create entirely new and mutually beneficial relationships. The app collects robust analytics and does all the segmentation and consumer behavior profiling in the background. As a result, brands are able to offer the content their consumers actually want. Customers get the VIP treatment they deserve thereby creating more engaged customers.
A more engaged customer is the goal of any business because it increases the:
- Lifetime value of the customer
- Spend per visit
- Likelihood that the customer will become a repeat customer, which is huge because returning customers spend on average 67% more than first-time customers, according to Bain.
- Engagement, thereby creating more brand advocates - an area ripe for opportunity given that 78% of consumers are not yet loyal to a particular brand, according to Nielsen.
“These days, making great beer just gets you a seat at the table,” said Peter Egelston, founder of Smuttynose Brewing Company. “To compete, we need to create great experiences for consumers and at every level of the distribution chain. That is why we use Adored to help build stronger relationships and more remarkable experiences.” Adored allows locations, like restaurants, bars, ski resorts, hotels, etc., to increase the lifetime value of their customers. All a customer needs to do is enter one of these establishments and Adored is activated offering rewards, exclusive real-time content and cross promotions.
For brands, Adored gives them the opportunity to cut across the noise of social media and have a direct conversation with customers interested in their products and services, which is unlike any tool currently available.
One of Adored’s key differentiators is that unlike other iBeacon companies, while providing tremendous value for the vendors, Adored respects the consumer.
“iBeacons are a marketer’s dream but a consumer’s nightmare,” said von Wallenstein. “Consumers must be treated as first class citizens in both value and respect for their privacy. Since the app is entirely anonymous, with no consumer account creation required, consumer privacy is 100% preserved.”
But that anonymous data - from robust analytics to track foot traffic to peaks and valley's in activity and visits per week - is gold for vendors. Merchants get those analytics sent directly to their phone so they can be easily digested and used to make decisions that drive revenue and decrease costs.
Adored, which has seven full-time employees, knows that just deploying beacons is only one side. The right strategy is the right combination of value to consumers, locations and brands scaled in proportion from a starting point of high density (locale by locale).
They have validated this approach in the Northeast where they have launched in four metropolitan areas and been downloaded by more than 10,000 consumers. Vendors who use the app in more than 60 locations are already seeing extraordinary results, like Cafe la Reine in Manchester, which has seen a 20% increase in visits per week.
“Our customers really love Adored,” said Alex Puglisi, owner of Cafe la Reine. “...Overall my relationship with my customers has gotten better from using Adored because we can engage in new and exciting ways and they can be more attune with what is happening at the cafe and the different offers they can get.”
This new funding round, which will be used to expand the Adored product and go to market teams, includes investment from Kepha Partners, Boston Seed Capital, Matrix Partners and Borealis Ventures as well as prominent metro Boston angel investors:
- Paul English and Bill O’Donnell from Blade, leading the charge on building great consumer-facing companies in Boston
- Jeremy Hitchcock, Kyle York, Matt Larson, Josh Delisle, and Gray Chynoweth, all past or present executives at Dyn in Manchester, NH, where Adored CEO Cory von Wallenstein was formerly CTO
- Wayne Chang, Ron Martin, Laura Fitton, Joe Caruso, Michael Skok, John Pearce, all prominent figures in the metro Boston ecosystem
"There are dozens if not hundreds of companies trying to do something similar - because it is such a great idea - but the reason we're backing Adored is that Cory is assembling the team that is actually going to make this work,” said Paul English, CEO of Blade, and co-founder of Kayak.com. “We're very excited about what they have done in Manchester and we know this is going to work in other places."
For more information on Adored or to download the app visit www.adored.com.
Zagster Raises $3.5 Million
Exponential Growth & Strong Demand Drives Funding From Investors Including LaunchCapital, Fontinalis Partners, Clean Energy Venture Group, LaunchPad Venture Group and Other Boston-Area Angel Investors
CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwired - Jul 2, 2015) - Zagster, the leading provider of private and public-private bike sharing systems, today announced it has raised $3.5 million in a Series A round of funding to support its rapidly expanding national footprint of bike sharing programs. The company received funding from existing investors, including LaunchCapital; Fontinalis Partners (a strategic investment firm co-founded by Bill Ford); Clean Energy Venture Group; LaunchPad Venture Group; and several leading Boston-area angel investors, as well as a new investor, Otter Consulting.
"With more than 75 programs in 50 cities in 28 states, Zagster is the fastest growing bike sharing company in the country," said Timothy Ericson, co-founder and CEO of Zagster. "There's incredible demand for bike sharing in places that simply can't be served by the large, city-wide programs, and we're the only company capable of meeting that demand with our low-cost, scalable, turnkey model."
In the past year alone, Zagster has increased the number of bikes in its program by more than 300 percent, and projects to increase it by another 300 percent in 2015. In addition, the total number of members is up nearly 250 percent. In expanding from eight states to 28 states, it has doubled the number of employees and recently doubled its office space.
The company counts among its customers leading employers (including General Motors, Samsung, Workday, Quicken Loans and others); several of the top 10 national real estate developers (including Kayne Anderson, Related Management and Irvine Company); several top universities (including The Ohio State University, Duke University, Yale University and Princeton University); and leading hotel brands like Hyatt and The Four Seasons.
Increasingly, Zagster's model of public-private sponsorship is enabling expansion into cities, like Cleveland and Canton (Ohio), Albuquerque (New Mexico), Carmel (Indiana) and Montgomery County (Pennsylvania), that would otherwise not have bike sharing programs.
"Zagster has shown that it can apply the elements of a high growth, tech-enabled business into what has been a capital intensive industry," said Bill McCullen, Chief Investment Officer of LaunchCapital. "As a result, they are growing faster and serving more customers and partners -- the type of trajectory that we like to see in our investments."
Unlike large, city-wide programs that are costly, lock sponsors into long-term contracts and require expensive and complex infrastructure that is hard to upgrade, Zagster's agile, flexible and easy-to-upgrade technology make it possible to be deployed nearly anywhere.
"We see a lot of opportunities in the next-generation mobility space, including bike sharing, and we were attracted to Zagster's long-term, financially viable business model that helps open up bike sharing to previously underserved segments of the market," said Chris Cheever, Founder & Partner at Fontinalis Partners. "Zagster has been able to do what no one else in the bike sharing space has done -- be able to show a return on investment and a pathway to long-term sustainability of bike share programs. It's a major step forward for the industry."
Zagster members use their mobile phone to receive a code to unlock the bike at the time of the trip. The same lock that locks the bike to the host location can be used to lock the bike during the trip, something that most city-wide programs do not allow because their bikes must be locked at official docking stations. At the end of the trip, the member returns the bike to a Zagster location, locks it and ends the reservation via the Zagster mobile app or via a simple text message to Zagster.
Founded in Philadelphia in 2007 as CityRyde and now headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Zagster is the leading provider of private and public-private bike sharing systems. Zagster is uniquely focused on contracting with property managers, hotels, businesses, universities and smaller cities across North America to make bike sharing programs available to tenants, employees, guests, students and residents. This highly efficient and unique model allows Zagster to offer services in areas that traditional city-wide bike sharing systems can't reach. More information about Zagster is available at www.Zagster.com.
LaunchCapital was founded in January 2008 with a mission to help entrepreneurs gain quick access to seed capital and mentorship. With investments in over 100 companies, LaunchCapital has a core focus in technology, consumer and medical businesses. The nine-person team has syndicated investments with over 50 venture firms and 1000 angel investors. They currently have offices in Cambridge, MA, New Haven, New York City and Palo Alto. More information about LaunchCapital is available at www.launch-capital.com.
About Otter Consulting
Otter represents the interest of a single-family office in South Florida. Otter's Investment Manager, Mike Wohl, has led Otter's private investment effort since mid-2013, participating in 18 venture deals that span seven major US cities. Working on behalf of a single limited partner, Otter possesses the flexibility to be sector and stage agnostic.
About Fontinalis Partners
Fontinalis Partners, with offices in Detroit and Boston, is a venture capital firm strategically focused on next-generation mobility. The firm was founded by Bill Ford, Ralph Booth, Chris Cheever, Chris Thomas, and Mark Schulz. Fontinalis' mission is to leverage the firm's considerable management experience, market access, strategic relationships, international expertise, and background in transportation innovation to scale companies providing next-generation mobility solutions. Fontinalis invests across all facets of the world's transportation infrastructure on a stage-, structure- and size-agnostic basis. Fontinalis is not affiliated with Ford Motor Company. More information about Fontinalis is available at www.fontinalis.com.
About Clean Energy Venture Group
Clean Energy Venture Group is an investment group that provides seed capital and management expertise to early stage clean energy companies. Its mission is to invest in and support early stage clean energy companies that have the potential to mitigate climate change and achieve attractive financial returns. The group is comprised of seasoned operating executives with strong capabilities in the energy and environmental sectors. With each investment, it brings not only capital, but also the value of its team's experience and network to help companies achieve their goals. More information is available at www.cevg.com.
VENTUREAPP Raises $2M
Per BostInno, VENTUREAPP, an invite-only concierge service that provides on-demand solutions for a startup’s most pressing challenges, has raised $2 million from Accomplice and Boston Seed.
VENTUREAPP was founded by Chase Garbarino, Kevin McCarthy and Gregory Gomer of Streetwise Media and Boris Revsin and Jared Stenquist of DailyBreak. READ MORE
Drafted Announces $2.5M Seed Funding
Drafted Announces $2.5M Seed Funding from Accel, General Catalyst, and Lightspeed
Drafted, a mobile app focused on hiring through referrals, has raised a total of $2.5M to date in seed financing from VC firms Accel, General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and others. The funding will be used to accelerate Drafted’s growth and continue building the team.
Drafted launched in beta exclusively in the Boston tech community in May 2015, with plans to expand to other cities and verticals later this year. In less than two months, more than 50 Boston employers joined the platform, including companies like Hubspot, M.Gemi, and Drizly. Almost $500,000 in rewards are up for grabs, with some individual rewards as high as $15,000.
“Referrals work because of the people that make them. We are making it super easy and rewarding for people to do what they already do - helping their friends. And unlike many other aspects of the process, Drafted is actually fun to use,” said founder and CEO, Vinayak Ranade.
The mobile-first platform enables hiring managers to enter the vital details of the job they are trying to fill in a matter of minutes. They can then set a reward for filling the position and share it with their colleagues through social networks, text and email. Those who receive a job notification on Drafted can either apply themselves, or simply forward the job along to a friend. A job can be forwarded many times, creating chains of referrers that connect the hiring manager to prospective hires. When someone is hired, everyone in the successful chain of referrers splits the reward, including the new hire.
“It’s probably the easiest fun way in the world to make a few grand. It takes two minutes. Plus you are helping somebody get a job.” said Paul English, KAYAK co-founder and Drafted investor.
Drafted makes referral-based hiring fast, fun, and rewarding. The free Drafted mobile app is available in both the iOS and Android app stores. Designed and built in Boston by alumni of KAYAK and MIT, Drafted is the easiest way to help your friends find jobs while being appreciated by the companies that hire them.
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Fullbridge Secures $15.4 Million
Fullbridge, Inc., a professional development and education company that prepares students and young professionals to succeed in the global economy, has secured $15.4 million through the sale of a series of preferred stock. The round was led by learning innovation investor, GSV Capital, with active participation from several high net worth individuals and family offices from the U.S. and Europe.
The investment is instrumental as the company expands its leadership team, program availability, geographic reach and offerings with colleges, companies and ministries worldwide – all with the goal of preparing students to succeed as young professionals. The funding also allows Fullbridge to expand its technology platform by developing a multi-user offering which streamlines program enrollment and enhance communication between Fullbridge clients, coaches and students. READ MORE
Whetlab acquired by Twitter
Over the past year, we have created a technology to make machine learning better and faster for companies, automatically. Twitter is the platform for open communication on the internet and we believe that Whetlab’s technology can have a great impact by accelerating Twitter’s internal machine learning efforts. READ MORE
Cure Forward Raises $15M
Per BetaBoston, Cure Forward, a patient activation company, has raised $15 million. READ MORE
Ministry Of Supply Raises $1.5 Million
Per Sara Castellanos at Boston Business Journal, Ministry Of Supply, makers of High-tech performance professional clothing for men, has raised $1.5 million in new funding.
Total funding to date for the company is now more than $6 million.
Investors in the round are undisclosed. READ MORE
PillPack Raises $50M
Per Dennis Keohane of PandoDaily, PillPack has raised $50 million.
With $50 million in new funding, TJ Parker and PillPack take aim at the pharmacy establishment
Growing up in Concord, New Hampshire, TJ Parker kind of figured that he would end up one day running the family pharmacy business.
Parker filled various roles for the pharmacy his father ran, working behind counter or delivering medications to the nursing homes and assisted living facilities. He even color-coded one customer’s pill bottles so that she knew which time of the day to take each medication. So it was quite natural that TJ Parker would go on to the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to follow in the footsteps of his father.
However, a few unexpected things happened along the way that eventually led to the formation of pill packaging startup PillPack, which announced today that it has received $50 million in new funding. READ MORE
* Learn more about PillPack on their BIZZpage - They're HIRING!
Dockwa Raises $1.1M
Dockwa, a mobile app company providing seamless reservations to boaters and the marine industry, announced today that it had raised $1.1 million in additional seed funding. Investors include David Skok of Matrix Partners, HubSpot's CEO Brian Halligan and CMO Mike Volpe, Driftt's CTO Elias Torres, and several private investors. The new capital will fuel expansion of the platform, as well as growth of the Dockwa team.
“With over seventy marinas in the major ports of New England, Dockwa is fast becoming the OpenTable for the marine industry, demonstrating an incredible customer experience, valued inventory, and convenience,” said Mike Melillo, founder and CEO of Dockwa. “We remain focused on building a singular customer experience. The additional funding is a testament to Dockwa’s growth potential, and I couldn’t be more excited about our team, product, and trajectory.” READ MORE
Weathermob Joins Weathernews Inc.
Weathermob is just delighted to announce that we have joined Weathernews Inc., www.weathernews.com/, a large Japanese weather company already committed to the power of crowdsourced weather reporting; the power of people reporting, the potential and poetry!
Our forecast, together, is sunnier!
We remain committed to keeping the same warm and welcoming weather community and creating better, safer weather data, as we grow into this new global partnership. READ MORE
MOO Raises $5M in Funding
Moo received $5 million in series A funding in April from The Accelerator Group, Atlas and Index Ventures. The nine person company was founded by Richard Moross of London...READ MORE