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.
READ ORIGINAL RELEASE
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
BookBub Raises $7 Million in New Funding
Dear BookBub Partners,
Today I have an exciting milestone to share with you. We recently closed $7 million in new equity and debt financing for BookBub. Now we have even more resources to pursue our two core goals — to make it easier for readers to discover great books, and to help authors and publishers reach avid readers.
I’m happy to report that the new equity funding comes from the same investors in last year’s $3.8 million round of financing. It’s a group of people that I’ve known and trusted for more than 15 years, and who share our company vision. We’ve all been excited with the progress and feedback on our new initiatives, and decided to take additional capital to accelerate expansion. READ MORE
Drizly Secures $13 Million In Series "A" Funding
Drizly, the technology company powering a superior shopping experience for beer, wine and liquor, today announced it has secured $13 million in Series A financing from Polaris Partners with participation from First Beverage Group and existing investors.
Drizly will use the proceeds to continue expansion of the industry standard for legally connecting alcohol supply and demand for the three-tier system, which comprises distributors, suppliers and sellers. The company expects to invest heavily in product development, sales and marketing, operations and global distribution.
Conceived in 2012, Drizly's technology and business model have created a legal framework for enabling licensed retailers to exploit opportunities in e-commerce, digital media, and data-driven marketing and operations. With the consent of regulators across the United States, Drizly currently operates in more than 15 American cities, with more than 150 retail and supplier partnerships.
"Off-premise alcohol sales is a $100 billion business that's untouched by technology," said Pat Kinsel, venture partner with Polaris Partners who will join the Drizly Board. "With Drizly, we are investing in a legal framework that connects alcohol supply and demand with full support of the industry players, who are all eager to see how innovation will transform their business."
The funding announcement follows a Drizly strategic alliance with the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA). The alliance expands Drizly's presence with retailer partners across the country, enabling Drizly to serve more consumers and to provide those consumers with unparalleled choice and convenience. As part of the alliance, the WSWA took a small non-controlling interest and a seat on the Drizly Board of Directors.
A SUPERIOR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Drizly's apps and Web site feature an emphasis on ease-of-use and product discovery, adding new dimensions of surprise, delight, and interactivity to the unprecedented experience of getting alcohol delivered responsibly in 20-40 minutes. Users simply log in and are instantly able to browse from thousands of products with a shopping experience that parallels the best-in-class e-commerce platforms offered in other industries. With a few taps of a finger, product is scheduled for immediate delivery, or at pre-determined time in the future. Drizly also allows the consumer to send beer, wine or liquor as a gift to others across the country.
For the retailer, Drizly delivers incremental revenue and an added layer of security through its propriety ID verification system. Every retail partner of Drizly's is given this technology to use at the point of delivery to ensure the purchaser is of legal drinking age.
"In the past year, we've expanded from two cities to 15, grown our staff from three to 42 and built a product that makes purchasing alcohol informative, convenient and fun," said Nick Rellas, CEO and co-founder of Drizly. "We've laid the foundation and now through this latest round of financing, we've set our sights on growing our footprint across North America, increasing our visibility through larger marketing spends, and continuing to build out innovative products that produce new opportunities for brands and publishers."
In addition to powering a superior shopping experience, Drizly also offers an unprecedented set of technology and tools through its API, pioneering e-commerce opportunities in alcohol for publishers, social networks, and recommendation engines. The Drizly API provides third parties with a turnkey solution for deploying fast, convenient and responsible alcohol delivery inside of any consumer media experience, leveraging the largest and most sophisticated infrastructure delivery in the US.
Drizly is a technology company powering a superior shopping experience for beer, wine and liquor. Combining the best selection and price, content-rich and personalized shopping experiences, and the speed and convenience of on-demand delivery, Drizly delivers "The Joy of Drinking" to legal-age drinkers across the United States. Backed by a world-class group of angel and institutional investors, the company has raised $17.8 million to become a superior place to shop for beer, wine and liquor in Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Providence, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington D.C., and other cities across the United States. For more info, visit www.drizly.com.
Circle Raises $50M
Today we announced a major step forward in the execution of our vision and product strategy. We've closed a new $50 million strategic investment round co-led by Goldman Sachs and IDG Capital Partners.
And for the first time, we're giving Circle customers the ability to hold, send, and receive US dollars as well as bitcoin -- instantly, securely, and with no fees. In addition to sending and receiving dollars, customers can also enjoy the benefits of the Bitcoin network without the risk of price volatility.
Goldman Sachs and China-based IDG Capital Partners were joined by all of Circle’s existing investors in the round, including Breyer Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Accel Partners, Oak Investment Partners, Fenway Summer, Digital Currency Group, Pantera Capital, and strategic individuals. READ MORE
Crayon Raises $1.5M
Crayon, the visual inspiration platform for marketers, announced today that it has raised a $1.5M round of angel investment to help marketers execute better digital marketing projects. The funding comes from top Angel investors in Boston, New York and San Francisco, including Dharmesh Shah, Brian Halligan, Mike Volpe, Eric Ries, Ed Roberts, Othman Laraki, Jonah Goodheart, and Jennifer Lum, among others. Common Angels and Boston Syndicates are also backing the company. The funding will be used to accelerate product development. READ MORE
Hello Alfred Raises $10.5 Million
Hello Alfred, the company building the next generation of the on-demand economy, announced the close of a $10.5 million Series A financing led by NEA and Spark Capital, with additional participation by Sherpa Ventures and CrunchFund. The new funds allow Hello Alfred to invest in its automation platform and continue the rapid growth of the company’s user base to new cities.
Alfred combines all the subscriptions and services you use to power your home in one place. “Our mission is to automate the on-demand economy,” explained Marcela Sapone, co-founder and CEO of Hello Alfred. “In the last year, we’ve proven that we can delight our customers by anticipating their needs and doing their to-do’s as well, if not better than they would themselves. With this funding we’re ready to step on the gas and scale the Alfred experience to a wider base of customers.”
“We are thrilled to partner with the Hello Alfred team,” said Scott Sandell, Managing General Partner at NEA who led the firm’s investment. “So many people in the professional ranks are leading lives that are incredibly unmanageable. Hello Alfred gives them back control over their home life and frees up their time to live. ”
Hello Alfred currently operates in New York and Boston. Every day, the company’s employees help its customers save hundreds of hours of time by anticipating their needs. In the last 5 months, Hello Alfred gave back nearly nearly 40,000 hours — almost 4.5 years worth of time that would have otherwise been wasted on basic tasks — to busy families, entrepreneurs, and young professionals by making over 18,000 runs that included dry cleaning 57,600 shirts, delivering 3,326 pounds of dog food and placing 1280 flower arrangements in homes.
“My Alfred visits on Tuesday and it’s become my favorite day of the week,” said Megan R., a busy entrepreneur and Hello Alfred customer living in New York City. “Coming home to a perfectly stocked fridge, your dry cleaning not only picked up but put away, and the pair of shoes that didn't fit returned is real magic. Hello Alfred gives me back the thing I need the most: time.”
Hello Alfred continues to expand its customer base in New York and Boston. The company plans to roll out service in San Francisco in the June 2015. San Francisco residents interested in the service can sign up for the waitlist by visiting: www.helloalfred.com
About Hello Alfred
Founded by Marcela Sapone and Jessica Beck, Hello Alfred aggregates household services to provide white-glove oversight that radically changes how the modern consumer gets things done. Alfred is a recurring, in-home service that takes care of tasks its users don’t have the time to do — whether it’s laundry and dry-cleaning, grocery shopping, or coordinating deliveries — and even learns users’ routines to anticipate what they need done. Whether you're an entrepreneur busy launching a business, a parent juggling work while growing a family, or a young professional putting in long hours at the office — Hello Alfred will give you back your most valuable resource: time. It launched this September at TechCrunch Disrupt also winning the Disrupt Cup, Hello Alfred rose to the top over thousands of other startups that applied to claim the grand prize and is also the winner of the 2014 Harvard Business School Venture Competition. Hello Alfred has offices in Boston and New York City.
Driftt Acquires Fetchnotes
During my sophomore year at the University of Michigan, I took a class called “Entrepreneurship Practicum.” It was a bootcamp in the “lean startup” method taught by one of the cofounders of Aardvark, and I became really interested in how people capture ideas and reminders. In fact, it was around exactly this time in 2011 that I sent out the first “alpha” invites of what would eventually turn into Fetchnotes... READ MORE
Pixability Completes $18 Million Series C Financing
As global brands increasingly turn to online video marketing as a key revenue generator, Pixability, a video ad buying and marketing technology company, today announced it has closed a $18 million Series C financing round led by Jump Capital and Edison Partners, bringing total funding to $28 million. All existing investors, including Point Judith Capital and Quad Graphics, also participated in the round. Pixability has achieved a cumulative sales compound annual growth rate of 240% over the past five years. The cost efficiencies of digital advertising are leading global brand marketers to aggressively shift media allocations, particularly to online video. Worldwide digital ad spend is projected to reach $253 billion by 2018 (up from $145 billion in 2014); with U.S. digital video ad spend projected to rise by 30.4% this year alone, reaching $7.77 billion.
“The Pixability platform has allowed us to reach our core customers and target new passionate soccer fans with data-driven video campaigns that increase awareness of our new brand positioning and bring engagement to an unprecedented level,” said Hermann Hassenstein, Global Head of Communications Planning at PUMA. “With the targeting that Pixability delivers, we are able to achieve better results through online video in a more efficient way.”
The capital will be used to READ MORE
Disney to Invest $250 Million in DraftKings
Per The Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney Co. is investing $250 million in online fantasy sports business DraftKings Inc., valuing the company at roughly $900 million, people familiar with the matter say.
The Boston startup lets fans play fantasy sports with real money at stake. They can do so on a per-game basis rather than committing to manage teams for an entire season. READ MORE
ZappRx Raises $5.6 million
Today, ZappRx announced it has received $5.6 million in new funding from GlaxoSmithKline’s new venture arm SR One, and Atlas Venture (the life sciences VC firm, not the tech startup one that split from the firm and is seeking a new name). Additionally, the company revealed a long undisclosed partnership with biopharma company Zafgen, as well as another major partnership that it cannot reveal yet.
While ZappRx hasn’t raised anything approaching the gaudy investment numbers you will often see attached to biotech companies, the company has raised a total of $8.8 million for what is currently a niche space but has the potential to be lucrative in the long term. READ MORE from Dennis Keohane at Pando Daily
Metromile Raises $10M in Funding
As per SEC filings, Metromile in San Francisco, CA has raised $10M in funding. Metromile is building a platform for services designed around the needs of drivers—everything from useful data and insights to a revolutionary pay-per-mile insurance offering... READ MORE
Metromile Raises $4M in Funding
A Bay Area startup called MetroMile Insurance Services LLC has raised $4 million in Series A funding to sell car insurance by the mile, with a high-tech twist.
"The less you drive, the less you pay," says Chief Executive and Co-Founder Steve Pretre. The CEO hopes to incentivize people to make healthy and green lifestyle choices like riding their bikes to work, for example, or using public transportation when reasonable....READ MORE
M.Gemi Raises $14M
Ben Fischman, founder of flash sale fashion site Ruelala, has raised a $14 million seed and series A round for a new startup, M.Gemi.
M.Gemi launched Tuesday to make beautiful Italian shoes more affordable for international markets — like American shoppers. Fishman says hand-crafted shoes made in Italian factories often cost $500 to $2,000. M.Gemi's cost between $98 and $300.
Investors include General Catalyst, which also invested in Ruelala, Forerunner Ventures and Breakaway Ventures. READ MORE