Placester Announces $20M Series C
Placester announced its Series C today - a $20M round led by NEA, which also led the Series B. This round brings the company's total capital to over $50M. Placester enables the professionals who power residential real estate - real estate agents and brokers - to leverage the power of technology for the benefit of their businesses. With this round, we are truly the best-positioned company (capital and customers) to fulfill this mission at scale. Our partnerships this year with Keller Williams and Remax - the 2 largest real estate brands - are a testament to how the real estate industry (which is the largest industry in every city and state in this country) has embraced us. SOURCE
Placester: Making Real Estate Marketing Easy. Boston Startup Shows Exciting Growth
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
WEX Acquires Benaissance
WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX), a leading provider of corporate payment solutions, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Benaissance, a leading provider of integrated software-as-a-service (SaaS) technologies and services for healthcare premium billing, payment and workflow management. Benaissance is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of WEX and will be part of the Evolution1 business unit.
“The close of this transaction advances our strategy to grow our reach and enhance our offering in the healthcare space,” said Melissa Smith, WEX’s president and chief executive officer. “The addition of Benaissance builds on the success we have already had in this industry, by enhancing our addressable market opportunity while enabling us to provide an expanded and differentiated solution to our partners. We are pleased to be welcoming Benaissance’s team to WEX and look forward to the opportunities this transaction will bring for the combined business.”
On October 15, 2015, WEX announced plans to acquire Benaissance.
About WEX Inc.
WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) is a leading provider of corporate payment solutions. From its roots in fleet card payments beginning in 1983, WEX has expanded the scope of its business into a multi-channel provider of corporate payment solutions representing more than 9 million vehicles and offering exceptional payment security and control across a wide spectrum of business sectors. WEX serves a global set of customers and partners through its operations around the world, with offices in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Norway, and Singapore. WEX and its subsidiaries employ more than 2,000 associates. The Company has been publicly traded since 2005, and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “WEX.” For more information, visit www.wexinc.com and follow WEX on Twitter at @WEXIncNews.
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
Eager Raises $1M
Per Sara Castellanos of BBJ, Eager, a Cambridge-based software startup that was inspired by the Apple App Store and founded by former employees of HubSpot, has landed $1 million in investor funding.
READ MORE from BBJ
Akamai Acquires Bloxx
Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) announced today that it has acquired Bloxx, a provider of Secure Web Gateway (SWG) technology for protecting enterprises and their employees from Internet threats, in a cash transaction. The acquisition is expected to complement Akamai’s cloud security strategy for protecting businesses against Internet vulnerabilities.
As enterprises and their employees increasingly leverage the Internet and adopt SaaS and cloud-based applications to run their business, a growing percentage of corporate network traffic and transactions are now outside of the traditional enterprise zone of control. Faced with this transformation, enterprises must remain responsible for the security and compliance of their employees’ expanding reliance on the Internet.
To help address this challenge, Akamai plans to extend its portfolio of cloud-based security services to focus on the enterprise. With the goal of detecting and blocking threats to enterprise users, wherever they are located, Akamai’s enterprise security offerings are designed to help protect against phishing, malware, and data exfiltration attacks targeted at corporate networks. These solutions are expected to go beyond traditional blacklisting by providing real-time risk assessment and enabling customers to specify the actions Akamai will take based on the detected threat level. The company believes that Bloxx’s SWG technology will be instrumental to Akamai’s goal of bringing this new suite of offerings to market in 2016
“Akamai’s traditional business has been about making the Internet fast, reliable and secure for web sites and applications,” said Willie M. Tejada, senior vice president & general manager, Cloud Networking division at Akamai. “As we look to the future, our strategy includes doing the same for the enterprise, helping to protect corporate end users from the exposure to unsuitable content, viruses, malware, and data leakage. By adding Bloxx’s SWG technologies to our solutions, coupled with the security intelligence that we obtain from our global platform, we believe we are well-positioned to help protect enterprises and their employees from a growing threat landscape.”
Bloxx, headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland and established in 1999, is a privately-funded company with 55 employees. The acquisition is not material to Akamai's financials.
As the global leader in Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, Akamai makes the Internet fast, reliable and secure for its customers. The company's advanced web performance, mobile performance, cloud security and media delivery solutions are revolutionizing how businesses optimize consumer, enterprise and entertainment experiences for any device, anywhere. To learn how Akamai solutions and its team of Internet experts are helping businesses move faster forward, please visit www.akamai.com or blogs.akamai.com, and follow @Akamai on Twitter.
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
Cengage Learning Acquires Pathbrite’s Best-In-Class ePortfolio Solution
Continuing the expansion of its institutional offerings, Cengage Learning today announced the acquisition of Pathbrite’s best-in-class ePortfolio solution. Pathbrite enables students to collect, track and showcase their work to demonstrate completion of assignments for graduation, accreditation and job placement. Pathbrite has users at 900 K20 institutions.
The announcement was made at EDUCAUSE 2015, the annual gathering of leaders in education technology.
“Last month, we announced the acquisition of Learning Objects, which offers a customizable learning environment and services for online programs. Now, adding Pathbrite’s Portfolio Learning Platform to Learning Objects’ suite of tools extends our student-centric, competency-based learning capabilities,” said Michael Hansen, Chief Executive Officer, Cengage Learning. “We’re also very pleased that most of Pathbrite’s talented employees will join us in our quest to provide the highest quality digital learning solutions available.”
Hansen added, “This acquisition builds upon the success of our current partnership with Pathbrite to integrate their ePortfolio into our MindTap digital course solution – now at more than 650 MindTap courses. Bringing together MindTap, Learning Objects and Pathbrite strengthens Cengage Learning’s position as the only provider of a truly comprehensive, student-centric learning platform.”
“We are excited to extend the Pathbrite offering to an even larger network of schools, colleges and universities, as we know that portfolios improve all major indicators of student success,” said Heather Hiles, CEO, Pathbrite. “Cengage Learning is an ideal match for Pathbrite culturally as we are both committed to improving learning and career outcomes for all students.”
Pathbrite’s ePortfolio solution allows students to tag, save and report on their work throughout the semester. When the course concludes, students can maintain their work and continue building an inventory of learning achievements. In addition, a similar portfolio for administrators and faculty allows institutions to easily report on students’ performance against accreditation standards.
The combination of Pathbrite and MindTap, which offers a student-centric, personalized approach to learning along with Learning Objects, which offers a customizable, scalable framework that leverages publisher content and Open Educational Resources, allows Cengage Learning to offer a comprehensive set of offerings to support students, instructors and administrators across many adoption models.
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
Skyworks to Acquire PMC-Sierra for $2 Billion in Cash
Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ: SWKS), an innovator of high performance analog semiconductors connecting people, places and things, and PMC-Sierra, Inc. (PMC) (NASDAQ: PMCS), a semiconductor and software solutions leader in storage, optical and mobile networks, today announced a definitive agreement under which Skyworks will acquire PMC for $10.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $2 billion. This acquisition solidifies Skyworks' position as a highly diversified analog, RF and mixed signal semiconductor leader by significantly expanding its product portfolio, customer base and end market applications. Upon completion of the acquisition, Skyworks expects annual revenues of more than $4 billion with gross margin in the 55 percent range and operating margin exceeding 40 percent.
ezCater Closes $28M Funding Round
ezCater Closes $28M Funding Round to Further its Leadership Position as the Only Nationwide Marketplace for Business Catering
Insight Venture Partners Leads Series C Round Supporting the Dominant Player in the Rapidly Growing $19.6 Billion Business Catering Market
BOSTON, Mass. – October 6, 2015 – ezCater, the only nationwide marketplace for business catering, today announced that it has closed a $28 million Series C round of venture funding led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from existing investors. The round, which brings ezCater’s total funding to $35 million, will help the company scale to meet increasing demand from businesses of all sizes across the U.S., while accelerating the development of new features and functionality for its business catering marketplace.
ezCater, with more than 43,000 caterer and restaurant partners, helps business people easily find and order food online for meetings or events in every city and town in the United States. Today’s funding strengthens ezCater’s leadership position to further capitalize on the massive market for business catering – a market worth $19.6 billion in the U.S., according to the foodservice research firm Technomic.
“What makes ezCater unique comes down to three things – guaranteed reliability, nationwide coverage, and 5-star service,” said Stefania Mallett, co-founder and CEO of ezCater. “Our caterers are rated for on-time delivery and accuracy, so you can be confident you won’t be embarrassed waiting for food at your meeting. We have caterers everywhere, and you can call if you don’t see what you want online. If anything comes up with an order, a call, email or text to our customer service ninjas is all it takes. We’ll handle it while you get back to business. Those are the reasons we’ve been growing exponentially. With the new funding, we’ll grow even faster.”
ezCater’s customers include organizations of all sizes, in all industries – from Fortune 500 companies to local startups, in markets as diverse as construction, finance, and pharmaceuticals. Business people use ezCater to place orders 24 hours a day and up to 365 days in advance of any sales call, training, or other business meeting or event. They have access to nearly 300,000 reviews and on-time delivery ratings to help guide their choices. ezCater’s 5-star-rated customer service team provides users a backstop in case they need any assistance at all.
ezCater also appeals to finance, accounting, and procurement groups in larger organizations by offering enterprise-class visibility and controls. Companies with a large salesforce or offices nationwide can centralize payment and gain deeper insights into their spending on food for meetings. In addition, individual users can connect ezCater to their expense reporting system to centralize e-receipts and make expense management easier.
“Food is becoming an increasingly important part of business culture. In many industries, it’s harder and harder to drag decision-makers out to lunch; it’s easier to get them to listen to you for a few minutes if you feed them and their team. In addition, there’s a crop of younger workers who expect to be fed in the office,” said Jeff Lieberman, managing director at Insight Venture Partners. “ezCater is in a unique position to capitalize on these social trends and the expectations of the on-demand economy. They’re the only player that can address the entire $19.6 billion market for business catering in the U.S., and this funding will help them extend an already impressive service.”
ezCater is the only nationwide marketplace for business catering. ezCater’s online ordering, on-time ratings and reviews, and 5-star customer service connect businesspeople to reliable catering for any meeting, anywhere in the United States. For more information or to place an order, visit www.ezcater.com.
--- RELATED: Could ezCater, the Expedia of Business Catering, be the Next Billion Dollar Company? ---
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.
Acquia Closes $55 Million Financing Round
Acquia has closed a $55 million equity financing round. New investor Centerview Capital Technology led the round, with support from existing investors includingNew Enterprise Associates (NEA) andSplit Rock Partners. This funding will help Acquia scale its sales and marketing and the development of its solutions for building, delivering, and optimizing digital experiences.
“At Acquia, we pride ourselves on guiding today’s leading organizations as they digitalize their business,” said Acquia CEO Tom Erickson. “The phrase, ‘If you’re not thinking ahead, you’re falling behind,’ rings ever so true for us, and we strive each day to help our customers stay ahead of the curve and provide amazing digital experiences. This investment in Acquia will enable our team to focus on doing what we do best, helping our customers achieve maximum business impact by delivering digital experiences that are flexible, agile, and open.”
Acquia is a leading provider of web content management solutions, most recently recognized in Gartner’s 2015 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management. Delivering the best digital experience is no longer optional; it’s the new mandate. Global organizations turn to Acquia to provide technical expertise and strategic insight to build, deliver, and optimize digital experiences that build brand engagement and ultimately drive the bottom line.
“We are delighted to partner with Acquia, the industry leading web-content management solutions company” said Ned Hooper, managing partner at Centerview Capital Technology. “We are strong believers in the massive opportunity in digital transformation for the enterprise, and believe that Acquia, with its technology leadership and strong management team, is uniquely positioned to lead this transformation.”
Acquia is the digital experience company. Intuit, Warner Music Group and Stanford University are among the more than 4,000 organizations that are transforming their digital businesses with Acquia’s open cloud platform. Global 2000 enterprises, government agencies and NGOs rely on Acquia to create new revenue streams, lower costs, and engage audiences more deeply through content, community, commerce and context.
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 -----
RIFT.io Raises $16 Million In Series A Funding
BURLINGTON, Mass. – August 13, 2015 – RIFT.io, today announced the completion of a $16 million series A round of funding, led by North Bridge Venture Partners with participation from other strategic investors. The funds raised will be used to continue the development of RIFT.ware, the company’s open source network virtualization platform, and expand its world-class product, design, and engineering teams, while growing its marketing and customer support capabilities.
RIFT.io was founded in 2014 by CEO Greg Alden, an industry veteran joined by fellow co-founders, CTO Tim Mortsolf and CDO Matt Harper. The company features a talented leadership team including CSO Tony Schoener; CFO Scott Bryce, and SVP, Business & Market Development Vincent Spinelli, who have decades of experience in networking and enterprise software and held senior management roles at Cisco, Starent Networks, Juniper, 3COM, Redback, EMC, Arrowpoint and Movik Networks. Headquartered in Burlington, MA with offices in San Jose, CA and Bangalore, India; RIFT.io specializes in open source, hyperscale network virtualization software that simplifies the development, deployment and management of virtual network services, applications and functions.
The RIFT.io founders believe that network services need to migrate from proprietary appliances to open, hyperscale networking software services in order for virtual network functions (VNFs) to be relevant in cloud networks that support Web, mobile, and IOT-centric applications. RIFT.io promises to fundamentally change the economics of the networking industry and help customers reduce complexity and accelerate service velocity.
“The walls between network product suppliers and network service consumers are disappearing. Our goal from day one was to build a platform that would provide everyone with the same capabilities and technology enjoyed by the largest networking technology companies,” said Greg Alden, chief executive officer of RIFT.io. “Robust Open Source components, high performance general purpose computing, and RIFT.ware make this a reality. Our software addresses the unique challenges and complexities of network applications and leverages the best of open source and hyperscale data center technology to bring innovation, lower cost and an emerging community of value-adding solution providers.”
Network applications and VNFs built with RIFT.ware combine the economics and scale of hyperscale data centers with the security and availability of carrier-grade network services. Companies can start with a single network application or service on a single virtual machine (VM) on any cloud platform and scale to any number applications, VMs, and locations on multiple clouds with no capacity constraints or distance limitations. This dramatically lowers the risks associated with rolling out new services, allowing providers and enterprises to easily trial and evolve services to determine what best meets the needs of customers.
“Benu Networks has been a leader in developing network solutions that embrace virtualization and cloud technologies,” said Dino Di Palma, CEO, Benu Networks. “ Partnering with RIFT.io has sped our development of solutions for the connected home, helped us build a more robust, scalable virtual network application and allows us to target any customer on any cloud infrastructure, at any scale.”
Network function virtualization promises the same transformation in network applications that virtualization delivered to Web-based applications. Virtualization is now foundational to over $3 trillion in annual IT spending. The transformation in network applications, driven by the Internet of Things and the growth in the number of connected devices, will have an even larger impact and the pace of change will be unprecedented. According to Beecham Research, the world will be host to more than fifty billion device connections by the year 2020, emphasizing the importance of scalability, security and efficient connectivity.
“At North Bridge we invest in great ideas and great teams. It is rare to find a team that can adapt so easily to the changing market and technology requirements, especially a team has worked together for many years.” said Ed Anderson, managing general partner of North Bridge. “Our most successful portfolio companies have been the disruptors with bold ideas and the capability to achieve their potential. The pace of software innovation is changing everything and we are thrilled to be working with RIFT.io as a true partner to accelerate the transformation.”
Rift.io recently joined the Intel® Network Builders program in July, an ecosystem dedicated to accelerating the transition to SDN and NFV solutions based on industry open standards.
“NFV service orchestration will require increasing intelligence that can best determine how to take advantage of the underlying hardware capabilities and apply them to the right workload.” said John Healy, General Manager, SDN Division, Intel Corp. “By joining the Intel Network Builders program, RIFT.io will help to accelerate the adoption of NFV and enable service providers and enterprises to take advantage of key capabilities such as enhanced platform awareness (EPA) on Intel architecture.”
RIFT.io will be showcasing their software August 18th – 20th at the Intel Developer Forum being held at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco, CA. Come visit the company in booth # 163.
RIFT.io makes it simple for network service developers, enterprises, and service providers to create, deploy, and manage Web-scale network applications and virtual network functions (VNFs). Network applications and services built with RIFT.io technology combine the economics and scale of hyperscale data centers with the security and availability of carrier-grade network services. RIFT.io is a privately held, global company with offices in the United States and India. For more information about RIFT.io, visit http://riftio.com/. Follow us at @RIFT_io.
About North Bridge
North Bridge Venture Partners and North Bridge Growth Equity are active partners with entrepreneurs providing seed-to-growth financing for innovative companies looking to disrupt big markets. With nearly $4 billion in capital currently under management, North Bridge partners, many founders themselves, work with entrepreneurs to apply their expertise in the creation, operation and scaling of market-leaders. The firm has funded more than 200 companies creating many billions in market value. The firm has offices in Boston, MA and Palo Alto, CA. To learn more about North Bridge go to www.northbridge.com. Follow us at @North_Bridge
 M2M World of Connected Services. 2009. Infographic. Beecham Research, Boston. Web. 22 Jul 2015.
ACT.md Raises $8.4M in Series A Funding
ACT.md, the provider of a team-based care coordination platform for the management of complex patients, announced today a $8.4 Million Series A funding agreement led by Rose Park Advisors, a specialized investment firm that utilizes Clayton Christensen's research to make intelligent and successful investment decisions. ACT.md will leverage this investment to accelerate product development and help manage the company's rapid growth.
National leaders in healthcare informatics and operations - Dr. Isaac Kohane, Dr. Kenneth Mandl, and Ted Quinn - founded ACT.md. "We were inspired to launch ACT.md after observing for decades the constant dropped handoffs across the various providers caring for patients. So we created ACT.md as an operating system for team-based care that drives action toward improved outcomes and reduced costs," said Dr. Kenneth Mandl, Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Boston Children's Hospital Computational Health Informatics Program...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
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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