Category: Press Release

Memebox Raises $66M for its E-Commerce Platform

Memebox, an e-commerce company specializing in beauty products from Korea, has closed a significant $65.95 million Series C funding round to fuel further expansion.

The financing was led by new investor Formation Group, with participation from returning backers Tekton Ventures, Goodwater Capital and Pejman Mar Ventures. The deal takes Memebox, which graduated Y Combinator in 2014, to $95 million from investors to date. Its $17.5 million Series B round closed in March 2015.

GrubMarket Raises $20 million to Expand its Online Farmer’s Market

Forget food delivery. Just the organic slice of the grocery delivery business remains competitive in the U.S. with giants from the brick and mortar world, tech titans and upstarts all muscling in for a piece of an annual market that sees more than $40 billion in sales domestically.

Some have flamed out, like Farmigo, which recently closed shop. And others done some belt-tightening, like Good Eggs.

Now, a relatively young player called GrubMarket has raised $20 million in a Series B round of funding to pull ahead of the pack. The company employs about 25 full-time today in San Francisco with another 20 employees in Los Angeles, where the company expanded its service earlier this year.

Chief executive Mike Xu said GrubMarket is, “A marketplace that connects farmers and food producers directly with consumers, with no middle man.”

Read more ->>

Deako Raises $3.5M for Smart Light Switches

Credit: Deako
Photo via Deako.

Seattle-based smart light switch builder Deako has raised $3.5 million in funding, and its technology will be used in close to 10 percent of new homes built in the Seattle area next year.

With the latest funding, Deako has now raised close to $6.8 million in the last eight months, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Co-founder and CEO Derek Richardson said six venture capital firms from Silicon Valley, New York and Chicago have invested in Deako so far, but he would not name them.

The company says it has just finished up an alpha test and has refined the interface and added the ability control any light in a house with any switch. Users can also control lighting through a smartphone app.Deako’s customers are not home-buyers but rather home-builders and their electricians, who install the hardware in new homes. Richardson would not say which home-builders he is working with, but he said the number is in the double digits.

Read more ->>

Digital Rewards Startup Ifeelgoods Scores $6 million

Ifeelgoods, a startup that manages the digital rewards programs of brands like Samsung and Gap, announced today that it scored a $6 million investment.

France-based recruiting company Up Group led the financing round, putting $3 million on the table. As part of the investment, Ifeelgoods made “an exclusive distribution agreement” with Up Group.

“Ifeelgoods platform will help to enhance UP Group products and solutions and offer to its clients the largest international digital rewards catalog as well as a unique tool to build campaigns within a few hours,” the startup explained.

Idinvest and Tugboat Ventures, previous Ifeelgoods investors, also participated in the round.

To date, Ifeelgoods has raised at least $17 million.


Online Lender Ascend Taps VCs

Steve Carlson, chief executive of online lender Ascend Consumer Finance, which offers personal loans.

When Steve Carlson, chief executive of emerging online lender Ascend Consumer Finance Inc., considered fundraising this year, he realized the market wasn’t nearly as receptive as a year ago, when his startup received a $1 million equity seed round.

The sector has been beset by problems this year, including lower demand from debt investors for loans originated by alternative lenders, to the ouster of the chief executive at LendingClub Corp., one of the largest online lenders.

So Mr. Carlson opted to take new money in the form of a convertible note, rather than equity.

“My current investors came to me and said, ‘In today’s market, let’s move this fast, let’s not quibble over any of the valuation,’ ” he said. Convertible notes convert into equity at a later date, when a new funding round typically sets a valuation.

And so San Francisco-Ascend became one of the few online lenders to raise new capital this year.

It raised $11 million in new funding, the company told The Wall Street Journal. About half of that was in the form of debt to be used to underwrite loans; another half was in the form of convertible notes from OCA Ventures, Mucker Capital, Partech Ventures, Tekton Ventures, Cendana Investments, as well as the venture arm of Securian Financial Group.


Monster Snaps Up ‘Tinder for Jobs’ app, JOBR announced this morning it has acquired the San Francisco-based startup Jobr, which had been developing a job-finding app the company described as a Tinder for jobs,thanks to its use of swipe-based gestures. Deal terms were not disclosed, but Jobr had raised $2 million in seed funding in 2014. The app is not being shut down, but will rather be integrated with Monster’s platform further, though it already featured job listings prior to this deal.

Jobr was not the only company with the idea to pursue a Tinder-like job hunting app. Others, including a direct competitor Switch, were focused on similar concepts.


Althea Raises $3.5m to Sell K-Beauty Products to Southeast Asia

Althea, a Korea-based company that exports and sells cosmetics and beauty products to Southeast Asia, has closed a $3.5 million Series A round for expansion. Read more –>

A report co-authored by Google this week tipped Southeast Asia’s internet economy to grow six-fold to reach $200 billion annually in the next decade, with e-commerce set to account for over 40 percent of that figure. But, with a cumulative population of over 600 million, the region is already seen as lucrative opportunity for many online retailers — among them, Alibaba recently invested $1 billion in Rocket Internet-backed Lazada.

Althea, which was launched in July 2015, aims to take advantage of the popularity of Korean culture — such as K-Pop and Korean drama series — in the region. Founded by ex-Ticket Monster duo Frank Kang and Christopher Cynn alongside CFO Jae Yoon Kim, the Korean startup sells to consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines with plans to enter Southeast Asia’s two other major markets — Thailand and Vietnam — before the end of this year.

This new funding round is provided by a range of investors that include Mirae Asset Ventures, Posco Ventures, 500 Startups, Tekton Ventures and Cherubic Ventures with the aim of carrying out that market expansion, adding to the company’s 25 staff with new hires, and investing in marketing and logistics.



Hyperloop One Raises $80M, Announces Global Partners

Hyperloop Technologies becomes Hyperloop One, pulls in $80 million and announces global partners

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop Technologies is now Hyperloop One and $80 million richer from a close of its Series B round of financing today.

The news comes just days after rival hyperloop builder Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) announced a licensing deal to power its own prototype with magnetic levitation technology.

Both Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies) and HTT are based in L.A. and both are working on models of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop – a vacuum tube-based transportation technology promising to shoot riders from San Francisco to the City of Angels in 30 minutes or less.

The moniker was too much like its rival hyperloop builder and the change comes just in time for a propulsion open-air test (POAT) Hyperloop One will be conducting in North Las Vegas tomorrow.

The new cash is from existing investors Sherpa Ventures, 8VC, ZhenFund, Caspian Venture Partners and a few new investors, including 137 Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Fast Digital, Tekton Ventures, Partech Ventures, Western Technology Investment (WTI), SNCF, the French National Rail Company (interestingly) and GE Ventures, which has invested heavily in building high speed rail in various parts of the world such as Europe and China. The total now raised is at $100 million.


Bugcrowd Raises $15 Million for its Bug Bounty Security Platform

Bugcrowd Raises $15 Million to Bring its Bug Bounty Security Platform to More Companies Around the Globe

 –SAN FRANCISCO, April 20, 2016 – Bugcrowd, Inc., the pioneer and innovator in crowdsourced security for the enterprise, today announced it has closed $15 million in a Series B funding round led by Blackbird Ventures. Existing investors Rally Ventures, Costanoa Venture Capital, Tekton Ventures, Partech Ventures and Paladin Capital Group participated in the round, and were joined by new investors Industry Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. The company’s flagship product, Crowdcontrol™, is used by leading brands including Fitbit, Motorola, Tesla, TripAdvisor, Western Union, as well as a broad range of top-tier private clients. Using Crowdcontrol, Bugcrowd customers proactively uncover and resolve security bugs in their products — all powered by a curated, vetted community of more than 27,000 security researchers, the largest of its kind in the world. Bugcrowd customers include Fortune 500 companies across e-commerce, financial services, automotive, healthcare and more.

Bugcrowd has raised a total of $24 million and has led the surge in global market demand for trusted bug bounty programs. From beginnings in the Startmate accelerator in Sydney, Australia, Bugcrowd has experienced over 200 percent bookings growth year-over-year, with 10 consecutive quarters of revenue growth. The additional funds will be used to accelerate customer and crowd growth, pursue strategic partnerships and accelerate engineering and R&D efforts.


Dopay Raises $2.4 Million in Pre-Series A Funding

Financing by Techstars Ventures, Tekton Ventures, Force Over Mass and several angel investors will help  accelerate expansion into new markets

165270 unknown 2 bd7d99 large 1430323592

London, January 29, 2016
– dopay, the company which uses payroll to reach the largest untapped sector in retail banking, has secured US$2.4 million in pre-series A funding in a round led by Techstars Ventures and Force Over Mass Capital. The funds will further the launch of the company’s services in Egypt and help drive expansion into new markets in the Middle East and Africa. 

Banking the unbanked makes good business sense. Not having a bank account is expensive for everybody, employee and employer alike.   — Frans van Eersel, founder & CEO dopay

Currently, two billion people worldwide have jobs but no bank account. This means they are cut off from even the most basic financial services. Companies that employ these people feel this acutely; they have to manage large amounts of cash, which is costly and inconvenient.


Truebil Raises Series A $5M From Kalaari, Tekton and Inventus

BENGALURU: Truebil, an online market for buying and selling second hand cars, has raised a Rs 35 crore series A funding from venture capital investors Kalaari Capital, Inventus Capital and San Francisco-based Tekton Ventures. The rounds also participation from existing investor, Kae Capital.

The Mumbai-based startup, whose founders include former Housing employees, is focused on peer to peer sales of cars unlike large classified players like CarDekho and CarTrade.


BrightFunnel Raises $6M To Connect Marketing And Revenue

BrightFunnel announced today that it has raised $6 million in Series A funding.

The startup offers attribution tools to track the sales impact of customers’ marketing efforts, and it also predicts the future impact of upcoming campaigns. CEO Nadim Hossain said this data is particularly important as “marketing is eating sales.”

In other words, marketing was traditionally the first step in the process, and then potential customers were handed over to the sales team. Nowadays, marketing continues throughout — in fact, BrightFunnel has found that 47 percent of marketing “touches” occur during the sales cycle.

In the past, Hossain has said his goal is to build “the Google self-driving car for marketers.” He said BrightFunnel hasn’t gotten there yet, but it’s giving marketers “that basic data-driven map get from Point A to point B.”

“The way you might optimize a route using Google Maps, we can help you optimize the path to revenue,” he added.


What’s The Deal With EAT Club?

To be honest, I had never heard of EAT Club until about a month ago, when its public relations team reached out to me, and I’m glad that they did. EAT Club, which launched in 2010, is almost three years into its move from a consumer-focused company to a business-to-business one that focuses on corporate food catering. EAT Club’s ideal customer has always been the office employee, but back then, EAT Club was trying to acquire them at their office, rather than through their office, EAT Club CEO Frank Han told me. In the fall of 2013, EAT Club came to terms with the fact that B2C food businesses are hard.

Now, EAT Club focuses on corporate customers like Netflix, Tesla, DogVacay, Atlassian and Samsung. Every month, EAT Club serves an average of more than 700 companies, and has a fast-growing business with impressive margins and repeat customers (86% of anyone who has tried EAT Club is a repeat customer).


Petnet Raises $4 Million for Its Smart Pet Feeders

Investors have poured $4 million of new venture funding into Petnet Inc., a company that makes “smart feeders” for dogs and cats that weigh up to 50 pounds.

Petnet’s smart feeders can be controlled remotely through the company’s mobile iOS app, and help pet owners manage feeding times and portion sizes, according to the company’s website.

The sensor-laden feeders also help users to find a nutritionally optimal pet food and have it delivered to their doorstep directly from the manufacturers, bypassing a trip to the pet store and markups seen at brick-and-mortar retailers.


Altos Ventures Invests $3M into Beauty eCommerce Company HuiSeoul


Silicon Valley investment company Altos Ventures recently announced its US $3.0M investment in Trillionaire. Trillionaire runs a Korean cosmetic ecommerce service called HuiSeoul, which focuses on providing Korean beauty products exclusively to the Chinese market.

The journey for HuiSeoul started in a single store in Myung Dong (Seoul) back in November 2014. The company reacted quickly to an identified market in China for Korean cosmetic and beauty products. In February 2015, HuiSeoul began, and started to sell reasonably priced Korean cosmetics to China.

The company places the highest priority in being a trustworthy service. Its differentiating factor is an online forum where beauty consultants provide advice to potential customers.  

Read more ->>

Korean E-commerce Leader Coupang Raises $1 Billion From SoftBank

As a Harvard undergraduate student, Bom Kim signed off on most emails with a self-translated quote from his entrepreneurial hero, SoftBank leader Masayoshi Son. “All I had was a dream and confidence for which I had no basis,” wrote Kim, who like Son had visions of creating an enduring, respected business.

Almost 20 years later, Kim is well on his way to emulating his idol and it is Son who is helping him achieve that goal. On Wednesday, Kim’s Coupang, South Korea’s fastest growing e-commerce company, announced that it is set to raise $1 billion from SoftBank.


Priceline to Buy Hotel-Data Company PriceMatch

Priceline Group
Inc. on Friday unveiled plans to acquire hotel-data company PriceMatch, the latest deal for the acquisitive online booking company.

The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Priceline said it would integrate PriceMatch into BookingSuite, which is a recently launched division of its business.

“With the addition of PriceMatch, BookingSuite partners will be able to access a powerful set of business intelligence tools to help them optimize performance through a platform that’s easy to use and manage,” said BookingSuite Director Rob Ransom.

PriceMatch’s cloud-based platform delivers real-time data to hotels through tailored algorithms that account for factors like a hotel’s reservation history, competitors’ prices and seasonality. According to PriceMatch, its clients have on average seen a 7% increase in RevPAR—or revenue per available room—which is a key metric for the hotel industry.


Active Lifestyle Brand Plae Receives $7 Million

Children’s shoe brand Plae has announced that it has received additional financial backing, closing on $7 million in Series A funding led by Paris-based Partech Ventures with participation from Tekton Ventures, Floodgate, Western Technology Investment and others. According to the San Francisco-based footwear company, the cash brings its total capital raised to $10.8 million, allowing the young brand to expand its global operations and fund growth, as well as invest in new product categories and cross-channel technologies.

Cotopaxi Raises $6.5M To Sell Socially Conscious Outdoor Gear

Cotopaxi, an e-commerce startup that also emphasizes making the world a better place, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding.

While many startup founders want you to believe that they’re idealists in pursuit of a big mission, co-founder and CEO Davis Smith told me (via email) that Cotopaxi is helping humanitarian causes in concrete ways — not just because the products are created in sweatshop-free factories, and not just because the company promises to donate a portion of its profits.

Read more–>

Y Combinator Backed MEMEBOX Raises $29 Million

SAN FRANCISCO, March 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — MEMEBOX, the fastest growing beauty e-commerce player in the world, today announced that it has raised $29.35 million in funding from Formation 8, Goodwater Capital, Tekton Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Pejman Mar Ventures, Y Combinator, Winklevoss Capital, FundersClub, Cowboy Ventures, and Altos Ventures, among others. MEMEBOX will use the funding to significantly expand its mobile and e-commerce offerings to China, the U.S., and Korea.

Launched in 2012 and incubated by Y Combinator, MEMEBOX is a mobile company pioneering the category of “beauty e-commerce” in both Asia and the U.S.  Leveraging the global influence of Korean beauty culture, the company is already the world’s largest online Korean beauty store with more than 1,000 brands available on its site and is quickly becoming one of the world’s most distinctive beauty platforms. In addition to introducing its own data-driven, private-label cosmetics brand in 2014, MEMEBOX launched new iOS and Android mobile apps for the Korean, Chinese and U.S. markets, reinforcing the company’s soaring growth. Since 2012, MEMEBOX has experienced over 400 percent growth, year over year, with nearly one million app downloads.