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July 30 2013

16:00
Social Media Dashboard Bottlenose Raises $3.6M
Bottlenose, a web platform to organize social media streams, has raised $3.6 million in Series A funding. The round was led by ff Venture Capital and joined by Lerer Ventures, Transmedia, Advancit, Stage One Capital, Social Starts, The Social Internet Fund and several angel investors. Including a seed round in 2012, this brings Bottlenose’s total to $4.6 million. The last time we talked to them in 2012, Bottlenose was about to launch its public beta and had about 50,000 users. Bottlenose beta allows you to sync multiple accounts so all news streams are aggregated in one place. The free version is available online, and uses its sonar tool to make connections between tweets, mentions, hashtags, images and other media. CEO Nova Spivack says all new funding will go to scaling its engineering, sales and marketing operations in preparation to publicly launch its new product, Bottlenose Enterprise. Bottlenose Enterprise expands on trend and real-time data analysis, with features to view audience response, sentiment, impressions, volume and correlations. You can list topics you want to track, and the program will automatically keep tabs on its activity, connections, media mentions and more. The goal is to help marketers and brand managers determine trends as they are happening and capitalize on popular topics and events. “There are other tools that don’t really show you what’s going on in real time. They’ll show you what happened yesterday and in the last hour. It’s static,” Spivack tells me. “Other tools basically give you a lot of data, but you have to figure out what’s important. And we’re doing the next step, we’re helping you figure out what’s important.” Spivack has been involved with several other startups, including EarthWeb, Radar Networks, The Daily Dot and StreamGlider. He says he has had experience building search engines, and helped in the original technology that eventually became the iOS personal assistant, Siri. Bottlenose isn’t the only company that’s adjusting to meet the needs of real-time marketing. Another startup, Awe.sm, measures social media campaign effectiveness by monitoring media channels for advertisers. However, Bottlenose Enterprise is less about gauging effectiveness and more focused on getting ahead on the most viral trends. While the previous version of Bottlenose is comparable to social media managers such as HootSuite and TweetDeck, the new edition is focused on analyzing data from thousands of sources. Now it faces competition from media analysis platforms such as Networked Insights, which has raised almost $30 million in
13:00
Grid, An App That Helps You Organize Ideas And Projects, Announces A Seed Round From Jerry Yang, Phil Libin, Others
Grid Grid, an “Excel minus the equations” app that helps you plan and organize more effectively and beautifully, announced today that it has raised a seed round. The app, made by a former Microsoft Excel designer, is a interesting take on the way many people use Google Docs or Excel spreadsheets. Investors in the round are Phil Libin (CEO of Evernote), Jerry Yang (founder of Yahoo), SalesForce.com.
07:01
Trōv Raises $6.8M To Empower The Rich Itemize, Survey And Find Hidden Value In Their Heaps Of Stuff
California-based Trōv has been quietly building a way for individuals to take stock of the assets that often go uncounted, those tangible assets that include physical possessions and general stuff, including wine and Faberge eggs and all the other wonderful things that the very wealthy tend to accrue. Today the company announces its total investment raised to date of $6.8 million, across both a Series A and Series B round.

July 29 2013

18:30
Finland's Next Gaming Phenom? Grand Cru Raises $11M From Idinvest, Qualcomm, Nokia Growth
Almost at a steady pace, Helsinki has produced a hit gaming company every couple of years: Rovio's Angry Birds blew up in 2009 and then Supercell took the crown as one of the highest-grossing iOS game developers in the world last year through Clash of Clans and Hay Day. Is the next one Grand Cru?
14:08
Jifiti Raises $2.5 Million For Gifting App Which Combines Thoughtful Shopping With The Convenience Of A Gift Card
Jifiti, a startup trying to reintroduce thoughtful gifting in the age of the ubiquitous gift card, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding, the company is announcing today, along with the official debut of its mobile app's new interface, designed for improved ease of use. The investment comes from Simon Property Group, a real estate company that operates over 300 malls in the U.S. and Asia, plus Schottenstein Stores Corp., owners of American Eagle and DSW, and the Jesselson Group.
07:05
Yahoo And Google Are Both Spending Big Money On Acquisition Sprees And What That Says About Their Futures
These days it seems as if a startup so much as glances in Marissa Mayer's direction, it can expect a bid within 24 hours. There's been a lot of buzz about Yahoo's new role as an acquisition hound of late, and Mayer's attempts to turn the beleaguered giant into a mobile-first company and energize its ranks with young, acqui-hired talent.

July 27 2013

00:46
Zenefits Lands $2.1M From Venrock, Maverick, Aaron Levie, Charlie Cheever And More To Automate Startup HR
For small businesses, managing health insurance and payroll services can be a huge pain and time-sink. They probably don't have someone on staff dedicated to these issues, and they themselves would rather be dedicating that energy to building a company. Zenefits launched out of Y Combinator this winter to remove the friction of setting up and managing group health coverage and payroll by automating the process and bringing it online -- for free.

July 26 2013

17:47
Stick It To The Military-Industrial Ink Complex By 3D Printing Your Own Printer Cartridges
This has to be one of the most uniquely disruptive uses of 3D printing I've seen: an ink refill company has successfully 3D-printed a Kodak ink cartridge, refilled it, and printed with it. Using a Makerbot Replicator 2 and some PLA, the company created an exact replica of the Kodak cartridge casing and stuck in an ink bladder of their own devising, thereby creating a sort of Frankenstein's monster of ink delivery.
02:36
Timehop, The Place To Reminisce Online, Raises $3M Led By Spark Capital
While present-focused social networks like Facebook and Instagram make plenty of room for the narcissists in us, there’s not really a dedicated and focused place to reflect on the past. Timehop, which started out as 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo, has evolved into a mobile-first startup that surfaces old memories from your social networks. The app will pull up status updates from a year or more ago, reminding you of friends you’ve lost contact with or thoughts you had a year ago on this day. The New York-based startup says it just rounded up another $3 million in funding led by existing investor Spark Capital. O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures, which had also previously backed the company, participated as well. Andrew Parker, a principal at Spark, joins Timehop’s board. Timehop’s CEO Jonathan Wegener says that the company will use the round to build out the team past seven people and focus on mobile apps. Timehop just shut down its e-mail service last week. “The big, long-term vision is to be a place to reminisce online,” Wegener said. “Basically in this world, all social networks are real-time. They’re about what’s happening right now, but there’s no place online to discuss the past.” While the Series A crunch has made fundraising tough for all kinds of consumer-facing mobile and web products, Wegener said it was Timehop’s stickiness that made a compelling case. He said one-third of Timehop’s user base opens the product on any given day, which is a very respectable retention figure. “Users who try to the product fall in love with it. This helped us make the argument that people are working Timehop into their everday lives,” Wegener said. “At first, people don’t understand why they would want this. But they get really addicted to it. They see it as a mirror of their own life, and a reflection of their past self.” He’s said he’s used the app to remember which friends he’s lost touch with over the years. The app will pull up old group photos, reminding Wegener to reach out and re-connect. Timehop’s earlier investors also included angels like Foursquare’s Dennis Crowley, Naveen Selvadurai and Alex Rainert, Groupme’s Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht, Rick Webb and Kevin Slavin.

July 25 2013

12:00
Warby-As-A-Service? Backed By Reddit, Posterous Founders, Eponym Helps Brands Build And Distribute Their Own Eyewear
Over the last few years, a new wave of startups has emerged to tackle a range of inefficient, ignored or offline segments within the massive world of fashion and retail. The maturation of the Web and digital commerce has allowed these startups to not only target specific niche groups of consumers and build communities and intimate relationships around these verticals, but to bypass brick-and-mortar gatekeepers and connect with customers directly through digital storefronts.
11:30
Trover Raises $2.5M Funding Round Led By Concur To Expand Its Travel Photography Community
Trover, an app and website for travel, culture and photography enthusiasts, today announced that it has raised a $2.5 million funding round led by Concur Perfect Trip Fund. The company's existing investors, including General Catalyst Partners, Benchmark Capital and the company's co-founder Rich Barton, as well as a number of its original angel investors also participated in this round. Concur's co-founder and senior VP Michael Hilton will join the Trover board.

July 24 2013

19:41
Walmart Labs Scoops Up Site Speed Optimizer, Torbit, To Help It Keep Pace With Amazon
Josh Fraser and Jon Fox founded Torbit in 2010 after becoming fed up with the amount of time they'd spent at past startups managing website performance optimization by hand. In 2012, the Sunnyvale-based startup launched its first product, called Insight, to make the tools they'd spent years developing available to anyone and everyone -- without requiring a degree in computer science or 15 developers.
17:53
Mediaspectrum Raises $35.8M From Insight Venture Partners To Support Big Media Publishers
Boston-based Mediaspectrum, a company that has a subscription software service catering to big media publishers like Gannett, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Post and more, just picked up $35.8 million in funding led by Insight Venture Partners. The roughly 100-person company helps these publishers manage their advertising and content across many platforms on the web and mobile devices. Insight’s managing director Peter Sobiloff and a principal Cian Cotter will join the company’s board. The company has built a content management system so that publishers can push out stories, content and video simultaneously to the web, tablets, mobile phones and broadcast channels. The product has story development folders where editors and writers can collaborate on different story series and angles. It also has support for SEO, rights management and micro-payments. On the advertising side, Mediaspectrum has other products that support sales campaigns and different ad formats. They say the ad side of the product can handle billing, booking, ad production and performance tracking so that everyone inside a media company’s sales staff can work together in one environment. The company’s CEO and co-founder Scott Killoh previously started Openpages, which went on to raise $54 million in venture capital and was later sold to IBM. That company also catered to big print media organizations like Gannett and Knight-Ridder, so he has nearly two decades of experience working in this market.
17:31
Michael Dell Ups His Offer To Take Dell Private By A Comically Low $0.10 Per Share
Michael Dell and Silver Lake have offered improved terms for their proposed transaction to take venerable computer OEM Dell private. Their former offer was derailed by activist investor Carl Icahn, who offered an almost bizarre deal that involved removing nearly all Dell shares from the market, but not taking the company private. The new offer of $13.75 per share, is a mere $0.10 improvement.
17:22
Developer Training Platform Pluralsight Acquires PeepCode To Expand Into Open Source Content
Pluralsight, the online training resource targeting professional developers which announced its raise of $27.5 million from Insight Venture Partners earlier this year, is now putting that funding to use. The company, whose corporate users include Microsoft, Salesforce, Twitter, Facebook, Dell, HP, Intel, Disney, EMC and others, is acquiring PeepCode, a similar resource providing video tutorials on a range of technologies, like Ruby, Node.js, JavaScript, Unix, Git, CSS, RSpec, databases, and more.
16:46
Tile Grabs $2.6M Via Selfstarter For Its Lost Property-Finding Bluetooth Tags Plus App
Tile, a connected objects startup that's trying to fix the problem of finding lost property with a Bluetooth tags plus app combo, has raised a massive $2.6M via its Selfstarter crowdfunding campaign. The funding considerably beefs up to the $200,000 Tile gained from being incubated out of Silicon Valley mobile accelerator Tandem Capital. It's also a massive 130x bump on its original funding goal.
15:11
MobileSpaces Raises $8.6M From Marker LLC, Accel To Boost Enterprise Mobile Security
One of the complaints I often hear from VCs here in Silicon Valley is that there just aren’t enough enterprise mobility startups. Clearly, with employees bringing their own devices to work in lieu of company issued Blackberries and Apple now dominating the enterprise tablet market with 88 percent of activations, there’s a market opportunity here. Silver Spring, Maryland-based MobileSpaces is one of the few companies attacking this space and they’re raising an $8.6 million second round of funding from Marker LLC and Accel Partners. (Accel has been in a few other enterprise mobility deals like 3LM, which sold to Motorola back in 2011. They previously led MobileSpaces’ $3 million Series A with partner Rich Wong joining the board.) MobileSpaces secures mobile apps and covers the 1.5 million apps available in both Apple and Google’s stores. They use proprietary application virtualization technology to create a secure workspace where employees can use any mobile app — whether it’s a custom, public or built-in one. IT administrators of companies can create policies for workspace use of each of these apps. They can remotely deploy applications, whitelist specific ones for company use and remotely remove or wipe apps from employees’ phones. Within that workspace, these enterprise apps can run natively just like consumer ones while their data gets secured and isolated. IT managers can set up of copy and paste restrictions to prevent data leakage, separate a file system, prevent personal apps from using enterprise data and remotely wipe company data. MobileSpaces’ technology creates a divide between the personal data of employees and corporate data. The company says that other mobile device management competitors only typically allow for employees to use a handful of apps, while MobileSpaces covers the full range of apps available in the two major stores. The company has a pretty experienced team as well with co-founder David Goldschlag formerly serving as McAfee’s vice president of mobile.
11:58
Reputation.com Buys MySocialCloud To Add Password Management Into Its Growing Data Vault
Online identity and privacy startup Reputation.com continues its march along the acquisition trail. Today the company is announcing its third acquisition this year: MySocialCloud, which provides a cloud-based service that lets users manage all their passwords and other login information in one place, by way of an extension -- called "Cloud It" -- that exists as a button on users' web browsers, used to auto login to any website when clicked.

July 19 2013

15:11
To Give U.S. Manufacuring A Boost, Maker's Row Gets $1M From Index, Comcast, Alexis Ohanian & More
The emergence of vertically integrated e-commece operations like Everlane and Flint and Tinder highlights how a new generation of startups is using  entrepreneurial muscle for economic regeneration in the U.S. And the growth of these companies is a sign of how consumers are supporting this idea, too. New startup Maker's Row now wants to take this concept to a much wider audience: today it is announcing a $1 million seed round to help build out a marketplace that will connect more U.S. manufacturers with small businesses that need to get things made. The round is being co-led by Index Ventures and Comcast Ventures, with participating angels including Reddit's Alexis Ohanian and Joanne Wilson, wife of Union Square Venture's Fred Wilson.
11:07
With Its Acquisition Of Locationary, Apple Zeros In On Maps, Big Data And Competing With Google
After breaking up with Google and forging its own way forward with its mapping service on iOS, Apple is now taking another step on that path: today it emerged that the company has bought Locationary, a big data startup that has created a platform to merge and clean up disparate information about companies' business profiles so that data can be consistent and accurate wherever that profile gets used (think: location+dictionary).
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