Deals & Funding (51)

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Looking for cash for your startup? Fundable just announced that it has surpassed $100 million in commitments from backers and investors.

That means, communications chief Laura Moller said, that it’s now the biggest crowdfunding platform around.

Fundable works like a crowdfunded venture capitalist, taking in funding commitments from over 53,000 backers and disbursing them in small investments to hundreds of startups in a model very similar to Kickstarter or Indiegogo. If you see a company you like — perhaps Pixel Press, which enables anyone to build their own video games — you can choose to back that company.

Interestingly, Fundable doesn’t take a percentage of the investment, but simply charges a small monthly fee. Investors can choose equity or Kickstarter-like rewards.

Businesses like Fundable have only been possible since last year, when the JOBS Act made it legal not only to raise money but also to tell people about it in public — so-called “general solicitation” rule.

“Before, it was like having your house for sale but not being able to tell anyone about it but your friends and family,” Fundable CEO Eric Corl told me then. “This will open up a tremendous amount of capital for entrepreneurs.”

At least $103 million worth as of this moment, it appears. And counting.

Fundable is a crowdfunding site for startups. Fundable’s platform takes advantage of the new JOBS Act, also known as the “Crowdfunding Bill,” which now allows startup companies to publicly raise money from anyone willing to back them.

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Airbnb has closed a large round of funding at an 11-figure valuation, according to multiple reports.

The Wall Street Journal reports hearing from sources that Airbnb has sealed a deal to raise $450 million led by TPG, a private equity firm, while website TechCrunch reported that the round was for $500 million. Both publications put the valuation at $10 billion.

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Could the next billion-user Internet company be one that focuses on literature? It might sound unlikely, but that's Wattpad's goal.

Wattpad, an online community for writers and readers to share and discover good stories, announced Tuesday that it has raised $46 million in a Series C round of funding led by OMERS ventures. The latest funding round brings the company's total funding to more than $60 million and is intended to help Wattpad accelerate product and user growth.

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Chinese social network Weibo has been accused of being a Twitter clone. That may not be entirely accurate, but certainly Weibo would have loved to copy Twitter’s 73% stock jump on its first day of trading last year.

The results haven’t been quite as spectacular, but Weibo made a nice pop, reaching as high as 40% above its debut price as of 1:58pm EDT, nearly two hours after it began trading on the NASDAQ. By the end of the trading day, Weibo shares settled up 19%, at $20.24.

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Smartisan announced recently it closed the funding round at RMB 180 million (US$29 million), placing its overall valuation above the RMB 1 billion (US$161 million) mark. The company didn’t reveal where the money came from, but thanked previous investors in the announcement.

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Who says bloggers don't make any money?

Automattic, which runs the popular blogging service WordPress.com, is in the market for a new round of funding that would value the company at more than $1 billion, according to Fortune.

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Eko is one of a new wave of stripped-down, souped-up business messaging apps. Today the Thai-American startup revealed that it has secured US$1 million in seed funding from 500 Startups and unnamed angel investors. Eko’s apps for iOS and Android are reminiscent of the simplicity of WhatsApp or iMessage, but also add in a few extra tools for enterprise users, such as tasks and networks. There’s also a web app for desktop-based users. The startup launched the service last September. The messaging app is up against a ton of biz-focused rivals, such as HipChat, Flowdock, Convo, Cotap, Fleep, and TigerText. They’re all treading on the toes of venerable enterprise platforms like Yammer and Campfire.

Thursday, 10 April 2014 00:00

Zopim To Be Acquired by Zendesk

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Zendesk, the cloud-based helpdesk startup, has made what looks like its first acquisition: it has announced that it is buying Zopim, whose flagship product is piece of live chat software that is used by some 120,000 websites. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but we are trying to find out.

As a result of the acquisition, Zendesk will be phasing out its own chat software and integrating Zopim’s “superior” one into its platform, writes Adrian McDermott, SVP of product development, in a blog post announcing the news.

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It's not every week that you see a tech founder who has worked as an analytics associate at Google and as a nurse assistant at a hospital. Sean Duffy has always straddled these two worlds: his mother was a nurse and he developed a fascination for medicine, but he never could shake the fact that he was "huge tech geek."

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Twitter has acquired Cover, an Android lock screen app, the two companies announced Monday. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

Cover was founded by former Google employees and launched on an invitation-only basis in October. Cover displays the six apps on the Android lock screen that users are most likely to want to use, based on daily analysis of the user's smartphone habits and the current context (whether you're at home, work or driving somewhere). The app attracted "hundreds of thousands" of users prior to the acquisition.

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