I saw Les Miserables for the second time over the weekend in celebration of VentureBeat reporter Christina Farr’s birthday. I will fully admit to weeping continuously during both viewings. Fortunately, I knew to bring tissues the second time. The trials and tribulations facing the downtrodden of 19th century France may be far removed from the technology community. However, the brilliance of Hugo’s novel rests in his exploration of universal themes of hierarchy, struggle, ambition, rules and revolution, and injustice. Entrepreneurs, too, have dreams. Here are a few of the companies whose toil paid off today.
Shape Security gets $20M second round while still not revealing its products
Shape Security, a stealth Internet security startup, raised $20 million today, despite not having released any of its products to the public yet. It focuses on all areas of web security, but right now has a particular interest in “botnets and crimeware-as-a-service.” Shape Security, which is staying secretive, previously raised $6 million in its first round of funding, and says it needs more money just to keep up with the interest in its technology. The money comes from Venrock, with participation from Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Allegis Capital, Google Ventures, TomorrowVentures (the fund set up by Google chairman Eric Schmidt) and former Symantec chief executive Enrique Salem. Read more on VentureBeat.
Brazilians just wanna have fun
W7 Brazil Capital has made its first ever investment in Kekanto, a social city guide for the Latin American market. Kekanto is based in Brazil and provides ratings, recommendations, and reviews based on user-generated content. Categories include restaurants, bars, hotels, tourist attractions, entertainment, shopping and more. In December of 2011, Kekanto received its first round of funding from Accel Partners and Kaszek Ventures to enter new markets. Today, Kekanto filed a form with the SEC for $5.5 million in new funding. The app is available on the web, as well as on Android and iOS.
Infusionsoft gets $54M to help small businesses compete with heavyweights
Infusionsoft has raised $54 million from Goldman Sachs. The company builds custom, all-in-one systems that combine CRM, email, and social marketing, and sales tools, for small businesses. Using these systems, small business owners can more effectively attract new customers, wage automated marketing campaigns, engage existing customers, and drive sales. Infusionsoft has over 12,000 customers around the world and grew by more than 50 percent last year. This third round investment will contribute to developing the product and accelerating its own marketing and sales efforts.This brings Infusionsoft’s total raised capital to $71 million. Read more on VentureBeat.
German startup makes payments as easy as eins, zwei, drei
Munich-based Paymill has raised €10 million ($13.2 million) for its API that quickly and easily enables online credit card payments. Similar to the San Francisco-based startup Stripe, Paymill offers a “quick start” solution for online stores and service providers to set up an online payment system. All they have to do is copy and paste a few lines of code and “poof!” E-commerce. The company launched in Munich in June of 2012 and quickly became active in 34 countries. It is one of the first to offer this kind of service in Europe. German accelerator Rocket Internet, Holtzbrink Ventures, RI Digital, and Sunstone Capital contributed to this round, which comes to over $13 million. Read more on VentureBeat.
German startup puts $14M into fanny pack of travel experiences
GetYourGuide is a website that helps people search for, find, and book tours, attractions, and activities in advance. Today, it announced it was putting $14 million into its fanny pack to expand to its database of things to do and enter new markets. The system collects and indexes tours, along with ratings, cost, and customer reviews. It has aggregated more than 16,900 activities in more than 1,680 destinations around the world, and has distribution partnerships with more than 1,000 online travel agonies such as TripAdvisor and Kayak. Spark Capital and Highland Capital led this first round of funding, which the company cites as one of the largest Series A investments raised by a European tech startup. Read more on VentureBeat.
GE invests in Big Data (as well as microwaves and comedy shows)
Boston-based “big data” startup Attivio raised $8 million from GE in growth funding. Attivio’s Active Intelligence Engine helps customers consolidate and make sense of their data — whether it’s sitting pretty in a database or is strewn haphazardly around the enterprise. The company raised $34 million in October from Oak Investment Partners and this follow-on round brings its total capital raised to $71 million. Read more on VentureBeat.
Clipboard’s new strategy takes on traditional research methods
Online web clipping service Clipboard has struck an investment deal with Scientia, an enterprise software company that provides scheduling and timetable tools to institutions of higher education. On Clipboard, users clip items from around the web and organize them on “boards.” This funding is part of a joint product development effort by Clipboard and Scientia to extend online collaboration further into the education market. The terms of this deal are undisclosed, although it makes Scientia the largest individual investor. Clipboard previously received $1.5 million from top tier investors Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurveston, and SV Angel, among others. Read more on VentureBeat.
BitPay takes real dollars to promote digital currency
Bitcoin payment processor BitPay has closed its seed round at $510K, including one investor who made his investment using bitcoins. Bitcoins are a form of digital currency that can replace credit card transactions as payment, creating a global peer-to-peer payment network. BitPay’s offers solutions that help businesses accept bitcoin payments, so they can do business anywhere in the world without worrying about integrations or fraud. In 2012, BitPay processed over $3 million and the volume is growing. This angel investment will go towards opening a headquarters in Atlanta and hiring.
A day for Turkey that is not Thanksgiving
Turkish venture firm 212 Capital Partners announced its first investment of 2013 in Solvoyo, a software-as-a-service provider of advanced supply chain optimization solutions. Businesses use the technology to plan and analyze their supply chain strategy, sales, operations, and performance. The company was founded in Istanbul in 2005 and is currently based in Boston. 212 put $1 million into the company, as reported by the Turkish tech blog Webrazzi. Read the press release.