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Funding Daily: From Senegal to Silicon Valley


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Today is 2/21. Interestingly (and searching desperately for an introductory topic), 221 is the Senegalese telephone country code. This discovery sent me down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, where I learned that while French is the West African country’s official language, many locals speak Wolof; Islam is the predominant religion, and Senegal is known across Africa for its musical heritage. Now, all the way from the West Coast of America, I bring you today’s funding news.

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‘X’ marks the spot for Battery Ventures’ new $900M fund

Battery Ventures has filled its latest investment treasure chest with $900 million. The venture capital firm announced today the closure of its 10th fund, which actually includes two funds that it will “co-invest” with. Battery Ventures X (BVX) is a $650 million fund that will back companies at all stages of their lifecycle. The Battery Ventures X Side Fund will dedicate $250 million to companies further down the pipeline and support acquisitions. It will focus on companies working with software-as-a-service for enterprise and “big data” analytics; IT infrastructure like networking and storage; technology-enabled business services; and buyouts in markets that are “ripe for consolidation.” Read more on VentureBeat.

Skyera hooks $51.6M from Dell Ventures to bring affordable SSDs to enterprise

Enterprise solid-state drive maker Skyera has raised $51.6 million in its second round of funding, with hopes that it can make a dent in a crowded Flash storage field. Skyera wants to offer big enterprise companies superfast storage for their data centers on the promise that its storage is affordable, has low power consumption, and will greatly boost software performance. The new funding was led by Dell Ventures, with participation from other unnamed investors. The $51.6 million actually includes $6.5 million from a prior investment from the same firms, but this is the first time the company has announced any funding numbers. Read more on VentureBeat.

With $17.3M, Euclid brings power of data to real world retailers

Euclid has raised $17.3 million in its second round of funding to bring data analytics to physical retailers. Euclid gives brick-and-mortar businesses the capability to better understand their customers by monitoring their in-store behavior through Wi-Fi sensors.The company refers to its approach as “Google Analytics for the real world.” Benchmark Capital led this round, with participation from NEA, Harrison Metal, and Novel TMT Ventures. Euclid officially launched in 2011 and announced $5.8 million in funding. Its founders previously started Urchin, which was acquired by Google and set the foundation for Google Analytics. Read more on VentureBeat.

Drawbridge raises $14M bridge toward larger seas

Yesterday, mobile ad startup Drawbridge revealed a $14 million round led by Northgate Capital. This is Drawbridge’s second round of investment and included participation from Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers and Sequoia Capital. Drawbridge is the developer of technology that tracks what people do online across multiple devices, to create profiles that advertisers can use to wage more targeted campaigns.

Edtech startup lifts heavy weight of loans off student shoulders

StudentLoanHero is a startup that gives student borrowers tools to repay their loans faster. The company just closed a seed round with Expansion VC and was accepted into the latest batch at the Socratic Labs EdTech Accelerator in New York City. Students and grad carry more than $1 trillion in student debt right now, and 65 percent misunderstand their obligations. StudentLoanHero helps add efficiency and transparency into the process, offering organizational tools, tracking, and strategic guidance. Read more on VentureBeat.

Investors throw Wedding Party a bouquet of $1 million 

People are willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money to make their weddings memorable. Wedding Party is a mobile app that collects photos from wedding guests to create shared albums, and it has raised $1 million in seed funding led by NEA and Felicis Ventures, along with angel investors. The app is available on iOS and Android, and people can access photos through Facebook or the web.

Danish startup gives game developers access to analytics

GameAnalytics, a startup based in Copenhagen, has raised $2.5 million and announced the release of its fermium software-as-a-service game analytics platform. The technology helps game developers and studios take a more data-driven approach to game development and moneitzation. It tracks million of players every month from more than 40 studios to provide insight into player behavior, retention and conversion rates, and so on. Investors include Sunstone Capital, CrunchFund, and a group of superangels.

Nexmo raises $3M to send messages around the world

Mobile messaging startup Nexmo closed a $3 million round of funding, led by Intel Capital. Nexmo’s cloud-based APIs lets apps send and receive a high volume of mobile messages seamlessly around the world at lower cost, and helps developers and enterprises build scaleable messaging applications. Read the press release. 

7 comments
anonymous
anonymous

So the platform is maturing. But that's not necessarily a reason to abandon it, but rather to think harder how to add value to it.

anonymous
anonymous

felicitation you are the best

joelisjoel
joelisjoel

My partners and I have a small app called KissMe that has been in the top 100 for the last couple of months. We've been thinking for a long time that there's a way to take applications to the next level and offer something that really makes a difference in peoples lives, but are having trouble getting past the microscopic attention spans of internet users. Recently we've seen our virality numbers slowly dropping off, which I attribute mostly to app fatigue on the part of users. Even I try not to use facebook for anything important anymore - it has become too spammy.

We're definitely feeling the pain of competition these days in that the "small guys" are being eaten by larger more coordinated teams. It also seems that the competetive environment encourages a race to the bottom in terms of standards of user experience. We've tried for a long time to provide a positive user experience, but we question our strategy every time we see ourselves surpassed by applications which are spammier, trashier, or seeded by bots.

anonymous
anonymous

Interesting data. Although I think the impact of it on developers will depend a lot on what kind of applications they make.

Over time there is an incentive for social networks to support the kind of applications which help them achieve their goals (distribution, retention, time spent on the site, monetization etc), over applications that "game the system" and reduce user satisfaction through excessive spam or otherwise.

As a games company creating high production value games for social networks, we at Playfish actually see stricter moderation of the platform as a good thing. It will help reduce noise for consumers and get them to focus on the applications they enjoy using. Other video game platforms are far more restrictive about publishing for their system, so in comparison things are still pretty good even on Facebook.

We also haven't really seen an impact on our own numbers from the recent changes. We just launched a title "Word Challenge" last week and reached 100,000 players in less than a week. Our "Who Has The Biggest Brain?" is still going strong at over 2.5 million players.

So the platform is maturing. But that's not necessarily a reason to abandon it, but rather to think harder how to add value to it.

Facebook's approach to building its platform has been very thoughtful to date and this just seems the next natural step in its evolution.

anonymous
anonymous

Facebook Platform sucks, not to say I've said that for awhile but...I've said that for a while!

anonymous
anonymous

OpenSocial may be a pipe dream... Users are uniquely defined by the combination of their environment domain and a user ID specific to that domain, which means that 99% of OpenSocial apps will consider you to be a different user based on each domain installed.

= Weak!

anonymous
anonymous

Now this is interesting news. Seems that most of the developers are leaving facebook and trying to infiltrate the Hi5 and MySpace platforms. We had thought about trying to penetrate the facebook market more, but it is just too saturated right now with so many thousands of applications.

The question is, what's next? Will facebook start creating their own? Eliminating some? I would think that they would need to trim the fat.

Another issue with the facebook applications is how quickly they spam people, whether it be through notifications, alerts, emails, etc. People aren't appreciating the constant e-mails telling them to join the groups. I definitely don't approve of that.