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Here’s a wrap-up of the day’s funding news:
Boom Financial raises $17M to bring banking to the masses
Mobile banking company m-Via has raised $17 million in funding and changed its name to Boom Financial. Boom provides an online financial platform for people without bank accounts. It primarily serves immigrant families and allows them to save, share, and spend their money globally, which is key for those with extended families abroad. Boom’s mobile money service eliminates the need for traditional cash wire transfers by allowing members to use their phones to make low-cost, bank-grade payments using text messaging.
This second round brings the total funding to $30 million. It was led by Digicel Group, a value mobile operator with an international presence, including in the Caribbean, Central America, and the South Pacific. Boom Finanical will channel the investment towards expanding its product team in the US, as well as increasing its sales and distribution in the US, Latin American, and Caribbean. Read more on VentureBeat.
Top Hat Monocle takes $8M to make being on your phone during class OK
Mobile education company Top Hat Monocle has raised $8 million in a first round of financing for its app that aims to give students greater opportunities to engage with their education.
Through Top Hat Monocle’s application, students can interact with professors, take polls and quizzes, watch demonstrations, discuss course material with other students, and track their grades, all from a smartphone or tablet. In essence, it brings gaming principles to the classroom to make learning more competitive, dynamic, and collaborative. Instead of cowering in the back too afraid or apathetic to raise their hands, students can participate from the safety of their mobile devices.
Since launching in 2010, Top Hat Monocle has been used by students at around 200 universities worldwide. The company raised a seed round of $1.5 million in November 2011. This investment was led by Emergence Capital Partners and iNovia Capital. THM is based in Toronto, Canada with an office in San Francisco. Read the press release.
AppDirect grabs $8.5M to power cloud app stores
Cloud marketplace platform AppDirect has raised $8.5 million in its first round of funding. AppDirect’s platform makes it possible for large companies to launch cloud service marketplaces. High-profile apps, including Google Apps, DocuSign, SendGrid, New Relic, and Cloudability, are part of AppDirect’s syndication network.
On top of AppDirect’s funding, it has put together a deal with Rackspace. Rackspace, the No. 2. cloud-hosting provider after Amazon Web Services, will now be able to sell a whole host of apps to its many cloud customers via AppDirect. AppDirect will take a small cut of each transaction, as it does in every store it powers.
The new round of funding was put up by existing investors iNovia Capital and Stingray Digital. Combined with the company’s $3.25 million seed round last year, AppDirect has raised about $12 million in total. Read more on VentureBeat.
LittleBits gets $3.65M for toy that teaches toddlers how to hack
Maker/hacker startup LittleBits took $3.65 million in its first round of funding from some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. The investment was led by True Ventures with participation from Khosla Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, and Lerer Ventures. The money will propel the development of LittleBits’ LittleBits, hybrid computer-building block toys that appeal to kids and hardware developers alike. Read more on VentureBeat.
With $6M, Twist takes away all your lame excuses for being late
For an app that notifies people ahead of time about arrival times, Twist was relatively stealthy about its development. It launched yesterday for iPhones and today the company shared that it received $6 million in a first investment round, led by Bridgescale Partners and eBay cofounder Jeff Skoll.
With Twist, users to enter a destination or select events from a calendar and then list the people they would like to notify. The app takes over from there, pinging friends via SMS or push notifications with the users’ travel progress and estimated arrival times. Twist can also pre-empt lateness by suggesting when to leaven factoring in traffic and weather, in order to be on time.
For those of serially tardy people out there, Twist may be the answer to all your problems. Or it could prevent you from pretending to be late because of traffic. Don’t pretend, you got sucked into another happy hour. Read more on VentureBeat.
Performance Horizon Group brings in $3.1M to disrupt digital marketing
Performance Horizon Group has brought in $3.1 million in new funding to fuel its goal of becoming the number one software-as-a-service provider of marketing technology.
The company’s ExactView platform helps brands and agencies manage revenue, drive relationships, and limit risk. It also provides tracking, analytics, and management tools for big data to help customers make marketing decisions that will increase sales and reduce costs.
As brands become more committed to switching out old digital marketing technology, PHG has gained traction. It currently works with over 35 global brand-name clients across 30 countries. Existing investors Greycroft Partners and DN Capital led the round for a total of $5 million raised to date. Earlier this year, PHG won the award for Innovative Start-Up at the Marketing Innovation Awards in London. The company has offices in the UK and New York and was founded in 2010.
Mobile Pulse raises $2.5M to prevent professionals from flailing about for cell reception
Angel investors invested $2.5 million in Mobile Pulse today. Mobile Pulse offers broadband measurement and analysis software to enterprise, government agencies, and telecommunications companies. The technology analyzes coverage, performance, and availability of an organization’s broadband mobile networks. Customers can measure the carrier performance, compare carriers and devices, and diagnose problem coverage areas. With all that wireless data floating about and the increased use of mobile technology to conduct business, the ability to monitor the strength of various networks is significant, if for no other reason than that it looks unprofessional to run around holding a cell phone over your head. The company is headquartered in Denver, Colo. Read the press release.
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