The mergers, acquisitions, and funding round up
There was a significant amount of action across the global startup space this week, with companies including Twitter and Techstars making acquisitions, and LeadPages, Mapbox, and Doctor on Demand raising capital.
Mergers and acquisitions
Techstars has acquired the non-profit parent company of Startup Weekend, UP Global. With the idea for Startup Weekend originally born in Techstars’ basement in Boulder, Colorado, Techstars’ managing partner David Brown said in a blog post that the two companies share a vision. He added that all of the UP Global events will remain “open and independent in their execution at a community level.” Fees associated with UP Global’s pre-accelerator program, Startup Next, will be eliminated.
The UP Global team will be joining Techstars, with Marc Nager, CEO of UP Global, becoming Chief Community Officer.
British beauty booking website Wahanda announced that it has raised $73 million in funding and acquired French counterpart ZenSoon, a week after acquiring Dutch startup Treatwell. The acquisition of ZenSoon brings Wahanda’s client base up to 1,000 spas and salons in France and 20,000 across Europe. Lopo Champalimaud, founder and CEO of Wahanda, said in a statement that France is a “vitally important strategic market” for the company as it looks to drive its platform forward.
“The hair and beauty market in France alone is worth €11bn, with over 100,000 spas and salons. With limited funding, ZenSoon, through their truly entrepreneurial spirit, have achieved incredible growth and positioned themselves as a major player in the French market,” Champalimaud said.
Wahanda now has a presence in ten European countries, with further expansion planned.
Indian ecommerce platform BedBathMore, which sells home furnishings, has acquired art ecommerce store Crude More. The startup turns graphic art by Indian artists into decorations and products for the home, like mugs and framed prints.
Twitter has acquired Massachusetts-based machine learning startup Whetlab. The startup describes machine learning as “a collection of sophisticated algorithms, backed by rigorous mathematics, that can identify structure in data”, with its technology helping engineers enact deep learning techniques quickly. The startup’s private beta will be shutting down its closed beta mid-July.
A statement on Whetlab’s website read, “Over the past year, we have created a technology to make machine learning better and faster for companies, automatically. Twitter is the platform for open communication on the internet and we believe that Whetlab’s technology can have a great impact by accelerating Twitter’s internal machine learning efforts.”
Intel has acquired Vancouver wearables startup Recon Instruments, formerly an Intel Capital portfolio company that creates smartglasses and other head-mounted technologies for sports. Recon’s co-founder and CEO Dan Eisenhardt said the acquisition will give the company the resources to expand its developer relations program, helping to establish and maintain a strong app ecosystem, as well as allowing the company to draw from Intel’s extensive tech portfolio.
In a statement on the acquisition, Josh Walden, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s New Technology group, said, “We’ve gotten to know and admire [Recon’s] products and people over the last couple years.”
Gaming company Razer has acquired Ouya, the startup that created a $99 Android-based gaming console. The deal hasn’t been confirmed by either party – news broke when investment bank Mesa Global posted about the acquisition on its website, before quickly taking it down.
Japanese recipe network Cookpad has acquired Cucumbertown, a social network based around cooking with founders based in India, the US, and Switzerland. Cucumbertown will remain independent, with the deal giving Cookpad an entry in the Indian market.
The Players Tribune, a sports media startup launched by former Yankee Derek Jeter, has raised a $9.5 million Series B round from NEA. The funds will be spent on new hires spanning editorial, production, and business, and expanding the site’s video and audio content.
Social Status on track to secure $1 million investment
Social Status, a startup that has developed tools to automate social media reporting for marketers, has the chance to secure $1 million in funding from Oxygen Ventures after winning The Big Pitch competition this week.
PartPic, a visual recognition startup which helps users find the name and model number of different product parts they may be looking for, such as nuts and bolts for cars or furniture, has raised $1.5 million from a group of over 15 investors.
Email marketing startup LiveIntent, which enables clients to buy and sell ads in emails, has raised $32.5 million of growth equity in a round led by FTV Capital. The startup works with over 450 brands and 700 publishers to reach 92 million unique users a month.
Mapbox, a full-stack mapping platform for developers, has raised a Series B round of $52.55 million. The round was led by DFJ Growth, and will allow the startup to build its team across all its departments.
Self publishing platform Pronoun has raised $3.5 million. The company was originally known as Vook, a book creation and distribution company, with the new Pronoun platform yet to launch.
Video telemedicine provider Doctor on Demand has announced the closing of a $50 million Series B round, which it will use to expand its service. The startup, which allows patients to consult with doctors through video, recently brought on its 200th employer/customer.
San Francisco startup Brightwheel, which has created a platform allowing early education providers to record and track mandatory data like attendance and bodily fluids, has raised a $2.2 million in seed funding. The startup is releasing new Android and iOS apps, as well as a new billing platform.
Wifi based wireless carrier FreedomPop has raised $30 million. CEO Stephen Stokols told Bloomberg that the startup talked with six potential buyers before opting to instead raise funds. It may be looking to raise a further $50 to $100 million this year.
California startup Nod Labs, which produces motion tracking hardware, has raised a $13.5 million Series A round, which will be used to further its work on multi-platform controllers for virtual reality experiences.
Financial planning software provider Tidemark has raised $25 million, bringing on Workday, which provides enterprise resource planning software, as an investor. Tidemark CEO Christian Gheorghe said the company has just experienced its best growth rate to date.
Social networking startup Reveal has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. The startup’s app rewards users for answering questions with its own cryptocurrency, called Reveal Coin.
Sketchfab, a startup which allows for the publishing and sharing of interactive 3D files, has raised $7 million in a Series A round led by FirstMark Capital. The funds will be used to further Sketchfab’s work in 3D and virtual and augmented reality.
Recruitment startup Connectifier, run by ex-Google engineers, announced it has raised $6 million in funding. Already used by companies like PayPal, Netflix, eBay, and Facebook, Connectifier helps recruiters find suitable candidates through leveraging big data.
French Internet of Things startup Actility has raised $25 million from investors including Gingko Ventures, Orange, and KPN. Its product ThingPark allows telecommunications companies or municipalities to deploy an IoT network within a month.
London mobile money transfer startup Azemo has raised a $20 million Series B round led by Frog Capital. Azemo CEO Michael Kent said that the money will be used to expand the company’s operations around Europe.
Lead generation platform LeadPages announced the raising of a $27 million Series B round, bringing the total raised by the startup to $38 million. Though the company has not yet spent any of the VC funds it raised in the past, CEO Clay Collins said it will be looking to spend over the next 12 months as it expands.
Image: Techstars managing partner David Brown.