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SparkLabs Global Ventures Technology

and Internet Market Bi-Monthly Review


August 31th, 2015

Bi-monthly Highlights

Global Trends

VR headsets are coming and success will rest on the games and experiences created by developers
Virtual reality (VR) headsets are finally hitting the mass market, offering a revolutionary and immersive platform for
content developers to reach consumers. The tech industry has promoted the prospect of VR a computergenerated simulation of an environment for the past few decades. But only now, with headsets backed by big
names like Sony and Facebook, is VR finally becoming a concrete product with mass market potential. While VR
technology is largely associated with the gaming industry, the platform offers a new set of content opportunities in
entertainment, advertising, and more. According to BI Intelligence, VR headset manufacturers are driving both the
development and distribution of VR content by investing significant technical and monetary resources in developers,
in an effort to build up an exclusive content library. High demand for VR headsets by mobile and console gamers will
fuel demand for VR content. The VR content market will take an increasing portion of the mobile gaming software
industry. Beyond gaming, VR video entertainment will remain short form until demand for VR headsets increases.

Membership-based delivery services are beginning to disrupt the US$600 billion-a-year grocery industry
The cost and complexity of delivering groceries is what ultimately led to the downfall of Webvan and other startups
that have tried to disrupt the US$600 billion-a-year grocery industry. But a new wave of promising delivery startups
are relying on a tried-and-true model to disrupt groceries: membership. Membership grocery services help secure
consumers as repeat customers and allow companies to lower individual shipping fees on every order. Shipping fees
are typically a big barrier to grocery delivery because orders must be delivered fast to guarantee freshness. The
grocery delivery model is attractive because it guarantees that customers are getting fresh food straight from their
local supermarket, without having to waste time in the store. The typical American family of four visits the grocery
store twice a week, according to the USDA. For example, Amazon charges Prime customers $99 annually ($299 for
Amazon Prime Fresh) in exchange for a bevy of benefits ranging from free two-day shipping to access to premium
video and music content. BI Intelligence estimates that there are approximately 53 million Prime members worldwide
and 25% of those members live outside the US.

Forecasts, tech timelines, and the benefits and barriers that will impact adoption
Self-driving cars are no longer a futuristic idea. Companies like Mercedes, BMW, and Tesla have already released,
or are soon to release, self-driving features that give the car some ability to drive itself. Tech companies are also
trying to pioneer the self-driving car. Recently, Google announced that it would be testing its prototype of a driverless
car on roads this summer in California. Self-driving cars are not some futuristic auto technology; in fact there are
already cars with self-driving features on the road. According to BI Intelligence, self-driving is any car with features
that allow it to accelerate, brake, and steer a car's course with limited or no driver interaction. By the end of the
forecast period, the report expects there will be nearly 10 million cars with one of our defined self-driving car
features.
SparkLabs Global Ventures (http://www.sparklabsglobal.com) is a global seed-stage fund with partners in
Silicon Valley, Chicago, London Tel Aviv, Singapore, and Seoul.
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SparkLabs Global Ventures Technology


and Internet Market Bi-Monthly Review
August 31th, 2015

Asia Pacific
China

Intel continues drone push with US$60M investment into Chinas Yuneec
Intel just announced a more than US$60 million investment into Shanghai-based drone maker Yuneec. The news
comes the same week that fellow Chinese drone company Ehang raised US$42 million, and Sony unveiled its own
drone prototype due out in early 2016. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich called Yuneecs technology a game changer in the
drone industry, and said the investment falls in line with Intels vision of a smart and connected world propelled in
part by the evolution of drone technology. Yuneecs main rival in China, SZ DJI Technology, also raised $75 million
at an $8 billion valuation earlier this year. Intel has notably previously invested in drone companies PrecisionHawk (a
$10 million Series B in November) and Airware (an undisclosed amount in April).

Tencent invests US$50M in Kik at a US$1B valuation


Chinas Tencent Holdings Ltd has taken a US$50 million stake in Kik Interactive, an investment that values the
Canadian mobile messaging company at more than US$1 billion. Kik, a Waterloo, Ontario-based company whose
chat platform is popular with U.S. teens, has long said it aims to emulate the success of Tencents WeChat, which
has expanded from messaging to facilitating commerce in China. Kik faces stiff competition in mobile chat, with
Snapchat targeting the same teenage audience and Facebook Incs Messenger and WhatsApp products claiming far
more users. But Livingston is betting on a growing number of add-on services to keep its 240 million users engaged.
Kik said it plans to use the series D funding which brings total funding to US$120.5 million to hire staff in
Waterloo and invest in other chat-based services

Chinas top meal delivery startup bags US$630M funding to take on web giants
Chinas biggest meal delivery startup, Ele.me (which means Are you hungry?), revealed that it has secured
US$630 million in series F funding. The blockbuster investment was led by CITIC Capital and supermarket chain
Hualian. Previous investors Tencent, JD, and Sequoia Capital also threw in some of the cash. The extra money
allows Ele.me whose blue-uniformed deliverymen on their electric scooters are fast becoming a fixture of major
Chinese cities to keep up the pace as web giants Alibaba and Baidu seek to catch up to local, on-demand web
services such as meal delivery. Ele.me, which started up in 2009 in Shanghai, has now raised a total of US$1.09
billion in VC funding, making it Chinas third most-funded startup.

Chinese P2P lender Dianrong raises US$207M round from Standard Chartered
Chinas P2P lending market is a crowded space, but one thing that can help you stand out in the crowd? Money. At
least, thats what Chinese P2P lending startup Dianrong will be hoping following the close of a massive US$207
million round of fundraising. The round, which was co-led by Standard Chartereds private equity arm and China
Fintech Fund, is one of the largest in Chinas P2P sector. P2P lending in China has exploded over the past year,
thanks to a lack of lending services available from traditional banks for their market: individuals and SMEs. In just the
past few months, weve seen some big rounds raised in the P2P space: Yooli raised US$46 million, FirstP2P raised
US$41 million, and Yinker and Baocaiwang have also raised rounds of above US$20 million. Dianrongs latest round
seems to put it head and shoulders above these competitors.

Alibaba tames a growing rival with US$4.63B investment in Suning


Alibaba announced it is paying US$4.63 billion to take a 19.99 percent stake in Suning, a major retailer of electronics
products in China. Suning, which was founded in 1990, is a fixture of nearly every Chinese city. The company says it
has 1,600 physical retail stores in 289 cities across the nation. Aside from its offline retail business, the company has
had more success than any other retailer in China in a transition to ecommerce, creating an estore that not only
covers the gadgets and appliances found in its stores, but also everything from food and baby products to jewelry
and furniture. As a result of that shift to the web, Suning has one of Chinas top 5 ecommerce stores larger in scale
than Amazons entire Chinese business. The deal seems to be a way for Alibaba to tame a growing ecommerce
threat while also strengthening its hand against JD, its closest rival in China.

Uber China raises US$1B from Baidu, Hillhouse, others


The Chinese arm of mobile-based taxi-hailing giant Uber has closed US$1 billion funding round from a group of
investors, including Asias biggest hedge fund Hillhouse Capital, Chinese Internet giant Baidu, China CITIC Bank,
China Life Insurance Co and Ping, an Insurance Group Co of China, according to a Reuters report, quoting unnamed
sources. Earlier there were reports that Chinas state-run CITIC bank is planning an investment of US$100 million
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between Uber Global and Uber China. The development comes two months after Ubers competitor in China, Didi
Kuaidi, closed US$2 billion from Alibaba, Tencent, Temasek Holdings and Coatue Management. Didi Kuaidi has 7080 per cent of the ride-sharing market in China. Uber is aggressively focussing on the enormous Chinese ride-share
market. It recently announced it would invest over US$1 billion in the market in 2015.

Korea

Viki acquires Korean entertainment news and discussion site Soompi


What fun is watching a good TV show if you dont get the chance to talk about it afterwards? Thats a question that
users of Viki, the global TV streaming service with fan-translated subtitles, wont have to worry about anymore. Viki
announced that it has acquired Soompi, the worlds biggest English-language site dedicated to Korean pop culture
and discussion. The deal is valued at less than $10 million, according to the companies. And of course, Viki is no
stranger to startup acquisitions, having itself been acquired two years ago by Rakuten in a record-breaking US$200
million deal. Besides the popularity of Korean soaps all across Asia, its worth pointing out that Soompi may also be
bringing some new users to Vikis table; Soompi has doubled its reach over the past couple of years and now boasts
more than 7 million monthly users. For now, the Viki and Soompi sites will remain separate, but content and
personnel are both being integrated. Soompi founder Susan Kang will stay on as Vikis head of community and
publishing.

Yello Mobile acquires Thai social media startup Computerlogy


Yello Digital Marketing Group (YDM), a South Korean digital marketing company, has acquired a majority stake in
Bangkok-based social media analytics firm Computerlogy. The financial details are currently undisclosed.
Computerlogy was founded in 2009 and uses tools like SocialEnable and TH3RE to help brands target their social
media marketing by using Big Data analytics to provide them with consumer insights. It is a badged Facebook
Marketing Partner, meaning it has been vetted by the social media giant and is provided with technical support and
partner-only access to the Facebook marketing team. YDMs motivation for the acquisition appears to be its desire to
accelerate Computerlogy into becoming Southeast Asias top social media marketing provider. The company is no
stranger to acquisitions owning 22 companies including Cauly, AdQUA and PurpleFriends.

Japan

Japans cloud accounting startup Freee raises US$30M at US$250M valuation ahead of IPO
Freee, a Tokyo-based cloud accounting and payroll service that launched in March 2013, announced a US$30
million Series C round that takes its total raised funding to date to US$43 million. Existing investors in the round
include DCM and Recruit Holdings, with Japan Co-Invest Limited Partnership coming on board for the first time.
While financial software company Intuit is perhaps the most familiar name in its space with flagship products like
QuickBooks, Freee claims it is already the market leader on its home turf and Intuit notably lacks a presence in
Japan. The money will mainly be used for sales and marketing, but the company also has ambitious hiring plans to
double its employee base to 200 over the next year.

Japans GMO Payment Gateway deepens alliance with Neweb through US$1M investment
GMO Payment Gateway, an online payment subsidiary of Japans GMO Internet, announced that it has doubleddown on its alliance with Taiwans Neweb online payment service, investing a further US$1 million into the
partnership that began last year. GMO says that the expanded investment will be used to build out the companys
presence in East Asia and introduce Neweb to Japan. GMO Payment Gateway first teamed up with Neweb back in
2014, but the Japanese company has been active outside of East Asia too. It has local companies in Singapore,
Malaysia, and Thailand (as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan) that it uses to build payment solutions for Japanese
ecommerce companies wishing to enter foreign markets. At the same time, its GMO Global Payment Fund which is
where this US$1M investment came from invests in local payment-related startups.

Japans agriculture tech company Farmnote raises US$1.7M


Farmnote, a cloud-based agriculture company, announced a funding round of US$1.7 million from Tokyo-based
trading company Kanematsu, Kanematsu Agritech, Japanese mobile gaming company Gree, Colopl Co-founder and
Executive Vice President Kotaro Chiba, Six Apart CTO Daiji Hirata and an undisclosed Japanese company. Based in
Japans northern island of Hokkaido, Farmnote will use the funds to strengthen the development of wearable devices
and peripherals for monitoring livestock, specifically collecting daily performance data on dairy cows. Incorporated in
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November 2013, Farmnote has been developing sensor devices and cloud-based systems focused on streamlining
dairy and livestock farming operations since June 2014, leveraging a Supporting Industry initiative grant from the
Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

India

Snapdeal raises blockbuster US$500M funding to fight other ecommerce bigwigs


Indian ecommerce site Snapdeal announced that it secured US$500 million in an investment round led by Chinese
ecommerce giant Alibaba, Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, and Japanese telco major SoftBank.
Existing investors Temasek, BlackRock, Myriad, and Premji Invest also participated in this round. Last year, the
startup raised US$627 million from SoftBank. Started in 2010, Snapdeal has 15 million products from 150,000
sellers. It reaches 5,000 towns and cities across India. There were fewer than 40 million people buying things online
last year, according to data from the Indian Market Research Bureau. This constitutes a small fraction of the 300
million internet users in India. And this makes experts believe they are making an early bet in a market that has a
huge headroom for growth. Snapdeal is up against Amazon, which pumped US$2 billion into its Indian arm, and
Flipkart, which raised a US$1 billion funding round. Flipkart was rumored to have raised US$700 million to take its
total investment to US$3.2 billion.

India tech blog YourStory raises series A to build multilingual community


Indian media startup YourStory announced that it secured an undisclosed amount in series A funding led by early
stage fund Kalaari Capital. The round also saw participation from Qualcomm Ventures, T V Mohandas Pai, and
Ratan Tata. Started in 2008, Bangalore-headquartered YourStory is a blog on entrepreneurs with a staff of 50
across all departments. The startup claims to have reached 60 million engaged readers through 20,000 stories. It
has sub-sites like HerStory, SocialStory, and YS TV. With fresh funding, YourStory aims to launch a platform to
allow users to publish stories in Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu, Bangla, Kannada, Tamil, and Marathi. It will
allow users to narrate their stories through text, voice, or video. YourStory competes with VC Circles startup news
site TechCircle, which was acquired by News Corp earlier this year, and angel-backed Inc42.

Grey Orange adds wings to its international expansion plans with US$30M funding round
Gurgaon-based hardware startup Grey Orange has raised US$30 million in a series B funding round led by Tiger
Global Management and existing investors Blume Ventures. Grey Orange builds robots that operate in the
warehouses of retail, logistics, and ecommerce companies with the goal of enabling quicker deliveries and minimal
errors. The startup was initially launched in 2009 by Samay Kohli and Akash Gupta as an education and training
company in the robotics space. Later on, it evolved into an industrial robot manufacturing company. The company
set its international expansion plans in motion some time ago and this funding round is meant to boost those plans.
Internationally, Grey Orange competes with major players like Swisslog, Kiva Systems, and Fetch Robotics.

India's food discovery startup BetterButter bags seed funding


Social media-enabled food discovery platform BetterButter announced that it has raised an undisclosed seed
funding led by growx ventures. Participating investors include Singapore-based investment firm M&S Partners and
angel investor Manish Singhal. Singhal will also take on the role of Board Observer in BetterButter. BetterButter
plans to use the funds to launch its app and build out its team capabilities across technology and content. It will also
be introducing video, a nutritional information calculator and advanced search capabilities to its platform. Regionally
too, there has been a rise in investments in online recipe platforms. China-based Xiachufang nabbed a Series B
round of US$30 million in November 2015. Douguo, also from China, secured a US$25 million Series C funding.
growx ventures, which focuses on early-stage investments, is optimistic about BetterButters ability to carve out its
own niche in the online F&B market.

New Indian fund StartupXseed backs anti-malware startup ShieldSquare


ShieldSquare, a Bangalore-based startup providing SaaS solution that protects online businesses against web
scraping and malware attacks, has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from StartupXseed, a new fund colaunched by V Balakrishnan and TV Mohandas Pai (former top executives at Infosys). ShieldSquare has earlier
secured US$350,000 in angel funding from a group of individuals including Phanindra Sama, Charan Padmaraju
and P Sudhakar all Co-founders of bus ticket booking startup redBus. The capital raised from this round will be
used for strengthening the product platform. Launched in June this year, StartupXseed is an early-stage VC fund for
backing aspiring entrepreneurs in high-technology areas such as security, semiconductor and embedded devices.
SparkLabs Global Ventures (http://www.sparklabsglobal.com) is a global seed-stage fund with partners in
Silicon Valley, Chicago, London Tel Aviv, Singapore, and Seoul.
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Thailand

Workplace chat app Eko gets US$5.7M series A funding to make teams productive, quit Slacking
While Slack gets all the headlines, most people around the world are using one of dozens of other workplace
messaging apps. One of those apps, Eko, revealed that it has secured US$5.7 million in series A funding to help it
pick up new users. The investment in the Thai-American startup was led by China-based Gobi Partners. It comes
16 months after the Eko team nabbed seed funding led by 500 Startups. Earlier backers also contributed to the
series A round. Whereas Slack is very strong for companies with under 50 employees, our product is not as strong
for that segment, says Korawad Chearavanont, the 20-year-old founder and CEO of Eko. Our product only begins
to truly add value to bigger companies. Our biggest revenue-generating customer has approximately 150,000
employees, for example.

Malaysia

Carsome lands US$350k in seed funding to take auto sales portal regional
Malaysia-based automotive portal Carsome announced it has raised US$350,000 in seed funding. The round was
led by 500 Startups and Idea River Run, and will go towards expansion plans into multiple cities, which will be
announced later this year Specifically, the startup will be going to two other countries in the last quarter of the year,
and four more early next year. The portal aims to be a one-stop shop for car buyers to compare, research, and
select the best price offered by Carsomes certified dealers. Its main difference from local incumbent Carlist a
classifieds site for new and used cars is that it provides a smarter end-to-end car buying experience.

Indonesia

Indonesian HR management startup Talenta backed by Fenox Venture Capital


Cloud-based HR management platform Talenta announced that they have closed a new round of undisclosed
funding led by Fenox Venture Capital. Following in the current round is their previous investor East Ventures. Apart
from adding in new hires in sales and marketing, the cash will be used to officially launch the newly redesigned
software that was beta-launched in February 2015. Talenta also added important features such as employee selfservice for their time off and overtime requests, reimbursement and payroll management. With new funding
secured, Talenta also announced its plans to start expanding from subscription business to transactional business
such as fintech. Talentas current list of clients includes Go-Jek, GrabTaxi, TopasTV, FlowerAdvisor, Qraved,
MicroAd, Kudo, ShopDeca, and more.

Singapore

Cleaning service ProperHands raises seed funding to scale up


Singapores home and office cleaning startup ProperHands has raised US$177,000 from Crystal Horse Investments
and Tri5 Ventures. ProperHands matches customers with freelance cleaners and takes care of booking, scheduling,
and billing. Co-founder and CEO Wayne Soh says they will use the funds to build an app to fully automate their value
chain. He explains most cleaners are not tech-savvy so its tedious for the company to arrange cleaning sessions.
Given that the business is operationally intensive, he says the only way for it to rapidly grow is through automation.
ProperHands has more than 100 regular customers who are charged US$13 per hour. The company takes a cut of
the fees. In five years, the company aims to register 15,000 regular customers and about 6,000 active cleaners.
Singapores RedMart raises US\$26.7M to prepare for regional expansion
RedMart, a Singapore-based online groceries marketplace, announced it has raised US$26.7 million in a bridge
round of funding. This will lead to a series C round later in the year that will fund international expansion and product
development. Existing investors Garena, Softbank Ventures Korea, Visionnaire Ventures, and Facebook co-founder
Eduardo Saverin joined the round in a show of confidence in the startup, which for financial year 2014 saw a jump in
revenue but an even greater jump in losses, to US$9.43 million and US$29.4 million respectively. The losses are
presumably due to investments in infrastructure. RedMart said it has hired Colin Bryar, a former Amazon vice
president, as the companys chief operating officer to oversee engineering, marketing, and operations. He took over
these roles from co-founder Vikram Rupani, who is now the President.
Singapores Capital Match raises US$710K to enable small business lending

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Singapore-based Capital Match has raised US$710,000 in a series A funding round, the P2P lending startup
announced. The round was led by international investment firm Innosight Ventures. Previous investors Crystal Horse
Investments and CE-Tech Invest also participated. The deal will see Innosight Ventures partner Pete Bonee join
Capital Matchs board of directors. Capital Match says it is making a difference for small- and medium-sized
enterprises that have difficulty reaching out to banks and other traditional financing institutions for their borrowing
needs. It enables P2P lending among individuals and businesses. The P2P lending through crowdfunding model is a
recent fintech trend around the world. Players in this space include Lending Club and Prosper in the US and Funding
Circle in the UK. Singapore is also home to loan crowdfunding platform Moolahsense and P2P lending startup
Funding Societies.

Investors dont love dating apps? This one just raised a US$3M series A round
Yogrt is a location-based dating app that uses games and quizzes as a tool to break the ice between couples-to-be.
The startup announced that it has raised a US$3 million series A funding round from Centurion Private Equity and
Linear Venture. With the funds, it plans to strengthen the apps presence in Indonesia and expand into other
Southeast Asian markets. Kongko Digital is the Singapore-based parent company of the app. It was co-founded by
Jason Lim, who is a former managing director of Acer Indonesia, Roby Muhamad, who holds a PhD in sociology
from Columbia University, Kevin Xu, and Albern Xu. Yogrt believes its unique way of mixing gaming with dating has
potential all across Asia. The app offers a weekly updated set of games and quizzes, including dare-games like
have you ever?, and trivia quizzes. Yet with just over 500,000 registered users, the user base can still be
considered quite small. The startup has yet to reveal its monetization strategy.

Braidio Hires New Team in Singapore To Meet Demand For Employee Learning And Talent Development In
Asia Pacific Market
Braidio, a cloud-based learning and talent development platform, today announced its Asia Pacific (APAC)
expansion with the appointment of a regional team in Singapore. The expansion addresses the growing demand,
among an increasingly global and connected business environment, for scalable and affordable employee learning
management systems across industries and markets. Braidios Singapore team has a proven track record in
executing and growing new territories for technology brands, and will focus on expanding Braidios reach and
supporting customers and partners.

United States

Search startup Qbox raises US$2.4M to develop a front end for non-technical users
Qbox, a startup that operates a cloud-based version of the Elasticsearch open-source search database for use in
other companies applications, announced that it has raised US$2.4 million. Currently the startup makes it easier for
companies to deploy and maintain services once theyve chosen to use Elasticsearch. Developers no longer need to
take time out to set up the database on top of server and storage infrastructure. Qbox has it ready to go in several
locations within the Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer, and Rackspace clouds. Support is
available, too. The service has attracted around 350 customers, including Nordstrom, Renault-Nissan, and Yahoo
Small Business.

Cloud streaming startup Velostrata comes out of stealth with US$14M


Startup Velostrata announced a US$14 million funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners and Greylock IL
Partners. And after operating in stealth mode for more than a year, the startup is now ready to show off what its
built: a tool companies can use to keep data stored in their on-premises data centers, while doing the processing
work externally in public clouds. Rather than provide this functionality in a piece of dedicated software, Velostrata is
offering a plugin to the VMware vCenter software that companies use to manage their virtualized infrastructure. From
there, an admin can right-click on a virtual machine for a part of an application and run that virtual machine in a
cloud. For now, that cloud is Amazon Web Services, but Velostrata will be adding support for additional clouds in the
future.

Big data startup BlueData partners with Intel and takes on US$20M
BlueData, a startup with an application companies can use to run big data software like Hadoop and Spark on their
existing data center infrastructure, announced a new US$20 million round of funding. The company also announced
a major new partnership deal with chipmaker Intel. Well be optimizing our software on Intel architectures to provide
flexible, elastic, high-performance Big Data deployments on-premises, BlueData cofounder and chief executive
Kumar Sreekanti wrote in a blog post on the news. And well be working together to bring this innovation to our
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enterprise customers, through ongoing sales and marketing collaboration. Existing investor Intel Capital led the new
round in BlueData. An unnamed new investor is also onboard, as are existing investors Amplify Partners, Atlantic
Bridge, and Ignition Partners.

OpenStack company Mirantis takes on US$100M round led by Intel Capital


Mirantis, a company that sells a distribution of the OpenStack open-source cloud software, announced a US$100
million funding round. Intel Capital led the round, and now Mirantis will be collaborating with Intel to increase
enterprise adoption of OpenStack. OpenStack, which began in 2010, has been adopted by some of the largest
companies, like PayPal and Walmart, but it hasnt become a mainstay among large enterprises in the same way
proprietary virtualization software like VMwares vSphere has, and its not quite as widely used as public cloud
infrastructure. Intels investment in Mirantis shows that the chip maker believes OpenStack still has potential for
growth. To date, Mirantis has raised at least $220 million, including the $100 million round announced last October.

Cannabis startup Tradiv is raising US$1M to connect growers and sellers


Boulder, Colorado-based Tradiv is raising a US$1 million round as it gears up to launch its B2B marketplace for
cannabis cultivators, marijuana infused product companies, and dispensaries. Backed by Cannabis accelerator
CanopyBoulder and accelerator partner Micah Tapman, Tradiv revealed the raise in a public filing with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission. The weed startup has so far raised $650,000, according to the filing at
least $20,000 of which likely came from CanopyBoulder, in exchange for a whopping 9.5 percent equity stake. The
filing also lists Emily Paxhia, partner of Cannabis-only fund Poseidon Asset Management; and former Microsoft
Surface manager, Nick Hofmeister.

ZocDoc raises US$130M round at a US$1.8B valuation


ZocDoc, the New York digital health company that sets people up with doctors and schedules appointments, has
raised a massive new US$130 million round. The company says its now valued at about US$1.8 billion. The round
was led by Baillie Gifford and Atomico, and included participation from existing investor Founders Fund. ZocDoc
says it will use the new money to develop new products that sit on top of ZocDocs core doctor marketplace, and to
extend its scheduling capability. ZocDoc says its service is available to 60 percent of the U.S. population. ZocDoc
users can also see what other patients have to say about specific doctors, get reminders for upcoming
appointments and preventive check-ups, and fill out paperwork online. The digital health sector has already
attracted $2.1 billion in private funding so far this year.

Physician-patient matching service Grand Rounds raises US$55M round


Grand Rounds, a digital health startup that connects patients with expert physicians, has taken a large, US$55
million late-stage funding round. The round was led by a new, unnamed mutual fund investor, while existing
investors Greylock Partners and Venrock participated. Grand Rounds CEO Owen Tripp told VentureBeat
Wednesday that the new round brings the companys funding total to $106 million. Grand Rounds pairs patients
with physician experts who are uniquely qualified to help them. It could be a physician across town or across the
country. Grand Rounds signed a big deal with Castlight Health last year to offer its physician access services
through the healthcare product marketplaces Castlight builds for big employers. Grand Rounds was founded in
2011 by Tripp and cofounder Lawrence Rusty Hofmann, MD.

Analytics startup Mode raises US$7.5M and adds support for multiple charts in each report
Mode, a startup which has built a cloud service that data analysts can use to query and run reports on data,
announced a US$7.5 million funding round. The startup is also introducing new features, including the ability to
include multiple charts and explanatory text in each report. The new ability to throw many charts into each report
and effectively tell a story in Mode which happens to be where you can get at the data and make further iterative
queries. Mode has the potential, then, to be a place where multiple people collaborate. To date, Mode has raised
$10.5 million, including the $2 million round from last year. Foundation Capital led the new round in Mode. Existing
investors Goldcrest Capital and Arnold Capital also participated.

Ding dong: Richard Branson leads US$28M funding round into smart doorbell startup Ring
You know youre onto something when big-name entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson come knocking on your
door with their checkbook in hand. And thats exactly whats happened to Ring, a startup thats invented smart
doorbell technology for your house. The Santa Monica-based company has announced a US$28 million Series B
round led by Branson, Shea Ventures, and American Family Insurance, and follows on from its US$4.5 million
Series A round last December. Rings video doorbell calls a user on their phone when its activated, which is
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particularly useful for when theyre away from home so even if its an honest visitor, they can still converse with
them from a remote location. But in terms of burglars, well, it seems a common technique is to ring a doorbell or
knock to see if anyones at home. With Ring, someone is always at home.

API development startup Apiary raises US$6.8M and launches a testing service
Apiary, a startup with a web service developers can use to design and make documentation for application
programming interfaces, announced a US$6.8 million round of funding. The startup is also launching a new tool for
testing APIs to make sure they work as they should. Its like a continuous integration system for testing and
deploying source code, but its for APIs. The funding for Apiary follows years of funding and acquisitions in the
domain of API management. Most recently Apigee went public. That sort of software, which public cloud market
leader Amazon Web Services recently started to offer, is now a commodity. Around 130,000 developers at around
33,000 companies use Apiary, with hundreds of paying customers, including Akamai, Microsoft, L.L. Bean, and
Salesforce, Nesetril said.

BuzzFeed expands into TV and movies with US$200M NBCUniversal investment


After weeks of rumors, listicle-loving BuzzFeed has confirmed that entertainment giant NBCUniversal is making a
US$200 million equity investment in the new media company. The news comes a week after NBCUniversal made a
similar US$200 million investment in digital publishing company Vox Media. Founded by Jonah Peretti and John
Johnson in 2008, BuzzFeed has emerged as the poster child for viral videos, list-based articles, and social mediapowered news sharing it now claims 200 million monthly unique visitors. Prior to the investment, the New Yorkbased company had raised almost $100 million in funding, including a chunky $50 million round last August, and
with this money the company has been on a major hiring spree, nabbing some big-name reporters and heads as it
moves toward becoming a serious media publication.

OpenStack startup Platform9 takes on US$10M, adds vSphere virtualization support


Platform9, a startup that offers a cloud-based service for running the most up-to-date version of the OpenStack
open-source cloud software to be deployed in companies on-premises data centers, announced a US$10 million
funding round. The startup is also announcing the general availability of support for OpenStack deployments in data
centers that are using the VMware vSphere virtualization software. The startups architecture is a bit unusual
typically, companies have offered either OpenStack distributions that companies can install in their data centers or
hosted versions of OpenStack for companies workloads. This could prove to be a strength for Platform9. Menlo
Ventures led the new round. Previous investor Redpoint Ventures also participated.

Liberty Interactive to buy online retailer Zulily in US$2.4B deal


Liberty Interactive, which owns home shopping network QVC, said it would acquire Zulily Inc in a deal valued at
US$2.4 billion to tap into the online retailers younger clientele and its strong mobile presence. Zulily is known for its
flash sales of clothing, primarily for women and children. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd
owns a stake of about 9 percent in the company. Billionaire John Malone-backed Liberty will combine the five-year
old Zulily with its QVC business, which is about 30 years old and seen by analysts as a maturing business in the
United States. Together, the companies will have annual revenue of about $10 billion. QVC has been expanding its
digital presence 40 percent of its revenue comes from e-commerce. The deal will help the TV shopping network
bolster its online business and attract young shoppers who are more comfortable making purchases online and on
mobile devices.

Rocket Internet may be raising a new US$1.1B venture fund for late-stage companies
Several reports indicated that Rocket Internet, the controversial German startup factory, could be raising US$1.12
billion for a new venture fund. Rocket, which went public last year, likes to take what it calls proven Internet
business models and create its own startups around them. While the company argues that its process is an efficient
and effective way to create startups for regions like Europe, Africa and Asia, its critics (typically in Silicon Valley),
see it as just copying other peoples ideas. Either way, it appears Rocket may be raising its ambitions even higher.
According to the reports, even though the new fund may be officially outside of Rocket, the likely name will be
Rocket Internet Growth Fund. And the sole general partner may be Oliver Samwer, Rockets chief executive. The
result would likely be even more complex financial structures than Rockets current set up.

Boku acquires Mobileview Italia to expand carrier-billing service in Europe


Mobile payments startup Boku announced that it has bought Mobileview Italia, a move that will help the San
Francisco-based company increase its footprint in Europe. Boku did not disclose the amount it paid, but noted that
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Mobileview already has deals in place with Italys four largest carriers. Founded in 2009, Boku lets consumers pay
for content using their mobile phone accounts. This means they dont need a credit card to purchase items via their
phone, something that can be a challenge in developing countries where credit card adoption remains low. Of
course, its not just true of developing countries. According to Boku, only 34 percent of Italians have credit cards,
whereas almost everyone has a mobile phone now. The payments can be made using both pre-paid accounts and
accounts with monthly subscriptions. Boku now operates in 67 countries, where it could reach as many 4 billion
people through its partnerships with 250 mobile carriers.

Narvar, A Service That Improves Online Post-Purchase Experiences, Raises US$10M


Narvar, a startup that enables companies to better engage with customers after online purchases, said it has raised
US$10 million. Narvar provides companies with software that improves the post-purchase experience. That can
include a better interface when it comes to shipping, more detailed text updates, and then of course options to
return products and buy new ones. Those updates can even also be incredibly granular, down to where storms are
halting packages, CEO Amit Sharma said. The goal, he said, is to make sure customers stick around instead of
having to acquire new ones. Theres a good reason for that: its cheaper to hold onto a customer post-purchase
than it is to acquire a new one, Sharma said. Prior to starting Narvar, Sharma spent a few years managing the
delivery experience for Apple.com, and before that managing supply chains at Walmart. Using tools to improve the
post-purchase experience can improve customer retention by 10 times.

Life360 Acquires Chronos To Add Quantified Self Tracking To Its Family Locator App
Life360, the maker of mobile applications for iOS, Android and Windows Phone that help keep families connected,
has acquired Chronos Mobile Technologies, a startup behind a number of mobile apps that passively collect data
from users smartphones in order to highlight trends and connections between various behaviors. Terms of the deal
were not disclosed, but Chronos had closed on a small seed round from Maven Ventures, Draper Associates and
Major League Baseball earlier in 2015. The app itself was then designed to appeal to quantified self enthusiasts,
who wanted an easier way to gather data about their activities, including things like how long they were at work,
how long they slept, how much time they spent commuting, and more. Following the deal, which was a combination
of both cash and stock, Chronos will continue to operate its standalone products up until the point that the Chronos
technology is integrated into Life360, whose app today is used by 50 million families

Europe

European payments processor iZettle raises US$67M and launches a cash advance service for SMBs
European mobile payments processor iZettle has announced a fresh US$67 million raise. The round was led by
Intel Capital and Zouk Capital, both existing investors, and takes the companys funding to almost US$168 million.
While Jack Dorseys Square has been setting out to disrupt the epayments market for small to medium-sized
businesses in North America and Japan, iZettle has been doing the same in its native Sweden, as well as Finland,
Denmark, Norway, U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico. Part of the companys new $67
million cash influx will be used to help support the rollout of iZettle Advance, as well as fueling the companys overall
business.

European VC firm Lakestar launches new US$400M fund for local and U.S. startups
Europes Lakestar has announced a fresh US$400 million fund, as the Guernsey-based venture capital (VC) firm
looks to plow more cash into European and U.S. startups. Founded and chaired by European VC Klaus Hommels,
who was an early investor in Skype, Spotify, Facebook, and other well-known tech companies, Lakestar II is a followup to the US$154 million fund launched in 2013, which is still active. The new fund will be used to invest in all
stages, though it will particularly focus on early-stage and growth-stage investments across a wide range of
sectors. And given the firms focus on the U.S. and Europe, it says it aims to embrace connections between the
two regions in other words, it wants to help foster relationships between complementary companies in its portfolio.

Online job service Mobile Job brings total external funding to more than US$1.118M
German startup MobileJob.com, which connects blue-collar workers with vacancies, has raised an undisclosed
amount of funding from Muller Medien, drawing their total backing to more than US$1.118 million (1 million Euro).
This is the second round for the startup, which also counts High-Tech Grunderfunds as investors. Their plans are a
bit vague, but the startup intends to put the newly-obtained funding towards expanding and strengthening their
market position. In addition to the funding, Mobile Job has announced a partnership with company-builder
etventure. As the name suggests, Mobile Job maintains a mobile focus, helping employers fill slots from top to
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bottom. The startup, which creates 750 Euro for 4 weeks of the Individual Display package and 4 weeks of the
Mobile Number + Job Code package, targets prospective employees with a marketing campaign, which offers
candidate the opportunity to apply via SMS or the web.

P2P invoice service MarketInvoice hauls in another US$6.708M


British peer-to-peer invoice marketplace MarketInvoice has announced that they have taken in US$6.708 million (6
million Euro) from current investors Northzone and the family office of Indeed.com co-founder Paul Forster, who
previously backed the startup with 5 million pounds last December. With this latest round, MarketInvoice intends to
extend the range of products for businesses and to take advantage of Innovative Finance ISA, which will allow for
tax-free P2P lending when it goes into effect in April 2016, by enabling retail investors to lend on the platform.
MarketInvoice operates by allowing businesses to post invoices and access funds from 1,000 to 5 million (or more)
pounds. The service is open to businesses based in the United Kingdom, but they generally expect users to have at
least 6 months of trading history and have annual revenues of more than 100,000 pounds, which they verify through
financial and anti-fraud checks.

Cloud-storage startup pCloud reels in US$3M


Swiss cloud-storage startup pCloud has announced that they have raised US$3 million from undisclosed investors,
money that they intend to put towards expansion into new markets. According to CEO Tunio Zafer, We have a solid
client base in Europe and Asia, and were eager to expand to new markets. This startup has proven to be quite
popular since it launched in 2013, currently claiming more than 2 million users. Perhaps one of the most attractive
aspects of pCloud is that they have embraced the mobile sphere, in addition to their desktop and web offerings,
allowing users to download apps for Android and iOS and then access up to 1TB of space. At the moment, the
pCloud app has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times on Android, maintaining a rating of 4.2 stars (of 5)
from more than 4,900 users. The iOS version is currently sitting at 4 (out of 5) stars from 37 users.

Debt and equity-crowdfunding platform Invesdor raises US$1.118M to fund internationalization plans
Invesdor, a Finnish debt and equity crowdfunding platform which grabbed attention in May when it became the first
such service to obtain an E.U.-wide license, has raised US$1.118 million (1 million Euro) to fund their plans to
expand operations internationally. It is perhaps only fitting that the startup decided to raise the funds through its own
platform, taking on 143 investors from 16 countries. Invesdor says that the license that they obtained enables them
to accept investment from international backers, as well as organize funding rounds anywhere in the EEA. At the
moment, the startup is working to conduct the necessary notifications and create country-specific due diligence
processes.

Home-cleaning service Book A Tiger secures seven-figure funding from new and current investors
Book A Tigerbookatiger-cleaning, a German home-cleaning service which we profiled a few months ago, has
revealed that they have reached a deal for millions more (7 figures) in funding from current investor Avala Capital,
as well as a smaller pro-rate backer. They are currently not revealing the identity of the lead investor. This latest
round, which the company intends to use to solidify its presence in the DACH (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland)
region, brings the total amount raised by the startup to well over 10 million Euro. One other interesting detail from
this announcement is that Homejoy, which operated in Germany and recently announced that they are shutting
down (despite raising $40 million), has recommended that their cleaners and customers switch over to Book A Tiger.
Book A Tiger launched in April 2014 and has spread to more than 200 German cities, as well as gone international
by serving Vienna and Zurich, Switzerland.

Israel

StoreDot raises US$18M to help build instant-charging batteries for electric cars
StoreDot, an Israeli startup that makes ultra-fast charging batteries using bio-organic technology, has raised US$18
million to help fund a new electric vehicle business unit. The company first demoed its prototype technology last
April and had raised US$48 million before this announcement, including a hefty US$42 million less than a year ago.
While much of its funding to date has been used to refine the underlying technology technology that promises to
fully charge a smartphone in 60 seconds StoreDot has revealed that the burgeoning electric car industry is now
firmly on its radar. As well as iterating on the existing FlashBattery technology, the funding will also be used to help
develop a powerful new charging station and create a new fast-charging standard.

SparkLabs Global Ventures (http://www.sparklabsglobal.com) is a global seed-stage fund with partners in


Silicon Valley, Chicago, London Tel Aviv, Singapore, and Seoul.
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