Unchained Labs raises $25 million

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Unchained Labs is a life sciences tools company that has raised $25 million in Series A funding. Novo Ventures, Canaan Partners, and TPG Biotech led this round of funding. Unchained Labs has also acquired Optim, a company that is known as the world’s first and only multiplex protein stability platform for biologics. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

PLEASANTON, Calif., Feb. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Start-up life sciences tools company Unchained Labs burst onto the scientific scene today, announcing a $25 million Series A Financing and the acquisition of Optim, the world’s first and only multiplex protein stability platform for biologics. The financing was led by Novo Ventures, Canaan Partners and TPG Biotech.

Unchained Labs is committed to building the next cool life science tools company. One that matters. One without old school rules. One with products that’ll make a real difference in the research scientists do every day.

The first Unchained product, Optim, lets scientists unlock optimal biologic formulations simply and quickly. For the first time, researchers can measure multiple protein stability parameters – including denaturing temperature and aggregation onset temperature – on multiple samples simultaneously. Assays are high throughput, label-free, ultra-low volume and very easy to run.

Over 60 Optim platforms have been sold to biopharma and academic customers worldwide. Unchained Labs purchased the Optim technology from The Avacta Group. The start-up plans to continue to buy businesses and product lines and add their magic touch for developing breakthrough products and selling them like crazy.

“We had a great experience with Tim in the life science tools space in the past and we believe there is a real opportunity to build another substantial company together,” said Jack Nielsen from Novo Ventures. “Combining organic and inorganic growth has proven to be a powerful strategy for creating value in this space and we can’t wait to see Unchained Labs grow.”

“I love what I do and I am completely pumped about building another great tools company,” said Tim Harkness, Founder and CEO of Unchained Labs. “For me this is all about people. The right group of people can accomplish anything, and we are starting out with fantastic investors and employees who are committed to creating something special together. Optim is a one-of-a-kind product that will provide a solid foundation for us.”

About Unchained Labs

Unchained Labs is committed to building the next cool life science tools company. One that matters. One without old school rules. One with products that’ll make a real difference in the research scientists do every day. We plan to buy businesses and product lines and then add our magic touch for developing breakthrough products and selling them like crazy. Our first product, Optim, is the world’s first and only multiplex protein stability platform for biologics. We are located in Pleasanton, CA and can be found online at www.unchainedlabs.com.

Sequoia Capital sets up $1.1 billion for funds in India and China

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Sequoia Capital has set up a combined $1.1 billion for funds in India and China, according to SEC filings. Sequoia brought in $625 million from 105 LPs for the Sequoia Capital China Growth Fund III. Sequoia Capital India IV brought in $494.75 million from 83 LPs.

RetailMeNot sets up $100 million stock repurchase program

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Digital offers website RetailMeNot has announced that its board of directors have authorized a stock repurchase program of up to $100 million of their outstanding Series 1 common stock, effective immediately. The stock repurchase program will take place over the next 24 months. More details below:

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — RetailMeNot, Inc. (NASDAQ: SALE), the operator of the world’s largest marketplace for digital offers, today announced that its board of directors authorized a stock repurchase program of up to $100 million of the company’s outstanding Series 1 common stock, effective immediately. The stock repurchase program is expected to be completed over the next 24 months.

“Our strong balance sheet and healthy cash flow enable the company to return excess cash to our shareholders through a repurchase program while continuing to invest.  We believe the current share price understates the strength of RetailMeNot’s long-term growth initiatives,” said Cotter Cunningham, RetailMeNot’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer.  “The repurchase program demonstrates our commitment to building shareholder value as well as confidence in the long-term prospects of our business.”

The stock purchases may be made from time to time through open market purchases, 10b5-1 plans, privately-negotiated transactions, accelerated stock repurchases, block trades, derivative contracts or otherwise in accordance with applicable federal securities laws. The actual timing, number and value of shares repurchased under the program will be determined by management at its discretion and will depend on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the market price of RetailMeNot’s Series 1 common stock, general market and economic conditions, regulatory requirements, capital availability and compliance with the terms of the company’s outstanding indebtedness.

Repurchases under this program will be funded from one or a combination of existing cash balances, future free cash flow and indebtedness. There is no guarantee as to the number of shares that will be repurchased, and the repurchase program may be extended, suspended or discontinued at any time, without notice at RetailMeNot’s discretion.

In a separate announcement today, RetailMeNot, Inc. also announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal 2014, along with outlook for Q1 and fiscal 2015.  For more information, please see RetailMeNot’s earnings press release titled “RetailMeNot Announces Fourth Quarter & Fiscal Year 2014 Financial Results”.

About RetailMeNot, Inc.

RetailMeNot, Inc. (http://www.retailmenot.com/corp/) operates the world’s largest marketplace for digital offers. The company enables consumers across the globe to find hundreds of thousands of digital offers from their favorite retailers and brands.  During the 12 months ended December 31, 2014, RetailMeNot, Inc. experienced nearly 700 million visits to its websites, and during the three months ended December 31, 2014, monthly mobile unique visitors totaled 21.2 million.  In 2014, RetailMeNot, Inc. estimates $4.4 billion in paid retailer sales were attributable to consumer traffic from digital offers in its marketplace.  The RetailMeNot, Inc. portfolio includes RetailMeNot.com, the largest digital offer marketplace in the United States; RetailMeNot.ca in Canada; VoucherCodes.co.uk, the largest digital offers marketplace in the United Kingdom;Deals.com in Germany; Actiepagina.nl, a leading digital offers site in the Netherlands; Bons-de-Reduction.com and Ma-Reduc.com, leading digital offers sites in France; Poulpeo.com, a leading digital offers site with cash back in France; and Deals2Buy.com, a digital offers site in North America.  RetailMeNot, Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol “SALE.”  Investors interested in learning more about the company can visit http://investor.retailmenot.com.

Zillow hits over 1 million real estate professional reviews

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Zillow has announced that its consumer-submitted content has hit over one million published reviews of real estate professionals. Zillow launched the ability to post reviews on agents, mortgage and other real estate professionals in December 2010. More details below:

SEATTLE, Feb. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z), the leading real estate information and home-related marketplace, today announced that consumer-submitted content has reached a new milestone as more than one million reviews of real estate professionals have been published on the site.

The ability to post reviews on agents, mortgage and other real estate professionals on Zillow launched in December 2010, but the content submission rate has significantly accelerated in the past 12 months. The number of reviews has nearly doubled since January 2014 and exceeded one million reviews at the end of January 2015.

“Reviews have become incredibly important to consumers,” said Amy Bohutinsky, Zillow chief marketing officer. “We know home buyers are often starting their home search online – and reviews are playing a crucial part in the selection process as they search for the real estate professionals to help them, whether they are looking for an agent, mortgage expert or other real estate professional. Zillow offers an easy place for consumers to search through a pool of extremely qualified candidates using feedback from other consumers.”

“My reviews on Zillow serve as an interview with prospective clients without being there in person,” said Samer Kuraishi, senior vice president of A-K Real Estate in Washington, D.C. and a Zillow Premier Agent with 360 reviews. “There’s no better testimonial than your peers or customers providing feedback about your service. Reviews also help showcase your personality and strengths and help demonstrate that you want to be part of this meaningful transaction. Reviews have become an important part of our marketing.”

Zillow created a moderation process to ensure the reviews on Zillow are high quality and credible. In order to post a review, every reviewer must have a Zillow account and must specify what service the agent provided. Finally, all reviews are screened through proprietary Zillow fraud filters and read by a dedicated Zillow team.

In December 2014, Zillow made all reviews available to agents, brokers and MLSs to publish on their sites through Zillow Tech Connect: Reviews. Now agents and brokers can showcase the same reviews found on Zillow on their personal websites for free. Companies and brokerages interested in joining Zillow Tech Connect: Reviews can email techpartnerships@zillow.com for more information.

(ZFIN)

About Zillow, Inc.

Zillow, Inc. (NASDAQ: Z) operates the leading real estate and home-related information marketplaces on mobile and the Web, with a complementary portfolio of brands and products that help people find vital information about homes, and connect with the best local professionals. Zillow’s brands serve the full lifecycle of owning and living in a home: buying, selling, renting, financing, remodeling and more. In addition, Zillow offers a suite of tools and services to help local real estate, mortgage, rental and home improvement professionals manage and market their businesses. Welcoming more than 73 million unique users in December 2014, the Zillow, Inc. portfolio includes Zillow.com®, Zillow Mobile, Zillow Mortgages, Zillow Rentals, Zillow Digs®, Postlets®, Diverse Solutions®, Mortech®, HotPads®, StreetEasy® and Retsly™. The company is headquartered in Seattle.

Zillow.com, Zillow, Postlets, Mortech, Diverse Solutions, StreetEasy, HotPads, and Digs are registered trademarks of Zillow, Inc. Retsly is a  trademark of Zillow, Inc.

SOURCE Zillow, Inc.

Borro raises $19.5 million in funding

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Borro is a leader in the alternative lending sector that has raised $19.5 million in funding led by OurCrowd and Rocket Internet. Existing investors Canaan Partners, Eden Ventures and Augmentum Capital also participated in this round. Borro lets users use their luxury assets like antiques, fine art, luxury watches, fine wine, and classic cars as collaterals for loans. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, Feb. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Borro, an online platform for luxury asset-backed lending, today announced it has raised$19.5 million in funding, led by OurCrowd and Rocket Internet. Borro is a leader in the alternative lending sector, which is one of the fastest growing segments of the Financial Technology sector. This funding will be used to fuel Borro’s continued, rapid growth across the US and the UK.

Borro powers a unique platform for offering fast and efficient loans, where individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners can use luxury assets –including fine art, antiques, jewelry, luxury watches, fine wine, prestige and classic cars — as collateral for loans. Borro launched in the UK in 2009, the U.S. in 2012, and has extended close to $200 million in luxury asset-backed loans since its inception.

“This funding will enable us to accelerate our growth in our core US and UK businesses. We will continue to grow through our already successful partnership channels as well as our expansion into new product areas,” said Paul Aitken, founder and CEO of Borro.

Over $6 million of the capital invested came from OurCrowd, the leading equity crowdfunding platform for accredited investors. Rocket Internet increased its stake in Borro to 10 percent, and existing investors Canaan Partners, Eden Ventures, and Augmentum Capital also participated in the funding round.

“In less than two years, OurCrowd went from participating in early seed rounds, to now leading a $19.5 million funding round together with global venture capital firms such as Canaan and renowned internet company, Rocket Internet,” said Jon Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd. “Working with Borro marks the single largest equity crowdfunding round ever completed and demonstrates how equity crowdfunding can complement traditional funding sources. We are thrilled to be investing in quality companies like Borro that are redefining the FinTech industry.”

“Financial Technology is one of the most attractive and fastest growing online sectors and continues to be a key focus sector for Rocket Internet,” said CEO of Rocket Internet Oliver Samwer. “The financial services sector is ready for major disruption by innovative online companies. Borro is clearly one of them and with our investment we underline our belief in the company’s highly promising development and expansion potential.”

With this funding, Borro will fuel long-term growth and aims to exponentially increase its lending volume over the next couple years. In 2014, Borro raised $112 million of debt from Victory Park Capital to expand its pool of capital to lend to clients. This round pushes Borro’s total capital raised to over $200 million.

Financial Technology Partners LP and FTP Securities LLC (together “FT Partners”) were the exclusive advisors to Borro on this transaction.

About Borro

Borro launched in 2009 in the UK, and has gone on to open offices in New York and Los Angeles. It is the leading online platform for luxury asset-backed lending and has defined a new lending category in a climate where loans to individuals, SMEs and entrepreneurs were few and far between.

Borro offers loans from $5,000 – $2,000,000 secured against luxury assets including fine art, antiques, jewelry, luxury watches, fine wine, prestige and classic cars and other high value assets.

Borro investors include: Canaan Partners (Lending Club), Eden Ventures, Augmentum Capital. Borro’s board of directors includesNigel Morris (co-founder Capital One) as Chairman, and Paul Gratton (ex-CEO Egg, First Direct).

About OurCrowd

OurCrowd is the leading hybrid venture capital equity crowdfunding platform for accredited investors who wish to invest in Israeli and global early stage companies. Managed by a team of well-known investment professionals and led by serial entrepreneur Jon Medved, OurCrowd selects opportunities, invests its own capital and brings these startups to its accredited membership. Members choose those deals they invest in via OurCrowd-managed partnerships. OurCrowd investors must meet stringent accreditation criteria and invest a minimum of $10,000 per deal. OurCrowd provides post investment support to its portfolio companies, assigning industry experts as mentors and taking board seats. OurCrowd has raised over $100 million in equity crowdfunding for its 57 portfolio companies which include leading companies, such as: BillGuard, Consumer Physics (SCiO), BioCatch, Abe’s Market and ReWalk, OurCrowd’s first portfolio company to complete a successful IPO on the NASDAQ. Visit us online: www.ourcrowd.com.

About Rocket Internet AG (RKET)

Rocket’s mission is to become the world’s largest Internet platform outside of China and the United States. Rocket identifies and builds proven Internet business models and transfers them to new, underserved or untapped markets where it seeks to scale them into market leading online companies. Rocket is focused on online business models that satisfy basic consumer needs across three sectors: e-Commerce, marketplaces and financial technology.

Rocket started in 2007 and now has more than 25,000 employees across its network of companies, which operate in more than 100 countries on five continents. Rocket Internet AG is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ISIN DE000A12UKK6, RKET). For further information visit www.rocket-internet.com.

Team8 raises $18 million in funding

Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Team8 is a venture capital funding focused on the cybersecurity industry that has raised $18 million in Series A funding. This round of funding was provided by Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors, Cisco Investments, Marker LLC and Alcatel-Lucent. Team8 was co-founded by Nadav Zafrir, Israel Grimberg and Liran Grinberg. Team8 is led by veterans of the Israeli army’s 8200 intelligence and electronic espionage unit.

Grapevine raises $1.1 million

Grapevine
Grapevine is a YouTube native marketing company that has announced they raised $1.1 million in seed funding. The investors in this round include Boston Seed and Atlas Venture through Boston Syndicates. Grapevine’s network of over 4,000 YouTube stars receives over 350 million views per month that average a click-through rate 50 times higher than traditional display for customers. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

BOSTON, MA — February 10, 2015 — Grapevine, the YouTube native marketing experts, today announced that the company has closed $1.1 million in seed funding. Grapevine’s network of more than 4,000 YouTube stars gets 350 million views monthly with videos averaging a click-through rate 50 times higher than traditional display for beauty, fashion and lifestyle customers, including Groupon, NYX Cosmetics, Remington and Walgreens.

YouTube is quickly proving to be one of the strongest platforms for introducing and selling products to consumers. Grapevine supercharges a brand’s YouTube vision by combining powerful marketing analytics with the creativity of YouTube stars to deliver videos consumers trust and act upon.

Grapevine’s on-demand platform makes it easy for brands to promote products with YouTube stars. Brands can review creative proposals submitted by interested YouTubers, monitor audience analytics as the views roll in, and ultimately gauge success with detailed conversion metrics.

For YouTube stars, Grapevine offers unique product sponsorships with no exclusive agreements. YouTubers have the flexibility to work on deals with interesting brands while maintaining the creative freedom necessary to make original, compelling content.

“While producing shows for Discovery Channel, I noticed many YouTubers were getting more views than primetime TV programs. This gave me the idea to create Grapevine,” said Brendan Lattrell, founder and CEO of Grapevine. “It’s daunting for brands to find YouTubers that have a relevant audience and collaborate with them. Grapevine solves this problem by placing products into the hands of trusted YouTube stars while providing technology that generates click-through and conversion rates which are nothing short of game changing.”

Grapevine has brought together a world-class group of investors including Boston Seed with Dave Balter as the leading partner and Atlas Venture via Boston Syndicates. Additional notable investors participating in the round include Diane Hessan, Joe Caruso, Jere Doyle and TJ Mahony.

“Grapevine’s model represents a significant evolution in the word-of-mouth industry that BzzAgent pioneered a decade ago,” said Dave Balter. “YouTube amplifies word-of-mouth marketing to reach millions, and Grapevine has figured out what few have been able to achieve — how to measure ROI and prove actual results in sales lift. I’m excited to be working with Brendan and his team as they lead the charge to unlock this powerful new marketing channel.”

New Matter raises $6.5 million in Series A

New Matter
New Matter is a consumer 3D printing company that has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Alsop Louie Partners led this round of funding. Other investors that participated in this round included Arden Road Investments, Biotechonomy, Dolby Family Ventures, First Round Capital, Idealab and frogVentures. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

PASADENA, Calif. – February 10, 2015 – New Matter (www.newmatter.com), a leader in consumer 3D printing, announced today the close of its Series A Funding round of $6.5M. Alsop Louie Partners led the round, with other notable investors including Arden Road Investments, Biotechonomy, Dolby Family Ventures, First Round Capital, Idealab and frogVentures™, the investment arm of global product strategy and design firm frog.

Founded in 2014, New Matter’s mission is to bring affordable, reliable, and easy to use 3d printing into every home and school. New Matter will use the capital to accelerate product development efforts of the MOD-t and New Matter Store.

“We are very excited to continue our partnership with New Matter through this investment round,” said Gilman Louie, from Alsop Louie Partners. “The MOD-t and the New Matter Store are poised to bridge the gap in consumer 3D printing user experiences and lead the charge into mass adoption of 3D printing in 2015.”

In addition to shipping the MOD-t in Spring 2015, New Matter will be launching the New Matter Store, a 3D design marketplace optimized for and fully integrated with the MOD-t printer, offering hundreds of high-quality, curated designs from today’s most influential 3D design artists.

“After being available in the industrial sector for many years, consumer 3D printing is truly coming to market in 2015,” says Steve Schell, co-founder and CEO of New Matter. “With this funding, we will be able to create the standard for consumer 3D printing. We are excited to build the first truly comprehensive 3D printing ecosystem that will make creating 3D objects as easy as clicking ‘print’.”

The MOD-t was initially funded through the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform, raising more than $680,000 and pre-selling over 2,600 units of one of the most affordable 3D printers currently on the market. New Matter will use this funding round to prepare the MOD-t for commercial availability later in 2015.

For more information about New Matter, please visit the website or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About New Matter

New Matter (www.newmatter.com) was founded in 2014 with a mission to bring 3D printing to every home, school, and office. Led by its flagship products, the MOD-t 3D printer and the New Matter Store, New Matter is poised to revolutionize the consumer 3D printing market by providing the first and only affordable, fully integrated, end-to-end consumer 3D printing experience. The company is backed by leading venture capital firms and is an operating company of Idealab, a creator and operator of technology companies that has started more than 125 companies since 1996, resulting in more than 40 IPOs and acquisitions. Stay connected with New Matter through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.