Firefly Games raises $8 million in Series A

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Firefly Games has announced that they have raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Skyocean International Holdings, Ceyuan Ventures and GuangZhou WinHi. Firefly Games is currently building a game called Rising Heroes, which is a tactical strategy game where you raise your heroes and lay siege upon your enemies and other players in real-time. More details below:

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — In a landmark deal, Los Angeles based Firefly Games Inc., founded in January 2015 by Michael Zhang and KJ Lin has raised $8 million in Series A financing round led by Skyocean International Holdings, Ceyuan Ventures and GuangZhou WinHi. The company will release four titles this year and has partnered up with leading mobile game developers to distribute top grossing Asian titles to the Western markets.

Firefly Games will be coupling innovative gameplay design with proven western event systems to create AAA titles for mobile devices. “We plan to bring a revolutionary approach to the way games are released that goes far beyond the standard localization currently seen in the App Stores.” said Michael Zhang, Co-founder and CEO of Firefly Games. “Furthermore, we will also develop a business intelligence vertical within our company to evaluate highly granular data points and continually improve our live operations.”

The company will use the funding to acquire new titles, finance internal game development and make strategic investments worldwide. Johnson Zhen, Chief Investment Officer of Skyocean International Holdings said, “The mobile space is still in its infancy and Firefly Games is working to become one of the leading North American publishing companies for worldwide games.”

Firefly Games plans to move swiftly in the fast growing mobile space. “We expect there will be several billion dollar mobile game publishing companies and Firefly is definitely one with great potential!” said Guojun Chen, Partner of Ceyuan Ventures.

With over 30 employees and a newly opened Shanghai office, Firefly Games is expanding rapidly. The team members come from a history of shaping highly influential mobile, PC, and browser games and communities such as Funzio, GREE, Zynga, Nexon, Riot Games, ZQGame, FunPlus, Gamevil, Ubisoft and more.

About Skyocean International Holdings: Skyocean International Holdings is an investment firm with a $1.7B market cap focused on becoming a leading global entertainment group linking Greater China with the worldwide market. Skyocean International finances city value enhancement and helps drive sustainable and ecological urban development.

About Ceyuan Ventures: Ceyuan is a Beijing-based early stage venture capital firm focused on IT and emerging growth companies. Ceyuan emphasizes backing great teams, technology and business innovation. Their mission is to assist entrepreneurs in building world-class businesses. Ceyuan’s network of relationships and culture gives them the opportunity to discover promising new investment opportunites.

Laurel & Wolf raises $4.4 million

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Laurel & Wolf is an online platform where users can receive designs from multiple interior designers after creating a virtual room. Laurel & Wolf has recently raised $4.4 million in funding. Charles River Ventures led this round of funding with participation from Karlin Ventures, Upside Partnership and Draper & Associates.

Metaps raises $36 million in Series C funding

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Metaps — an app monetization company — has recently announced that it has raised $36 million in Series C funding. The investors in this round were undisclosed, but we know that the round was led by preexisting and multiple new stakeholders in Japan. A Silicon Valley based venture capital company also invested in this round. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

TOKYO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Metaps Inc. (HQ: Tokyo, CEO: Katsuaki Sato, hereafter “Metaps”) announced that they have completed a $36 million Series C round of financing, headed by pre-existing and multiple new stakeholders in Japan and with the participation of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Regarding the new business partnerships formed in this round of funding, plans are to reveal details later this year.

CEO Katsuaki Sato commented, “At this stage of our growth we felt the timing was right to bring in more outside funding to help our AI and financial services initiatives reach the next level. We are already a trusted monetization partner for app developers worldwide, and we are expanding into a solutions provider for all e-commerce companies and smart device developers.”

Metaps was selected by Forbes Japan as one of the “Top Startups” in Japan for 2014, and Sato featured as one of the top 10 young entrepreneurs in Japan.

Metaps offers a one-stop app monetization platform “metaps”, supporting app analytics, user acquisition and monetization. The metaps Platform improves the efficiency and automation of app marketing by learning the patterns of users through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). The infrastructure of the metaps Platform has expanded to reach over 100 million app users through their network, which includes apps that have been downloaded a total of over 1.2 billion times.

Metaps has supported app monetization for developers through the formation of their 8 offices worldwide.

Intended use of Series C funding

1) Expand implementation of artificial intelligence technology

Metaps will continue to advance automation and increase efficiencies across all types of businesses utilizing “big data” accumulated over time. This will be accomplished with data analysis, pattern recognition, future forecasting and by improving the accuracy of automated processes by the Metaps’ AI system. For these purposes, funding will be used towards aggressive hiring of experts in the field, and investing in necessary research.

As indicated in the corporate vision of Metaps: “Through big data and computer learning, our aim is to be the world’s brain by empowering people to make smarter decisions”, Metaps will go beyond smartphones and make the capabilities of the metaps Platform accessible to developers for all smart devices. Metaps will plan product expansion with the goal of increasing the platform infrastructure to reach 10% of the world’s population (800 million people) by 2016.

2) Expand financial services operations

Metaps is currently expanding the scale and operations of their new business, zero commission online payment service “SPIKE”. Over 50,000 accounts have been registered, and SPIKE use is increasing rapidly amongst individual and small e-commerce businesses. With a mission to “Change the rules of money with technology”, SPIKE will strive to become an all-encompassing financial service and not limit itself to online payments.

SIGFOX raises $115 million

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SIGFOX has recently announced that they have raised $115 million in funding. SIGFOX is a provider of a cellular network that is dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT). Investors in this round include Telefonica, SK Telecom, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, Elliott Management Corp. and GDF SUEZ, Air Liquide, Eutelsat. Labège, France-based Sigofx provides a cellular network dedicated to the Internet of Things. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

LABEGE, France–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SIGFOX, the world’s premier provider of a cellular network dedicated to the Internet of Things, today announced it has secured a record $115 million round of financing from strategic and financial investors in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

The SIGFOX network is the most cost-effective and energy-efficient way to provide two-way connectivity to billions of objects. Incorporated in 2009, SIGFOX has pioneered the Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) connectivity space and has become a reference player in IoT.

Following the deployment in France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and soon the United States, SIGFOX will use this new equity round to accelerate its worldwide network roll-out in Europe, Asia and the Americas with the support of international telecom operators (Telefonica, SK Telecom and NTT DOCOMO Ventures), a leading financial sponsor (Elliott Management Corporation) and industrial partners (GDF SUEZ, Air Liquide and Eutelsat). These new partners join the existing financial investors that have been SIGFOX’s shareholders since 2011.

“This record $115 million round is a significant step in the development of our network’s coverage all around the world. The trust of our investors and the dynamism of SIGFOX’s team allow us to strengthen our position as the world leader in IoT communications,” said Anne Lauvergeon, SIGFOX’s chairman.

This strategic investment, which includes leading mobile network operators, clearly demonstrates how SIGFOX’s two-way low-throughput network complements existing high-bandwidth networks. The company sees a clear path towards unifying them in a single network, allowing always-efficient connectivity from both energy and throughput standpoints.

The participation of Elliott Management Corporation bears testimony to the huge value-creation potential in the IoT sector, especially for leading players in the field like SIGFOX. “Elliott is very pleased to be part of this equity round in the leading IoT dedicated-network company,” the firm said in a statement. “We look forward to contributing actively to SIGFOX’s deployment in the U.S. and worldwide.”

Besides the value and the operational know-how brought by its new telecom partners, SIGFOX will also benefit from the help and experience of leading global industrial players to enable large-scale deployments of connected devices and sensors. The presence of these leading players, alongside its telecom partners, will be SIGFOX’s most valuable asset to sell innovative IoT offers.

For GDF SUEZ, the SIGFOX offer will enable new developments in the fields of energy management, energy efficiency and sustainable cities: three priority areas in the Group’s innovation strategy.

ALIAD, the corporate venture capital arm of Air Liquide Group, said in a statement that “SIGFOX’s technology and network, thanks to its significant deployment, perfectly suits our needs for a part of our ‘smart’ devices, especially in terms of energy efficiency for long-distance communication.”

“Eutelsat’s investment in SIGFOX signals our conviction that satellites can accelerate the development of the IoT market, both in terms of reach and reliability,” said Jean-Hubert Lenotte, director of strategy at Eutelsat. “Eutelsat is constantly looking at innovative developments that push back the boundaries of our markets, add value for our customers and anchor satellites in an increasingly connected economy. SIGFOX has assembled a unique and compelling solution for the IoT market. We look forward to contributing to their growth and participating in their experience and entrepreneurial development.”

Existing financial investors, Elaia Partners, iXO PE, Partech Ventures and Idinvest, confirmed their support for the company and its management by reinvesting significantly in the current round. Bpifrance also strengthened its holding in SIGFOX and confirmed its commitment to the company through its Ambition Numérique (Digital Ambition) and Large Venture funds. “We strongly believe SIGFOX can be a future global player in the Internet of Things, and we are delighted to accompany its growth and increase our investment,” said Paul-François Fournier, director of innovation at Bpifrance.

“Since creating the LPWA space three years ago, SIGFOX has become the leading global solution for IoT connectivity,” said Ludovic Le Moan, CEO of SIGFOX. “This investment round recognizes those achievements and highlights the company’s potential to become the worldwide standard for small-message-based connectivity.”

The round comprises a first close of $93 million and a “greenshoe” of $22 million that will allow new strategic partners to join the share capital of SIGFOX in the next few months. Lazard acted as financial advisor to SIGFOX, with Granrut Avocats acting as legal advisor.

About SIGFOX

SIGFOX is the premier provider of dedicated cellular connectivity for Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine communications. The company’s network complements existing high-bandwidth systems by providing economical, energy-efficient two-way transmission of small quantities of data, thus lowering barriers to wide implementation of IoT and M2M solutions, and greatly extending the battery and service life of connected devices. SIGFOX’s global network is deployed through the SIGFOX Network Operator™ partnership program, with more than 2 million square kilometers already covered. The company is headquartered in Labège, France, and has offices in Mountain View, Calif., and Madrid, Spain.

For more information, see www.SIGFOX.com and follow us on Twitter @SIGFOX.

About ALIAD

Created in 2012, Air Liquide Venture Capital (ALIAD) is the Air Liquide Group’s venture capital investor. ALIAD’s minority stakes support the growth of innovative start-ups and encourages the establishment of R&D and/or business agreements between these young start-ups and other entities of the Group.

About Bpifrance

Bpifrance, a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts and French State, trusted partner of entrepreneurs, supports companies, from seed capital to the stock exchange, in credit, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance provides further services and support for innovation, acquisitions and export, in partnership with UBIFRANCE and Coface. Bpifrance offers companies a continuum of financing for each key stage of their development and specific support in regards to regional specificities. With 42 regional offices (90% of decisions taken in region), Bpifrance is a tool for economic competitiveness for entrepreneurs. Bpifrance acts in support of public policies pursued by the State and by the Regions to meet three objectives:

• support the growth of SMEs

• prepare future competitiveness

• contribute to the development of a favorable ecosystem for entrepreneurship.

With Bpifrance, companies benefit from a powerful contact point, close and efficient to meet all of their financial needs, innovation and investment.

For more information, see www.bpifrance.fr and follow us on Twitter @bpifrance.

About Elaia Partners

Elaia Partners was founded in 2002 as an independent private equity boutique focused on Digital Economy. Elaia Partners currently manages more than $145 million mainly through Elaia Ventures, a French FCPR fund backed by a diverse range of LPs – financial institutions, industrials and family offices – and through funds delegated by Omnes Capital, 123Venture and Neotec as well as through a seed investment fund, Elaia Alpha, raised in 2012 and dedicated to the investment in early stage companies in the digital economy. Elaia Partners was the lead investor of the first round raised by SIGFOX in 2011.For more information, see www.elaia.com and follow us on Twitter: @elaia_partners.

About Elliott Management Corporation

Elliott Management Corporation manages two multi-strategy hedge funds which combined have more than $25 billion of assets under management. Its flagship fund, Elliott Associates, L.P., was founded in 1977, making it one of the oldest hedge funds under continuous management. The Elliott funds’ investors include pension plans, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, foundations, funds-of-funds, high net worth individuals and families, and employees of the firm.

For more information, see www.elliottmgmt.com.

About Eutelsat Communications

Established in 1977, Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is one of the world’s leading and most experienced operators of communications satellites. The company provides capacity on 35 satellites to clients that include broadcasters and broadcasting associations, pay-TV operators, video, data and Internet service providers, enterprises and government agencies. Eutelsat’s satellites provide ubiquitous coverage of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, enabling video, data, broadband and government communications to be established irrespective of a user’s location. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat represents a workforce of 1,000 men and women from 32 countries who are experts in their fields and work with clients to deliver the highest quality of service

For more information, see www.eutelsat.com.

About GDF SUEZ

GDF SUEZ develops its businesses (power, natural gas, energy services) around a model based on responsible growth to take up today’s major energy and environmental challenges: meeting energy needs, ensuring the security of supply, fighting against climate change and maximizing the use of resources. The Group provides highly efficient and innovative solutions to individuals, cities and businesses by relying on diversified gas-supply sources, flexible and low-emission power generation as well as unique expertise in four key sectors: independent power production, liquefied natural gas, renewable energy and energy efficiency services. GDF SUEZ employs 147,200 people worldwide and achieved revenues of $81.3 billion in 2013. The Group is listed on the Paris and Brussels stock exchanges and is represented in the main international indices: CAC 40, BEL 20, DJ Euro Stoxx 50, Euronext 100, FTSE Eurotop 100, MSCI Europe and Euronext Vigeo (World 120, Eurozone 120, Europe 120 and France 20).

In 2014, the Group launched GDF SUEZ New Ventures, a €100million investment fund dedicated to provide financing to innovative companies that share its strategic business orientation and have reached the pre-production development stage.

For more information, see www.gdfsuez.com

About Idinvest

With $6 billion under management and 50 staff, Idinvest Partners is a leading pan-European manager focused on the middle market segment. Idinvest Partners has developed several complementary areas of expertise including investments in innovative European start-ups, primary, secondary and mezzanine investments in European non-listed companies, and private equity consulting. Founded under the name AGF Private Equity in 1997, Idinvest Partners was formerly part of the Allianz Group until 2010 when it joined forces with IDI Group to become independent.

For more information, see www.idinvest.com.

About Intel Capital

Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, mobility, consumer Internet, digital media and semiconductor manufacturing. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than $11 billion in over 1,400 companies in 57 countries. In that timeframe, 210 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world, and 366 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2014, Intel Capital invested $359 million in 125 deals, including 59 new investments.

For more information, see www.intelcapital.com and follow us on Twitter @Intelcapital.

About Ixo Private Equity

IXO Private Equity is an independent company 100 % held by its management team. It manages an asset portfolio in capital-investment of $570m. Funds made out from type FIP/FCPI’s public offer represent $220m. FPCI’s funds (ex FCPR) mainly signed by institutional investors represent, as for them, $350m. Located in Toulouse and Marseille, IXO Private Equity invests equity amounts between $1m and $15m per project in PME located in the South of France (South-East – South-West).

For more information, see www.ixope.fr.

About NTT DOCOMO Ventures

NTT DOCOMO Ventures, a Corporate Venture Capital Unit for both NTT DOCOMO and NTT Holdings group, is operating DOCOMO Innovation Fund and NTT Investment Partners Fund, one is $100M size, the other is $150M size. We proactively enhance cooperation with exceptional entrepreneurs on a worldwide scale by providing hands-on incubation program, capital from our corporate venture funds and vast business development opportunities with the NTT Group companies.

NTT is a Japanese telecommunications company and one of the largest telecommunications groups in the world, owning more than 946 companies as subsidiaries worldwide. NTT DOCOMO is Japan’s largest mobile service provider, serving more than 63 million customers with high-quality and ultra-high-speed nationwide LTE network.

For more information, see www.nttdocomo-v.com/en.

About Partech Ventures

Partech Ventures is an investment company that specialises in fast-growing companies in the digital and information technology sectors with three different funds (Growth, Venture and Seed). The team, which has offices in Silicon Valley, Paris, and Berlin, has extensive experience in international corporate development. Over the course of its history, Partech Ventures has completed 21 initial public offerings, and more than 50 industrial disposals amounting to over $100 million for large international companies. The « Les Echos » daily business newspaper has awarded the company its prize for the best venture capital team, while Preqin, the independent research organisation, has just recognized Partech Ventures as one of the top ten global venture-capital funds on a world-wide scale, and the only European fund among the top 30 based on its performance.

For more information, see www.partechventures.com.

About SK Telecom

SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM, KSE: 017670), established in 1984, is Korea’s largest telecommunications company with more than 28 million mobile subscribers, accounting for over 50% of the market. The company reached KRW 17.164 trillion in revenue in 2014. As the world’s first company to commercialize CDMA, CDMA 2000 1x, CDMA EV-DO and HSDPA networks, SK Telecom launched the nation’s first LTE service in July 2011. SK Telecom also became the world’s first mobile carrier to commercialize 150Mbps LTE-Advanced in June 2013 and 225Mbps LTE-Advanced in June 2014 through Carrier Aggregation (CA). In line with its efforts to swiftly move towards the next-generation mobile network system, or 5G, it successfully commercialized 300Mbps tri-band LTE-A CA on December 2014. As of December 2014, the company has over 16.7 million LTE and LTE-Advanced subscribers. Based on its strength in network operations business, SK Telecom is seeking new growth engines in areas of platform, Big Data and convergence business.

For more information, see www.sktelecom.com.

About Telefónica

Telefónica is one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world in terms of market capitalisation and number of customers. With its best in class mobile, fixed and broadband networks, and innovative portfolio of digital solutions, Telefónica is transforming itself into a ‘Digital Telco’, a company that will be even better placed to meet the needs of its customers and capture new revenue growth.

The company has a significant presence in 21 countries and a customer base of more than 316 million accesses around the world. Telefónica has a strong presence in Spain, Europe and Latin America, where the company focuses an important part of its growth strategy.

Telefónica is a 100% listed company, with more than 1.5 million direct shareholders. Its share capital currently comprises 4.551.024.586 ordinary shares traded on the Spanish Stock Market and on those in London, New York, Lima, and Buenos Aires.

Zetta Venture Partners brings in $60 million for debut fund

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Zetta Venture Partners recently announced its first fund close at $60 million. This fund will focus on early-stage analytics companies in the enterprise and industrial sector. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

SAN FRANCISCO & SILICON SLOPES, Utah–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Zetta Venture Partners, a venture capital firm focused on the high-growth analytics market, today announced that its first fund closed at $60 million. Mark Gorenberg, a 25-year veteran venture capitalist, and Ash Fontana, who formerly launched online fundraising at AngelList, are Zetta’s managing directors.

Debuting with a portfolio of eight investments, Zetta is committed to delivering exceptional returns for investors and entrepreneurs alike. The firm has offices in San Francisco and Utah’s Silicon Slopes.

“Every decade, there’s the start of a cataclysmic shift in technology markets,” said Gorenberg. “Today that shift is to analytics – a fast growing market combining data and software for business impact. The analytics opportunity reflects the same growth dynamics for focused investors as software did in the 1990s and cloud computing did in the 2000s.”

“Analytics is still in its infancy, providing the perfect entry point for a new venture fund like Zetta,” said Fontana, who has built, invested in and managed technology companies. “As the volume of data continues to grow, the need to find useful information to improve performance will keep pace. Whether focused on advancing healthcare, building smarter cities or optimizing energy delivery, there will be an appetite for analytics products for decades.”

Zetta’s initial $60 million fund was raised from both institutional investors and industry luminaries. The fund will back early-stage analytics companies, predominantly in the enterprise and industrial space. Zetta’s first investments include Content Analytics, Domo, EventBoard, FollowAnalytics, InsideSales, Lucid Design Group Optimine and Pixlee.

About the Team

Ash Fontana, Managing Director

Prior to Zetta Venture Partners, Fontana led fundraising products at AngelList, the most successful startup investing platform in the world, managing $130 million over more than 250 funds. There he launched online investing, created the first startup “index fund” and curated investment opportunities across 500,000 companies. An entrepreneur at heart, Fontana also co-founded TopGuest, a Founders Fund-backed customer analytics company, which exited in 2011. He started his professional career at Macquarie Capital, where he was a top-ranked analyst in private equity, investment banking and equity research. Today he serves as an advisor to and investor in several analytics startups, including Mixmax and Gridspace. Academically, he graduated with highest honors in law and finance from the University of Sydney.

“Ash is a triple threat,” said Gorenberg. “He is an innovator, an entrepreneur and an investor. He has the perfect blend of experience, intelligence and attitude to help Zetta Venture Partners become a new brand in early stage venture capital.”

Mark Gorenberg, Managing Director

Prior to Zetta Venture Partners, Gorenberg served as managing director at Hummer Winblad, the first focused fund for enterprise software. He led the first venture round of investments in analytics companies such as Domo, InsideSales, Omniture (IPO and acquired by Adobe), AdForce (IPO and acquired by CMGI) and Scopus Technologies (IPO and acquired by Seibel Systems). He has a successful 25-year track record in enterprise technology investing. Prior to his venture capital career, he led engineering groups at Sun Microsystems in Advanced R&D. Today, he serves on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the Board of Trustees for Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Board of the National Venture Capital Association. Mark graduated from MIT and received a master’s degree from both the University of Minnesota and Stanford University.

“Mark is an incredibly intelligent investor who has a knack for identifying opportunities before anyone else,” said Fontana. “With our complementary backgrounds and a singular focus on analytics, Zetta has the expertise, network and access to make exceptional investments and help entrepreneurs build great companies.”

About Zetta Venture Partners

Led by Mark Gorenberg and Ash Fontana, Zetta Venture Partners debuted in 2015 with a $60 million venture fund and early-stage investments in a portfolio of eight high-growth enterprise analytics companies. For more information, visit www.zettavp.com.

Miovision raises C$30 million

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Miovision is a Canadian technology company that has developed software that converts video of vehicle traffic into usable data. Miovision recently announced that they have raised C$30 million ($23.83 million) in funding. This round of funding was led by MacKinnon, Bennett & Co. Investeco Capital, Renewal Funds, Plaza Ventures and Comerica also participated in this round.

MineralTree raises $11.1 million

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MineralTree is an accounts payable and payment automation solutions company that has raised $11.1 million in Series B funding. First Data led this round of funding. .406 Ventures and Fidelity Growth Partners also participated in this round. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MineralTree, the accounts payable (AP) and payment automation solution provider for growing companies, today announced an $11.1 million Series B investment led by First Data, the global leader in payment technology and services solutions. Existing investors .406 Ventures and Fidelity Growth Partners participated in the round that brings the company’s total funding to $22.7 million. MineralTree will use the funds to accelerate product development and further expand its direct sales organization targeting growing companies and financial accounting outsourcing (FAO) organizations.

“As a leader in payments and financial services technology – with unprecedented market insight and a network of relationships with banks and financial services organizations – First Data brings much more than capital to our relationship,” said BC Krishna, MineralTree’s president and CEO. “The solution we’ve built is a far more intuitive, affordable and secure option than other products in the market or the manual processes that too many companies are still using for accounts payable. We can deliver tremendous efficiencies to the antiquated status quo in AP, giving people an informed solution with great utility that is delightful to use and guaranteed secure.”

As part of the investment, executive vice president and head of financial services at First Data, Andrew Gelb, will be joining the Board of Directors at MineralTree.

“MineralTree has demonstrated a unique ability to modernize and automate the accounts payable environment,” said Gelb. “We look forward to working closely with this innovative team.”

According to the Association of Finance Professionals, business-to-business payments are going through an unprecedented period of change. The organization’s most recent Electronic Payments Survey found that half of all large companies still use paper checks to make B2B payments. Evidence of significant adoption from previous studies demonstrates that many large companies are looking for ways to improve and automate processes, but they are the exception. AP and payment automation within growing and mid-sized firms is virtually non-existent.

To help growing companies optimize AP and payment efficiency, MineralTree captures invoices as they arrive, routes them for approval through existing workflows and directly executes payments. As a Web-based solution that integrates seamlessly and in real time with accounting/ERP and banking systems, MineralTree provides unparalleled visibility and control of cash flow. It helps financial professionals at growing companies focus more on strategic tasks instead of chasing down approvals, printing checks, and licking envelopes. In addition, MineralTree does not use settlement accounts, so it improves security by minimizing the movement of cash, while also providing a $100,000 online annual fraud protection guarantee.

About MineralTree

MineralTree provides the easiest to use Accounts Payable (AP) and Payment Automation solutions for finance professionals at growing organizations. MineralTree streamlines AP, giving customers unparalleled visibility and significant cost savings in an affordable, integrated platform that is guaranteed secure. For more information visit www.mineraltree.com

TuneGO raises $1.2 million in funding

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TuneGO recently announced that they have raised $1.2 million in funding. Investors in this round include Chris Murray and Kenny Kam. TuneGO is a music discovery platform that helps elevate new artists. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

Las Vegas, NV, February 11, 2014 – TuneGO, the music discovery platform that helps elevate new artists and their music, today announced $1.2M in private funding; new distribution partners, including Spotify, Slacker and APM Music; and the addition of legendary producers and songwriters recognized for working with music superstars such as Christina Aguilera, Michael Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson and Aerosmith to the TuneGO production team. In development since late 2013 and set for its nationwide launch in Q1 2015, TuneGO eliminates historical barriers to entry in the music industry by enabling artists to get their music in front of fans and, unlike other services, connect with actual industry executives to secure licensing and distribution of their music. The round includes investments from serial entrepreneur Chris Murray and Pasadena Angel investor, Kenny Kam.

“We started TuneGO to change the way the world discovers music,” says John Kohl, co-founder and CEO, TuneGO. “There are plenty of platforms that connect artists with the masses, TuneGO is the only platform that has the technology and relationships to connect artists with music fans, accomplished producers, songwriters and industry decision makers.”

TuneGO enables consumers to experience and share yet-to-be-discovered music and artists, and allows artists to get their music in front of new audiences. Unlike other services, TuneGO also offers the rating systems and tools necessary to help guide an artist’s development and secure commercial distribution. One of the unique features is the patent-pending TuneGO Score, an algorithmic filtering tool that combines social activity, crowd-sourced feedback, live event activity, professional reviews and other factors to determine an artist’s likelihood of commercial success.

“It’s harder than ever to stand out and be discovered,” continued Kohl. “What’s more, producers and record labels just don’t have the bandwidth to filter through thousands of singles, Facebook posts, tweets and YouTube videos out there to find truly talented artists. TuneGO connects all the dots and put your music in the hands of people that matter most.”

TuneGO’s production team includes Grammy Award-winning producers with a combined $5 billion in retail sales, and over 300 million albums sold, such as:

· Ron Dante, legendary producer of Barry Manilow, Cher and Pat Benatar

· Desmond Child, member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame for hits such as “Livin on a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Bad Medicine,” who has worked with artists including KISS, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson, Ricky Martin and others

· Peter Asher, former SVP of Sony Music Entertainment and producer of original and compilation albums from James Taylor, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt and more

· John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez, an American musician and DJ who has produced and remixed music for artists such as Madonna, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and the Pointer Sisters

“The number of undiscovered, talented musicians continues to grow, but there has yet to be a platform that combines technology, musical acumen and industry connections to crack the code of effectively curating artists and their music,” says Ron Dante, Executive Music Director, TuneGO. “TuneGO levels the playing field for all artists and increases their chances for success without funds or politics, while giving the music companies the content they are looking for. TuneGO ensures that the most talented and sellable artists are put in front of the right people.”

How it works:

Once an artist registers on TuneGO, they are invited to submit content, complete a career development survey, and determine their TuneGO Score, the core of the TuneGO platform. This Score is assigned based on multiple automated and human factors to help uncover the brightest talents, with points given for social activity analysis, consumer music activities (live shows played and existing distribution deals), industry partner data, crowd-based fan reviews and professional music reviews from the TuneGO board of producers. This score ultimately guides producers and industry executives in determining which artists to focus on for professional development and opportunities.

“Many have tried to create a platform for artist development, but lacked influential producers and a technical strategy on how to discover the best of the best,” says Dave Berkus, TuneGO Advisory Board member, managing director at ACE Funds and founder of Tech Coast Angels. “I was attracted to TuneGO by the combined technical and musical background of its founders, its relationships with some of the top producers in the game, its partnerships with top distribution companies, and its unique rating system. The result of this unique combination is a platform that is seductive for every single artist that wants to be heard, seductive for every producer that wants to find new artists, and seductive for consumers who discover new music.”

TuneGO has been testing its free service for the past 12 months on an invitation-only basis, and currently has over 1,000 artists in beta on the platform. TuneGO is set for a nationwide launch of both its free and paid services in Q1 2015, bringing hundreds of thousands of new users and artists to the platform and helping the site’s producers find the next big act in music. If interested in signing to be eligible for TuneGO’s beta service prior to launch, you can do so here.

About TuneGO

TuneGO is a revolutionary, interactive online community that brings the music industry to the artist by connecting independent musicians with music lovers, entertainment companies, industry experts, and the world’s most successful producers and songwriters. TuneGO offers a cloud-based career development platform that offers tools, personalized services and educational resources to advance the careers of musicians. For more information, go to www.tunego.com