Message Systems raises $27 million in funding

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Message Systems is a leader in e-mail infrastructure that has raised $27 million in a new round of funding. New investor Hercules Technology Growth Capital and existing Message Systems’ investors LLR Partners and NewSpring Capital participated in this round. Message Systems also secured a new $8 million line of credit for working capital purposes. More details below:

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Message Systems, the global leader in email infrastructure, today announced it has raised $27 million in funding, for a total amount of $65 million to date. New investor Hercules Technology Growth Capital and existing Message Systems’ investors LLR Partners and NewSpring Capital participated in this round. Separately, Message Systems secured a new $8 million line of credit for working capital purposes, also from Hercules.

The capital infusion will be used to drive adoption of SparkPost, Message Systems’ new public cloud email service, via accelerated development and expanded sales and marketing. Launched in November 2014, SparkPost makes available to developers and companies of all sizes the same reliable and robust email platform used by the world’s largest email senders.

“This funding sends a clear signal that Message Systems is extending its leadership position in email infrastructure into the cloud,” said Message Systems CEO Phillip Merrick. “Today, Message Systems provides the world’s largest senders with the most advanced email platform available on the market. In 2015, we are excited to offer the same email capabilities in use at Twitter, Groupon, LinkedIn and other leading enterprises to businesses of all sizes through our SparkPost cloud offering.”

The funding follows a year of record financial results for Message Systems, which moves 25 percent of the world’s legitimate email — more than 3 trillion emails a year — for well-known global brands, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, Epsilon, Oracle and Salesforce.com.

“We are very excited to partner with Message Systems at this important and critical stage to help them accelerate the market adoption of the SparkPost service,” said April Young, managing director at Hercules Technology Growth Capital. “Email remains the most important engagement channel in the world for effective customer communication. By working closely with the Message Systems team, we are able to fund their growth objectives which will help extend their leadership position in the email market.”

About Message Systems

Message Systems is the world’s #1 email infrastructure provider. Collectively, Message Systems customers, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Groupon, Salesforce, Marketo, Oracle, Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and American Express, move over 3 trillion messages a year — more than 25 percent of the world’s legitimate email. These prestigious companies choose Message Systems because our software outperforms any cloud or on-premises alternative, and provides the flexibility, deliverability and control they need to drive the highest possible customer engagement for their business. For more information, follow us on Twitter @MessageSystems or go to messagesystems.com.

BookingPal raises $5 million in funding

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BookingPal is a cloud-based travel technology service that increases professionally managed vacation rental units exposure and revenue by connecting them to OTA’s, property listings, and vacation rental portals. BookingPal has raised $5 million in Series B funding led by Thayer Ventures. PAR Capital Ventures, Amadeus Ventures, Camp One Ventures and Plug and Play Ventures also participated in this round.

PRESS RELEASE

Irvine, CA (PRWEB) February 18, 2015

BookingPal, a cloud based travel technology service that increases professionally managed vacation rental units exposure and revenue by connecting them to OTA’s, property listing and vacation rental portals, announced today that it has completed a $5 Million Series B financing. The investment will be used to support the demand for the company’s services, accelerate platform development, and expand the team.

The financing was led by Thayer Ventures and includes participation from new investors PAR Capital Ventures, and Amadeus Ventures. Early investors Camp One Ventures and Plug and Play Ventures also participated. BookingPal has received $7.5 million in total funding.

“This new capital will enable us to continue to innovate on the platform, expand our strategic partnerships, and fulfill our mission to help travelers find the perfect vacation rental for their next trip on their favorite website,” says BookingPal CEO Alex Aydin. “We are thrilled to have such world-class investors with deep domain expertise joining forces with us.”

“BookingPal’s technology solution is well-timed with the rapidly increasing demand for vacation rental properties from multiple audiences, including consumers, travel agencies, corporate travel managers, and more,” said Jeff Jackson Managing Director at Thayer Ventures. “BookingPal is an enabling solution for the industry and we are excited to collaborate with and support them as they work to scale the company in this exciting category.”

Along with the funding, BookingPal also announced the appointment of Mark Farrell, Managing Partner at Thayer Ventures, and Jeff Jackson, former CFO of Sabre Holdings, to the company’s Board of Directors.

“We are very pleased and fortunate to have both Mark and Jeff join our Board of Directors,” said Alex Aydin, CEO of BookingPal. “Their extensive professional experience and passionate commitment will bring insightful perspectives and contributions to our Board.”

About BookingPal

BookingPal is a cloud based travel technology company, providing a global distribution system and a centralized booking platform for over 250,000 real time bookable vacation rental properties. Vacation rental and corporate housing property managers can increase their online presence and number of bookings by distributing their inventory via BookingPal’s global distribution channels. BookingPal was founded in 2013 and headquartered in Irvine, California. To learn more about BookingPal, please visit http://www.mybookingpal.com or email info(at)mybookingpal(dot)com.

About Thayer Ventures

Thayer Ventures is a Venture Capital firm that invests exclusively in technology companies that focus on the travel and hospitality industry. Representing more than $10 trillion in annual global economic activity, the space is thriving with entrepreneurial activity, and disruptive change is altering the dynamics of the travel business forever. To learn more about Amadeus, please visit http://www.thayerventures.com/.

About PAR Capital Ventures

PAR Capital Ventures LLC makes early-stage private investments in travel and technology companies. PAR Capital Ventures is managed by Paul A. Reeder, III. Separately, Mr. Reeder is also the president of PAR Capital Management, which manages a private investment fund with more than $4 billion of assets under management. Through PAR Capital Management, Mr. Reeder was an early investor in ITA Software (acquired by Google) and Zillow.

About Amadeus Ventures

Amadeus Ventures is the investment arm of Amadeus IT Group is a leading provider of advanced technology solutions for the travel and tourism industry. Amadeus customers are travel providers (airlines, hotels, rail, ferries, etc.), travel sellers (travel agencies and websites), and travel buyers (corporations and travelers). The Amadeus group employs worldwide about 10 000 employees in its main sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters), Nice (development) and Erding (Operations) and in its 73 local business organizations. To learn more about Amadeus, please visit http://www.amadeus.com.

About Camp One Ventures

Camp One Ventures (C1V) partners with leading emerging growth businesses in the mobility, software-as-a-service and financial technology segments. C1V provide companies with the venture capital and support they need to build world class businesses. To learn more about Camp One Ventures, please visit

http://www.camponeventures.com/.

About Plug & Play Ventures

Plug & Play Ventures is the investment arm of Plug and Play Tech Center which has been seed investor of LendingClub, DropBox, PayPal and CreditSesame among others. Please visithttp://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/.

Glint raises $15.5 million

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Glint is a real-time employee engagement platform that has raised $15.5 million in funding. Glint will soon publicly release a new product, which is a real-time cloud solution to measure and improve employee engagement. Norwest Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures led this round of funding. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

Redwood City, Calif. — February 18, 2015 — Glint, the real-time employee engagement platform, today announced it has raised $15.5 million in venture capital funding ahead of the public release of its new product, the first real-time cloud solution to measure and improve employee engagement. Norwest Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures led the investment funding along with angel investors including Ev Williams, the co-founder and CEO of Medium and former chairman and CEO of Twitter.

Glint’s rich analytical capabilities help companies like FICO, Marketo and many others identify and measure their key drivers of engagement and take directed action. Glint will devote the funds to continue aggressive product development and scale up its marketing, sales and customer success teams.

Both Norwest Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures have previously worked with Glint CEO and Co-Founder Jim Barnett. They were early investors in the data-driven advertising pioneer Turn, which Barnett co-founded and where he still serves as chairman. Jeff Crowe, a managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners, and Jason Pressman, a managing director at Shasta Ventures now serve on Glint’s board of directors. This week Glint also announced the public launch of the industry’s first real-time employee engagement platform.

“Glint has created an exceptional platform, bringing elegant design and real-time analytic insights to employee engagement,” Crowe said. “We’ve been very impressed with Glint’s early progress in attracting major new customers even before its public launch. Employee engagement applications are the next wave of innovation in human capital management, and Norwest is excited to help make Glint the clear leader in this new world.”

Norwest Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures have a proven history of successfully developing enterprise cloud companies and deep experience with the software-as-a-service business model. Norwest’s portfolio includes Adaptive Insights, MobileIron (MOBL) and BlueJeans, while Shasta’s portfolio includes Anaplan, Lithium and Zuora.

“Especially with the current war for talent, Glint’s solution addresses a pressing need in the market. Using people data to empower leaders and managers to drive employee engagement is a strategic weapon,” Pressman said. “Shasta Ventures is excited for the opportunity to help make Glint a household name for managers and human resources professionals.”

“We’re thrilled to build on our successful relationship with Shasta and Norwest, and we’re glad to have them on board with our most exciting product yet,” Barnett said. “Both firms have an excellent understanding of the software-as-a-service business, and we will certainly leverage their insight and experience to guide Glint.”

Glint plans to use the investment funds to extend its technology lead with a heavy focus on continued product development to add additional features and capabilities that meet the latest HR demands. The money will also enable Glint to rapidly grow its marketing, sales and customer success departments to create and support a larger client base that in turn increases the value of being part of the Glint community for each company.

Glint is now fully available through an annual software-as-a-service subscription model. For more information or to register for our upcoming introductory webinar on Feb. 26, visit www.glintinc.com.

About Glint

Glint helps you see into your organization in revolutionary ways, giving you the power to create real impact on employee engagement, retention and performance. Glint leverages real-time people data to give you and your managers a holistic view of your organization’s health, the insight to predict problems, and direction to take action. Based in Redwood City, California, Glint is backed by Norwest Venture Partners and Shasta Ventures. For more information, please visit www.glintinc.com.

RapidMiner raises $15 million in funding

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RapidMiner is is modern analytics leader that has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Ascent Venture Partners and Longworth Venture Partners. Previous investors Earlybird Venture Capital and Open Ocean Capital also participated in this round. More details below:

Modern Analytics Leader RapidMiner Nabs $15 Million in Funding

RapidMiner’s Series B Funding to Support Its Growing Stronghold in the Predictive Analytics Market

BOSTON, MA–(Marketwired – Feb 18, 2015) – RapidMiner, the industry’s easiest-to-use Modern Analytics platform, today announced it closed $15 million in Series B investment led by Ascent Venture Partners and Longworth Venture Partners, with renewed commitment from Series A investors, Earlybird Venture Capital and Open Ocean Capital. This brings the total investment in RapidMiner to $20 million. The new capital will enable RapidMiner to execute on aggressive growth plans as the company furthers its global agenda to bring self-service advanced analytics to next-generation data scientists.

“The Big Data rush is here today, and companies that can quickly and efficiently capitalize on this will emerge leaders,” shared Luke Burns, partner at Ascent Venture Partners. “RapidMiner’s code-free advanced analytics platform puts the power of modern analytics into the hands of business analysts and data scientists, optimizing productivity and making it easier for anyone to use predictive analytics.”

RapidMiner reached a number of major growth milestones since closing its initial investment round in late 2013, including its acquisition of Radoop, a code-free environment for distributed analytics in Hadoop. RapidMiner Radoop added significantly to the company’s rich analytics platform, resulting in the most comprehensive modern analytics offering on the market.

“RapidMiner is the only code-free predictive analytics solution on the market that can execute analytical processes in-memory, in-Hadoop, in-Cloud, in-Stream and in-database,” added Nilanjana Bhowmik, partner at Longworth Venture Partners. “We’re consistently seeing the RapidMiner team push the envelope and look ahead at what its community of users need for accurate business decisions, making it the dominant leader of the next generation of modern analytics platforms.”

In the last year, RapidMiner has:

- Tripled product revenues.

- Secured dozens of net new customers and strategic partnerships including Corning, Ustream and Hitachi, Ltd.

- Received recognition from Gartner, Inc., placing the company in the leader quadrant in the “Gartner Magic Quadrant for Advanced Analytics Platforms” in February 2014.

- Directly addressed the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine communications with the debut of RapidMiner Streams, a code-free environment that simplifies and distributes analytics on Apache Storm.

- Brought to market several new editions of its platform to support predictive analytics in the cloud, streaming data and Big Data analytics in Hadoop.

- Grew RapidMiner’s community to more than 250,000 active users along with the number of paid subscribers over the last two years.

“The fast growth at RapidMiner is evidence of the strong demand in the market for a platform that accelerates time-to-value for customers,” said Jason Whitmire, partner at Earlybird Venture Capital. “Putting the power of Big Data into the hands of business users is something that’s historically been difficult to execute, but RapidMiner and its strong community prove it’s possible today.”

RapidMiner plans to grow its 60+ person global team with this latest infusion of capital. Key hiring areas include partnerships and alliances, research and development, sales and marketing, product marketing, support and general administration.

“We’re thrilled to strengthen the RapidMiner team with such strong investment partners who understand the importance of Big Data analytics in the enterprise,” said Ingo Mierswa, co-founder and CEO of RapidMiner. “This new capital will allow us to invest further in strengthening our leadership position as the de facto modern analytics platform.”

About RapidMiner

RapidMiner is the industry’s easiest-to-use Modern Analytics platform that significantly accelerates productivity — from data prep to predictive action — with prebuilt models and one-click deployments. Leveraging its open source heritage, RapidMiner was built by data scientists for data scientists, business analysts and developers. Unlike traditional analytics providers, RapidMiner enables anyone to make the most of all data in all environments, by providing a powerful code-free advantage and the wisdom of over 250,000 users around the world. For more information, visit www.rapidminer.com.

Luxury Garage Sale raises $1.5 million in seed round

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Luxury Garage Sale is a Chicago-based fashion startup that has raised $1.5 million in funding led by Chicago Ventures. The funding will be used to expand operations in Chicago and to expand in other markets starting with Dallas. More details below:

PRESS RELEASE

2/17/15 — Chicago — Chicago-based fashion startup Luxury Garage Sale has raised $1.5 million in Series Seed funding led by Chicago Ventures and prominent angels including Brian Spaly & Elle Bruno of Trunk Club, Paul Lee, and Lon Chow of Apex Venture Partners.

The investment will enable Luxury Garage Sale to expand operations in Chicago and accelerate expansion to other markets, starting with Dallas, where it plans to launch in the spring. The rapidly growing company’s expansion into this new market is the first step in a targeted city expansion to widen and redefine the scope of their omni-channel business.

“Founders Brielle and Lindsay have proven that there’s a big need for Luxury Garage Sale’s unique, hands-on experience for luxury consignment buyers and sellers,” said Kevin Willer, Partner at Chicago Ventures. “We’re excited about the large market opportunity as they scale their native e-commerce presence and into new cities to address that need, using the successful model they’ve built.”

Luxury Garage Sale was founded in 2010 in Chicago to provide a curated and luxe buying and selling option in the $16 billion women’s fashion resale market. By offering an all-around white-glove service and luxury brand experience to both buyers and consignors, this boutique experience also offers customers the strong brand affinity required to move product quickly and competitively. The luxury consigning and shopping experience is available across four different platforms, including a retail boutique, website (luxurygaragesale.com), eBay store, and pop-up shops around the country.

Co-Founder Lindsay Segal differentiates their offering from other resale experiences: “Luxury Garage Sale is building the preeminent resale brand through our curated, exclusive, high fashion shopping experience. We are not a marketplace. We are not a resale shop. We are a luxury brand.”

The company is also thrilled to announce the addition of Brian Spaly, CEO of Trunk Club, to their board of directors. An experienced fashion entrepreneur, Brian has led two venture-backed fashion startups, most recently selling Trunk Club to Nordstrom for $350 million. Brian Spaly elaborates on Luxury Garage Sale’s upscale differentiation: “Options are plentiful when shopping for luxury products. However, the sharing and resale economy neglects the luxe experience traditionally associated with designer shopping. Luxury Garage Sale stands for this experience. It is what makes their partners – both consigners and buyers – so loyal to their brand and offering. I look forward to supporting LGS as they expand their brand nationally.”

Learn more about Luxury Garage Sale at www.luxurygaragesale.com. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest arrivals, events and more.

About Luxury Garage Sale

Luxury Garage Sale is Chicagoland’s preeminent designer consignment business selling new and gently-used designer brand and vintage wardrobe items both online and in-store. The white-glove full-service offers consignors no upfront fees, anonymity, and up to 65% of the selling price of any item. Buyers can expect fully authenticated, curated offerings across multiple platforms.

WeTransfer raises $25 million in funding

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WeTransfer is a leading file-transfer service that has raised $25 million in Series A funding from Highland Capital Partners Europe. WeTransfer has been profitable since 2013 and has a user base of over 70 million people. More details below:

LONDON, February 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ –

Leading file-transfer service lands investment from Highland Capital Partners Europe

WeTransfer, the worldwide leading file-transfer service, has completed a major Series A round of funding from top-tier investor, Highland Capital Partners Europe. The funding round will support the rapid growth of WeTransfer across the US, Europe and beyond. Highland Capital Partners Europe, which has previously invested in Matchesfashion.com and Brandwatch in the UK and Rent the Runway and Malwarebytes in the US, has invested $25 million, taking up a minority share in the business.

The successful completion of fundraising is a new milestone for WeTransfer, providing the company with an injection of both capital and expertise. With its track record of high profile investments, HCPE will play an active role in advising WeTransfer’s board and will help them to accelerate growth globally.

WeTransfer has been consistently profitable since 2013 and has continued to grow its user base to over 70 million users. Having more than doubled its revenues in the last year the company will strive to maintain its position as the most popular file-transfer service in the world. WeTransfer will use the investment to continue to innovate and develop its product portfolio and build the brand further across the US, Europe and beyond.

Bas Beerens, founder and CEO of WeTransfer, commented: “Funding isn’t something we proactively looked for, but having been approached by a significant number of investors from across the globe in the past two years, we realised there were bigger opportunities to grow as a service and a brand. When HCPE approached us, we had an instant connection. In addition to supporting us with funding, HCPE will offer advice and expertise to help us achieve our goal to build on WeTransfer’s brand and offering.”

Tony Zappalà, Partner of Highland Capital Partners Europe, said: “We are delighted to have invested in WeTransfer. The team has bootstrapped an amazing company, built around a product that creative professionals and consumers worldwide love to use. We look forward to working with them to continue making WeTransfer a fun, productive and intuitive experience, which wows its users every time.” Tony Zappalà and Irena Goldenberg, Partners at HCPE, will be joining WeTransfer’s board.

Going forward, WeTransfer’s focus will be on building on its partnership strategy in the US and beyond and to carry on pushing the boundaries for the service. The way content and information is shared is constantly changing, along with user development, and WeTransfer is continually challenging the market to make the experience as natural for users as possible. WeTransfer is consciously anticipating the users’ needs, always making tweaks and improvements. New partnerships, products and experiences will continue to form a key part of this, which will be debuted in due course and will help the company to maintain its position as the leading authority on exchanging digital content in an easy way.

About WeTransfer

WeTransfer is a leading file sharing service, providing a uniquely creative space for people to share files. Launched in 2009 by Bas Beerens and Nalden, WeTransfer was borne out of a simple need to provide a solution for people to send large files easily. The service now has 70 million users and prides itself on its simplicity. The founders’ desire of producing “something their parents could use” has led the WeTransfer team to a service without the complications of logins, signup forms, data capture and banner advertising.

WeTransfer is completely free when sending files of up to 2GB in size, or users can sign up to WeTransfer Plus to make 10GB transfers to multiple recipients alongside receiving 50GB of storage space and the ability to personalize and secure a channel.

Instead of plastering the site with intrusive banner ads, the team has created a backdrop of curated wallpapers provided by a wide community of artists, illustrators, brands, filmmakers, photographers and events. The result is an enriched user experience to a backdrop of beautiful images. WeTransfer puts the love back into advertising with the top brands of the world.

Start using WeTransfer immediately at: http://www.wetransfer.com/

The new WeTransfer app is available to download for free here http://we.tl/iosapp and here http://we.tl/android. To find out more information about WeTransfer’s mobile offering, head to http://www.wetransfer.com/mobile.

SOURCE WeTransfer

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.