Funding roundup - week ending 06/04/10

Ronny Kerr · June 4, 2010 · Short URL:

Pandora draws new round, BookRenter, Giiv, Snapfinger, and others also get funding

PandoraPandora, one of the most popular providers of online radio, raised a new round of funding this week led by GGV Capital and supported by Allen & Company. Though the amount of the round is still undisclosed, we can expect it to be huge. In July of last year, the company raised a $35 million round, and this past April, the service registered its 50 millionth member.

Though Pandora just launched its iPad app, its biggest moment to shine is just on the horizon. When iPhone 4.0 OS launches sometime this summer for iPhone and iPod Touch and in the fall for iPad, users will finally be able to multitask. That is, they will be able to listen to Pandora ceaselessly while switching between other applications.

Here are all the other notable technology fundraisers that happened this week:

Awareness TechnologiesAwareness Technologies
, a Los Angeles-based enterprise threat management startup, raised $6.5 million from Brad Miller, the former CEO and Chairman of Perimeter eSecurity, and First New England Capital. The company develops a SaaS threat management platform called InterGuard, which helps enterprises monitor and control all its network activity. Over 10,000 companies and 200,000 users already employ the company's platform.

BookRenterBookRenter, a San Mateo, CA-based startup offering a textbook rental service, raised $10 million in a Series B round led by Norwest Venture Partners and contributed to by Storm Ventures and Adams Capital Management. The company has now raised $16 million. Offering a service similar to that of Chegg and Barnes and Noble, BookRenter wants to diminish student spending by offering a service for renting textbooks. Since March, BookRenter has served more than 1.3 million students with the help of 75 bookstore partners, including the City College of San Francisco, North Carolina State University, the University of Memphis, the University of San Diego, and the University of Texas at Austin.

, a Los Angeles-based startup for mobile gifting, raised $3.35 million in Series A funding from Google's CEO Eric Schmidt, Saban Ventures, Founder Collective, and SK Telecom Ventures. To use the service, one creates an account on Giiv, shops around for potential gifts for friends, and enters in a friend's mobile number. The friend then receives a coupon code for a local retailer. Current partners include Macy's, Fandango, Amazon, Krispy Kreme, Barnes & Nobles, and around ten others.

, a Los Angeles-based startup for members-only sales of big designer brands, raised $31 million in Series C funding led by Insight Venture Partners. Offering a service similar to that of Gilt Groupe and Ideeli, HauteLook allows members of its site to purchase high-quality products, like clothing, jewelry, handbags, and home accessories, at great discounts. The site now has 2.5 million members and is partnered with over 1,000 brands, including Marc Jacobs and Versace.

, a Reston, VA-based online advertising demand-side platform (DSP) with integrated real-time bidding (RTB), raised $4.5 million in new funding. The company has now raised $13.3 million. This funding news was announced in the same week that Google acquired rival Invite Media for around $70 million.

Marin SoftwareMarin Software, a San Francisco-based creator of search engine management software for advertisers and agencies, raised $11.2 million in Series D funding from Amicus Capital, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Focus Ventures, and Triangle Peak Partners. The company has now raised $35 million. Over 180 companies, including Razorfish and, use Marin's software.

, a San Francisco-based startup aggregating price data and analytics for global media companies, raised $2.5 million in a seed funding round led by IA Ventures and contributed to by a hefty list of investors: Village Ventures, True Ventures, Founder Collective, Mike Maples, Stan Shuman (Managing Director at Allen & Company), AOL Ventures, Jim Pallotta, Josh Stylman, Peter Hershberg, and Dennis Crowley.

, a London-based location discovery app, raised $800K from m8 Capital. Like Foursquare, Gowalla, and others, Rummble lets iPhone, Windows Phone, and Android users check-in to and share locations with friends. The app has already aggregated recommendations in over 3500 cities across 126 countries.

, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Kudzu Interactive, raised $7 million in a Series B round led by Norwest Venture Partners and supported by individual investors. Snapfinger is a Web and mobile service for ordering takeout from over 28,000 restaurants from nationwide chains like the California Pizza Kitchen, Outback Steakhouse, Boston Market, Subway Express, Carrabba's Italian Grill, and Baja Fresh. The service is in the process of adding independent businesses to its already strong list of partners.

TransperaTranspera, a San Francisco-based mobile video ad network, raised $9 million in a Series C round led by BlackBerry Partners Fund and contributed to by existing investors Flybridge Capital Partners, First Round Capital, Intel Capital, and Labrador Ventures. The company has now raised $19.3 million. Focused mainly on delivering mobile video ads to multiple platforms (mobile Web, iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry), Transpera also announced the launch of a new product, the Attention Network, which delivers interactive video ads with a variety of placement options.

, a Boston-based stock analysis startup, raised $1.6 million in funding from Village Ventures. In 2008, the company raised $550K in angel funding led by Semyon Dukach, former president of the MIT Blackjack team, Bob Johnson of the MIT corporation, and Timothy Weller, CFO of Enernoc and former CFO of Akamai. Providing a suite of tools to help one make stock predictions, Trefis also announced the launch of a pro version of its service that includes in-depth financial content.

, a York, PA-based social network of sorts for comic book artists and fans, raised $1.7 million in funding led by CEO Brian Altounian. In October 2009, the company closed a $1 million seed round. WOWIO also announced the acquisition of social networking platform WEvolt.

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Marin Software provides an enterprise-class paid search management application for advertisers and agencies. Combining power and ease-of-use, Marin Search Marketer™ addresses the workflow, analysis and optimization needs of professional search marketers, saving time and improving financial performance.



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Transpera helps online video publishers create mobile video channels and generate new revenue. Truly personal mobile video is now a reality. With Transpera’s Bridge System, users program their own channels, enjoy deep integration with their favorite online video sites and share those experiences with friends and family. On-line Video Publishers We provide an easy way to add a rich mobile experience for your users, and in doing so, we extend your brand to mobile while generating new, highly targeted mobile advertising inventory and subscription content services. Mobile Operators We provide easy ways to package and aggregate online video companies on deck to generate new value-added data services and subscription opportunities. Advertisers We provide high value reach to lucrative mobile audiences with positive and compelling inventory that consumers repeatedly use and distribute to their friends, family, and colleagues.



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BookRenter launched in 2008 and is dedicated to making education more affordable by allowing students to rent textbooks for up to 75% off the retail price. BookRenter's innovative pricing and operating systems provide students with the best price, highest quality books, and most flexible rental experience available today. Currently carrying over 3 million titles and serving thousands of students on over 5,000 U.S. campuses, BookRenter is one of the fastest growing startups in Silicon Valley, growing at over 400% each year. BookRenter, with offices in San Mateo, California, is a private company that is funded by prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firms. To learn more about how to use BookRenter for all of your textbook rental needs, please visit




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Pandora, the leading internet radio service, gives people music they love
anytime, anywhere, through a wide variety of connected devices: laptop and
desktop computers, smartphones, connected BluRay players, connected TVs,
etc. Personalized stations launch instantly with the input of a single “seed” –
a favorite artist, song or genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply
detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers the personalization or
Pandora. Using this musicological “DNA” and constant listener feedback
Pandora crafts personalized stations from the more than 800,000 songs that
have been analyzed since the project began in January 2000.
More than 75 million people throughout the United States listen to
personalized radio stations for free on Pandora through their PCs, mobile
phones and devices such as the iPad, and connected in-house devices
ranging from TVs to set-top boxes to Blu-Ray players. Mobile technology has
been a significant factor in the growth and popularity of Pandora, starting
with the introduction of the Apple app store for the iPhone in the summer of
2008. Pandora instantly became one of the most top downloaded apps and
today, according to Nielsen, is one of the top five most popular apps across
all smartphone platforms.

Pandora is free, simple and, thanks to connectivity, available everywhere
consumers are – at the office, at home, in the car and all points in between.
In 2009 the Company announced that Pandora would be incorporated into
the dashboard in Ford cars via SYNC technology; GM has already followed in
announcing plans to integrate Pandora into its vehicles and Mercedes-Benz
introduced their Media Interface Plus device that works with the
free Pandora iPhone app to provide direct control of Pandora from in-dash
stereo controls. This was all great news for the millions of Pandora listeners
who had been plugging their smartphones into car dashboards to listen to
personalized stations while driving. More than 50 percent of radio listening
happens in the car, making it a crucial arena for Pandora.

Today tens of millions of people have a deeply personal connection with
Pandora based on the delight of personalized radio listening and discovery.
These highly engaged listeners reinforce the value Pandora provides to: 1)
musicians, who have found in Pandora a level playing field on which their
music has a greater chance of being played than ever before; 2) advertisers,
who benefit from the multi-platform reach of Pandora, as well as its best
practices in targeting consumers for specific campaigns; 3) the music
industry, which has found in Pandora a highly effective distribution channel;
and 4) automobile and consumer electronics device manufacturers, who have
noted that incorporating Pandora into their product makes it more valuable
to consumers.

Pandora continues to focus on its business in the United States. The radio
arena has never been hotter, thanks to technology that enables radio to be
personalized to the individual and more accessible than ever before. Right
now millions of people listen to Pandora in the United States and we hope
someday to bring Pandora to billions of people around the world.

• 2000 – Tim Westergren’s Music Genome Project begins.
• 2005 – Pandora launches on the web.
• 2008 – Pandora app becomes one of the most consistently downloaded
apps in the Apple store.
• 2009 – Ford announces Pandora will be incorporated into car
dashboard. Alpine and Pioneer begin selling aftermarket radios that
connect to consumers’ iPhones and puts the control and command of
Pandora into the car dashboard.
• 2010 – Pandora is present on more than 200 connected consumer
electronics devices ranging from smartphones to TVs to set-top boxes
to Blu-ray players and is able to stream visual, audio, and interactive
advertising to computers, smartphones, iPads, and in-home connected


Mike Maples

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