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Social gaming startup Zynga raises $147 million from Asian telecommunications company SoftBank
This week's funding roundup features a flurry of incredibly young startups that either launched in the last year (Abe's Market, Gogobot, SafetyWeb) or haven't yet launched at all (BeachMint, Worlize).
The biggest financial news of the week, however, came from the king of social gaming startups, Zynga, which raised a $147 million investment from SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and media corporation.
Zynga and SoftBank have discussed distributing and jointly promoting popular titles like FarmVille and the newly launched FrontierVille through SoftBank's mobile phone service in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. Zynga has yet to officially comment on the deal.
Here are all the other notable technology fundraisers that surfaced this week:
Abe's Market, an online marketplace for natural products, raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding from Index Ventures, TAG, former head of Yahoo Europe Toby Coppel, David Honig of Vison Ventures, and Mark Esiri of Venrex UK. Founded in September 2009, Abe's Market seeks to connect customers with sellers of natural products, and the stories behind them.
Apptera, a voice and visual mobile advertising network, raised $10 million in funding, according to an SEC filing. Founded in 2001, the Silicon Valley-based company has raised just over $30 million in total, from investors like Alloy Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Walden International. Providing an opt-in voice ad service that offers callers special discounts or other promotions, Apptera currently publishes offers from movie ticketing services, free-411 services, and more.
BaseKit, a service to create Web sites from Photoshop designs or design templates without coding, raised $2.6 million from Eden Ventures and the UK's National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA). Founded in 2008, the UK-based company already claimed over 20,000 registered users just in its private beta, but the Photoshop-to-Web service has now launched publicly in the UK and US.
BeachMint, a service set to target the social commerce space, raised $5 million from New Enterprise Associates and Anthem Venture Partners. Founded by Diego Berdakin and MySpace co-founder Josh Berman, the startup might not launch until the 2010 holiday season, but more details on BeachMint's take on online retail should emerge later this summer.
Bill.com, a bill management and payment service for businesses, has raised an $8.5 million round led by Jafco Ventures with DCM, Emergence Capital and August Capital participating. Founded in 2006, the Silicon Valley-based company has raised over $25 million to date. Bill.com, which offers a fully featured digital bill payment system, has seen its monthly revenue, total number of customers, and unique paid vendors all increase by over 900% in 2009.
Gogobot, looking to revolutionize travel planning, raised $4 million from Battery Ventures. Having just launched in March, the Silicon Valley-based travel site is still very much under wraps, but hints on the company's "About Us" page suggest that the service will be heavily influenced by social media and mobile capabilities.
SafetyWeb, a service designed to help parents keep their children safe online, raised an $8 million round led by Battery Ventures and accompanied by First Round Capital. The Denver-based company was founded just this year, after securing a $750,000 seed round of funding from Battery Ventures in November 2009. The SafetyWeb team gives parents the tools to monitor their kids' activities online, like on social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.).
Worlize, a user-generated social game and chat platform for Facebook and other social networks, secured about $150,000 in angel funding and is already working on its Series A round in preparation for a public launch in fall 2010. As of now, the Los Angeles-based service is in a closed private beta. Worlize looks to inject the social gaming space with fresh ideas, creating an interactive platform where users can play and create their own areas and games.
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Joined Vator onApptera provides technology for mobile advertising, search, and commerce. The company's services are provided "In-Call" - while a consumer is interacting with a business over the phone.
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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users. Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist. The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.zynga.com.