Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Five Successful Funding Stories

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stewtopia/Five successful funding stories were reported by Strategic Eye, 2 of which by Female Founders.

EVENTBRITE, co-founded by Julia Hartz, raised 50 million USD. Online ticketing is a fiercely competitive arena with various startups trying to grab a slice of a business dominated by industry giant Ticketmaster. Eventbrite is not unique but is making an impression by putting social commerce at the heart of its approach. Former Ticketmaster CEO Sean Moriarty joined the company last year, calling it a "pioneer in social commerce". This year it is on track to do USD400m in gross ticket sales, which is double what it sold last year. Having started with a mission to sell tickets to any event, however small, it now plans to use the USD50m in new funding to migrate to larger shows.

SHOEDAZZLE, founded by reality TV star and fashionista Kim Kardashian raised another 40 million USD.� Social shopping sites and online shopping clubs continue to attract large amounts of investment.

The USD40m cash injection takes the company's total funding to USD60m and sees Andreessen Horowitz general partner John O'Farrell join the startup's board.

While O'Farrell dubs ShoeDazzle the "clear market leader in offering online fashion and styling services to women", in reality ShoeDazzle is in a highly competitive space with plenty of peers of the same calibre. Its key differentiator at the moment in most consumers' eyes is the celebrity factor. With 3m members it has a decent customer base, but if it plans to use the fresh funding to finance international expansion it may find it hard to steal market share from established local competitors in Europe and Asia.

HIPSTER Prominent angel investors and Google, among others, are backing local Q&A site Hipster. The USD1m seed funding it has taken on will finance a shift in strategy.

Where before it planned a more organic approach to its footprint, launching city by city, it now intends to launch on mobile and the web across the entire US in one day.

Much-hyped at SXSW earlier this year, the company is competing with a broad range of other online players including existing Q&A services like ChaCha, location startups like Foursquare and online directories like Yelp.

BLACKARROW With a strategic investment, Time Warner Cable is the latest heavyweight backer to endorse video ad firm BlackArrow. To date it has raised around USD65m from the likes of Motorola, Cisco, Comcast and Intel. BlackArrow is currently focusing on dynamic video-on-demand (VoD) ad insertions and is looking to help monetise online TV as traditional television increasingly migrates to the internet. BlackArrow is operating in a space that no one can claim to have cracked, which still has plenty of room for innovation.

JOSH JAMES When you've sold your web analytics company to Adobe for USD1.8m people might wonder why you need to raise USD10m for your next venture. But Josh James says that having the likes of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Symantec chairman John Thompson, VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, WPP and Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani on board is more for strategic support reasons than for finance. "Here they have a vested inserest," he explains. Having sold Omniture in 2009, James is not yet making public what his new project is, but he appears to be looking into real-time analytics.

Source: http://www.thenextwomen.com/2011/05/20/five-successful-funding-stories

Rachel Hunter Mýa

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