Top 5 Investments in Start-ups: Color, Jumio, Kickstarter, The Filter, Profitably
Strategy eye reported the top5 investment in Startups.
There are a lot of reasons to take note of social photo sharing firm Color. One of these is that as it launched its app this week it revealed that it had USD41m in backing from three significant Silicon Valley VCs: Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital and Silicon Valley Bank. Another is that this is reportedly the most money Sequoia has ever committed to a pre-launch startup and that includes Google (even taking inflation into account that’s impressive). A third reason is the pedigree of its staff, which includes CEO Bill Nguyen who founded music streaming startup Lala and sold it to Apple last year, and DJ Patil, who was formerly LinkedIn’s chief scientist.
Sequoia Capital partner Doug Leone has another reason: "Once or twice a decade a company emerges from Silicon Valley that can change everything. Color is one of those companies." Put simply it allows people to share photos, videos and text with other users within 100 feet of them. It’s an open network with no log-in necessary and anyone within the vicinity has access to the content others put out there. By combining social media, location and pictures Color ticks three hot digital media boxes, which is what is getting everybody so excited. It’s got no business model as such yet, but somewhat inevitably its revenues will eventually revolve around advertising.
Everybody knows that mobile payments are set to explode in a similar way that e-commerce has. But online payment generally growth is still hampered by fraud. This is something Jumio, which took on USD6.5m this week intends to address when it launches in a month’s time. It won’t say exactly how it intends to simplify payments or protect consumers, but it has a plan. It also has Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, on board who led the funding round.
Starting as a crowdsourced funding platform for creative arts project, Kickstarter has ambitions to move its model into a broader business area and fund all types of projects and entrepreneurial ideas. This is presumably what the USD10m it took on a year ago, but only just revealed is being used for. It has proved remarkably coy about its investment and investors, which include high-profile figures such as Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake and Arrested Development star David Cross. It claims it currently generates more than USD1m in crowdsourced pledges a week and that of the 17,000 projects launch on Kickstarter a little over a third have been successful. As a business itself, its commission-based business model is simple, effective and built into the service.
The Filter is a good concept. Originally conceived as a music recommendation service it’s now a broader content recommendation engine. But would it receive so much attention if ex-Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel wasn’t its founder and an investor? It’s unlikely. Recommendation is a key part of many an online player’s portfolio these days so celebrity backer apart what differentiates The Filter? Current clients such as NBC, DailyMotion, Warner Bros and Sony Music are relatively impressive as is it claims that it’s serving up 100 million recommendations per month.
With a clearly defined target market of small businesses and a nifty online accounting analytics offering that undercuts larger firms that target big business, Profitably is in an accelerated growth phase.Just a year old and it says it has 500 customers. Although the USD1.1m it has just taken on is actually its second investment round CEO Adam Neary says hes considers it seed funding. He says it needed it "to keep this party going". Why do accountants always have to use words like 'party' to try and make their service (however successful) sound more exciting?
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