Fresh Capital

Fresh Capital

Dating Q&A Site HeTexted Raising $500,000 Seed Round


We could all use a little dating advice sometimes, but what if that advice comes from thousands of Internet strangers? HeTexted, a dating Q&A service that went viral last October, is a relationship-themed Quora-type site that allows women to submit screenshots of text messages they’ve received from men and lets anonymous users vote on whether or not he’s into them. Users can also ask a smattering of “bros” relationship questions. It’s crowdsourced dating advice for the digital age, even if the texts are often kind of depressing. Read More

Fresh Capital

Foursquare Dodges a Potential Down Round, Grabs $41M In Loans and Convertible Debt

Foursquare's Dennis Crowley. (Photo: Sound Ctrl)

Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about Foursquare, the New York-based check-in and recommendations app that was the breakout darling of SXSW 2009.

Former Square COO Keith Rabois recently engaged in a very public dustup with Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley on Twitter, tweeting that only a “Hail Mary Bebo-style acquisition will bail you out.” In January, data and research company PrivCo predicted that the startup will fail by the end of the year, eventually surrendering to an acquisition price of no more than $50 million (though the analysis didn’t account for mobile traffic). In November of last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that investors were “cooling” on Foursquare. “The company claims more than 25 million registered users, but only about 8 million of them use the app at least once a month,” it wrote. Read More

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Lightbank Brings That Groupon Guap to New York City with Office In the Flatiron


Conventional wisdom has it that ecommerce companies are losing favor almost as quickly as Series A rounds and that New York City investors weigh too heavily toward early stage startups. So we were surprised to hear that Lightbank, a Chicago-based venture capital firm, is eager to buck all three trends.

“Oh god, so I’m a rebel?” Lightbank principal Vicki Levine told Betabeat over the phone. Ms. Levine will be heading up a new office the firm is opening in the Flatiron District in order to invest in Series A rounds of East Coast startups in ecommerce, as well as health and media. Read More

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Eric Hippeau on Lerer Ventures’ New Hires and Why BuzzFeed Promises ‘VC-Like Returns’


When we last spoke with Eric Hippeau, the Huffington Post mafioso was discussing Lerer Ventures’ new $36 million fund. Today, the early-stage investment firm is announcing two new hires to help it manage and grow its considerable portfolio.

Max Stoller, a recent NYU graduate whose hackathon apps we’ve covered in the past, will be joining Lerer Ventures as an analyst. Mr. Stoller, a HackNY veteran, worked as an engineer at Hyperpublic–a company founded by LV managing director Jordan Cooper and sold to Groupon–as well as on the platform team at Foursquare, both while in school. And, yes, if that makes you  wonder, you probably did college wrong. Read More

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Snapchat, the So-Called Sexting App, Reportedly Raising $8 M. From Investors Who Backed Instagram

Smiles for funding.

Looks like we aren’t the only ones obsessed with Snapchat, the app that lets you share photos with a self-destruct button of 10 seconds or less. Over at GigaOm, Om Malik reports that Snapchat is rumored to be raising an $8 million round from Benchmark Capital “at a pretty generous pre-money valuation.” He says the app, which was launched by two Stanford students who met at a frat, is rumored to have a valuation “close to $50 million.” Read More

Fresh Capital

Growing Like a Weed, One King’s Lane Raises $50 Million Series D

Some sweet lamps you got there.

The ecommerce company One Kings Lane has just raised a $50 million Series D, led by Institutional Ventures Partners and with participation from Kleiner Perkins, Greylock Partners, Tiger Global Management and Scripps Networks Interactive. While headquartered in San Francisco, the company has large New York office handling much of its merch and marketing.

The company certainly seems to be in a period of rapid growth. When Betabeat visited the New York outpost back in August, desks were crammed into every spare inch of space and contractors were already preparing the space next door for expansion. Read More

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With Its $9 M. Series A, Percolate Might Become the Next Buddy Media By Turning Brands Into Microbloggers

Mr. Gross.

Smart pivots can pay off handsomely. Earlier this week, Percolate, a fast-growing New York City-based startup that helps brands curate content, announced a sizable Series A led by GGV Capital, the same Silicon Valley VC firm that backed Buddy Media, which was acquired by Salesforcefor a eye-popping $698 million. Existing investors First Round Capital and Lerer Ventures also participated in Percolate’s latest round.

Roughly a year ago, Percolate shrewdly changed its focus from helping users find the most relevant top stories toward a (more profitable!) service that helps brands figure out the most compelling content to push out to their followers–a process that starts by helping them interest graph, something that comes more naturally to humans. Read More

Fresh Capital

Picturelife’s Nate Westheimer Launches Red Bud Partners, a Seed Stage Fund for New York Startups


Serial entrepreneur Nate Westheimer is something of a renaissance technologist.

Picturelife, the photo startup he cofounded with OMGPOP founder Charles Forman, recently raised a $4 million round led by Spark Capital. Picturelife’s concept is timely: the service focuses on backing up, storing, and accessing all of your photos from the cloud. That got the attention of a number of other notable investors, including Crunchfund, Founder Collective, Lerer Ventures, Highline Venture Partners, Betaworks, David Karp, SV Angel, and Chris Dixon. Mr. Forman put some of the “way more” than $22 million he earned from OMGPOP’s sale to Zynga and former Zynga GM Nabeel Hyatt, a partner at Spark, joined Picturelife’s board. Read More