CincyTech Closes Biggest Fund To Date

CincyTech, Funding, Cincinnati startups, Everywhere Else

CincyTech, the public/private partnership, seed stage investor, and pillar of the Cincinnati startup community, has reportedly raised it’s largest fund to date. Earlier this month The Cincinnati Business Courier reported that CincyTech has closed on a $10.8 million dollar fund.

CincyTech Fund III, LLC combines a $5 million Ohio Third Frontier investment with $5.9 million raised by CincyTech from Southwest Ohio partners.

Like CincyTech Funds I and II LLC, Fund III will invest in companies focused on information technology and bioscience that are based in or willing to move to Southwest Ohio. The fund has the capacity to invest in at least 15 companies.

“Over the last five years there has been a significant increase in seed stage investment activity in the Cincinnati region. CincyTech Fund III will enable us to continue to invest in entrepreneurs in Southwest Ohio to create jobs and wealth to propel our region forward,” said Bob Coy, president of CincyTech.

CincyTech has a variety of investors that have participated in Fund III, including eight local institutions and 51 individual investors.

“The number of individual investors in Fund III represents a dramatic increase from the nine individual investors in Fund II. These individuals are the foundation of the larger seed stage investment syndicates that we organize for our portfolio companies. Based upon our past investment experience, for every dollar invested in a startup from Fund III, an additional $3 will be invested by other investors in the seed round prior to an investment by an institutional venture capital fund,” said Coy.

Local institutions that have committed to invest in Fund III include Castellini Foundation, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, The Christ Hospital, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.

CincyTech has invested in $15.3 million dollars in 43 portfolio companies, including ChoreMonster, Impulcity, Lisnr, VenturePax, Ahalogy and many more.

Speaking of Cincinnati, this huge national conference for startups everywhere else is in Cincinnati Sep 29- October 1.



$600,000 Investment In GigTank Startup WeCounsel Proves Accelerators Still Work

WeCounsel, Chattanooga startup, GigTank, UltraGroup, Funding

WeCounsel CEO Harrison Tyner pitches at GigTank demo day (photo: NMI 2013)

Just last week we were in Chattanooga for the GigTank accelerator’s second demo day. GigTank debuted last year, right on the heels of Chattanooga becoming the first (sorry KC) city with 1gb ethernet to all residential and business addresses.  This year’s cohort came literally from across the globe with startups from Bulgaria, India and the Cayman Islands choosing to spend the summer in Tennessee.

During the two day celebration of startups in Chattanooga, there was a lot of hush hush talk about accelerators in general. It’s actually a common discussion, whether or not accelerators are worth the time and money. Many think the 3-4 month model isn’t enough time to build real companies, and with accelerators all over the country, there may be an accelerator bubble.

Another struggle is attracting investors. Outreach is tremendously important for an accelerator. Sure you can invite the same 50-100 investors on the VC academy list of VC Pro database, and they may come. But often the startups presenting aren’t in their investment wheelhouse. For accelerators not in their first season, the investors have seen the same PowerPoint template presented over and over again .

Accelerators and their demo days get interesting when you include anyone who’s interested into the startup community. Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and so do startup supporters. CoLab and GigTank director Sheldon Grizzle is very good at bringing the whole community together around entrepreneurial events. On the eve of the GigTank demo day, there was an event called Fireside Talks which included entrepreneurs 20 and under working on a variety of projects.

UltraGroup is not one of your typical startup investors.  UltraGroup is a healthcare company that specializes in behavioral health programs.  They provide outpatient care at 40 rural hospitals across eight states, according to the TimesFreePress. They are based in Chattanooga.

WeCounsel is a GigTank startup that went through the most recent cohort, graduating  last week. They offer an online platform  that allows therapists to take notes, coordinate scheduling, share documents, store client records and interact with colleagues. They are also based in Chattanooga, and one of three local startups in this year’s GigTank Cohort.

WeCounsel co-founder and CEO Harrison Tyner told Nibletz by phone that UltraGroup was on their radar to talk with earlier this summer.

“Relationships we built at the GigTank made our talks with UltraGroup progress even further,” he said. He went on to say that without the GigTank helping them iterate their idea to perfection and mentorship from others in the GigTank’s network, they would not have been ready for UltraGroup’s $600,000 investment reported Wednesday.

“None of this would have been possible for us without the GigTank. It’s been the best thing to happen to our startup,” Tyner said.

Tyner  and his co-founders Riley Draper and Joshua Goldberg are all originally from Chattanooga and will stay there to grow WeCounsel. Currently they are still operating out of CoLab but plan on moving to their own office in about a month.

“Chattanooga continues to prove that it’s a great city for entrepreneurship,” Tyner said. By staying in Chattanooga, they will be able to work closely with UltraGroup and continue to work with the mentors and leaders they formed relationship with at GigTank.

When the GigTank presentations kicked off, Toni Gamayel co-founder and CEO of Banyan took the stage. His company, which has designed a collaboration platform for researchers, won $100,000 from Alcatel Lucent at last year’s demo day. Shortly after demo day the company went home to Tampa, Florida, where Gamayel has been a fixture in the startup community.  He told a story about coming up to visit during the winter last year and realizing that Chattanooga was on its way up. With that realization entire team loaded up a Uhaul and moved back to town.

For more info on WeCounsel visit them online here.

Check out more GigTank coverage here.



GlaxoSmithKline Betting $50 Million On Bioeletronic Medicine & Technology Startups

GlaxoSmithKline, Medical Startups Venture Capital fund

If you’re pursuing a startup in bioelectronic medicines or technologies, then pay attention to this news from one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

GlaxoSmithKline announced on Thursday that they are launching Action Potential Venture Capital (APVC) Limited, a new $50 million strategic venture capital fund that will invest in companies that pioneer bioelectronic medicines and technologies. The fund’s first investment will be in SetPoint Medical, a California company considered a trailblazer in creating implantable devices to treat inflammatory diseases.

The fund complements the work of GSK’s Bioelectronics R&D unit, which was established in 2012 after a two-year effort to seek out and engage the most promising researchers in this emerging area of science. The name of the fund comes from electrical signals called action potentials that pass along the nerves in the body. Irregular or altered patterns of these impulses may occur in association with a broad range of diseases.

GSK believes that miniaturized devices, or bioelectronic medicines, can be designed to read these patterns. The devices could be designed to interface between the peripheral nervous system and specific organs. They can help treat disorders as diverse as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD, and metabolic diseases including Type 2 diabetes.

The field of bioelectronic medicines is in its very early stages. GSK’s ambition, through collaboration with scientists globally, is to have the first medicine that speaks the electrical language of our body ready for approval by the end of this decade.

“We want to help create the medicines of the future and be the catalyst for this work,” Moncef Slaoui, chairman of R&D said in a statement. “GSK can play the integrating role that is needed to drive this new type of medical treatment all the way from the bench to the patient and this fund is a key part of our efforts.”

Action Potential Venture Capital intends to build a portfolio of five to seven companies over the next five years. The fund will focus investments in three areas:

  • New start-up companies that aim to pursue the vision of bioelectronic medicines
  • Existing companies with technologies that are interacting with the peripheral nervous system  through first-generation devices that can stimulate or block electrical impulses
  • Companies advancing technology platforms that will underpin these treatment modalities

Action Potential Venture Capital will be based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and managed by a small, dedicated team. The fund has named Imran Eba as its first partner. Imran will move from GSK’s Worldwide Business Development organization and work closely with the Bioelectronics R&D unit.









Image Credit: GSK HQ

Portland’s Money Ball Customer Intelligence Startup Lytics, Raises $2.2M Seed Round

Lytics, Portland startup, funding, startup news

By now we all know about the movie MoneyBall that chronicled the way an economist set forth a new analytical approach to scouting vs the gut instinct of decades past. Being Memphis-based we’re seeing that all with our own Grizzlies, who’ve gone the analytical route. Although the naysayers in Memphis doubted this method last February when our star was traded to the Raptors, the team finished with the best record in franchise history. Does that method work, absolutely.

Now what if you could take that analytical approach and use it with almost any data point in customer analytics?

“We built the first cloud-based platform that collects and integrates digital and offline data to create the most comprehensive view of your customer,” James McDermott, CEO of Lytics said in a statement. “Effective marketing is built on organizations’ truly understanding their consumers – from their engagement across digital channels to previous purchases, and we deliver the most definitive and actionable customer record marketers have ever had access to.”

Using the Lytics tools, users can dive deeper into the view of their own customers, rather than taking a tiny sample of data and moving forward with a marketing campaign, direct mail, or engagement on a hunch.

Lytics collects, analyzes, and consolidates data from web, mobile, email, social, or any integrated system such as ExactTarget, SalesForce, Eloqua, SendGrid, Urban Airship, The result is a powerful solution that enables marketers to segment data from any source, create targeted audiences and trigger highly relevant interactions with consumers in real time.

“Connecting our key platforms to derive customer insights from SalesForce, Eloqua and Netsuite is an inefficient and cumbersome process,” Jascha Kaykas Wolff, CMO of Mindjet said in a release. “With Lytics, we can finally create a customer gold record that you don’t need a PHD to understand. Lytics gives our global marketing organization meaningful intelligence about our customers and makes it even easier to orchestrate a great experience, with our current marketing tools.”

This powerful and intelligent data form was enough to garner a $2.2 million dollar seed round lead by Rembrandt Venture Partners. Voyager Capital also participated in the round.

“The shift in technology purchasing from CIOs to CMOs has created an immediate need for a new kind of digital CRM to transform customer data into a meaningful timeline that marketers can use to manage a lifecycle,” said Scott Irwin, Rembrandt Venture Partners in a statement.  “Lytics has a stellar team and their new data platform is solving a big problem.  We’re excited to invest and accelerate their innovation to build a solution that is helping brands strengthen customer relationships.”

One of the top cable providers and two major retailers are currently in a private beta with Lytics. The company plans to use the funding  to hire staff, accelerate development, support, and grow customers.

You can find out more about Lytics here at




Drive Capital Announces First Investments In OH Startups, RoadTrippers (Cincinnati) And CrossChx (Gallipolis)

Drive Capital, Mark Kvamme, Chris Olsen, Road Trippers, CrossChx, Cincinnati Startup, Columbus startup

When Mark Kvamme left Silicon Valley for the Midwest he went all in. Kvamme took a position as the lead for JobsOhio, where he helped create jobs across the state. He used his vast experience as a VC with Sequoia, where he was one of the first investors in LinkedIn, to help spur innovation across the state. He and cofounder Chris Olsen continue to do that with their VC firm Drive Capital, which just announced the closing of their first fund yesterday.

The firm reported to the SEC that they have raised $181 million dollars with a goal of raising $300 million.

“Since moving here, I have had the opportunity to meet several companies and entrepreneurs that would rival those in any other place in the world, and these two companies and these entrepreneurs are among the very best,” Kvamme said in a statement. “We can’t wait to see what they become.”

With that announcement they also revealed the first two startups the firm has invested in. Kvamme gave the audience at the Southland Conference in Nashville, TN in June a hint about one of their first investments saying that they had invested in a Brandery startup. That startup, revealed yesterday, was RoadTrippers.

RoadTrippers graduated from The Brandery two summers ago. They built a platform that offers more intricate road trips than just hopping on or kayak. The company, America’s fastest growing startup travel site,  just announced a partnership with Travel Oregon. The terms of Drive Capital’s investment weren’t reported.

“In very practical terms, Drive Capital’s investment has given us the financial resources to allow me to spend less time fundraising and more time on growth. When I’m not fundraising, our company grows faster,” said James Fisher, founder and CEO of Roadtrippers. “But more than that, the experience they bring has helped us scale up and execute our vision at an accelerated pace. They understand not just the opportunity we have, but the challenges we will face. There was great alignment between all parties, and they have backed my vision as founder of this company 100 percent.”

Fisher said that since he began working with Drive Capital about three months ago, Roadtrippers has grown from 200,000 unique visitors per month to 750,000.

The second investment for Drive Capital was with CrossChx, a biometric startup based in Gallipolis, Ohio. The company, led by founder Sean Lane, uses biometric security at doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and hospital systems to prevent medical fraud. Lane told The Wall Street Journal last summer that he became interested in biometric security when he was deployed in Afghanistan.

“When CrossChx was exploring growth options, we made a conscious decision to partner with accomplished investors that could provide more than just capital, and we found that strategic partner in Drive Capital,” Lane said in a statement “Drive Capital grasped our long-term vision and has been instrumental to the rapid growth of CrossChx.”

Both Olsen and Kvamme have long track records with Sequoia and plan on investing aggressively across the Midwest. “The region is set up for more success,” Olsen said. “(The incubators) have really been the seedlings of a tremendous growth economy.”

Now check this out: National startup conference heads to Cincinnati


Google Backs Minnesota Game Startup That Diagnosis ADHD

CogCubed, Minnesota Startup, startup news, Google

CogCubed is a Minnesota based startup that is using an interactive video game platform to help diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a disorder which has affected 5.4 million children since 2007, according to the CDC.

CogCubed uses gaming platform Sifteo, which debuted two years ago. Sifteo is a set of interactive blocks with small screens on them. Developers have programmed them to do a variety of things.

In the case of CogCubed, Minneapolis child psychiatrist Monika Heller and her game developer husband Kurt Roots invented a game where children use one cube as a mallet to hit a gopher that appears on the other three cubes, according to a report in the Star Trubune.

As the game continues, obstacles such as birds and other animals start appearing on the other screens. The player must continue to focus on the gopher.

Roots and Heller have incorporated 70 different data points in the game to discern things like when the player’s attention drifts and if the player is fidgeting. The couple told the Star Tribune that the game can even help improve a child’s attention span.

While a clinical diagnosis would still require a psychiatrist, Heller is hopeful that they can get CogCubed into homes to help parents with an early diagnosis.

“Six to 12 months is the average waiting period to see a child/adolescent psychiatrist [for a comprehensive evaluation],” she said.. “How phenomenal would it be if Mom could have an assessment tool at home?”

CogCubed is awaiting FDA approval for a version of the game that can be used as a diagnostic tool.

They also have data from a study that validates Roots’ and Hellers’ claims. The study at the University of Minnesota matched a psychiatrist’s diagnosis 75% of the time. The current standard, a computer test called “The Continuous Performance Test,” is accurate about 62% of the time according to Heller.

CogCubed has raised $20,000 from Google. They’re also a finalist in the Minnesota Cup.

You can find out more about CogCubed here at

Photo: StarTribune


Detroit Startup UpTo Closes $2 Million Series A, It’s Like FourSquare For The Future

UpTo, Detroit startup, Detroit Venture Partners, startup fundingCheck in apps have come and gone. Of course the biggest player in the space is still probably FourSquare. After that is Facebook checkins or even Google Plus. I personally find the only time I actually use FourSquare is when I’m at a big tech event. Judging by my FourSquare feed, I’m not the only one who has resorted to part time checking in.

But what if there was an app that could tell you where I’m checking in later. I don’t necessarily want to open up my schedule to everyone in the world,but between events, being a parent, and the sneaker strapped startup road trip, I typically catch up with someone a few weeks later and they were like, “hey I can’t believe I missed you at xx event.” I’d imagine most of my colleagues and most of our readers are pretty busy people. Typically if I check in on FourSquare or Facebook or even on Twitter, at an event, it’s too late to get on my schedule.

Well Detroit startup UpTo is taking that pain away.  By opening up the parts of your calendar you want to share socially, your friends, colleagues, and family members can see where you will be later in hopes that maybe you can schedule something social or for work.

I like this idea a lot, and so do investors.

UpTo raised a pretty hefty seed round of $875,000 back in 2011. Now they’ve just closed on a $2 million dollars Series A round.

The downtown Detroit-based startup currently has 9 employees and plans to add even more.  They also plan on evolving the platform to include interest-based entries like concerts and sporting events. They’ve incorporated more calendar features and even a business-to-business component as well.

“UpTo is now a full calendar with social networking instead of the other way around,” Founder and CEO Greg Schwartz told Xconomy. “A lot of users wanted to use UpTo as an every day calendar. We realized we could be highly differentiated from every other calendar.”

Detroit Venture Partners, Venture Investors, and Ludlow Ventures all participated in the round.

“[The $2 million round] allows us to really focus on building our sales team and the growth of B2B,” Schwartz says, adding that the company plans to hire four or five people within the next few months. “Right now, we’re focused less on selling and more on building our network,” he says. “We want to grow our customer base to the point that we look back and say, ‘I can’t believe we had calendars that were so static.’ ”

You can check out UpTo here.



How Startup Valuation Works In An Infographic


If you were to ask 10 different startup founders how valuation works or how they got their valuation, you would probably end up with 10 extremely different answers. And all 10 of them probably backed by some bit of logic. As confusing at it is, valuation is probably the most important data for any startup.

Valuation is important because it determines the share of the company they have to give away to an investor in exchange for money.

“Say you are looking for a seed investment of around $100, 000 in exchange for about 10% of your company. Typical deal. Your pre-money valuation will be $1 million. This however, does not mean that your company is worth $1 million now. You probably could not sell it for that amount. Valuation at the early stages is a lot about the growth potential, as opposed to the present value.” Funders and Founders wrote on their blog.

In talking with startups everyday we hear so many different valuations. We talked  with a founder with an iPhone app that hadn’t even hit the market. They had no users, no customers, and no early funding, yet they told us they were looking at a post money valuation of $10,000,000. We’ve also seen startups that had thousands of users, legitimate press traction, and small seed rounds raised value themselves at $1 million dollars.

The infographic below from sheds some light on valuation and how to measure a company’s potential.

The infographic details the valuation process from early stage, through scaling stage, and then through exit.

valuation, funding, startups, startup tips, infographic


Fargo Fund Raised $45 Million Dollars To Support Even More In The Silicon Prairie

Arthur Ventures, Fargo startups, Omaha startup, Silicon Prairie

Last week, Fargo North Dakota firm Arthur Ventures announced the closing of their second fund.  Silicon Prairie news reports that the firm founded in 2008 began with a $20 million dollar fund which went “primarily to North Dakota and Minnesota”.

“With the second fund, we are making a concerted effort to add Omaha, KC, Des Moines and their surrounding regions as focus areas for investments,” said Patrick Meenan, a director with Arthur Ventures. In addition to supporting Omaha, KC and Des Moines, the company launched a satellite office in Minneapolis where about 40% of their deal flow is sourced.

The firm is looking to invest in fund startup with between $1m and $3m per round.“Our goal is to discover the best enterprise software applications and software in healthcare, agriculture, and the energy space,” Arthur Ventuers Managing Partner James Burgum told

“We believe in the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to transform existing markets and to create new markets,” the firm’s co-founder and chairman Doug Burgum  said in a release. “Software is the greatest invention yet that extends human capabilities, and we are grateful to help build enduring companies whose solutions can have such a positive impact on the human condition.”

Some of the companies already in the Arthur Ventures portfolio include: Altravax, Intelligent InSites, LiquidCool Solutions, Loyalty Builders, Preventice and Workface, according to SPN.


Crowdentials Makes It Easier to Crowdfund Investors

There’s been a lot of chatter about the April 5 signing of the JOBS Act. Most people in the startup community are especially excited about the possibility of offering equity via crowdfunding platforms.

What many have missed in all the exultation is that, while it’s easier to offer equity, the standards for investors have risen. It’s now more difficult and invasive to prove you’re an accredited investor, but companies have to take “reasonable steps” to ensure their investors are accredited. This means more intrusive questions that few investors are willing to answer.

As Richard Rodman, CEO of Crowdentials, puts it: “There are two sides to this ruling. On one side, the bar for advertising has been lowered. On the flip side, the bar for verifying accredited investors has been raised dramatically.

Crowdentials is on top of the new problem. This week they launched the Certified Accredited Investors (CAI) program. The program will use a simple form and third parties to verify that an investor is accredited. After that, they will certify that the investor is accredited. No need for every crowdfunding platform to have access to your bank statements or tax records. The program is secured by multiple passwords, randomly generated IDs, and pages that expire within a certain amount of time.

“Transparency with privacy” is the goal of the new program.

Crowdfunding platforms that expect a big need can license the technology based on monthly requests. Individual companies can use the service just once or twice for a smaller fee.

Crowdentials is accelerating at the new FlashStarts accelerator in Cleveland. Investors, crowdfunding platforms, and statups can check out the new program on their website. Below is an infographic explaining how it all works.




Detroit Venture Partners & CincyTech Aren’t Afraid Of The ChoreMonster

ChoreMonster, DVP, CincyTech, Cincinnati Startup

Original ChoreMonster artwork like this fills the 3rd floor at the Brandery where ChoreMonster works. It’s referred to as the “Alumni Penthouse” (photo: nibletz LLC)


I love writing about ChoreMonster. It’s a Cincinnati startup and Brandery alum who helped me get my daughter engaged in doing chores when she was four years old (during beta). Now my daughter is about to turn six and loves doing chores thanks to the ChoreMonster.

This fun startup uses great illustrations to help parents develop incentives to get their kids to do chores. It’s all handled through an interactive app. My daughter can access her chores on her iPod touch or iPad mini, and we can keep up with them on our iOS devices as well.  As she completes chores she earns credit towards prizes that we’ve selected. My daughter’s room is filled with My Little Ponies, Beanie Babies, and a telescope set that were all incentives for chores over the last 14 months.

ChoreMonster continues to grow in my home and on the national front as well .

The company just announced a $1.5 million dollar “early stage round” led by Dan Gilbert, the chairman of Cincinnati casino operator Rock Ventures LLC and founding partner at Detroit Venture Partners.  Cincinnati’s CincyTech also participated

ChoreMonster plans to use the money to increase its staff to 14 and continue to grow. They also took the time this week to announce a major partnership with Proctor & Gamble’s Crest Oral-B. reports that this investment is also notable because it marks Gilbert’s entry into the Cincinnati entrepreneurial ecosystem, one that continues to thrive.

ChoreMonster has steadily been raising capital since their graduation from the Brandery in the 2011 class. In January 2012 the company raised $350,000 in seed funding.  A year later they launched ChoreMonster out of private beta and took a $775,000 investment round.

This latest round doesn’t just bring capital to the table. DVP will also provide some expertise in the parental space. DVP partner Ted Sebrinski was the co-founder of ParentsClick, which was acquired by Lifetime Television.

“DVP is a firm led by experienced and successful entrepreneurs with a hands-on, deterministic approach to early stage investing that is aligned with our approach,” said Mike Venerable, CincyTech’s managing director for digital, software, and health technology companies.

With Gilbert already having business dealings in Cincinnati and now also involved in the startup ecosystem, Venerable is confident that DVP will participate in more Cincinnati deals, telling  “DVP is one of several new Midwest funds that are bringing new energy and capital to work in cities like ours, and DVP is active and engaged in Cincinnati. We fully expect to work with them on other opportunities in the future.”

Check out our video interview with Choremonster below:

And speaking of Cincinnati:


DC Company Social Tables Announces $1.6 Million Round

Social Tables,, DC Startup, DC Tech, funding

Any event planner knows how difficult it is to juggle all the different tools they use to plan. Microsoft Office, iCalendar, Evernote, paper and pens. It can be a headache to pull of a great event.

Since September 2012 Social Tables has been helping solve the many organizational challenges of event planning. They also provide tools specifically for the hospitality industry and catered events. They are making event planning easy and fun.

And, they are announcing a new round of capital with which to do it.

Yesterday, Social Tables announced a $1.6 million round led by Militello Capital. Most of the new money came from previous investors like 500 Startups and Fortify Ventures, as well as previous angel investors. New investors include Goldin Ventures, Middeland Ventures, K Street Capital, customer-turned-angel (always a good sign) Philip Dufour, and Sameer Gulati.

Jonathon Perelli of Fortify Ventures talked to Nibletz about his firm’s participation in the round: “It was a quick decision for Fortify and other existing investors to increase our investment in Social Tables in this current round. Dan Berger is a unique blend of hacker, hustler, and designer, he is a visionary CEO and he leads, hires, and manages well. Socia lTables is a clear leader in the event planning software arena and we at Fortify are strong believers in the company’s future.

Perelli will be on hand for the upcoming Everywhere Else Cincinnati conference in September.

In the last year, Social Tables has shown plenty of reasons for investors to be confident. Each month they average about 65% growth in booked revenue. Their hotel clients include franchises of Renaissance, Crown Plaza, Sheraton, and Hilton. Nonprofits, corporations, and academic institutions have all used the tools to plan events.

“Over the last year we’ve been able to prove our business model and the company’s true potential.  We’ve decided to take advantage of the market opportunity by bringing in new capital so that we could scale the business even faster,” said Dan Berger, the company’s founder and CEO in a statement.

The new money will be used to expand staff and explore other markets and verticals.

We often hear that it’s too hard to get funding if you start a company outside Silicon Valley. But, Social Tables is proof that the right companies everywhere else can be just as successful at raising money as companies in the Valley.

At the Soutland Conference last month, Paul Santinelli gave startups everywhere else some advice:

Stay put.

Find great talent.

Tackle a big problem.

The money will follow.

With stories like the one from Social Tables this week, the everywhere else ecosystem has reason to believe that’s true.


Austin Startup BigCommerce Books $40M Series “C” As In Case, Steve Case

stevecaseA few years ago, people were concerned about the likes of Walmart and Barnes and Noble coming into a town and closing down small businesses.

Then, Amazon came along, and we were suddenly worried about the local Barnes and Noble going under.

Amazon is obviously a giant, selling everything from clothes to books to niche home accessories. They operate on razor thin margins and are constantly expanding and revamping. Now, in our home at least, it’s common to hear, “I’m checking out on Amazon. Need anything?”

Amazon could easily take over the world.

Except, people still love their small, local businesses, too. While Amazon is growing in popularity, so is the local movement, and plenty of people would prefer to shop 100% local. They like supporting small operations. If only shopping at small businesses was as easy as shopping on Amazon…

Thanks to Bigcommerce, for a lot of businesses it is.

Based in Austin and Sydney, Bigcommerce has been battling the curse of Amazon since 2009. Small businesses–both brick and mortar and fully virtual–can use the service to set up an online store, and Bigcommerce’s tools will make it as fluid and easy for customers as Amazon. They also have a variety of features that help a small business rank high in search, build apps, and analyze data.

bigcommerceMost small businesses may know very little about running an online business. Bigcommerce helps them out with the Success Squad, a group of employees who train business owners in using the platform. And, their prices cater to the small business crowd with packages starting at $25/month.

On Friday, Bigcommerce announced a series C round: $40 million exclusively from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth VC firm. Case will join the company’s board.

Before this round, the company had already raised $35 million. They weren’t hurting for money, but they have big plans for the extra funds.

“The new funding will help us build out our platform even more quickly, with a focus on empowering mobile commerce, creating a more robust app ecosystem, better serving our clients, and going global,” Bigcommerce said on their blog.

With the explosion of mobile in the US market, the ability to sell through a smartphone is critical. Bigcommerce will soon offer the service to their customers, making them even more competitive with Amazon.

Bigcommerce’s goal is to democratize e-commerce, to make it as easy for the little guy to succeed as the Amazons of the world. With their new investment, the future is looking sunny.EECincyBanner

6 Companies From Everywhere Else That Raised Money This Week

startups, everywhere else, seed funding


The two biggest complaints about building a company outside of Silicon Valley are 1) lack of talent and 2) lack of capital.

But that doesn’t mean NO ONE gets funded outside of Silicon Valley. Every day companies close rounds and gain that extra capital they need to scale. And, yes, they even do it outside of the Valley.

Here are 6 companies from everywhere else that raised capital just this week.

  1. Mediaspectrum–Based in Boston, Mediaspectrum provides a platform for big media companies (think Gannett, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, etc) to manage content and advertising in one place. They raised $35.8 million, led by Insight Ventures Partners.
  2. MobileSpaces–This Maryland company helps businesses secure mobile apps on their employees’ phones, keeping sensitive business data from leaking. They raised $8.6 million in second round funding from Accel Partners and Marker LLC.
  3. Vivino–This wine app from Denmark followed on their December series A with another $10.3 million. The app scans wine labels and tells the drinker what brand, varietals, vintage, and year of the wine inside the bottle.
  4. Objective Logistics–On July 19, the Cambridge, MA-based company announced a $5.3 million Series A. The app gamifies waiting tables, trying to incentive waitstaff that may need extra encouragement.
  5. Codeanywhere–The Croatia-based company bills itself as “the Google Docs for developers” and offers a Web-based code editor. On Monday they announced a $600,000 series A from World Wide Web Hosting, LLC.
  6. Panjo–Based in LA, Panjo is an ecommerce platform that taps into the “enthusiast market.” Within each vertical (cars, sports, pets, etc), hobbyists can sell items related to the hobby. They raised $1.6 million in seed funding, led by Spark Capital.

As I researched this story, I realized something. Few of these companies are “sexy.” They aren’t the next consumer-facing social phenomenon. They aren’t going to interest every person on earth, or even most people, really. But, most of them are solving problems encountered by people and businesses all over the world.

That’s kind of what “everywhere else” is about, right? The Valley has done what the Valley’s going to do, and now it’s time for everywhere else to step up and solve problems.

Here from several startups everywhere else that raised money this year at The Startup Conference, a Must Attend by  Forbes.