VC Buzz - $77.7+ million in today's deals
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For the latest on cool Internet Start-Ups and their VC backers, point your browser to: http://www.internetVCwatch.com/
New in the NewsPENgroup.com, PlaceWare, Advanced Switching Communications, eSociety Inc., Zero-Knowledge Systems, Essential.com, AssetExchange.com, Lightforce Inc., X:drive, ROI Direct.com, PNV.net Inc., SkillSoft Corp., EquityStation, LifeMinders.com, seeUthere.com, Galileo Communications, FindLaw Inc.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- PENgroup.com, a revolutionary web-based consulting procurement service, announced that it has received a first-round investment of $3 million from SOFTBANK Technology Ventures, Pequot Capital Management and Net Investments. In addition, Bradley Feld of SOFTBANK, Gerald Poch of Pequot and Ray Park of Net Investments have joined the company's board of directors.
SOFTBANK Technology Ventures V is a $600 million venture capital fund focused primarily on early-stage Internet companies. SOFTBANK past and current portfolios include public Internet companies such as Yahoo!, GeoCities, Critical Path, E*TRADE, E-LOAN, Interliant, MessageMedia, Net2Phone, and TheStreet.com.
Pequot Capital Management is a research-intensive investment firm with more than $5 billion under management.www.pengroup.com www.sbvc.com www.pequot.com
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- PlaceWare Inc., a leader in Web conferencing software and services for Internet-based business communications, announced the close of an $18.8M third round of private financing. New investors Bank of America Ventures, the Hewlett-Packard Company, TransCosmos USA, and Gabriel Venture Partners have joined existing investors InterWest Partners, Apex Investment Partners, Bay Partners and Xerox Corporation in this latest round of financing. The additional funds will allow PlaceWare to accelerate its investments in sales and marketing, branding, product development, partnerships, and international expansion.
VIENNA, Va--Advanced Switching Communications Inc. announced that it has obtained $35 million in third-round venture capital financing.
This brings the total amount raised by the company in its short two-year history to over $50 million. Investors in this latest round of financing include New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Venture Partners (MSDWVP), Baker Communications Fund and ASC president and CEO Asghar Mostafa.
This funding will support the company's ongoing development of its next-generation Multi-Service Access Platform directed at service providers and carriers. ASC's award-winning RBOX family provides the access layer for service provider networks and is a new breed of equipment that dramatically lowers the cost of delivering advanced broadband services.www.asc1.com
BELLEVUE, Wash--eSociety Inc. announced a $3.4 million investment from two funding sources with a breadth of Internet expertise: Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), a leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and Seattle-area private investors.www.esociety.com
ASPEN, Colo-- Zero-Knowledge Systems, a leading developer of Internet privacy solutions, announced it has secured US $12 million in first round venture capital funding.
The lead investors are Platinum Venture Partners, Aragon Ventures and Strategic Acquisition Ventures, the Silicon Valley venture capital firms that have funded leading internet firms Inktomi, LiquidAudio, Star Media and YesMail.com.
Zero-Knowledge is currently beta-testing its much-anticipated Freedom(TM) privacy technology, which empowers users to surf the Web, send email, post to newsgroups and chat via untraceable digital identities called "nyms." All Freedom traffic is encrypted and routed through the Freedom Network, a globally distributed network of Freedom Servers hosted by ISPs and independent server operators around the world. Heralded by privacy advocates as the only fully trustworthy privacy solution, Freedom will be available commercially in fourth quarter 1999.www.zeroknowledge.com
BURLINGTON, Mass--Essential.com, an energy and communications superstore, announced a $5 million investment from Comdisco Ventures. The company's on-line, one-stop shop offers Essential Services such as Energy, Internet Access, and PhoneService.
The $5 million in subdebt funding and equipment-based financing from Comdisco Ventures follows a recent multi-million dollar infusion of venture capital for Essential.com. The company has attracted leading e-commerce and utility venture capital groups, including Bessemer Ventures, Brand Equity Ventures, and EnerTech Capital.www.essential.com
PORTLAND, Ore--A newly launched Internet-based asset listing service for banks and financial institutions looks to change the way banks buy and sell portfolios.
AssetExchange.com has created an on-line network to help companies acquire and divest loan portfolios typically valued from ten million to several hundred million dollars.
The company was founded this year by William C. Koo and Frank Selker, who bring extensive professional experience in the financial services industry and the marketing and development of decision support software systems. AssetExchange.com just received $500,000 in seed funding from Net Value Holdings, an e-commerce incubator company for Internet start ups.www.AssetExchange.com
PALM BEACH, Fla--RAM Capital Management in Boca Raton has acquired a 50% stake in privately held Lightforce Inc., a seller of microturbines, gas and electricity, in the eastern United States, and on the internet at http://www.copower.com.
Stated Jeff Newman, president of Lightforce: "Our announcement last week about selling microturbines on the Internet increased our growing backlog of orders and interest from both customers and suppliers of microturbines and other energy services. Securing the necessary capital to begin installation of company owned microturbines became of paramount importance to us."www.copower.com
SANTA MONICA, Calif--X:drive, the company that turns the Internet into a portable hard drive, announced that David Bohnett, founder of GeoCities, has become a member of X:drive's board of directors. In addition to serving as a board member, Bohnett has provided funding to X:drive through his investment company, Baroda Ventures. X:drive will become the latest addition to Baroda Ventures' portfolio of successful Internet companies, which includes NetZero Inc. (Nasdaq:NZRO), in Westlake Village, Calif., and Stamps.com (Nasdaq:STMP), in Santa Monica. Bohnett himself was founder of GeoCities, which was acquired by Yahoo! Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO) this year for nearly $4 billion. www.xdrive.com
SAN FRANCISCO--ROI Direct.com, a leading provider of Internet-based direct marketing services, announced that it has acquired OnPoint, Inc., of Emeryville, Calif., in a stock-for-stock transaction.
In acquiring OnPoint, a provider of advanced Internet commerce application services, ROI Direct.com broadens its service offerings to include e-commerce site creation, integration, and operations. Specific terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Founded in 1994, ROI Direct.com is a privately held company with investment support from Accel Partners, Crosspoint Venture Partners, Vanguard Venture Partners, and HarbourVest Partners.www.roidirect.com www.on-point.com
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla--PNV.net Inc., a provider of telecommunications, cable television and Internet access services to the trucking community, announced that it received additional private financing in September 1999. ABRY Broadcast Partners III, L.P., Halpern Denny Fund IV, L.P., and Cummins Engine Company purchased a total of 3,000,000 shares of PNV.net's Series D preferred stock for $10.50 per share.
The Coral Springs, FL-based company serves drivers, long-haul trucking fleets, truck stop operators and trucking industry suppliers. PNV.net offers in-cab telecommunications and cable television services, including local and long-distance telephone access, voicemail, wake-up calls as well as Internet access services, to truck drivers and fleets.
PHILADELPHIA and NASHUA, N.H., -- The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Nashua, NH-based SkillSoft Corporation announced a collaboration effort to co-develop online courseware in support of the distributed learning series called Wharton Direct. The relationship strengthens SkillSoft's position as an innovative provider of online critical business skill courseware, and enables both Wharton and SkillSoft to provide effective Web-based learning resources to corporate clients and business professionals.
SkillSoft is funded by Warburg Pincus, a major global venture-banking firm, and has a strategic corporate partner alliance with GartnerGroup, a authority on information technology (IT). GartnerGroup also has an equity investment in SkillSoft.www.skillsoft.com www.wharton.upenn.edu
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- North American Institutional Brokers (NAIB), ranked among the top regional market making firms in Nasdaq and OTC stocks, opened the doors of its new division EquityStation. EquityStation is one of the first online trading services designed for the online investing community's top bracket of wealthy investors, money managers, and registered investment advisors.
In the near future, RediBook's technology and liquidity will increase as the result of a joint venture agreement made by Spear, Leeds and Wall Street powerhouses Fidelity Investments, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, and The Charles Schwab Company. The four announced in July 1999 that they would leverage the existing technology and liquidity of RediBook ECN with the retail, institutional, and market maker liquidity of the venture partners.www.equitystation.com
HERNDON, Va.-- Every day thousands of people are simplifying their lives by signing up for LifeMinders.com. Today, LifeMinders.com Inc., a provider of free personalized e-mail reminders and timely tips, welcomes the four millionth member to its rapidly growing family of users. LifeMinders.com sends more than 10 million messages per week, containing useful information and recommendations based on members' profiles.
Financial Partners include FBR Technology Venture Partners, Novak, Biddle Venture Partners L.P., ABS Venturers IV, L.P., U.S. Trust and Imperial Bank.www.lifeminders.com
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., -- seeUthere.com, the first end-to-end online event planning service, announced that it has secured more than twenty partnerships to provide a comprehensive tool set for event planners. seeUthere.com is the most scalable event planning service on the Web and is designed to help corporations, associations, non-profits and individuals to successfully plan, schedule and manage mission-critical events while saving time and money. seeUthere.com's partnerships include companies such as ELetter and ONElist.
Founded in 1998, the company has venture capital funding, a complete management team and a Board of Directors and Advisors with years of experience and successwww.seeuthere.com
LONDON -- Galileo Communications Ltd. signed agreements acquiring Cypress A/S, one of Denmark's premier Internet Service Organizations. Cypress, established in 1996, has offices in Copenhagen and Arhus, Denmark.
Galileo Communications Ltd. recently completed a round of investment financing of US$12 million in support of its further expansion in Europe. A syndicate of multi-national institutional firms completed the equity placement. Included are: Newcourt Capital/Newcourt Credit Group (New York) (OTC Bulletin Board: NWCXR) -- one of the world's largest leading sources of asset-based financing serving the corporate and commercial markets with owned and managed assets of US$25 billion and global capabilities in 26 countries; XL Ventures LLC/Big /Flower Holdings, Inc. (New York) (NYSE:BGF) -- a US-based investment fund and leading advertising and marketing services and eCommerce solutions company; SEDCO/Saudi Arabian Economic Development Corporation (Jeddah) -- one of the largest investment firms in the Middle East; Stratego Invest, a.s. (Prague) -- a major Czech investment banking,brokerage and management company; and Telfin/Tractebel (Brussels) (BXS: TRA) -- a US$12 billion global energy and services firm with significant interests in communications. www.GalileoLtd.com www.cypress.dk
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif--FindLaw Inc., a Web portal focused on law and government, expanded its Entertainment Law Center, adding reviews by top lawyers and others of the most popular law-oriented television shows.
Leading the roster of reviewers is Anonymous, a former White House staffer, who is providing exclusive reviews of "West Wing" for FindLaw.
FindLaw is currently a privately held company backed by @Ventures, the affiliated venture capital arm of CMGI, Inc. Other investors include Amicus Investments, Angel Investors LP, Arba Seed Investment Group and Glasser Legal Works.www.e.findlaw.com
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