RealTime IT News

beenz.com Completes $20M Round of Financing

Web currency company beenz.com said it has received an additional $20 million in its third round of private funding, in the form of Series A convertible preferred stock, from several strategic partners and financial institutions.

Japanese communications and retailing company Hikari Tsushin, Oracle Corp. Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison, Gefinor Group, French holding company ArtC)mis SA and Euro-American venture capital firm Viventures Partners SA are the five investors in this current round.

The funding will go toward growth and expansion, marketing and developing the beenz technology, the company said.

Prior to this round, the company raised $3.8 million in seed capital provided by Gefinor USA, the U.S. arm of the international merchant banking group Gefinor, and the company's founders.

Beenz, designed as an online marketing tool, is a universal Web currency that can be earned by consumers by visiting, interacting with, or shopping at participating Web sites.

Consumers can then spend their beenz with participating merchants. The service claims more than 100,000 registered users after six months in business.

Hikari and beenz.com said they hope to implement a joint venture to launch beenz across the Hikari businesses in Japan, which include wireless communications, Internet services and WebTV.

ArtC)mis is a key strategic partner as the company introduces beenz into the European market.

Separately, beenz.com said that it signed an exclusive marketing alliance with portal Excite UK.

Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

"beenz is an exciting young company with a compelling loyalty model," said Evan Rudowski, Excite UK's General Manager.

"We're delighted that Excite UK is in a position to bring its weight to bear for beenz whilst at the same time using beenz to reward its loyal users and further differentiate our e-commerce offerings from those of our competitors."

Excite.co.uk will be the preferred search engine of beenz.com, and all beenzworld searches will include the opportunity to include search results from a global search at Excite.co.uk.