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Got Funds? Big Rounds for OpenSky, Zaarly, TagMan and More

Written on
Oct 25, 2011 
Author
Gavin Dunaway  |

ADOTAS – Last night at a charity event hosted by InMobi (more to come), I ran into a lawyer whose firm serves venture capital firms with their eyes on advertising tech by drawing up investing contracts and such. As I trudge through all the funding announcements in my inbox this morning, I can’t help but think about the amazing revenue that firm must be seeing.

• Socially curated shopping platform OpenSky has raised $30 million in a new round led by Providence Equity Partners with participation from existing investors Highland Capital Partners, Canaan Partners and The Raine Group.

Soft-launched in April, OpenSky allows users to customize their shopping catalogs by selecting various celebrity curators — including Bobby Flay, Padma Lakshmi, Cynthia Rowley and Tony Horton — across the food, health, style and design verticals. Users then receive information curator-selected products as well as offers and discounts based on their preferences.

Currently the network boasts 600,000 users; the return rate so far sits at just 1% while 50% of members are repeat buyers. OpenSky users are on track to purchase 15 to 18 items a year (compare that to Amazon’s average of 12).

In addition to adding former eBay CEO and current Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, to its board of directors, Zaarly scored a $14 million investment led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, with CMEA, Venture51, Crunchfund, Artists & Instigators, and Marc Ecko also participating.

Zaarly is kind of like a socialized Craiglist — users post an item, how much they are willing to pay for it and in what time frame they need it and local people respond. There’s definitely a great deal of potential for local marketers as well as major brands looking to engage on the local level.

Cofounder and CEO Bo Fishback sees a lot of similarities between his organization and eBay before Whitman came on board — eBay had just 30 employees then, just like Zaarly has now. Her name lends a lot of credibility to the project.

“Meg is one of the rare executives who has both worked in Fortune 500 companies and built one from the ground up,” Fishback wrote on the Zaarly blog. “Most importantly, Meg just gets it. She understands where we are as a company and is excited to help us build something special. We are wildly excited to have her help.”

A few months ago at a Digital DUMBO event, we ran into Matt Wilson, the creator of Under30CEO, who was brought on the Zaarly team to launch the startup in NYC.

Tag management system provider TagMan closed a $5 million Series B round led by Greycroft Partners and iNovia Capital, bringing its funding total to $10 million. The company announced a $2.3 million Series A round in January with the same investors.

While in the short term TagMan will devote the funding to expanding adoption of its tag management product, CEO and founder Paul Cook said the company plans to open several new sales and support offices over the next year in Europe and North America. In July, the company released the third version of its tag management system, which included Smart Tag Loading for decreasing site latency due to tracking tag loading.

Also, former Yahoo! Right Media and [x+1] executive Maggie Neuwald has joined Tagman vice president, product marketing and partnerships. They’ve already put her to work composing Adotas articles about the importance of client-side tags.

StarStar directory operator Zoove secured $5 million in funding from Rogers Ventures, the venture capital arm of major Canadian telecom player Rogers Communications. Rogers Ventures Vice President Mike Lee will join Zoove’s board of directors. In August, the company rolled in $15 million in a Series D round.

App direct advertising platform ChartBoost scored $2 million in its initial round of funding; investors included TransLink Capital, SK Telecom Ventures and XG Ventures. Chartboost offers a white-label platform that enables publishers with high-ranking mobile apps to sell interstitial inventory to other developers looking to raise awareness for their mobile apps. The relationships are managed through a dashboard that allows developers to control where their apps are being promoted or which apps are being promoted within their own apps.





Gavin Dunaway is Editor, U.S. at AdMonsters, a leading trade publication, event producer and service provider for the online advertising industry. Previously, he had been Senior Editor of Adotas, where he arrived after years of ping-ponging around various industry publications. This Washington, D.C. native and George Mason University graduate also enjoys playing electric guitar so loud that the walls shake.

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