Here’s a look at some of the startups that announced funding this week:
Continue Reading Below
Automated investing startup Betterment announced a $32 million Series C round, bringing its total funding to $45 million.
“It’s a much larger round to build a business that brings automated investing management to everyone in America,” says CEO Jon Stein. “Competing with the likes of the biggest brokerage houses in the country takes a fair amount of capital.”
Stein says Betterment currently has 33,000 users and $500 million under management.
“A rising tide lifts all ships,” says Stein, referencing other players in the space like Wealthfront and Personal Capital. “We’re all small – we’re not competing against each other.”
The new round of funding will be used to grow the team from 50 to 80 workers, says Stein. By the end of 2014, Stein projects Betterment will have over 50,000 users and over $1 billion under management.
All-natural snack delivery startup NatureBox announced an $18 million Series B round. Total funding stands at $28 million. NatureBox, which launched in 2012, reports having shipped 50,000 boxes its first year and 1 million orders in 2013.
CEO Gautam Gupta says the new funding will be used to grow NatureBox’s product lineup.
“We want to expand product assortment from 120 options to many more in the future. We’re also developing a better experience from a shipment standpoint and creating an East Coast distribution center to get our boxes out to customers,” says Gupta.
According to Gupta, NatureBox is on track to ship 3 million boxes this year. He says the 60-person-company will likely add 20 to 30 employees by the end of 2014.
ItsOn, which creates personalized services for mobile operators, just raised a $12.5 million Series C round led by Tenaya Capital with participation from Andreessen Horowitz. CEO Greg Raleigh says ItsOn counts Sprint among its customers. In total, ItsOn has raised approximately $40 million.
“We allow mobile operators to offer more personalized mobile services that meet individuals’ exact needs, rather than providing one-size-fits-all plans,” says Raleigh.
Raleigh says the funding will be used to grow the 70-person team and more rapidly deploy ItsOn’s services around the world.
Marketing analytics startup Beckon announced an $8 million Series A, bringing total funding to $10 million.
CEO Jennifer Zeszut says Beckon’s software helps marketers navigate an increasingly overwhelming landscape.
“There are really a handful of major shifts happening on the marketing front, and we don’t have a lot of tools and software to help us,” says Zeszut, whose background is in marketing. Beckon’s solution helps marketers navigate the data available to them to figure out what’s working – and what’s not.
“Every single solution that exists today takes one approach, and assumes marketers can’t do this on their own,” says Zeszut. She says the status quo is to bring in data engineers to guide marketers.
“We think marketers should be storytellers and have their own tools,” says Zeszut. Beckon currently has under 30 employees and will likely double this year, according to Zeszut.
Legal advice startup Avvo just raised $37.5 million. Since 2007, the Seattle-based startup has raised $61 million.
CEO Mark Britton says Avvo’s goal is to help consumers navigate the legal profession.
“The no. 1 thing we do and the problem we’re trying to solve is many different people in the legal industry try to make [the legal industry] complicated and it’s not. There are a lot of big words and complicated processes -- there are for sure serious consequences out there if you don’t understand a legal situation and manage it well – but we try to boil it down in a simple way. This way, anyone facing a divorce or who wants to start a business or deal with a traffic ticket or DUI can come to Avvo, get oriented and make better decisions regarding that,” says Britton.
According to Britton, Avvo became profitable last year.
“We had a good cash position. We weren’t burning money and raising this to try to extend our runway. We wanted to accelerate in a number of areas that were working incredibly well and continue to invest,” says Britton. He says Avvo gets 6 million visits monthly.
“We’re working on a number of different products in the legal ecosystem, but we’re not prepared to announce them yet. There are short-term areas we want to fund aggressively,” says Britton.
Catering delivery startup ezCater has raised $4 million, bringing total funding to $6.5 million.
The seven-year-old startup, led by Stefania Mallett, facilitates catered meal deliveries to businesses in all 50 states.
“You enter an address, and we’ll show you restaurants and caterers that deliver to that address. You pick and choose, place an order and you will see on-time performance ratings and you’ll see whether people like this food,” says Mallett, ezCater’s CEO and co-founder.
EzCater has served 1.8 million people since launch, and has north of 30,000 caterers on the platform, according to Mallett. She says the company is looking to add 20,000 new caterers to the directory this year.
“We’ve achieved breakeven. We’re simply investing in growing faster,” says Mallett. “It’s all about execution and how fast and how well can we execute. We have a superb reputation with customers and caterers … We’re going to triple again this year, and we want to keep tripling without in any way reducing the quality of our service and offerings.”