Venture Round Up: 4 Recently Funded

fundedThere are indexes tracking just about any business metric you can think of.  For 4.5 a half years, University of San Francisco professor Mark Cannice has been tracking venture capitalist confidence.  In early July he reported the second quarter result for his index was down to 3.07 on a 5 point scale.  It was the third consecutive new low in the Index’ history.   Still, despite VC’s concerns about the economy and the state of their investments,  there’s no shortage of companies getting funded.  In the media world,  Heat Wave, Clickable, Crowd Fusion and NGMoco have all recently closed new rounds.  Here are the details in  the Metue Venture Wrap Up:

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HBO Funds Funny or Die

hbo funny or dieTogether with AOL, HBO tried to build a website around comedy video in February of 2007.  Like an awkward TV pilot that couldn’t find its groove, “This Just In” was shuttered by August.  Now, in a second go round, the Time Warner cable channel will play the part of investor.   HBO is committing an undisclosed amount of capital to buy a stake guessed to be about 10 percent of internet comedy shop FunnyorDie.

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New Specialist VC: The Blackberry Partners Fund

Blackberry partners fundThere’s no question the current and next generation of mobile phones, products like the iPhone and RIM’s newly minted Blackberry Bold, have grand ambitions to advance and change their industry.  There’s also no question cottage industries are popping up to thrive on their coattails.

Where there is developing industry, there are investors.   In March, with Apple’s support, venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers (KPCB) pledged a sum of $100m for an investment initiative focus on forward thinking iPhone related software and services.  Now, Research in Motion is following suit with an investment focus of their own.

Monday, RIM announced the formation of a$150million fund to invest in services and applications for their rival Blackberry platform.  Canadian VC firms JLA Ventures and RBC Venture Partners are lending expertise to manage the fund. The fund will be called the Blackberry Partners Fund.

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April Venture Round Up: Kongregate Turbine and MOG

fresh fundingWhile Kleiner Perkins is out raising a 13th fund, two gaming companies and one music discovery engine closed out April with fresh rounds of funding.

TURBINE:  Leading the April rounds was game publisher Turbine.  The Westwood, Massachusetts based game developer closed on a massive Series C to fuel their Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) business.  According to regulatory filings, the company took an installment of $25million out of a possible $40m in the round. Granite Global Ventures led the financing and took a seat on the board to represent the Series C stockholders.  Prior investors Highland Capital, Polaris, Tudor Ventures and Columbia Capital all participated as well.

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Venture Funding Ok: Proof From Move Networks, Visible World and Realtime Worlds

fundingRecently published data from the National Venture Capital Association showed fewer venture funds have been out raising capital (57 in Q1 2008 versus 83 in 2007 and 75 and 2006) but there’s no shortage of funding.  So far this year, about the same amount of money has been raised for new funds (compared to the same period last year) despite the smaller group of fund partnerships with their hands out.  The cumulative cash raised in 2007 was also high, insuring plenty of capital waiting to be deployed.  But if that’s not evidence enough, then recent investment rounds should be; three companies, Move Networks, Visible World and Realtime Worlds have all raised more than $25m in new rounds just announced.

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Digg for the Press: Publish2 Gets Funding

fresh fundingNew Media tech writers (Metue included) usually reserve some airtime to cover the freshly funded.  Such newly flush startups are powerful fuel for talking about developing trends or as barometers for the next (or not likely to be next) new thing.  Every now and then though, when the funding size is extravagant or the recipient a peer, the financial press gets buzzing. 

This relatively quiet news Monday, the blog side of tech news buzzed about the Series A financing of press-centric startup Publish2.    Per the company’s own announcement, they closed a $2.75m first round with money from Velocity Group.

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Further Funding for Facebook, Weplay, Glassdoor

fundingHow much investment in social networking companies is enough?  If you ask Facebook or new startup, the answer may be there’s no such thing.  Both have added to their coffers.  $4.5m for Weplay, $60m for Facebook.

In the case of Weplay, talent agency Creative Artists had hinted they were serious about venture investment when they moved to set up their own funding structure.  In contributing part of the $4.5m raised for the kid’s sports site, they officially stepped up to the plate.  Major League Baseball’s Investment arm and Pequot Capital also contributed. 

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