Scout24 adds to German IPO jitters as shares drop below offer price: Reuters

(Reuters) Shares in German digital classified ads firm Scout24 dropped below their offer price on their trading debut on Thursday, casting a shadow over other pending flotations in Frankfurt, with some already scaling down their ambitions. Scout24 shares opened at 30.75 euros, above the issue price of 30.00 euros, but later dropped below that level, as investors viewed them as overvalued relative to their peers in Europe. The shares were down 1.8 percent at 29.45 euros by 1248 GMT, after losing as much as 2 percent, underperforming a 0.5 percent drop in Germany’s benchmark DAX index. Scout24’s market debut is being scrutinized by investors amid jittery equities markets. Volkswagen’s emissions scandal has also scared off investors, forcing plastics group Covestro to lower the price range and the number of shares on offer after failing to win enough offers for a planned 2.5 billion euro ($2.8 bln) Frankfurt IPO. Car parts maker Schaeffler is also considering scaling down the size of its flotation and will postpone it by at least a couple of days after investors voiced concern over the Volkswagen scandal and wobbly markets, sources familiar with that deal said. Still, some investors remained hopeful. “It needs more to cancel other IPOs,” said a Frankfurt-based trader. The Scout24 IPO had already been delayed from last year due to volatile equity markets, something Chief Executive Greg Ellis tried to play down on Thursday. “This was the best time to go,” Ellis told Reuters just after the shares started trading. The company had just completed an internal revamp and would not have been ready to float earlier this year when equity valuations were higher, he said. The initial public offering values Scout24’s equity at 3.2 billion euros, or about 19 times its expected core earnings including debt. That compares with an average earnings multiple of 18 times for its European peers, which include Rightmove , REA Group, Zoopla and Autotrader . After selling shares in the IPO, private equity firms Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone will own 45.7 percent in Scout24 if an overallotment option is fully exercised. German telecoms operator Deutsche Telekom will hold 12.1 percent while 35.9 percent will be widely held. Scout24 runs Germany’s biggest digital advertising portal for real estate and the country’s No. 2 car sales portal, behind Ebay’s mobile.de. It expects the digital classifieds market in those two sectors to roughly double by 2018. The company aims to use the proceeds of 230 million euros from a capital increase to reduce its debt, which stood at about 950 million euros at the end of June. It has no plans to acquire peers.

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Scout24 adds to German IPO jitters as shares drop below offer price: Reuters

Ometria snags $2.5 mln seed

UK-based Ometria, a customer insight and marketing platform, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Inventure Partners led the round with participation from other backers that included SaatchInvest and Force Over Mass Capital. PRESS RELEASE LONDON, UK – 28 September 2015: Ometria (www.ometria.com), a customer insight and marketing platform built specifically for retailers and ecommerce businesses, has secured a further $2.5m in seed funding. The round was led by Inventure Partners, with participation from existing investors SaatchInvest, and new investors Force Over Mass Capital. Several strategic angels also participated, including Nickyl Raithatha, Founder and CEO at Finery London and previously Global Managing Director at Rocket Internet; Lee Hudson, COO at AppyParking; as well as Richard Fattal, UK MD at Grokker. The additional funding brings the total seed investment secured by Ometria to $5m, and will be used to increase the size of the Ometria team, and accelerate the development of Ometria’s SaaS platform. Ometria is also today announcing the launch of its retail-focused marketing automation solution, enabling ecommerce businesses and multi-channel retailers to not only better understand their customers, but to now use that understanding to power personalised automated marketing that increases engagement and drives significant additional revenue. Built on top of Ometria’s existing customer insight and predictive modelling capabilities, the marketing automation platform identifies where each customer is in their lifecycle, profiles their tastes and interests, and targets them with personalised messages to encourage them to make further purchases with that store. Recent case studies from brands such as Swoon Editions, Finisterre and MyTights have shown significant results, from a 323 per cent increase in email revenues, to a 92 per cent increase in customer reactivation. Ivan Mazour, founder and CEO of Ometria, said: “For over two years, we have given the fastest growing online brands and retailers the ability to truly understand their customers. I’m proud to announce that from today, Ometria is able to dynamically target each customer with individually personalised messages, and deliver a clear ROI without the need for any action on the part of the retailer. “I’m grateful for the validation provided by this investment round, and excited that Inventure Partners has joined our exceptional group of investors. With their support we will be able to accelerate our growth significantly, and help even more retailers increase revenues and customer engagement,” he continued. Sergey Azatyan, Managing Partner, Inventure Partners commented: “Having spoken with a number of retailers using the Ometria platform, it was clear that their offering delivered genuine value , and that their solution will be a must-have for all online businesses in the future. I look forward to joining the board and partnering with Ivan and his team to help them build Ometria into a global leader in retail marketing.” Ometria has seen 600 per cent growth year-on-year, and current customers include venture capital-backed startups such as Rad (Index), Swoon Editions (Index and Octopus) and Charlotte Tilbury (Venrex and Samos), as well as established brands such as Temperley London, John Smedley and House of Holland. The platform can be integrated in a matter of minutes, and the company provides an end-to-end solution which delivers both insight for the marketing team, and automated personalised communication which drives revenue and produces a significant return on investment. Existing investors in Ometria include Huddle founders Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, Skimlinks founders Alicia Navarro and Joe Stepniewski, QXL founder Tim Jackson, Kelkoo founder Phil Wilkinson, as well as a number of other prominent technology founders, executives and angel investors. About Ometria: Ometria (www.ometria.com) is a leader in retail and ecommerce marketing, providing a SaaS solution which helps multichannel and online retailers use data to better understand their customers, and send personalised automated messages which increase engagement and drive additional revenue. Ometria was founded by serial entrepreneurs Ivan Mazour, Djalal Lougouev, James Dunford Wood and Alastair James, and is used by over a hundred retailers and ecommerce sites such as Swoon Editions, Rad, Charlotte Tilbury, Temperley London, John Smedley and House of Holland. The company is based in Mayfair, London and is backed by prominent VCs and investors, such as InVenture Partners, SaatchInvest, as well as founders and executives from Huddle, Skimlinks, Shutl, QXL, Kelkoo, Forward, Finery London and Wolf & Badger. About Inventure Partners: Inventure Partners (http://inventurepartners.com/) is an innovative investment fund focused on funding disruptive technology startups. The fund looks for teams with a novel approach to business models, and companies that are able to solve real problems and remove inefficiencies in the market. Inventure Partners backs a wide range of ventures across the technology industry, and the fund’s portfolio currently includes on-demand service Gett (GetTaxi), leader in US telehealth American Well, long-distance bus tickets platform Busfor, and others.

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Ometria snags $2.5 mln seed

Warburg Pincus leads investment in college big data firm Civitas: Reuters

Private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC said on Monday it has agreed to lead a $60 million investment round in Civitas Learning, an Austin, Texas-based startup that uses data analytics to help universities improve graduation rates. Education software and services companies have drawn record levels of investment this year, as many institutions are seeking to upgrade their learning tools to become more competitive in attracting and educating students. This was the largest funding round to date for Civitas, which was founded in 2011 by former Kaplan education executive Charles Thornburgh and an educator and administrator, Mark David Milliron. Universities and colleges that use Civitas give the company access to information from its student population such as grades, course loads, and financial aid packages. The company then analyzes the data and creates a system of predictive analytics to help universities figure out who might be at risk of dropping out. It also builds applications on top of its data platform that can help students pick majors, and analyzes for university administrators the effectiveness of courses. Civitas generates revenue by selling software subscriptions. About 850 campuses use its services, including the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arizona, according to its website. Adarsh Sarma, managing director at Warburg Pincus, in a statement said Civitas was “a pioneer in the field of using applied data analytics to improve student outcomes.” As state- and federal-funded universities face performance-based funding requirements in which graduation rates are increasingly tied to their budgets, companies like Civitas can be brought in to seek improved results. “With this investment, we are going to be able to improve and accelerate both learning and student outcomes for our partner institutions,” said Thornburgh, Civitas’ chief executive. The company will use the money for research and development as well as potential mergers and acquisitions. Besides Warburg Pincus, the fundraising round includes previous investors including Emergence Capital Partners, Austin Ventures, Rethink Education, SJF Ventures and Gera Venture Capital. Warburg has a history of making money from investments in education technology. For example, it sold iParadigms LLC which makes “Turnitin” plagiarism software, for $752 million, including debt, to Insight Venture Partners last year.

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Warburg Pincus leads investment in college big data firm Civitas: Reuters

Online Asia retailer Daraz picks up 50 mln euros

Online Asia retailer Daraz has raised 50 million euros (about $56 million) in funding. The investors were the CDC Group and the Asia Pacific Internet Group. PRESS RELEASE 22 SEPTEMBER 2015, KARACHI. Daraz, the leading online retailer in Asian frontier markets, has secured EUR 50m (USD ~55m) in its first major financing round. The investment comes from the CDC Group – the UK Government’s Development Finance Institution (DFI) focused on supporting and developing businesses in Africa and South Asia – as well as Daraz’s existing investor Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG). Daraz is already the leading e-commerce platform in Pakistan (Daraz.pk), Bangladesh (Daraz.bd) and Myanmar (Shop.com.mm). The company started in Pakistan in 2012 as an online fashion business, but since then has expanded its business model to a general marketplace for quality brands within electronics, home appliances, fashion and many other categories. The funding will be used to continue to grow the business in existing markets and for expansion into other frontier markets in Asia. “Taking the e-commerce business model into these exciting markets is a fascinating journey. Although internet penetration is still relatively low, the market is developing fast and its potential is immense,” says Bjarke Mikkelsen, CEO of Daraz. “By making Daraz a success, we are not only building a great business, but also creating jobs and infrastructure in the countries we operate in – that’s what makes it so exciting”. Daraz is part of the Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG), one of the fastest growing internet platforms in the Asia-Pacific region, currently uniting 14 e-commerce companies in 15 countries. Hanno Stegmann, CEO of APACIG, explains that Daraz is one of the most promising companies in their portfolio. “The markets where Daraz is active are inspiring for entrepreneurs. We are looking forward to supporting Daraz in its ambition to become the No. 1 shopping destination in Asian frontier markets”. David Osborne, CDC’s Investment Director, reassures the choice of investing in the company. “Daraz is rapidly building an online trading infrastructure across a number of South Asia’s most challenging frontier markets. CDC’s investment will enable the company to continue its impressive growth. We expect our investment to help Daraz create several thousand direct and indirect jobs over the next 5 years, and play an important role in the professionalization and development of local retail sectors, logistics networks and technology industries”. About Daraz Daraz is the leader in online retail in Pakistan (Daraz.pk), Bangladesh (Daraz.bd) and Myanmar (Shop.com.mm), featuring apparel, accessories, shoes and beauty products for men and women, as well as a wide variety of electronics and general merchandise. Daraz is part of the Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG) which supports some of the leading internet companies in the region. Founded by Rocket Internet in 2014, APACIG’s mission is to promote innovation and entrepreneurship throughout Asia and the Pacific and to support the development of a vibrant online culture. About CDC CDC is the UK government-owned development finance institution that uses its own balance sheet to invest in the developing countries of Africa and South Asia. CDC’s mission is to support the building of businesses throughout Africa and South Asia that create jobs and make a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest places. CDC provides capital in all its forms, including equity, debt, mezzanine and guarantees, and this capital is typically used to fund growth. This capital is provided directly and through fund managers that are aligned with its aims. It has net assets of £3.4bn. About APACIG The Asia Pacific Internet Group (www.apacig.com) is a joint venture of Rocket Internet and Ooredoo. The group’s network consists of 14 e-commerce and online marketplace companies, operating across 15 countries. Since it was founded in 2014, APACIG has become the leading online platform in Asia, building top internet companies in the region.

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Online Asia retailer Daraz picks up 50 mln euros

ScribbleLive inks C$35 mln

Digital content marketing company ScribbleLive has raised C$35 million in funding. The OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund led the round with participation from other investors that included Emerillon Capital, Blue Cloud Ventures, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, Rogers Ventures, Summerhill Venture Partners, Georgian Partners, Export Development Corp. of Canada and Waterloo Innovation Fund. PRESS RELEASE TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – Sep 23, 2015) – ScribbleLive, a global leader in digital content marketing, is excited to announce the closing of its expansion round of funding. The OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF) led the $35 million investment along with contributions from Emerillon Capital, Blue Cloud Ventures, Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund, and a large U.S.-based asset manager, along with participation from all existing ScribbleLive venture investors including: Rogers Ventures, Summerhill Venture Partners, Georgian Partners, Export Development Corp. (EDC) of Canada and Waterloo Innovation Fund. “We are thrilled to have five new experienced shareholders and participation from all of our existing venture investors in this funding round,” said Vincent Mifsud, CEO of ScribbleLive. “Our business has been growing at 100 percent without consuming capital, which has driven massive interest in our company. This interest has culminated in a Series D round, which is greater than all of our previous financing combined. Our stronger balance sheet opens new strategic avenues for accelerating our growth to further enhance our market share.” As consumers continue to be inundated with interruptive advertising from a variety of conventional sources, content marketing is forging new, unparalleled opportunities for modern marketers and major brands to connect with their audience. “We are focused on disrupting the marketing industry by helping brand marketers, sports and media companies grow their businesses using content and data science technologies,” said Mifsud. “Advertising effectiveness is on the decline and content marketing will be the key strategic differentiator to help businesses grow. We believe that great content marketing should be incorporated into every element of marketing from social marketing, events, and product launches to microsites. Our data science powered platform helps marketers do exactly that.” ScribbleLive’s patented linguistic and mathematical algorithms provide insights to enable marketers to create impactful original content in accordance with their marketing strategy. In addition, ScribbleLive’s workflow technology platform allows marketers to distribute this content across a variety of landscapes and then measure the effectiveness and engagement. “We’re delighted to lead the funding round,” said Richard Black, General Partner at the OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF). “ScribbleLive has a proven management team and has attracted top tier global customers that derive significant business benefits from their daily use of the platform and its analytics capability. The company is backed by an outstanding investment syndicate that can support ScribbleLive on its next phase of growth.” ScribbleLive delivers its content marketing software solutions to the largest brands and media companies across the globe, including Ferrari, Red Bull, The Football League, NFL, and hundreds of others. Content optimized by ScribbleLive grows your upper funnel and builds brand awareness via patented, data-driven content planning, creation, distribution, and measurement tools. About ScribbleLive ScribbleLive is the provider of the world’s leading complete content marketing and live publishing software platform powered by data science. The all-in-one SaaS solution combines predictive analytics with content planning, creation, and distribution technologies to deliver optimized business results. ScribbleLive is used by over 500 enterprises including large global brands such as Red Bull, Bayer, Ferrari, Oracle, Bank of America, Deutsche Telekom, and Yahoo! For more information, visit www.scribblelive.com About OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund The OpenText Enterprise Apps Fund (OTEAF) was formed in 2015 and invests primarily in emerging Canadian technology companies that are building disruptive, enterprise applications that leverage the power of the internet, big data, predictive analytics and mobility. OTEAF has offices in Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. www.oteaf.vc

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ScribbleLive inks C$35 mln