Cambly spreads like wildfire in Asia and chooses Colombia as its base of operations for LATAM

Cambly continues to grow rapidly in Asia and to further increase its global footprint our very own Socialatom PR managing director Karen Acosta joins as Latin American regional manager.

Cambly’s growth in Asia:

Cambly has grown by a factor of ten in several Asian markets over the past year, including Korea, Japan, and China. Korea in particular has grown “almost 100x in the past year,” according to Shariff, thanks in part to the addition of a local team member who has been effectively promoting the app there.

Read more in TechInAsia

Cambly’s expansion to Latin America:

Available in more than 190 countries, Cambly announces its debut in Latin America, where it has picked Colombia for its base and brought on Karen Acosta as Latin America regional manager […] Latin America is Cambly’s third largest market after Asia and the Middle East.

Read more in Libreta De Apuntes (spanish)

Gizmag: Fusar Mohawk adds camera, comms, route logging and more to existing helmets

Fusar, and it’s product Mohawk, not only makes any helmet smart, but also successfully exceeded their crowdfunding goal within the first 48 hours:

Fusar Mohawk is designed to make any helmet smarter, safer and more social. With the inclusion of a 12-MP camera, accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS, as well as a PTT coms system and connected mobile apps, the unit is intended to replace a host of helmet-mountable devices.

The Mohawk has already achieved 140 percent of the company’s modest US$100,000 goal in just three days – and it’s easy to see why the Mohawk quickly captured so much attention. The slick design results in a low-slung and aggressive profile that makes the GoPro look positively awkward by comparison.

Read more at Gizmag and check out Fusar’s Crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo

BetaBoston: Sunu launches sonar wristband that will help blind and visually-impared people navigate

Hailing from Mexico, Sunu launches sonar wristband, the ‘fitbit’ for the visually impaired.

Navigating city streets, public transportation, and unfamiliar buildings can be challenging for the blind and visually-impaired.

“On trash day, you may run into trash cans that aren’t ordinarily there. You may hit tree branches or signposts,” says Fernando Albortorio, co-founder and CEO of Sunu. Not to mention standing in front of an elevator wondering if the doors have opened yet. Albortorio is legally blind, but he doesn’t like to stand out by using a cane.

The company says it can price the wristband at $250 — and with high-volume production, Albortorio says it will become much more affordable. Sunu, originally hatched in Mexico, hopes to raise $50,000 in a campaign on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo.

Read the story on BetaBoston and check out their Indiegogo campaign

 

TC: Gone, The App To Sell Your Old Junk, Acquires Yardsale Inc., FOBO

A first but likely not last for us, a portfolio company makes its first acquisition, Gone acquires Yardsale Inc., / FOBO

FOBO/Yardsale represents Gone’s first acquisition.

Yardsale Inc. was a YC-backed company, founded by Ed McManus and Ryan Mickle, that helped users sell stuff to their neighbors. Yardsale reached 130,000 users before the duo shut it down to focus on FOBO, which was an auction-based website that lets users sell their stuff via a mobile app.

According to Gone, FOBO had reached a $1 million yearly revenue run rate in just two months before the acquisition.

Read the story on TechCrunch

CI: Bluesmart Secures Over $11.5M During Recent Funding Round; Begins Shipping to Indiegogo Backers

We feel lucky to have been part of the friends and family round of Bluesmart. In a year it has grown tremendously and today announced a new round of $11.5M

Bluesmart, the company behind the world’s first smart, connected luggage, announces  it has raised a round of funding of $11.5 million. The funding comes from a group of institutional investors – from Amadeus IT Group and Cota Capital toWestern Technology Investments (WTI) and Y Combinator (YC) – to further its leadership position in the connected travel products market.

The round also includes prominent angel investors such as Flight VC’s Gil Penchina, YC’s partner Michael Seibel, MercadoLibre’s ($MELI) founder Marcos Galperin, Haystack’s Semil Shah and others, and follows the $2.2 million Bluesmart collected in pre-orders through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

Read More on Crowdfund Insider

VentureBeat: VOIQ’s ‘Uber for telemarketing’ lets companies create on-demand call centers

Portfolio company VOIQ, with it’s engineering base in Bogotá, enters YC and launches “Uber for telemarketing”

The call center is the team that is responsible for helping with lead generation. But often only large enterprises have the resources to deploy one in-house.

So what about everyone else who wants something more efficient and affordable?

VOIQ is here to answer the call (sorry, no pun intended) with its “Uber for telemarketing” platform. The service lets companies scale their call operations quickly, without needing fixed infrastructure or internal teams. Instead, VOIQ will leverage call agents who use their own mobile device and work from home.

Read more on VentureBeat

Forbes: Twilio Has Joined The Unicorn Ranks With Stealthy $100 Million Raise

In February we shared the news that portfolio company Authy, was acquired by Twilio. Today Forbes reported that Twilio has doubled their valuation raising $100m and reaching a billion dollar valuation:

 

“The round about doubles Twilio’s valuation, as well as the total funding the company has raised since launching in 2008. A range of investors had put $103.7 million into the company before the new raise, including Series D lead Redpoint Ventures,Series C co-leads Bessemer Venture Partners (which led its Series B) and Union Square Ventures (which led the Series A). The company had formerly been worth about $500 million.

Twilio announced it had crossed a revenue run rate of $100 million in 2014 and was adding $1 million in recurring revenue every week. Since then, the company launched video capability and acquired a two-factor authentication startup, Authy. More than 500,000 developers work with Twilio’s APIs.”

 

Read the full story on Forbes

Tnooz: Viajala lands $500,000 for Latin America travel metasearch

Joining us as co-investors, Altabix leads $500,000 USD round for portfolio company Viajala:

Viajala, the Latin American travel metasearch startup, has landed $500,000 in seed funding.

Venture capital firm Altabix led the equity round. It is a subsidiary of Hoteles City Express, Mexico’s fastest growing hotel chain, whose chief financial officer Roberto Palacios will join Viajala’s board of managers.

Read the entire story on Tnooz

WSJ: Spanning Continents, PlayVox Picks Up $1.5M to Gamify Call Centers

In order to reduce employee turnover at Call-Centers, Playvox brings their funding to $2.2M with a new $1.5M round led by Colombia’s largest utility company EPM, it is also worth noting that Colombia is a large call-center hub and although PlayVox is a U.S. company, their engineering base is also in Colombia.

PlayVox Inc. has raised $1.5 million from a corporate venture investor in Colombia to make call centers better to places to work.

PlayVox has developed a dashboard that is designed to make it more fun for call center workers to achieve their goals. It includes social recognition by peers, rankings, prizes, training, and communication and management tools. It can be used by both workers and their managers.

[…] With roots in Latin America and the U.S. It was the first non-U.S. company admitted to Alchemist Accelerator, the Bay Area incubator for business software startups, and will be using its new money to tackle the North American market, Mr. Giraldo said.

Read more on the Wall Street Journal

CI: Smart Motorcycle Helmet Company Fusar Closes $1.1 Million Seed Round

Smart helmet portfolio company Fusar has raised $1.1m in seed funding:

Fusar, a creator of smart motorcycle helmets, has closed a seed round in the amount of $1.1 million […] Investors from SeedInvest invested alongside the Jumpstart NJ Angel Network, Socialatom Ventures, the Chi Fan Group, and Casabona Ventures […] Fusar is developing advanced wearable technologies for action sports including motorcycle helmets. The company is expected to start taking pre-orders this coming fall.

Read more on Crowdfund Insider

Telefonica announced that it will partner with Bluesmart

 

Good news Mondays!

Today in the Web Mobile Congress Telefonica announced that it will partner with Bluesmart “The intelligent suitcase”. The operator will be providing Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connectivity for Bluesmart’s upcoming smart luggage.

With this amazing news Bluesmart assure their customers that they will be able to follow  their suitcase through their smartphone wherever it goes.

diego saenz

“Our mission at Bluesmart is to empower travelers and make the planet a smarter and more connected place,” Saez-Gil says.

It is now official that many of these functionalities will be enabled by a Telefónica­powered SIM card that Bluesmart will include inside of its luggage. The chip will be connected via 3G to Telefónica’s M2M network, making it theoretically possible for Bluesmart’s clients to track their suitcases at all times. “With this partnership, we hope to reduce the hassle that travelers have to experience when airlines lose their bags,” Bluesmart’s co-founder and CEO Diego Saez-­Gil explains.

Read the whole story at The Next Web

 

Oja.la, online learning platform reached 200,000 users in Latin America

Hernan Aracena

 

We end the week with good news!

Our portfolio company, Oja.la reached 200,000 users in Latin America.

Hernán Aracena, founder of Oja.la says “We have seen how people access online education has changed and we decided to research why in many cases students begin a learning process, but then do not finish it successfully. Based on this, we understood there is a need for a platform that ensures the successful completion of the educational process”

Read the full story in  La Republica Peru (Spanish)

 

Twilio Acquires Authy

 

authy-twilio

Portfolio company Authy, announced today they will be joining Twilio.

This is great news for not only the investors and the Authy team, but also for all the other startups building global products from Latin America. Authy headquartered in San Francisco, has product development operations in Bogota, Colombia

Twilio today announced that it has acquired Authy, a Y Combinator-backed startup that offers two-factor authentication services to end users, developers and enterprises. The two companies declined to disclose the financial details of the transaction.” Read the full story on TechCrunch

Authy, la startup del colombiano Daniel Palacio que también pasó por Y Combinator, anunció que ya es parte de la familia de Twilio, la plataforma de comunicaciones en la nube que compañías como Uber y Airbnb utilizan para conectar a las personas que utilizan las aplicaciones.” Lee la noticia en PulsoSocial

This is what 2014 looked like for our startups

2014 was our second year of full-time seed investing in global startups from across the Americas. We’ve been fortunate to join our portfolio companies for some extraordinary early successes from inception to launch and the never-boring scaling process.

As many pieces of exciting news for our companies are still confidential, we’ve selected a small sample of what we can share based on the top media stories of what our founders have accomplished in 2014, and look forward to sharing additional news with you as it becomes public.

Although we will only send this update once a quarter, you can still connect with our founders, discuss funding for your startup or just keep in touch by getting in touch ventures a-t socialatomgroup.com

Transactions

Bluesmart, creators of a smart carry-on lets you track bag’s location and charge other devices (Mashable), not only exceeded their crowdfunding campaign of USD $50k in 2 hours, it also quickly crossed the USD 1M mark (TechCrunch) to end up with a total raised of USD $1.8M at the end of their campaign (Indiegogo)

Y Combinator-Backed Streem Raised $875K For Its Unlimited Cloud Storage Service (TechCrunch) in April and in June it was announced that Box Acquired it (TechCrunch).

Authy, a San Francisco and Bogota based startup, announced in September their USD $3M round to End Nude-Photo Theft, Other Fraudulent Hacks (Wallstreet Journal).

AllTheRooms, an NYC and Medellin based startup which lets you look at all available rooms at your destination(Techcrunch), announced their USD $1.1M seed round (Travolutions) in May.

Oja.la, Latin America’s largest online tech school with 200,000 students; announced a USD $500k seed round of financing (AmericaEconomia) in February.

Product Launches

From San Francisco to the world, YC-Backed Cambly announced the launch of their product which offers on-demand access to language tutors on iPad, iPhone, and desktop. (TechCrunch)

From Argentina with presence in Austin and San Francisco, Gone! announced the launch of their app which helps you sell your belongings without a yard sale(VentureBeat)

Based out of San Francisco and Chile, former Clandescuento (Groupon Latin America) founders, launched Seahorse, an app that lets you collaborate with friends to build lasting photo and video albums, shared privately (Techcrunch)

Helping travelers in Latin America find flights with local carriers, Medellin basedViajala becomes the first metasearch engine for flights and hotels in the region. (ElTiempo)

Awards

With over 3 million downloads, Colombian-based startup Typic, a mobile photo editing app –  was featured among Apple’s Best Apps of 2014, the only Latin American based app to do so.

Hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico; Ustraap was a Winner of  Boston’s MassChallenge with it’s bracelet that helps the blind better understand their surroundings. (FastCompany)

Bankity, a startup that helps consumers in Latin America automatically track their expenses (Enter.co), was a winner of BBVA’s open innovation challenge (ElTiempo).

Job Openings

Gone, the app that makes it easier to get rid of all those items you no longer use, is looking for an Associate Community Marketer, a City Mgr (San Francisco), a City Mgr (Austin), a Big Data Wizard, and a Director of Biz Dev.

Bluesmart, the world’s first smart, connected carry-on, is looking for a Full-stack Software Dev, a Product Mgr, a Data Scientist and more.

Authy, the strong authentication platform for business and developers, is looking to hire a Sales Rep, Sales Exec, Tech Sales Leader, Marketing Exec (all in San Francisco), an Office Mgr, a Product Engr, an iOS Dev, a Backend Engr and anInfrastructure Engr (all in Bogotá), and an iOS Dev (remote-OK).

LocalBushel, the platform connecting farms with restaurants to make local sourcing more effective, is looking for Sales Execs.

Voiq, the cost-efficient, intelligent way to crowdsource calls for SMBs & Enterprises, is hiring a Senior Full Stack Software Engr.

Typic, the #1 photography app in over 70 countries and Best of 2014 in the Apple Store, is looking for an Android dev.