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Digital Spin, which raised £60,000 in August from platform Seedrs, has now received several times that amount from Passion Capital and Balderton, two of London’s most active venture funds. Could this be the start of growing links between amateur and professional early-stage investors?
Is Silicon Valley drying up? David O Sacks, founder and CEO of enterprise social network service Yammer, certainly seems to think so. Others, like Marc Andreessen, disagree. That makes for a lively debate, and it is taking place on perhaps the most apt forum of all – Facebook, writes Vinjeru Mkandawire and Robin Kwong.
“I think Silicon Valley as we know it may be coming to an end,” wrote Sacks on his Facebook page over the weekend, just before the social networking site’s shares sank to half its initial offering price.
Funding Circle, a UK-based online marketplace where individuals lend directly to small businesses raised $16m of Series B financing from joint investors Index Ventures and US-based Union Square Ventures. This brings the total amount raised by the company to $21m. Launched in August 2010, the company now facilitates around £1m in loans each week. The company is planning to use the funds to double its staff over the next year.
Dragonplay, a Tel Aviv-based games developer raised $14m in a Series A funding from Accel Partners. Dragonplay specializes in makes card, casino and board games for smartphones and social networks and is best known for Live Holdem Poker Pro, which has more than 2m monthly active players. The company will use the investment to expand its portfolio of games.
For once it was not shopping and e-commerce that dominated that European VC funding rounds.
In March, financial services were the flavour of the month, with eToro and The Currency Cloud attracting investment. Both of them seek to disrupt the financial services sector by using either social networking or cloud computing to jazz up a staid industry.
Advertising solutions are also finding willing backers, including personalised online ads from MyThings and advertising to wrap around Android apps from StartApp .
The frenzy to invest in mobile payments providers continues with Boku, the San Francisco-based start-up raising $35m, in a funding round led by Telefónica Digital. It will take the total raised by the mobile transactions company to more than $75m since 2008.
A little bit of much-needed consolidation is finally taking place in the European Venture Capital industry. On Wednesday DFJ Esprit and Tempo Capital announced plans to merge their secondary investment businesses.