Gemvara Sparkles with $15M Series C, Leads Way in Mass Customization of Jewelry

3/23/11Follow @xconomy

Gemvara, the Lexington, MA-based online jewelry customization startup, announced today it has pinned down a $15 million Series C funding round. The financing was led by London-based Balderton Capital—who also led a $15 million round for Cambridge, MA-based mobile app developer SCVNGR earlier this year—and included returning Gemvara investors Highland Capital Partners and Canaan Partners.

The company, originally founded under the name Paragon Lake in August 2006, changed its name last year and shifted its business model to an e-commerce storefront, from previously offering kiosks in jewelry stores for customers to design their own merchandise. Gemvara raised a $5.2 million Series B funding round last April from Highland and Canaan. The Series C money brings the startup’s funding pot to $26 million.

The new money will go to customer service, expanding merchandise, and enhancing the online shopping experience, according to the announcement. Gemvara founder and CEO Matt Lauzon tweeted today that the company will soon open up 14 new full-time positions and 16 slots for paid interns. The company currently has 40 employees and still works out of Highland’s offices, but is looking for a new home to house its growing staff, Lauzon told me on a phone call today. He said the company plans to invest in its intern program to provide “really meaningful roles for young people” at the company.

Gemvara’s financing is the latest in a string of large deals for Boston-area tech startups. Besides SCVNGR, Cambridge-based HubSpot pulled in a $32 million round led by Silicon Valley investors earlier this month. Gemvara is also part of a thriving local cluster of “mass customization” startups that includes companies like FashionPlaytes, Blank Label, CustomMade, and Zyrra.

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