Friday Funding Flurry: OwnerIQ, Sciformix, and Optaros Raise New Rounds
We usually get deluged with funding news on Mondays —but a small rash of venture capital rounds were announced (in one form or another) this morning, so we thought we’d wrap them up into one post.
First up is OwnerIQ, which we have written about before. The two-year-old Newton, MA-based startup—which operates a network of websites packed with freely downloadable user manuals for all manner of consumer products, coupled to user-generated content about those products and its own editorial content—just received $6 million in Series B funding. The round included new investor Egan Managed Capital, plus all existing investors: Atlas Venture, CommonAngels, and the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation.
The company pulled in a $2 million Series A round in October—and founder Jay Habegger says the company will use the money to expand the range of services OwnerIQ offers for consumers and also grow its advertising programs. Consumers come to the site looking for lost user manuals and other product information about appliances and devices they own, and OwnerIQ sells product companies aggregated information about owners of specific devices or groups of people with similar devices. That way, he says, a company with a new product can target its advertising directly to consumers most likely to be interested.
“We’re the first media outlet that allows a marketer or a product manager to target an advertising campaign based on the brand definition and the brand understanding—as opposed to the way they do it today, which is they have to take that and reduce it to demographics and then match those demographics to publications that reach those demographics,” says Habegger. “We allow them to short circuit that process and go directly to consumers that…have the purchasing behaviors that are consistent with their brand.” Habegger says OwnerIQ is now registering over 100,000 users per month, and has over one million total registered users.
Next in the funding parade comes Sciformix, which is headquartered in Westborough, MA, with operations in Mumbai, India. Sciformix’s business idea is to help biotech and pharma companies with their regulatory paperwork, which, for example, might mean outsourcing statistical analysis of clinical test data or writing reports on drug side effects to the FDA. Sciformix announced today that is has taken in $3.3 million in a Series A round led by Boston-based Flybridge Capital Partners.
“Currently estimated at $820 million and projected to grow to $1.2 billion in the years to come, the drug safety and clinical data management markets are key focus areas for the life sciences industry,” said CEO Dinesh Thakur in a statement. “The funding will enable us to accelerate our ability to meet the rapidly growing needs of life sciences companies for high-quality drug safety services.”
The last fundee, but not the least since it reportedly has taken in $12 million in a Series C round, is Boston-based Optaros, a consulting firm that describes itself as designing and assembling “solutions from loosely-coupled software components into supported composite applications.” (I think that’s a good description of how they do things but not what they do, which after perusing their website for about 10 minutes I was still left wondering about—apparently helping companies build their websites). In any event, the funding news, based on a regulatory filing, was reported by PE Week, which says 406 Ventures was joined in the round by previous investors Charles River Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Globespan Capital Partners. The company had previously raised $19.5 million.
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