News 2019

Portfolio Spotlight: PromoteIQ

We are thrilled to announce today that our portfolio company, PromoteIQ, has been acquired by Microsoft!

PromoteIQ automates vendor marketing for e-commerce. Their platform enables brands to promote their products on e-commerce sites, increasing brand awareness, driving incremental product sales and generating unprecedented product performance insight. For retailers, vendor marketing is quickly becoming a strategic business line and critical source of incremental margin. Today, PromoteIQ's technology powers the core vendor marketing programs for the largest online retailers and brands, and we couldn’t imagine a better partner for the next stage of PromoteIQ’s growth than Microsoft.

In August of 2016, Alex Sherman and Peter Schwartz, the co-founders of PromoteIQ, walked into our office after being introduced to us by another founder in our Laconia family, Liz Zalman (Co-founder & CEO, @strongDM).

Investing in PromoteIQ wasn’t an immediately obvious decision. Though we had a number of exciting adtech investments in our legacy portfolio (TripleLift, C3 Metrics, FreeWheel, Localytics, to name a few), our fund focus had shifted away from the sector as it became increasingly tough to navigate for both entrepreneurs and investors alike. The space had become oversaturated with investment, and obtaining fresh capital and/or liquidity was proving to be difficult. 

Any reservations we had about the sector quickly disappeared as Alex and Peter presented a clear articulation of PromoteIQ as building an entirely new category at the forefront of the "Digital Shelf". At the time, vendor marketing had not yet gained serious momentum; even Amazon's now multi-billion-dollar advertising business was mostly under the radar. Alex and Peter cleanly outlined the tremendous growth opportunity in this new category at the intersection of marketing and commerce. PromoteIQ's platform enabled e-commerce sites to create another revenue stream and allowed brands to promote themselves to shoppers at the critical moment of conversion in their purchasing pathway.

Confident and grounded entrepreneurs, Alex and Peter possessed a clear vision of the market opportunity and the potential challenges ahead. They were also fully versed in the metrics and milestones needed to drive the business and reach the next stage of company growth. We felt a strong sense of 'fit' - these were entrepreneurs that we wanted to work with.

We introduced Alex and Peter to Nauta Capital and co-led their seed round. Over the last thirty months, we have had the honor of working closely with them on opening doors at key enterprise clients, fine-tuning strategy, helping them find some star hires (including our very own former intern Reena!), and everything in between. Their business has grown at breathtaking speed and in a short period of time, the company has become the dominant player within their category, easily outmaneuvering some of their larger competitors to build the defining solution for retailers.

We are so proud of Alex, Peter, and the entire team for building and establishing the company as a leading global vendor marketing platform -- no small feat by any means. From board meetings to late night phone calls and summer retreats, we have learned a great deal from them as investors, partners, and friends -- and who knew they would help us find love and tranquility in fishing? We can’t wait to see them expand their global presence through their continued growth with Microsoft’s powerhouse behind them.

You can read more on the acquisition here and here.

Ocrolus raises $24 million to scan financial documents with computer vision

Ocrolus, a New York startup that taps AI and machine learning to parse financial documents, today announced it has raised $24 million in a series B round led by venture growth equity firm Oak HC/FT. Ocrolus cofounder and CEO Sam Bobley said the fresh capital, which follows a $4 million series A in April 2018 and brings the company’s total raised to about $30 million, will fuel expansion into verticals like consumer and auto lending and advance development of the company’s underwriting solutions for banks.

Read the full article on Venturebeat here

Content Raven Adds Instant Integration for Dropbox Customers for Secure File Sharing in the Cloud

Content Raven, a leading cloud-based file distribution toolkit that adds content control, security and deep analytics to files, today announced the addition of Dropbox™ to its growing list of storage and file sharing vendor integrations. As of today, both Dropbox and Dropbox for Business™ customers can address the innate security issues that come with sharing through the cloud-based storage platform by instantly and seamlessly adding protection, control and analytical tracking of all common file types, including images, videos and PDFs shared through the Dropbox platform.

Read full article here

BlueVine Partners with Ocrolus for Faster Processing of Financing Applications

Ocrolus, the emerging leader in data verification and cash-flow analytics, today announced a partnership with BlueVine, a leading provider of online working capital financing to small and medium sized business lenders. BlueVine leverages Ocrolus technology to accelerate growth and scale operations efficiently, creating a faster and more seamless experience for its customers.

Read full article here

Philly-based XtraChef raises $7.5M to create “premiere back-of-house” operations platform for restaurants

Center City-based xtraCHEF, a 25-person, three-year-old company whose “restaurant management platform” includes a set of popular apps designed to help automate restaurant management, has raised its first $7.5 million in venture capital investment, boss Andy Schwartz told workers and friends in a blog post today.

Read the full article here