Ringr Named in Cincinnati Accelerator’s First Class of 10 Companies

Ringr, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was named in the article “Meet the first class of Ocean, the Crossroads-backed startup accelerator” on bizjournals.com.

Ocean, the Crossroads-backed startup accelerator that mixes business and personal development, has announced its first class of 10 companies, including Ringr. 

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2014/12/16/exclusive-meet-the-first-class-of-ocean-the.html

Acquisition of 640 Labs by Monsanto’s Climate Corporation

Serra Capital II, LP s very pleased to announce the acquisition of 640 Labs by Monsanto’s Climate Corporation on December 5.  640 Labs, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, is an agricultural technology start-up based in Chicago.  640 Labs utilizes the power of analytics, mobile technologies and cloud computing to provide a valuable tool for farmers and ag professionals.

Serra Capital II initially invested in 640 Labs in June 2014 with a second tranche in October. Serra’s internal rate of eturn (IRR) on the investment exceede 500%.

“The 640 Labs team set a vision that we believed in for how the farming community can use data to get real results,” said Rob Schultz, Partner with Serra Capital. “Agriculture Technology is a theme that Serra will continue to invest in.  Being in the heart of farming country, we have an advantage over most investors.  We are very pleased with the strategic acquisition of the company by Monsanto.”

Source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20141208006353/en/Climate-Corporation-Acquires-640-Labs-Team-Bolster#.VIcGOYfxv3i

Earshot Featured on VentureBeat

Earshot, A Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured on venturebeat.com on November 11. The trend of assigning a single score to a digital marketing value is on the rise. Chicago-based social engagement platform Earshot is joining the movement with its own social relevancy score. Called the Decibel Level, it is a measurement of whether a person is a good prospect for a sale or other conversion in a given brand campaign.

Source: http://venturebeat.com/2014/11/11/heres-how-social-platform-earshot-is-scoring-you/

Venture Capital Heating Up In Illinois

Venture Capital in the state of Illinois is heating up according to CB Insights, claiming nearly $7.5B has been invested in more than 1000 deals since 2009. Chicago leads the pack in terms of dollars invested and the amount of deals, with Champaign-Urbana coming in second. Serra Ventures was also named among the most active investors in Illinois.

Source: https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/chicago-venture-capital-data/

640 Labs Challenges Agribusiness Giants

640 Labs, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured on reuters.com on October 8. 640 Labs utilizes the power of analytics, mobile technologies and cloud computing to provide a valuable tool for farmers and ag professionals. The start-up company’s app is proving every bit as savvy as the latest offerings from the industry’s biggest names Monsanto and Deere & Co.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-farming-startups-idUSKCN0HX0C620141008

Rithmio Featured on TechCrunch

Rithmio, a Serra Captial II portfolio company, was featured on TechCrunch.com on September 25. Rithmio has developed a gesture recognition platform for the wearables industry, and the article announces that the company has secured $650k in seed funding to make releasing that platform happen.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/25/rithmio-nabs-the-cash-needed-to-build-a-gesture-recognition-platform/

Agrible Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

Agrible, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured in the Champaign News-Gazette on Sunday, September 21. The article explains how Agrible is useful for farmers, by taking the best agricultural data available and combining it with the latest science, and channeling it into practical products for use today and tomorrow to boost yields and efficiency.

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/business/2014-09-21/getting-data-farmers-fast.html

Serra Capital Companies Part of Next Great Frontier of Location Based Mobile Marketing

LISNR and Earshot, both Serra Capital II portfolio companies, are making headlines as they prove that location based mobile marketing is heating up. Each company has a unique approach to the age old problem of helping brands reach their customers at the right place at the right time.

As the name implies, location-based marketing focuses on marketing to consumers of a particular geographic area through their mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) A new door is being opened for brands to connect in relevant, contextual ways with consumers to win their trust. Conversations on social media showcase the authenticity and personalization of a brand and lead to lifelong customers and new forms of earned media we haven’t seen before.

According to the Pew Institute, 74% of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location. Use of a geolocation feature is more than a nice-to-have option on a smartphone or tablet — its use has become a routine part of a consumer’s daily life.

LISNR’s new app that debuted on August 25 on iOS and Android uses an “ultrasonic smart tone” to generate content recommendations based on audio activity picked up by any nearby speaker such as a phone, TV, car stereo, sporting event, music venue, supermarket or movie theater. For an example, you’re listening to a Drake song on the radio. LISNR may serve you an article from content partner Complex about the Toronto rapper or one of his affiliated acts, as well an ad from the company’s early brand partners like Mondelez, AT&T and Budweiser.

Similarly, Earshot monitors the social web for clues that help local marketers.  Their technology combines real-time location data, profile details of the user, and filters in the post itself to inform clients which posts to engage to optimize chances of conversion depending on the goals of the client. For example, a client can use Earshot to manage and filter out tweets that are the most relevant to them and respond accordingly.

Location based marketing is one of the next great frontiers in marketing.  As such, both companies have also received attention from the press.  LISNR has recently been featured on Forbes, Billboard, and AVNetwork. Earshot has been featured on CNBC and Techcrunch.

LISNR Featured on WSJ.com

LISNR, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was featured on wsj.com on June 27. LISNR is an audio-based marketing and content distribution platform that activates the sound around consumers to deliver content intelligently and easier than ever before.

The article outlines the current status of LISNR, including its most recent funding rounds and the technology itself.

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2014/06/27/lisnrs-audio-beacon-technology-reaches-users-through-sound/




Personify Featured on CMSWire.com

Personify, a Serra Capital I portfolio company, was featured on cmswire.com on June 23. Personify, Inc. is creating a next generation video conferencing solution that enables a high-end virtual presence experience on a laptop or PC.

The article gave an extensive overview of Personify and a brief look into the future of 3D camera technology.

Source: http://www.cmswire.com/cms/social-business/personify-explores-a-new-dimension-in-collaboration-025633.php

Personify Featured on Chicago Tribune’s Blue Sky Innovation

Personify, a Serra Capital I portfolio company, was featured on Chicago Tribune’s Blue Sky Innovation website on May 27. Blue Sky is Chicago’s gathering place for news, analysis and events related to innovation and entrepreneurship. Blue Sky informs, inspires and connects an audience that looks at business—and life—in new ways.

Blue Sky features Sanjay Patel, CEO of Personify, discussing bridging the distance gap, highlighting the individual and making a better experience through its product, Personify Live.

Source: http://bluesky.chicagotribune.com/originals/chi-sanjay-patel-of-personify-20140522,0,0.premiumvideo?utm_content=buffera680e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Serra Ventures Publishes New White Paper on Midwest VC Trends

The Midwest region is proving to be a major hotbed for startup and venture capital investment, including the University of Illinois and the Champaign-Urbana entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Serra Ventures has published a new white paper titled “Entrepreneurs and Investors in the Midwest Seeding More Than Just Fields,” which details the favorable trends in venture capital in the Midwest.

Rithmio Wins Cozad New Venture Competition

Rithmio, a Serra Ventures client, won top honors at the Cozad New Venture competition on April 25.  Six teams competed in two different tracks- University funded research and non-University funded teams. Both tracks awarded the top team with $20,000 in funding.

Rithmio, the winner of the University funded track, is creating gesture recognition software for wearable devices. The software allows the user to train the device for any number of activities- like weight-lifting or running, distinguish between those activities as well as track and analyze the activities that have been performed.

Source: http://tec.illinois.edu/resources/news/wearable-device-technology-projection-mapping-startup-win-top-prizes-cozad-new-venture

TPM Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

TPM (The Product Manufactory), a Serra Capital I portfolio company, was recently featured in the Champaign New-Gazette on May 1. The Product Manufactory is getting ready to roll out its first product — a fashionable floor lamp that can provide indirect overhead lighting as well as a grow light for plants.

The Product Manufactory offers shared resources and professional design and engineering services for customers performing product development.

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/business/2014-05-01/floor-lampgrow-light-nears-production-product-manufactory.html

Paystand Featured on CNN

Paystand, a Serra Capital II portfolio company, was recently featured on CNN.com on April 2. Paystand allows customers to sell products and receive funds on personal websites and social networks without extra software, coding or a merchant account. The article explains Paystand’s new payment service and mentions Serra Capital as one of its investors.

Source: http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/gigaom/articles/2014_04_02_paystand_takes_on_paypal_with_a_new_e_commerce_service_that_accepts_bitcoin.html

ANDalyze Featured On Prnewswire.com

ANDalyze, a Serra Capital portfolio company, was featured on prnewswire.com on March 24. The company’s technology, DNAzyme water sensor, has completed testing by the USEPA for use in drinking water and environmental water.

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/andalyze-receives-us-environmental-protection-agency-validation-of-technology-and-products-for-on-site-metal-analysis-in-water-251941331.html

Midwest An Active Hub For Investment and Exits

TechCrunch.com recently featured the article “For Tech Investors, The Midwest is Flyover Country No More” on March 17.  The article highlighted how active the Midwest region has been in the last 5 years in venture fund rounds, as well as exits.  Illinois was at the top of the list for venture backed exits at 30 in the last 5 years.

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/17/for-tech-investors-the-midwest-is-flyover-country-no-more/

Oso Technologies Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

Oso Technologies, a Serra Capital I and II portfolio company, was featured in the article “Oso Technologies Prepping Product For Delivery” in the Champaign News-Gazette on March 2, 2014. Oso has been busily preparing their product, PlantLink, to be shipped out to their Kickstarter supporters. The company also hopes to start shipping product to orders placed on myplantlink.com within the month.

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/business/2014-03-02/oso-technologies-prepping-product-delivery.html

Phi Optics Featured in Champaign News-Gazette

Phi Optics, a Serra Capital I portfolio company, was featured in the article “UI Engineers Making Cells Easier to See” in the Champaign News-Gazette on February 27. The article touched on the company’s optical microscope technology which allows them to capture faster, more sensitive images of live cells and tissues.

Source: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/business/2014-02-27/ui-engineers-making-cells-easier-see.html