Thursday, June 29, 2006

Sequoia leads a $6m Series B round for Stardoll


Stardoll.com Closes $6m Series B Funding Led by Sequoia Capital and Adds
Prominent Entertainment Industry Lawyer to Board

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 27, 2006 – Stardoll.com, the online dress-up and makeover community, today announced the close of a $6 million Series B round. The round was led by US-based Sequoia Capital with previous investor Index Ventures also participating. The company also announced that Fred Davis, an expert in media and entertainment law and founder of Davis Shapiro Lewit & Hayes will join the Company’s board of directors.

The investment syndicate brings together two of the most active and successful investors in the consumer Internet area. Between them their successes include Yahoo, Google, Skype, PayPal and Betfair. “This is an exciting time for the company. We have launched many new features to delight our users and have been entering into commercial discussions to broaden the revenue base,” said Mattias Miksche, CEO of Stardoll. “It’s invaluable having backers like Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures who have so much experience in this area and will help grow our US presence.”

Stardoll.com is one of the most popular online destinations for young girls worldwide. The site features more than 330 celebrity dolls whom users can style with thousands of different clothes and accessories. Each week the site attracts more than 1.2 million unique visitors from over 200 countries.

“We were impressed with the exponential growth of Stardoll.com and sheer number of young people moving online to enjoy this pastime,” Mark Kvamme of Sequoia Capital. “Stardoll’s team has developed a close relationship with its online international community and is well-positioned to continue attracting the growing interest of a highly motivated and creative demographic.”

Besides celebrity dolls, the site has just launched the MeDoll feature, which allows users to create a personalized doll whom they can dress with merchandise from a virtual store. In addition to increasing revenues from user payments, this new feature also creates opportunities for marketing partnerships with fashion, retail and media brands.



About Stardoll.com
Stardoll.com, formerly known as Paperdoll Heaven, is an online dress-up and makeover community for girls of all ages. The Stardoll.com site features more than 330 dolls and tens of thousands of garments and accessories. The site has registered users from over 200 countries and is adding close to 10,000 new members per day. The company is headquartered in Stockholm and also has operations in Finland. For more information, please visit www.stardoll.com.

About Sequoia Capital
Since 1972, Sequoia Capital has provided startup venture capital for very smart people who want to turn ideas into companies. As the “Entrepreneurs Behind the Entrepreneurs”, Sequoia Capital's Partners have worked with innovators such as Sandy Lerner and Len Bozack of Cisco Systems, Jerry Yang and David Filo of Yahoo!, Gaurav Garg of Redback Networks, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Dan Warmenhoven of Network Appliance, Max Levchin and Peter Thiel of PayPal (eBay), T.J. Rodgers of Cypress Semiconductor, Lou Tomasetta of Vitesse Semiconductor, Steve Jobs of Apple Computer and Larry Ellison of Oracle. To learn more about Sequoia Capital visit www.sequoiacap.com.

About Index Ventures
Index Ventures is a leading European venture capital firm active in technology venture investing since 1996. The firm is dedicated to helping top entrepreneurial teams in the Information Technology and Life Science sectors build their companies into market defining global leaders. The firm has offices in Geneva, London and Jersey and focuses its investment activity primarily on Europe and Israel. Investments include Betfair (the world's largest betting exchange); Skype (the pioneering communications company, recently acquired by eBay); MySQL (the world's most popular open source database); Photoways (Europe’s largest online photo-processing service) FON (the global wifi network) and Lovefilm (Europe’s largest DVD rental business). www.indexventues.com

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Mind Candy



Mind Candy is a media and entertainment company that specialises in puzzles – and alternate reality and massively multiplayer games (MMOGs).
Its first game is Perplexcity.
Invested early 2005.

Stardoll - your paperdoll heaven



Stardoll.com is an online dress-up and makeover community for girls of all ages. It features more than 320 dolls and tens of thousands of garments and accessories. Global membership base exceeds 900,000 from more than 190 countries. The Company is headquartered in Stockholm and also has operations in Finland.
Invested September 2005

Video Island - LoveFilm




Europe’s leading on-line DVD Rental Company.
Platform for the services of Love Film and ScreenSelect (own brands), Tesco, ITV, MSN, Easy.
Revenues: £40m run rate.
Co-Founded Sept 2002


Press Releases
For more details please contact info@videoisland.com

06/04/2006
Video Island and LOVEFiLM merge to create Europe's leading online home entertainment goup

LONDON, 6 April 2006: LOVEFiLM International Ltd and Video Island Inc, the owner of ScreenSelect.co.uk, today announce their intention to merge and create Europe's leading web-based home entertainment subscription service.

The deal, a 50-50 merger, will give the combined group more than 400,000 subscribers and a strong position in the UK market with around 17% of all DVD rental transactions; as well as strong market share in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Both companies will be consolidating under the LOVEFiLM consumer brand.

The group will offer customers the largest DVD library in Europe, with more than 70,000 unique titles and 1.2 million DVDs and Video games, as well as a fast-growing Video-on-Demand (VoD) service. The new company will ship more than two million rental DVDs every month.

Both companies currently work with major partners including AOL, CD Wow, Channel 4, Dixons Store Group, easyGroup, Guardian Newspapers, ITV, MSN, News International, Odeon, Sainsbury, Tesco and Vue Cinemas, some of whom offer a fully white-labeled service.

In the year to December 2005, sales of the combined group were more than £25m and the group turned profitable in December 2005.

The deal will bring together a strong investor base including Arts Alliance Media (AAM), the majority shareholder in LOVEFiLM, alongside Video Island's backers Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures, Cazenove Private Equity, and European Venture Partners.

Following the merger, Arts Alliance Media will provide video on demand and electronic sell through services to LOVEFiLM International under a long term commercial arrangement.

The new executive team will be a combination of the two firms, with Simon Calver, the current CEO of Video Island becoming the group's CEO. On completion of the merger, LOVEFiLM's CEO Mark Livingstone will step down and act as consultant to the group.

The new company plans to exploit synergies on marketing, technology, distribution and operations to grow profits faster and accelerate expansion across Continental Europe. The merged group believes it will be better positioned to exploit these opportunities and be more competitive against US rivals such as Amazon, Blockbuster and potentially Netflix.

In addition, the larger customer base and stronger finances will allow it to capitalize further on new technologies and delivery methods including Video-on-Demand and the recently launched Download-to-Own service.

Simon Calver said: "For three years both companies have done an excellent job changing the way DVDs are rented in the UK and Scandinavia, by providing customers with unparalleled value, choice and convenience. Together we will be a stronger company offering better features and service. I am delighted to lead this talented team and make it a force in the European Home Entertainment market."

Mark Livingstone. "I am privileged to have led the creation of LOVEFiLM over the last 2 years. The new combined management represents a world class team and I believe the company will now become a major force to be reckoned with in the entertainment world."

LOVEFiLM and Video Island were both advised by Altium, the mid-market investment bank, during the merger. The deal is subject to shareholder approval.

Spotrunner


Automated Ad Agency for SMEs. Thousands of TV commercials available on the web. Full media planning and booking service.
Went live January 2006. Signed major contract with Cendant Feb 06.
Invested April 2005.
http://www.spotrunner.com/

Moo



Moo Cards – Personalised Cards delivered via a web interface using digital print technology. Early stage. Test Revenues only.
Invested October 2004

IMI


Instant Market Intelligence
– The Next Generation of Customer Feedback - using mobile SMS technology and other digital channels.
Early Stage. Revenues commenced January 2006. A number of famous brands are already using IMI's Text-In Service.
Invested June 2005

Koodos


Koodos Ltd. – Outlet Mall on line. Specialising in overstocks and clearance products for a large portfolio of brands.
Pre-launch.
Co-Founded September 2005
http://www.koodos.com/

Monday, June 19, 2006

Edgeio


Edgeio Inc - a simple and elegant twist on the listings/classified business. The service aggregates listings from RSS - based web pages and post listings on blogs. Edgeio indexes and organises them on its own site.
Invested Janauary 2006.

Tracking 30 million+ websites
Listing 437,591 items from
9,602 cities and 115 countries

Digivate Ltd


Managed eCommerce Solutions and eMarketing Services.
Revenues exceed £1m and profits £100K. Cash Generating.

Invested 2000.

The Cotswold Company


Multi-channel retailer of Household Furnishings.
Revenues : over £20m in 2006. Web Sales nearing £10m. Cash Positive 2006.
8 Stores. UK Only. Invested 2000.