Lightbank invests in San Francisco startup Qwiki

By Wailin Wong
Posted March 31 at 3:42 p.m.

Lightbank, the Chicago investment firm run by Groupon backers Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, has invested $1 million in Qwiki, a San Francisco, Calif.-based startup.

Qwiki has now raised a total $10.5 million. The company’s first product is a free search engine whose results are displayed in a narrated audiovisual format, and it plans to expand this technology to other platforms, including Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Qwiki said it will eventually move into presenting real-time information such as a user’s local weather forecast and daily calendar items.

Qwiki had previously raised $9.5 million. Its primary investor was Eduardo Saverin, the co-founder of Facebook whose falling out and subsequent legal dispute with co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was portrayed in “The Social Network.” Some of Lightbank’s other portfolio companies include Chicago startups such as Watermelon Express, which makes educational and test preparation apps, and Sprout Social, a provider of social media management tools for businesses. Lightbank focuses on early-stage technology companies.

Lefkofsky and Keywell “have invaluable experience in building large-scale consumer facing Internet companies and the ability to accelerate Qwiki’s product roadmap,” Qwiki founder and Chief Executive Doug Imbruce said in a statement.

The flip headline on Qwiki’s Thursday press release, “Qwiki Raises, Like, $1 Million More,” is reminiscent of a headline Groupon put on its announcement of a $950 million funding round in January: “Groupon Raises, Like, A Billion Dollars.”

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