Filed under: Venture capital

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Local Offer Network raises $1.5M

Local Offer Network, a Chicago technology company that aggregates daily deals from providers such as Groupon, has raised $1.5 million in a Series A round led by Matthew Pritzker and IllinoisVentures. Get the full story »

Deerfield firm lands $15 million equity investment

Deerfield-based payroll services provider Celergo has raised $15 million from a North Carolina private equity firm.

Celergo, which caters to companies with operations in multiple countries, already operates in 97 countries and also has offices in London and Singapore. The financing from Charlotte-based Frontier Capital will help Celergo expand its sales, marketing and service delivery. Get the full story »

Access Media 3 gets $3M in funding

An Oak Brook-based telecom company said Friday that it has secured $3 million in new financing from the Hinsdale Bank and Trust, one of the 15 banks run by Lake Forest-based Wintrust Financial Corp. Get the full story »

Motorola Mobility invests in game developer

Motorola Mobility’s venture capital arm has announced its second investment in a week, putting money into a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of games for mobile devices and social networks.

Motorola Mobility Ventures did not disclose the size of its equity investment in Moblyng, but it typically invests $3 million to $5 million. Other investors in Moblyng’s latest round of funding were Mohr Davidow Ventures and Deep Fork Capital, both investment firms based in Menlo Park, Calif. Get the full story »

Tiger Electronics founder invests in startup

Chicago-based Media Chaperone, developer of a free Facebook application that helps parents manage their children’s Internet gaming use, said it has raised $1 million in its first venture capital backing ever.

The investor group is led by Northbrook-based Leo Capital Holdings, which focuses on youth-oriented technology companies. Leo’s managing partner is Randy Rissman, who founded toymaker Tiger Electronics and in 1998 sold it to Hasbro for $335 million. Rissman will join Media Chaperone’s board of directors. Leo’s other investments include Chicago-based Get the full story »

Motorola’s VC arm invests in California tech firm

The venture capital arm of Libertyville-based Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. has made its first investment since splitting from Motorola Inc., putting an undisclosed sum into a California technology company that makes a “digital locker” for multimedia content.

Like its predecessor, Motorola Ventures, Motorola Mobility Ventures’ typical investment ranges between $3 million and $5 million. Motorola split into two independent companies in January, with Motorola Mobility housing the mobile devices and television set-top box units. Motorola Solutions, the other company that focuses on communications gear for government and industrial customers, has its own investment arm called Motorola Solutions Venture Capital. Get the full story »

Cash-raising efforts value Zynga at $7B-$9B

Zynga, the company behind popular Facebook games such as FarmVille and CityVille, is in talks with potential investors to raise about $250 million, which would value the startup at $7 billion to $9 billion, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said in a report Monday that a decision to raise money could be weeks away if it happens. Get the full story »

Chicago startup GiveForward raises $500K

GiveForward, a Chicago-based startup that helps people raise money for out-of-pocket medical expenses, has raised $500,000 in its first round of funding.

Desiree Vargas Wrigley and Ethan Austin started GiveForward in 2008 and had looked for some funding at that time, but “what we kept hearing from investors is: ‘You should be a non-profit,’” Vargas Wrigley said. She and Austin funded the company themselves, with Vargas Wrigley waiting tables at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba in Lincoln Park in the meantime.

The GiveForward platform allows people to create personalized fundraising pages and share their cause through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. GiveForward collects the donations, which can be done through credit or debit cards, and passes them along to the beneficiary after deducting 7 percent for processing fees. The company said its users have raised $3.5 million since the company’s inception and about 10,000 users have joined the site, with almost half of them signing up in the last six months. Get the full story »

Starbucks CEO invests in Groupon, gets board seat

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Chicago-based daily deal site Groupon said on Thursday Starbucks Corp Chief Executive Howard Schultz has joined its board of directors and that his venture capital firm has taken a stake in the daily deals website.

Schultz’ firm, Maveron, previously invested in retailers such as zulily, which offers daily deals on clothing geared to mothers and their children, and the lucy activewear chain, which was sold to VF Corp in 2007.

Groupon reportedly got a $6 billion takeover bid from Google in November, which it turned down. Two-year-old Groupon recently completed a $950 million round of financing. Get the full story »

Jordan Co. eyes Vietnam; Groupon director touts Dropbox

Jordan Co., the private equity firm run by Chicago businessman John “Jay” Jordan, already does business in more than 30 countries, but is planning to re-enter India and is looking at investments in Vietnam.

Jordan, who serves on the boards of Lyric Opera and the Art Institute of Chicago and is a trustee of the University of Notre Dame, also told the Kellogg School of Management Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference on Wednesday that he expects 2011 and 2012 to be “extremely active years” for both buying and selling businesses, following a “fairly robust” 2010 but a “very slow” 2009. Get the full story »

New report estimates Groupon’s worth at $6 billion

From TechCrunch | SharesPost, a marketplace for private stock sales, released a report Thursday stating that Chicago-based daily deal site Groupon is worth about $6 billion (between $5.95 billion and $6.07 billion, to be exact).

Adams Street does call center deal

Chicago-based private equity firm Adams Street Partners has led an $8.6 million equity funding round for Five9 Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif.-based maker of cloud-computing software for call centers. Get the full story »

S&P bucks trend, affirms rating on O’Hare project

Breaking with its rating agency peers, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said Friday that the city of Chicago’s ambitious plan to expand O’Hare International Airport is “sound.”

Standard & Poor’s affirmed its current ratings, ranging from “AA” to “A-,”  on about $6 billion of current O’Hare debt and assigned an “A-” rating to about $1.1 billion in bonds the city plans to issue in early February. Get the full story »

FeeFighters snags $1.6M in new funding

FeeFighters, a local startup that helps small businesses compare credit-card processors, has raised $1.6 million in a new round of funding. Get the full story »

VillageVines grabs $3M in venture capital

New York-based startup VillageVines has raised a first round of funding from Hearst Interactive Media, GrandBanks Capital and High Peaks Venture Partners for its exclusive restaurant site. Get the full story »